Matt Hummel, Candidate for Oakland City Council At Large

 

MattPicMatt Hummel is the Chair of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Learn more about him at http://www.mattatlarge.com/

QUESTIONS

1 –  What do you think should be Oakland’s response to the lack of housing stock? Do you support having  a moratorium of any kind on rent increases,  stronger rent control measures, restrictions on sales to foreign nationals? Please elaborate.

We need a 10k plan of truly affordable housing. The city must leverage its land and holdings to make this happen. Rent increase moratoriums are necessary but miss the point a bit. Our rents as they stand are too high to be sustainable, and suck all of the wealth out of the city. I think it is important to recognize the issue isn’t where the money comes from, but that money is coming from outside our local economy and overwhelms it. The people of Oakland deserve better than big money (wherever it come from) playing Monopoly with our whole city.

I propose a municipal bank where our city deposits can finance local initiatives, instead of whatever Wells Fargo invests in. We could refinance our citizens home and business loans and liberate the working poor from check cashing scams.

2 – Do you support the measure creating a Police Commission that’s on the November ballot? What changes would you have made to it? What do you propose the City Council do to address the systemic issues of police brutality and misconduct?

I do support the ballot measure. We need to fix the arbitration problem, and I will fight to change the next police contract to drop arbitration when prosecuting civil rights violations. The city must insure recommendations of the Stanford study (SPARQ) on OPD be followed to the letter. We need to reform the whole way we are policed and punished. Restorative justice is the filter we need to look through. Our drug policies must be in the mold of harm reduction, not police action. We must stop all broken window strategies, except when it means helping a kid to fix a window they broke.

3 –  What do you propose to do to address issues of gangs, street violence and drug addiction in Oakland?

Employ ideas such as restorative justice, robust mental health services, safe accessible outlets for youth to gather, policing reform, secure homes, harm reduction, job skills training, youth problem solving workshops and PTSD help.

4 –  How do you propose Oakland should respond to formerly incarcerated citizens re-entering the community? What will you do to support community-based support services for formerly incarcerated citizens?

We must celebrate the return of our family members back into the fold. The only hope for any of us that we are not solely identified with our worst day and that it is possible to do the work towards making amends. Restorative justice is the key, not prison, parole and probation. When people return from prison I would love to have similar ceremonies as when people get their naturalized citizenship. There needs to be jobs and homes ready for them when they return after paying their debts. State sanctioned killing such as the death penalty is thoroughly immoral, but keeping our brothers and sisters alienated from their own citizenship is its own kind of death.

5 – Do you support a sales tax on soft drinks? What’s your general view about sales taxes?

I support a sales tax on soft drinks. Sugar water is subsidized poison. Generally I consider sales taxes regressive and prefer not to raise them. Changes in sales taxes only go one way and that way is up.

6 – How do you propose Oakland address the causes and effects of climate change? Do you have specific policy recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Berkeley? How do you propose it prepare for sea level rises?

I worked hard getting California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard passed. Through one on one conversations I generated over 700 hand written letters from constituents in Orange County. Those letters stopped a committee block and allowed California to be the first with a RPS and a beacon the world copied. I would like for Oakland as well as the Bay Area, to be 100% reviewable by at least 2045 but preferably sooner.

Wetland restoration and a healthy Delta will mitigate some effects, but we need to recognize when spending millions on a waterfront developments whether housing or a stadium, the water is rising.

7 – Have you ever been accused of any impropriety related to your serving in a governmental position? Please describe what took place.  How do you think the Oakland City Council should address impropriety or appearance of impropriety by its members?

I haven’t been accused of any impropriety.

Impropriety or the appearance of impropriety is probably is the biggest problem we have as citizens in relation to our city.

The council, like the police, must be held to a higher standard. Otherwise good people get alienated from joining the job of fixing Oakland. They want nothing to do with city hall, they perceive that the game is rigged. Unfortunately often it’s true. Just look at how many candidates accepted laundered campaign contributions from the last Mayoral race. Not one candidate was held accountable.

8  – Can you share an instance where you have shown moral courage? (i.e. standing up for your values in the face of opposition or other negative consequences).

Currently as Chair of Oakland’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission I have been accused of neglecting equity in relation to how permits are given for cannabis production in Oakland.

Originally the city wanted to give permits to only the few existing dispensaries and no one else. Recognizing the inherent exclusivity of their plan we fought to open the process to everyone. For two years we held public meetings where we hashed out every bit, always first with the disenfranchised in our minds. We included strong local hire requirements, and made sure it would be easy for anyone to get a permit that wanted one, whether big or small. We made nonviolent police records became irrelevant to vetting process.

Unfortunately, Council Member Brooks said that we didn’t do enough and added at the last minute with no public input, what she called, an equity amendment. It mandated that for every permit the city gives there must be first a permit from people who live in part of her and Larry Reid’s districts. Instead of incentives to help people, they chose to help a few by hurting the rest. The amendment amounts to a limit on permits locking out many communities affected by the drug war. My commission and the cannabis community have worked overtime to fix the bad consequences from her ill-conceived amendment.  Our attempts to include West Oakland and Fruitvale have been castigated as racist policy by Members Reid and Brooks. I’m beholden to the people and to the truth even when I know some may use my actions to imbue false character narratives.

Hopefully our message can be heard well enough so that all parties and the public at large can truly know my heart and work to expand and strengthen the equity amendments to fulfill their purported goals.

9 – How many individuals have contributed to your campaign?  Do you or your campaign have a financial relationship with a member of the ACDCC? Who and in what capacity?

Through years of street level work I have been blessed to have a large network of friends and compatriots. My time on the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, has also been fruitful, and many are grateful for the leadership of our commission fighting to make sure people aren’t left out of the so called “green rush”. Our campaign strategy employs methods to direct cash to empowering our supporters instead of the typical campaign that’s solely mailers, phone banking and canvassing. We are being consulted by Uprise Campaigns (uprise.org). It’s a strategy that’s reduces the power of money in politics. They are helping us, the Zephyr Teachout campaign and two other congressional campaigns. We believe that transparency in campaign finance is a key to reintegrating our fellow citizens into the political process and knowing who butter who’s bread.

Our campaign has no financial ties to ACDCC.

10 – Are you running as a Berniecrat?

I am running as Berniecrat to a point. I walked precincts for Bernies’ campaign, but this is a nonpartisan position and national party politics may be a little to macro for Oakland at this time. I feel the bern, as does our campaign. We are absolutely a progression of that movement. In fact, we gathered campaign supplies for our campaign from Bernie’s Oakland headquarters when they shut down. (Tables, clipboards, printers, paper, and pens)

When that bird landed on that podium…it still brings tears.

 

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