Hundreds of volunteers have supported Desley’s quality of life initiative by volunteering at monthly community cleanups; building and renovating parks; building new community connections through events; and / or focused on holding both the city and negligent property owners accountable to serve seniors, families and the youth of our District.
Desley is committed to improving the quality of life for the residents in her District and the city of Oakland. To that end, she has dedicated her energies to improving public safety, increasing economic development, improving the physical environment of District 6, opening new and safe community gathering places, and advocating on behalf of children and youth.
Millsmont Farmers Market
For two years, Desley brought a farmers market her community to serve hundreds of families and seniors each Saturday during the Summer. The event built on her vision to bring healthy food and a safe environment to build stronger community and connections for her diverse community.
Parks and Community Center Initiative
It has been a busy year for Desley’s parks and community centers initiative.
Desley spearheaded volunteer efforts to redesign Burkhalter and Concordia Parks with community partners like Kaboom, Morgan Stanley and the Disney Company. She also helped opened Walnut Plaza as a new community space which was created out of a busy intersection.
Together, the Rainbow community and Desley worked hard and pushed harder to win a big victory in 2018 to secure the investment and then immediately breaking ground in March to guarantee families, youth and seniors have a wonderful new Rainbow Recreation Center!
This nearly $15 million brand new facility will feature numerous upgrades including two multipurpose rooms, an open lobby space that can be rented out, a computer room, a kitchen that can accommodate cooking classes and office space! We also just won a $200,000 grant to refurbish the outdoor basketball courts.
I'm excited to bring this win back to the East Oakland community. This is a center our children and our community can be safe in and proud of.
Desley’s Community Sponsored Events
With limited resources, Desley has creatively partnered with community groups and volunteers to create regular events throughout the year to build community while investing in children, families and seniors.
A few highlights from the last year include:
Annual Easter Extravaganza: Egg hunt, bike giveaway, signup for afterschool programs and more. This was the 16th year and saw participation from over 20 local groups and 300 children to sign up for new skills, make friends, and become more invested in our community.
Free Washing Machines: Desley partnered with Mothers Against Poverty to make sure families have access to clean clothes by installing free washing machines at local schools, churches, and rec centers.
Bi-Monthly Free Legal Clinic: Desley partnered with the Charles Houston Bar Association to provide free legal help every to her district every other month.
Annual Picnic with Damian Lillard; she hosts a monthly food distribution program for needy families; annual concerts in the park; an annual Holiday party for kids; and annual Thanksgiving Dinner Baskets for 1000 needy families.
First Saturday Volunteer Cleanups and Abandoned Waste Pilot Program:
Desley sponsors a monthly volunteer clean up where she spends half a day each first Saturday to clean up streets in her district. She also pushed for months to advocate for program to combat abandoned waste, finally launching a pilot program to target on a daily basis and immediately cleaning up abandoned waste hot spots causing blight in our beautiful city.
Community safety includes safe streets from traffic and violence and Desley has been a leader in demanding community safety and winning investment in safe intersections.
Years ago, Desley was a leading advocate for community policing. She has researched and borrowed different community building and accountability programs from other cities including the living room conversation model from Seattle.
She has also been a leader in bringing greater accountability to the Oakland Police Department following the various scandals.
Her vision is to work with OPD to hire more Oaklanders; to build real partnerships with the Oakland community, and to ensure that all communities are treated with dignity and respect.
Highlights from Desley’s past accomplishments to a better quality of life for her constituents include:
Desley had to fight hard to win the development of a new state of the art teen center in central-east Oakland.
Desley is the only Council Member to successfully apply for and bring 6 Kaboom grants to her District building play structures, skateboard parks, football fields and a pocket park.
She has led on many public safety initiatives including the Oakland Police Department's (OPD) Crime Analysis and Mapping Project which led to increased funding for Crime Analysts positions within OPD.
When the stand-alone police radio system was failing, she made sure OPD moved to the Regional EBRCSA system.
Desley successfully secured funding to get Shot Spotter reactivated in Oakland and then secured funding for the program's expansion throughout the flatlands of Oakland. She took it a step further by building a successful partnership between OPD and the Oakland Housing Authority Police Department on Shot Spotter -- the first such partnership in the country.
She initiated and successfully secured Council approval which established the LED Lighting program to improve public safety by changing and improving the quality of 30,000 street lights across the City.
One primary effort of Desley’s has been the revitalization of District 6's neighborhoods and commercial corridors: She facilitated the completion of the $25 million MacArthur under grounding project. She also advocated for, secured funding for, and completed the 66th Avenue Streetscape and the MacArthur Streetscape projects. She also provided leadership and secured funding for Foothill Streetscape project which is now completed. Under Desley’s leadership land was acquired to restore District 6's Business hub at Seminary and Foothill home of the new Walgreens, It’s a Grind Coffee Shop, Metro store and more.
Desley worked w/ community to respond to blighted property across the city in the wake of the foreclosure crisis by introducing and passing the Vacant Property Registration Ordinance (VPRO) to fine Banks $1,000 per day for each day they failed to maintain and clean their vacant properties. Money generated from the ordinance helped to fund critical programs that helped to keep Oaklanders in their homes.
When Banks began selling their housing stock, they were purchased by private investors and, like the Banks, they too were leaving their properties unmaintained and blighted. Following VPRO, Desley then helped introduce and pass the Vacant Property Speculator Registry, law to require speculators to register their properties with the city and enable the city to track exactly who was buying properties in Oakland as a way to hold owners accountable to the conditions of their properties.
Desley has worked tirelessly w/ community members and the union representing city workers to stop Illegal Dumping by securing additional funding to re-hire staff at public works, laid off between 2006-2011 during the height of the financial crisis. Additionally, she has worked to change city protocols from purely complaint based to proactive street cleaning.
She has been and continues to be a leading voice who helped secure additional illegal dumping crews in the last budget cycle.
Desley sponsored the bulky dumpster amnesty program, which allowed participants to dispose of their bulky items for free with no questions asked.
She has also been a champion to fix badly damaged roads in Oakland's predominantly Black & Latinx flatland communities by securing budget line items that redirected resources to these long neglected communities.