Archive for January, 2012

29
Jan
12

WWLD: What Would Libby Do?

In Oakland, budget cuts seems to be endless.  Over the past couple years, we have gone through nine rounds.  And with the State of California’s decision to cut re-development funds, we have arrived at the tenth round.  It feel like Groundhog’s Day, right?

If you thought decisions required hand-wringing before, then just wait until the next City Council meeting this Tuesday at 5:30pm. This time, Council representatives are forced to approve and eliminate $20.3 million asap.

What would Libby do?

Our District 4 Council Rep, Libby Schaaf, has recently shared her budget recommendations with constituents.  While she’s looking for alternatives, Libby says pickings are slim.  In case you don’t receive her newsletter, here’s what Libby would do:

While I’m still gathering information and input, I’m inclined to approve the following recommendations:

  • Reorganizing departments and flattening the organization to eliminate administrative costs and five agency director positions;
  • Eliminating 44 housing and economic development positions affected by the halt of new redevelopment activities;
  • Cutting KTOP TV station staff (with the assurance that all public meetings will continue to be broadcast & archived);
  • Reducing staff to the Youth Commission, Oaklander’s Assistance Center and Mayor’s office;
  • Cutting 7 Parks & Rec positions by closing some Rec Centers on Mondays (only Allendale & Brookdale might be affected; Montclair and Redwood Heights would not); and
  • Eliminating 27 Public Works positions, including the Saturday illegal dumping crew.

I’m most concerned with the following recommendations:

  • Cutting funding for Council Aides — hard-working problem-solvers like Bruce, Shereda and Dorie;
  • Eliminating our 211 services referral contract that serves our most vulnerable residents;
  • Reducing funds for arts grants and cultural institutions like Fairyland, Peralta Hacienda and the Zoo;
  • Cutting 4 of 9 remaining Neighborhood Services Coordinators who support Crime Prevention Councils.

Before Tuesday, take an opportunity to consider the cuts above.  We suggest reading this take from Make Oakland Better Now!  Or if you have particular fortitude, then download and read Mayor Quan’s 115-page proposal (PDF here) issued last week.

To provide your two cents or more, please reach Libby (lschaaf@oaklandnet.com) or her aide Bruce (bstoffmacher@oaklandnet.com) before the Council meeting.  While it’s possible to address and watch the City Council live on Tuesday, we like watching from home — through KTOP online or Comcast Channel 10.

Update:   Oakland budget cuts were approved on January 31st, which eliminate 105 positions and lay off 80 employees.  The council aides, 211 services, arts grants and neighborhood coordinators were spared.  Learn more from the Tribune and ABC7 news.

15
Jan
12

Make Monarchs Feel At Home

On Martin Luther King Day, there’s a special opportunity to restore monarch butterfly habitat in Montclair. As part of a joint park clean-up, throughout Shepherd Canyon, volunteers can help restore the old dump site before the monarchs return to lay their eggs.

With sufficient milkweeds, monarch caterpillars are able to thrive.  So volunteers will help weed and carefully plant milkweeds, placing protective cardboard collars around them.  Through these efforts, we’ll continue attracting some awesome creatures to the neighborhood.

The Shepherd Canyon area has already made progress, as a registered monarch weigh station. We can only imagine each of the caterpillars lining up and getting ready to beat their competitors (but we digress).

On Monday at 9:00am, volunteers will join forces to work on the butterfly habitat, restore a wildflower meadow or work on drainage problems along the rail trail. Some 25 volunteers are needed for butterflies, 75 for the meadow and another 25 for trail work.

What a great way to give back on MLK Day!  All volunteers, including kids, are encouraged to meet at Escher Gate, 5881 Escher Drive (map).  Be prepared to work from 9:00am through 12:30pm.  While there are several project teams, you may want to secure your monarch spot by reaching Adrienne Bryant at 1swimcat@gmail.com or 510-339-0985.

This community event is organized and run by Friends of Montclair Railroad Trail, Shepherd Canyon Homeowners Association and Service for Peace volunteers.




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Welcome to Montclair, Oakland

We live in the city yet are invaded by nature - or perhaps it's the other way around. Stop by often, and find out what's interesting to 94611 denizens.


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