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November 6, 2018 — California General Election

City of OaklandCandidate for City Council, District 2

Photo of Abel Guillen

Abel Guillen

Council Member District 2
8,323 votes (39.6%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Build More Affordable/Low Income Housing- we must prevent people from becoming homeless and build more housing for all our residents
  • Fix our streets and roads and infrastructure- have poured over 4 million pounds of asphalt and we must do more to fix our streets and roads. the implementation of infrastructure, including improved streets, sidewalks,& public parks
  • Combat blight and illegal dumping- Continue the fight for clean, safe neighborhoods and equitable, inclusive communities for all residents.



Executive Board Member, Association of Bay Area Governments — Appointed position (2016–current)
Oakland City Councilmember, City of Oakland — Elected position (2014–current)
Trustee, Peralta Community College District — Elected position (2006–2014)


University of California, Berkeley Master of Arts, Public Policy (2001)
University of California, Berkeley B.A., Sociology (1997)


Councilmember Abel Guillén represents Oakland’s District 2, and has served the people of Oakland and the East Bay for over 11 years in public elected office. Throughout his years of service, Abel has fought to make education more affordable and accessible to our young people, prioritize job growth in our communities, and increase affordable housing for East Bay working families.

The son of immigrant parents, and a Bay Area native, Abel grew up in a working-class neighborhood, learning at a young age what a good job can do for families -- and for an entire community. Those values and lessons learned early on are what guide him today.

Abel was elected to the Oakland City Council in 2014. Prior to Abel’s election to his service on the Oakland City Council, Abel served as an elected member of the Peralta Colleges Board of Trustees. As Trustee, Abel secured over $20 million for career education and green-jobs training, and raised more than $50,000 for scholarships for students from underserved communities.

Every day, as your Councilmember, Abel gets up ready to serve District 2 with the goal of championing Oakland, and helping our city become a safer, more peaceful, innovative and vibrant community, while sustaining the our diversity that makes our city unique. He currently chairs the Finance & Management Committee, and is a member of the Education Partnership Committee, Public Works Committee, Public Safety and the Rules and Legislation Committees.

During Abel's time in office, he has worked diligently to improve the quality of life for all Oaklanders and the District 2 neighborhoods he serves. Abel has secured $100,000 for community-led neighborhood beautification efforts, co-authored legislation to increase the Oakland Police Department’s ability to recruit and retain Oakland residents and candidates of color, and secured $800,000 to enhance the maintenance of the Measure DD investments that have improved the parkland around Lake Merritt.

Abel is the first person in his family to graduate from college, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and obtaining a Master’s degree from UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Alameda County Democratic Pary
  • Oakland Firefighters - Local 55
  • Sierra Club of California

Organizations (5)

  • Planned Parenthood Mar Monte - 1st Choice
  • Metropolitan Greater Oakland Democratic Club
  • Eastbay Stone Wall Democratic Club
  • Black Young Dems, East Bay
  • Latino Task Force

Elected Officials (5)

  • Assemblymember Tony Thurmond
  • Assemblymember Rob Bonta
  • Controller Betty Yee
  • Mayor Libby Schaaf
  • Supervisor Keith Carson

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 Abel Guillen:

The biggest issue facing Oakland is housing affordability and homelessness. I co-authored Measure W, the Vacant Land Tax to provide a funding source to combat this issue while also encouraing the development of housing on vacant lots in Oakland.

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

It’s important that we see homelessness not as a single problem but as one point on the wider, interconnected spectrum of housing insecurity and a regional affordable-housing crisis. Oakland must build more housing and strengthen tenant protections to deal with homelessness

The answer to homelessness is, ultimately, building housing, especially supportive housing and affordable housing specifically. The Henry Robinson Center has an 80% success rate in ensuring that their clients remained housed, three years after going through their program. The Council allocated $14 million to acquire another building to scale up this successful model. We hope to have the “second Henry”  up and running this fall, as we have acquired a facility to help replicate this model.

Community Cabins- The cabins do 3 important things to help Oakland take another small, emergency step to help people who have no shelter: (1) They provide emergency, temporary shelters that are safer, healthier places than tents in the park or under the freeway. (2) They provide a central place that will help connect residents to support services, connections to health, mental health and addiction-recovery services, and job opportunities. The site will also connect mainstream services such as MediCal, food stamps, GA and SSI. (3) They offer a place – a temporary bridge – where we can help people get into more stable living conditions and permanent housing.

The 20 shelter cabins on the Kaiser Auditorium parking lot were opened this month, and we expect these cabins to be completely occupied soon. This is the third such community site in Oakland, and will specifically serve people who are homeless near Lake Merritt. More than 125 people have been served by the first two sites since the 6th St. and Castro St. cabins in West Oakland opened last December, and many have gone on to more permanent housing, new jobs and been connected to healthcare and financial benefits. The second site, at 27th St. and Northgate Ave., open in May and has also improved public health and safety conditions.

The 63% success rate is about double the positive exit rate at a traditional shelter (about 30%), and is closer to the 88% success rate achieved by the Henry Robinson Multi-Service Center, which is what we need to scale to really address this crisis.

Each site has $150,000 in flexible housing funds to assist clients in overcoming barriers to housing, including security deposits and a few months of rent subsidy, clothing for job interviews or a new job, and transportation assistance related to employment or reunification with friends or family.

These cabins are about more than respite from the elements. We must also balance the diverse needs of all residents who use our parks, sidewalks and other public spaces. Oakland’s parks should be safe, healthy places for all residents to enjoy, recreate and relax. Our parks are not designed to be campgrounds, and we must practice higher progressive and humane values that go beyond simply leaving people alone to fend for themselves in tents and unhealthy spots scattered around the city.

Who gave money to this candidate?

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

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I love Oakland. And I’ve worked very hard the last four years as Councilmember to help create a healthier, safer and equitable city and I ask for your vote to continue my public service.  

I have worked hard to put our progressive values into practice – in ways that make a real and tangible difference in the daily lives of Oaklanders. Under my watch, we’ve made great progress on tackling the toughest issues facing us, and I want to see this progress continue. With your support I’ve increased funding by the millions to address illegal dumping, blight, graffiti, and playground needs. We’ve expanded compassionate homeless services and affordable housing solutions.  And I’ve consistently fought to protect the environment, most recently enacting a plastic straws ban and stopping coal from polluting our city.  These results have earned the support for my re-election from the Sierra Club, Oakland Firefighters, the Democratic Party, educators, and neighbors like you. 

Like other Bay Area cities, Oakland is dealing with a deep housing affordability and homelessness crisis. I’ve expanded affordable housing funding and secured inclusionary housing projects.

We need to build more housing for all income levels but especially our teachers, first responders and service workers.

I’ve supported new projects in my district that have already created nearly 2,000 new apartments.

I’ve introduced a new public lands policy to prioritize affordable housing. And I have fought alongside with residents to ensure projects include affordable housing and community benefits.  In short, I am laser focused on addressing our housing needs from all angles.

I authored Measure KK, which provides $600 million to fix our streets, create more affordable housing, and shelter the homeless.

Three out of five Oakland residents are tenants. I’ve repeatedly voted to strengthen eviction protections, provide renters a more level playing field with landlords, and expand these protections to cover more tenants.

We must also help our most vulnerable residents who have become homeless but also prevent people from becoming homeless to begin with. As Councilmember, I’ve helped create three new navigation centers that provide temporary shelter and support services – and a pathway to more permanent housing and jobs.

I’ve also been a leader in innovative strategies, like tiny houses, to help address this crisis. Our first models are now home to several Laney College students who were homeless.

Transportation improvements create better conditions for more housing. That’s why I’ve , fixed potholes and broken sidewalks, made crosswalks and routes to schools safer, and worked with residents to implement traffic-calming road diets on major streets in my district.

Potholes are always a concern and in my district, we’ve poured four million pounds of asphalt to fix the streets.

And we have a paving plan to finish repairing the rest of our worst streets.

Revitalizing the neighborhood parks in my district has been a top priority for me. These are public spaces that give kids and families a safe place to recreate.

So far, we’ve built a new playground at Astro Park, renovated the outdoor courts, gym and play equipment at Lincoln Square Park, and repaired the lights, bathrooms, furniture and play structures at San Antonio Park.

We’ve also improved our recreation centers and expanded library hours.

Illegal dumping represents another serious citywide threat to the quality of our neighborhoods and the health of our residents.

The neighborhoods I represent in Chinatown, San Antonio and Eastlake have been among of the areas hardest hit by illegal dumping.

I’ve delivered funding to hire five new litter-enforcement staff and add an extra illegal-dumping crew.

We’re also providing free curbside pickup service for bulky items.

I’ve worked with residents and merchants in dozens of neighborhood cleanups to pick up trash and remove graffiti.

As your Councilmember, I will continue to address Oakland’s housing needs, a wide range of protections for tenants, fixing our streets, and revitalizing our parks, while fostering business growth and the creation of new jobs that provide living wages for working families.

Join me in putting our progressive values into practice and join our campagin! 

Videos (1)

Meet Abel Guillen — October 15, 2018 Channel 7 ABC

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