Oakland, CA

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Promises Universal Income, Residents Go 'Huh?'



Photo by Wesley Johnson on Unsplash

This story is a fiction piece, and it was created from my imagination.

On Monday, March 22, local news outlets announced Mayor Libby Schaaf would be discussing guaranteed monthly income for Oakland residents. Which, believe it or not, is not fictional news!

The basic universal income pilot program was initially introduced in Stockton back in 2020, where 125 residents were given $500 per month. Again, this is real life.

Some would call this a bunch of socialism, while others would say this is a first step in addressing systemic racial disparities and inequities in our country.

This fictional news source, while in complete agreement with the latter group of people, must stick to the jokes, and so we’ll be moving in a completely fictional direction for the rest of this article.

Again, we are in support of this development!

Oakland Residents Go “Huh?”

“What are the chances we’d actually get help after living in this city for decades, nearly getting pushed out due to gentrification and $10 pints of ice cream, and nearly getting eaten by the trash monsters?” One local resident said.

In fact, many Oakland residents are confused—and elated, it’s true—about this development in community support.

Instead of focusing on who will get the checks and when, we’ll focus on what people in the various neighborhoods in Oakland think of this news, and how it effects the Bay Area’s reputation in California and the country and the world as a whole.

Here are their sound bites based on the neighborhood.

· Rockridge: “We know we’re not really Oakland, but thank you for including us.”

· Piedmont: “Pretty sure we’re not going to be included in this basic income deal, though hopefully folks at Mosswood Park get to partake in this. This isn’t very funny, but families live in those tents.”

· Temescal: “We’re where the $10 pints of ice cream are, and while they’re delicious, we truly don’t deserve any basic income.”

· Bushrod: “Underrated but a nice place to live. We’re glad to take the cash!”

· Santa Fe: “In exchange for checks each month we’ll help you fix up your bike. And maybe unfortunately your motorbike will get stolen as part of sideshow activities.”

· Grand Lake: “Where the sun always shines and probably nobody here is getting money.”

· Adams Point: “RIP Pak Ho. No further comment.”

· Lake Merritt Proper: “It’s raining money! Will swim for funds. Watch out for the aliens.”

· Laurel: “We’re hip, we’re in our mid-twenties, and we need the cash.”

· Eastmont: “We absolutely qualify and maybe there’ll be fewer stolen cars as a result.”

· Hawthorne: “www.niche.com, a website our residents are literally never on, gave us a D- for housing. Yet the median rent is still over $1,200 per month. Yes, we absolutely need the funds. Good God.”

· Old Town Oakland: “We really hope that Cambodian restaurant is still there. The pizza place on Washington is good too. More income so we can eat at these places, please.”

· Jack London Square: “We are the ghosts who live in the ghost town that is Jack London Square. Jack London’s ghost is also here, too. He would like funds to renovate his tiny cabin.”

· The Bottoms: “Walking distance to shops like Target they said, close to BART, they said. Please send cash so we can stay and keep gentrifiers at bay.”

It seems the response from Oakland residents is overwhelmingly positive even as some folks may still fall through the cracks. What do people in other parts of California think about this new development?

If this pilot is successful, the basic income could roll out in places beyond California’s golden shore.

Responses California-Wide

While Oakland represents only a tiny fraction of the state as a whole, including the state’s poverty, which one would like to believe is shared equally by all, which it’s not, other state residents certainly seem to have strong opinions about this change.

Many residents which they could attend the town hall meant to take place on Tuesday, March 23, but they’ll have to get their information secondhand, through funny News Break writers such as ourselves, who have only a tepid commitment to delivering factual news.

Other Californians, like those in Fresno, are in favor of the changes. Large immigrant populations anywhere in the state are in agreement that extra supports, especially during COVID-19, are necessary.

In slightly wealthier areas like our old stomping ground, Orange County, residents are less than enthused by this new development.

One Laguna Beach resident said it well: “We think people should work harder or something like that. Maybe pray, I don’t know.

“What is it people who need things do these days? Do they pray? Do they just retreat to their oceanic winter home? How are we supposed to know?”

This particular individual is not Elon Musk, nor are they a particularly well-known figure, just a fictional interviewee begging for some little deserved spotlight.

We'll ignore places other than the Bay Area, or even other than the East Bay for now, because we're proud to represent a region leading the pack in support for local residents.

In Conclusion

Overall, we’re excited to learn what Mayor Libby Schaaf has in store in her weekly town hall.

While we don’t expect mountains to be moved (Hey, President Biden, what happened to $50,000 of student loans being forgiven? Where did we land on that? Did we land anywhere? Are we waffling or waning? We’ll take a waffle any day, just saying) we do hope for greater measures that’ll help those most in need.

Oakland in general is a fantastic city mixing the privileged with the historically underprivileged with the simply historical, like the day the first Ace Hardware opened and the last Fry’s Electronics closed its doors.

Yes, it’s true, Fry’s is closing. Will Mayor Schaaf have some words of support for this tragic, lovingly themed brick-and-mortar closure?

Only time will tell. And we’re here for it.

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SF Bay Area (formerly OC) writer, mindfulness educator, and life coach. Passionate about public safety. Big fan of improv, funny lawn ornaments, and truthiness. IG: @bigsisterco | https://bigsister.co

Oakland, CA

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