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City of Oakley
Oakley City Hall
|Incorporated||July 1, 1999|
|• Mayor||Sue Higgins|
|• State Senator||Steve Glazer (D)|
|• State Assembly||Jim Frazier (D)|
|• U. S. Congress||Jerry McNerney (D)|
|• Total||16.17 sq mi (41.88 km2)|
|• Land||15.86 sq mi (41.09 km2)|
|• Water||0.30 sq mi (0.79 km2) 1.87%|
|Elevation||20 ft (6 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||2,681.73/sq mi (1,035.45/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (PST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|GNIS feature IDs||277567, 2411294|
Oakley is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States. It is within the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The population at the 2020 United States Census was 43,991. Oakley was incorporated in 1999, making it the newest incorporated city in Contra Costa County. Oakley is part of the East Contra Costa Bicycle Plan, which has existing facilities in Oakley as well as plans for further expansion.
Geography and environment
The Oakley areas offers access to the Delta de Anza Regional Trail. According to reports provided by CNN, Oakley experiences 21.16 inches of annual rainfall with an average high temperature in July of 96.0 F and an average low temperature in January of 40.0 F. Oakley experiences 52% clear days throughout the year.
Oakley's west border is Highway 160, which provides access to Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and the Central Valley. The City of Antioch adjoins Oakley on the west, the city of Brentwood adjoins Oakley on the south, and Bethel Island lies to the east. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta forms the northern boundary. The southwestern skyline is dominated by Mt. Diablo.
Prior to 1963, creating a new city in California only required a petition, a public hearing (where 51 percent of the landowners could approve the desire to incorporate) and an election. During the 1950s over 50 new cities incorporated, and in Los Angeles County alone, 10 new cities incorporated in 1957. At the time, no thought was given as to how or who would pay the costs for the necessary services needed to sustain a city. Fire, police, water and sanitation services were often provided by a number of different and overlapping entities.
In an effort to gain control over this kluge of overlapping services and control the proliferation of incorporations, Governor Edmund G Brown, Sr. created the Commission on Metropolitan Area Problems, in 1959. The Commission was given the task of studying and making recommendations on the "misuse of land resources" and the growing complexity of overlapping local government jurisdictions.
The Knox-Nisbit Act of 1963 contained the Commission's recommendations on local government reorganization resulting in the creation of the Local Agency Formation Commission or LAFCO, operating in every county. Additional powers were given to LAFCO in the District Reorganization Act of 1965, the Municipal Organization Act of 1977, the Cortese-Knox Local Government Reorganization Act 1985 and the Cortese-Knox-Hertz Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000.
One of the services mandated to LAFCO was to create a Municipal Service Reviews (MSRs) of all local agencies. An MSR is a comprehensive study designed to better inform LAFCO, local agencies, and the community about the provision of municipal services. Service reviews capture and analyze information about the governance structures and efficiencies of service providers and identify opportunities for greater coordination and cooperation between providers.
The City of Oakley is a general-law city, as opposed to a charter city, formed under state legislative statutes and governed by a body of laws in the state Constitution. Oakley operates under a council-manager form of government.
The Oakley City Council consists of five non-partisan council members elected "at large" for staggered four-year terms. Oakley's city council are considered part-time because, aside from being council members, they have full-time jobs. This part-time nature of the council opens up opportunities for ordinary citizens who are working in the private sector to participate.
Annually, at the first council meeting in December, the mayor is selected by a majority of the city council from among currently serving council members. At this time a vice mayor is also selected. This is the standard method among general-law cities. Cal. Govt. Code § 36801: "The city council shall . . . choose one of its number as mayor, and one of its number as mayor pro tempore." However, a general-law city is permitted to have a mayor that is directly elected by the voters, if certain procedures are followed.
Oakley's mayor presides at council meetings, appoints council members to various internal and external committees, attends community events as the council's representative, and performs other ministerial duties. The vice mayor presides in the mayor's absence. The California Constitution establishes that every council member, including the mayor has only one vote. Even a directly elected mayor can only have one vote.
In 2017, Oakley had 19,906 registered voters with 9,921 (49.8%) registered as Democrats, 4,705 (23.6%) registered as Republicans, and 4,371 (22%) decline to state voters. Records show that 662 Oakley voters are registered Independents, with an additional 55 registered Green Party members.
Archeological Site and previous Civilizations
Archeologists have found prehistoric sites in the Oakley area. One substantial shell mound was discovered early in the 20th century near what is now the east edge of town. The Northwest Information Center of the California Historical Resources Information System monitors the archeological investigations undertaken in Oakley. Around three-dozen such projects have been completed in the past 25 years, yielding only four prehistoric sites in the city. However, the information center believes there is a high possibility that other prehistoric sites remain within the city. To enable further archaeological excavation the site referred to as Simon Mound was purchased by the Archaeological Conservancy after many of the anchient settlement places had already been destroyed by urban encroachment. Simone Mound has provided bones and fragments from burial sites starting around 1000 A.D. and is near a similar Conservancy preserve, the Hotchkiss Mound. 
The first accounts of identifiable cultural community in the west delta are attributed to the Bay Miwoks, who occupied the region between 1100 and 1770 AD. The Bay Miwok people, usually called the Julpunes or Pulpunes by European explorers, were organized into "tribelets"—political units that included several fairly permanent villages and a set of seasonal campsites arrayed across a well-defined territory.
Incursions of the Spanish Empire into the Oakley area began in the 1770s. The first to enter what are now the city limits was the De Anza expedition of 1775–76. However, after a failed attempt to find a route through the tule swamps to the Sierra, the De Anza expedition returned to Monterey. Subsequent expeditions by the Spanish did not result in colonization. Europeans settled in the Delta in the 19th century, but were killed by malaria and smallpox.
The name Oakley is of Old English origin and its meaning is "meadow of oak trees". This aptly describes the area when first settled and to some extent even today. However, if not for the flip of a coin and cribbage board the community may have been named Dewey. Instead of the Oak Leaf logo it may have been a dew drop. City founder Randolph Marsh wanted to name the city Dewey, after Admiral Dewey. Mr. Marsh was impressed with the exploits of Admiral Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish–American War. His friend J.T. Whightman preferred the name "Oakley" because the terrain was largely meadows and oaks. To determine which name would prevail they battled it out over a game of cribbage. Marsh may have lost the game and the right to name the city but he ensured his immortality by choosing downtown street names whose first initials spelled "Marsh" — Main, Acme, Ruby, Star and Home.
Oakley's first post office was established in 1898, and Oakley only became an incorporated city a full 101 years later, in 1999. The city's motto is, "A Place for Families in the Heart of the Delta."
Oakley still has vineyards; most have been here since the late 1800s. Early Portuguese and Italian immigrants found a climate reminiscent of the Mediterranean one they left behind and planted thousands of acres of vineyards. The oldest were planted well over a century ago and constitute some of the rarest grapevines in California.
The vineyards of Oakley are not designated as their own AVA (American Viticultural Area) but, rather, fall under the San Francisco Bay AVA.
Nearly 80 percent of Oakley's roughly 700 acres of vineyards is planted in Zinfandel, a variety of red wine grape. Other varieties in Oakley include: Mourvèdre (also called Mataro in California and Australia), a red grape used to make both strong, dark red wines and rosés; and Carignane, another red wine variety, which is one of the world's most widely planted vines. These three varieties also make up most of Oakley's "ancient vines," or vines that are 80 to 120 years old and still produce fruit.
There are other grapes grown in Oakley: Palomino is a white grape; Sémillon is a golden-skinned grape. Other red grapes include Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Barbera, and Alicante Bouschet. Oakley's grape harvest can conservatively be estimated at about 2,000 tons. These grapes are distributed to a number of local wineries that include: Cline, Bogel, Bonny Doon, The Three Wine Company, Lucca Winery – Wines from the Lucchesi Family, Gallo and Rosenblum Cellars.
Historically, Oakley contracted for police services with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office; however, in May 2016 the City transitioned to bring the Police Department staffing "in-house." This transition was made due to rising costs of the Sheriff's Office contract. The City still contracts with the Sheriff's Office for dispatch, forensics and jail services. There are 29 full-time sworn personnel (1 Chief, 2 Lieutenants, 5 Sergeants, and 21 Patrol Officers). The City Council has approved the hiring of 4 additional sworn personnel that will come on board early in 2017. The Department is located on the west end of City Hall at 3231 Main Street.
Traffic enforcement is the primary responsibility of all patrol officers. With the addition of two motorcycles to the mobile fleet, there are now two officers specifically assigned to traffic enforcement. Juvenile matters are handled by a full-time School Resource officer. Oakley still relies on the sheriff's office for homicide, serious sexual assault, and narcotics investigations. Oakley's Traffic Unit handles collision investigations that result in the serious injury or death of a motorist or pedestrian.
The non-emergency dispatch number for the Police Department is 925-625-8855.
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) was formed in 2002 when the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors consolidated the East Diablo Fire District, Oakley-Knightsen Fire District and Bethel Island Fire District. ECCFPD serves the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, as well as the unincorporated areas of Bethel Island, Byron, Discovery Bay, Knightsen, and Marsh Creek-Morgan Territory. Responsible for an area of some 250 square miles, the District is the second largest fire service in the County. ECCFPD was a dependent special district and was governed by the five-member county Board of Supervisors.
After lengthy negotiations between the County and the cities of Oakley and Brentwood governance of the ECCFPD was turned over to a new governing board in February 2010. Under authority of State Code (California Health and Safety Code § 13837), each entity appointed the appropriate number of board members. The new Board included 9 members: 4 from Brentwood, 3 from Oakley and 2 from the County. Under this appointed structure, the City Councils or Board of Supervisors appointed directors according to each entity's proportionate share of population.
In March 2018 residents of the district passed Measure A which changed the Board from 9-appointed members down to 5-elected members and set elections for November 2018.
The ECCFPD is a special district that manages and governs fire services within its area. The ECCFPD is funded primarily through property taxes. Providing fire services is not a function of the city of Oakley.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Oakley had a population of 35,432. The population density was 2,193.2 people per square mile (846.8/km2). The racial makeup of Oakley was 22,641 (63.9%) White, 2,582 (7.3%) African American, 314 (0.9%) Native American, 2,236 (6.3%) Asian, 142 (0.4%) Pacific Islander, 4,998 (14.1%) from other races, and 2,519 (7.1%) from two or more races. There were 12,364 people (34.9%) of Hispanic or Latino ancestry, of any race.
The Census reported that 35,329 people (99.7% of the population) lived in households, 75 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 28 (0.1%) were institutionalized.
There were 10,727 households, out of which 5,479 (51.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 6,531 (60.9%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 1,412 (13.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 708 (6.6%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 747 (7.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 93 (0.9%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,522 households (14.2%) were made up of individuals, and 515 (4.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.29. There were 8,651 families (80.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.62.
The population was spread out, with 10,808 people (30.5%) under the age of 18, 3,531 people (10.0%) aged 18 to 24, 10,149 people (28.6%) aged 25 to 44, 8,553 people (24.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 2,391 people (6.7%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.9 males.
There were 11,484 housing units at an average density of 710.8 per square mile (274.5/km2), of which 10,727 were occupied, of which 8,163 (76.1%) were owner-occupied, and 2,564 (23.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.5%. 26,778 people (75.6% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 8,551 people (24.1%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 25,619 people, 7,832 households, and 6,461 families residing in the city. The population density was 796.4/km2 (2,063.2/mi2). There were 7,946 housing units at an average density of 247.0/km2 (639.9/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 75.50% White, 3.42% Black or African American, 0.89% Native American, 2.86% Asian, 0.29% Pacific Islander, 10.58% from other races, and 6.46% from two or more races. 24.98% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 7,832 households, out of which 52.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.2% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.5% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.26 and the average family size was 3.56.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 34.5% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 34.5% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 5.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $65,589, and the median income for a family was $68,888. Males had a median income of $49,883 versus $34,659 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,895. 5.0% of the population and 2.8% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 4.7% of those under the age of 18 and 7.4% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
At 99.6%, nearly all students living within the city of Oakley are attending a public or private school located within city limits. The city is mainly served by the Oakley Union Elementary School District (K–8) and the Liberty Union High School District.
- Oakley Elementary School
- Gehringer Elementary School
- Laurel Elementary School
- Vintage Parkway Elementary School
- Iron House Elementary School
- Orchard Park School (K–8, located in the Antioch Unified School District)
- Almond Grove Elementary School
- Summer Lake Elementary School (Starting the 2019/20 academic year)
- O'Hara Park Middle School
- Delta Vista Middle School
- Orchard Park School (K–8, located in the Antioch Unified School District)
- Joe Mixon, running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, 2017–present
- Nguyen Do, poet, editor, and translator. He relocated from San Francisco to Oakley. He is the author of thirteen books.
- Lisa Joann Thompson, dancer, actress, choreographer, starred in In Living Color, Fame L.A. and Motown Live, lived in Oakley during her high school years, and attended Liberty High School in nearby Brentwood.
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