So tomorrow and Friday, the City of Oakland will once again be closed. You know, 13 days doesn’t really sound like all that much when you say it, but is it just me or does it feel like the City is shut down constantly?
Anyway, the scheduling of the City shut-downs really bothers me. I get that they’ve mostly been timed to coincide with holidays and so on, which probably makes the whole thing more convenient for any City worker who wants to go away for Easter or whatever.
Which I can understand, sort of. I mean, people are losing out on income by not getting to work, so whatever you can do to make it less burdensome, you should do. On the other hand, the City does not exist to make life convenient for its employees, it exists to provide services to people who live here, and I feel like that’s something that kind of gets forgotten a lot over at City Hall.
So right now, OUSD is on Spring Break. All those kids who would normally be in school during weekdays are now wanting to be entertained. And while I don’t agree at all with the people who keep showing up at Council meetings and acting like it’s the City’s responsibility to provide 24/7 entertainment for every young person around, I do think it’s reasonable to expect that children should be able to take advantage of basic City services when they’re not in school. They should be able to go to a library or a rec center or a pool on their day off. Parks and Rec has these neat Spring Break camps, which I imagine would be a godsend for working parents who need to put their kids somewhere while they don’t have school, except of course the camp is only for three days.
I’m sure that next year’s budget will involve these annoying City shutdowns again, and I just hope they don’t increase the number. But next year when the days get selected, I hope whoever makes that decision thinks about when residents want City services the most, instead of when they want to go on vacation.