To truly respond to the needs of all Oaklanders, our city government has to be transparent, understandable, and accessible. Ryan will keep finding smart ways to increase efficiency and public engagement.

As City Attorney, Ryan will continue working tirelessly with his team to make your local government as responsive and efficient as possible.

Ryan knows that good government starts with transparency and public access. We’ll get the best outcomes if we make it as easy as possible for the public and the media to: 1) see and understand what the city’s government is doing; and 2) provide input in meaningful ways. Sometimes the outcome may be that we collectively uncover and redress serious government fraud or abuse. Other times, the outcome may simply be that someone from outside City Hall catches a mistake or comes up with a smarter way of doing something. We’re all in this together, making decisions collectively through real discourse. And we all have something to contribute, not just the people with the loudest voices or the most power. So the more understandable, accessible and responsive we can make our local democracy, the better off we’ll all be.

Ryan is a true believer in transparency for transparency’s sake. In 2019, the enactment of SB 1421 ushered in a new era of transparency for police records. While some law enforcement agencies were caving to the pressure from police-officer associations to interpret the law narrowly, Ryan and his team stood up for full transparency and never wavered. Ryan immediately worked to secure funding and raised his hand to do the work, and hired and trained qualified professionals. The project has taken time and (like many things in an environment of limited resources) would have benefited greatly if more resources had been available. But the end result is that Oakland has produced tens of thousands of pages of police-personnel files that shine a light on the inner workings of Oakland’s police department. And the City recently unveiled an online database that’s designed to make it easier for journalists, researchers, and members of the public to access police-personnel records. That database was Ryan’s brainchild.

Ryan’s also focused on making our city government more efficient. When he first joined the office a decade ago, he worked closely with the city’s finance department to put forth a ballot measure to restructure a city-run pension system (OMERS) that had been closed to new members for decades. When Measure EE passed in 2014 with over 73% approval, Oakland voters ensured that city retirees continued to receive their pensions, and simultaneously reduced the City’s administrative overhead by nearly $1 million. Since becoming your Chief Assistant City Attorney, Ryan has served as parliamentarian at City Council meetings to help ensure they run smoothly, was instrumental in making sure Council meetings would continue to offer hybrid / Zoom participation even after COVID emergency orders were lifted, and worked closely with your Council President to make smart and common-sense changes to the Council’s rules of procedure. He also worked on our recent good-government charter amendment which, among other things, established term limits for Council members. The resulting ballot measure (Measure X) passed with 80% approval in 2022.

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