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November 6, 2018 — California General Election
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City of OaklandCandidate for City Council, District 4

Photo of Pam Harris

Pam Harris

Non-Profit Finance Professional
9,960 votes (45.9%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Shelter and basic services for all who need them.
  • A living wage, union jobs, and economic opportunities for all.
  • A city where everyone who wants to live here can afford to be here.



Profession:Nonprofit Finance Professional
Accounting Consultant, Self Employed (2002–current)
Producer & Filmmaker, Self Employed (2014–current)
Executive Director, Iris Films (2010–current)
Assembly Level Delegate, California Democratic Party — Elected position (2017–current)
Fulbright Grantee, US Department of State (2012–2013)
Managing Director, Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media (2011–2012)


UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism Masters, Journalism (2007)
Vassar College Bachelor of Arts, Sociology (1992)

Community Activities

Assembly District 18 Delegate, California Democratic Party (2017–current)
Board Member, East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club (2017–2017)


I am a Fulbright alumna and an Ivy League-educated woman, who holds a masters degree from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. That said, these degrees are not what make me uniquely qualified to be Oakland’s next D4 council member. My dedication to community and service is what qualifies me to contribute to the Oakland City Council. When I graduated from Vassar College—the first in my family to graduate from college—and my classmates went to work for Wall Street, I went to work with people living with physical and developmental disabilities. I’ve served in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors, with increasing levels of leadership. I’ve worked in the areas of healthcare, affordable housing, and the arts. I currently work as a consultant with non-profit organizations to provide support in financial management including budget development, budget oversight, and fiscal planning.

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (9)

  • Sierra Club
  • Oakland Police Officers Association
  • Transport Oakland
  • Oakland Rising Action (#3 Ranking)
  • Planned Parenthood (#2 Ranking)
  • Block by Block Organizing Network (#3 Ranking)
  • East Bay Young Democrats (#2 Ranking)
  • John George Democratic Club (#2 Ranking)
  • Oakland Chamber of Commerce (#3 Ranking)

Elected Officials (17)

  • Hon. Dave Jones — California Insurance Commissioner
  • Hon. Rob Bonta — Assemblymember, California State Assembly District 18
  • Hon. Libby Schaaf — Mayor, City of Oakland (#2)
  • Hon. Annie Campbell Washington — Councilmember, City of Oakland, District 4
  • Hon. Dan Kalb — Councilmember, City of Oakland, District 1 (#2)
  • Hon. Amber Childress — Trustee, Alameda County Board of Education
  • Hon. Linda Handey — Trustee, Peralta Community College
  • Hon. John Bauters — Mayor, City of Emeryville
  • Hon. Lori Droste — Councilmember, City of Berkeley
  • Hon. Kate Harrison — Councilmember, City of Berkeley
  • Hon. Andy Kelley — Commissioner, Alameda County Planning Commission
  • Hon. Dianne Martinez — Councilmember, City of Emeryville
  • Hon. Jim Oddie — Councilmember, City of Alameda
  • Hon. Rebecca Saltzman — President, BART Board of Directors
  • Hon. Robert Raburn — Trustee, BART Board of Directors & Boardmember, Dimond Improvement District
  • Hon. Kriss Worthington — Councilmember, City of Berkeley
  • Hon. Scott Donahue — Councilmember, City of Emeryville

Individuals (20)

  • Mike Katz-Lacabe — San Leandro School Board Trustee (retired)/California Democratic Party Delegate, Assembly District 18
  • Sean Dugar — California Democratic Party Delegate/Executive Board Member, Assembly District 18
  • Daraka Larimore-Hall — Vice Chair, California Democratic Party
  • Hon. Susie Shannon — President/Commissioner, City of Los Angeles Health Commission & DNC Member
  • Hon. Rocky Fernandez — Regional Director, California Democratic Party
  • Hon. Kathy Neal — Corresponding Secretary, Alameda County Democratic Party
  • Carter Lavin — California Democratic Party Delegate, Assembly District 18
  • Mike Lee — California Democratic Party Delegate, Assembly District 18
  • Nick Resnick — President, Stonewall Democratic Club
  • Ellie Casson — California Democratic Party Delegate, Assembly District 18
  • Mara Schechter — California Democratic Party Delegate, Assembly District 18
  • Brendalynn Goodall — Past President, Stonewall Democratic Club
  • Jonathan Bair — Former Chair, City of Oakland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
  • Dr. Janet L Holmgren — President Emerita, Mills College
  • Kathleen Archambeau — Author
  • Kathleen Caldwell — Owner, A Great Good Place for Books
  • Glen Li — Owner, Blu Moon Lounge
  • Jeff Perlstein — Owner, SoleSpace
  • Isela and Richard Santana — Owners, Cafe Santana Roasting Company
  • Luan Stauss — Owner, Laurel Bookstore

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of Oakland (2)

Which of the local Oakland ballot measures do you think is the most critical and why? 1) Eviction controls, 2) Tax on vacant property, 3)  Increased/graduated real estate transfer tax, 4) Cannabis tax, 5) Hotel wages & work requirements, 6) Children’s Initiative.
Answer from Pam Harris:

I support all of our local ballot measures. Each represents an important protection or a funding stream to help protect vulnerable populations, provide necessary services, and increase our quality of life.


Oakland is struggling with a massive homelessness and housing affordability problem. We must do all that we can to preserve our stock of affordable housing and create revenue streams to address the needs of our unhoused residents. For this reason, I believe that Measure Y, which will help to prevent the displacement of renters and Measure W, which fights blight and brings in additional revenue for homelessness services and illegal dumping are the most critical local ballot measures.


What can you do as a City Council member to address the issue of homelessness in Oakland?
Answer from Pam Harris:

I got involved in this race because I came across the body of a dead homeless man on our streets. People are dying cold and unsheltered on our streets, and we have not invested in housing and infrastructure in the way that’s needed. We must stop this crisis before it begins. All options should be on the table. We should be working with the state to develop rental assistance similar to unemployment assistance for those facing rent increases or un/underemployment.

We also need to do more here to support anti-eviction resources for tenants - including robustly investing in and making widely available tenant rights services. Next, we need to stop criminalizing our homeless neighbors. Short-term, this means we need to set up more dedicated camp areas, open public buildings and vacant school sites, allow for faith institutions to open their properties to those living in cars and RV’s, and work with our homeless neighbors and allies to ensure everyone has access to safe housing where they are free from harassment by others. We need to rethink the way we interact with homeless individuals and provide the services they need. I believe our budget should be an expression of our values, and an affirmation of our common humanity. Although the Council has taken steps to provide funding for the homeless and under-housed in our city, we still need to look at how we are spending those dollars. Does it make sense for three officers to respond to a merchant call about a mentally ill homeless person sleeping in a doorway, or can we hire a mental illness/homeless caseworker at a lower cost, freeing our officers to do the safety work that’s so desperately needed?


Long-term, we must ensure we as a city are protecting and rehabbing SRO’s, using public lands for public benefit, and above all else focusing on building affordable housing across the city.

Who gave money to this candidate?

To see who is funding campaigns in Oakland, visit Open Disclosure Oakland.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Oakland is a beacon of progressive values, but we have a lot of work to do to make that a reality for everyone. Earlier this year I came across the body of a man who died cold and unsheltered on our streets. I was shaken to my core and searched for a way to redouble my efforts at service and activism. I’m running for City Council because I’m committed to dignity, equity, and compassion for all Oaklanders. As your councilmember, I’ll use my decades of nonprofit fiscal management experience to tackle our financial problems and ensure that our city budget reflects our shared values. I’m not a City Hall insider or beholden to any faction, I’ll never forget who I work for: YOU. Together, let’s build an Oakland that’s accountable to the people and works for everyone. I’d be honored to have your 1st, 2nd or 3rd ranked vote.

Videos (1)

— October 7, 2018 Pamela Harris for Oakland City Council 2018

Pam Harris describes the values that generations of her family have instilled in her and how those values of dignity, equity and compassion will benefit all residents of Oakland.

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