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Oakland City Council Will Vote April 5 on Temporary Freeze of Rents and Evictions

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Residents from a number of community groups attended the City Council’s Rules and Legislation Committee, calling on the committee to support a temporary “moratorium on evictions and on rent increases until the City has developed and implemented strategies that protect and expand access for Oakland residents to affordable housing.”

 

 

After listening to community speakers, the committee agreed to put the “state of emergency” on the agenda for the April 5 City Council meeting.

 

 

Backers of the resolution include a coalition of organizations and residents that came together as a result of a resolution first passed by the John George Democratic Club last Saturday and unanimously endorsed by participants at last Sunday’s Post Salon at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.

 

 

Qilombo Community Center of the McClymonds neighborhood is supporting the resolution, along with the Oakland Alliance, the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club and the Block By Block Organizing Network.

 

 

One of the speakers at Thursday’s council committee meeting was Janet Hall, who told council members that the community would hold them accountable for their actions.

 

 

“We should expect you to (call) the meeting to make this happen,” said Hall. “If you don’t do that, why in the world are you sitting here?”

 

 

“If there were an earthquake and we lost homes in the Oakland Hills, you can know for sure there would be a state of emergency.”

 

 

Timothy Killings of Qilombo said he hoped for unanimous council support in calling the state of emergency. “I hope we can get a ‘yes’ vote from every single one of you,” he said. “As a college student, I have been displaced six times – every single place I have lived in has been sold.”

 

 

Anita “Needa Bee” MiralleDeAsis, who – along with friends – delivers food and other supplies to those who live on the streets of Oakland, shared her experiences as well.

 

 

She said she has visited at least 25 Oakland homeless encampments where many families and infants live. Many of the homeless have full time jobs, and there are at least 59 encampments between Lake Merritt and the San Leandro border, she said.

 

 

At first, the council members resisted scheduling the community-written resolution, using technical objections. Councilmember Brooks, not a member of that committee, went up to speak at the meeting. “You should be facilitating the community’s request.” To use technical objections to avoid putting a state of emergency resolution on the agenda would be “disingenuous,” said Brooks.

 

 

Gay Plair Cobb talked about the urgency of what she sees in the streets of her West Oakland community. “I observe more and more people living in their cars or living in the parks,” she said.

 

 

Cobb said that displacement of Oakland residents is directly tied to lack of decent jobs – unemployment and low-skilled, low-paying jobs.

 

 

At Sunday’s Post Salon, speakers outlined the importance of the resolution and talked about a recent city report that shows the median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is now $2,950 per month, an increase of 40 percent in the last year.

 

 

A renter working at Oakland’s minimum wage would have to work 185 hours a week to pay for the median priced 2-bedroom apartment.

 

 

The average Oakland renter can only afford to pay about $700 a month, according to the report.

 

 

“The situation is dire,” said Carroll Fife, who chaired the Post Salon meeting, titled “Fight to Stay in Our City – Oaklanders Fight Displacement.”

 

 

Some people may say a housing state of emergency is not possible, but it was passed in the city of Alameda a few months ago, said another speaker.

 

 

Post publisher Paul Cobb called for stepping up pressure on council members, especially those representing Districts 1, 3, 5, 7, the at-large position and the City Attorney, which are all up for reelection in November of this year.

 

 

“We as the citizens ought to serve eviction papers on the City Council,” said Paul Cobb. “We ought to notify all elected officials that their rent is due – the rent of doing what the people who elected them want.”

 

 

“Your ballot cast towards those running for City Council who support a housing state of emergency is your ticket to staying in Oakland,” said Cobb.

 

 

The next Post Salon planning meeting to discuss actions to stop displacement will take place Sunday, March 13, at 2 p.m. at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, 410 14th St. in Oakland.

 

 

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City Government

Policy Pathways Honors Former Mayor Elihu Harris and Six Youth Leaders

The recipients of the 2021 Youth Public Service Award are students from Virginia high schools.

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Policy Pathways Logo courtesy of Organization's Facebook

Policy Pathways has announced former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris as its 2021 Policy Leadership Award recipient, along with six youth who will receive 2021 Youth Public Service Awards.

The award winners will be recognized Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at the Policy Pathways Third Annual Fall Celebration from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The event will take place online and is open to the public.

Elihu Harris

Kayla Patrick

The keynote speaker will be Kayla Patrick, senior data  and policy analyst at the Education Trust. She has conducted several major reports on policy and data analysis on the education of girls, particularly those of color. She has been featured in The New York Times, MSNBC, and 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s education platform.

She will be receiving the Excellence in Public Policy and Administration Award.

Elihu Harris’s career in public service has spanned five decades. He is a former California assemblyman, executive director of the National Bar Association, mayor of Oakland, and chancellor of Peralta Community College District. Today, he is a private attorney and owner of the Harris Funeral Home in Berkeley.

Dr. Lenneal Henderson, visiting instructor at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, and board member and fellow of numerous humanitarian and cultural institutions, will introduce Harris.

The recipients of the 2021 Youth Public Service Award are students from Virginia high schools.

University students being honored include Virginia students who have proven themselves to be leaders in public service in academics, community involvement and vision of the future.

“During our Third Annual Fall Celebration, we celebrate the accomplishments of policy leaders and public servants who have inspired us through their work, courage, dedication, and sheer will to overcome the barriers they faced that could have easily derailed their dreams,” said Policy Pathways President and CEO, Dr. D. Pulane Lucas.

The Fall Celebration supports the operations and programs of Policy Pathways. To purchase tickets and sponsorships, go to https://policypathways.org/event/fall-celebration/. Contributions are tax-deductible. For more information about the event, contact info@policypathways.org or call (866)-465-6671.

Policy Pathways, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Richmond, Va., providing education, training, and leadership development to high school students, recent high school graduates, and community college and undergraduates students who desire to become leaders in the fields of public policy, public administration, and public service.

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Business

City Must Pay Contractors, Businesses, Non-Profits Promptly

By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

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Sheng Thao

I have introduced legislation to restore the City of Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance and it will be heard at 1:30 p.m. by the City Council on October 19 because local contractors and local businesses need to be compensated in a timely manner for work they do on behalf of the City.

It’s unacceptable that the city is using the COVID-19 pandemic to delay payment to these local non-profit organizations.  By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-Interim City Administrator, Steven Falk issued an Emergency Order suspending parts of the City’s codes to give the City the flexibility to navigate the uncertain times.  Few would have guessed then that the world would still be navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic nearly 18 months later. One of the ordinances suspended by the Emergency Order was the Prompt Payment Ordinance.

Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance requires the City to compensate local businesses and contractors executing City grants or contracts within 20 days of receiving an invoice.  This allows local organizations providing services on behalf of the City of Oakland to be compensated in a timely manner and builds trust between these organizations and the city.  Local contractors and businesses provide a diverse set of services to the City, covering areas ranging from trash removal and paving to public safety.

Almost 18 months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance is still suspended.  Even as City staff have adjusted to working remotely and the City has adjusted to operating during the pandemic, there is no requirement that the City compensate its contractors or local businesses in a timely manner.

Oaklanders can comment at the meeting by joining the Zoom meeting via this link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88527652491 or calling 1-669-900-6833 and using the Meeting ID 885 2765 2491 and raising their hand during the public comment period at the beginning of the Council meeting.

 

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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Business

A’s Owner John Fisher Port Proposal No Good for Oakland

Billionaire John Fisher, owner of the A’s, has things to do before he can take over Oakland’s public port property to build malls and housing for the rich. 

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Howard Terminal on Port of Oakland Map

OPINION

Billionaire John Fisher, owner of the A’s, has things to do before he can take over Oakland’s public port property to build malls and housing for the rich. 

It is such a bad idea and the costs to the public are so ridiculous that logically it shouldn’t happen.  But this right-wing, Trump-supporting Republican has a boatload of money and a few corporation-oriented politicians to help him push it through.  

So, Oaklanders need to be active, or he might get it. Here are two of the things we need to act on: 

  1. Fisher won’t spend his own money.  So, he wants Alameda County to give up spending on things like the COVID-19 pandemic, so we residents can pay for his project with taxpayer money.  The vote on this will come up to the Board of Supervisors on October 26.  If you’d prefer that the County fund health care, housing and other resident necessities, ask them to vote “No.” Call your supervisor at 510-208-4949 and/or attend the meeting.
  2. The Oakland City Council will make the ultimate decision about Fisher’s project and there are a zillion reasons they should say “No.”  Among them: a) Fisher’s project requires that thousands of people run across the tracks of a busy railroad, which killed a number of people even before there were big crowds needing to get to their condos or a stadium.   b) And  Fisher’s project would wreck Oakland’s Port.  The “Seaport Compatibility Measures” necessary to keep the Port alive would cost hundreds of millions of dollars which would not be needed if it were not for Fisher’s project.  So, Fisher, not taxpayers, should pay for them. c)  And then there are all the other ways it will hurt the waterfront, the environment, and Port workers.

You can get contact information to reach your Council member here – https://www.oaklandca.gov/officials

Personally, any public official who votes for Fisher’s project will never get my vote again.   Call me hard-headed, but the harm to  Oakland as a working-class, multi-racial city, the harm to the ILWU (the union of Port workers, perhaps the most progressive union in America)  and the opposition of the people of East Oakland are enough to make my hard head think that’s what solidarity requires.

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