City of Oakland Mayor Virtual Townhall #3 Recap

Last Thursday night, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf hosted a virtual townhall in regards to the pandemic. You can view the townhall meeting here. Here’s a recap of what topics were covered:

Updates from Mayor Libby Schaaf

  • Preserve medical masks for essential workers and wear a cloth masks for grocery shopping and other outdoor activities 
  • 91 trailers from state of CA for unsheltered residents who are most vulnerable 
  • 60+ unsheltered residents moved into hotels
    • No positive tests so far
  • Alameda county has 681 cases and 16 deaths
  • Opened a second free testing site for direct service providers near lake merritt, offering to uninsured folks – but must have employer email; covi19testing@oaklandca.gov
    • Only for people that have symptoms
  • Will be closing off a number of streets in Oakland for bikers and pedestrians to walk around, exercise, free of cars
  • Facebook is offering 15 million cash grants for small businesses 
    • If interested, go to facebook.com/business
  • Oakland covid19 fund at oaklandfund.org
  • Oakland volunteer opportunities at bit.ly/oaklvolunteer
  • Online programs for kids at oaklandlibrary.org
  • Alameda county family justice center is still open at acfjc.org

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith – child psychologist that works mostly with trauma

  • Depression is linked with social isolation – potential rise for anxiety and depression
  • Concerened for the rise in child abuse and domestic violence 
    • Resource centers are still open
    • Check in on your friends who you know are struggling
  • When feeling upset, focus and control your breath and do small tangible things that make you feel good (ex. Reread a book you love, a song you like listening to, etc)

Monique Berlanga – tenants rights director 

  • Past monday, the district council of california stops all evictions other than those necessary to protect public health and safety  – applicable to all courts throughout the state
    • New court rule apply 90 days after the governor list the state of emergency, delays trials for 60 days
  • Oakland moratorium: protects tenants from evictions – it is legally invalid if a landlord gives tenants evictions, limits rent increases; moratorium will expire may 31st
    • Exceptions: if tenant poses a threat to public health and safety and the ellis act
  • Rent adjustment program – mediation program between tenants and landlords

Derek Schoonmaker – workers right directing attorney

  • Unemployment insurance benefits: benefits of $40 – $450 per week, plus new federal contribution of $600 per week through july 31
    • Can be received for up to 39 weeks
    • Undocumented workers aren’t eligible and instead need to turn to grassroots relief funds like Oakland Undocumented Reflief Fund
  • Can apply for unemployment benefits online at edd.ca.gov/unemployment/UI_Online.htm
  • Undocumented folks can turn to ourfindoakland.org to seek a relief grant
  • New federal protections
    • Emergency paid leave act: 2 weeks of paid sick leave
    • Emergency family and medical leave expansion act: provides 12 weeks of paid leave for certain employed workers who need to care for a child whose school is closed
    • Doesn’t apply to employers with 500+ employees and employers with 50> employees

Alexandria McBride – chief resilience officer of oakland

  • CDC guidelines for evaluating and testing
    • Priority 1: optimal care for all hospitalized patients, lessen risk of infections
    • Priority 2: ensure those that are at a higher risk of infections are quickly identified 
    • Priority 3: test people in the surrounding community of rapidly increasing hospital cases 
    • Non-priority: people with no symptoms
  • 9,200 Oakland based direct care providers have been enrolled 

Questions

  • Is Oakland going to institute martial law?
    • No interest in instituting martial law; don’t think it will make anyone feel safer 
    • Police are not issuing any citations for those who violate public safety
  • What do you do if you are an essential worker and don’t have insurance?
    • Testing sites are offered, with or without insurance, and if you have symptoms
  • How can we provide ousd internet ot hotspots for distance learning
    • The oakland public education funded $500,000 to support ousd to increase hotspots
  • How can the city assist to ensure that homeless individuals get their stimulus checks from the government, outreach, and helping them set up bank accounts as well as filing tax returns
    • Not sure about stimulus checks, but there are a lot of providers who are offering shelters, food, testing, hotels, etc
  • What is the city of Oakland done to cancel rent?
    • Doesn’t have legal authority to cancel rent; the city can be sued; the city wants to explore other legal avenues
    • The city’s highest priority is the federal advocacy relief 
  • While there is less traffic, wouldn’t it be a good time to fix the roads and keep the city employees busy?
    • Road safety is essential service so the work is continuing; vegetation management is also considered essential work
  • Is there any way to encourage all supermarkets in Oakland to limit the amount of toilet paper a person can buy?
    • The city doesn’t have authority to demand stores to sell certain amount of supplies
      • They’re encouraging residents to not hoard, don’t go to grocery store more than once a week
    • The city of Oakland doesn’t have a health department, and they depend on Alameda County’s department
  • Is there a plan to cut down on public transportation?
    • Do not know for sure right now
  • What is the mayor doing to address the banking industry?
    • Working with the governor’s office at the state and federal level; and asking consumer debt forgiveness 

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