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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Implement previously approved public lands policy to ensure using public lands for public needs, with a priority for affordable housing.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
California Black Caucus Weighs in on Elections for L.A. Sheriff, Sacramento D.A.
In the Sacramento County race, the CLBC threw its support behind former prosecutor Alana Mathews for district attorney. That election is scheduled for June 7, 2022.
The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) recently endorsed two African American candidates, Alana Mathews and Cecil Rhambo, who are running in high-profile county races in Sacramento and Los Angeles counties next year.
In the Sacramento County race, the CLBC threw its support behind former prosecutor Alana Mathews for district attorney. That election is scheduled for June 7, 2022.
“The California Legislative Black Caucus proudly endorses Alana Mathews” said Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus. “We are excited about the potential opportunity for her to bring equity, fairness, inclusion and reform to the prosecutor’s seat.”
If Mathews wins, she would be the first Black person and the first Black woman elected D.A. in Sacramento County.
The CLBC’s endorsement was “welcome news” for Mathews, a graduate of the McGeorge School of Law (Sacramento) and Spelman College (Atlanta).
“I’m honored to receive the endorsements from the Black leaders in California. I admire the work that they all do,” Mathews told California Black Media (CBM) on September 18 as she headed to a campaign event. “This is a significant endorsement as we seek more on the local and state levels.”
In Los Angeles County, the CLBC announced its support for Cecil Rhambo, who is running for County Sheriff. That contest will also be held in June 2022.
Rhambo is currently Chief of Airport Police at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Citing Rhambo’s 33-year record as a “respected” public servant, broad law enforcement experience and active involvement in Los Angeles-area communities, the CLBC says it believes Rhambo can help reduce crime in South LA and Compton.
“I’ve known Cecil for many years and as chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, I am confident he would be the Sheriff all of LA could be proud of,” said Bradford. “I know he is the right person to lead the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department during this state and national demand for police reform and accountability, and I trust his commitment to bringing desperately-needed transparency, equity, and integrity to the Department.”
Rhambo helped to develop the Community Oriented Policing Bureau, which focuses on suppressing violent crime, combatting homelessness, parking enforcement, quality of life programs, youth programs, and the mental health response teams that partnered with psych clinicians county-wide, according to the CLBC.
Rhambo has worked in a number of law enforcement assignments across LA County, including working as an undercover narcotics officer and a deputized federal agent.
He was a lieutenant at Internal Affairs following the Rodney King beating in March 1991. In that role, he helped to create a digital tracking system that could monitor reports of police officer misconduct and use of excessive force.
District attorney candidate Mathews plans to “roll out” more endorsements from other individuals and groups in the upcoming weeks, she told CBM.
Anne Marie Schubert, a former member of the Republican Party, is currently Sacramento’s D.A. Schubert already announced that she has her sights on the Attorney General’s seat in the 2022 election and that she would be running against Rob Bonta who Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed to that role in March.
Mathews spent eight years as a deputy district attorney in Sacramento County, working her way up from misdemeanor jury trials to prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, general felony, and prison crime cases.
She currently works with the Prosecutors Alliance of California, a group of prosecutors committed to reforming California’s criminal justice system through smart, safe, modern solutions that advance public safety, human dignity, and community well-being.
Other races to watch involving challengers of color during the 2022 election cycle include contests for Alameda County district attorney and San Francisco sheriff. Civil rights attorney Pamela Price will run in an open field as current District Attorney Nancy O’Malley is stepping down. And a 25-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, officer JoAnn Walker, will vie for incumbent Sheriff Gregory Ahern’s seat.
On the campaign trail in Sacramento County, Mathews says she believes working with police is “central” to the D.A. office’s work “but there has been little to no accountability in that office when it comes to police misconduct.”
She wants to change that.
“If you violate the law, you should be held accountable. Without that it undermines trust in the system,” she said.
Mayor Breed, Supervisor Mar Launch Grant to Support Storefronts Impacted by Vandalism
Up to $2,000 in financial relief available to repair storefront vandalism at neighborhood businesses
Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Gordon Mar announced Wednesday the launch of the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant program, which provides up to $2,000 in financial relief to restore and repair damages from vandalism at neighborhood storefronts. The program launches during a time when many small businesses are recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Opening and operating a successful small business in San Francisco was becoming increasingly difficult, and the pandemic has made it that much harder,” said Breed. “It has never been more critical for us to provide support to our small businesses in every way that we can, which not only means making it easier to open and operate a small business, but also providing relief when they face challenges. With the launch of the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant, we are letting our small business community know that we have their back and will fight to ensure that they can continue operating for years to come.”
The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant provides financial relief to restore small businesses impacted by deliberate actions that result in the destruction or damages of storefronts. This program will offer either $1,000 or $2,000, depending on the total cost incurred to repair physical damages. The $1 million program is designed to serve more than 500 small businesses with gross revenue of less than $8 million that can provide proof of damages from vandalism incurred since July 1, 2020.
The fund will directly support small businesses with financial relief in the aftermath of a crime to restore the harm done. The fund will also allow small businesses to make improvements that enhance security and prevent crime. This includes replacement locks, a new security gate, fixing an alarm system, adding new lighting, replacing windows, etchings on windows, and many others. Improvements are available on a first-come-first-serve basis, based on fund availability.
The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant is one tool in preventing crime and improving safety in neighborhood commercial corridors. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) also funds programs to help small businesses and neighborhood organizations improve safety through ambassadors and activations to increase foot traffic and community patrols. The fund is not meant to replace the loss of stolen goods and does not include damage to shared spaces.
“During the pandemic, we’ve seen a surge in burglaries and vandalism in every neighborhood targeting small businesses already struggling with unprecedented economic challenges. As we work to prevent these crimes and strengthen safety on our commercial corridors, we must also respond immediately to provide relief to mom-and-pop businesses with direct and tangible support as they recover from these incidents,” said Mar.
“Following requests from businesses in the Sunset, I worked with Mayor Breed and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development to create the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant and secured an initial $1 million funding allocation,” said Mar. “The fund will provide financial relief to small businesses in the aftermath of a crime to restore the harm done, including direct costs of property damage or getting a replacement lock or new security measures.”
To apply, eligible businesses are asked to provide receipts, photos of damages and furnish a report from the San Francisco Police Department or from 311 in the case of graffiti. Applications can be found by visiting oewd.org/VandalismRelief.
“On February 26 at 4:00 a.m., a burglar managed to break into my small business without activating the alarm. An hour later an opportunistic looter came into my store and stole additional merchandise. Small businesses are already hurting hard from the pandemic and these crimes are a gut punch to small businesses,” said Michael Hsu, owner of Footprint on Taraval.
“Since hearing about the Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant, I’ve put in my application to get up to $2,000 to help provide some relief to my business. We need more programs like this to support small businesses in our neighborhood that are struggling from being victims of burglary and vandalism. I’m thankful for our city leaders for initiating this program. Together with the community and leaders, we will get through these tough times.”
“Since the pandemic, I have heard so many stories from small businesses that have been burglarized or vandalized. As a small business owner, myself, I feel and understand their pain and loss,” said Albert Chow, president of People of the Parkside Sunset, a Taraval merchants and residents association. “The Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant is a safety net that is critical to ensuring that our small business owners are able to recover.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, San Francisco has provided immediate and ongoing support for small businesses, including making available more than $52.8 million in grants and loans to support more than 3,000 small businesses, in addition to tens of millions of dollars in fee and tax deferrals, and assistance applying for state and federal funding. This includes legislation introduced and signed by Mayor Breed to waive $5 million in fees and taxes for entertainment and nightlife venues and small restaurants.
“As we reopen and rebuild, many of our small businesses continue to struggle to make ends meet. These challenges can feel almost insurmountable when small businesses also become victims of vandalism” said Kate Sofis, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “San Francisco’s Storefront Vandalism Relief Grant will help alleviate the financial hardship caused by deliberate acts of damage to property. It is one of many tools the City has to support our business community and the vibrancy of our neighborhoods as we work together towards economic recovery.”
“The San Francisco Post’s coverage of local news in San Francisco 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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