Make Oakland Better Now! Asks The Candidates: “What Will You Do If You Are Elected?”

Thanks so much to all the Oaklanders who contributed their thoughts about questions to ask Oakland’s mayoral candidates.  Your ideas came in as blog comments, as e-mails and as Facebook posts, and they were great.

We couldn’t use every question, but we used many of them, and we tried to cover every subject you suggested.  The field of candidates is now set.  We’ve sent a questionnaire to all of the 15 Mayoral candidates and another to all of the 12 City Council candidates.  Unlike most of the questionnaires candidates fill out, our questionnaires and the responses are public.  We want the public, and the press, to know what the candidates say now on the issues that matter most to Oakland.

Here is our Mayoral candidate questionnaire:


And here’s the questionnaire we sent to City Council candidates:

 

We’ve asked all candidates to respond by Thursday, September 11, and we’ll get the responses published as quickly as we can once we receive them.  So stay tuned.
(Post title corrected August 26.)

Help MOBN! Write Candidate Questionnaires

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 Proposed Safety Measure if City Guarantees Officer Threshold

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.

Continue reading

Ten Strategies to Make Oakland Better (4): Public Ethics Commission Reform

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.

Continue reading

Oakland’s Annual Budget Deliberations Start – Can Oakland Finally Establish A Rainy Day Fund?

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.

Continue reading

District 2 City Council Debate on June 4th, 7pm.

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 forum@grandlakeneighbors.org, or submit your questions at the event.

Safe Oakland Speaker Series

 

Screenshot 2014-06-03 at 7.23.08 AM

 

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