As someone who's worked for or been involved with progressive, grassroots organizing groups for the past ten years, I know that sending random letters like this won't solve alll our social problems, but it's a start. And it makes me feel better. And hopefully someone in Dellums' office will respond to me and tell me what resources the City of Oakland already has to prepare its residents for the next Big Earthquake.
I encourage you all to write similar letters to your city council representatives, to Dellums, etc. And soon I"ll try to pull folks together for a more organized effort to prepare ourselves and our beloved City.
emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Mayor Dellums-
Let me first say that I am pleased and proud of your actions regarding the current Waste Management lockout of our garbage workers. I know that your efforts and those of other stakeholders will ensure that everyone in our city regardless of income level, race or neighborhood will receive the garbage pickup service we are entitled to.
I am writing to you because I know that one of the reasons you ran for Mayor of Oakland was because you wanted to 'save' Oakland from the fate that the great city of New Orleans faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina--to save our city from the inevitable fate that, as a 'minority majority', largely African-
American city, Oakland would someday end up struggling to survive after a huge natural disaster.
The small but still shocking earthquake last night at 4:42am was just one of Mother Nature's reminders to us that we have a long way to go to ensure that Oakland is prepared for 'The Big One'--the 7.0+ earthquake that is predicted to hit the Hayward Fault sometime over the next 30 years.
It's clear to me that Oakland--although we may have some important resources to prepare our residents for this disaster--is far from being ready to potentially shelter, feed, and provide medical care for thousands of injured people if a large quake does strike. Oaklanders are a resourceful and community-oriented folk; if we weren't we wouldn't have been able to elect you our Mayor. But we need the resources, strategic thinking, infrastructure and coordination of our City government to take us from being good neighbors to each other to being able to take care of each other when the next big disaster strikes.
I don't want to stand aside and wait until the Big One happens for us to find out that our City can't take care of its people. And I hope that you don't want to wait either. Disaster preparedness should be a major priority of your administration, for being prepared is all we can do to protect ourselves against the potential loss of many hundreds or even thousands of lives during a major temblor.
Please let me know if there are city- or regional-government initiated efforts to address our city's preparedness. I am willing to organize in my neighborhood and beyond to help make sure that Oaklanders have the infrastructure we need to survive the Big One.