Volume 23, Issue 2 | Third Quarter 2023 Newsletter (August 2023)


News from Oakland City Attorney

Barbara J. Parker


  • Civil Protection of the People of Oakland Ordinance

  • Divesting Public Pension Funds from Fossil Fuel Investments

  • Advocating for Oaklanders: People of the State of California and City of Oakland v. One Rose of Unity, LLC; and Administrative Hearing Officer’s Decision imposing more than $200,000 in penalties against Suprema Meat Co. for failure to abate public nuisances

  • OCA Spotlight: Meet Chief Operations Officer Dara Wiseman

Dear Fellow Oaklanders:

After more than three years of working entirely remotely, the City Attorney’s Office re-opened for in-person business on July 3rd. Our office is operating on a hybrid schedule; the office is accessible to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the City’s regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) by checking in with building security on the first floor of City Hall. As always, you can reach our team by calling 510-238-3601.

Another exciting development for our office is a brand new, user-friendly website that launched on August 7th! You can find all the same information that’s always been available at OaklandCityAttorney.org, but the information has been streamlined to help visitors find more easily the information they’re seeking. Please check it out and let me know what you think about the new site.

This newsletter also informs you of:

  • The amendment of the Oakland Municipal Code authorizing the City Attorney to enforce all of the City’s laws in an equitable and just manner. Now we have the critical tools to enable us to enforce the progressive laws our City Council and Oakland voters have enacted. These laws range from ensuring safe housing and workplaces to protecting the health and safety of every Oakland resident.


  • My advocacy for and endorsement of California Senate Bill 252, which would require that the state’s largest public pension funds divest from fossil fuel investments.

  • Two examples of our work to protect health, safety and dignity of Oaklanders.

This issue’s OCA Spotlight is on our Chief Operations Officer, Dara Wiseman, whose team keeps the City Attorney’s Office humming.

As always, I invite your comments and thoughts about this newsletter and the work of the Oakland City Attorney team.

New Oakland Ordinance: Civil Protection of the People of Oakland Ordinance

I’m excited to share the news that on July 18th the City Council adopted Oakland Municipal Code section 1.10, the Civil Protection of the People of Oakland Ordinance. This new law grants the Oakland City Attorney express authority to equitably enforce all of Oakland’s civil laws. The City’s laws include numerous protections for Oaklanders, from the right to dignified housing conditions, to fair and safe work environments, to safe and healthy neighborhoods. 

My office now has clear authority to enforce all of the City’s laws in civil court, allowing us to utilize the full range of remedies to protect Oaklanders’ rights. The City’s enforcement authority is crucial to protect the rights of individuals, marginalized communities, small businesses and property owners. The City’s power to enforce its progressive laws is particularly important to protect the rights of Oaklanders who lack the resources to fund their own lawsuits, including Black, Indigenous and other People of Color who are disproportionately impacted. 

It’s Past Time for California Public Employee Pension Funds to Divest from Fossil Fuel Investments

The California legislature is currently considering a bill, Senate Bill (“SB”) 252, that would require the state’s largest public pension funds to divest from fossil fuel investments. As of this writing, the bill is currently under review by the State Assembly after being passed by the State Senate. I strongly support  and endorse this bill, as I explained in a June 14 op-ed in the East Bay Times.

The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (“CalPERS”) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (“CalSTRS”) are the two largest public pension funds in the U.S., providing retirement benefits to approximately three million members, including City of Oakland employees.

It is imperative that our planet slash fossil fuel use by nearly two-thirds by 2035 to secure a livable future. Reducing fossil fuel usage is especially important to protect California’s frontline and fenceline communities. Nearly 92 percent of people living within a mile of ongoing or new fossil fuel development in California are Black, Indigenous and other People of Color. These communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change, a legacy of historical redlining, and other discriminatory policies, laws and practices.

Divesting from fossil fuel companies is both financially prudent and the right thing to do. Fossil fuel companies are simply no longer a wise investment. In the past decade, market values of the four largest fossil fuel companies have dropped by more than 50%.

SB 252 also is endorsed by the Oakland Unified School District, Fossil Free California, and more than 140 other California organizations and unions representing more than 470,000 members. The climate activism network Stand.earth is supporting SB 252 as part of its nationwide climate finance campaign to get the financial sector to divest from fossil fuel projects and invest in climate solutions.

My office has a long history of advocating to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the catastrophic damage climate change has wrought and continues to cause. My endorsement of SB 252 is an example of my work fighting for climate justice.

Advocating for Oaklanders: Taking Action to Secure Safe Housing and Healthy, Livable Neighborhoods

In June the Neighborhood Law Corps, one of three units in our Affirmative Litigation Enforcement and Innovation Division, filed a lawsuit to protect some of Oakland’s most vulnerable residents from abusive housing conditions. Our lawsuit on behalf of the People of the State of California and the City of Oakland is against One Rose of Unity, a network of Independent Living Facilities that caters to people who are among the most vulnerable to homelessness: low-income adults who are experiencing serious mental illnesses or substance use disorders, and/or who are veterans, formerly incarcerated, or elderly. Our complaint is based on violations of Oakland’s Tenant Protection and Just Cause for Eviction Ordinances and the State of California’s Tom Bane Civil Rights Act, False Advertising Law and Public Nuisance Law.

We assert that One Rose of Unity advertises to attract these individuals, and then places them in overcrowded, poorly monitored group housing environments where they are subjected to unconscionable living conditions, physical and sexual abuse and harassment including illegal evictions. 

We seek remedies to stop and permanently prevent the inhumane and unlawful practices in these facilities, including injunctive relief, placing the facilities under receivership, civil penalties, punitive damages, attorney’s fees, costs, restitution and other equitable relief. We have filed a motion to prevent the defendants from retaliating against current tenants and to permanently prevent the owners and managers of these facilities from engaging in the illegal activities alleged in the lawsuit.

This lawsuit is an example of the work our Affirmative Litigation Division team does to improve the quality of life and protect the rights of Oakland residents throughout our city.

My office also recently won a favorable decision in the City’s long-running administrative enforcement action against Suprema Meat Co, located at 955 57th Street. This meat distribution company has been the subject of neighbors’ ongoing complaints regarding excessive noise and unpermitted obstruction of the public right of way for more than 15 years. Neighbors have complained of excessive noise from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m., six days a week, and obstruction of the streets caused by trucks loading, unloading, and waiting to do so throughout the day. The City has been embroiled in an ongoing administrative action, negotiations, and litigation including multiple appeals for more than a decade. The administrative decision issued by an independent hearing officer finds that the business has failed to abate the nuisance conditions and orders that the company's owners pay more than $200,000 in civil penalties to the City of Oakland for failing to address these longstanding complaints.

City Attorney Team Spotlight:

Chief Operations Officer Dara Wiseman

Dara Wiseman heads the Operations Group in the Office of the City Attorney. She is a member of the City Attorney’s Executive Team. Ms. Wiseman oversees all the infrastructure in the office, from IT, accounting, and claims to payroll, purchasing, and maintenance to human resources and the office’s interface with the public.

“Dara Wiseman’s leadership is the oil that keeps the gears of the City Attorney’s Office running. Dara’s keen instinct for organization and careful oversight of employees, systems, and processes has been a key factor in the success of the entire Oakland City Attorney team.” – City Attorney Barbara J. Parker

Ms. Wiseman has been a City of Oakland employee for 26 years. Prior to joining the Office of the City Attorney, she worked in the personnel divisions of the Oakland Police and Fire Departments and in the Office of the Inspector General.

Career highlights:

  • Chief Operations Officer, Office of the Oakland City Attorney (2016-present): Leads the office’s Operations Group, is responsible for the smooth, efficient and effective operation of the office including overseeing budget, accounting, information technology, contract management, human resources, and support staff.

  • Oakland Police Dept. (1997-2012):
  • Neighborhood Services Coordinator (1997-2005): Served as liaison between community stakeholders and Oakland Police Department and other City departments to address crime and quality of life issues.
  • Police Performance Auditor, Office of the Inspector General (2005-2011): Assessed department policies and procedures to determine compliance with the Negotiated Settlement Agreement; conducted audits and prepared comprehensive reports.
  • Analyst (2011-2012): Supervised staff in Oakland Police Department’s Personnel Assessment System Unit; conducted complex analyses of department’s early identification and intervention program.

  • Fire Personnel Operations Specialist, Oakland Fire Dept. (2012-2016): Managed department’s recruitment and selection process; provided consultation to supervisory staff regarding disciplinary procedures; conducted and coordinated department’s administrative personnel investigations.

Ms. Wiseman holds a BA in Business Administration and an MPA (Master of Public Administration) from Cal State Hayward (now Cal State East Bay).

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