OAKLAND — After living in the city of Oakland for over 20 years, and building a career as an community organizer — Fil-Am Nikki Fortunato Bas felt it was time to represent her home and her community.
This past November, Bas became the first Filipino and first Filipina-American to ever win a seat on the city council of Oakland.
She represents Oakland’s District Two — which is home to a large Asian-Pacific-Islander community.
“The Filipino population isn’t as quite as large as say Alameda or Daly City but it’s also due time because there is a rich history of Filipino activism here.”
Bas says that housing is an ever-growing concern for residents of the Bay Area — which is why she is treating housing as a human right.
“We approved a moratorium on rent increases on occupied duplexes and triplexes that will help renters while the city council looks at a longer term policy.”
She is exploring ideas to keep Oakland’s workers, especially city workers and teachers, in the city.
“There’s a lot of things we could be doing here including using public land to create housing, including housing for teachers and making sure that when developers are building we’re ensuring there are community benefits that include housing as well as affordable commercial space for small businesses.”
Bas is also looking to bridge better relationships between the community and the police.
“Focusing on prevention, building community will over time help build safety and I also think we need to hold the police accountable. So we have an independent police commission here in Oakland which really has to be empowered and also have the resources to carry out the work voters approved.”
Other issues Bas hopes to address during her time on the city council include proving some type of emergency housing for the homeless and making sure the city’s budget meets the community needs.