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URGENT ACTION NEEDED: Keep Democracy Dollars on Track for 2026

Updated: Jun 11


by Gail Wallace, President/Action Committee Chair


Please write to Oakland’s City Council members and Mayor to ask that two items be included in the budget:

  • Full funding to develop the software platform that will be necessary to run the program in 2026

  • Funding for a half-time position to staff adequate preparation.


This budgeting will be discussed  tomorrow, June 12th. Public officials need to hear from you before then.


BACKGROUND: The Oakland League in coalition advocated for game changing campaign finance legislation to improve the campaign finance situation in Oakland.  Currently, more than half of candidates’ money comes from sources outside the city and 93% of contributions coming from Oakland is donated by less than 1% of Oaklanders.

74% of Oakland voters responded by passing the Fair Elections Act in 2022. 


This program will bring Democracy Dollars - vouchers that all Oakland residents will be able to use to support their candidates and that will reduce any candidate’s need to be dependent on few or deep-pocketed donors. The program will send four Democracy Dollars vouchers to every adult resident of the city that they can donate to city council and school board candidates. The point is to turn every household into a potential donor household --changing who candidates target, campaign to, and listen to. We want candidates to be accountable to the community, and for community candidates to have a chance to run and win.


Even though implementation of Democracy Dollars has been delayed until 2026, we need initial funding NOW to put in place the software and staffing that will enable a launch in 2026.


The size and scope of the launch can be tailored to the budget conditions in 2025, but what is URGENTLY needed now is the funding we’ve described. The next budget cycle will be too late to fund this preparatory work.

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SAMPLE EMAIL MESSAGE you can cut and paste and send to the Mayor and your Council member:


Dear Mayor/Council Member(s): 

I urge you to include in the current budget cycle the funds the Public Ethics Commission has identified as necessary to be ready for a launch of the Democracy Dollars program in 2026:

  • Full funding for the software platform that will be necessary to run the program in 2026

  • Funding for a half-time position to staff adequate preparation.

I want to see an initial Democracy Dollars program launch in 2026. Please fund what is necessary to make that feasible.

Sincerely,

Name (Resident District #)

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EMAIL ADDRESSES: 



D1: Dan Kalb: dkalb@oaklandca.gov

D2: Nikki Bas: nfbas@oaklandca.gov

D3 Carroll Fife: District3@oaklandca.gov

D4 Janani Ramachandran: District4@oaklandca.gov

D5 Noel Gallo: Ngallo@oaklandca.gov

D6 Kevin Jenkins: District6@oaklandca.gov

At Large: Rebecca Kaplan: atlarge@oaklandca.gov




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