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Cat Brooks Looks to Community Power to Fuel Her Campaign for Mayor

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Oakland mayoral candidate Cat Brooks addresses the crowd at the Lake Merritt amphitheater on Saturday, June 16, welcoming the community to a “people’s assembly” on housing. Brooks is building her campaign platform with the participation of local residents already working on various issues facing Oaklanders. Photo by Sarah Carpenter.

Mayoral candidate Cat Brooks is not following the standard campaign path that the public has come to expect locally and nationally – where those who are running for office adopt positions based on opinion pools and “expert” advice of hired campaign staff.

True to her history of grassroots organizing in Oakland, she is building her platform by relying on “people’s assemblies” to help produce solutions to the pressing problems facing Oaklanders.

She hosted a people’s assembly on “Housing the Unhoused & Tenant Protections,” one of the city’s hottest issues, Saturday morning, June 16, at the Lake Merritt amphitheater.
“This isn’t the Cat Brooks campaign, this is the people’s campaign,” said Brooks.

Local activists and residents spoke about the goals they are working toward and what they want Oakland’s next mayor to accomplish to meet the needs of the unhoused.

Multiple speakers supported the Affordable Housing Act, which will appear on the ballot in November. The act repeals the controversial 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act that places statewide restrictions on rent control for buildings built or heavily remodeled after 1995 (with some exemptions).

Steven DiCaprio, CEO and founder of Land Action, spoke about a need for the decriminalization of homelessness and the end of collective punishment (when one person in an encampment commits a crime, and the entire encampment is evicted as a result).
DiCaprio suggested that the City ask its police to stop enforcing trespassing laws (specifically penal code 602) on properties that have been left vacant for years.

Another speaker, Jamie, suggested an anti-speculation tax for those who don’t live in Oakland, but profit from its real estate and the displacement of Oaklanders.

“Our government has been working for the people who own the property, and I would like to see our city council and our mayor work for the residents—the people who live here, the people who inhabit space, the people who are part of the community,” she said.

These ideas and more were written down on a jumbo notepad by a campaign volunteer.
Other ideas included a cap on the rental services fee, more taxpayer money spent on housing the unhoused, workforce housing, and emergency housing for seniors, people with disabilities, and people with children.

Those who missed the assembly may still contribute to the conversation on housing or any other past assemblies by visiting www.catbrooksforoakland.com. Live streams of past assemblies are also available.

City Government

The Next First 100 Days

Building a Healthier Future for Oakland

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Symbol of democracy this picture show a child and his mom voting for french presidential elections. Photo Courtesy of Arnaud Jaegers via Unsplash

In 2022, the voters of Oakland will have an opportunity to elect the next Mayor for our city.  The Mayor of Oakland is the head of the executive branch, in charge of implementing actions and laws that have been passed by City Council and community.

The Mayor also selects and hires the City Administrator, appoints members of key Boards and Commissions, and sets the direction for the Administrative branch of government, thus having a major impact on what actions get taken.

In recent years, the City Council has adopted numerous laws and funded positions and projects – many of which have not been implemented, such as providing gun tracing and cracking down on illegal guns, civilianizing special events, providing pro-active illegal dumping remediation, a public lands policy to prioritize affordable housing, direction to provide healthier alternative locations to respond to homelessness, and many more.

In order to ensure that we build a safer and healthier future for Oakland, is it vitally important to ensure that we elect leadership for the executive branch with the dedication and commitment to take the actions needed to fulfill the needs of our communities.

With serious struggles facing our communities, it is vital that the next mayor take immediate action in their first 100 days – and so, I am undertaking to provide proposals regarding what the next mayor can, and should, do in their first 100 days in office.

These efforts will need to include recruitment and retention for the workforce; effective relationships with County government and neighboring cities to solve common problems; working with stakeholders including to expand equitable economic development and housing for all income levels; presenting and passing proposals at Council and bringing in and properly stewarding the finances needed.

Even within the first 100 days, a mayor can accomplish a great deal – including taking action to implement vitally needed services that already have Council authorization, and thus, can be brought about more quickly.

This is the first installment, a listing of some of the first items that the next mayor can, and should, do to build a healthier Oakland, and which should be factors in our decision-making in the year ahead.

  1. Ensure implementation of the directive to prioritize stopping the flow of illegal guns and stopping gun violence, including implementing gun tracing, tracking and shutting down sources of illegal guns, and providing immediate response to shooting notifications.
  2. Remove blight and illegal dumping, implement pro-active removal of blight rather than waiting for complaints, incorporate blight removal throughout city efforts (rewards program, summer jobs program, etc), to clear up backlog and establish a new normal that it is not OK to dump in Oakland.
  3. Provide healthier alternatives for homeless solutions, including safe parking/managed RV sites, and sanitation/dump sites, to reduce public health risks, including by partnering with the County and others.
  4. Implement previously approved Council direction to switch to the use of civilians (rather than sworn police) to manage parades and special events.  Help ensure community and cultural events can go forward without excess costs undermining them, strengthen the arts and economy and equity of event permitting system, and ensure that expensive police resources are directed where they are needed, rather than wasted on watching parades.
  5. Implement previously approved public lands policy to ensure using public lands for public needs, with a priority for affordable housing.
  6. Make it easier for local residents and small businesses to grow, build, and expand by providing coherent and simplified permitting, and by implementing the Council-funded direction to provide evening and weekend hours and easy online access to allow people to do projects like adding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and make other renovations and construction projects more timely.
  7. Work with stakeholders and community to advance effective and equitable revitalization of the large public properties at and around the Oakland Coliseum, including with housing for all income levels, jobs and business development, sports and entertainment, convention and hotels and more.
  8. Work to speed up vacancies in needed city staff positions, and improve recruitment and retention, and local hiring, to help provide vitally needed services, including for cleanup, parks upkeep, gun tracing, and other community needs.
  9. Fire prevention and climate resiliency.  Our region is facing growing dangers from climate change and fire risk, and we must take action to reduce and remedy risk and protect our communities with a more resilient future, including by planning for and starting fire prevention and brush remediation activities earlier in the year, improving brush removal on public land as well as private, fully staffing the fire department, and improving public infrastructure to protect cleaner air and reduce risks.
  10. Job training and pathways.  Some industries face challenges finding enough prepared workers while many in our community also need access to quality jobs. Support and connect job training programs and quality job policies with growing sectors, and ensure that Oaklanders are prepared for vital openings in needed jobs while allowing our community to thrive.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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City Government

S.F. Mayor London Breed Announces $50 Million in Tax Credits to Support San Francisco Non-Profits, Businesses in Disadvantaged Communities

The New Markets Tax Credit program creates a pathway for local businesses and non-profits to activate underutilized buildings in San Francisco’s most high-need neighborhoods, create local jobs, and provide lasting community services.

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Two Men Brainstorming Over Papers ; Photo courtesy of Scott Graham via Unsplash

Mayor London N. Breed announced on September 7 that the United States Treasury has awarded $50 million in tax credits to support local non-profit organizations and projects in historically underserved neighborhoods.

This allocation will help move forward critical investments in San Francisco while also creating new economic activity and jobs as San Francisco continues its economic recovery from the pandemic.

The New Market Tax Credits are distributed from the United States Treasury to the San Francisco Community Investment Fund (SFCIF), a non-profit that is tasked with helping to fund projects with substantial and sustainable community benefits in low-income San Francisco neighborhoods.

Previous credits helped fund the construction of projects such as the Meals on Wheels San Francisco food distribution center in the Bayview, SF Jazz and the Boys & Girls Club San Francisco in the Western Addition, and the ACT Strand Theatre on Central Market, the Manufacturing Foundry located at 150 Hooper Street sponsored by PlaceMade, and the renovation of the Geneva Car Barn located in the Excelsior district.

“The neighborhoods that were hit hardest by the pandemic were the same neighborhoods that had lacked access to resources and investment for generations—that is not a coincidence.

“That’s why it’s so important that our economic recovery focus on investing in these communities and creating new jobs in these communities, so we can create a more equitable city.

“The investments that these tax credits have helped advance in the past have had a meaningful impact on our city and I’m excited that this new allocation, the largest that San Francisco has ever received, will continue that progress,” Breed said.

In 2010, the City’s former Redevelopment Agency established the San Francisco Community Investment Fund to make qualified low-income community investments in the City. This program targets construction and capital improvement projects in low-income neighborhoods that deliver strong community outcomes, including job creation for low-income people, commercial and community services, healthy foods, environment sustainability, and flexible lease rates.

The New Markets Tax Credit program creates a pathway for local businesses and non-profits to activate underutilized buildings in San Francisco’s most high-need neighborhoods, create local jobs, and provide lasting community services.

Since 2010, the SFCIF has supported 12 projects across five neighborhoods that created over 1,000 construction jobs, and deployed $163.6 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocations.

“Investing in jobs and supporting opportunities for our underserved communities is critical, especially as we begin emerging from of this pandemic,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu, who serves on the SFCIF Board of Directors. “This allocation of New Market Tax Credits is significant because it means extra dollars in our hands to fully fund and bring so many worthy neighborhood projects to completion.”

“Meals on Wheels San Francisco opened a new $41 million state of the art kitchen in the Bayview neighborhood in November of 2020. Our project could not have moved forward on time and received full financing without the support of the San Francisco Community Investment Fund’s New Markets Tax Credit program,” said Ashley McCumber, CEO and executive director of Meals on Wheels San Francisco.

“Their lead investment attracted additional partners like Community Vision, Community Impact Partners, and Chase Bank to deliver a net of $8.1 million to our project. With this new facility, we have created more than 30 new jobs and expanded our production capabilities from 8,000 meals per day to as much as 30,000 meals per day when needed.”

Applications are received and reviewed on a rolling basis. For more information on the San Francisco Community Investment Fund, visit SFCIF.org.

     This story comes from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Communication.

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City Government

Price for DA Campaign Says Alameda County DA’s Office Emails Reveal Prosecutor Misconduct, Corruption, Campaign Violations

After a review of the 230 pages of emails, the Sutton Law Firm, election and political law specialists, confirmed that the level of criminal activity by prosecutors was serious and warranted the filing of complaints with the Attorney General and the FPPC.

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Pamela Price Speaking at a Protest for DA Misconduct; Photo courtesy of Gene Hazzard

In April, a public records request was filed with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Clerk of Records for all emails relating to “Pamela Price” from 2017-2021.

This summer, the DA’s office turned over 230 pages of emails which exposed a concerted and seemingly deliberate effort within the DA’s office to collude with police unions across California and take down Nancy O’Malley’s opponent in the 2018 election.

Numerous violations of civil, criminal and campaign finance laws were found, as well as a continuing pattern of misconduct by deputies and O’Malley’s top employees into the 2022 race.

“I was shocked,” said civil rights attorney Pamela Price, who is again running for District Attorney.

“During the 2018 campaign, we could only see the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “We knew they were colluding with the police associations, but It is shameful to see the extent of the misconduct and corruption in the DA’s office. At least one of these offenses is a felony. We all deserve better from people specifically hired to prosecute illegal activity. That is why I am running for DA. It is past time for change.”

After a review of the 230 pages of emails, the Sutton Law Firm, election and political law specialists, confirmed that the level of criminal activity by prosecutors was serious and warranted the filing of complaints with the Attorney General and the FPPC.

Some of the recurring violations constitute felonies and include:

  • Using County email accounts to solicit campaign contributions to pay for “hit pieces” against Price in violation of California Government Code Sections 82031, 8314 and 54964 and Penal Code Section 424;
  • Using County email accounts to spy and report on the Price campaign in violation of California Government Code Sections 8314 and 54964;
  • Using County email accounts to solicit volunteers to support O’Malley in violation of California Penal Code Section 424 and Government Code Sections 8314 and 54964.

“When we were approached about looking at the emails, I expected to see a couple of people breaking the rules of conduct,” said James Sutton, the principal attorney at the Sutton Law Firm. “I never thought that the misconduct would be so widespread within the office.”

The Sutton firm has delivered a letter to both O’Malley and Attorney General Rob Bonta, urging the Attorney General to investigate the use of the DA’s office for partisan campaigning and fundraising purposes. The letter further calls on Bonta to begin immediate review of how police unions are coercing influence within the DA’s office. In addition, a second complaint has been submitted to the Fair Political Practices Commission for its investigation.

“No one is above the law, especially not the District Attorney. I am running for DA to clean up this type of corruption and prosecutorial misconduct,” said Price. “It is about creating an office free of politics as usual and conflicts of personal interest. We must restore public trust and accountability to the DA’s office.”

“It is vital that taxpayer driven services are not being used to bolster and promote political campaigns, particularly using office resources, time and staff to run a campaign,” said Cathy Leonard of the Coalition for Police Accountability.

“Last year, the Minnesota State Attorney (Keith Ellison) stepped in to take on the work of reviewing George Floyd’s death. This action was the linchpin that led to true accountability.  The public had simply lost faith in their local justice system,” stated Hon. Victor Aguilar of the San Leandro City Council.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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