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- If You Live In The Hills, Vote YES on Measure A
- Ten Strategies to Make Oakland Better (4): Public Ethics Commission Reform
- What Is The “PFRS” Obligation, And How Should Oakland Address It?
- Oakland’s Annual Budget Deliberations Start – Can Oakland Finally Establish A Rainy Day Fund?
- Will the Mayor’s Proposed Budget Rebuild Oakland’s Police Department?
- Save the Date! MOBN Sponsored Mayoral Debate on 4/3/14
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As we have done for the last two election cycles, Make Oakland Better Now! is getting ready to send candidate questionnaires to all Mayoral and City Council Candidates. We will try to design questions that the candidates can’t dodge, that require specifics and not vague generalities. And unlike many of the questionnaires business groups, unions and others submit, the responses to ours will all be public.
Our questions will all relate to public safety, public works, the City budget and transparency and accountability. Would you like to help us? Here’s your chance. Please submit your proposed questions either in the comments to this post or in an e-mail to oaklanders@MakeOaklandBetterNow.org before the submission deadline of Wednesday, July 23.
We will be submitting questionnaires as the candidates file their nominating petitions, and hope to publish the responses by mid-September. Let’s find out what they say when we ask them the tough questions!
MOBN! SUPPORTS THE PROPOSED PUBLIC SAFETY MEASURE – IF THE CITY GUARANTEES A THRESHOLD NUMBER OF OFFICERS
Tuesday night, Oakland’s City Council has a very big agenda (and will be holding a very long meeting). But the most critical item on that agenda is a resolution to place a public safety and services ballot on this November’s election, to take effect in January when Measure Y expires.
As most readers of Oaktalk know, Measure Y was passed ten years ago, and provides for a parcel tax and parking tax that provide $22 million for “problem solving officers,” violence prevention programs and fire funding. We could provide a litany of issues and problems with Measure Y, but will save this for another day. Our questions have been (1) what would happen without the $22 million?, (2) what would the voters be willing to do?, and (3) what politically acceptable solutions were there to solve the biggest problems with Measure Y.
Ten Strategies to Make Oakland Better
Strategy Four: Put Public Ethics Commission Reform On The Ballot and Pass It Now
Make Oakland Better Now! was established to advocate for public safety, public works, government transparency, accountability and budget Reform. Often, however, we are recognized simply as advocates for increasing the size of the Police Department. While we stand by our position that Oakland desperately needs 925 sworn officers, much more is needed to make Oakland the city its residents want and deserve. This is the fourth installment in our ten part series on steps Oakland can and should take to make this a better, safer and more sustainable city. We announced some time ago that our public ethics commission reform ideas would be coming up “shortly.” But before we got there, Council Member Kalb, and a “Good Government Working Group” including highly respected members of the League of Women Voters, MapLIght, California Common Cause, California Forward, The Greenlining Institute and other good government groups put together a proposal, and we thought their proposal deserved an evaluation before we went further.
We’ve completed that evaluation, and it’s a positive one. On Tuesday, July 15, Council will consider placing this on the ballot. We believe it should, and that voters should support it. Here’s our brief analysis.
In 1996, Oakland established financial policies intended to bring sound financial practices to the City’s budgeting process. Specifically, the policies required the City to maintain a reserve against disasters of 7.5% of the general purpose fund. The policies also were designed to avoid the spending of one-time revenues on recurring expenses. Why? Because ongoing expenses are just that – ongoing. When they come due again the next year, one-time revenue won’t be there to pay for them anymore. For this reason, Oakland’s financial policy since 1996 has limited the City’s ability to spend one-time revenues on recurring expenses without declaring a fiscal emergency.
In particular, the policy has limited the City’s ability to spend more than $40 million in Real Estate Transfer Tax (“RETT”) revenue for ongoing expenses. This policy recognizes that the excess RETT – a percentage tax on real estate sales – is one of the most volatile and undependable revenue sources, and should be treated as one-time revenue. Instead, under the policy, excess RETT was to be devoted to increasing reserves, paying pension obligations and repaying negative fund balances.
We have more than a mayor’s race in Oakland this November. City Council District 2, 4 and 6 seats are also up for election, and the District 2 seat is vacant with Council President Kernighan’s pending retirement.
This Wednesday, June 4 at 7:00 p.m., Grand Lake Neighbors and Lakeshore Avenue Baptist church are sponsoring a District 2 City Council Candidate Forum with candidates Kevin Blackburn, Abel Guillen, Dana King, Sokhom Mao and Andrew Park. Location: Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Avenue.
You will have the opportunity to hear the candidates discuss the issues and answer your questions. Submit your questions in advance via email to email@example.com, or submit your questions at the event.
Only 6 Days Until Part I of the SafeOakland Speaker Series featuring Connie Rice of L.A.’s Advancement Project.
Sunday, June 08, 4p-6p @ Impact Hub Oakland – 2323 Broadway @23rd St.
Please help spread the word – the venue can fit 250 people, want to pack the house! Come and bring a friend or few!
Please pass on to your contacts this flyer with the information
Ten Strategies to Make Oakland Better
Strategy Three: Contract for a Resource Allocation Study for the Oakland Police Department
Make Oakland Better Now! was established to advocate for public safety, public works, government transparency, accountability and budget Reform. Often, however, we are recognized simply as advocates for increasing the size of the Police Department. While we stand by our position that Oakland desperately needs 925 sworn officers, much more is needed to make Oakland the city its residents want and deserve. This is the third installment in our ten part series on steps Oakland can and should take to make this a better, safer and more sustainable city. For our third strategy, we urge the city to take the steps necessary to make a fact-based determination of how many police officers the city needs.
Many Oaklanders believe the Oakland Police Department is understaffed. A May 7 Survey USA Poll sponsored by KPIX-TV shows 77% agreeing that the City of Oakland has “not enough officers.” Mayor Quan and her election challengers Bryan Parker, Courtney Ruby, Joe Tuman, Libby Schaaf and Dan Siegel have all advocated for increasing the size of the police department, proposing goals of anywhere from 700 to 925 sworn officers. Meanwhile, OPD recently reported sworn staffing of 652, thirty-seven fewer officers than the city employed in July, 2010 after laying off 80 officers!