Oakland elections – Vote yourself a raise

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Yael Chanoff's picture
Dan Siegel and Rebecca Kaplan are the best choices to replace Jean Quan as Oakland mayor.

By Yael Chanoff

Here is The Outsider's round up of the upcoming Oakland Election. It's time to raise the wage and end the Quan administration.

Mayoral Race

In Oakland's ranked choice mayoral voting voting system we thing Dan Siegel and Rebecca Kaplan both deserve your support. The city would be better of under either of their leadership than any of the other candidates in the broad field of contenders for Mayor of Oakland. It's time for new leadership in Oakland. Mayor Jean Quan, who's administration has swung from one disappointment to the next, should not appear on your ranked ballot.

We’ve liked Dan Siegel since he quit his position as Mayor Quan’s chief legal adviser over in protest of her administration's violent crackdown on Occupy Oakland in 2011. And of all the candidates, his ideas are some of the most creative. He wants to build up powerful worker’s collectives with city institutions as clients, based on the Evergreen Cooperative in Cleveland. He wants to double the amount of community gardens in Oakland, based on a model that achieved that goal for Toronto. His track record isn’t perfect, and he was on the school board when they expanded the dangerous OUSD Police. But Siegel has since opposed that type of policing, and supported community policing. We want to see if he can bring his visionary ideas into reality, so we endorse Siegel.

Rebecca Kaplan is our other endorsement. She has experience representing Oakland since 2008 and is currently the city's only at-large city council member. She stood up to Goldman Sachs and big banks, she’s implemented creative budget solutions (like Measure F in 2009), and she’s a champion of access of buses and bikes. She supports local hire for police, but she’s contributed to expanding the police force as well as shotspotter surveillance systems, a strategy we can’t endorse. Still, she’s an experienced progressive candidate with the organizational tools and broad support base needed to be an effective leader and implement her ideas into policy.

Ballot Measures

Measure Z-- A parcel tax on parking that will fund police staffing and community violence prevention programs. First approved in 2004, this would renew the tax. All of the leading Oakland mayoral candidates have come out in support of Measure Z, and community leaders involved in Operation Ceasefire say that without the renewed tax, the program would be “seriously hampered.” The only problem? OPD hasn’t been accountable for spending Measure Y money as intended, and in 2010 Measure BB rewrote the policy, stripping the police staffing requirements completely. For this reason, critics have called Measure Z a blank check. Still, the violence prevention programs are so important that we will say hold your nose and vote yes on Z.

Measure N—A parcel tax that would fund college-readiness programs for high school students throughout OUSD. The district-wide graduation rate is currently 63 percent, but among students that already access the currently limited college-readiness program that this measure would broaden, the rate is 84 percent. Precautions have been taken with the goal of making sure the money is used well-- 90 percent of the fund would be mandated to go to directly to schools (as opposed to administration costs) and schools with more students would get more money, as it will be distributed on a per-student basis. Vote yes.

Measure FF—The Chamber of Commerce pussyfooted around critiquing this measure, but in the end even they didn’t oppose raising the minimum wage in Oakland. Likely this is because the measure has already been watered down. The new wage will be set short of the $15 minimum wage goal called for by progressive organizers locally and nationally, and supported in San Francisco's ballot measure. Oakland's measure would raise the minimum wage to $12.25 an hour from Oakland's current rate of $9.00 and also require at least five days of paid sick leave. Recent changes in California law make the sick days issue some what of a redundancy. Still, the idea that you can vote yourself a raise in Oakland makes this the best issue on the ballot. If you need a reason to turn up to the polls on Tuesday and vote, this is it. Voting yes on this measure is a no-brainer.

Measure CC—This measure may succeed at giving the Oakland Public Ethics Commission some teeth. The commission is supposed to be watchdog for enforcement of campaign finance, lobbyist regulation, government transparency and whistleblower protection laws. But the commission hasn’t been able to do much of this, and in July 2013 a Grand Jury report stated that “the City Council had not given the [Public Ethics Commission] the tools necessary to address such transgressions that undermine the notion of fair and open government.” This measure is an attempt to remedy that, in part by increasing the commission’s annual budget from $363,000 to at least $851,000. Vote yes.

Measure DD-- Measure DD would give the transfer the power of redrawing election district lines used for Oakland city council representation and schools. Right now the city council does it-- if Measure D passes, a citizen council will be in charge of redistricting. A few worthy organizations have been working towards this goal for a long time, including Oakland Rising and the local chapter of the League of Women Voters. Measure DD will “ensure that low-income, immigrant and communities of color were included and engaged in Oakland's redistricting process” according to a statement from Oakland Rising. Vote yes..

Measure EE-- Measure EE will transfer a few pensions and save the city money. 22 retired Oakland city employees are still on the pre-1970 pension system. They will be brought into the current system and keep all their benefits. The city saves money on not maintaining a separate system for 22 people. Why not? Vote yes.

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