Since I had like half a dozen people ask me yesterday, including people I don’t even know in the comments here – yes, I am okay! Nothing terrible happened, I’m just really busy. I apologize for abandoning the blog without warning. I am working on a number of different exciting projects at the moment (some related to creating a better Oakland, some not at all), and in all my excitement to do all sorts of cool things, I seem to have gotten myself way overcommitted. I’m confident that if I can ever catch up on all the things I’m behind on, I’ll be able to juggle the ongoing work okay. But if I am ever going to get caught up, something had to go temporarily, and unfortunately for you guys, that was writing new blogs and reading the news (I haven’t even opened my RSS reader in over a week, hence the lack of updates in the news feed. I’m terrified of what it’s going to look like when I finally do!)
Anyway, I’m optimistic that the long weekend will give me a chance to sort things out again and I hope I can return to writing regularly next week. But I won’t say no to guest posts if you guys want to send them to me.
But just really quickly, for now. The City Council will be holding a special budget meeting (PDF) on Tuesday at 5 PM. I know I should write more about the budget, and I definitely have plenty to say, but never seem to get around to it because 1) it’s depressing to write about, and 2) even though it should be, it really is not a time sensitive issue, since the Council seems like 100% determined to just not do anything about the problem, ever. Like they think that if they just keep refusing to deal with it, eventually it will go away on it’s own or something.
Anyway, the staff recommendations for budget balancing (PDF) are out now. Click here (PDF) to read the report in its entirety. The short version is that the year-end budget deficit projection has now ballooned to $15.3 million.
So what is the Council going to do about it? Well, we’ll see on Tuesday. It probably won’t end up being identical to what’s in this report, but I doubt it will be different in any meaningful way. Here’s the rundown:
- Raise $12.3 million by selling City assets
- Lease Scotlan Convention Center (the one in the Marriott) to the Redevelopment Agency
- Sale of Alta Bates Garage to Redevelopment Agency
- Sale of other City properties to the Redevelopment Agency (“Coliseum tract,” “Grandview Lots”)
- Sale of unspecified other City property to the Redevelopment Agency
- Cover $1.9 million with the use of one-time funds
- Save $0.64 million through staff reductions and $0.08 million through transfers. The proposed reductions are as follows:
- 5.0 FTE from the City Attorney’s office, saving $0.22 million
- 3.0 FTE from Information Technology, saving $0.1 million
- 1.0 FTE from Finance and Management, saving $0.02 million
- 1.0 FTE from Personnel, saving $0.03 million
- 19.0 FTE from the non-sworn Police Department positions, saving $0.35 million (Eliminate vacant personnel position, eliminate 7.0 FTE from Abandoned Auto Detail, eliminate 2.0 FTE Rangers, transfer Cadet
- Use $0.5 million in one-time revenue from the new parking citation contract
As you can see, it’s mostly tricks. The FY09-10 proposals in there are also mostly tricks. Let’s solve our problems by selling property…to ourselves! That’s a super long term solution! Wev, what’s there even to say? I mean, the IT cuts are completely unacceptable. But as far as I can tell, the Council is happy to just run the City completely into the ground as long as they can do it without telling the public that they’re cutting services (see the ridiculous discussion about their totally brain-dead hiring freeze at the last two Council meetings and yesterday’s Finance & Management Committee meeting – I hope to write about this soon, but until then…)
Anyway, if you want more information, read the report (PDF), and have fun sharing your disgust in the comments below.
And remember, guest posts are more than welcome to help fill the void until I can climb out from underneath my huge pile of work.