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Rebecca Kaplan represents the entire City of Oakland as its Councilmember At-Large. She has served Oakland as a citywide elected official for ten years, working to improve quality of life by enhancing economic opportunity, public safety and vibrancy in Oakland.
Councilmember Kaplan was elected to the Oakland City Council in November 2008, when she became the youngest – and first openly-lesbian – Oakland City Councilmember. Rebecca has provided energetic and effective leadership towards establishing coherent and holistic approaches to economic development and land-use policy, public safety and other issues to create a vibrant city.
On the Council, Rebecca has fixed long-standing legislative logjams to launch new blight-fighting tools, has cut red tape and fees for small businesses, and has generated new revenue without raising taxes on residents. Rebecca is strongly committed to creating new economic opportunity for Oakland – from job creation to retail attraction to homebuyer assistance. She is also committed to improving public safety, strengthening transportation and reforming government.
Prior to her service on the Oakland City Council, Rebecca served as At-Large Director on the AC Transit Board of Directors from 2002 to 2008. During this time, she helped bring AC Transit its first hydrogen fuel cell buses and continued her commitment to improving active transportation for Oaklanders by working to improve biking, walking and public transit opportunities. As Director, Rebecca led the creation of the new all-night transit service, new service to San Francisco and to BART stations, and pushed for technological upgrades to make bus service faster and more reliable.
Councilmember Kaplan has made Oakland her home for the past two decades. Kaplan’s work experience includes serving as an aide for the California State Legislature in the 16th Assembly District and as an attorney.
Councilmember Kaplan earned a Bachelor of Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor. She also holds a Master of Arts in Urban & Environmental Policy from Tufts University and a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School.
Oakland City Council
- Secured outside funding to launch Free Broadway Shuttle (The Free “B”) to connect Oakland’s core areas spanning from Jack London Square to Lake Merritt – going through Old Oakland, Chinatown, Downtown, Uptown and our growing arts and entertainment district.
- Revised zoning in the downtown area to help attract specific “growth” areas by removing onerous “conditional use permit” requirements in certain situations/areas for businesses like bike shops, restaurants & cafes, yoga studios, and more
- Worked to expand “Enterprise Zone” tax credits with local hiring incentives
- Re-started the Oakland LBGT Leadership Roundtable and helped to launch Oakland Pride
- Organized broad coalition to pass four revenue ballot measures on the ballot (July 2009), all of which received over 70% of the vote – including a hotel tax and a cannabis tax
- Passed new policy to help prevent blighted, vacant and foreclosed properties, requiring foreclosing companies/banks to take responsibility for the upkeep of their properties
- Expanded public outreach education and referral materials for residents facing foreclosure – and access to legal help to fight foreclosures and unjust evictions
- Secured funding to plan for transit-oriented development to revitalize key Oakland locations (especially around transit hubs like BART stations and Eastmont center)
- Reformed outdated Cabaret Ordinance to allow live music and cafes to flourish
- Helped negotiate resolution to a long-term dispute about billboards in which the City of Oakland granted certain freeway-facing billboard permits in exchange for public revenue and removal of many neighborhood billboards
- Collaborated with artists and area businesses on new strategy to improve pedestrian lighting and safety through innovative, artistic funded lighting projects
- Provided outreach, education, and referrals to help protect Oakland residents from predatory lending, bad-deal payday loans, and foreclosures
- Recruited top candidates for Oakland Boards and Commissions
- Worked closely with elected officials from Berkeley, San Leandro, and AC Transit to plan rapid transit and pedestrian safety improvements along International Corridor
- Assisted businesses moving to Oakland
- Obtained increased representation for Oakland in new Alameda County Transportation Commission
- Helped many retailers overcome bureaucratic barriers to opening/expanding
- Created permit system for new industry in Oakland
- Repealed discriminatory “gender appropriate clothing” ordinance
- Helped land Department of Justice grant to fund public safety street Outreach Workers
- Helped craft successful countywide ballot measure (Measure F) to provide funding for local road and sidewalk repair, bike/pedestrian programs, and more
AC Transit Board of Directors
- Created reduced price bulk pass sales, now known as the Eco-Pass or EasyPass
- Changed AC Transit policy to place bike racks on all buses
- Led AC Transit’s pioneering approach to alternative energy sources, including solar power, biodiesel, and hydrogen fuel cell projects
- Created new service to San Francisco at BART stations, providing late-night transit after BART closes
- Implemented “Rapid Bus” technology to increase bus speed and reliability
- Successfully advocated for federal funding for transit projects
- Expanded collaborative efforts with schools, cities, and businesses for transit access
- Provided real-time transit information at bus stops, online, and on mobile phones
- Opened the Uptown Transit Center
Prior to Elected Office
- Organized and led large contingent of the March on Washington for Women’s Rights
- Led movement to create adopt sexual orientation nondiscrimination policy and to divest from Apartheid-era South Africa at MIT
- Led successful advocacy campaign to fund free bus passes for Oakland students
- Helped to pass ballot Measure (EE) to stop unjust evictions in Oakland
- Played a leading role in the crafting and passage of Measure B, Alameda County’s sales tax for transportation (after it had failed in prior election)
- Assisted with successful legal case to defend workplace safety laws in California
- J.D. – Stanford Law School
- M.A., Urban & Environmental Policy – Tufts University
- Certificate Program, Women in Politics and Government – Boston College
- B.S., Psychology – Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- National Coming Out Day Award, Oakland Rainbow Chamber of Commerce & Labor
- MIT Compton Award for “Sustained and outstanding contribution to extracurricular life”
- Women’s Studies Writing Prize, Tufts University
- Phi Beta Kappa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology