Signs for a group called “Neighbors Together Oakland” (NTO) have popped up on Piedmont medians and some household lawns in recent days. The man behind the signs, Piedmont resident Chris Moore, told the Exedra on Friday that he was galvanized to act after a spike in crime in town and a recent early morning stolen car chase on Sotelo shocked residents in the neighborhood.
Moore, who owns several rental properties in Oakland, said he has worked with Neighbors Together Oakland founder Seneca Scott, a former Oakland mayoral candidate, for several years on a number of issues, including housing and organizing protests to end that city’s eviction moratorium earlier this spring.
NTO’s mission is heavily focused on voting and its website outlines four pillars: community safety, local food systems, accessible housing, and local business. While NTO is aimed at Oakland residents, and Moore acknowledges that partnering with NTO isn’t necessarily a “perfect fit” for Piedmont, “we have to get involved,” Moore said. “We [Piedmonters] are impacted by everything that goes on in Oakland. We’re neighbors, too.”
Moore said that after the Sotelo Ave./Indian Gulch incident earlier this week, he’s had around 40 people ask to be included in his mailing list. Moore says he’s still figuring out how to mobilize the group, but wants to make sure people attend Piedmont’s City Council meeting on Sept. 18 when Piedmont Police Chief Jeremy Bowers will present his quarterly crime report. He says that while Piedmonters can’t vote in Oakland elections, he hopes locals will donate to candidates or volunteer for Oakland City Council races this fall.
NTO’s leader Scott, who describes himself as a “post-partisan solutionary” on his X (Twitter) account, frequently targets Mayor Sheng Thao and other Oakland City Council officials on social media for failing to address rising crime rates in the city. NTO is hosting a “Rally for Solidarity and Solutions” on Sept. 9 in Oakland in advance of a public safety meeting hosted by Bishop George Matthews with District Attorney Pamela Price, Acting Police Chief Darren Allison, Mayor Sheng Thao, Alameda County Sheriff Yesenia Sanchez, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, and others. Moore said the NTO rally ahead of that meeting will feature other former Oakland mayoral candidates including Loren Taylor and Derreck Johnson, and the flyer also highlights homeless activist Vincent Williams III and sustainable food activist Jasmín Villalta.