Huge appreciations to Oakland’s community based organizations, unions, businesses, leaders, residents and city workers who have been doing the important and necessary work of organizing to show up and participate in our budget process over these last six months, in addition to the important work they carry out every day to serve our people. Your participation and engagement in this process has made it all the more possible for us to advance a budget that prioritizes, amidst a historical deficit, the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities.
This means prioritizing what we know is working, and trusting the community’s voice when they call for resources. As Andrew Park, Executive Director of Trybe said, “Please invest, not in just restoring the (violence prevention) funding, but MORE funding to DVP, because we see it working on the streets… I’ve never seen Oakland – the FLATLANDS – so unified, with the passion and purpose to disrupt violence, and to fight for a prosperity that can go for a lasting peace.” This budget is our attempt at reaching that lasting peace, not just for our flatlands, but for all of Oakland, including our residents, small businesses and artists.
And by investing in and partnering with our small businesses, we know that community transformation is possible. “As a small business owner, business has had it’s challenges in the past years, especially post pandemic, with higher inflation and the cut in EBT benefits; (SABA Grocers) Fresh 5 X has brought to my small store more sales, and more revenue means more taxes for the City of Oakland. I’ve also been able to hire extra people, as well as invest in equipment for store improvements... We’ve also decreased tobacco sales by 80%. This program is helping to build the community, and we really need it,” said Zach Taulib, Jalisco Market Owner.
Our work would not be possible without the talent and dedication our our City of Oakland employees. Heavy equipment mechanic Felipe Cuevas, President of Oakland’s SEIU 1021 chapter, representing more than 2,000 City workers, said "Even in the face of a challenging revenue shortfall, the Mayor’s budget prioritizes important city services our members are proud to provide. The budget values our workers, and doesn’t impose cruel cuts that hurt Oakland residents and put our members out of work. This budget and this budget process have been a welcome change, and I hope we can move forward with City workers and City officials continuing to work together in an inclusive, collaborative way so we can all do the best we can for all of Oakland’s residents.”
I am hopeful that the implementation of this budget will continue to support our efforts in delivering effective, equitable services to Oaklanders rooted in Oakland’s values of racial equity, fiscal responsibility, transparency and results.