Your City Attorney has a tradition of fighting for housing justice, environmental equity, workers’ rights, and more. Ryan will continue expanding this vitally important work, and make sure wrong-doers foot the bill.

Your City Attorney's office is home to a small but incredibly impactful team of litigators who proactively fight for equity and justice for Oaklanders. Over the years, our Affirmative Litigation team has taken on notorious landlords, human traffickers, unfair and discriminatory employers, operators of abusive independent living facilities, Trump’s Census Bureau, chemical manufacturers polluting our waterways, lead-paint manufacturers, opioid companies, and many other bad actors.

For the Affirmative Litigation team to continue its success, your next City Attorney must truly understand and value the work, and must have the experience to support the work. Ryan has both the commitment and the competence we need.

Clean air and water, safe and affordable housing, and fair and respectful workplaces are not luxuries, and they are not negotiable. They are human rights. And since all injustices fall disproportionately on the backs of people of color, protecting these rights is necessarily a matter of racial justice. With large corporations and special interests constantly consolidating power, we the people have to constantly fight back. And we have to fight at every level, including at the local and even neighborhood levels. Your City Attorney has an important role to play.

One of Ryan’s highest priorities will be expanding this work, and doing so in a way that doesn’t cost Oakland taxpayers. In addition to obeying the law and fixing the harms they've caused, wrongdoers should reimburse the city for the costs associated with enforcement, including attorneys fees. Oakland’s Affirmative Litigation team has secured over $48M since 2017 for the city and its residents, including millions of dollars in attorneys fees.

Ryan’s commitment to using the law to protect the people stretches back 20 years, to his early days suing Fortune 500 companies on behalf of employees who’d been discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly. And he’s been helping protect Oaklanders since his days supervising the City Attorney's Labor and Employment unit. Ryan was instrumental in implementing ballot Measure FF in 2014 (Oakland’s local sick-leave and minimum wage law) and Measure Z in 2018 (our hotel-worker protection law), including working to draft and publish interpretive regulations and stand up Oakland’s Department of Workplace and Employment Standards. Ryan was also instrumental in both drafting and implementing Oakland’s Emergency Paid Sick Leave (“EPSL”) ordinance in 2020, to mitigate the devastating impacts of COVID-19 by ensuring that employers in Oakland provided time off to employees who needed to recover from illness or care for their loved ones.

In 2023, as your Chief Assistant City Attorney, Ryan helped show the Mayor’s office and the City Council a way to further solidify the team's future without taking resources away from any other city services. Three of the nine staff-attorney positions on the team were previously temporary positions, meaning the incumbents had less job security and less pay than their counterparts. With Ryan’s vision and help, the city made these positions permanent. And because the positions have been (and will continue to be) revenue-generating, the city was able to make this investment at no cost to our general fund! But Ryan has looked at the numbers, and he’s convinced that the team still isn’t quite right-sized. Simply put, the team’s still too small to take on all the civil-rights and quality-of-life cases that need to be prosecuted. Ryan will look to grow the team, and force wrong-doers (and not Oakland taxpayers) to foot the bill.

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