As the President of the Oakland City Council, Ignacio De La Fuente directs the business of the city’s legislative branch of government which includes approving the city-wide budget and crafting innovative and fiscally responsible policies designed to improve the lives of all Oaklanders.
Ignacio was born on January 1, 1949 in Mexico City. He immigrated to California at the age of 21 and subsequently became an American citizen. Mr. De La Fuente settled in Oakland, California and began working in a foundry as a machinist. His career in labor relations was launched in 1977 when he was elected as a union representative. Today Mr. De La Fuente serves as an International Vice President for the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics, and Allied Workers International Union, AFL-CIO, where he negotiates for members seeking health insurance, pensions, and other benefits.
First elected to the Oakland City Council in 1992, he served as the chair of the Council's Economic and Community Development Committee until January 1999. At that time, Oakland adopted the Strong-Mayor form of government that removed the Mayor from the City Council and created the position of Council President. Mr. De La Fuente became the first Council member to be elected by his peers to serve as President of the Oakland City Council in 1999. He has been re-elected to this position every two years since then. Mr. De La Fuente also co-chairs the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority, overseeing the City’s Coliseum-Arena complex and three professional sports franchises.
Mr. De La Fuente has been the point person for the city's efforts at both downtown and neighborhood revitalization. He is credited with the revitalization of Fruitvale’s International Boulevard shopping area – taking its vacancy rate from 40% to nearly 0% -- as well as adding major developments like the Fruitvale Station Shopping Center, Super K-Mart (now Home Depot) and the Fruitvale Transit Village. He is also credited with leading efforts to build two new public schools and ball fields where a large, abandoned building once stood in the Fruitvale. These are the Cesar Chavez Education Center and Ascend School.
In 2003, District 5 was redrawn to include the Glenview neighborhood. Mr. De La Fuente’s beautification efforts in Glenview have resulted in the complete rehabilitation of the Park Boulevard Median Strip, street banners and new street trees as well as several traffic calming measures.
Mr. De La Fuente’s city-wide efforts have included his school safety initiative and his Decent Housing Task Force’s “Dirty Dozen landlords” campaign. He has also led innovative crime reduction efforts, including creating the Public Nuisance Case Manager position to go after problem properties, the Nuisance Eviction Ordinance to allow the city to evict drug dealers from problem properties, and the Neighborhood Services Manager to support neighborhood-led anti-crime efforts. He has also authored anti-predatory lending legislation and smart-growth big box regulations replicated in other cities.
Among his proudest accomplishments is authorship of the City's Hire Oakland policies that expand employment and small business opportunities for Oakland residents and the City’s Equal Access policy – the first of its kind in the country – that provides Oakland’s diverse population with multi-lingual information about city services.
In 2009, Mr. De La Fuente, now serving in the role of Vice Mayor and Chair of the Community and Economic Development Committee, continues to work hard to create a beautiful and livable city with and accountable and quality City Government.