Abel Guillén, MPP

Abel Guillén, MPP Oakland City Council Member (Retired) - Public Policy & Public Finance Professional. Former Oakland City Council Member, and former Peralta Community College Board President Abel Guillen brings years of experience championing affordable housing, fiscal accountability and results.

The first in his family to graduate from college, Guillen earned his B.A. and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently the Senior Executive Vice President at a prominent California municipal finance firm, Guillen has facilitated more than 100 California public financings, securing nearly $3 Billion for classroom and school safety upgrades, repairs, and improvements for K-12 and community college districts throughout the State, providing quality education for thousands of students and children. Abel advocates for quality education, job creation, and responsible, transparent fiscal management of tax dollars. He enjoys traveling, fishing, hiking and all things Oakland.

The first in his family to graduate from college, Guillen earned his B.A. and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently the Senior Executive Vice President at a prominent California municipal finance firm, Guillen has facilitated more than 100 California public financings, securing nearly $3 Billion for classroom and school safety upgrades, repairs, and improvements for K-12 and community college districts throughout the State, providing quality education for thousands of students and children. Abel advocates for quality education, job creation, and responsible, transparent fiscal management of tax dollars. He enjoys traveling, fishing, hiking and all things Oakland.

Universal Basic Income Pilot Program Comes to Oakland - Six hundred Oakland families will get $500 a month for 1 1/2 yea...
03/24/2021
Oakland Resilient Families

Universal Basic Income Pilot Program Comes to Oakland - Six hundred Oakland families will get $500 a month for 1 1/2 years — no strings attached — through a pilot program that aims to spawn a nationwide model of guaranteed cash assistance to low-income families. Oakland Resilient Families es una iniciativa histórica que proporcionará a 600 familias negras, indígenas y de color (BIPOC, por sus siglas en inglés) de Oakland con bajos ingresos un
ingreso garantizado de USD 500 al mes durante al menos 18 meses a partir de esta primavera.
For more information/para más información: www.oaklandresilientfamilies.org.

Oakland’s Guaranteed Income PilotLaunching one of the largest guaranteed income pilots in the country rooted in eliminating racial wealth inequalities. Guiding Principles  Invest in JusticeAdvance strategies to eliminate racial disparities in economic stability, mobility, and assets through a gua...

"For the United States to achieve a meaningful economic recovery that lifts up all families, Congress must raise the fed...
02/27/2021
Small Businesses Get a Boost From a $15 Minimum Wage - Center for American Progress

"For the United States to achieve a meaningful economic recovery that lifts up all families, Congress must raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, including for tipped workers and workers with disabilities. Raising the minimum wage would benefit small businesses and the economy at large. While critics of a fair wage argue that a $15 minimum wage would put a heavy burden on small businesses, economic literature demonstrates that these concerns are not borne out by the facts." #RaiseTheWage

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/reports/2021/02/25/496355/small-businesses-get-boost-15-minimum-wage/

Raising the minimum wage is a win for workers and small businesses.

01/24/2021

Dad's Boots - Well Worn and Well Lived
A Eulogy for Don Margarito Guillén

When I think of my Dad, I think about a wide range of words and values that describe him:
1. Happy – and Stubborn
2. Strict – and Protective
3. Generous – and frugal
4. Friendly – and Shy
5. A Pack Rat – and organized
6. Well-Cologned and simple
7. Lucky and Hard Working
8. Short-tempered – and Forgiving
9. Honest and Entrepreneurial

Some of my earliest memories of my Dad will forever be ingrained in my heart, and light up my path and my choices in the days to come.

Most people would say that Dad lived an ordinary life.
In many ways, he did.

After all, he followed his father – my grandfather – who first came to the U.S. to work in the fields as a bracero in California, through the Imperial Valley in Calexico in the south through the San Joaquin Valley in the north.

Dad was another of many immigrants, making their way in a new land. Dad settled in San Francisco in the late 1960s with a dream of building a new life for his family in a new, adopted home, like so many others before him.

That meant his life was connected, not “ordinary” – it was a fundamental journey, an essential life.

My Dad’s life mattered, and the ripples of that life – day to day, year to year, generation to generation – continue to reverberate today in the lives of all he touched. Family, friends, community. Many of whom are here with us, many who are watching remotely and others who never knew him by name.

Everyday, he’d go to work. Every day, he’d come home. He often left before dawn, so I wouldn’t see him until late in the afternoon. As a kid, every day, I would help my Dad take off his cowboy boots when he got back from a long day of work.

Dad would sit on the couch, kick up his feet and say, “quita me las botas, mijo.” Take off my boots, son. He would prop up one foot at a time and my little hands would grab the heel and toe of the boot and would wrestle with the boot to loosen it and my Dad would pull his foot back until I was finally able to pry off the boot from him. Then, on to the next boot and we would do the same thing until the boot came off. I would hear him sigh, and he could finally rest after a long day at work.

Picking yourself up by the bootstraps is not “ordinary,” it is “exceptional,” “extraordinary.”

As kids, every weekend, my family – including cousins and neighbors – would hop into my Dad’s 1986 Dodge Ram van and take a trip to Coyote Point and cut open a watermelon that we’d share. Or we’d go to the reservoir in Novato, CA for some fishing and a carne asada. Or sometimes just to Dolores Park in the neighborhood so we could run around and play.
If we were lucky, once a year, usually during the summer, he’d save enough money to take us to Marine World or Great America! I don’t know how my parents did it but we never felt like we were missing anything, even when money was tight – and it seemed like money WAS ALWAYS tight in our house.

That was common enough perhaps, but it was never “ordinary.”

On one Sunday, my dad took me and my brother to Dolores Park to play ball. My Dad would toss the ball up in the air, and with the free bat giveaway we got from a Giant’s game, he’d hit the ball to us. My brother and I would have to catch the baseball as it came down from the heavens. On one pop-up, the ball went really high, it seemed like he hit it to the sun, and I ran toward it to catch it but the sun got in my eyes and I missed it. Bam! It hit me right in the eye and I fell to the ground. I didn’t know what happened but I felt a great pain all of a sudden!
Dad came running over quickly to me with his half drunken beer in hand and saw that my eye started to swell up. He took his Budweiser and poured it over my eye! Now, I had a bruised eye and beer all over my face. I was not happy at all! “Why are you pouring beer on me?,” I remember yelling. “Para que no se to hinche la cara,” he said. I don’t think he really knew what he was doing but it was his way of trying to fix it.
Dad was always trying to fix something – and it wasn’t just inanimate objects around the house or in the garage. He tried to fix me with a beer and a “sana sana culito de rana.” Well, it didn’t work, but he tried.
Afterwards, we would go to Mitchells for a mango ice cream and everything would be OK. He always let me keep the change, and it was almost always a Kennedy half dollar, he let me keep.
My Dad was my idol, especially as a child. I was often jealous because it seemed like he spent more time with other kids, with other families, with my cousins and with random people on our block. He knew everyone, and everyone knew him. I often wished he would spend more time with us, his own family instead of giving advice to others or helping others on his day offs doing favors for others, helping people with a move, change the oil in a car or serve as the unofficial “watchman” or “security guard” for our block on 16th and Hoff in the Mission.

Funny how it turns out, that the same things I would criticize my Dad for then, I would eventually get criticized for in my own life.

While my Dad was not a rich man, he gave freely of himself. That meant not only giving of his time but also of his craft. He would often make homemade cakes and fruit tarts to celebrate a birthday party or a baptism; or he’d pull over on the side of the road to help a stranded motorist by changing a flat or giving their battery a jump.
Only as I got older did I realize how lucky my mom and my brothers were to have him in our lives. You see, many kids in my neighborhood didn’t have a father figure in their lives. He was a surrogate dad, a padrino and father figure, to many kids in our neighborhood that did not have that stability in their lives.
He taught me that that when you are called to serve, you do so, without asking for anything in return, you help simply because you can. That is one of his biggest lessons he instilled in me. I may fall short but it's not for a lack of trying.

I know, your energy is still with us. Thank you, Dad, for teaching us how to be giving, loving and generous – and how to work hard to put those feelings into action. Your spirit lives on in each of the lives you touched. Thank you, Papi, for giving us so much of yourself not only to me, for loving my mom unconditionally, for over 50 years and for always being here for us.

You always came home to us and you always took care of us. You never failed us.

I know you are at peace now, at home in heaven with your boots off resting and still watching out over us. I love you, Pop.

-- Abel Guillén

01/21/2021

Amanda Gorman’s POEM on this historic inauguration day!

THE HILL WE CLIMB

"Mr. President, Dr. Biden, Madam Vice President, Mr. Emhoff, Americans and the world:

When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade. We've braved the belly of the beast. We've learned that quiet isn't always peace, and the norms and notions of what just is isn't always justice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow, we do it, somehow, we've weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken, but simply unfinished.
We, the successors of a country and the time where a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes, we are far from polished far from pristine, but that doesn't mean we are striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge our union with purpose to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters, and conditions of man.
And so we lift our gaze not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another. We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else say, this is true. That even as we grieved, we grew. That even as we hurt, we hoped. That even as we tired, we tried. That we'll forever be tied together victorious. Not because we will never, again, no defeat, but because we will never, again, sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree and no one shall make them afraid.
If we're to live up to her own time, then victory won't lie in the blade, but in all the bridges we've made, that is the promise to Glade, the hill we climb, if only we dare, it's because being American is more than a pride we inherit, it's the past we step into and how we repair it.
We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it, would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy, and this effort very nearly succeeded. But while democracy can be periodically delayed, it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth, in this faith, we trust. For while we have our eyes on the future, history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption. We feared in its inception, we did not feel prepared to be the heirs of such a terrifying hour, but within it we found the power to author a new chapter to offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So while once we asked, 'How could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?' Now we assert: 'How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was, but move to what shall be: a country that is bruised, but whole, benevolent, but bold, fierce, and free.
We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens, but one thing is certain: If we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children's birthright.
So let us leave behind a country better than the one we were left, with every breath my bronze-pounded chest. We will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise through the golden hills of the West. We will rise from the windswept Northeast, where our forefathers first realized revolution. We will rise from the lake-run cities of the Midwestern states. Will rise from the sun-baked South. We will rebuild, reconcile, and recover.
In every known nook of our nation, in every corner called our country, our people, diverse and beautiful, will emerge, battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade of flame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it, for there was always light if only we're brave enough to see it, if only we're brave enough to be it."

https://www.sfchronicle.com/local-politics/article/Latino-voters-overwhelmingly-supported-Biden-in-15705786.php"The data...
11/09/2020
Latino voters overwhelmingly supported Biden in the election. Here's why

https://www.sfchronicle.com/local-politics/article/Latino-voters-overwhelmingly-supported-Biden-in-15705786.php

"The data paint the picture of a voter bloc that is deeply complex and often misunderstood. The nation’s 61 million Latinos come from more than 20 nations, each with vastly different cultures. While some immigrated to the U.S. in recent years, others have been here for generations and carry differing viewpoints on key issues like immigration and racism. The same applies to different age groups, with younger, second-generation Latinos largely leaning left on issues like abortion. A 60-year-old Honduran immigrant in California won’t necessarily vote the same as a 25-year-old, fifth-generation Latino born in North Carolina." #latinovote #latinovoters #americanpolitics

The support that Trump got from Latino voters in Florida had many people buzzing on Twitter. But an election poll shows Latinos nationwide overwhelmingly voted for Biden and helped flip a key state blue.

Still time to get your tickets for tonight's Stay at Home Soiree in celebration of Dia de Los Mu***os featuring Lalo Alc...
10/30/2020

Still time to get your tickets for tonight's Stay at Home Soiree in celebration of Dia de Los Mu***os featuring Lalo Alcaraz. Tickets $25 per household. Details here!

Tonight is the night! We can't wait to see you all tonight at Luna Mexicana, our Stay at Home Soiree, as we celebrate this incredible event and the amazing artists who will be performing. We're also grateful to partner with @agaveuptown for a delicious menu and can't wait to hear from @laloalcaraz1 who will be our guest speaker. Don't have your tickets yet? It's not too late! Get yours now https://bit.ly/2Hnv2Bh

#oaklandballet #oaklandstrong #oaklandballetcompany #balletevent #celebratediversity #covidevents #oaklanddance #dancewithus #virtualevent #danceevent #diversityindance #quarentineevents #bayareaevent #oaklandevents #lastchancetojoin

09/04/2020
covid-19.acgov.org

Updates on Alameda County's SIP Order. Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

I may be late to the party, but just watched Oakland Unified's & @HBO doc,"We Are the Dream: The Kids of the #Oakland ML...
08/21/2020
We Are the Dream

I may be late to the party, but just watched Oakland Unified's & @HBO doc,"We Are the Dream: The Kids of the #Oakland MLK Oratorical Fest"- & was blown away. I was in tears! It was the antidote to the cynicism and toxicity of the politics of the day. Do yourself a favor, check it out! It gave me a much needed spiritual lift!🙏 Thank you Awele Makeba. https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/we-are-the-dream

Learn more about the HBO documentary We Are the Dream.

A friend reminded me that I would use my Starbucks name "Bob" while on the road sometimes because they would always botc...
08/15/2020
What's in a mispronunciation of a name? Ask Kamala Harris

A friend reminded me that I would use my Starbucks name "Bob" while on the road sometimes because they would always botch my name, mostly innocently.

But when you repeatedly mispronounce someone's name and refuse to pronounce it properly, like in the case US Senator Kamala Harris, folks are "othering" her intentionally making her less than American. Do people mispronounce your name?

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/What-s-in-a-mispronunciation-of-a-name-Ask-15485790.php?utm_campaign=CMS+Sharing+Tools+%28Premium%29&utm_source=UTMSOURCE&utm_medium=UTMMEDIUM#_=_

Within a day of Joe Biden choosing his running mate, it almost became a campaign slogan: “It’s comma-la.” Newspapers swiped the headline. Political commentators tittered. But for people who have long suffered mangled pronunciations of their names, Kamala Harris’ efforts to educate the public...

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Tomorrow's speaker is Taylor Jay - a fashionista and small business owner here in Oakland. If you'd like to join us for the conversation, please DM so I can share the info for our virtual breakfast meeting.
Why does your page still say "council member"?
I hope you'll support protected bike lanes on Telegraph
As one of your constituents, I thank you for your past service and continued commitment to Oakland. I'll be happy to support any efforts you can continue in an effort to successfully redress homelessness in our city.
The Warriors game is tonight!
You're doing a Fantastic Job for the city of Oakland bro! Keep it up! #reelectAbelforD2
We are bringing back the Cultural Arts Commission. Things take time to get done. But we get them done! Thank you for your support of the Arts in Oakland!
It is after 7:00 pm and after dusk on Brooklyn and Lakeshore and yet drummers are still drumming obnoxiously with sound reverberating off windows of people’s homes. You would not tolerate this at your residence yet week after week existing ordinances are not enforced. We need a Mayor and a City Council that can perform rudimentary governmental duties, particularly protecting the quiet enjoyment of people’s homes....
When you have to call police week after week because bongo drummers insist on senseless drumming Hour after hour, reverberating off your windows on Lakeshore, you don’t just have a bongo problem... you have a policing problem and incompetent City Government leaders...
This is Lakeshore AFTER trash pick up...
👍🏾
Is pothole abatement happening before the rains? Rand Ave is always bad (was famous on YouTube at one point!) and it's pretty rough right now.