So Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente held a press conference in front of City Hall this morning, which I’m sure you guys will all read about in the newspaper soon, and which I hope to find time to write more about tomorrow.
Anyway, he presented six things he wants to happen:
- The Mayor needs to hire a City Administrator “with a national reputation for excellence”
- He wants to introduce the “toughest anti-nepotism ordinance in the State of California”
- Complete an audit of the City’s hiring practice and all city hires for the last 24 months
- Complete citywide financial performance audits “that will identify cost savings and reallocate funds to increase our police force without raising taxes”
- Install GPS in all city vehicles and get CompStat (or something like it, he didn’t call it by name)
It isn’t like Ignacio hasn’t suggested any of this before, so obviously there’s legitimate reason to be skeptical as to whether or not any of it will actually happen. Ignacio was pretty upfront about this, and repeatedly said in his speech that if anything is going to happen, he will need support and pressure from the citizens of Oakland to get the ball rolling:
I am really not presenting these proposals to be debated inside City Hall. I have done that, I’ve been trying that for 16 years.
I can tell you these things will not happen, if you, the citizens, do not stand up and demand them.
Anyway, that’s all well and good, but that’s not what excited me the most about his comments. This wasn’t part of the agenda he passed out, and it obviously won’t be his highest priority, but he’s open to charter changes! He said:
[We need] charter changes that would allow the citizens to be the ones who dictate what we do.
…really to make sure that we make the charter changes that need to be made.
So I’m working on a series of posts about charter changes I’d like to see, which will probably go up in the next couple of weeks. And it doesn’t sound like Ignacio has anything specific he wants to see done. Or, at least, isn’t saying what it is yet. But if we’re serious about charter changes, what we need to do is initiate a Charter Review Commission, because it’s going to take some serious work and some serious time to do it. I was so thrilled to hear him acknowledge that we need reform.