Asm. Mia Bonta tours Oakland Chinatown to meet business owners ahead of LNY Parade

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Friday, February 16, 2024
Asm. Mia Bonta tours Oakland Chinatown ahead of LNY Parade
California Assemblymember Mia Bonta toured Oakland's Chinatown on Thursday to meet small business owners ahead of the Lunar New Year Parade.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A dragon procession guided California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta through Oakland's Chinatown on her visit ahead of Sunday's Lunar New Year Parade.

"It is important for everybody to know that the state is pulling for them, pulling for Oakland, and for the AAPI community to know that we are standing with them," says Bonta, who represents Oakland.

She knows the challenges Chinatown faces. Thursday's visit was chance to meet directly with those who work and live in the community

MORE: Violent robbery prompts Oakland Chinatown merchants to ask for more reporting, police foot patrols

"That way we feel they care about the community. They have to come in and see what's going on. And find solutions to help solve the problems," says Howard Lee, branch manager of Metropolitan Bank.

Oakland has seen a spike in crime, but Gigi Ma, manager at Gold Medal Restaurant, says just the perception that Oakland is violent is also hurting business. She believes Bonta's visit can help change that, especially ahead of Sunday's parade.

"My business is down, almost 20%. So I know this is very serious. I want (my business) to survive," says Ma. "A lot of people, when they hear about Oakland, they are kind of scared to come by. That's why we need to police support, the mayor's support and all the representatives support."

VIDEO: Are Oakland's Chinatown safety measures working? Here's what we uncovered

Two years ago, multiple community safety efforts were launched in Oakland's Chinatown and now it appears those efforts may be paying off.

Bonta was joined by Oakland police officers, including Chinatown liaison officer Wesley Huynh and representatives from the Alameda County District Attorney and sheriff's office.

Community leaders hope the interaction with small business owners will highlight first-hand the needs on the ground. And hopefully direct more resources towards solutions.

"Business reimbursement. Crime-stricken business owners who got their business broken into. Reimbursement for the loss all this crime that happened around them," says Stewart Chan with the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council

Oakland's Lunar New Year Parade begins on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Wilma Chan Park.

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