Make Oakland Better Now! Looks At Two Proposed Amendments to the Mayor’s Budget – Part 2

Make Oakland Better Now! will be present at the next Oakland City Council Meeting on June 13th at 6:30pm to urge the City Council to adopt the Mayor’s proposed budget with Council President Kernighan’s proposed changes.  This post is the second in a series to look at the budget amendments proposed by Council President Kernighan and those proposed by Council Members Brooks, Reid and Gallo.  More information can be found in the Oakland Tribune’s Coverage, here, and Chip Johnson’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle, here (paywall).  We encourage all Oaklanders to join us at council in urging your representatives to adopt a budget reflecting the city’s need for public safety and fiscal responsibility.

Make Oakland Better Now! was set to publish a post today that costed out the City Council President’s proposed budget amendments (we’ve been calling the proposal “APB1”) and the proposed amendments to the budget by Council Members Brooks, Reid and Gallo (“APB2”).  We had reached the conclusion that APB2 would result in a city budget out of balance by millions of dollars.


But the Budget Director and City Administrator issued a report that did the same analysis – and reached the same conclusion.  The short version:

  • 3% COLA’s don’t cost $3M per year–the cost is about $8M.
  • There is no “double counting” in the budget with respect to the Fire Department’s $7.8M grant or IT expense.
  • The City has received $9.5M in “boomerang funds” related to dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency, but this one-time revenue cannot be encumbered at this time.
  • There is no confirmation that the three city center buildings are going to be sold, so the City cannot count on the $2.7M in real estate transfer tax projected by APB2.
  • APB1 results in a two-year surplus of $280K.
  • APB2 results in a two-year shortfall of $8.7M.

The long version is here.

In our next budget post, we will be looking at a third approach, being offered by Oakland’s Budget Advisory Committee.

Reminder to Oaklanders:  Would you like to help us help our neighbors?

The West Oakland Green Initiative (WOGI) maintains many of the over 500 trees they have planted in the last year.  They need some help from volunteers in the community.  What would be better than Make Oakland Better Now! lending a hand in making a corner of our town a little more beautiful? Most of our board will be there Sunday afternoon, June 16, and we would LOVE to have you come and join us. 

What: West Oakland Community Clean up and Tree Maintenance

When: Sunday, 6/16, 1 – 4:30 p.m.

Where: Raimondi Park, 18th @ Campbell, Oakland 94607 

We will be involved in basic tree maintenance, placing some new soil around the base of the trees, and cleaning up litter around the park.  WOGI is donating all the material and tools needed to perform the work.  All we need is you and a handful of your friends eager to lend a hand.  

If you plan on attending, have any questions, or need help with a ride, please e-mail  We hope to see you there.

Make Oakland Better Now!

OakTalk Here is the blog of Make Oakland Better Now!, an Oakland community grassroots group of a grass-roots group of voters, volunteers, and policy advocates committed to improving the City of Oakland by focusing on public safety, public works, and responsible budgets. Founded in 2003, we’ve researched, lobbied, and successfully campaigned for a number of new, impactful policies, including the city’s Rainy Day Fund, Measure Z and Operation Ceasefire.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. egerber2013

    This is the 1st budget for a long time when we have a chance to strengthen law enforcement. Please take the time to read these posts and urge your Council member to vote for only the Kernighan amendments!

  2. jonathanbreault

    If one accepts the premise that Oakland has a tiny police force and crime is of epidemic proportions then any modification to Mayor Jean Quan’s very modest budget proposal to increase our police manpower would seem to be naive and irresponsible. Council members Larry Reid and Desley Brooks ought to rethink their proposal which would diminish our force while increasing salaries for city employees. The fact that Noel Gallo endorses this idea is a shock to me as when he campaigned to represent the district in which I reside he told me in no uncertain terms that his number one priority was aggressively combatting crime. The idea that our council would once again over promise, over pay and acquiesce to the demands of the unions is depressing because if this town is ever to reach its potential and fulfill its enormous promise crime has to be addressed in a mature, realistic and vigilant manner. The town cannot afford anything less. Crime and the specter of crime is overwhelming this place and the municipal government consistently fails the taxpayers in this critical issue. I would prefer that the city council members who are unwilling to realistically address the crime problem find another line of work.

  3. Grumpy

    The points to make in contacting Council members to support the Kernighan proposal: 1. This is not the answer; the public safety challenge remains as yet far from adequately addressed. 2. Council needs to start acting as a mature body, capable of rational, responsible action in an environment of very poor public confidence in downtown. A small step in the right direction like this is required because the public will need to be asked to provide significant additional resources in the near future.

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