Right now, the City of Oakland is making all kinds of news with our budget shortfalls. Like every major metro area, we are dealing with huge gaps and have to get to some final and solvent budget.
Mayor Ron Dellums’ first shot has been poured over and worked through by the City Council. Beyond the big nut with police funding, four Council representatives have recommended many, many changes – including some civic-minded things that are now budgeted.
We’re betting that you didn’t look at what our council rep, Jean Quan, and her colleagues adjusted in their budget. It seems like Montclarions are so fed up that even paying attention to the shortfalls and responses can be headache-inducing, but some of our hot-button issues have been addressed:
- Branch libraries stay open five days a week – While we won’t have six days a week, these hours are certainly better than two or three days which had been proposed by the mayor. (It will be nice for Montclair to re-open on July 5th, finally.)
- Two park ranger positions stay in place – There’s been lots of noise from Montclarions, and rightfully so. This current staffing isn’t ideal, but we will take something rather than nothing! We hope the rangers will attend to Joaquin Miller, Shepherd, Dimond and other key spots over the summer.
- Twelve public workers keep their jobs – As Mother Nature takes its toll, it’s good to see four workers handling trees. Of course, visitors also take their toll on our city parks and eight maintenance workers will be saved too. This isn’t full-force, so volunteers are still needed to keep parks clean.
- The CORE program will live on – Some sanity prevails, and the safety coordinator will still be training citizens in handling all the typical Oakland disasters. We’re overdue for both fires and earthquakes, so it’s important that neighbors know what to do. Apparently, the fire department agrees now.
What’s next? The “first reading of the ordinances” takes place this Tuesday, June 16th at 6pm, in the City Council chambers. This means the Council’s budget motion is reviewed at that session. There’s a second reading scheduled for June 30th, which would include revisions and changes.
Meanwhile, the wheels spin slowly but sometime the budget does have to get done – even without clear understanding of the impacts from federal, state and county levels.