Caption: Chris Jackson, a member of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE Action), was one of the speakers at a press conference Tuesday at Oakland City Hall, called by a coalition of labor and community organizations to propose an alternative budget to what they are calling the mayor´s and administration’s “‘Bait and Switch’ budget that prioritizes displacement and criminalization over the needs of our communities.
A coalition of community and labor groups held a media conference this week to endorse a community budget that meets the needs of the majority of Oakland residents, opposing what they are calling the “bait and switch” budget proposed by Mayor Libby Schaaf’s administration that “prioritizes displacement and criminalization over the needs of our communities.”
According to the “ReFund and ReInvest in Oakland Community-Labor Budget Platform, the new two-year budget that is adopted in July should “prioritize public services, housing our residents and protecting our workers and artists who make Oakland the ‘soul’ of the Bay.”
“We need a budget that addresses homelessness, displacement, low wages and city services,” said Gary Jimenez, regional vice president of SEIU 1021.
“We need to reinvest in housing so residents will not have fear being displaced,” said Chris Jackson of ACCE Action, who explained the platform that is endorsed by the coalition.
The platform includes:
- Use Measure KK infrastructure bond money to create a building Acquisition Fund that can acquire affordable housing throughout Oakland, including Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) hotel and vacant properties.
- End criminalization of the homeless. Redirect funds from the Oakland Police Department that are used to destroy encampments and instead fund resources and housing.
- Ensure public land for the public good. When any public land that is sold or leased, “all proceeds must go to affordable housing and community benefits”
Fund the feasibility study to establish a Public Bank in Oakland.
Increase funding for workforce development to provide job training, including programs in East and West Oakland and the West Oakland Jobs Resource Center.
Enforce the city’s minimum wage law, including funding for community-based outreach to educate workers about the law.
Increase funding for summer youth job programs.
Enforce tenant protections, including community outreach to renters about their rights.
According to the coalition, voters in November passed Measure KK, the infrastructure bond, and Measure HH, the soda tax, because “they thought (the measures) would alleviate the housing crisis and increase health (of) young people.”
But instead, the Schaaf administration has proposed a “Bait and Switch” budget “that misallocates and redirects these funds. It continues to prioritize large developers and displacement, placing renters, youth, our city workers and first responders, low-wage (workers), immigrant workers, homeless folks and families on the back burner,” according to the coalition statement.
Additionally, the statement said, there are “no concrete plans in the mayor’s budget to implement Measure JJ, the renter protection act, to ensure we are protecting tenants at a time of increased displacement.”
The ReFund coalition includes ACCE Action, East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO), SEIU 1021, Street Level Health Project (SLHP), Causa Justa::Just Cause, IFPTE Local 21, Oakland Tenants Union (OTU), CURYJ, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) and other organizations.