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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Local

City of OaklandCandidate for City Council, District 5

Photo of Noel Gallo

Noel Gallo

City Councilmember District 5
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • A Clean, Safe, Green and Healthy City
  • Increased production of housing; combat homelessness & displacement
  • Business development and Job Preservation & Creation especially as part of Oakland's COVID-19 Response & Recovery

Experience

Experience

Profession:Oakland City Councilmember, District 5
City Councilmember, District 5, City of Oakland — Elected position (2012–current)
Regional Director, Ray & Associates (2009–2012)
Board Director, Oakland Unified School District — Elected position (1992–2012)
Manager, Public Works, City of Oakland (2006–2009)
Parks & Recreation Manager, City of Oakland (2000–2006)
Director of General Services, East Side Union High School District (1995–1999)

Education

University of California, Berkeley Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Business Administration (1977)

Community Activities

Founder, Oakland District 5 Neighborhood Beautification Weekend Volunteer Project (2011–current)
Food & Mask Distribution Community Volunteer, Oakland District 5 Neighbors (2020–current)
Founder, Youth Leadership Program, Oakland District 5 (2012–current)
Public Safety Walks Community Organizer, Victory Outreach (2012–current)
Member, University of California - UC Berkeley Latinx Alumni Association (2017–current)

Biography

I am the incumbent Oakland City Council Member for Oakland’s District 5. I have served Oakland as a community volunteer, organizer, and active resident, for my lifetime. I am honored that I have been elected by District 5 voters to represent them as an Oakland Board of Education Director for 20 years and as the current District 5 Oakland City Councilmember for the past 7.5+ years. Over that timeframe, I have built strong community partnerships, expertise, and have stayed committed to working for a Safe, Clean, Green and Healthy Oakland

Based on my experience as an elected official, lifetime resident of Oakland, and having raised four children in East Oakland, with daily interactions with residents and businesses. I am committed to Oakland and compelled to continue my work.

As an elected public servant for close to 30 years, serving in a variety of critical leadership and professional roles, I have the legislative and government experience in public administration, public policy and budgetary oversight skills that currently needed to guide our city through this public health and economic crisis. 

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of California and Elect Justice CA (2)

Does your office have any plans to include currently or formerly incarcerated people in your decision-making process as it relates to criminal justice issues? What would that look like?
Answer from Noel Gallo:

Currently as an Oakland City Councilmember, I am in contact and work directly with formerly incarcerated people on the Oakland District 5 Neighborhood Beautification Project and Public Safety efforts. Over the past ten (10+) years, I have worked closely with community organizations, churches serving and assisting formerly incarcerated men and women with employment and training opportunities, housing services and public services. Organizations that I have worked with include: Catholic Charities, Victory Outreach, Agnes Memorial Church, Cypress Mandela Training Center, County of Alameda, Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries.  

As part of the current Oakland City Council, we have approved the establishment of the Departments of Violence Prevention, Race & Equity and direct funding and services through Workforce Development and Human Services Departments. The City of Oakland has also established the Reimaging Public Safety Taskforce  to reconstruct the public safety system in Oakland to strengthen and advance community safety and equity; identify alternative responses to meet the safety needs of residents (mental health, homelessness, human trafficking and neighborhood safety services).

Overall I am committed to be responsive to the needs of formerly incacerated individuals through direct interaction, consultation and will continue to address their needs through public policy and funding to organizations that support them.

 

 

With 8,000 people eligible for release from CA prisons to help stem the transmission of COVID-19, how, if at all, would your office aid these Californians and their families in navigating reentry?
Answer from Noel Gallo:

As the current City Councilmember, I will continue to advocate to address the needs of the formerly incarcerated individuals and their families by my commitment to building more affordable housing and shelters. I am working with the Oakland Housing Authority, City of Oakland Housing Department and non-profit housing development organizations. I am committed to providing support to community service providers that offer wrap around services to assist these individuals - workforce training, health care services and counseling. 

 

Questions from LWV Oakland (4)

Concerns about the transparency of government and the ease of public access to information and meetings have increased since the COVID crisis. What would you suggest during the COVID emergency and afterwards to make the City Council's deliberations more transparent and more conducive to public participation?
Answer from Noel Gallo:

The Oakland City Council has eight (8) authorized Committees and over 40 boards and commissions, with the recent addition of the Reimaging Public Safety Taskforce, the Blue Ribbon Commission on Business Tax, as well as several Commissions and Committees related to Oakland's COVID-19 Response & Recovery. We have established rules and procedures to operate the City. I have consistently advocated for a City Council retreat that can not only review these procedures but also prioritize issues. I am a believer in public participation and have adhered to City Council requirements. Additionally, the City of Oakland has a Public Ethics Commission, elected City Auditor and City Attorney. I support the current City Council effort to review our operations. 

Too often, ballot measures and budgetary proposals are introduced at the last minute. Would you be receptive to processes that would ensure earlier public notice, requirements of full discussions in committees, and more involvement of stakeholders before measures are presented to the Council?
Answer from Noel Gallo:

Yes, I wholeheartly support this recommendation. Comprehenisve outreach and equitable public input is required for all major decisions. Rash decisions to add ballot measures or budget decisions, without significant public outreach and input (business tax revision, the ride share tax, and the reduction the police department's budget) is counter to the City of Oakland's commitment to public process, equity and ensuring fairness and integrity. 

  Oakland has recently authorized a Task Force on Reimagining Public Safety which will work to present its proposals in time to allow for their incorporation into the budget deliberations for 2021-23. What ideas or models from other jurisdictions would you bring to that discussion?   And how do these models address  goals that reflect diversity, equity and inclusion?  
Answer from Noel Gallo:

I support the Reimaging Oakland Public Safety Task Force to reconstruct the public safety system in Oakland to strengthen and advance community safety and equity; identify alternative responses to meet the safety needs of residents (mental health, homelessness, human trafficking and neighborhood safety services). I support identifying ways to reduce OPD’s usage of the City’s general-purpose funds by 50% as alternative methods for community safety are implemented to meet the safety needs of residents.


The very purpose of the Reimaging Taskforce is to provide an avenue for the City to receive recommendations from a cross representation of Oakland residents, (formerly incarcerated, victims of violent crime, immigrant communities, and historically underrepresented polutions, public health experts, lyouth, abor representatives, and representatives of law enforcement and budget operations). The Taskforce will be facilitated by experts. I believe it is important to allow this Task Force to operate and await their recommendations. Other related public safety actions are required - full implementation of the Citizen's Police Commission, strengthening the efforts to establish alternative response models to armed law enforcement, supporting and better alignment of key City departments to increase prevention and community services. 

  Oakland's Budget Advisory Commission has advised the city to explore ways to increase revenues. Recently, a blue ribbon commission to explore revisions to Oakland business tax rules has been created. What ideas will you bring about raising revenue in Oakland?  
Answer from Noel Gallo:

I support the creation and the role of the Commission to bring recommendations on updating Oakland's business tax system; it is long overdue. It is important to allow the Commission to bring their expertise and ideas forward through community meetings, town halls, expert advice to ensure that the revisions are fair, inclusive and address the needs of Oakland's diverse business community. 

Who gave money to this candidate?

To see who is funding campaigns in Oakland, visit Open Disclosure Oakland.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

My leadership style is collaborative and action oriented. I am a believer in meeting residents where they live and work. As a public servant and community leader, my goal is to be aware of community concerns, engage and listen to the community, inform the community and be realistic and practical. 

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