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.

4 thoughts on “WWLD: What Would Libby Do?

  1. very useful post, thanks!

    Is there an “org chart” for the city bureaucracy? Couldn’t find one easily online.

    Also, it looks like the city is self-hosting its videos, instead of putting them up on (for example) youtube, which of course is free.

    1. Agree, there isn’t a readily-available org chart online. Checking through depts also isn’t viable, as some web pages seem outdated and others aren’t live. A top-level org chart and more detailed dept charts must be available offline, as they would be used by HR and Finance administrators. We should ask!

      On a related note, there are full-time equivalent headcount savings (and dollar savings) detailed in the Mayor’s budget document, around page 85 or so.

      1. A good rule of thumb is to question an opaque bureaucracy which claims to need more money 🙂

        This is the 21st century. The budget should be online, in plain english, for all taxpayers to see.

  2. While I can’t say our budget is particularly transparent, because it really is difficult to understand, the entire thing is on our website at http://www.oaklandnet.com. The reports published for the Special Council Meeting on January 31, 2012 are amendments to that budget, which you’ll find a link to on the oaklandnet.com home page. You can read all the reports for the special 1/31/12 meeting at: http://oakland.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=1044700&GUID=82888071-3CBB-4AAD-8A5B-7F4DCB58F8E5 .

    If you are interested in seeing the new organizational charts reflecting the recently approved reorganization, click on the “supplemental report” link on that page. There is additional information and the org charts start on page 38 of the 57 page supplemental report. Thanks for your interest. Call my office if you have any further questions and ask for me or Bruce. 238-7004. – Libby

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