OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — One East Bay city is considering an unconventional approach to helping the homeless that involves selling tickets to see the Golden State Warriors that are usually reserved for city officials.
When the Warriors kick off their final season at Oracle Arena Tuesday, each Oakland City Council member will each get two free tickets to the game. It’s a pricey and controversial perk.
On Monday, one council member said she has a solution to stop the perk and fight homelessness at the same time.
“We have had year after year of scandal and investigation into the free tickets that Oakland city officials receive,” said Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan.
She said she’s sick of the scandals surrounding free Warriors tickets. KPIX 5 broke the story of elected officials taking tens of thousands of dollars in tickets, enjoying Warriors games from a luxury box overlooking the arena.
Most recently, several council members came under fire for reportedly accepting free VIP tickets to a December event featuring Michelle Obama to the tune of $1,000 per ticket.
“I’m proposing that we give that up, that those tickets stop coming to the elected officials at all,” Kaplan said at a council meeting last June.
Kaplan submitted her ordinance Monday. Her plan is to put the tickets up for sale and use the money made to fund a program that would hire the homeless to clean up Oakland.
It would be called “Green Teams.” The plan is the brain child of homeless activist Nino Parker, who pitched the plan at a city council meeting over the summer.
“I have a lot of folks who live 24/7 in their encampments. What a wonderful thing to be able to pay those people to work where they live,” said Parker. “No one can keep it cleaner than the people who live there.”
Kaplan says the only hurdle has been a lack of funding. Her proposal would solve that.
“We can make many hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling these tickets that currently are given for free to elected officials,” said Kaplan. “We want to get rid of the needles. We want to get rid of the threats of disease and people want to be engaged and have paid work doing something important.”
Kaplan’s bill is expected to go before the Oakland City Council in November.