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Amended budget carves out big gains for East Oakland

Oakland city councilmembers on Monday revised the adopted city budget to deliver more resources to East Oakland, Councilmember Treva Reid’s office said.

Reid and Councilmember Loren Taylor were the only two councilmembers to vote no on the budget when it was adopted June 24. Both serve East Oakland residents in districts 6 and 7. The budget had to be passed by June 30.

Reid’s office said East Oakland residents were seeking more resources to stem gun violence, reduce unemployment, improve traffic safety and other issues that affect them more than others in the city.

So, by unanimous decision Monday afternoon, the City Council amended the budget to provide millions more to benefit East Oakland residents. Over $3 million alone will go toward traffic safety, Reid said.

Reid said in an interview Wednesday evening:

“That was huge for us.” 

Part of the $3 million will go toward traffic calming initiatives such as roundabouts, medians and Botts’ dots, raised pavement markers that help prevent sideshows.

In May, police encountered about 100 vehicles and 300 people at a sideshow at 98th and Edes avenues. Officers arrested eight people and towed 22 cars, Reid said. Fourteen citations were written by police.

The amendments will provide $150,000 to pay for quickening response to 911 calls.

Reid said:

“We have calls stacking.” 

On just one night, more than 400 calls stacked up and about 300 of those were from Reid’s district in East Oakland.

She stressed that people of every age group in her district have said they want more police response, despite demands by many in the city to reduce police budget and fund alternatives. Reid said older people are more likely to express the need for police.

Reid would like security cameras placed in her district along corridors such as International Boulevard, Bancroft Avenue and Hegenberger Road. She said the cameras must be first approved by the city’s Privacy Advisory Commission.

About 500 businesses in her district closed because of Covid-19 and safety, she said.

Reid and Taylor secured a half a million dollars for murals across the city, all of which will feature in some way the city’s “Love Life” motto.

The amended budget also makes it possible to bring some City Hall services to East Oakland, so residents there can tend to needs without needing to go downtown.

Other money was allocated to the Private Industry Council for workforce development, a serious need since Reid’s district is still experiencing 13 to 14 percent unemployment, she said.

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