By Kate O’Hara, EBASE Community Benefits Program Director
On November 17, 2007, 400 Oaklanders came together for "Building Oakland for Everyone: A Summit on Jobs, Housing, and Justice," a community-labor gathering organized by the Oakland NetWork for Responsible Development (ONWRD). ONWRD is convened by the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE),and the Oakland People’s Housing Coalition. The participants came together in hopes to outline a new path for development in Oakland - one that builds Oakland for everyone.
The Summit was just one step towards creating an Oakland that benefits all residents and workers. The fight to create good jobs, build more affordable housing and grow clean and healthy neighborhoods continues today!
In March, EBASE and ONWRD partners Urban Strategies Council, the Central Labor Council and Communities for a Better Environment beat back a proposal that would have converted 250 acres of industrial, jobs-generating land in Oakland to retail and housing. Moving forward, we are pushing for strong criteria that limits when and where industrial land use conversions can happen along with requirements that such conversions include contributions to community benefits such as local hire, job training and affordable housing.
In April, EBASE released Highlights of the Oakland's People Summit, which expresses the energy, power and vision of the Summit. Highlights documents the Summit's break out group discussions on how the city should address the housing and jobs crises and the pollution and violence plaguing neighborhoods. Recommendations include:
- Put Oaklanders to work in family-supporting jobs.
- Ensure affordable housing for all Oaklanders.
- Create healthy neighborhoods and workplaces.
On May 14th, ONWRD, the Oakland People’s Housing Coalition and the League of Women Voters of Oakland sponsored a Building Oakland for Everyone Candidates Forum for the At-Large City Council seat. The forum was an opportunity for Oaklanders to raise questions about issues that are important to working families and to hear directly from the candidates about their positions. The sponsoring organizations are non-partisan and do not endorse any candidates; the forum was an educational event only.
Oakland's diversity and vibrancy were on full display at the forum. Audience members, 100 strong, represented dozens of organizations and neighborhoods throughout the city. The At Large seat represents all of the City of Oakland and is one of 5 contested races in Oakland. A majority of the candidates for the At Large seat attended the event and answered a host of questions on affordable housing, job creation, industrial land, public safety, budget shortfalls and other Oakland hot topics. Audience members also asked about candidates’ long term vision for Oakland and how they plan to build Council majorities to move towards that vision.
EBASE and ONWRD will continue working to ensure that Oakland is built for everyone and that Oaklanders are put to work in good paying jobs. Stay posted to hear more about Building Oakland for Everyone!