Oakland City Council will be sworn in to office, including three newly-elected members. Immediately after the swearing-in (which starts at 11 a.m.), the Council will have the opportunity to select its leaders for the coming year, including selecting the Council President.
The President runs the meetings, initiates the Committee assignments and takes the lead on crafting the agenda and making sure participation happens smoothly. For the coming term, we urge the Council to support Councilmember-at-large Rebecca Kaplan for the position of Council President.
Kaplan has served on the Council for 10 years and has been re-elected by large margins, city-wide, representing all the people of Oakland, and has a track record of working successfully to build broad coalitions and advance policies to protect the needs of our community.
She holds a bachelor’s degree from MIT, a Master’s in Urban and Environmental Policy, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School and is well equipped to handle the work of the Council Presidency, both in terms of understanding policy and for handling the procedural rules that govern Council meetings.
Kaplan was elected unanimously, twice, as Chair of another government Board, the Alameda County Transportation Commission, which includes representatives from all of the cities in Alameda County, along with transit agencies and County Supervisors.
Therefore, Rebecca has experience chairing meetings, making committee assignments, and leading the passage and implementation of successful ballot measures, with an even larger and more complicated Board.
Rebecca has a track record of successfully bringing people together to develop and pass important initiatives, including the recent Oakland Vacant Property tax to fund homeless solutions, passing a citywide public lands policy for Oakland, Alameda County’s Measure BB to fund transportation and infrastructure, and winning over $50 million in regional funding to clean up air pollution in Oakland’s hardest-hit communities from trucks, trains, and more.
Kaplan has helped to fight for fairness in employment and contracting, including for a disparity study, to improve access and equity in banking, for meaningful community police oversight, and will work to help make sure homeless solutions and job training are strengthened.
Recently, Kaplan successfully intervened to help reject racial profiling and strengthen the police commission, including regarding the problem of searches of people on parole and probation.
As a person who treats others with respect and understands that we are to be judged by how we treat the least of these, and as a person of faith and bible scholar who works well with those of all backgrounds, Kaplan will ensure a welcoming and harmonious environment at Council meetings.
For all these reasons and more, we urge the Council to elect Rebecca Kaplan as Council President for the coming term.
Co-signers of open letter supporting Kaplan for council president are: Noni Session, John Jones III, Kimberly Mayfield, Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Henry Gage III, James Vann, Lynette Neidhardt, Rashidah Grinage, Henry Hitz. Pamela Drake, Gary Jimenez (VP of Politics, SEIU 1021*)
*Organization listed for identification only.