Dear Oakland,

Please join us for a special Town Hall devoted to our upcoming budget and the $80 million deficit we face.

The COVID-19 crisis has devastated every city, county, and state budget, and we want to keep you informed on Oakland’s real challenges and the road map ahead.

You can submit questions about the budget (and any other concern) right now by clicking here . I’ll be joined by two guests:

  • Bradley Johnson, Principal Budget Analyst, City of Oakland Department of Finance, to share data on the hard choices we face and the options ahead.

I will also give my weekly status report and new updates on the City’s response to the crisis with the latest resources for Oaklanders.

We go live Thursday at 6 p.m. on my social media channels Facebook , Twitter , Instagram , and YouTube (with closed captioning). To dial in by phone: (669) 900-6833, 413825986#

If you want to watch a video primer on Oakland’s budget process, the restrictions on resources, and how the public can influence the budget, you can watch these short “Budget for Beginners” videos we made last year with Episode 1 , 2 , 3 and 4 .
On Wednesday, we partnered with Roots Community Health Center to open the first free walk-up testing site in the heart of Deep East Oakland.

We made the intentional decision to place an easily accessible testing center in one of the most impacted neighborhoods to address — and ultimately eliminate — the injustice of racial health disparities.

But let’s be clear: We need far more Oaklanders to get tested for free at all of the city’s testing sites .

If you work outside the home: Get tested. If you’ve got symptoms: Get tested. If you are over 65 years old or have an underlying health condition – like smoking – get tested .

It’s free and you can register online here or call 311.

Our testing sites have more capacity than clients right now, and we must increase testing before we can reopen our businesses and go back to school.  
On Tuesday we opened Operation Home Base, a new trailer facility that will serve more than 130 of our most vulnerable unsheltered residents. The trailers were donated by Gov. Newsom and the State of California and supported with grants from our philanthropic partners.

We built the site to take care of our unsheltered residents in the current COVID-19 crisis, but we also built a safe and compassionate place for the future .

The trailers all have a locked door, running water, electricity, and hook into sewer lines. It will serve as a place to heal and then transition to permanent affordable housing.

As we opened Operation Home Base this week, I again took a moment to feel the deep gratitude and appreciation for our community.

Places like Operation Home Base take time and incredible resources to stand up, and in Oakland we rely a lot on our volunteers – our generous neighbors who show up for our community – to work those long hours to dig sewer trenches, install fencing, and sweep up the parking lot just to make it look nice.

Meanwhile, our Great Oakland Check-In launched this weekend with over 300 volunteers! Our callers connected with more than 200 seniors who needed food delivered to their home. We also encouraged many to fill out their Census forms!

If you’d like to volunteer and can commit to making 25 phone calls, visit . Shout out to Super Callers Esther G., Leslie F., Leslie E., Mary F., Pam H., Sue S., Tony C. and Jennifer H.!

This is the silver lining of our experience right now. In these times of great challenges, I’m reminded again and again how Oakland comes together.

Be well,