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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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Local

City of OaklandCandidate for City Council, District 6

Photo of Natasha Middleton

Natasha Middleton

Management/Policy Analyst
0 votes (14.2%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Making our streets and neighborhoods safer
  • Creating more jobs and economic opportunity for residents and small businesses
  • Addressing housing affordability, displacement and homelessness

Experience

Experience

Profession:Management / Policy Analyst
Management / Policy Analyst, Alameda County Probation Department (2013–current)
Vice Chair / Commissioner, City of Oakland Public Safety and Services Violence Prevention Oversight Commission (Measure Z) — Appointed position (2016–2018)
Council Aide - Policy Analyst & Community Liaison, City of Oakland, Office of Councilmember LIbby Schaaf (2013–2013)

Education

San Francisco State University, San Francisco Bachelor of Arts, African American/Black Studies (emphasis in Urban Studies) (current)
Mills College, Oakland Master of Public Policy, My Master’s Policy Report: Priority Based Budgeting – A Model for the City of Oakland’s Long Term Fiscal Sustainability (2013)

Community Activities

Co-Organizer, Feed the People Burritos Project (Sharing healthy, home-prepared food with homeless people) (2017–current)
At-Large Board Member, League of Women Voters (2014–2016)
Board Member, Women's Daytime Drop-In Center (2013–2014)
Board Member, Vice President of Fundraising, Montera Middle School Parent Teacher Organization (2010–2011)
Board Member, Vice President, Family Violence Law Center (2002–2004)

Biography

I’m a proud mom and public safety professional with a focus on public policy.

I’ve worked closely with our Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils, managed multi-million dollar projects to reduce crime and delinquency among at-risk youth, served on the Measure Z Public Safety Commission, and co-organized a program to share healthy, home-prepared food with homeless people.

My neighborhood safety plan focuses on removing abandoned vehicles, fighting illegal dumping, addressing blight, and cracking down on human trafficking. I’ll fight to revitalize our commercial corridors, add more community centers with after-school and tutoring programs, and actively promote District 6 as an emerging hub for nonprofits, small businesses, and tech and community startups. My District 6 Homeless Action Plan includes hands-on attention to immediate needs, a weekly homeless count, and better coordination with county, city, and community-based organizations.

My focus is always on solving problems, not fighting with other politicians.

I am proud to be endorsed by Oakland's state legislative delegation: Senator Nancy Skinner, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, and Assemblymember Tony Thurmond.

I would be deeply honored by your vote.

Natasha Middleton

www.NatashaForOakland.com

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • State Senator Nancy Skinner
  • State Assemblymember Rob Bonta
  • State Assemblymember Tony Thurmond

Organizations (12)

  • Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County (#1)
  • East Bay Women's Political Alliance (Sole Endorsement)
  • East Bay Residents for Responsible Development (Sole Endorsement)
  • Northern California Carpenters Regional Council (Sole Endorsement)
  • Iron Workers Local 378 (Sole Endorsement)
  • Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club (#2)
  • East Bay Animal PAC
  • District 16 Council, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (Sole Endorsement)
  • Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club (Sole Endorsement)
  • Sheet Metal Workers' Local Union 104 (Sole Endorsement)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union 595 (Sole Endorsement)
  • Block By Block Organizing Network (#2)

Elected Officials (8)

  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf (#2)
  • Oakland City Councilmember, District 4 Annie Campbell Washington
  • Oakland City Councilmember, District 1 Dan Kalb (#1)
  • Peralta Community College District Board Trustee Linda Handy
  • Berkeley City Councilmember, District 8 Lori Droste
  • Vice Mayor, City of Alameda Malia Vella
  • El Cerrito Mayor Gabriel Quinto
  • BART Board of Directors, District 7 Lateefah Simon

Individuals (3)

  • Former Commissioner, Port of Oakland Bryan Parker (#1)
  • Former chair, California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs; Former President of the API Democrat
  • Pastor Vickia Brinkley

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of Oakland (2)

Which of the local Oakland ballot measures do you think is the most critical and why? 1) Eviction controls, 2) Tax on vacant property, 3)  Increased/graduated real estate transfer tax, 4) Cannabis tax, 5) Hotel wages & work requirements, 6) Children’s Initiative.
Answer from Natasha Middleton:

I support all of these measures.

The first three are part of our continuing efforts to address housing affordability and homelessness – the number one issue for the City of Oakland. Seniors continue to be pushed out of their homes, families continue to be priced out of our neighborhoods, and the number of tents continue to increase exponentially in parks and playgrounds. This is a crisis that must be addressed at all levels.

Reforms in our cannabis tax system are needed. Our current system is undermining one of the main reasons for legalization: to remove the black market for cannabis and the crime that goes with it. This is a new area and we must refine our policies as our experience grows.

Working families in Oakland need all the help they can get – Oakland is one of the most expensive cities to live in and these workers need the opportunity to earn a family-sustaining wage. 

Last but in no way least, we need to support the children's initiative that will fund early childhood education and efforts to increase college awareness and access for Oakland students. It is an investment in our future that will strengthen our families, our young people, and our city.

What can you do as a City Council member to address the issue of homelessness in Oakland?
Answer from Natasha Middleton:

Homelessness is the number one issue for the City of Oakland and the number one issue for the State of California. 

There are multi-unit dwellings being built in downtown Oakland and across Oakland.  Yet, the number of tents are increasing exponentially in parks and playgrounds.  Our community spaces are not being utilized as originally intended, but as short-term/emergency outdoor sanctuaries for those who have nowhere else to live.  These shifts in community spaces affect children, families, and seniors. This is not to state blame – this is our reality. In the midst of these make-shift outdoor day shelters, workers and business owners walk by (and drive pass) the reality of this public health crisis.

We must do something. 

As councilmember, I will take ownership in my responsibility to be that catalyst in leadership.  I will not only sit at the existing tables of the County/City councils and workgroups, but also meet with the organizations who are on the ground interfacing with the homeless, the advocates who see the challenges and want to offer their own solutions.  We have to work together to eliminate this human tragedy of people having a basic need with limited or absolutely no options.

I will work collaboratively with my colleagues, key stakeholders, and community members to address the issues that are critical and must be addressed immediately.  I will meet with constituents on a regular basis to hear their concerns and work with them on existing community and residential projects they are working on to improve the district.

I have seen it first hand when organizing a monthly burrito feed to various homeless encampments.  These neighbors are grateful and their situation is dire.  No one should live this way. It is unconscionable. 

For the long term, the only real solution is to build more housing, and housing that is affordable for families, period. Much of this is driven at the regional and state level, and I will push Oakland to work with our partners to change laws that have impeded affordable housing development.

For example, I appreciate the spirit behind Senate Bill 827, but it was fatally flawed by a lack of anti-displacement and affordable housing provisions and by a one-size-fits-all, overly broad definition transit corridors. In recent years, we have begun to put policies in place that will help – such as inclusionary zoning and secondary housing units. Some funds are beginning to flow from the affordable housing trust fund and the Measure KK bond. Mayor Schaaf is serious about her plan to build 17,000 new housing units and protect 17,000 existing households from displacement.

That’s a start, but we need to do more. And District 6 needs to benefit more. I can work together with my colleagues to make that happen.

One of my strengths will be making room in the budget for housing and homelessness initiatives.  I wrote my master’s thesis on Priority Based Budgeting: a Model for the City of Oakland. My “client” was the Budget Advisory Committee for the City of Oakland.

 

Who gave money to this candidate?

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

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I have lived in Oakland for over 20 years and in District 6 for almost 9 years.  As a resident and as a mother, I have seen both staggering transitions and stagnation occur in my neighborhood and surrounding areas of the District. We have needed a change for quite some time – and I decided to run for this office because we need someone else to make decisions that will be effective in the long term.

I believe you can judge a candidate by their commitment to public and community service.

My time and service as a Commissioner on the Public Safety Services Violence Prevention Oversight Commission (Measure Z) taught me a couple of lessons:

First, the work we do in service is both important and impactful in our decision-making, which affects the daily lives of the youth and adults who are engaged in programs and receiving services to better their lives; and

Second, the first responders, the police, firefighters and community-based organizations, volunteers and community residents of Oakland continue to do the work to help those in need, while keeping our communities and families safe.

I take the aforementioned lessons seriously with the understanding community members need leadership that stays connected to them on a daily basis.

Not only is this important for District 6, but also for City Council. Our ability to make decisions as a body with fellow councilmembers for the entire City of Oakland rests on our willingness to legislate and work with the Mayor, City Administrator and Staff to make real progress on the issues that challenge us.

I have a strong public policy background and education, and a record of civic and work experience. I have served on several non-profit boards: Family Violence Law Center, Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center, and the League of Women Voters -Oakland.  This service has granted me the understanding of community needs, while also interacting with government leaders and public and private sectors.

As a former Commissioner for the Public Safety Services and Oversight Commission, I interacted with local elected officials, providing oversight and helping to solve problems to make sure that Measure Z funds were allocated effectively.

I work in government now, as a management analyst and policy expert at the Alameda County Probation  Department.

All of these experiences have shown me that we need more consensus-building and rational problem-solving in city government. As a strong leader willing to stand up for my beliefs and my constituents, I know there is a place for confrontation – but not without a sound strategy and objective.

Position Papers

Natasha's Platform

Summary

The Road to Progress: Natasha Middleton’s Plan to Increase Safety, Opportunity and Housing in District 6

Natasha Middleton knows Oakland needs leaders who solve problems, not politicians who create them. That’s why, as a community leader, policy expert and mother, Natasha always brings people together to make real progress:

  • Natasha is a leader in efforts to reduce crime and delinquency among at-risk youth – working collaboratively with law enforcement, community-based organizations, elected officials, and local leaders.
  • Natasha worked with Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils, the mayor, councilmembers, law enforcement and others to help ensure the success of vital public safety programs.
  • In addition, as a Commissioner, she made recommendations and reviewed programs, reports and evaluations funded through Measure Z: The 2014 Oakland Public Safety and Services Violence Prevention Act.
  • Natasha co-organized the Feed the People Burritos Project to share healthy, home-prepared food with homeless people in Oakland.
  • Natasha brought parents and educators together at her son’s school – Montera Middle School – to raise funds for important programs that help students succeed.
  • Natasha has teamed up with emerging leaders to increase the number of women elected and appointed to office in California.

As our next city councilmember, Natasha will bring people together to make real progress on safety, housing and opportunity – for District 6 and all of Oakland.

Natasha has detailed plans to make District 6 safer, create more opportunity for District 6 resdients and businesses and maintain a laser focus on housing and homelessness in District 6. Each of those topics is covered in a separate section below.

MAKING DISTRICT 6 SAFER

Summary

Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure at home, work and play. Natasha’s plan includes safer streets and neighborhoods, safer communities, and safer homes.

Safer streets and neighborhoods:

    • Identifying and removing abandoned vehicles from our neighborhoods
    • Expanding efforts to fight illegal dumping, including incentives for local transfer stations to increase pick-ups, increasing participation in the bulky waste collection program, improving the efficiency of cleanup efforts and getting smarter about identifying violatersv
    • Adding Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils to neighborhoods without one
    • Improving safety for transit riders and drivers
    • Expanding beautification efforts in District 6
    • Addressing blight and reducing the number of empty lots
    • Promoting more neighborhood/after school activities and summer gatherings every weekend in parks and frequent local gathering spots
  • Safer communities:

    • Stepping up efforts to fight human sex trafficking, including adopting a zero tolerance policy for perpetrators and buyers of sex to control the demand, improving awareness efforts and coordination with community-based organizations, OUSD, NCPCs, OPD, parent teacher organizations and school principals
    • Increasing food security by promoting District 6 as a location for more farmer's markets and grocery store options
  • Safer homes:

    • Increasing fire safety by ensuring adequate mitigation efforts during seasonal fire risks
    • Ensuring those homes/schools affected by lead are receiving adequate support and responses

CREATING MORE OPPORTUNITY FOR DISTRICT 6 RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES

Summary

If our leaders put aside the distractions and focus on moving District 6 forward, we won’t have to wait for more opportunity; we can make it happen ourselves by investing in our people and creating a vibrant community in which small businesses can thrive. Natasha’s plan includes investing in people and helping small businesses.

  • Investing in people

    • Adding more community and learning centers with proven afterschool and tutoring programs
    • Supporting cultural centers such as the Black Cultural Zone
    • Fostering partnerships with schools, businesses and Labor to create more opportunities for job training and increasing youth employment
    • Attracting more community-based organizations to locate in District 6 so that important services are more accessible to local residents
    • Making District 6 a model for equity-based entrepreneurial opportunities (we need more Red Bay Coffee locations in D6). Actively working to promote equity in emerging opportunity industries such as cannabis dispensaries
  • Helping small businesses

    • Helping existing small businesses in District 6 grow
    • Improving the Business Sustainability Program to help small businesses survive disruption and loss of revenue from construction of the Bus Rapid Transit Line on International Boulevard
    • Actively promoting District 6 as a place for new small businesses
    • Actively promoting District 6 as a potential community, tech and innovation hub
    • Increasing the number of business improvement districts, which will lead to more jobs and vibrant and viable communities
    • Actively coordinating with all chambers of commerce, neighborhood groups and the business community for input and workable solutions

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