Eugene must respond urgently to our housing crisis. People can't afford to live where they are working. The cost of living has grown higher than the wages earned through work. Isiah believes in:
- Ending Rental Housing Discrimination. Background checks eliminated except in cases of sexual/egregious crimes.
- Income based affordable housing, Non limited to single or multi families.
- Increasing the availability of affordable housing stock.
- Providing outreach to connect people with services and housing.
- Fostering the development of partnerships to address community need.
- Increasing the affordability of housing (e.g. rent subsidies, mortgages).
- Supporting people to maintain housing and integrate housing with other services.
Whether a Eugenean is housed or not, we can all benefit from increased opportunity and facilities that can house, rehabilitate, treat, feed and care for our people that are forced on the streets of Lane County. Covid-19 hit the economy hard and we know it hit the unhoused/homeless community harder. We must strategize in working with all eight city council wards to protect our communities in times of need.
We are home to 2,200 unhoused people here in Lane County, which is 57 of every 10,000 people. The State of Oregon is rank 7th in homeless population in the US. We must:
- Work with city council to establish and build lower barrier shelters open 24/7, allowing immediate access.
- Eliminate restrictions hindering stay based off sobriety, income and service abilities. People in need should be able to get help regardless of these opportunities, and even if they do not have family members to help them meet basic needs.
- Focus on rehabilitation services provided with essential resources, by having a housing-focused rapid exit service to assist with permanent housing options as quickly as possible. Investing in the long-term success of people experiencing homelessness is investing in the well-being of Eugene.
Isiah knows that the war on drugs has failed in its stated goals. These policies have not prevented the spread of drugs, but they have contributed to mass incarceration and criminalization of folks all throughout Lane County.
A criminal conviction creates a barrier to securing steady employment, and those with felony drug convictions are disqualified from public assistance and public housing in many areas. In addition, allocating public resources to punitive programs comes at the expense of investments in crime prevention and drug treatment programs. Because of their higher rates of incarceration and poverty, people of color are disproportionately affected by these policy choices. Isiah is committed to:
- Fully funding Crisis response teams. Working hand-in-hand to formulate a strategic plan through the city budget, to reduce turnover and create more jobs.
- Creating a budget the can facilitate or house the lower wage communities affected directly by the harshest ramifications of current policy. Working against the issues of drug abuse and uninformed/untrained officials in mental health, which contribute to incarceration.
Isiah recognizes what so many of us in Eugene are reckoning with: the status quo is not working. Isiah is already an appointed member of the City of Eugene task force for police reform, and is a big supporter of the Justice in Policing Act. This act includes the following:
- Prioritize respecting and protecting human life and ensuring safety for all.
- Provide all officers with training to mitigate uses of force.
- Use-of-force policies and trainings should require officers to use force only when there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury (to themselves or others), and to use the least amount of force necessary. Policies should prioritize and de-escalation techniques, which should be described in detail.
- Establish a duty to intervene and provide medical assistance.
- Ensure accountability.
- Establish reporting requirements.
- Limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement.
- Improve the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and create a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments.
- Establishing public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches. These local commissions would operate similar to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.
Carbon net Zero by 2040
- Purchasing and installing solar panels on all city buildings, and purchasing only green power when supplemental electricity is needed.
- Establish a community panel to identify ways to support residents and business pursuits of green energy sources.
- Install a solar “car port” atop all city owned parking structures. The power would supply city building and other business locations in the downtown area.
- Close streets (Broadway between Willamette & Olive) so that the Eugene Downtown mall can be strengthened and made safer. Turn this into permanent open space for additional businesses and community activities.
- Install tamper resistant cigarette receptacles to capture and recycle cigarette waste around the no smoking zones in down town, and at all bar locations in downtown area.
- Put in a plan to replace all city vehicles (combustible engine) with electric vehicles. These vehicles would be charged via solar charge stations (plan to install charge stations would be similar to that of the car port on city parking garages).
- Support LTDs efforts to increase the number of electric busses, and install solar chargers atop Eugene Station to charge electric busses, and the Eugene Station itself.
- Require large multimillion dollar companies to phase out combustible engines (even non-profits).
- Work will all stakeholders to improve community education on what is and is not recyclable curbside. Identify issues with current materials accepted, and work to improve the over quality of curbside commingle recycling.
- Work with stakeholders to promote solutions for plastic recycling, and methods to reduce plastic pollution that enters our waterways, sits in our parks and open spaces, and litters the roadside of every street in Eugene.
- Reinstate waste reduction ordinances and enforce them, with fines. Money can be used to support climate change work.
Oregon’s unusual method for calculating pensions tends to generate lavish payouts.
For decades, PERS calculated pensions two different ways, and retirees could choose whichever produced the bigger numbers. The first way was similar to what most states do, basing pensions on each worker’s final salary and years of service. But Oregon’s lawmakers included a golden touch, redefining “salary” to include remuneration from any source.
Businesses with low profit margins, which presumably are least able to pay higher tax, perversely pay higher effective tax rates than businesses with high margins. This is harmful to new businesses.
Some rich business owners are paying a lower tax rate than their employees.
In order to raise tax rates on the rich and big corporations to fund Oregon’s schools, three-fifths of each chamber of the legislature must agree. In other words, a minority of lawmakers can block the will of the majority. As Mayor, Isiah would advocate for a fairer middle class-friendly tax code, at both the city and state level.