Year in Review District 4
2021 was another challenging year for many Oakland residents. With the continued COVID-19 pandemic, escalating changes to our climate, an ongoing homelessness crisis, and a record year in homicides and violent crime, it is easy to miss all the progress our city has made and the amazing work our communities have done to enrich their neighborhoods and #LoveLife.
This is why I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the victories we had last year, the investments we will make in our communities, and the work we have ahead of ourselves. I want to be clear: these victories were not mine, but OURS. I cannot do this work without your continued support and advocacy, thank you.
Public Safety is My Top Priority
Whether it’s addressing gun violence, street safety, or wildfire prevention I always make public safety my top priority. This is why I brought record investments and new, bold initiatives to help tackle these issues.
In 2021 we worked to make Oakland a safer and healthier city by:
Restoring services including Sideshow Enforcement, Ceasefire, and Fire Department services cut by the City Administration in 2020
Approving historic investments into the Department of Violence Prevention & MACRO to ensure Oakland gets to the root causes of crime.
Working with Police Chief Armstrong to add three additional police academies to help fill our OPD officer vacancies and increase 911 response time, including amendments from my office to increase the number of academies, hire local, diverse officers, and search nationally for quality lateral hires to fill immediate vacancies.
Scheduling a special meeting of the Oakland City Council to focus on addressing violent crime.
Finalizing the Piedmont Pines Neighborhood Utilities Undergrounding to help protect our high wildfire risk communities
Directing the Oakland Police Department to make tackling gun violence a top priority.
Securing additional funding for foot patrols in commercial corridors during the holidays.
Introduced additional wildfire prevention funding to the budget and helped save critical Oakland Fire Department staffing.
Helped bring in over $800,000 in state grants to remove dangerous vegetation along Skyline Boulevard to ensure this important evacuation route is protected.
Committing Oakland in exploring a regional wildfire prevention joint powers authority so that we can bring a regional approach to managing vegetation.
Investing $260,000 into emergency preparedness and CERT.
Securing over $1 million in additional street safety and traffic calming investments to help end the street safety epidemic.
Voting to approve the 5-year paving plan, which will continue the largest investment into street repaving the city has ever made and include new safety redesigns.
Fighting for Children, Youth, & Families
As a mother I am 100% committed to ensuring Oakland is a City where our children, youth, and families can thrive. This is why I have always fought to improve our parks, after school programs, recreation centers, educational programming, and also have been leading the efforts to establish a new Department of Children, Youth, and Families to help bring programming and services under one roof.
In 2021 we worked to make Oakland a better place for youth and families by:
Working to save pivotal Head Start programming from being cut, ensuring Oaklanders have access to early childhood education.
Extending Oakland’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave Ordinance to protect essential workers with pre-existing conditions or those taking care of sick relatives
Securing funding to jumpstart a Department of Children, Youth, & Families.
Supporting Chabot Space & Science Center and helped bring new NASA programming to Oakland.
Working to close the digital divide by helping secure funding for and distribute laptops and other technology through #OaklandUndivided.
Fighting to bring universal broadband to Oakland to help ensure everyone can access the internet.
Partnering with OUSD to donate and hand out 7,000 PPE kits during back to school.
Hosting our first Halloween festival, giving out free costumes, pumpkins, and hosting arts & crafts.
Ensuring that the Boys and Girls Club had a Christmas tree and decorations to bring joy to our young people.
Partnering with WELO to give out backpacks in August for back to school, and conducting a coat drive and give away in December.
Volunteering at Shiloh Church for their annual Thanksgiving Giveaway, distributing over 1500 meals.
Co-hosting a holiday luncheon at St Mary's Senior Center, giving out gift cards, masks, handmade hats, and other winter necessities.
A Cleaner, Greener Oakland
I love the outdoors, and my family and I often visit Oakland Parks to walk our dog, go on a hike, have a picnic, and join community events and cleanups. While the city continues to ramp up hiring and investments brought to us by 2020’s Measure Q, I worked to bring additional funding to ensure Oakland’s parks celebrate the beautiful communities they serve and that we bring more greenery to parts of Oakland that have often been underserved or subject to environmental racism.
In 2021 we worked to make public infrastructure more accessible, safe and welcoming by:
- Securing over $1,500,000 in additional park investments including:
$772,387 for citywide park ambassadors.
$306,101 to reopen the Brookdale Park Recreation Center
$35,000 for repairs to the Montclair Park tot lot.
$500,000 to improve Courtland Creek Park including the installation of a new tot lot and outdoor gym.
$100,000 to renovate the Redwood Heights tot lot.
Over $200,000 to help reopen restrooms in various parks including Joaquin Miller Park.
$10,000 for litter receptacles for Dimond Park and Courtland Creek Park
Opening the newly resurfaced Dimond tennis courts in Dimond Park.
Bringing new dedicated pickleball courts to Montclair Park.
Celebrating the reopening of the historic Cascades in Joaquin Miller Park.
Bringing $20,000 in investments into tree planting in East Oakland.
Joining hundreds of community members at park cleanups across the city.
Oakland is a beautiful city and our diverse communities play a pivotal role in that beauty. This is why our city is known for its artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, activists, and the unique culture that helps them thrive. When we made #LoveLife our motto we wanted to remind everyone to love their life, celebrate their city, and work together to build a community that ends gun violence and we wanted that to be built into the DNA and culture of our city.
So in 2021 we worked to celebrate the life and culture of our city by:
Investing $50,000 into celebrating #LoveLife as the City of Oakland motto.
Securing $60,000 in additional mural funding to bring more art to our communities.
Investing $1,500,000 for cultural affairs grants.
Committing $300,000 to helping small businesses reopen.
Extending our flex streets program to help small businesses and create more outdoor dining.
Restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, ensuring that local organizations receive prompt compensation from the City for services they provide to Oaklanders. This means our most beloved local organizations can do more for Oaklanders.
Uplifting Oakland and Tackling Our Housing Crisis
Income inequality is the worst its been in human history, and as wages stay stagnant the cost of living continues to rise. This is why I am fighting for more good-paying jobs, more anti-poverty measures, and more affordable housing and homeless services.
In 2021 we worked to make Oakland a more affordable place by:
Reaffirming Oakland’s commitment to programs like the guaranteed income and transportation pilots, and universal healthcare.
Approving fourplexes citywide and co authoring the Construction Innovation Ordinance to allow more affordable housing options to be implemented across Oakland.
Voting to approve millions of dollars in Project Homekey funds to be spent on acquiring hotels and dorms for housing the unhoused.
Voting to approve a strong Howard Terminal Terms Sheet to keep the A’s in Oakland as well as more affordable housing.
Extending and amending emergency paid sick leave to ensure every Oaklander would not need to choose to feed their family or take care of their loved ones.
While we have a lot of work ahead of us, I am proud of all we accomplished this past year and look forward to working with you for an Oakland and works for us all.
Wishing you a safe and happy 2022,
Council President Pro Tem Sheng Thao