At a meeting that went into the early morning hours, the Oakland City Council adopted three pieces of equity legislation sponsored by Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, cutting ties between the city and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), protecting tenants from unlawful evictions and looking into providing gender-neutral restrooms in City-owned buildings.
The council unanimously passed Kaplan’s resolution directing the City Administrator to immediately terminate an agreement with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Agency.
There was overwhelming community support for the resolution, including from representatives of the Oakland Privacy Commission, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), according to Kaplan’s office.
“Under the Trump Administration, we have seen the increased use of ICE to target non-criminals, including arresting people dropping their kids off to school,” said Kaplan.
“Given that ICE officials have stated their intention to continue to target non-criminals, many in our community feel unsafe coming forward to OPD knowing that they could be in danger of deportation even if they have not committed a crime,” she said. “In furtherance of Oakland’s Sanctuary City status, and encouraging cooperation with local law enforcement, I am thrilled that Oakland City Council passed my Resolution to rescind this agreement with ICE.”
The council also unanimously passed a resolution calling upon the Rent Board to consider regulations to have owner-occupy duplexes and triplexes to confirm their owner-occupy status.
“Concerns about false claims of owner occupancy are rising, and we lack a good system to ensure that owner-occupancy claims being used for evictions are legitimate,” said Kaplan.
“My resolution asks that we refer this issue to the Rent Board, which has direct experience and expertise in this area, to ask that they create regulations to protect against false owner-occupancies being used to evict Oakland tenants,” she said. “Once the Rent Board has a proposal, we ask that they return to council for discussion and approval.”
A third resolution backed by Kaplan, which also passed unanimously, called for the City Administrator to look into the possibility of providing gender-neutral restrooms in City-owned buildings, in addition to gender-specific restrooms, which garnered support from the Transgender Law Center.
“In a time where transgender individuals report being harassed, bullied, and assaulted in public restrooms, we must take action to ensure their comfort and safety,” said Kaplan.
“Everyone in our community deserves access to safe, convenient, and unrestricted restroom access, which makes it possible to safely and equally participate in our government and civic institutions,” she said. “(This resolution) directs the city administrator to provide options for gender-neutral restrooms in city-owned buildings, starting with City Hall, in addition to the gender-specific restrooms on site.”