COUNCIL PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE SHENG THAO AND COUNCILMEMBER CARROLL FIFE CALL FOR SPECIAL REPORT ON CITY COSTS RELATED TO RESPONDING TO FIRES ON CALTRANS PROPERTY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 7, 2022
District 4 Press Contact:
Brandon Harami, Council Aide
District 3 Press Contact:
Tonya Love, Chief of Staff
Oakland, California - Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao (District 4) and Councilmember Carroll Fife (District 3) are calling on the City Administration and Oakland Fire Department to report on the costs of responding to fires on CalTrans property in Oakland on the November 14th Finance Committee. This report will give the city a better understanding of how much money Oakland is spending responding to fires on state property with the intention of addressing Caltrans’ management of their public land.
Fires on Caltrans land have caused major issues to the health and safety of both Oakland’s housed and unhoused communities. These fires have been caused by a number of factors- including vehicle fires, a recent string of arson, and encampments that have gone unaddressed for decades by the state.
Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao: “It feels like every few days we are responding to yet another fire on land managed by the State of California. Vegetation fires have destroyed a number of homes in my district, leaving families displaced and homeless. While I understand the causes of these fires aren’t CalTrans’s fault I also believe they would not be as devastating had CalTrans done more to manage their land.”
“I represent the majority of the Fire Hazard Severity Zone and it is important to me that every city dollar we have available for fire prevention is spent on protecting our constituents. I also am deeply concerned that there is so much state land that is not being maintained, which risks the lives and safety of the nearby community members.”
Councilmember Carroll Fife States: “The Council and community are consistently told that the City doesn't have the resources to fully address the crisis of homelessness in Oakland, and yet the staff time and tax dollars continue to add up as a result of inaction. Almost every department intersects with the crisis, from our public safety workers to public works, and one of my primary goals is to ensure that these departments are able to provide the services residents deserve through ongoing investigation of how taxpayer dollars are spent. We must demonstrate responsible stewardship of resources and this report seeks to give us the information to course correct where needed.”
This report will be heard on the November 14th Finance Committee.