So the main news about last night’s budget discussion is that nothing happened. Really. Desley Brooks, Nancy Nadel, and Larry Reid all complained about the alternative budget proposal submitted by four of their colleagues, but amazingly, considering how strongly they appeared to feel about how unfair it was that their own ideas weren’t included, none of them submitted any specific adjustments of their own.
Everyone will have until next week to submit their ideas in writing to be considered on the 30th (when the final budget is passed), but seriously, it’s getting a little late at this point. I mean, everybody had all weekend to respond to the proposal submitted on Friday, so it was really weird to see all this consternation absent basically any suggestions at the meeting last night. At one point, District 3 Councilmember Nancy Nadel, who was irate over the proposed cuts to the Second Start Adult Literacy program, said that more cuts will need to be made elsewhere, but she didn’t know where, and that she’d have to talk to the various department heads to figure out what other cuts should be made. HELLO! WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST MONTH AND A HALF, WOMAN! O.M.F.G. Anyway.
While I was hoping to write up something about the meeting for today’s blog, the late of hour of adjournment, combined with my need for at least some sleep, means that I wasn’t quite able to get it together. But don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you with nothing.
A blog doesn’t really lend itself to live coverage of public meetings. But you know what does? Twitter. dto510 loves Twitter. I kind of hate it. Regular readers know that parsimony is not exactly my strong suit, and Twitter’s 140 character limit hardly lends itself to thorough and fair discussion of public policy. But it does have its uses, and live meeting coverage is one of them.
Anyway, in lieu of a real blog for today, I offer you an archive of my twitter updates from last night. There’s a lot of stuff in here I want to write about in more detail later, but I figure this little preview is probably helpful for that, because if people have questions about anything, they can ask them in the comments and I’ll make sure to address them in the post.
Vsmoothe: JQ: Property taxes now expected to be down 4%, higher than estimated previously
V Smoothe: Local 21 (Oakland’s professional employees union) opposes Council proposal to NOT plunge city into $50 million greater debt
Vsmoothe: Carl Chan (Chinatown Chamber of Commerce) threatens to bring 100 people to next meeting if Council cuts Neighborhood Service Coordinators
Vsmoothe: KTOP feed obviously overtaxed, barely working, sound in and out, very annoying.
Vsmoothe: Council on 30 minute break, will return at 7 to resume budget discussions. Accepting speaker cards until 7
Vsmoothe: Public comment over, Council discussing budget now
Vsmoothe: Nancy Nadel says 30% of adults in Oakland don’t read above 4th grade level and that the figure has nothing to do with ESL
Vsmoothe: Nancy Nadel strongly opposes proposed cuts to library adult literacy program, says it is a public safety issue.
dto510: @vsmoothe Isn’t fourth grade level reading considered literate? I agree literacy is important, but library isn’t best place. OUSD maybe?
Vsmoothe: Nancy Nadel says she doesn’t know what else to cut, would have to go back and ask department heads about what they think
Vsmoothe: Desley Brooks opposes elimination of small projects design group, who are building her recording studio. Calls them “necessary.”
Vsmoothe: Desley Brooks opposes cuts to Second Start, thinks we should open branches fewer hours instead.
Vsmoothe: Rebecca Kaplan thinks its fine to charge for using Tool Lending Library, since it will still be cheaper than Home Depot.
Vsmoothe: Rebecca Kaplan also wants to retain Second Start program
dto510: @vsmoothe Um, aren’t libraries supposed to be free? They’re not supposed to be revenue-producing, but a public service
Vsmoothe: Rebecca Kaplan: We are spending to much money on police at special events where they aren’t needed
dto510: @vsmoothe Don’t event permit fees include police costs?
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan: would like to charge a fee on every car in the city, but does not like charging high fees for parking tickets.
dto510: @vsmoothe Is it just me or does that make no sense?
Vsmoothe: @dto510 We used to not make festivals pay for all of the police costs. Now we do, but festivals can’t afford it and are getting cancelled.
Vsmoothe: Jean Quan: this is a rolling budget, will have plenty of opportunity to revise later.
Vsmoothe: @dto510 It doesn’t if you know anything about the issue. Someone should buy her a copy of HCOFP for her birthday
dto510: @vsmoothe: When’s Pat’s birthday? If only she were on Facebook
Vsmoothe: Larry Reid wants to know how he can get his ideas to balance budget considered, besides saying them at the meeting
Vsmoothe: Jane Brunner says she’s learned that determining what is core is a process you need a seasoned public administrator to help you with.
Vsmoothe: Rebecca Kaplan: runaway overtime costs undermine the budgeting process, how do we keep police dept. overtime in check?
Vsmoothe: Jane Brunner: We have 10 public hearings ahead of us, need to be moving faster.
Vsmoothe: Council approves sending layoff notices to employees proposed for layoffs in Mayor’s budget, but that have not been objected to by Council.
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan says she can’t find anything in police department that is not a core service
Vsmoothe: Desley Brooks says lots of things in police department aren’t core, we have too many people in dispatch
Vsmoothe: Desley Brooks: should be a cap on overtime officers can work. V Smoothe: would we need less overtime if we had more police?
Vsmoothe: Parks and Rec appears out of nowhere to say that if the Council doesn’t pass the full budget tonight, it will be disaster for them
Vsmoothe: Jane Brunner to Parks and Rec: where the hell have you been for the last month? why tell us this NOW?
Vsmoothe: Assistant City Admin: don’t listen to them, it’s fine.
Vsmoothe: Now onto public hearings, Sanjiv Handa out of room
Vsmoothe: On every item, Brunner makes a big show out of calling Sanjiv Handa for comment Everyone in room laughs uproariously every time.
dto510: @vsmoothe Why does Parks and Rec need budget immediately?
Vsmoothe: Rebecca Kaplan recuses self from item on delinquent business taxes, then leaves. Pat Kernighan speculates RK must owe delinquent taxes
Vsmoothe: @dto510 Nobody knows.
dto510: @vsmoothe So, is it over? Any decisions? Are the NCPCs losing their budgets?
Vsmoothe: @dto510 No decisions on budget, layoff notices will be sent out to employees proposed for layoffs, except layoffs those Council objects to
Vsmoothe: @dto510 Not yet, NSCs reorganization item not up yet. Currently, Sanjiv Handa is taking his 20 minutes to speak.
Vsmoothe: Jean Quan: We narrowly missed downgrade from one agency, will probably get downgrade from another
Vsmoothe: Desley Brooks and Rebecca Kaplan: City organizational restructuring should not be discussed tonight, should go to Committee first
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan and IDLF: OK with voting on restructuring tonight, support all parts of it except moving Neighrhd Svc Coordntrs out of OPD.
Vsmoothe: Council votes on restructuring, Neighborhood Service Coordinators will remain in OPD
dto510: @vsmoothe: NSCs are the most controversial, but what else is involved in restructuring?
Vsmoothe: Onto Master Fee Schedule, Rebecca Kaplan says we should raise meter rates to $2, not $1.75.
Vsmoothe: Jean Quan opposes raising meters higher than $1.75, opposes any fees on Tool Lending Library.
Vsmoothe: @dto510 Move Personnel out of Finance & Management, to become its own department, Human Resources, move marketing to CEDA.
dto510: How many people are following the #Oakland budget with @vsmoothe’s Twitter instead of the TV? It’s like Iran up in here.
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan opposes raising peak hour meter rates, thinks we need to talk about it more and warn public first.
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan: I would rather raise all meters to $2/hour than raise some to $3/hr during peak hours.
Vsmoothe: Why is it SO HARD for the Council to understand the basics of what they need to vote on and what they don’t? It’s pathetic.
Vsmoothe: Jane Brunner: OK with pilot program for increased peak hour parking rates, but only in small area, see how it works.
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan: Can we start pilot program in your district, then?
dto510:@vsmoothe OK, I don’t care when her birthday is, Pat is getting a present from me next week.
Vsmoothe: Rebecca Kaplan opposes proposal to eliminate proposed fees for Tool Lending Library from Master Fee Schedule.
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan thinks if we raise peak hour meter rates, every restaurant in Chinatown will close.
dto510: @vsmoothe: @transbay It does seem fair to apply peak-hour parking pricing to places other than downtown. Like Rockridge
transbay: @dto510 Are you getting her Shoup??
Vsmoothe: Rebecca Kaplan says a small pilot program for peak hour parking is good idea, suggests Uptown as location
Vsmoothe: @transbay Watching this, I think I need to buy copies for the entire Council. It’s horrendous.
Vsmoothe: Nancy Nadel opposes higher peak hour parking for Uptown because there is a parking shortage there. UGH!!!!
dto510: @vsmoothe Uptown is too small and too dead to be a good test for peak parking pricing
Vsmoothe: @dto510 I agree it’s stupid to do it in such a small area, but Nancy’s logic is wrong
dto510: @vsmoothe @transbay Also, parking shortage is reason to do peak pricing. It doesn’t work there b/c parking surplus.
Vsmoothe: Peak hour parking proposal = $3/hour from 10-2, busiest times.
Vsmoothe: Council votes to approve fees to use Tool Lending Library. Nancy Nadel abstains because she doesn’t understand.
Vsmoothe: Council confused about proposed parking ticket fees (PDF). New fees would cost $10 more each than on chart, b/c of prev aprvd state pass-through.
Vsmoothe: Council not capable of adding 10 to numbers before them, pulls fee proposal. Will discuss when it returns next meeting with new chart.
Vsmoothe: Nancy Nadel opposes imposing parking tax on large diesel truck parking, says truckers are too poor to afford it.
dto510: I gotta replace my #Oakland library card before the fee doubles
MaxAllstadt: I think the Council should fine people $5 every time they refer to San Francisco as “The” City in a meeting. It ain’t the only city!
Vsmoothe: Nancy Nadel: you shouldn’t tax people when they do something you want them to. R Kaplan: Then I should not pay sales tax to buy a bicycle?
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan: I am “flopping back and forth in the wind on this issue.”
dto510: @vsmoothe Hehe. What are they talking about?
MaxAllstadt: This is ridiculous. I’m going to bed.
Vsmoothe: @dto510 Imposing parking tax on large truck parking.
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan and Jean Quan suggest we have a lower parking tax rate for truck parking.
dto510: @vsmoothe How is parking big-rigs something the city wants ppl to do? I have no idea where NN is coming from on this.
Vsmoothe: @dto510 The idea is if they parking in special areas just for them, it keeps them out of neighborhoods.
dto510: @Vsmoothe Ah. Well, the city should just ban big-rig parking in neighborhoods. Lotsa ways to justify that
Vsmoothe: Scott Peterson: Chamber of Commerce convened a meeting, and concluded that tax incentives for businesses would be helpful to Oakland
Vsmoothe: Scott Peterson cont.: Also concluded that study is needed to see if incentives would be revenue negative, positive, or neutral.
Vsmoothe: @dto510 Re: big-rig parking. It is already illegal in neighborhoods.
Vsmoothe: Jane Brunner doesn’t like using stimulus funds for traffic signal improvements. Thinks we should do something “unique” and “creative.”
Vsmoothe: IDLF opposes golden handshake proposal (PDF).
Vsmoothe: Rebecca Kaplan and Pat Kernighan support golden handshake (early retirement)
VSmoothe:Glde Hndshke = Eligible employees would have option of retiring early in exchange for 2 years additional service credit towards retirement
[I don't know why I didn't write anything about the conclusion of this issue. Maybe because I was struggling with how to talk about it in so few words. Basically, they decided to do it, but only for certain classifications.]
Vsmoothe: Pat Kernighan: There are many very narrow streets where people routinely park on sidewalk. Those people should not be fined.
Vsmoothe: Rebecca Kaplan: We have an incredible epidemic of abuse of disabled parking placards, should be enforced as much as possible.
Vsmoothe: Council not comfortable raising fine for locking a child into a car (PDF) from $30 to $100.
dto510: @vsmoothe There is no excuse for parking on the sidewalk. If a street is too narrow for parking, then parking shouldn’t be allowed.
Vsmoothe: Jane Brunner: If your kid gets locked in the car, it’s pretty scary. The police come. You shouldn’t have to pay a fine also.
Vsmoothe: Jean Quan: Um, sometimes people leave their kid in the car and the kid dies. Jane Brunner: Oh yeah, nevermind.
Vsmoothe: Meeting is over! Bedtime!
transbay: @vsmoothe Is Pat aware that sidewalk parking is a violation of both state and federal law?
Vsmoothe: @transbay She says it shouldn’t be enforced in areas where the streets are so narrow that people have to park on sidewalk.
Vsmoothe: @transbay She says she’s okay with the fine is someone is parked perpendicular across a big sidewalk on a normal street
Vsmoothe: @dto510 Pat says that if they do enforcement of that in certain neighborhoods with narrow streets, there will be a “revolt”
dto510: @vsmoothe Those streets should be fixed! I know where she’s talking about, but it’s not her district