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Six questions about Measure Q


Oakland’s Measure Q, on the March ballot, proposes to address park maintenance and homelessness. The questions I raise here are based on language in the ballot measure itself.


Measure Q proposes to “support the equitable distribution of maintenance services to parks…in order to decrease disparities in life outcomes of marginalized communities and to facilitate equity of opportunity throughout Oakland.”

When people—me included—think of “park maintenance,” we think of things like trimming trees, maintaining lawns and gardens, cleaning restrooms, repairing benches, collecting trash and litter, and maintaining other infrastructure. Yet Q’s language is curiously reminiscent of “social justice” movements: “marginalized” communities, “equity,” and so on.  

Question 1: What does park maintenance have to do with these things?


Measure Q will “provide matching funds for programs developed by nonprofit organizations.” I used to be a reporter for the Oakland Tribune. I investigated nonprofit organizations that worked in “social justice” areas, including preventing youth violence. What I found was shocking: mutual (and secret) back-scratching between grantors and grantees, a complete absence of oversight, and phony numbers.

Question 2: How will Measure Q prevent fraud?

Measure Q proposes to provide “permanent supportive housing” for the homeless.

Question 3: How long is “permanent”—for life?–and who pays the rent and utilities for this “permanent” housing?

Measure Q proposes to create “RV parking sites with health, hygiene, security, and case management services.”

Question 4: How long will these “services” be provided, and who pays the salaries and benefits of the needed employees, not to mention the health and hygiene needs (including medications) of the homeless?

Measure Q provides “quick financial assistance programs to keep people from becoming homeless.”

Question 5: Who makes sure that the right people get these “quick” cash payouts, not grifters?  

COST: Backers of Measure Q promise that the City Council will not raise the assessment rate in the future. But Measure Q’s language specifically refutes that claim. “Beginning for the fiscal year 2021-2022, and each year thereafter, the City Council may increase the tax.” That’s right in Section 4 (B).

Question 6: Is it not true that we can expect annual increases in the tax—which is already biggest parcel tax in Oakland’s history?

I hope Measure Q’s backers will answer these questions, so that we, the voters, can make informed choices. Thank you.

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