In this campaign we are fortunate to have a lot of forums to discuss the future of our city, what will we do? how will we house people? how will we address food desserts like West Oakland? And then we get 30 seconds, a minute or if we are really lucky 2 minutes to boil it all down. So a lot of time I spend talking about what I have done as a Community Development board director funneling funding to programs like City Slicker Farms to transform a Drug Den into a Gar-Den. When I have a few breaths to talk about the direction we need to head in, I come back to the need to create smart growth in our development as a city, that is building around transit corridors and within those policies the plan for 20 Minute Neighborhoods.
What is a 20 Minute Neighborhood?
Simply, it’s a community where basic amenities are a comfortable 20 minute walk or bike ride away. District 3 is the heart of Oakland. Right now, whether you live in Jack London, DownTown Oakland, West Oakland or Adams Point, you can’t get to simple amenities you need in a short walk or bike ride. This is not the way our neighborhoods used to be and it’s not the way they should be now. Making every part of District 3 a complete 20 Minute Neighborhood will do more than reduce green house gases: It will strengthen our local economy, generate businesses that produce jobs and improve public safety by putting more feet and eyes on our streets. Many of our residents don’t have cars. Many who have cars would like to use them less—after all, gas isn’t getting cheaper and it certainly isn’t a local product–so every dollar not spent on gas and car insurance will stay in Oakland’s economy.
I’ve been talking about 20 Minute Neighborhoods throughout my campaign. I am committed to implementing Oakland’s Climate Action Plan and I think we can do even better: With 20 Minute Neighborhoods, we can breathe easier because we’re addressing economic inequities, enlivening our local business climate and cleaning up our air.
It’s smart growth thinking, with concern for the local economy, environment and residents that earned me endorsements from the Sierra Club and local environmental leaders like Kemba Shakur of Urban Releaf.
* Grateful thanks to Portland Mayor Sam Adams and his planning staff for granting me an incredible amount of time last fall to learn about Portland’s Climate Action Plan and their 20 Minute Neighborhood concept.