Monthly Archives: October 2008

Where is the outrage?

So, a funny thing happened to me on Monday evening. As I was putting the finishing touches on my endorsements blog, my computer froze. So then I went to restart it. Then it wouldn’t restart. Then I spent a couple hours on the phone with tech support, then at the store, and the end result of all that is, well, I once again find myself without a computer. Also, I lost that blog and all the notes for it.

I’ll still do endorsements, unfortunately they’ll be a little less detailed than I had originally wanted, and of course, they’ll be later than I’d planned. I hope to put them up tomorrow or at the latest Saturday. (I wouldn’t feel bad about this if so many people didn’t insist on voting absentee for God knows what reason. I love going to the polls!) Anyway, that’s the story with the endorsements and also why I haven’t been posting the last couple of days.

Anyway, I’ll keep working on recreating that, but in the meantime, I have a question. Why are people not up in arms over the police department? Continue reading

Measure WW: Soo, soo good for Oakland

In 1988, East Bay voters approved Measure AA, agreeing to pay $10 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value to fund an East Bay Regional Parks District bond that would expand and preserve regional open space. Oakland residents benefited not only from AA’s regional improvements, but also from $10.2 million that came directly to us to pay for things like the lion and flamingo exhibits at the zoo, the Brookfield Multi-Purpose Senior Center, a renovation of Sequoia Lodge, resurfacing our tennis courts, and improvements to Joaquin Miller Park.

On your November ballot, the East Bay Regional Park District will ask you to keep paying that exact same tax in order to fund the issuance of $500 million in new bonds to continue expansions and improvements. 25% of that money will go directly to cities to fund their own local park projects. Continue reading

Measure OO: the worst thing on your ballot

For some reason, I find myself, way more often than you’d think anybody would, arguing with people about how much people pay attention to local government. Ever the pessimist, I maintain that significantly more than half the population doesn’t have even the faintest idea what goes on at City Hall, or maybe even who the Mayor is, and doesn’t care to learn. Most people tell me I’m wrong, and that everyone, if nothing else, reads Chip Johnson, which gives them at least a modicum of insight into the workings of Oakland’s government.

Maybe. We’ll find out one way or another soon enough, because Measure OO on this November’s ballot is a pretty damn good metric of whether people pay even a little bit of attention or they just show up at their polling station and vote at random. Continue reading

Save the arts? At the expense of what, exactly?

So, tonight the City Council hopes to finally pass their second budget for the year and close the $42 million deficit hanging over our heads. The biggest point of contention tonight is likely to be suspension of the Cultural Arts funding program.

What program, you ask? Here’s the deal. Every year, we award grants to roughly 70 non-profits and individual artists to, well, make art. Continue reading

Why put BRT on Telegraph?

The complaint I hear most often about AC Transit’s BRT proposal is that it mimics the BART line. I find this claim utterly bizarre, and my immediate inclination is to dismiss such concerns as coming from people who obviously don’t use transit to travel the route and don’t really understand much, if anything, about bus service. And while it is true that this talking point doesn’t actually make any logical sense, and I don’t think public agencies should make decisions based on the will of the completely uninformed, I want to see BRT have buy-in from as broad a constituency as possible. So, in that spirit, I’m going to try to explain here why AC Transit wants to put BRT along Telegraph and International. Continue reading

We’ll be keeping the park rangers after all

So, it looks like the City won’t be shutting down on Fridays after all. (Or closing parks!) You may recall that when Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums submitted his budget proposal a couple of weeks ago, he left a $10 million deficit and told the Council to figure out how to close it (offering them three options). Subsequently, Dellums explained that he actually didn’t want the Council to make their own decision, and instead expected to save the money by closing the City every Friday, cutting the pay of every non-sworn employee by 20%. Continue reading