NEWS ABOUT PAM'S CAMPAIGN
We now recommend that voters in District 4 — which stretches from Montclair to the edge of the Fruitvale District — elect Pamela Harris, an accounting consultant and filmmaker.
Harris has intriguing ideas for encouraging more home construction and increasing efficiencies in city operations. Most significantly, she recognizes that the mayor and City Council must make tough choices as Oakland faces a $100 million projected shortfall for the next fiscal year and a nearly $2.8 billion shortfall in the city’s public employee pension and retiree health programs.
Less than a month before the November election, the only three female candidates in the District 4 city council race did something rare. The three frontrunners—Pam Harris, Nayeli Maxson and Sheng Thao— launched a campaign to support each other.
In a video posted on social media, the candidates asked voters to support all three women on their ballots. Like other Oakland races, the District 4 city council race will be determined by ranked choice voting, in which voters not only cast a ballot that lists their first-choice candidate but to also their second and third choices.
One question in interview:
Our budget is a direct reflection of our values. As a financial services provider for non-profits and community-based organizations, I am intimately familiar with what it means to incorporate values into budgets.
My top six budget priorities are:
1) Reviewing how we spend our dollars, how they are utilized, and how they might be leveraged to better reflect our values;
2) Investing in youth services and social workers rather than police to respond to issues such as homelessness and youth unemployment;
3) Maintenance and preventative measures for our infrastructure, so we stop kicking the can down the road;
4) Exploring possibilities for new revenue streams;
5) Investing in the present to reduce future costs;
6) Working with district residents to ensure our budget is a reflection of our shared values.
Monday morning Harris announced that she was now Campbell Washington's sole endorsed candidate and Mayor Libby Schaaf's number one endorsement in the race. Like San Francisco, Oakland uses ranked-choice voting for its council and mayor races.
The news release quoted the councilwoman as being "proud" to endorse Harris, who "if elected, she'll be able to rise above divisiveness in Oakland politics and build essential coalitions to make change happen. I can't wait for her to represent me, my family, and my neighbors in City Hall."
Harris wants developers to set aside affordable units on-site when building market-rate projects. She's a former board member of the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club and was elected a delegate to the state Democratic Party from her Assembly District.
She supports a values-based budget that invests in clean neighborhoods, infrastructure, and equitable public safety, and calls for a living wage, union jobs, and economic opportunities for all.
Pam Harris felt her voice needed to be heard, too. As a lesbian of color Harris is running for Oakland City Council. She became involved with the state Democratic party after the 2016 election and met several elected officials.
“They're just normal people, like you and me, and yet they're making policy and they're bringing in a particular lens and a particular experience to a seat of power," Harris said. "People like me should have that opportunity, too.”
Harris said it needs to be easier to build high-density housing units. “We need to streamline our services and permitting process to make it easier to build,” said Harris. “Specifically, we need to make it easier to build higher density—yes, even in our district.” Harris says affordable housing units needs to be built into all new developments. “We’re still a place that looks at affordable housing as being ‘over there,’” she said.
Harris has Schaaf's second choice endorsement in the race, as Oakland uses ranked-choice voting to elect council members...
It was her young son's reaction to Trump's election that led her to become more politically engaged. "After the last election, my son - I think he was 7 at the time - he woke up and at the top of his lungs said, 'I am not coming down and stepping foot in a country where that man is president.' I had to convince him to come down, and really what I was saying to him was to not let that person stop us," recalled Harris, a former Fulbright grantee to Uruguay. A former board member of the LGBT-focused East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club, Harris was elected a delegate to the California Democratic Party from her Assembly District in January last year. The top-vote getter in that race, Harris hopes her no-nonsense style will connect with voters in the council district. "People really want someone who is plainspoken and no BS," said Harris.
She is a champion of ensuring housing is seen as a human right, wants developers to set aside affordable units on-site when building market-rate housing projects, and believes the city can be doing more to house the homeless by utilizing public land and collaborating more closely with local churches. "I think people are changing the way they think about leadership and about the articulation of the issues," said Harris. "I think people are hungry for something fresh and unencumbered and uncompromised, and that is what I bring.”
"I was walking to work one day in downtown Oakland and came across the body of a dead homeless man. It shook me deeply. I felt responsible for the man's death. I could not shake the feeling. I decided to run for office because I feel that it is a moral imperative for us to improve our communities in any way that we can. I have always been of service in my community in the nonprofit sector. I got involved in more overt political activity after the last election because I felt that the National Democratic Party took my vote as an African-American woman for granted. I would be the first openly gay African-American councilperson in Oakland.”
Should she be elected, Harris would be the first out African-American to serve on the Oakland City Council and only the fourth out council member.
East Bay Express: Oakland Elections - 5/1/18
Five candidates have already filed to run for the D4 seat. They include Pamela Harris...
Campaign announcement press release - 4/26/18
More coming soon!