Editorial: Kaplan for Oakland City Council
The Bay Area Reporter has supported Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan since she first won the at-large seat in 2008 and we continue to support her in this
election. She has been a successful legislator on the council by working to secure unanimous votes on some key measures that the council put on the ballot. A lesbian, Kaplan has brought visibility to the city’s large LGBT community and helped relaunch Oakland Pride.
This year, Kaplan has been especially effective, and the city finally has a chance to develop real police accountability with the passage of Measure LL, a charter amendment that would establish a civilian police commission to oversee the scandal-plagued Oakland Police Department and form a community police review agency to investigate police misconduct and recommend discipline. Those reforms are long overdue, and while the formation of a police commission won’t change things overnight, just having a panel to hold police accountable is a big step in the right direction.
Rising rents and the lack of housing are pressing issues in Oakland, partly because so many people priced out of San Francisco are relocating there. Kaplan authored Measure JJ on the November ballot, which seeks to protect renters from excessive rent increases and wrongful evictions.
Significantly, Kaplan views the city not in isolation but one of many comprising the Bay Area region. She is chair of the Alameda County Transportation Commission, which oversees $8 billion in Measure BB funding. Under her leadership, the commission this year instituted a free bus pass program for school kids and continues to work on cleaning up truck congestion and air pollution in hard hit areas like West Oakland.
Along with that, Kaplan sits on the powerful Bay Area Air Quality Management District board – the first representative from Oakland in 25 years. Climate change is a top priority for her, and this position enables Kaplan to advocate for caps on emissions and greenhouse gases.
Kaplan has passed legislation that bans leaving loose guns in unattended vehicles.
Kaplan’s chief opponent is also a lesbian, Peggy Moore, who used to serve as a senior adviser to Mayor Libby Schaaf. But Moore has not articulated a reason to boot Kaplan from office. At a time when the Oakland City Council is working better than in the recent past – though it still can do more – we believe Kaplan has earned a third term. The at-large seat represents the entire city, and Kaplan has proved she’s been effective.