Bas Advances Progressive Ballot Measures For a More Democratic and Resourced Oakland For All

Date Posted: July 26th, 2022 @ 11:38 AM
Last Updated: July 26th, 2022 @ 11:39 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Contact: Tiffany Kang, tkang@oaklandca.gov

Council President Bas Advances Progressive Ballot Measures For a More Democratic and Resourced Oakland For All

OAKLAND, CA – At Monday’s Special Meeting of the Oakland City Council, Council voted to place a set of measures on the November ballot that will:

  • advance residents’ access to democratic, fair elections and good government,
  • invest $850 million in affordable housing and infrastructure improvements to streets and facilities, and
  • Create a progressive business tax raising over $20 million more annually for critical city services.

“Oaklanders want results from their government. With these ballot measures, I aim to deliver results for affordable housing, homelessness solutions, safer streets, and improved parks and rec centers,” said Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas. “We are also giving voters a chance to decide on more democratic elections and more transparent government. I look forward to engaging Oaklanders in these important ballot questions.”

At the November 8, 2022 election, voters will consider the following ballot measures, which were authored by Council President Bas.

Equitable and Progressive Business Tax: Authored by Council President Bas, and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Fife, Thao, and Kalb, this ballot measure, if passed, would modernize Oakland’s outdated business license tax structure (last updated in 2005), to raise over $20M annually in new general fund revenue to strengthen critical city services to address homelessness and keep our streets clean and safe. This measure was developed through consensus-building and input among Oakland elected officials, businesses of all sizes, labor unions, and community groups.

Affordable Housing Infrastructure Bond: Authored by Council President Bas with Mayor Schaaf and Councilmember Fife, this measure continues the work of Measure KK, passed in 2016, which allowed Oakland to triple our production of affordable housing units, pave unprecedented miles of city streets complete with traffic safety upgrades, and improve city facilities. This measure would continue to provide game-changing funds for our most essential infrastructure priorities, to invest $850 million in affordable housing preservation, street improvements and paving, and the preservation or improvement of public resources like parks, fire stations, libraries, and recreation centers.

Fair Elections Act / Democracy Vouchers: Authored by Councilmember Dan Kalb, and co-sponsored by Council President Bas and Councilmember Fife, the Fair Elections ballot measure, if passed, would give every Oakland voter $100 in vouchers to be able to use toward supporting the candidate/s of their choice in school board and City official elections, require additional transparency about campaign ads, shine a light on independent expenditures, strengthen limits on lobbying by former city officials, and lower campaign contribution limits. This measure advances fairness, transparency, and accountability by empowering residents who historically have not participated in elections to freely select and support candidates who they feel will best represent and meet their needs, as well as providing expendable resources to identify non-traditional, non-establishment candidates from grassroots communities to run for office.

“With the Oakland Fair Election Act, we have a transformative opportunity to empower our residents who historically have not​ participated in elections to select and support candidates who they feel will best represent and meet their needs,” said Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas. “By ensuring every Oakland voter has $100 in democracy vouchers, we level the playing field for voters and candidates to focus on our most pressing needs as a community — affordable housing, good jobs, wellness and safety, quality schools and services.”

Good Governance Charter Reform: This measure, authored by Councilmember Dan Kalb and co-sponsored by Council President Bas and Councilmembers Thao and Taylor, will allow the voters to decide on updating several aspects of our City charter, including creating term limits for Councilmembers, and closing the mayoral tie breaker loophole. This measure supports advancing Oakland into the 21st century of governance and empowers each branch of local government to better address pressing issues in our community.

The complete list of ballot questions that the City Council is submitting to voters for the November 8, 2022 election are below. Note that the City Attorney will determine all final ballot questions.

Shall the measure to authorize the City of Oakland to develop, construct, or acquire, or assist the development of, up to 13,000 low rent residential units in social housing projects within the City for the purpose of providing affordable rental housing be adopted?

Shall the measure amending Oakland’s business tax rates to create a progressive rate structure that would (1) impose the highest rates on the highest grossing businesses, (2) increase Oakland’s annual tax revenue by an estimated $20,900,000, and (3) generate approximately $124,000,000 in total annual revenue for municipal services by imposing business tax rates of .05% to .55% of gross receipts, and other rates as stated in the measure, be adopted?

Shall the measure to amend the City Charter to replace gender-specific language with gender neutral language, such as replacing words like “fireman” with “firefighters” and using gender-neutral pronouns in referring to City officers and staff, recognizing that women and non-binary persons as well as men are qualified for and hold such positions, and to avoid gender stereotyping and discrimination, and promote inclusivity be adopted?

Shall the measure to amend the City Charter to allow the City Council by adopting an ordinance, to authorize voting by noncitizen residents, who are the parents, legal guardians, or legally recognized caregivers of a child, for the Office of Oakland School Board Director if they are otherwise eligible to vote under state and local law be adopted?

Shall a measure to amend the Charter to, among other things, establish Councilmember term limits, require two hearings before Council places certain measures on the ballot; count Councilmember abstentions and absences as “no” votes in determining whether Mayor may break a tie; provide Public Ethics Commission discretion in setting Councilmember salaries; authorize the Commission to set City Attorney and Auditor salaries; and add and detail duties and provide minimum staffing for the Auditor, be adopted?

Shall the Measure amending the Oakland Municipal Code and City Charter to establish resident public financing for candidate election campaigns, increase transparency regarding independent spending in City elections, further restrict former city officials from acting as lobbyists, and provide additional resources to the Public Ethics Commission for implementation be adopted?

Shall the Measure amending the Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance to: (1) prohibit no-fault evictions of children and educators during the school year; (2) extend eviction protections to tenants in recreational vehicles (RVs), tiny homes on wheels, and newly constructed units except during the first 10 years after issuance of the certificate of occupancy; (3) remove failure to sign a new lease as grounds for eviction; and (4) make other clarifying amendments, be adopted?

Shall the measure to create affordable housing and shelter for residents experiencing homelessness, repave streets, and improve public facilities, by issuing $850,000,000 in general obligation bonds, raising approximately $85,000,000 annually while bonds are outstanding at the rate of $0.071 per $100 ($71 per $100,000) of assessed value, with independent oversight, annual audits, and a current City policy to not increase tax rates currently in effect (although rates may vary based on other factors), be adopted?

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About Council President and District 2 Councilmember Nikki Fortunato Bas

Nikki Fortunato Bas is President of the Oakland City Council and represents District 2, one of the most diverse districts in the city. Since taking office in 2019, she has championed community-centered policies and budgeting. She led the passage of the strongest COVID-19 eviction moratorium in the State of California and a COVID-19 grocery worker hazard pay $5 wage bonus covering 2,000 workers in Oakland’s largest grocery stores. She created a fund for community land trusts to prevent displacement and create permanently affordable, community-owned housing, introduced a progressive corporate tax which will be on the ballot in 2022, and led a task force to reimagine public safety in Oakland. She led a budget team that passed a biennial budget which invests millions in violence prevention and alternative crisis response. She also serves on the National League of Cities’ inaugural Reimagining Public Safety Task Force. For two decades prior to being elected in 2018, Bas pushed for worker, environmental, gender and racial justice. She organized immigrant garment workers to win their wages back in Oakland and San Francisco Chinatowns, and she worked in coalitions to raise Oakland's minimum wage with paid sick leave, create living wage jobs on the Oakland Army Base redevelopment project, and reduce diesel truck pollution at the Port of Oakland. Learn more at oaklandca.gov/officials/nikki-fortunato-bas.