The future of Oakland’s economy and future jobs depends on City leadership. Oakland should invest in three areas: small business development, high tech innovation, and green jobs and manufacturing.
- 1. Small business development. Nationally, 50% of the working population works in small businesses, and 65% of new jobs are created by small businesses. Creating jobs for Oaklanders includes creating pathways to self-employment. We can grow a large part of our economy from the bottom up with the right kind of City support. The City needs to invest and protect small businesses by establishing a one-stop shop for all permitting for small businesses, exploring zones where we limit big chain stores from displacing our small mom-and-pop stores, and promoting the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit that can save small businesses money.
- 2. High Tech Highway to Oakland. With our seat as a major Bay Area city, our diversity and cultural offerings, and our ideal location with an international port connected to major transit corridors, Oakland is poised to boom with high tech job growth in the coming years. Oakland, like the rest of the United States, is far behind many countries in the development of its broadband technology. Oakland could move ahead of other cities as a preferred location for startup Internet businesses by following the lead of Chattanooga, Tennessee: installing our own broadband network and establishing a municipal Internet Service Provider.
- 3. Green Industries. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity for Oakland to be a leader in clean energy, solar financing, and green manufacturing. The City should partner with businesses and nonprofit organizations to become 100% powered by solar energy. We can achieve this by using the City’s bonding authority and long-term leases tied to homeowners’ property tax bills to install solar panels throughout the City. We will train hundreds of Oakland residents to be installers, and create both traditional businesses and new cooperatives to build and install panels.
As a piece of our needed economic revitalization, Dan Siegel supports building, without public funds, a waterfront stadium for the Oakland A’s. The new stadium would create jobs for Oaklanders and give the waterfront and surrounding neighborhoods the kind of real long-term investments that we need.
Oakland needs to do a much better job at helping businesses navigate through the current bureaucracy. Our city does not have the best reputation among entrepreneurs trying to start a new business. We need to be proactive and look to out-of-the-box solutions in order to spur innovation.