Inside Oakland is a public forum for Chamber members and their guests featuring public and private decision makers who affect Oakland. Some previous speakers have included city council members, county supervisors, and other elected officials. The breakfast forum is free and is held at the Chamber offices, 475 14th Street, Oakland.
Inside Oakland is held every fourth Friday of the month, attracts many notables and is an excellent networking event. View the Chamber calendar for the next Inside Oakland breakfast.
Inside Oakland: Thoughts from Councilmember Campbell Washington - January 22, 2016
Oakland City Councilmember Ann Campbell Washington spoke to a group of more than 30 Chamber members and guests last month at the regular Inside Oakland series. The Councilmember spoke about several issues upcoming for Oakland in 2016.
Campbell Washington expressed her excitement about the launch of Oakland Promise, an initiative aimed at tripling the number of Oakland public school students who graduate from college. The first phase – creating college savings accounts for low-income kindergarteners and at-risk children born in Oakland – will roll out on a pilot basis this fall, with the hope of scaling up in the near future.
Also on the Councilmember’s agenda for this year is her effort to get Oaklanders to approve a soda tax likely to be on the November 2016 ballot. Berkeley became the first city in the country to pass a one cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks in 2014. Now Oakland and San Francisco are looking to do the same thing. Campbell Washington said the Oakland measure would be similar to Berkeley’s and would raise $11 million per year for public health and education.
The Council is also currently considering charging a fee on new market-rate development to go towards funding affordable housing, capital improvements, and transportation. Campbell Washington said there will be debate on the Council about how to phase-in the fee, what level to charge in various parts of the city, as well as how to allocate the funds among the three categories.
The discussion was part of the Chamber’s monthly Inside Oakland series – a public forum for Chamber members and their guests featuring public and private decision makers who affect Oakland.
The next Inside Oakland will be held on Friday, Feb. 26 and will feature Oakland’s new City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, who will discuss her goals and priorities for the city.
Inside Oakland: 'State of the State' - September 25, 2015
This month’s Inside Oakland featured a frank and informative discussion from all three of Oakland’s state representatives – Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, and Assemblymember Tony Thurmond. All three highlighted the legislature’s success in passing a strong budget in June, but noted the difficulties that still remain in the ongoing special sessions on transportation and healthcare.
Many of the questions from the audience focused on funding infrastructure and public transportation improvement. The legislators were candid about the difficulty of reaching the required 2/3 votes to pass any fee or tax to address these issues. If nothing is accomplished in the special session, transportation funding would likely be included in next year’s budget process.
“I remain optimistic, but realistic,” Assemblymember Bonta said.
Assemblymember Thurmond urged businesses to supply legislators with data about how the state’s lack of investment in infrastructure projects affects them so they can better advocate in Sacramento.
“I believe that defining infrastructure in terms of economic development is our best chance,” he said.
The legislators also fielded questions about what the state has done to help cities build affordable housing. They pointed to several bills passed this year including AB 35, currently on the Governor’s desk, which would increase the amount the state can allocate in low-income housing tax credits from $70 million to $100 million. Also AB 2, signed earlier this week, creates entities similar to redevelopment agencies to fund affordable housing in disadvantaged communities. These Community Revitalization Investment Authorities would have considerably less tax money to use and would be more restricted to low-income areas than redevelopment agencies were.
“A dedicated source for affordable housing statewide should be the goal,” Bonta said.
Senator Hancock highlighted the improvements to education funding included in the budget, but said there was still more to be done. California is no longer last in per-pupil funding, but closer to the median, she said. She praised Oakland for leading the way on school programs for restorative justice and mental health. She also stressed the value career technical education and “learning by doing” to build our local economy. Hancock highlighted the importance of the $900,000 grant given to the Oakland Chamber by the Irvine Foundation to develop a regional, replicable model to more deeply connect education and industry.
This discussion was part of the Chamber’s monthly “Inside Oakland” series – a public forum for Chamber members and their guests featuring public and private decision makers who affect Oakland. The next Inside Oakland on Oct. 23 will feature Oakland’s new City Administrator Sabrina Landreth, who will discuss her goals and priorities for the city.
Bonta authored, and Hancock coauthored in the Senate, AB 816 that provides a model and guidelines for small businesses that wish to form as worker cooperatives. The Governor signed it in August.
Bonta was among several lawmakers who lead the effort to pass three bills to regulate medical marijuana businesses for the first time in 20 years. Bonta’s bill (AB 266) would create a new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation to oversee the licensing and regulatory effort. Part the deal Bonta struck with other lawmakers would allow local jurisdictions to place taxes for cultivation and retail on the ballot. The bills are on the Governor’s desk. http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article34837449.html
Bonta authored AB 833 to increase access to early childhood education programs in Alameda County through an individualized county child care subsidy pilot plan. It’s now on the Governor’s desk. http://asmdc.org/members/a18/news-room/press-releases/assembly-passes-bonta-bill-to-increase-access-to-early-childhood-programs-in-alameda-county
Thurmond secured $2 million in the new state budget passed in June for urgent care needs in San Pablo after the closure of Doctors Medical Center. http://asmdc.org/members/a15/news-room/press-releases/assemblymember-tony-thurmond-secures-2-million-for-urgent-care-needs-in-west-contra-costa-county
Thurmond authored AB 1014 to increase elementary school attendance by providing grants to schools to address truancy. Passed by the assembly in June, it was ordered to inactive file in Senate Appropriations at the end of session. http://asmdc.org/members/a15/news-room/press-releases/assemblymember-thurmond-s-bill-to-increase-elementary-school-attendance-passes-major-hurdle
Thurmond had his first bill, AB 1375, signed into law in August. It adjusts the credit for time served incarcerated in lieu of paying court fines from the current $30.00 per day to $125.00 per day. http://asmdc.org/members/a15/news-room/press-releases/assemblymember-tony-thurmond-s-first-bill-signed-into-law
Hancock introduced SCA 5 in March to put a measure on the 2016 ballot to overhaul Prop 13 so local governments can raise more revenue from commercial and industrial properties. It would allow for regular reassessments of offices, factories and other buildings. It’s still in committee. http://www.latimes.com/local/politics/la-me-prop-13-20150610-story.html
Hancock authored an emergency bill, SB 675, which suspended a testing requirement for 5,000 high school students who couldn't graduate this year because the state canceled the exit exam. The Governor signed it in August. http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-high-school-exam-20150826-story.html
Hancock authored SB 630 in February to require bidders on state contracts to report, in their bid, whether there have been cost-overruns on previous state projects they have worked on. It stalled in committee in April. http://sd09.senate.ca.gov/news/2015-02-27-new-bill-seeks-information-cost-overruns-state-contracts
Hancock proposed SB 465 in February in reaction to the Berkeley balcony collapse to require disclosure of felony convictions and settlements in cases alleging construction defects and negligence. It’s still in committee. http://sd09.senate.ca.gov/news/2015-07-13-senator-hancock-press-advisory-714-bill-hearing-related-berkeley-balcony-collapse
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