Tonight, after almost two months of discussion, the Oakland City Council will finally adopt a budget that closes our $83 million General Fund deficit. Mostly, discussion surrounding this has been all about what we’re going to lose. But in between all the devastating cuts and annoying fee increases, there are some positive things happening in the budget process too. Here’s one of them.
Well, people certainly have strong opinions about Measure D. Honestly, I don’t get it. If you’re seriously concerned about Oakland being better run, or government spending being less wasteful, there are like 10 million things you could spend your time on that would be more helpful. Voting no and screwing Oakland out of $3.6 million isn’t going to help you or anyone else, and it won’t force the Council to be more efficient or put a repeal on the ballot, it will just force them to cut what little you have left in the way of City services.
After like two months of discussion, the Oakland City Council will finally pass a budget on Tuesday. Last week, Councilmembers Brunner, De La Fuente, Kernighan, and Quan submitted a revised version of their proposed changes to the Mayor’s budget (PDF), which you can read in its entirety here (PDF). Here are the highlights, and I’ve noted the places where this proposal differs from what was discussed on the 16th:
Want to talk about something I haven’t covered? Do it here. You can find the previous open thread here.
Alas, I really wanted to have a long post for you guys today about the ongoing efforts to civilianize the citizen complaints aspects of the Oakland Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division, but it just didn’t happen. The unfortunate combination of AT&T’s lackluster customer service and my bad temper has rendered me without home internet access for the moment, which makes blogging…well…kind of difficult.
It makes me sad sometimes to think about how rarely many of the really cool things in Oakland are experienced by our residents. I can’t tell you the number of Oaklanders I meet who tell me they have never visited the Oakland Zoo or Oakland Museum. I confess I’ve never actually been to the Chabot Space and Science, except to drive around the parking lot a couple of times. And it was only a few weeks ago that I managed to make it to Children’s Fairyland, which, I swear, is amazingly cool and is like, my new favorite place in all of Oakland.
I really enjoy Lake Merritt. I I realize that isn’t a particularly interesting observation or anything, practically everyone who lives in Oakland would probably say the exact same thing.
When we last looked towards Sacramento, the State was threatening to steal nearly $12 million of Oakland’s money, plunging us even deeper into the budget crisis black hole. Tuesday brought some rare good news for California’s cities, when the Budget Conference Committee released their budget proposal (PDF), which involved, among other things not “borrowing” local property tax revenues from municipalities.
Do you ever read an article in the newspaper and think “Wow. How did that even happen?
So the main news about last night’s budget discussion is that nothing happened. Really. Desley Brooks, Nancy Nadel, and Larry Reid all complained about the alternative budget proposal submitted by four of their colleagues, but amazingly, considering how strongly they appeared to feel about how unfair it was that their own ideas weren’t included, none of them submitted any specific adjustments of their own.
I know, I know. Thursday night is the next meeting of the Central Estuary Specific plan, and you’re all just dying to go to that. (You should be, actually. It looks like it will be really interesting.) But Thursday night is also a huge event in downtown Oakland, and it would be like, a tragedy to miss it!