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Oakland Measure Y: A new parcel tax to fund the zoo

This is a 2-minute summary of Oakland’s Measure Y on the November 8, 2022 ballot.

This is an annual tax of $68 per parcel — that’s a unit of property — and the money will help fund the Oakland Zoo.

If passed, it would increase the zoo’s current $24 million budget per year, by 50%.

With this additional money, the Oakland Zoo plans to do many things. Among those: It will upgrade animal care, improve education programs, and increase accessibility for low-income families.

For long-time Oaklanders, this measure might sound familiar. Yes, exactly 10 years ago, Oakland voters rejected a similar proposition to add a $12-per-unit annual tax in order to fund the zoo. By the way, that’s more than five times lower than Measure Y proposes.

The zoo has expanded since then. But, the pandemic led to a loss of revenue.

So, who supports Oakland’s Measure Y? Well, the Conservation Society of California who operates the zoo does.

On the other side, non-profit associations like the League of Women voters of Oakland raise concerns.

They fear that the tax will impose too much of a financial burden on the back of Oaklanders. And Oaklanders only represent 15% of the zoo’s attendees.

So, here’s the bottom line:

If Oaklanders vote yes on measure Y, they will agree to pay a new tax. And 40% of the Oakland Zoo’s budget will then come from public funds.

A “no” vote on measure Y would stop the new tax for Oaklanders and maintain the zoo’s budget at its current level.

That's a brief take on Oakland’s measure Y.

Astrid Fedel is an Audio Producer and a KALW Audio Academy Alumni (2022-2023).