Oakland City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza. Credit: Pete Rosos

Before going on a summer recess, the City Council will meet Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Here’s some of the business they’ll take up: 

Budget adjustments: The council is expected to make some “midcycle” changes to the city’s 2022-2023 budget to account for recent increases in pay and benefits for city employees. The city and labor unions representing most city workers recently agreed on new contracts. Erin Roseman, the city’s director of finance, wrote in a report that the city plans to use savings from the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority budget and vacancies in the police department to help cover approximately $7.1 million in increases from the new labor contracts. 

Wood Street encampment: On Friday, a federal judge ruled that Caltrans cannot close the Wood Street homeless encampment in West Oakland until Caltrans works with the city and county to develop a plan to provide shelter to the people living there. With an estimated 200 or more people living around Wood Street, many of them for several years, it is the largest encampment in Oakland and has been the site of several fires. The city has received a $4.7 million grant from the state to build temporary housing on Wood Street but it must meet a timeline set by the state. The City Council is voting to accept the grant, which secures funding through June 2024 to build up to 100 beds, potentially sheltering approximately 200 residents. The temporary housing will be located on one of two Wood Street lots the city leased in November 2020 from a private owner. 

Project Homekey: Oakland is trying to get a jump on the third round of Project Homekey grant funding. The state program started in 2020 to help cities, counties, and nonprofits purchase hotels and other buildings and convert them into housing for the homeless. For instance, the city in 2022 won $11 million to acquire and convert the Inn by the Coliseum motel into housing and $14.8 million to transform the Piedmont Place hotel into apartments. The state is expected to release a notice of available funds in August. Shola Olatoye, director of housing and community development, is asking council to give staff the authority to apply for up to $200 million in Homekey funds and commit approximately $35 million in matching city funds. To speed up the process even further, Olatoye is requesting that city staff be allowed to select the projects, rather than the council making final decisions.  

General Plan: The council is holding a study session on Oakland’s General Plan, which is the blueprint for what the city will look like over the next two decades. This is an opportunity for members of the public to hear an update on the 2045 General Plan and learn how to help create a vision for the city’s future when it comes to safety, housing, environmental justice, land use, and other considerations. 

Hearing on housing: One of the key pieces of the General Plan is the Housing Element, a roadmap for housing needs based on Oakland’s population, with a focus on equitably distributing development to better serve low-income residents and groups at risk of displacement. A report on housing production in 2021 will be the focus of a council hearing on Tuesday. You can read more about that overall plan in an Oaklandside article from February. 

Ex-police chief settlement: The City Attorney’s Office is asking the council to approve paying a $1.5 million settlement to former police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, who filed a lawsuit against the city and Police Commission over her February 2020 firing. A jury in May awarded Kirkpatrick $337,635 in monetary damages following a weeklong trial. The $1.5 million figure includes the jury award, a portion of Kirkpatrick’s attorneys’ fees, and the former chief’s litigation costs, approximately $250,000 for deposition and trial out-of-pocket expenses, according to a memo from City Attorney Barbara Parker. “The City denies any wrongdoing or liability and does not admit any of Kirkpatrick’s allegations,” Parker wrote in the memo. 

Data contract: The Department of Violence Prevention wants the council to approve a five-year, $533,000 contract with Social Solutions Global, Inc. to develop a data management system that will help DVP staff track the services they provide to victims of violence, including relocation requests. Social Solutions Global was not the lowest bidder—Salesforce was at $476,440—but DVP Chief Guillermo Cespedes said in a report that the Salesforce system would require specialized training and the hiring of additional staff. Cespedes is recommending council approve the Social Solutions Global contract and waive the competitive bid process since they weren’t the lowest bidder. 

The agenda for the 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.