Youth at risk supported by the Children’s Home of Stockton

Note: Janani Ramachandran is a social justice lawyer. It has the only endorsement from organizations rooted in Oakland including ILWU, Oakland East Bay Democratic Club, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, and Oakland Tenants Union.

Oakland makes up 66% of Assembly District 18. Yet all of the other top candidates live in Alameda or San Leandro. Our district has not had an Oakland representative since the 1990s. Oakland deserves real representation in our legislature, and here are a few reasons why:

Howard Terminal

Look no further than Howard Terminal to see the power state law can have over local issues. Our newest District 18 Coven who lives in Alameda, aided the development of Howard Terminal by introducing AB 1191 and AB 734 – for the benefit of the billionaire Fisher family and their allies. In contrast, an Oakland lawmaker would understand the dire consequences of the project for residents of West Oakland, such as deteriorating air quality and spurring rapid gentrification.

An Oakland lawmaker would also understand that such a project would threaten the job security of 85,000 workers at the Port of Oakland. As the only major candidate in this election publicly opposed to Howard Terminal, I promise to stand firmly alongside Oakland community groups in expressing my opposition to this and any other project that puts the interests of billionaires over those of our neighbors.

OUSD Takeover

Oakland has not been able to run our own public schools since the highly problematic state takeover of OUSD in 2003. This takeover and the actions of the state-appointed administrator in OUSD indebtedness, has led to the closure of many predominantly black public schools and the proliferation of charter schools (in fact, the OUSD has the highest percentage of charter schools of all state school districts).

Oakland deserves a legislator who will prioritize the immediate return of full local control of our schools to our residents as soon as possible. It takes a genuine understanding of the hardships and trauma that the state takeover inflicted on our city to fight in a meaningful way for the youth of Oakland in the state legislature – something that I believe in. unequivocally commits to doing.

Protections for tenants

Renters represent over 60% of our city’s residents. Thanks to decades of local activism, Oakland has one of the most stringent rent control ordinances in the state. However, the hands of our city are tied by numerous state laws that prevent tenants from being meaningfully protected. For example, Costa Hawkins state law prevents Oakland from extending rent control to units built after 1983 and to single-family homes. Having supported tenants facing eviction in Oakland during my legal career – including during the pandemic – I am keenly aware of the need to strengthen tenant protection statewide to support our city.

For example, despite the adoption by Oakland City Council of a resolution Calling on the state legislature to repeal the Ellis Act, or at least suspend these evictions during the pandemic, our legislature has refused to act. As a tenant advocate who helped launch the coalition that spearheaded the Ellis Act legislation, and as a tenant myself (if elected, I would only be 1 in 3, out of 120 legislators in State), I would bring a tenant rights framework to our legislature to meet the needs of Oakland tenants.

Gun violence

Last year, almost as many Black Oaklanders died from gunfire as from COVID-19. It’s not enough to say we need tougher statewide gun control laws – California is already among the strongest in the country.

Oakland deserves a state legislator who understands the root causes of this violence and the state action needed to address it – including more funding for community organizations that do meaningful prevention work, economic development and expanded career opportunities for our young people, and more broadly, treating gun violence as a public health crisis – all of which are pillars of my platform.

This special election, vote for Oakland’s only candidate on the ballot, a person who will take action according to the needs of our city and work towards achieving economic, educational, racial and environmental justice. Learn more about www.jananiforca.com

About Homer Yonker

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