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    $10 Million to Be Used to Restore Vital Oakland Community Resources and Programs

    By Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland City Councilmember At-Large–

    On Monday, April 12, the Oakland City Council passed an important resolution introduced by me and Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas. This resolution accepts the American Relief Plan Act (ARPA) Federal funding, creates a transparent budget process, and allocates the $10 million from the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority (OACCA)/Golden State Warriors litigation in the effort to provide a just and equitable recovery for the Oakland community. This legislation restored vital community resources and programs that were cut by the City Administrator in December 2020.

    The restoration of services is responsive to the calls from the community, and they will make Oakland a safer city. The list of restorations is long, but here are some of the highlights.

    I successfully fought the plans to reduce fire services when they were first announced in December. As a result, the Administration cut back their plans by two-thirds. Now, fire service will be fully restored, which is especially important since the Bay Area faces lengthier and more severe fire seasons each year.

    Community Safety Ambassadors will now walk the streets in Chinatown, Eastlake, East Oakland, Fruitvale, West Oakland, and other business corridors to provide a community-based solution to creating safer neighborhoods.

    We have closed the gap in funds for the Violence Prevention Funding plan, which includes youth job training.

    Operation Ceasefire is restored, and ShotSpotter is expanded in an effort to reduce crime in the city.

    Traffic safety is a significant concern throughout Oakland, with significant and horrible incidents where pedestrians have been struck and sometimes killed by speeding cars. As a result, we have directed funds to traffic calming, such as speed bumps, diverters, and other streetscape improvements that can help reduce speeding, prevent accidents, and protect Oaklanders.

    Among many other topics, homelessness and COVID-19 response were also funded. Homelessness is a major issue facing Oakland, therefore, under the direction of the Homelessness Director, there will be funding to house the homeless in hotels and to provide trash removal and sanitation services.

    Grants will also fund community-based organizations for work in Oakland’s underserved communities to provide information and access to COVID testing and vaccination. We are also funding crucial needs to improve opportunity for local, small, and disadvantaged business enterprises, to have improved access to participate in economic recovery, and expand local hiring and jobs, and local business utilization.

    The budgeting process should be transparent. Our budget resolution, including these vital public services, also includes policies to protect our democracy and public process around crucial financial decisions. It places protections on the reserves, so that they cannot be accessed without approval at a public meeting. This action ensures that all budgeting be done as part of a public process—at noticed meetings with public input and a public vote, to make sure community needs and feedback are included.

    Councilmember At-Large and Council President Rebecca Kaplan was elected in 2008 to serve as Oakland’s citywide Councilmember; she was re-elected in 2016 and 2020. She also serves on the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). Follow Councilmember Kaplan on Twitter @Kaplan4Oakland ( https://twitter.com/Kaplan4Oakland ) and Facebook  (https://www.facebook.com/Kaplan4Oakland/ ).

    Published on April 22, 2021