Oaktalk is the blog of Make Oakland Better Now!, a 501(c)(3) organization committed to improving the City of Oakland. We strive to use issue research, education, advocacy, outreach and candidate vetting to empower Oakland’s voters.

We focus on a number of key areas that make a huge difference in the daily lives of all Oakland residents and their families: public safety, public works, government accountability, and budgetary responsibility.

Public Safety

A city’s number one priority must be to keep its citizens safe. This means Oakland must find financially responsible ways to provide adequate policing, restore meaningful  community policing,  and implement programs that provide alternatives to crime.

Public Works

Oakland has a responsibility to maintain its infrastructure, not to defer maintenance until it becomes an insurmountable obligation for future generations. Oakland must find ways to fund the maintenance and repair of its streets, sewers, parks and other assets.

Accountability and Transparency

The City must implement mechanisms to ensure city employees from department heads down to rank and file provide efficient and cost-effective services to our citizens.  The City must measure performance and provide regular, objective reports to tell its citizens how effective the City is in providing services.

City information, from the City’s budget down to telephone contact information, must be provided in readily accessible and understandable fashion.  Furthermore, the people’s business must be conducted in public, and records that relate to that business must be easily searchable and readily available.

Budgetary Responsibility

We support a city budget that is based on realistic income and expense assumptions, that does not meet operating expenses by continuing to assume debt, by selling city assets, by spending one-time sources of income or by accounting tricks.  Furthermore, we support a budget process that is transparent and orderly, that does not defer or delay difficult decisions, and that sets budget priorities based on an agreed concept of core services. We support performance based budgeting and urge the City to adopt a meaningful five-year balanced budget.