The Mercury News / July 13, 2022
OAKLAND – Oakland residents will get to vote on greater eviction protections, term limits for City Council members and a likely fairer election process following action by the City Council.
The council on Monday placed those proposals on the ballot for voters to consider in November as well as an $850 million infrastructure bond.
Council members failed to place a proposal on the ballot titled the Emerald New Deal, which would have directed $160 million in city cannabis business tax revenue to provide restitution to Black and Hispanic residents negatively affected by the war on drugs.
Councilmembers Treva Reid, Noel Gallo and mayoral hopeful Loren Taylor voted in favor of the Emerald New Deal, but Carroll Fife and Sheng Thao voted against the idea, and Nikki Fortunato Bas and Dan Kalb abstained.
“This is a call to action,” Bas, the council president said. “I think this is the beginning of an effort,” she said.
But Bas said already the City Council has allocated $1.25 million in the budget passed last month to help people affected negatively by the war on drugs, which has been largely regarded as a failed effort.
Also, the council recently allocated $19 million to the Oakland Department of Violence Prevention and $3 million in grant money to community organizations. Bas said both allocations will help people suffering from the effects of the war on drugs.
Bas said she believes the city needs to make good on policies it has already established.
Earlier in the day, the council, except for Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, voted unanimously to allow residents to decide on greater just cause eviction protection for tenants. Kaplan was excused from the meeting.
During the public comment period, property owners were largely against the proposal, arguing that the protections would limit new construction. But tenants and their advocates argued in favor of the proposal, saying that housing is a human right.
Just cause protections require the property owner to have a “just cause” for evicting a tenant.
New construction, including accessory dwelling units, would be exempt from just cause protections for 10 years if voters approve the measure.