In a word, yes.
The other day, Oakland Mayor Dellums sent out a note bragging about how many dollars Oakland received from Federal stimulus grants – and he thanked everyone who worked on the aid requests.
While we believe that Oakland did well in the handouts, it’s really hard to tell: (1) exactly how much; (2) what was specifically funded; and (3) how all the grants compare to other cities. The note ended up obfuscating the good news, at least for non-policy wonks.
The Mayor says “the City has brought in, to date, over $65 million in stimulus funds, including over $35 million from competitive grants.” That’s great, so where’s the $35 million in the competitive grant comparisons to other cities?
There’s no question that we have received more money than all other cities shown, magnified in the per-person and index data. However it’s not clear what programs are included in or excluded from these city comparisons.
Last February, we had the full list of what was getting requested. How did the City of Oakland do? What was requested versus rejected? What’s still getting approved by Uncle Sam?
We’re not trying to rain on the parade, and are grateful for external funds in our budget time-of-need. It might be nice to know as much as we did last winter, when the request process began for Oakland and all cities nationally.