Oakland City Hall Credit: Amir Aziz

The Oakland City Council is holding a special meeting on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Here are some of the items on the agenda: 

Important budget hearing: Every two years, Oakland passes a city budget based on revenue projections. And at the halfway point, city leaders make updates to the budget based on how accurate or off those projections were. When the city collects more revenue than it thought it would have, it can increase spending across different departments. But when revenues are lower than predicted, the city has to make cuts. Mayor Libby Schaaf has released her mid-cycle budget plan and Tuesday’s council meeting is an opportunity for residents to weigh in and hear about what has changed since the council adopted the two-year budget last summer. The budget has grown to $2.2 billion, up from $1.9 billion, and spending will increase across city programs and initiatives. The council has the final say on the budget and will make adjustments based off Schaaf’s plan.

Rent cap: The council is considering legislation written by Councilmember Carroll Fife to permanently cap rent increases at 3%. Fife’s legislation followed a city announcement that owners of rent-controlled properties would be permitted to raise rents as high as 6.7%, the highest increase in decades. Oakland determines that percentage landlords can increase rent by based on the regional consumer price index (CPI), or inflation. Fife wants to change Oakland’s formula to be based on 60% of the CPI, not 100%, as it currently is. The policy, if passed, would also cap rent increases at 3%, if 60% of the CPI is higher. 

QTAPI Week: Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is presenting a proclamation to make May 29 to June 4 the Queer and Transgender Asian and Pacific Islander (QTAPI) week and honor the QTAPI group for its contributions and local organizing.  

Sky high: The city is upping and extending its contract with Blue Sky Consulting, the firm that has worked closely with city staff on proposed changes to the business tax. The City Council last week voted to place a progressive business tax measure on the November ballot. If passed by voters during the Nov. 8 general election the tax would go into effect Jan. 1, 2023. The amended Blue Sky contract increases the firm’s pay by $150,000 to a total of up to $595,000 and extends the agreement to Dec. 31, 2023. 

Lawsuit settlement: The city is set to pay $350,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Edith Guillen, a former Neighborhood Services Division coordinator. Guillen sued the Oakland Police Department and three co-workers claiming the colleagues made racially offensive remarks and treated Guillen differently because of her Latinx heritage. Guillen sought $669,261 in damages and more than $200,000 in attorney fees. City Council voted to settle the case for $350,000 at a closed session meeting earlier this month and will give final approval Tuesday. 

Second settlement: Scott Rietz, a 75-year-old man who suffered a hip fracture after falling on a broken sidewalk on Alicia Street in West Oakland will receive a $100,000 settlement from the city. Scott Rietz sued Oakland and Berry Bros. Towing & Transport Inc. alleging the sidewalk had been broken for years because the towing company regularly parks vehicles on the public right of way.  

The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting can be found here. And here’s a helpful guide to watching and speaking at council meetings.

David DeBolt reported on City Hall and policing for The Oaklandside. He spent 12 years working for daily newspapers in the Bay Area, including on the Peninsula and Solano County. He joined the Bay Area News Group in 2012 where he covered a variety of beats, most recently as a senior breaking news reporter. During his time at BANG, DeBolt covered Oakland City Hall, the Raiders stadium saga and the A’s search for a new ballpark, as well as the Oakland Police Department and police reform efforts. He was part of the East Bay Times staff honored with the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for coverage of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire.