Oakland Rising’s executive director, liz suk, told Sludge, “There’s going to have to be tightening and some cuts that need to be made. But in November, Oaklanders voted overwhelmingly yes on Measure W, which is supposed to create a more transparent and accountable government by offering folks and establishing a democracy dollars program—the second in the country. It’s an opportunity to get elected officials into office that will hopefully bring local government attention to the issues that matter most to us, like affordable housing, quality schools, community safety—not just pouring all our funds into the police department.

Oakland voters really wanted to see this program in place,” suk said. “We know that we’re in a city up against some major issues like housing and homelessness. The streets and infrastructure in the city haven’t been taken care of by previous administrations. In order to have those in place, we need elected officials in office who are really willing to listen to the community, and democracy dollars was going to be the program that would help us.”

Oakland Rising is encouraging local supporters of democracy dollars to attend council district budget meetings and keep the program’s rollout on schedule. “Folks are going to each of the town halls and talking directly to each of the council members about what it could look like to fund this program,” suk said.

Working with the Public Ethics Commission, suk said, “We’ve come up with different options to have at least a partial launch of the program, where democracy dollars would be housed in the administration and would be prepared for it to launch. As we press on the City Council, we’re hoping to garner more support for democracy dollars and seed the funding for the public education that’s needed.”

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