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.

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