Economic & Policy Priorities

As the largest and most diverse business organization in Oakland, the Chamber advocates frequently on behalf of its 1,000+ members on an array of public policies at the local, state, and national levels. The Chamber is a place where businesses of all sizes, nonprofits, and public agencies convene to dialogue and take collective action toward the betterment and success of Oakland.

To guide our advocacy efforts, the Chamber Board of Directors approves a set of broad policy principles each year to serve as a lens through which the Board and Chamber staff will examine issues in the coming year.

2020 Public Policy Principles 

Promote Economic Development

To create a thriving and sustainable local economy, the Chamber advocates for policies that promote growth and investment throughout Oakland diverse neighborhoods including those that:

• Attract and market new business and job formation and location in Oakland

• Foster a diverse economic base of all industries, business sizes, and sectors

• Support the creation of new business improvement districts in historically disadvantaged areas

• Improve government efficiency and foster a user-friendly and welcoming city government

• Provide access to capital for entrepreneurs, particularly for women and people of color

Foster Good Governance and Fiscal Responsibility

The City of Oakland faces significant long-term pension obligations and budget shortfalls. In order for the City to provide Oaklanders the services they need and deserve, it’s critical that the City keep its fiscal house in order. The Chamber supports policies including those that:

• Expand the tax base and grow the pie for Oakland businesses of all sizes

• Create sound fiscal management practices and controls

• Provide transparent and efficient government processes

• Require thorough analysis and accountability on ballot measures before and after passage

Improve Housing and Commercial Space Affordability

The Bay Area is seeing unprecedented growth, but with that comes new challenges to businesses, nonprofits, and residents particularly in the realm of affordability. The Chamber supports policies that:

• Build more housing at all levels of affordability

• Streamline and incentivize new development, particularly around transit

• Increase the supply of office and industrial space

• Encourage new investment in Oakland as a dense, vibrant regional jobs and housing center

Support Workforce Development

Education is perhaps one of the greatest economic develop tools at our disposal. Preparing students for college and career serves our youth and fosters future economic growth. The Chamber supports policies including those that:

• A Create systems that improve better connect education and industry

• Improve employer engagement and involvement in workforce development programs

• Push for government support for workforce training and retraining programs

Enhance Mobility and Infrastructure

Robust and well-maintained infrastructure and transportation options are critical to a successful economy. The Chamber supports policies that promote the efficient and timely movement of both goods and people including those that:

• Expand public transportation options and capacity throughout Oakland and the region

• Encourage density around transit hubs to ease overcrowding

• Support investment infrastructure as well as timely project delivery

• Allow for new mobility options and technologies

Improve Public Safety

Oakland has historically grappled with substantial public safety challenges. While significant progress has been made and crime rates are dropping; there is still much work to be done. The Chamber supports policies and programs that:

• Build upon the success of community-based policing models such as Ceasefire

• Increase the number of police officers while improving recruitment and retention

• Support fire prevention and suppression

• Increase community resiliency and disaster preparedness in response to climate change