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More Responsive and Responsible Government
I will be a leading force in Oakland to make our city government responsive and accountable to all its citizens, to implement budget reform, and to bring responsible, long-term planning to city government.
All City employees – from those in the Planning Department, to park and street maintenance, to police and fire fighters, to parking control officers, to city councilmembers – work for the citizens of Oakland. If our citizens need City services or information, the City must make it easy for them to reach the right department, to receive reasonably prompt service, to know when that service will be delivered, and to seek help if a City department lets them down. I will urge the Mayor and the City Council to implement policies that ensure every department is held accountable for the highest level of customer service.
As a long-time activist and former Board Member of the League of Women Voters, I will always be a champion for good government reforms, sunshine and transparency. I will hold regular office hours in all neighborhoods within District 4, continue a regular newsletter and will always come out to observe neighborhood problems first-hand and work tirelessly with stakeholders to resolve them.
Our City’s budget must be permanently, structurally reformed. Living beyond our means must stop now. We can no longer balance Oakland’s budget by selling property, applying one-time income sources to ongoing expenses, or by bookkeeping maneuvers. The city faces very difficult financial times, and our long-term budget solution must involve policies that pave the way for significant economic development. Until that development occurs, however, we must reduce the cost of government and eliminate the City’s structural deficit.
Because the great majority of our City’s expenses are for personnel, balancing the City’s budget during these hard times can only be accomplished by examining these costs. Specifically, we must bring long-term, meaningful reductions to the cost of pensions and other benefits, and we must take a hard look at second-tier salaries and benefits for every job classification. We must also aggressively pursue efficiency through the reduction of Operations and Maintenance costs and consolidation of City services, both within the City and with other governments and agencies.
Oakland must also engage in strategic long-term planning. We must have a five-year, balanced budget that is readily available to our citizens and is updated on a regular basis. Our City budget should clearly show Oaklanders the projected cost of each City service, the projected income from all sources, and, on an ongoing basis, whether actual costs and income are meeting projections.
Furthermore, we must have a long-term plan for repairing and maintaining our streets, sewers and storm drains. The residents of District 4 suffered while the paving of some of our major thoroughfares deteriorated to completely unacceptable levels. We cannot continue to balance our budget by ignoring our city’s infrastructure. This is why I strongly support a Rainy Day Fund, and helped make it a key advocacy issue for Make Oakland Better Now! Oakland needs to stabilize its operational budget and, when revenue increases from the baseline, the majority of that increase must go toward infrastructure maintenance and capital improvements.
In my years of service to the City, I have proudly led programs to develop waterfront parks, advance transit-oriented development, re-landscape Park Blvd., reduce Port pollution and build affordable housing. My record with the City of Oakland is a record of getting things done. As District 4’s representative on the City Council, I will work tirelessly in favor of the hard decisions that ensure City government works efficiently, effectively and responsibly for all the residents of this District and for all Oaklanders.