Oakland small businesses consider business tax boycott as efforts to recall mayor ramp up

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Sunday, March 10, 2024
Oakland small businesses consider business tax boycott
Oakland small businesses are considering a tax boycott due to the city's unsolved issues, just as recall efforts for Mayor Sheng Thao are ramping up.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Saturday afternoon, the organization Oakland United To Recall Sheng Thao, or OUST, held a small rally to update the community on where they are in the recall process. It needs to collect 25,000 signatures by July to get the recall on the November ballot. So far, the organization has gathered 13,000 signatures.

"We are here because Oakland deserves better than what we have been receiving," former Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte told the small crowd to the loud cheers. "You don't hear (Mayor Thao supporters) talking about what a great job she is doing as mayor."

The mayor's firing of Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong and missing a deadline for millions of dollars in state funding to tackle retail theft are among the top concerns.

"The real question is: What has she done to make things better for Oakland? What has she done? She has not done anything," says Harbin-Forte, who also goes by Judge Brenda.

RELATED: Recall campaign of Oakland Mayor Thao officially launched with notice of intent sent

The effort to recall Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao officially got underway on Saturday when a notice of intent was sent via certified mail to the mayor.

Judge Brenda acknowledges that Oakland has been struggling with many socio-economics issues since before Thao took office. But she adds that the mayor has had a year to come up with her own solutions.

"What are you doing for East Oakland? If you look at what is going on out there, what are you doing about that? So, she needs to go, because she doesn't have a vision for Oakland," Judge Brenda said.

Thao wasn't available for an interview, but in a written statement to ABC7 News, she writes: "My focus is fighting for a safer, more affordable, and more prosperous Oakland. I ask all Oaklanders to help me achieve that vision with hope and collaboration and push aside fear and division."

MORE: Chaos erupts at Oakland news conference as Mayor Thao announces new grant

Meanwhile, Jose Ortiz, co-owner of La Perla restaurant in Oakland, is calling for a business tax boycott.

"We need police officers. You can say we have 713 police officers. My questions is, where are they? I don't see them," Ortiz said.

He says he is discussing the idea with lawyers about the legality of tax boycott. Ortiz doesn't support the recall of Mayor Thao but raises many of the same concerns the recall campaign is trying to address. He says small businesses need to send a message to city hall.

"I want service. I want police officers to patrol in the streets of Oakland. I want the streets to be more clean. I want the homeless (issue) to be finished. That has been dragging for years," Ortiz said.

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