Pecolia Manigo believes her ultimate hope for Oakland — what she calls “equitable democracy” — is attainable. For evidence, she points to her own experience: Manigo was unemployed when she moved to Oakland with her infant daughter two decades ago. Now she’s the political director of Oakland Rising, an organization that helped bring to Oakland’s 2022 ballot Measure W, which passed with 74% approval from voters. The measure provides $100 “Democracy Dollars” for residents to donate to candidates in local races.

Manigo said Oakland’s democracy risks taking “a dangerous step in the wrong direction” if Measure W is not implemented by 2026. The 2026 start date, two years later than originally planned, was set by Oakland’s 2023-25 budget, which had to balance a historic $360 million deficit. 

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