Category Archives: Political Action

COVID-19 Pandemic: Oakland Needs Your Help


Before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the shelter-in-place order last month, Make Oakland Better Now! was preparing for a busy and consequential year. We were fundraising and organizing future events on this year’s top issues like Oakland’s mid-cycle budget and a new ballot measure to strengthen the city’s Police Commission. But like many of you – our neighbors, local activists, advocates, and businesses – our lives and plans were disrupted.

Right now Oakland, as well cities across the country and all over the world, faces a major emergency. The community needs much more help, and our priorities need to change in response.

With this in mind, MOBN! has just donated to the Oakland Fund for Public Innovation, which operates The Oakland COVID-19 Relief Fund. This fund was launched recently by Mayor Schaaf and Councilmembers Kalb, Bas and McElhaney as an emergency fund to serve Oakland’s most vulnerable residents and first responders during the pandemic. Among other outreach efforts, it is partnering with The Alameda County Community Food Bank, SOS Meals on Wheels, Bay Area Community Services, Keep Oakland Housed, La Clinica, Oakland Public Education Fund and Working Solutions

These are all entities playing a critical role in providing services we need right now. We strongly encourage Oaklanders to consider contributing to the Oakland Fund for Public Innovation as well or making contributions, whether in time or money, to its partnering organizations.

A few other local entities that can use our help: The Boys and Girls Club of Oakland; East Bay Feed ER, which works to feed the emergency department and the ICU of five East Bay hospitals two meals a day; and Steph and Ayeesha Curry’s non-profit Eat.Learn.Play, which focuses on childhood health and hunger and has been serving over 300,000 meals a week during this crisis.

Right now, the community needs us all. So for those of us who can, let’s pitch in!

Science & Crime

At the June 20th joint Rockridge Community Planning Council/Greater Rockridge Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council meeting, Mayor Jean Quan was asked how many police she thought Oakland needs.

First, she said that it is not a matter of what we need, but what we can afford, given that California policemen cost more than East Coast policemen, and she quoted that CA officers cost $200,000 per officer vs $100,000 on the East Coast. She then stated that her goal was to return Oakland to 800 officers that we had “before the recession.”  Although the current budget only gets us to 700, she said she is confident that as the economy continues to improve Oakland will be able to afford more police in the long term.

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Learn More About The Upcoming Public Safety Proposals — Then Come Out And Support Them

Just about everyone in Oakland and in Oakland City Government says “public safety is our number one priority.” If  we mean it, we are going to have to take big steps and bring big change. Among other things, this means finding cost-effective ways to grow the Oakland Police Department to a sworn staffing level of 900.  And it means having a comprehensive public safety program.

But while we are getting there, we also need to support the smaller measures that can make a difference. Three of those are the proposals by Council Members Schaff (D4) and Reid (D7) to borrow Sheriff’s Department officers, hire civilian technicians and lock in a second police academy for Calendar year 2013.

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A Recall In Oakland? What’s The Real Story?

On Wednesday, January 25, 6:00 p.m., at Nile Hall, Preservation Park, 668 1th Street, the Oakland Tribune, League of Women Voters of Oakland, Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and Laney Tower present RECALL:  A Panel Discussion, The Issues, The Rules, The Risks.              

Panelists  include Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker, Max Neiman from UC Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies and Professor Cory Cook, Department of Politics, University of San Francisco.  More information in the flyer below:

A Letter To All Oaklanders: We Need Your Help Tomorrow

Dear Oaklanders,

Tomorrow, October 29 at 10:00 a.m. at 1148 E. 18th Street, Suite 10, Make Oakland Better Now! co-hosts the kickoff meeting for two critical signature gathering campaigns, one for City Council term limits and one for a budget reform charter amendment imposing a rainy day fund – a forced savings account – on the City once its finances begin to recover.

Those of you receiving this message – the 300+ of you on our e-mail list and the 400+ members of our Facebook Group – have already heard about these measures and tomorrow’s event. But this is a special request to all of you from the MOBN! board – please come out on Saturday; we really need you.

For the past 27 months, here are some of the things we have done:

  • In our posts, first at our web site and now at Oaktalk, we brought you information about what’s going on in City Hall and ideas about how to make our City a safer and better functioning place to live and work.
  • In our “Tasty Pastry” series, we brought you detailed information about Oakland’s budgetand its budget processes.
  • During the Mayor’s race, we obtained answers to detailed questionnaires from nearly allhe mayoral candidates (including all the major candidates). Unlike many unions and other organizations who use candidate questionnaires, we made ours available to the public, publishing them on Oaktalk and at Oakland Local.
  • We are continuing our efforts to be effective advocates at City Hall for the manyOaklanders who believe the crime rate in our beautiful city is morally unacceptable,that our streets cannot be allowed to continue to crumble, that the culture of governmental secrecy must stop, and the broken budget process must be fixed.

Our next step is something we cannot do alone. We need boots on the ground, and that means we need you.

We realize term limits and this budget reform won’t come close to solving all of Oakland’s problems. And in the coming months, you will be hearing from us about more measures. But these are the first steps we must take in order to end the political atrophy at City Hall and prevent our elected officials from engaging in the repeated overpromising and overspending that has caused our current predicament.

We have less than six months to collect almost 40,000 signatures in order to place these measures on the 2012 ballot. This will take hard work, dedication and many, many volunteers. The road to real reform will be a long one. But we take our first steps tomorrow.

Please join us.

If you can make it and you haven’t told us already, please RSVP to

If you can’t make it tomorrow but you still want to help, please send an e-mail with that information to One of our organizers will contact you soon.

Thanks for any help you can give. We look forward to working with you as we Make Oakland Better.


The Make Oakland Better Now! Executive Board