Dellums’s affordable housing proposal now available; De La Fuente proposes whistleblower protections

To call the document (PDF!) unambitious would be generous. The level of detail is in keeping with previous initiatives from the Mayor’s office.

Given that it has been 19 months since Ron Dellums was elected, over a year since he took office, and 5 months since we were told at a CED Committee meeting that the proposal would be ready “very soon,” I can’t help but wonder what on earth took so long? This is just bits and pieces culled from the BRC report and Oakland People’s Housing Coalition proposal presented in outline format – it looks like it was put together in an afternoon. Dellums doesn’t even attempt to provide justification as to why any of the programs offered will benefit anyone.

Anyway, here’s the plan:

  • Inclusionary zoning
  • Expand current condo conversion ordinance to include duplexes and cap conversions
  • Rent control: forbid rent increases due to increased debt service
  • Acquire foreclosed homes (“Push banks to do bulk sales at discounted prices”)
  • Expand eligibility for first-time homebuyer program
  • Increase RDA set-aside
  • Housing bond
  • Extend Central District Redevelopment Area
  • Use set-aside funds for low/mod income only
  • Expand funding for homelessness – no suggestion of how to pay for this

And…yeah, I don’t really have anything else to say. I’m not willing to put more effort into writing about this than the office did in preparing it.

In other news, City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente’s February newsletter announces a proposal for a whistleblower protection ordinance for City employees:

Do you ever wonder why the City doesn’t deliver more services for the money you give us or why the City take so long to do things? I do. For example, it has taken eight months to get new police cars we purchased on the road. City residents and businesses rely upon the government of the City of Oakland to provide many important services related to the cleanliness of streets and parks, police and emergency services, recreation programs and business services, and other areas of service.

Sometimes the reason the City doesn’t deliver is because we don’t have enough resources; but other times it’s because resources are not used properly or efficiently. That is why I am proudly presenting a Whistleblower Protection Ordinance. The term “whistleblower” is used to describe employees who try to keep an organization from doing something that is unethical, illegal, or wasteful. City employees are generally those who are most aware of bad behavior within the City government. However, these employees may feel reluctant to report this behavior to officials or administrators due to the fear of retaliation.

My ordinance, on which I am partnering with the City Auditor, will protect City whistleblowers from retaliation such as discharge, discipline or demotion. My hope is that the City will be better able to address problems with inefficient or unethical behavior within the City government. Similar ordinances have been adopted by several Cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle as well as the University of California and the State of California.

The ordinance will be presented at the Finance and Management Committee meeting on February 26th.

Is fear of retaliation a serious problem in the City? Can’t you already not fire anyone in the City? In any case, I look forward to reading the report.