President Dudley Thompson convened the 5,369th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland, the third oldest club in the Rotary world among 36,000 clubs in more than 200 countries.
On this one-year anniversary of the insurgency at the US Capitol, Debo Sarkar shared a message of sanity and sanctity from India, the country of his birth, with an uplifting quote from Sri Ramakrishna: “An ocean of bliss may rain down from the heavens, but if you hold up only a thimble, that is all you receive. Wisdom leads to unity, ignorance to separation. Spirituality automatically leads to humility. When a flower develops into a fruit, the petals drop off on its own. When one becomes spiritual, the ego vanishes gradually on its own. A tree laden with fruits always bends low. Humility is a sign of greatness.”
Past President Ces Butner introduced our speaker, Oakland Mayor and Rotary Honorary Member Libby Schaaf, noting Mayor Schaaf has worked to address Oakland issues like public safety and homelessness by stabilizing rents and housing thus preventing 1,800 families from losing homes annually. She created Oakland’s first Transportation Commission to address infrastructure and make previously unsafe roads and neighborhoods better. She also founded Oakland Promise, the cradle to a college program, providing scholarships and mentors for more than 1,400 Oakland students annually and providing all babies born in Oakland with a $500 college savings account with financial coaching to parents. She noted 17,000 new units of housing with 2,100 of those affordable housing units to be expanded in time.
Mayor Schaaf is also proud to be partnering with Oakland Chamber of Commerce to pilot a new housing program, the “Cabin Community/Tiny Village” model, a shift away from “gym style” congregate housing shelters to more dignified housing options, nearly tripling the number of previously unhoused to now-sheltered Oaklanders. This model is now recognized for its success in housing more than other large cities and appears to be successfully executed via the “Keep Oakland Housed” program, now keeping more than 2000 households in homes per year. Calling herself Oakland’s “Chief Hustler”, she continues to secure more investment in Oakland from large institutions and national philanthropic organizations accounting for approximately $140M in accrued capital to date.
Safety continues to be at the forefront of her initiatives, with the City Council recently supporting her bid to increase the Oakland Police Department force with 60 more officers and redistribute police resources, especially to East Oakland, with a renewed goal to again cut gun violence in half, (towards pre-pandemic progress that had been made) by doubling staff to restore our nationally-recognized Ceasefire initiative. She suggested all homes purchase security cameras and angle them pointing to the street to help deter criminals and hold accountable perpetrators. She is honored to be the first Oakland Mayor (and first woman) to chair the Big City Mayors Council with other large cities, getting funding to address homelessness by creating public-private partnerships for housing vouchers.
She was recently honored to go to Washington, at the invite of President Biden and Vice President Harris, to attend the $1.3 Trillion Infrastructure Bill signing and shared a recent visit from the Secretary of Transportation to kick off “Town for All”, a comprehensive mobility system in key neighborhoods including Chinatown, Lake Merritt and Howard Terminal, Oakland’s new home to 18 acres of public access waterfront featuring 3,000 units of housing including many “deeply affordable” units, alongside multi-use interface with business, civic and other organizations coming together to attract excitement and greater investment in Oakland’s future.
Past President Michael Bruck was honored by President Dudley as former Mayor of Piedmont featured in a four-page article, plus a photo of Mike, Carolyn and their cat on the front cover of Piedmont Living magazine, prompting a multiple bell ringing spree reported elsewhere in the Live Oak.
Trisha Connors excitedly announced our 2022 Gala will take place Thursday, April 28, in-person, at Sequoyah Country Club with indoor and outdoor attendance options. The theme “In the Mood with Gratitude” salutes our health and fellowship in the Club. The fundraising goal is $100,000 net and Sponsorships are now available. Please contact Trisha Connors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President Dudley adjourned the first meeting of 2022 at 1:38 p.m.
Click here to watch Mayor Schaaf video segment
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