March 4, 2014
Honorable Alex Padilla, Chair
Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications
State Capitol, Room 4038
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Senator Padilla:
I write to respectfully request your support for Senate Bill 962 (Leno/Skinner), which will require that smartphones and tablets sold in California include theft-deterring technology commonly known as “kill switches.”
As City Council President Pro Tem for the City of Oakland, I am concerned with the dramatic rate at which smartphone-related armed robberies occur in Oakland and throughout the state. This bill would significantly reduce violent crime in urban areas throughout California.
Smartphone theft is so common because the devices are re-sold for profit on the underground market. If stolen smartphones had “kill switches” to stop devices from working after being stolen, we would eliminate the financial motive for this kind of violent crime.
The theft of mobile communications devices now account for one-third of all robberies in the United States, making it the leading property crime in America. This bill is an important step to improve public safety and protect our constituents from violent crime. Further, reducing the theft of smartphones would free up law enforcement to focus on other crime reduction efforts.
Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration of SB 962. I hope you will also ask your colleagues in the Legislature to join in supporting this important legislation. Finally, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (510) 238-7008 to discuss the matter further.
REBECCA D. KAPLAN
Council President Pro Tempore
cc: Honorable Members of the Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications
Oakland City Council Votes to Support Proposition 13 Reform
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 5, 2014
OAKLAND, CA – With its unanimous vote Tuesday evening, the Oakland City Council formally calls on the California Legislature this week to close the corporate loophole in Proposition 13, California’s property tax law.
President Pro Tem Rebecca Kaplan (At Large) authored a resolution, along with Councilmembers Dan Kalb, Libby Schaaf and Lynette Gibson McElhaney, supporting the reform.
“I’m so pleased that the Oakland City Council has seized this opportunity to improve economic vitality in our city and across the state,” Kaplan said. “Tax fairness will help communities like ours improve public safety and create new jobs.”
The resolution requests the California Legislature to prepare a statewide ballot measure in 2016 that would modify Proposition 13 by splitting the tax roll between residential and commercial properties.
Oakland is the latest municipality – and the largest city – to join a growing statewide coalition of cities, school districts and civic leaders calling for reforms to the law, which passed originally in 1978 to protect homeowners – who would remain protected under a change in the law.
Kaplan said the law has unfairly and unintentionally protected large corporations from being required to pay a fair share of property taxes, and has caused homeowners to bear a disproportionate share of the state’s tax burden.
According to forecasts prepared by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, the change to the law could yield at least $5 billion in additional revenue for the State of California.
The Unfinished Work for Jobs & Freedom
Rebecca Kaplan, elected citywide with more votes than any official pledges to continue her leadership for jobs for Oakland residents.
By Rebecca Kaplan
Special Contributor to the Oakland Post
From porters to postal carriers, teachers to truck drivers, Oakland is a city built by hardworking men and women who have fought – not only for their own success – but also for the respectful and equitable treatment of our brothers and sisters everywhere.
As we celebrated black history month, we renewed our faith and commitment to movements for positive social change and justice. We remembered the teachings of James 2:26, that “faith is dead without good works.”
I think often of the Prophet Isaiah (Chapter 58), who interrupted a prayer service to tell the people that God is impressed not by fasting and wailing, but by their actions to house the homeless and clothe the shivering.
When the late Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. lost his life, he was working for human rights of all kinds, racial justice and fair access to quality jobs.
During the Civil Rights Movement, the famous ‘March on Washington’ was actually called the ‘March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.’
“We refuse to believe there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation,” Dr. King told us as he organized the ‘Poor Person’s Campaign.’ He proposed the ‘The Freedom Budget’ to support public works, public health and job training – and other priorities to level the playing field.
When I served on AC Transit’s elected board of directors, I attended a conference of transit officials from throughout the country. I visited the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and got to meet Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles – who worked closely with Dr. King.
Rev. Kyles shared the story of his experience with the bus boycotts in the 1960s, and told me that many people haven’t fully understood the boycotts: they weren’t just about the mistreatment of black bus riders – they were also about jobs, he said. Back then, transit agencies weren’t hiring African Americans.
As an elected leader representing all of Oakland, I believe fair access to local jobs is one of our most critical issues. Eliminating poverty and empowering people to achieve economic success is vital to our community’s long-term health. These are goals I’ve committed my career to advancing.
I’ve worked for the right of minority-owned businesses to access the city’s many job-generating projects. We’ve succeeded, not only in passing that legislation, but also in creating thousands of jobs in Oakland.
I’m working to help build Coliseum City, which will support our sports arenas and expand jobs in East Oakland. And it’s why I co-authored Measure BB, a transportation plan that’ll provide quality jobs while improving public transit and pedestrian safety.
Dr. King’s focus on economic justice was right on.
Last June, I proudly co-authored Oakland’s budget – the “All In” budget – with Councilmembers McElhaney and Kalb. Our budget succeeded in funded critical improvements – not just for police, parks and potholes – to stop illegal dumping, blight and graffiti. Our constituents – in every corner of our city – deserve clean streets and safe neighborhoods. They deserve fully-funded libraries, senior centers and Head Start child care centers.
During the Great Recession, officials in Sacramento in Washington cut services – a convenient but shortsighted way to address budget deficits. The cuts hurt some of our poorest – and that was a travesty. Whether you’re a government official or a grassroots organizer, a member of the clergy or the owner of a small business – economic justice is something we can create.
In Oakland and everywhere – today and every day – we must work for equality in everything we do. By organizing effectively, leading with conscience and creating jobs – we’ll forge new progress on racial equality, economic equity and human rights. And we’ll do it together.
By Eric Thomas
Football season is over, but a football fan was honored this morning for what he did at an Oakland Raiders game that helped save a woman’s life.
The Stockton man is a season ticket holder who was catching some of the action on his camera last November. Before he knew it, he literally had someone’s life in his hands and today the Coliseum’s owner thanked him for it.
Donnie Navidad, 61, says he wasn’t expecting to be honored for just attending a Raiders game. But, people who were at the Coliseum for the November 24 game against Tennessee know better.
“Where some of us might hesitate and be fearful and kind of wonder what should we do, and why should we do it, or can we do it. I think his training helped him step forward and do the right thing,” said Nate Miley, Coliseum Authority.
Navidad said his Marine Corps training led him to do the right thing when a distraught South Bay woman tried to commit suicide at the game by jumping from the upper deck. Navidad suffered deep arm and chest bruises trying to catch her.
“You don’t have time to react you just do what you got to do without regard for your life,” said Navidad.
The woman fell 50 feet and ended up in critical condition, but survived. Navidad is the father of three and grandfather of eight, who spent 17 years in the Marines, and 42 years working for the federal government. In the East Bay they’re calling him a hero.
“This is an act, not only of heroism, but of caring for another person is something we can all take inspiration from,” said Rebecca Kaplan, Coliseum Authority. “It’s a human life I would do it again,” said Navidad.
Today Navidad got a proclamation and other honors from the city and county Joint Powers Authority – which runs the Coliseum. Previously, he was honored by the Raiders team and some of the hall of famers he watched for years including Willie Brown and Fred Biletnikoff.
By Matthew Artz
A ballot drive to reform Prop. 13′s cap on annual property tax increases is still two years away, but the Oakland City Council might jump on board the effort as early as next month.
Four council members are asking the city to endorse a statewide ballot measure in 2016 that would end restrictions on property tax increases for commercial property. Residential property owners would still be covered by the landmark 1978 initiative.
The revision could generate an additional $5 billion in tax proceeds, according to the Legislative Analyst’s office.
“We have an incredible opportunity to improve the economic vitality of our communities, our cities and our entire state,” Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan said. “This kind of tax fairness can help cities like ours improve public safety and create new jobs.”
Joining Kaplan in support of the measure are Councilmembers Dan Kalb, Lynette Gibson McElhaney and Libby Schaaf.
Oakland City Leaders Urge Proposition 13 Reform
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2014
OAKLAND, CA – Four Oakland city councilmembers have joined a statewide coalition of community and civic leaders calling for the elimination of a major imbalance in California’s property tax law.
President Pro Tem Rebecca Kaplan (At Large), along with Councilmembers Dan Kalb, Libby Schaaf and Lynette Gibson McElhaney, are asking the City of Oakland to formally support a statewide ballot measure in 2016 that would reform Proposition 13 by splitting the tax roll between residential and commercial properties.
Kaplan says California’s current property tax system is unfair, causing homeowners to bear a disproportionate share of the state’s tax burden.
Closing the corporate loophole in Proposition 13 could generate at least $5 billion for the State of California, according to the Legislative Analyst’s office.
“We have an incredible opportunity to improve the economic vitality of our communities, our cities and our entire state,” Kaplan said. “This kind of tax fairness can help cities like ours improve public safety and create new jobs.”
Under the proposal, California homeowners would continue to enjoy the tax relief created under Proposition 13 when it passed in 1978 – and would ensure that corporations pay their fair share.
The City Council Committee on Rules will hear the legislation at its meeting on February 27.
Kaplan Adds Gun Trafficking Fight to City’s Lobbying Agenda
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2013
Contact: Jason Overman
OAKLAND, CA – At this month’s meeting of the Oakland City Council, President Pro Tem Rebecca Kaplan (At Large) directed city lobbyists to advocate for legislation cracking down on criminal trafficking of illegal guns in the upcoming legislative session.
Last week, the Council received a report from Townsend Public Affairs – who represents the city in Washington and Sacramento – that summarized efforts taken on the city’s behalf during the 2013 legislative session and outlined priorities for 2014. The firm laid out a continued commitment to support sensible regulations on firearms ammunition, for example, and to seek funding for job-generating development projects.
Kaplan amended the city’s legislative portfolio, which the Council approved unanimously, to add stopping the criminal trafficking of illegal guns as a top priority of city lobbyists in the coming year.
“The budget I co-authored earlier this year includes funding to add officers, fingerprint technicians 911 dispatchers to the Oakland Police Department,” Kaplan said. “And in order to stop gun crime on our streets, it’s critical that we also partner with state and federal lawmakers.”
With no gun stores or manufacturers located in Oakland, Kaplan noted, Oakland’s gun crimes involve firearms originally from outside the city.
“In order to stop the flow of illegal guns into Oakland,” Kaplan said, “we must act both locally – and to strengthen state and federal efforts as well – to protect our community from senseless gun violence.”
A’s and Raiders Extend Agreements at Coliseum
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OAKLAND, CA Nov 25, 2013 – Oakland City Council President Pro Tem Rebecca D. Kaplan (At Large), who serves as an Oakland representative on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, issued the following statement Monday morning following the Authority’s approval of a lease extension for the Athletics and Raiders:
“This morning, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority – on which I serve – approved lease extensions for both the Oakland Athletics and the Oakland Raiders.
This development is a positive step in our continued efforts to build a positive future with our sports teams.
Oakland is a sports town – and this is good news for the teams, the fans and the city alike.
Today’s news is a symbol of the strong partnership between the city, the county and the teams. It materially increases the momentum of our efforts to improve economic vitality and the overall fan experience.
As we work to bring new and expanded development to this central and accessible location, the A’s and Raiders will continue to play great seasons here in Oakland.”
Oakland City Council President Pro Tem Rebecca Kaplan serves as one of the City of Oakland’s representatives on the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority. She was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012 as Oakland’s At-Large Councilmember. President Pro Tem Kaplan works to improve quality of life by restoring public safety, expanding economic opportunity and rebuilding trust in government. She holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a M.A. from Tufts University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2013
Contact: Jason Overman
OAKLAND, CA – Two city councilmembers in Oakland are asking their colleagues to show solidarity at Tuesday’s City Council meeting with Sasha Fleischman, an Oakland teenager who was lit on fire while riding a bus earlier this month – and to speak out against violence and hate crime.
Council President Pro Tem Rebecca Kaplan (At Large) – Oakland’s first openly lesbian city councilmember – and Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney (District 3) introduced a resolution last week asking the Oakland City Council to express its solidarity with Fleischman, a gender nonconforming high school student attacked while wearing a skirt.
The resolution also declares November 20, 2013 as “Transgender Remembrance Day” in the City of Oakland.
“An injury to one of us is an injury to all of us,” Kaplan said. “There are no words that could adequately convey the tragedy and brutality of attacks against members of the LGBTQ community – in Oakland and everywhere. But the outpouring of support for Sasha from every corner of our community is a heartening reminder of just how much we all have in common with one another, and how strongly we’ll stand up together. I’ll continue to pray that Sasha recovers fully and quickly, and I’ll continue working to create a community that supports the right of all to be free from violence.”
Kaplan and McElhaney will present the resolution Tuesday evening with leaders from the transgender community during the ceremonial portion of Tuesday’s council meeting – and the councilmembers will also speak at the ‘Transgender Day of Remembrance’ ceremony, hosted by TransVision and the Tri-City Health Center, in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza’s amphitheater on Wednesday evening.
“I’m proud to stand in solidarity with my colleagues to honor Sasha,” McElhaney said. “The violence inflicted upon transgender members of our society is significant and it must end. May our community be, first and foremost, less violent. May we learn to be more accepting of our neighbors.”
Members of the public are invited to attend Tuesday’s City Council meeting and participate in the presentation of the resolution, numbered 4.2 on the council’s agenda.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza on Wednesday, November 20 from 5:15 to 6:30pm. This event is open to the public. For more information, contact Tiffany Woods with the Tri-City Health Center at (510) 456-3521.
By Janie McCauley
Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff insists his team is staying put. For now, anyway.
Wolff said Monday through the team that the A’s will extend their lease at the Oakland Coliseum and “look forward to another great season.” The team’s managing partner responded to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle saying Major League Baseball might get involved to help the A’s play across the bay in the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park if no short-term lease was reached to continue their home games in the rundown Coliseum.
“It’s a little more rugged,” A’s center fielder Coco Crisp said of the ballpark. “It does have its own personality.”
It was unclear how many years Oakland is seeking for its lease, and the team declined further comment since no deal has been reached with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority. Yet the Coliseum Authority also sounded encouraged by the progress, issuing a statement from board chair and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.
“We are working on a deal that we believe will be beneficial for both our tenant and the people of this community,” the statement said. “We are confident that everyone involved sees the value in continuing for as long as possible the 45-year relationship between the A’s and the City of Oakland. While we cannot comment on the specific issues now under discussion or on whether there is any basis to recent rumors that Major League Baseball has played a role in the discussions, we are optimistic that a final deal is close at hand.”
The Giants didn’t comment on the Chronicle report.
Oakland City Council President Pro Tem Rebecca Kaplan, who represents the City of Oakland at-large and is on the Coliseum Authority, also expressed her desire to keep the A’s around.
“I am fully committed to working toward a positive agreement for the A’s lease in Oakland,” Kaplan said.
The small-budget A’s have won consecutive AL West titles, losing in five games of the division series to the Detroit Tigers in each of the past Octobers. The Coliseum, shared with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, had multiple sewage problems in 2013 that caused damage during games.