Today the NLGSF endorsed the initiative to create an Oakland City ID card. We believe that the potential benefits for Oakland residents more than justify the work of the Oakland City ID Card Coalition and the City's careful consideration and expeditious implementation of such a card. The ID card will fill a void by providing an official form of personal identification for the many Oakland residents who currently lack one. The ID card will also unify the Oakland community, make it safer and more secure, benefit the local economy, and facilitate participation in public and private City activities.
Many people in Oakland—immigrants, students, the elderly, the homeless, runaway youth, and others—currently suffer from the lack of identification, which restricts their access to jobs, housing, law enforcement, and financial institutions. Without bank accounts, many pay costly fees to cash their checks and carry large sums of cash, becoming attractive targets for muggers. Moreover, because they do not have a way of identifying themselves to the police, these and other victims of violent crimes—such as domestic violence—are less likely to report such crimes. An ID card will also contribute to public safety by facilitating police officers' ability to do their job and identify crime suspects and witnesses. Similarly, the ID card would assist in the identification of lost children or the elderly, who often possess no identification or emergency contact information.
The potential benefits of a city ID card for all Oakland residents also include, among others:
- Full participation of residents in civic affairs;
- Access for all residents to local resources such as libraries and museums;
- Ability of all residents to participate in local commerce, such as opening a bank account, establishing credit, accessing loans, and utilizing a local currency;
- Public safety for all residents by erasing barriers to crime reporting and witness cooperation;
- Discounts for residents and increased use of City institutions such as the zoo, museums, etc.
Lastly, a City ID card will improve my agency/organization's ability to identify and work with people in need and further our opportunities to secure additional resources on behalf of these individuals. On behalf of our directors, clientele, and constituency, we are therefore honored to stand with the Oakland Municipal ID Coalition in working to make Oakland a more humane and richer city.