Unambiguous Promises

A trustworthy candidate with sensible solutions.

Principles and practices are necessary, but not sufficient, for a candidate to earn our votes. They must commit to accomplishing specific outcomes on which they would be willing to be evaluated. Somehow this concept applies to all other aspects of our society, except our political system. From CEOs to line workers, from teachers to students, and from trainers to athletes, everyone is held accountable to achieving a set of pre-established outcomes, but not our politicians. In a stark contrast to this anomaly, I have listed explicit, measurable, and verifiable outcomes that I pledge to accomplish, and expect to be judged by, in the first three years of my term as your mayor.

  • Refuse Undue Influence. I will return all campaign contributions above $45, or from corporation, developers or non-Oaklanders.
  • Be Transparent. I will publish my entire calendar and report on progress on established metrics on the city website every 90 days.
  • Return Power to the People. Sponsor a ballot initiative to reduce number of signatures needed for a ballot initiative by 50%, similar to surrounding municipalities (e.g., San Francisco, Berkeley, etc.).
  • Restore Democracy. Sponsor an ordinance to grant voting rights to parolees for city-wide elections.
  • Implement Participatory Budgeting Process. Create a structured, objective, and actionable mechanism for collecting input from all to ensure that the city’s budgets reflects the city’s priorities, not mine or the city council’s.
  • De-uglify All Gateways to Oakland. Create a welcome feeling at every entry point (freeway ramps, airport, BART/Amtrak/bus stations) with a combination of landscaping and artscaping.
  • Bring Oak back to Oakland. Embark on an initiative to create a canopy along all major streets in Oakland by planting hundreds of oak trees per year for a pleasant, comfortable, and healthy experience throughout the city.
  • Close Streets on Sundays. Implement a street closure program on Sundays (5a to 5p) to improve air quality (while Oakland’s are home), reduce dust and other air pollutants, reduce noise, and create an inviting [and readily accessible] space for community to gather and children to play.
  • Eradicate All Unused Railroad Tracks. Either remove or pave over all railroad tracks that are not in use.
  • Prepare for Transportation Revolution. Widen sidewalks, expand bike paths, and modify streets in preparation for autonomous vehicles and reduced street parking demand.
  • Expand Safe Public Spaces. Introduce legislation to grant public access to vacant lots and to impose a one-time fee to improve them for use by the community as mini-parks, playgrounds, urban gardens, etc. The property owner will continue to retain full rights for future development.
  • End Graffiti. Employ an aggressive plan to cover graffiti within 24 hours, impose tax on sale of spray paint, and provide alternative means for expression of creativity to street artists. As the old adage goes, we have a tremendous opportunity to make lemonade from lemons in this case. We just need to think creatively and collaborate with street artists.
  • Revitalize 16th Street Train Station and Kaiser Auditorium.  Work with art and other creative collective representatives to refurbish these historic landmarks before they degrade beyond repair.
  • Establish Public Bank of Oakland. Introduce legislation for formation of a Public Bank in Oakland to handle city’s finances, serve as a source of commercial financing, and banking option for the cannabis industry. 
  • Combat Exploitation of the Unbanked. Work with Oakland-based non-profit community-based services to offer short-term loans and financial education to the unbanked as an alternative to the predatory check cashing services.
  • Institute Fair Penalties. Introduce legislation to institute Means-Adjusted Traffic Fines AND payable via Public Service.
  • Build Low-Cost Homes.  Construct low-cost homes for purchase or rent by Oakland’s low income residents.
  • Promote Homeownership.  Offer low/no interest loans to Oakland’s low income residents.
  • Draft Fair Housing Policies. Form a coalition with representation from housing advocates, homeless residents, landlords, and government agencies to draft a comprehensive housing policy that encompasses affordable homes, proper renter protections, and programs and services to assist our homeless residents.
  • Provide Homeless Services. Provide hygiene facilities consisting of showers, grooming services, and laundry throughout Oakland and expand availability of public restrooms in city-owned properties, such as parks, city hall, OPD HQ, etc. with no fewer than 1 restroom per 50 homeless individuals open around the clock and maintained regularly.
  • Combat Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Introduce legislation to tax alcohol sales and direct funds for building public bathrooms and offering substance abuse recovery programs, housing assistance, and job search and skill training services.
  • End OPD’s Racially-Biased Practices.  Bring the Negotiated Settlement Agreement (NSA) to an end within 24 months by spearheading a methodical and collaborative initiative with active participation by community leaders and OPD beat officers.
  • Address Public Safety at its Core. To achieve true public safety, we must address our housing, jobs, and education inadequacies. As such, I commit to re-engineer, restructure, and retool OPD to generate 30% efficiency gains and re-direct savings for housing (10%), jobs (10%), and education (10%) initiatives.
  • Hire Oakland officers. To have Community Policing, we must have Police from the Community. Each year, I will personally and actively recruit 40-60 Oakland-based cadets to join OPD. In three years, we will have tripled the number of Oakland-based officers in OPD.
  • Withdraw from Urban Shield. Instead of participating in an event that promotes militaristic tactics against our community, I will mandate that our police officers attend de-escalation and community integration training events.
  • Encourage Building Occupancy. Sponsor a ballot initiative to levy fees on unoccupied/abandoned buildings and use the funds for Restorative Justice and Community Policing initiatives and other programs to strengthen community relationship with OPD.
  • Honor the Loss of Every Life. I refuse to treat loss of life in Oakland as just a nameless statistic! My administration will recognize every homicide in Oakland by declaring a day of mourning and instruct the Chief of Police to conduct an in-depth analysis of the incident with specific recommendations to prevent future recurrence to be presented to the public within 90 days.
  • Delegate Mayor-appointed Police Commissioners to Selection Panel. Delegate appointment of the Mayor’s three Police Commission appointees to the Selection Panel.
  • Publish An Unambiguous Policy on Releasing Police Videos. To gain public trust in our law enforcement, we must be transparent in our policing policies, particularly in sensitive situations where public trust is at risk.
  • Increase Minimum Wage. Introduce legislation to increase minimum wage to $16 by 2020, and $1 per year thereafter to $20 by 2024, with provisions to protect small business owners against unintended collateral costs, such as escalating rent, Workers’ Compensation insurance, etc.
  • Dump Waste Management. Introduce legislation to initiate transition of trash collection from Waste Management to the City of Oakland, thereby generating 100s of jobs and saving the city hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • Empower Recently Incarcerated. Create an escrow account and deposit $18 into it for every hour worked by an Oakland resident while incarcerated to fund job training after release.  A portion of funds would also be available for use by inmates for purchases at the commissary or phone calls to family while incarcerated.
  • Expand Public Works.  Hire 100 new full time public works employees dedicated to beautify Oakland.
  • Offer Job Training/Apprenticeship.  Offer re-entry programs for recently-incarcerated for in-demand skills, particularly in the construction trade.
  • Reinvigorate Public Libraries. Renovate libraries, enhance services, and expand hours.
  • Eliminate Lead from all Oakland Schools.  Replace plumbing or install filters in every Oakland school to prevent lead exposure.
  • Expand after-school programs.  Provide academic, athletic, and artistic programs.
  • Provide School Supplies and Lab Equipment.  Purchase all necessary material for classrooms so that teachers can focus on teaching without concern for lack of resources.
  • Refurbish all school buildings.  Ensure that all building facilities (classrooms, restrooms, playgrounds, etc.) are maintained and are in top condition.
  • Implement Free College Tuition. Solicit financial support from high net worth individuals in the area to fund an endowment to pay for college tuition of low-income families in Oakland, similar to Kalamazoo, Michigan.