Monday, February 10, 2014

a people’s agenda for Oakland

Proposed elements of a people’s agenda for Oakland
Presented by Don Macleay of the Oakland Greens for public comment and feedback.
Structural Reforms to city government, probably requiring charter changes by popular vote
Proportional representation.  
Public funding of elections.  
Build an oversight structure for city government such as a comptroller’s office with authority to review and discipline city departments and perform effectiveness reviews as well as financial audits and conflict-of-interest investigations.  Immediately launch inquiries into:  
The handling of Occupy Oakland and the contractors employed to counter it including the mayor’s collaboration with 20 other cities to coordinate the crackdown on the campsites.  
Abuse of the blight enforcement powers that led to the grand jury report.  
Abuse in parking, auto impoundments and “sobriety checks” targeted at undocumented workers.  This includes the city government and city police relationships with the towing yards.  
Abuse and incompetence in code enforcement and building permitting.  
All “No bid” contracts the city currently is working with.  
Any regulation that requires the public to hire city-determined vendors.  
Create real neighborhood committees, elected, funded and empowered to run community policing, oversee local emergency planning, participate in the permitting and licensing process, have input on decisions relating to local parks, libraries and other public property.  
Have a standing Civil Rights Commission with working groups on the status of women, the status of youth, the status of racial and socio-economic disparities.  
Budget Reform / Tax Reform
Apply a business tax formula to the Port of Oakland.  
Apply a scaled tax increase for rental properties with offsets for county property taxes and mortgage servicing (exact opposite of Prop 13).  
Adopt a good times / bad times budget system.  Move all transfer taxes to a “rainy day fund.”
Bring the current business tax system into line with normal Bay Area levels with no special deals or incentives.
Stop all welfare for the rich, especially in redevelopment deals.  
Reduce the proportion of our budget that goes to police and fire.  Stop the overtime and the inflation of pensions.  Bring police costs per officer in line with California norms.  
Stop the privatization.  Stop contracting out services instead of building up city government’s ability to provide services and do our own contracting.  
Review all city contracts and check for the contractor’s compliance.  
Review and audit all transactions stemming from the Redevelopment Commission and the “successor agency.”  
Law Enforcement Reform
Setup an independent, civilian, police commission with the full hire / fire and discipline power.  
Review all cases BEFORE referring them to the Alameda DA for prosecuting for possible diversion to restorative justice solutions.  
Receive all persons leaving Parole or Probation and offer them housing and attention to their basic needs of clothing, food, identification, and bank account while helping them to fit in and seek work.  The city should contact every person slated for release and help find them a place in our community.  
Fully fund and empower community policing practices.  Keep officers assigned to these tasks.  
Overhaul the current hiring and training system in favor of more local hires.  
Overhaul assignment and support practices to avoid burnout and stress.  
A popular government of Oakland needs to declare a state of emergency in education.  New and MANY MORE resources need to be brought to the schools.  Better management needs to be brought to the district.  The city should be a full-time partner with the schools and make good on the Civic Center concept already adopted by Council and School Board.   Artists-in-residence, sport clubs-in-residence, public libraries and other such cooperative sharing of the space can bring more life into the schools.  More than anything, we need to reach out NOW and help the 50% of students who will not graduate every year.   City government is separate from the school district but city government needs to offer our schools all the support it can including critical evaluation.
Support for the employers we now have, most of whom are small employers.
Better employment conditions, higher minimum wages, better benefits.  
Support for self-sufficiency jobs from community gardens to local manufacturing.
A local bank and a local currency to enhance local economic growth.  All Oaklanders should have a bank account.
Consumer protection at the city level.  
Rent Control expansion, provide a system to register leases and have alternative dispute resolution.  
Vacancy Control, take away the incentives not to lower the rent, punish abandonment and neglect.  
Foreclosure abatement through fees and eminent domain (probably akin to the Richmond model.
Community gardens code, health certificates and resale licensing.
Grey Water code and permitting along with central rainwater and grey water capture.
Urban forestry (plant a lot of trees) on all of our residential streets and
Living sound barriers
Port and freeway pollution abatement
Convert landscaping over to pesticide-, herbicide- and fertilizer-free use of native plants.  
Building code modification to allow for more solar energy and skylights.  
Code modifications to require for more energy-efficient, healthier buildings, new and retrofit.  
Participate in Community Choice Aggregation, purchasing city power for alternative sources.
Participate in alternative energy vehicle programs for city vehicles, offer incentives to the public.  
City advocacy to other levels of government:
Bail out the 99%, end the housing-bank-securities recession for employees, homeowners and small business.  
Demand a federal jobs program.  
Demand a stop to the foreign wars.  
Convert the US off of fossil fuels.  
Demand an end to the war on drugs, including mandatory sentencing.  
State, (with the state, we need to be demanding)  
Demand state rehabilitation and job training in prison.  
Demand an integration plan for every person released onto parole, with funding.  
Demand an end to the state war on drugs, three strikes and state mandatory sentences.  
Demand a further reform to the school funding formula.  Our schools need higher per student, per site, support and our school district needs a less burdensome way to calculate enrollment.  
County and Regional
Stop the prosecution mill at the District Attorney’s office.  Stop the practices of trying to obtain the larger sentences, the higher charges, trying minors as adults, and high conviction rates.  In its place we need real reformative processes, restorative justice and diversions programs.
We need funding to deal with the restorative justice cases we take care of ourselves and the funding to provide to our residents on parole and probation when the county is not providing services.  
We need better and more social services generally, women’s shelters, homeless, public health, etc.  
Transit.  We need to be investing in mass transit.  Put an end to the overlapping and competing agencies.