Where to learn about the budget. The other budget.

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.

Governor Schwarzenegger, apparently offended that Legislators had found a way to close the budget hole without turning California into a third-world country (revenue would be raised by taxes on things like oil extraction and cigarettes), swore to veto any budget that involved any new taxes whatsoever. The struggle to adopt a State budget will continue next week.

How can you get your head around all this, you wonder? Well, District 14 Assemblymember Nancy Skinner will break down the issues at hand and invite residents to offer their ideas at budget education meetings in the East Bay this afternoon and tomorrow. The sessions are based around on Next 10′s California Budget Challenge. Feedback from an acquaintance who attended last night’s session in Emeryville was extremely positive, so if you’re struggling to understand just how California got to where it is, and what sort of choices we’re grappling with in order to keep the State functional in the future, I strongly recommend attending.

Today’s meeting will be held at the State Building in Oakland (1515 Clay Street) in Room 1 from 4:00-5:30 PM. If some silly thing like a job prevents you from attending today, but you’re willing to travel a little farther, you can catch another session tomorrow at the Pleasant Hill Community Center (320 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill) in the McHale Room from 10:00 AM to noon.

And of course, if you want to keep abreast of State politics beyond the rare and very brief summaries I post here, I suggest adding some of the sites listed below to your RSS reader.

  • Capital Notes: KQED Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers offers breaking news and weekly podcasts about State news. Really, really good site. If you have limited time to follow State issues and can only do one thing, subscribe to the Capital Notes podcast. It comes out once a week, it generally clocks in at just under half an hour, and it is hands-down the absolute best one-stop source of California political news around. John Myers, who just rocks in general, also has a totally awesome twitter, which you should definitely be following if you’re on that site.

  • Rough &Tumble: Your one stop shop for California politics headlines. Aggregates headlines from papers around the state. A necessary bookmark for anyone interested in following California politics.

  • The California Report: Statewide radio news program from KQED radio. 9 minutes a day of what’s going on with the State, and a weekly half-hour in-depth program.

  • The Sacramento Bee: The Bee has an excellent Capitol and California section, where you’ll find many of the best articles out there about the goings on in Sacramento. The Bee offers California Politics and State Budget RSS feeds.

  • Assemblymember Noreen Evans’s budget blog: I discovered this site from Becks’s blog a while back, and if you’re concerned about the State budget (which you should be), it’s another must-read. Evans chairs the Legislature’s Budget Conference Committee, and is posting daily updates on the State budget.

  • Capitol Weekly: Weekly newspaper about State politics.

  • CalBuzz: Commentary, gossip, and occasional useful news about California politics from former San Francisco Chronicle managing editor Jerry Roberts and former San Jose Mercury News political editor Phil Trounstine.

  • Calitics: Multiple daily posts about California politics, mostly commentary, some breaking news, and some news you won’t find elsewhere. The site is focused on “progressive” issues, which is a word I absolutely hate, but overall, it’s another must-read.

  • California Progress Report: Founded by Oakland attorney, current Chief of Staff to Assembly member Nancy Skinner and former Chair of the Alameda County Democratic Party, Frank Russo, this site offers commentary on State policy from a “progressive” (ugh, that word again) perspective.

57 thoughts on “Where to learn about the budget. The other budget.

  1. Becks

    Thanks V – I meant to write about Skinner’s budget meetings but got sidetracked this week.

    And even though I already wrote a blog post about this, I want to reiterate that Noreen Evans’s blog rocks. Really, I don’t know how I’d keep up with the budget process without it. It’s very well written and readable, even if you’re not a policy wonk. And she (or her staff) write practically every day! So if you haven’t already, make sure to check it out.

  2. len

    Desptie the Ca Budget Project’s upfront bias against business and “above” middle class, it is very informative. I

    What struck me about the comparison between the schwartz and the conference committee was how often they either agreed, or the conference committee just scaled back the gov’s massive cuts to merely devastating cuts.

    Since they both agree on taking away gas tax sharing from local governments, I guess that means we’ll all be parking on sidewalks to avoid getting trapped in side street potholes.

    -len raphael

  3. len

    the conference committe came up with some desperate revenue ranging proposals such as “requiring” certain unamed internet sellers to collect sales tax on purchases to california. not sure how they expect to do that because that would require a federal law, but if it gets obamba’s blessing, that would put a big crimp in amazon sales. changing the wage withholding tables so that withholding taken in the first half of the calendar year is taken at a higher rate than withholding for the second half.

    The most straw clutching measure is delaying the June 30th year end payroll for every state employee to July 1st.

  4. jackie

    Wait, why do you hate the word “progressive”?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

  5. Max Allstadt

    There is more than one problem with the word “progressive”.

    “Progressive” implies that those who support any cause labeled as such are the only ones who know what progress is, which is arrogant as all hell. It’s also a perfect word to attract overuse: call yourself a progressive, and everybody thinks you stand for progress.

    Using time-oriented adjectives to create an identity is a great way to make yourself go obsolete faster. “Progressive rock” clearly isn’t anymore. “Modern” furniture is older than my parents.

    “Progressive” also has a terrible pedigree. Prohibition was “progressive”.

    So yeah, when the media takes an adjective and turns it into an identity, stupidity ensues.

  6. Patrick

    There are still “modern” furniture designers/manufacturers. We just renamed the older version “mid-century” or “danish”. “Modern” does seem a little old-fashioned…contemporary does too.

    I agree with the bad pedigree – but do most people really know/remember what the original “progressives” stood for? It seems to me there is a fundamental difference betwen then and now – they seemed consumed with upkeeping the moral fabric of society. Today’s progressives appear to be trying to level the playing field – returning the power of the government to the people rather than having government lie in bed with corporations.

  7. Ralph

    First thing that comes to mind when I here progressive – Oakland’s socialist movement. Steal from the middle class that has earned to give to those who have not. Spend money on “the next great level the playing field program.”

  8. len

    In late 19th, early 20th american politics the P word covered a range of mainstream reformists including teddy roosvelt, muckrakers, suffragates, etc.

    sometime between then and the late 20′s the term dropped out of usage?

    i’m guessing that in the 30′s it was widely used by american cp and possibly socialist groups

    for sure by the mid sixties it got hijacked by left wing groups, mostly remnants of american communist party, not by new lefties who considered it “old left speak”.

    fast forward to the 80′s, and it is a self label taken on by a range of groups and unaffiliated individuals who as Ralph says are proponents of income and wealth redistribution. some would call themselves socialists, but maybe most are really left wing liberals.

    I’ll bet that oakland and berkeley combined has at least 10% of the total “progressives” in the USA.

  9. Max Allstadt

    I have more of a problem with progressive as an awkward and arrogant choice of word that I do with taking care of the less fortunate. It’s interesting that the mere mention of a qualm with the word “progressive” brought up animosity against socialism. Socialism in many ways makes a lot of sense for a social species.

    I am a proponent of income redistribution, and of wealth redistribution. Especially in a country that has a level of inequality greater than in any other western democracy. There’s a difference between socially conscious policy and programs and the wasteful spending that we see in Oakland.

    Government can successfully take money from rich people to take care of poor people, and there are plenty of working examples of this. If wanting to tax the hell out of a $50,000 Hermes handbag makes me a socialist, I’m a socialist.

  10. James Robinson

    Is is possible that, if you bring in enough middle-class people, you won’t need to tax the hell out of a $50,000 Hermes handbag? If Oakland stops being the dumping ground for the Bay Area’s poor and criminals and becomes a more middle-class city, would it be as necessary to heavily tax the very rich? Also, if you heavily tax the very rich, won’t they just leave and go to some place like Piedmont?

  11. Ralph

    Poor people need to get an education and a job. Problem with Oakland is they have socially conscious policies that are neither fiscally sound nor proven effective. Government should protect the least among us but when either mama starts rollin’ like the big dogs without doing her part to get there or when we spend millions of dollars to improve the the oppty for children and they still fail to reach a minimum level of comprehesion then we got a problem.

    I have no problem taxing the heck out of $50K Hermes bag but when you start taxing the heck out of the guy earning b/w $50K and $250K we got a problem. Tax the luxury goods but not the income. Of course, like James advocated Oakland could just bring in more middle class – because really how many in Oakland are really buying a $50K bag.

  12. James Robinson

    I went to Danville for the first time today. It really makes a difference when you have middle-class folks living in large numbers. You can even see it in the East Oakland hills. You can help downtrodden individuals, but it is hard to lift up entire communities. It is far more effective to bring balance into those communities by new people moving in. It is also good for the tax base.

  13. Patrick

    How to attract the middle class? I venture to say that by concentrating spending on the worst areas of town is like throwing money into a hole. Instead, why not improve marginal areas to attract said middle class? Seriously, there are some incredibly nice homes in Oakland that are going for a relative song.

    My neighborhood, close to shopping, schools, a library, transportation and parks, is a prime example. For the most part, people take very good care of their homes around here. Furthermore, there are some jaw-droppingly beautiful homes around here. It’s the city of Oakland that isn’t doing their part. They need to spend a little money and effort on removing their dead street trees, fixing the potholes, cleaning up accumulated, blowing trash and removing some of the grafitti/keeping the peace at the corner of Fruitvale and 27th. With the exception of keeping the peace, it could all be easily accomplished in one day. And I’m referencing a relatively small area that negatively affects hundreds of homes, apartments and businesses.

    My friends who visit always love my house, neighbors and street – you can see the look of potential homeownership in their eyes -but then they have to drive through a truly sketchy looking area to get back on the highway. The thought fades.

  14. James Robinson

    I’m having a similar problem in my development. The townhouses are brand new, they hit the market in early 2007. The owner of the townhouse next door to mine is trying to find renters. One perspective couple liked the townhouse, but they disliked the area around the development so much that they decided to look elsewhere. It would be nice if the city would just clean up the graffiti and the trash on 98th from 580 down to MacArthur, but no. . .

    In a city with a strong-mayor form of government, the mayor is supposed to make sure things run smoothly. But no, we don’t have that kind of mayor. Sorry. San Ramon/Danville looked so good today. . .

  15. Max Allstadt

    Patrick, concentrating spending, particularly redevelopment money, on the worst areas of town isn’t in any way throwing money down a hole. It’s actually a totally viable and repeatable model of transformation, but only if you spend money wisely and at the right time. At the same time, if you win, you displace people.

    On the other hand, if you spend wisely in an already functional middle class neighborhood, all you accomplish is elevating the property values and equity of people who are already taking care of themselves. Maintenance in affluent neighborhoods offers even less return on investment.

    On that note, I recommend that the city of Oakland save millions of dollars next year by putting a moratorium on repaving in wealthy neighborhoods. Let them drive their cars on gravel until they band together, pony up and hire an independent contractor to repave. Tax them if they don’t hire within city limits…

    I guarantee you that if there is more than three cars on a block worth over $80k each, those owners will buy their own asphalt if you make them wait long enough.

  16. Patrick

    I feel ya.

    However, today I admired, weeded and watered my garden before 11 (woke up at 9!), enjoyed awesome tacos de lengua with neighbors about 10 blocks from my house, walked around Lake Merritt for about an hour and a half (this city is so beautiful), swung by Chinatown for some dim sum (just because) and bbq pork for fried rice tonight (and I got a great ginger/garlic keeper, brown clay, $3.99!), then swept into my local Ace for some necessaries before heading to Mi Pueblo for my staples. I was home by 5. Try that in Danville.

  17. Ralph

    Patrick, I am pretty certain I can find one area of town that was once a barren stretch that loves the redevelopment dollar. And with a few more we will one day lift the whole of Oakland. We are that rising tide…

    There is a part of this city where the streets are repaved.

  18. James Robinson

    Ralph, you make some good points. It’s just hard sometimes. The Walgreen’s near me on MacArthur near Foothill Square shopping center recently closed, so there is no pharmacy for people in this area. The actual shopping center is mostly empty, despite its new ownership, probably because they can’t find the funding they need for renovation. There are young men standing around all times of the day. I’m sure the area (and the city) will improve, but it will be a painfully gradual process, one that will result in a whole lot of people being displaced.

  19. Patrick

    Max: recently, I read a very interesting article (blog? Tribune? don’t remember) about the difficult choices that City of Oakland PW faces re: streets. They can shore up the streets that are in pretty good shape or they can repair the worst streets, costing more money down the line because of deferred maintenance. This was the inspiration for what I wrote.

    My neighborhood is in no way affluent. It is definitely on the edge. However, if the the city of Oakland paid minimal attention to it, the current crop of bargain seekers would move in and transform the area (I believe).

    I don’t believe in displacement. I believe in creating jobs in relatively established neighborhoods which will benefit the areas directly and adjacent.

  20. Patrick

    Ralph, absolutely. 12th Street from Chinatown *almost* to Fruitvale is as smooth as glass. I go out of my way to drive on that road.

    It’s sad that the date palms lining that stretch through Chinatown are dying from an easily remedied malady called “frizzle-top”. A little manganese drilled into the soil would do the trick – for about $5 apiece (each palm probably cost $2000+installation ). Instead, they will almost surely all be dead within 5 years.

  21. Ralph

    Patrick, having lived on Jackson and often wondered if I had not been secretly transported to 1980s Beirut, I had to ask.

    On displacement, for the change we need, I think Oaklanders need to get comfortable with the idea of displacement.

  22. Patrick

    Well then great; let’s get really comfortable. Let’s just de-annex everything south of Hegenberger and west of 580 as well as everything west of 980/24 and south of Children’s Hospital. Why displace when we can dispose? Let’s just make it all Alameda County’s problem. We’ll make out like bandits in the way of tax revenue vs. expenditures and Nancy Nadel will no longer be a resident. It’s “win-win”.

  23. Patrick

    I think you should get comfortable with the idea of displacement. At least Ralph thinks so.

  24. Ralph

    Now Patrick there you go whacking when you want to go surgical. Getting rid of whole neighborhoods is no more helpful than trying to bring whole communities out of poverty. You just can’t go throwing the baby out with the bath water. Help/Save the ones you can let the rest go. How can you be so cold and dispassionate? :)

    PS: Under my plan James stays.

  25. Patrick

    How is my plan different from “Help/Save the ones you can let the rest go”? My plan is quicker and costs less. It’s “shovel-ready”.

    I am willing to make a boundary change to exclude James – but NOT Nancy Nadel.

  26. James Robinson

    Eh, I’ll take a hit for the team. Besides, I’ve wondered why neighborhoods like Rockridge didn’t break off from Oakland and join Piedmont, or start their own city like Piedmont did.

  27. David

    Maybe, just maybe, they shouldn’t try to raise revenue at all. Again, if the state budget grew from 1999 on with population+inflation, we wouldn’t even be having this “crisis” discussion.

    Again, I don’t know what gov’t services here are any better than they were in 1999, so why are we spending 45% more in real dollars than we would have if spending had kept pace with inflation+population? Heck, there are “only” 10 or 15% more state employees per capita than there were 10 years ago, so just where the heck is all that money going? If we cut it off, would it really turn CA into a 3rd world country?

    Was California a 3rd world country in 1999, when spending & revenues were much lower on a real, inflation-adjusted per capita basis? Actually, when I moved here in 1997, I did think it pretty much was a 3rd world country, but at least it was cheaper. I don’t know why I’m spending more for the same old ****.

    When the private sector’s average wages are about what they were in 1999, adjusted for inflation, why should the public sector have grown so much? How can it grow any more? 100% tax rates?

    Cut spending, cut spending, cut spending, cut spending. Then cut it some more.

  28. das88

    @Patrick, if there are some dying date palms that can saved for $5 each, we should get together and save them.

    First, the city does have a Chief Arborist (unless he was one of the hundred recently sent layoff notices). We should contact him with the location of the problem and information on the solution. For all we know, the problem has already been noted somewhere, and we just need to make a little noise to get it moved to a higher priority.

    Second, if he is not willing to take action, we can connect up with the local guerrilla gardening groups.

  29. Ralph

    David, I am guess those pre-negotiated COLAs have something to do with it. When the dumbest least effective employee can still get a 4% bump in pay in a 1-2% economy, then what incentive does he have to look for work elsewhere.

    I agree we need to cut spending. We also need to get rid of ballot box budgeting. When the coffers are overflowing, those pesky Hollywood liberals and Berkeley/SF/Oakland leftwingers get this funky idea to spend more on social programs that can’t be supported in the downturn. That money should go back to the taxpayers.

  30. len

    Ralph, does the The Plan provide for James to live in a strategic hamlet :)

    haven’t seen a market solution to fixing cities that doesn’t displace poor and eventually lower middle class people. has anyone seen a govt/non profit solution that strikes a balance so that the city doesn’t drown in providing services to poor needy residents? Brunner refers to the public housing development she grew up in Manhattan as a model of that. Maybe she’s referring to Peter Cooper Village, i don’t know. In her time, those would have been mostly poorer ethnic European and then maybe later some Puerto Rican immigrants. we know where that discussion goes.

    Anyone know how its going requiring percentages of very affordable housing mixed with market in say the rentals of Uptown?

    -len raphael

  31. Patrick

    @das88 – I just got off the phone after calling the City’s “sidewalk person”, Jerry Smith and Mitch Thompson (who according to the call center has something to do with trees). Anyway, I got answering machines both times so hoping for a return call someday.

    My inquiry to the PW Call Center was irritating. Mumbling, low volume, unresponsive, uninterested – when he gave me the people’s names and numbers he added “if he’s still with the City” both times. Even a Jack in the Box drive thru is more professional.

  32. David

    Oh, I’m sure the COLAs have a fair bit to do with it. But I don’t care what the main cause is, there simply is no gov’t agency that is 45% better than it was 10 years ago, and therefore, we shouldn’t be spending that much more for it. Not only shouldn’t we, but we simply can’t. I don’t know about you, but after my FORTY percent pay cut over the past couple years, I don’t really have any disposable income to hand over to some ex-bureaucrat’s pension, or current bureaucrat’s salary. After cutting the fat out of my budget, maybe the governor should invite me up to Sacramento. I guarantee I’d trim the state’s budget just right.

    Len, you want to help poor people? Let’s kill the sales tax and give everyone an instant 10% raise that way. Cut the gas tax. Cut cell phone taxes. Make life cheaper. Help poor people? Stop business-killing taxes & regulations (workers’ comp, state employment taxes etc etc). Help poor people? Get rid of stupid zoning laws, build as much as you can wherever you want it. Get rid of rent control alongside that, and watch all the reasonable market-rate housing spring up. Help poor people? Make electricity cheaper by supporting the building of cheap nuke plants and other electricity plants everywhere we can (with the added benefit of jobs). Help poor people? Start enforcing immigration laws to reduce the surplus of unskilled workers.

    California has some of the worst infrastructure, schools and gov’t services in the country. So why pay high prices for Mississippi gov’t services? Let’s pay Mississippi prices.

  33. das88

    @Patrick, I found the contact info the Chief Arborist

    Gallagher, Daniel H.
    Title: Tree Supervisor II
    Agency/Department: Public Works
    Division: Dept of Infrastructure & Operations
    Phone: 615-5856
    E-Mail: dgallagher@oaklandnet.com

  34. Ralph

    len, is the telegraph ave bldg the affordable rental units? i just walked by and it still looks vacant. i really wish that bldg was buried somewhere in the interior. i find it less attractive than the others.

  35. MLE

    “Maybe she’s referring to Peter Cooper Village, i don’t know. In her time, those would have been mostly poorer ethnic European and then maybe later some Puerto Rican immigrants. we know where that discussion goes.” – len

    I don’t understand. Could you elaborate? Thanks.

  36. livegreen

    Solutions for Oakland:

    –With Industrial Zoning now settled, get CEDA to finally bring in some distribution related jobs. (Geez we have a port. Why not use it, instead of letting all these distribution jobs go to the SE Bay or to the Valley?);

    –Get COMPSTAT and get the Riders NSA to permit OPD to move some Investigators out of Internal Affairs into crimes affecting the other 400,000 of us;

    –Once the budget is solved hire more Officers at lower salaries;

    –Continue to improve the schools (where they have progressed);

    –Get John Russo to actually do something like sue the state to get other cities to build their fare share of low-income housing OR we don’t either.

    With more jobs and more police there will be less crime and the whole thing will snowball in a positive direction. The poor and lower middle class will get better employment opportunities AND more middle class will move here with a safer city.

    If you don’t have working class jobs and a safer city the middle class simply won’t move to Oakland in significant #’s.

    Now which of our Mayoral candidates will propose such a thing? In fact, what are the Dapper Don and Tax-it-All Quan for, anyway?

  37. V Smoothe Post author

    It’s a little bit more complicated than just “spend less” or COLAs. For example, a huge contributor to the State’s skyrocketing spending is the Department of Corrections, which grew from $4.2 billion ten years ago to nearly $10 billion now. Anyone got an easy solution for the prison system? I’m sure a lot of people would love to hear it.

  38. Robert

    How ’bout sending prisoners out of state where costs aare substantially cheaper?

    It really is not that hard to come up with ideas to save money. It is getting the political will to implement the solutions. Every time a program is cut or other idea is propossed that will save money somebody complains. Keep the libraries open. Fill the potholes. Offend too many people and you are afraid you won’t get reelected.

  39. Chris Kidd

    Hmmm, restricting the elligibility to earn a ‘strike’ in the 3-strikes system to only violent crimes would be a start. That legislation was hand-crafted by the prison guards union to boost the number of inmates over longer periods of mandatory sentences to create demand for more prison beds/space. De-fanging it won’t make an immediate impact, but it will certainly help decelerate the process.

  40. David

    Sorry, V, it’s not more complicated than “spend less.” Are there 2.5 times as many prisoners now as there were 10 years ago? (no there isn’t). So is it those prison guard salaries? Hmm.

    Point out what institution in California “should” have a real, inflation+population-adjusted gain in funding due to better outcomes or some other reason (like if the prison population went from 100K to 250K, then ok, $4B to $10B in funding makes sense). Should the schools? Nope. Prisons? nope. DMV? Seriously, what service is that much better than it was 10 years ago?

    Spend less. Period. I don’t care what your favorite budget item is. We simply CANNOT and SHOULD NOT pay more taxes to support more spending.

  41. David

    PS. The inmate population in 1998 was 158,000. It’s now about 170,000, a total 8% increase. So why has spending gone up 2.5 fold?

    Oh yeah, Gray Davis’s prison guard payout/payoff and Arnold’s continuation.

    California has about the same inmate population as Texas, but Texas spends about $2.5B/year on incarceration. Why in heaven’s name do we spend FOUR TIMES as much? This goes back to SF, with a population 1/4 that of Chicago having a similarly-sized budget. It’s absolutely fricking ridiculous what the gov’t spends here compared to any other state in the union.

  42. David

    Patrick, I find the notion, overall, that we are undertaxed to be laughable.

    1) If you want to pay more taxes, you can donate the money to the gov’t. They’ll take it.

    2) Aren’t you just a little bit bewildered why we’re spending so much more money and not getting anything in return in terms of better services?

  43. Chris Kidd

    Californians, just from looking at the history of initative voting since prop 13, want more services but don’t want to pay taxes. The attempt by politicians/government to serve this demand has led us to where we are today.

  44. Patrick

    I don’t think it’s bewildering at all. Salaries, benefits and pensions have risen to unsustainable levels – but that’s a union issue. Eventually, every municipality (and the state) will have no choice but to address this fact. Beyond that, cities were never meant to provide social services like we see today. Oakland’s government elite appears to think this is their first priority.

    In any event, spending has nothing to do with whether our taxes are too high or not. I agree that in California we do not receive good value for our tax dollar – but I’d happily pay higher taxes if it meant we got good schools, safe neighborhoods, well-maintained parks and a coherent public transit policy. Instead, we get Honduran gangs, non-violent people jailed for possesion of marijuana and a water system designed for a population less than 1/2 of what we have today.

  45. David

    Actually spending does have something to do with taxes. Eventually they have to match up somewhere.

    but whatever.

  46. Patrick

    You might want to re-read what I wrote about spending and taxes – but I suppose it’s simply easier for you to be flippant.

  47. jackie

    actually, what I think would draw more people, more families to Oakland is fixing the SCHOOLS, not the streets.

    I can deal with a pot hole if my kids are getting an excellent public education. Instead, we have a system where by some estimates more kids drop out or fail out of high school than graduate.

    I’m currently just a young-20-something here in Oakland, and I love living here. However, when I think about having a family, I know for sure I don’t want them in Oakland’s schools.

  48. Ralph

    jackie, what will truly change the schools are the parents. Lincoln Elem has some of the highest test scores in Oakalnd. Parents demand that their children do well.

    The more we can do to bring middle class families who value education to Oakland the easier it will be for us to change OUSD.

  49. len

    Interview with Gray Davis in the chron the other day was an eye opener. I assumed he’d be beating up on the terminator.

    “Q: It seems ironic at the least that fiscal management was a theme of the
    recall campaign and now it’s like deja vu. How do you feel about that?

    A: I never believed in pointing fingers, even when in office and I’m certainly
    not going to do it now. The public and the people in Sacramento need to realize
    that what they fund depends on revenues coming from the economy and the economy
    is going to have ups and downs. Not to take that fluctuation into account when
    making one-, two- or five-year plans is ridiculous.

    You have to keep your eye on how the overall economy is going and not just
    whether ends meet in the current year. It’s a totally foreign concept in the
    Democratic Party; they just think the economy happens.”

    -len raphael
    desmond st

  50. len

    california needs some blue dog democrats and some moderate republicans, but it appears that can’t happen the way districts are gerrymandered.