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Oakland Measure Q: Funding for Parks and Homeless Services

City of Oakland
Oakland Clinton Park Sign by HiMY

Measure Q is called the Oakland Parks and Recreation Preservation, Litter Reduction, and Homelessness Support Act. 

If that sounds like everything but the kitchen sink, you can think of it as a parcel tax to fund outdoor areas.

About sixty percent of the revenue would go toward maintaining and improving Oakland’s parks, from cleaning the bathrooms to fixing trails.

Since many unhoused people live in the city’s parks or on the street,

another portion would go toward homeless services, like programs to keep people in their homes and increasing shelter beds.

Lastly, it would provide a small budget for stormwater clean-up. Oakland is really behind on the state’s requirement to eliminate trash from its storm drains and waterways by 2022.

Measure Q is a parcel tax, paid for by property owners. Homeowners would pay $148 a year for the next twenty years. Apartment and other building owners would also get taxed. Low-income families and seniors can get exemptions. If it passes, the measure is expected to raise over twenty million dollars annually. 

It’s supported by a slew of environmental groups like Save the Bay, the Sierra Club, and Outdoor Afro, as well the entire City Council.

Proponents say the city’s parks are in dire need of increased maintenance. The last time voters approved funds specifically for parks was in the ‘90s. The City has actually been dipping into the General Fund to pay for its parks since 2005.

The measure is opposed by the Alameda County Taxpayers Association, which says that Oaklanders are already taxed enough and that the City has a track record of mismanaging funds. Real Estate associations have also poured money into defeating the measure. 

So to recap:

A “yes” vote on Measure Q would charge Oakland property owners a tax to fund services for parks, homeless people, and stormwater clean-up.

A “no” vote would reject this tax.