A Murder In Montclair: Random Or Not?

There’s a little more news related to Joe Robertson’s death yesterday:  his murder may not be random.  Our City Council Rep Libby Schaaf spoke directly with Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan about the crime.  She then shared this update with Montclarions earlier today, and we wanted to make sure you read it:

I just received a updated briefing from Chief Jordan on the apparent homicide of Joseph Robertson on Thackeray.  While I’m not allowed to share most of what he told me, I may share that police have strong reason to believe this was a homicide but that it was not random.  I will continue to stay briefed on the investigation and share with you whatever is allowed.  Anyone with any information should call 510-238-3821.  If you have any trouble getting your information through to this number, don’t hesitate to email or call Dorie or me.  We know how unacceptably disturbing this incident must be.  Please let us know if there is anything we can do at this troubling time.

Your Councilmember,
Libby Schaaf
510-238-7004

Update: As of March 13th, Council Rep Schaaf reports about a person of interest who “remains in custody on an unrelated charge. This person does have a connection to the victim (thus is not a random intruder). I’m hoping there’ll be more to share in about a week. The investigation has been productive, but is not concluded and no charges have been brought yet.”

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.

Our Council Rep’s Take On City Budget

Ah, summer-time…budget-time.

Just this afternoon, District 4 Council Rep Libby Schaaf communicated her budget adjustments made with several other council reps.  Cutting to the chase, this budget proposal includes libraries, public safety coordinators, a few more cops — and no new taxes yet.

We wanted to make sure you saw all this information, whether it’s eye-glazing or not.


What does this all mean?   Well, these budget adjustments refer to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s “worst case” budget scenario.  Council Rep Schaaf has provided a translation of the top-line recommendations:

I’ve been working around the clock to craft a budget that keeps Oakland the wonderful city we all love. I’m pleased to present a budget proposal, developed with Councilmembers Nadel, Kernighan and Kaplan, that does the following:

  • Maintains existing service levels at all 18 Oakland Public Libraries plus keeps Main open during Winter Break
  • Preserves all 9 existing community policing Neighborhood Services Coordinators
  • Preserves 85% of cultural arts grants and The Oakland Film Office
  • Preserves the City’s Tree Trimmers and Gardeners who beauty our parks
  • Maintains support for cultural gems like the Oakland Zoo, Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland Asian Cultural Center, the Peralta Hacienda; and more
  • Keeps all Fire Stations Open
  • Preserves programming at every Recreation Center
  • Hires back all available recently laid-off Police Officers immediately, in addition to holding an academy to recruit 40 new officers
  • Begins rebuilding the City’s Reserve Fund for financial stability

… and much, much more!  Other Councilmembers may be submitting proposals as well, and all can be viewed under Item 6 of the June 28th City Council agenda at www.oaklandnet.com.  While labor negotiations are still not final, we are hoping we will be able to adopt the budget at our meeting this Tuesday 6/28 starting at 6:30pm.  If not, we’ve scheduled a meeting on Thursday 6/30 at 5:30pm, just in case.

Any comments or suggestions may be sent to Libby (lschaaf@oaklandnet.com) or Jenny Feinberg (jfeinberg@oaklandnet), who works in Libby’s office and serves as our “go-to girl for all things Montclair.”  Or stop by Montclair Village this Sunday morning, between 9:30 and 11:00am, when Schaaf will be holding community office hours.

Update:  Read the Tribune and Chronicle stories about three proposals from City Council reps.  If you would like to dive deeper, then please head over to A Better Oakland’s analytical coverage.

Got Issues Or Concerns, Reach Jenny

If you have any issues or concerns related to the City of Oakland, then Jenny Feinberg’s your go-to person.

According to District 4 Rep Libby Schaaf, in her recent newsletter (subscribe here), the district staff of three has been divided by location.  Feinberg is fully devoted to Montclarions, as our new community liaison, and may be contacted at (510) 238-7273 or jfeinberg@oaklandnet.com.

Here’s the formal introduction to Council Aide Feinberg:

As Councilmember Schaaf’s recent Campaign Coordinator as well as the former Program Assistant at Emerge California, Jenny has dedicated her professional career to helping women run and win for public office. She first discovered her passion for public service and constituent services when she completed internships with former Senators Joseph Biden and Hillary Clinton in Washington, DC and New York City, respectively.

Jenny has also worked in consulting, strategic planning and organizational management with the Center for Applied Research (CFAR) in Philadelphia. Jenny studied Women’s Studies and Political Science at Brandeis University and earned highest honors for her thesis entitled “Fostering Women’s Political Ambition: Who Runs for Congress, Who Wins, and How to Expand the Pool.”

In addition, Rep Schaaf will meet with Montclarions on a regular basis.  She’s attending the Piedmont Pines’ Annual Meeting — this Monday at 6:30pm, at Chabot Space & Science Center (map).  She’s also holding monthly community office hours during the Montclair Farmer’s Market.  Her next date will be Sunday, February 27th, from 9 am to 12 noon.

February Update:  We seem to have another direct District 4 contact now. For all-things Montclair, Patricia Rose may be reached at 510-238-6822 or prose@oaklandnet.com. Jenny’s still around but taking on additional tasks for Council Rep Schaaf.

March Update:  Thanks, Libby.  Jenny is still our go-to girl for all-things Montclair.

First Ranked Choice Votes In!

Ranked choice elections are so interesting.

Although the results are unofficial, the District 4 Council seat will surely be filled by Libby Schaaf.  She garnered over half the vote (52.31%), followed by Jill Broadhurst (30.44%) and Daniel Swafford (17.24%) respectively.

While ranked-choices haven’t changed the District 4 outcome, they reveal the playing field as promised years ago — when we voted for and approved this new methodology.  In the first round, Libby Schaaf earned 42 percent and ran 1.9x ahead of Jill Broadhurst.  After the next choices were counted, she reached a majority of votes with a slightly smaller 1.7x lead.

Meanwhile, there’s an upset brewing in the Oakland Mayoral race from ranked choices.  Don Perata had the most first-place votes, without a majority.  When the next choices were counted from other candidates, things changed.  Our outgoing District 4 Council Rep, Jean Quan, received that majority (51.03%) with Perata behind her (48.91%).  Third-place finisher and Council Rep Rebecca Kaplan’s voters picked Quan by 3:1 ratio.  Got that?

We’re keeping a close watch, as the remaining ballots get counted this weekend — and hope you do, too.

District 4 Council Race: Libby In Lead

In yesterday’s District 4 City Council race, some 42 percent voted for Libby Schaaf and 22 percent voted for Jill Broadhurst.  Since no candidate received more than 50 percent of the first-choice vote, there will now be a ranked choice run-off.  We’ll know the outcome and official winner by Friday, at the latest.

With 100% of the 13,323 votes cast, here’s how all seven candidates fared:

  • Jill Broadhurst — 22.42%
  • Jason Gillen — 2.56%
  • Ralph Kanz — 4.12%
  • Clinton Killian — 5.81%
  • Libby Schaaf — 42.36%
  • Melanie Shelby — 11.47%
  • Daniel Swafford — 11.26%

Also in District 4, Oakland Board of Education representative Gary Yee garnered 69.43% of the vote and bested his opponent Benjamin Visnick, with 30.57%. Some 11,849 voted in this race.

District 4 Candidate Forum Announced

It’s settled. A whopping seven candidates have qualified with the City Clerk’s office to run to replace Jean Quan as District 4’s representative on the Oakland City Council. In alphabetical order, they are: Jill Broadhurst, Jason Gillen, Ralph Kanz, Clinton Killian, Libby Schaaf, Melanie Shelby and Daniel Swafford.

A few months ago, the Piedmont Pines Neighborhood Association had a cocktail party for the candidates to meet some potential voters, as well as one another.  Jay Ward, a member of the PPNA’s board, said that the “debutante’s ball” drew around 60 people. Ward expects a lot more for the candidate forum the PPNA is hosting on September 14 at Joaquin Miller Elementary School.  He said that the precise format hasn’t been finalized, a tricky task with so many candidates.  All of the candidates have confirmed that they’ll be there except for Daniel Swafford, said Ward.

Since that party at Monaghan’s in early June the candidates have made progress.  Take a peek, for example, at Libby Schaaf’s list of endorsements.

What: District Four Candidate Forum

When: September 14, 7pm

Where: Joaquin Miller Elementary School, 5525 Ascot Drive