Tag Archives: city council

Oakland Voter Guide: Why Oakland Sucks & How We Will Improve It

Oakland has lots going for it, except for a dysfunctional OPD and City Hall. And ultimately, voter ignorance of both. Here’s how you can make a difference and actually change your city.

The short and long answer: spend 30 minutes reading about your city council candidates before filling in your ballot every four years. City Hall affects you far more than national policies will. If you can’t control your own neighborhood and city, what chance do you have to affect national decisions about how the federal government spends our income taxes?

Read up on the people (and organizations backing them) who will be holding power over you and deciding where our tax money goes in Oakland. Is that too much to ask?

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Oakland can’t afford more cops or proper cop training because we’re not paying them, firemen and every other city employee at affordable levels.

OPD pay package: $200-250,000 per year. This is according to the Len Raphael campaign website.

Minority communities don’t cooperate with police partly due to many incidences of actual and perceived police brutality and profiling.

*** We could FIRE repeatedly abusive OPD cops IF city council would repeal “binding arbitration.”

*** We could pay police/fire (75% of city budget*) less and use the savings for better OPD training, and hire more good police, IF city council would repeal “binding arbitration.”

*$170k-250k/year total compensation package for every police and fire guy/gal. Not sustainable! Most other Oakland city employees are overpaid by 10-20% vs other bay area cities too.

With all the savings from actually adjusting pay packages down to Earth, we’d have money to immediately hire more police.

“And this is why we can’t have nice things.”

The city used to publish an internal salary survey on its website, but lately that’s too embarrassing so they removed it in 2009. Sounds just like Deanna Santana’s plan to limit public access to Oakland city council meetings.

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What is “binding arbitration”?

It’s part of Oakland’s city charter (our “constitution”) and prevents city council from re-negotiating any city union pay packages or firing Oakland cops for flagrant, repeat abuses. Continue reading

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Downtown Oakland needs its rail back

I am posting this today to coincide with V Smoothe’s post at ABO about Streetcars on Broadway.  Was going to add more detail before posting in the future at some unknown date.  On the other hand, I feel very discouraged that this will probably never happen which is why I didn’t post it sooner.  The idea of putting railcars back onto Oaktown streets is not original to me, although I didn’t know of other people’s opinions on this until today.  (Other than say people like Len or Vivek saying it probably wouldn’t happen.)  Streetcars are unlikely to return to Dolores, Valencia and Guerrero either.

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I wrote this post knowing that Detroit will rebuild/rebrand itself in the near future by bringing back “railroad tracks” and “trains” on city streets.  It will be a smaller city, but a city with streetcars again.

Downtown Oakland (aka theDTO) experienced glory in no small part because of our intra-city and inter-city rail systems.  We used to have good ground-level trains here. Being close to San Francisco’s earthquake-phobic gold and silver flippers helped as 1906 quake ‘fugees fled to the East Bay, hipster style but for different reasons. The World War Two economy also greatly aided Oakland’s ramping up, with Kaiser’s ship-building yards (yes, that Kaiser) and the Ford plant in Richmond among other things we used to make here.

It is probably more accurate to say Oakland’s glory was due to its strong, productive economy, and that streetcars were a symptom of its largess.

We have the 1R and 72R rapid AC Transit buses which are good, decent terrain for cycling, and BART for working in Fremont or SF, but a street car system would be Ooo-la-la! Much less jerky than busses, supportable sometimes with wind and solar and even those dang BloomEnergy BloomBoxes everyone’s yapping about today[weeks ago]. If Oakland ever gets a BloomBox fuel cell system, it should be installed right in the midst of EBMUD’s sewage treatment plant — plenty of “directed biogas” available there!  But back to today’s topic: Oakland and its former streetcar rail lines.

Continue reading

Tell Oakland City Council to vote against BART’s $522 million airtrain to nowhere

Another load of debt, a slow $12 train to get to not even next to the terminal, and no economic development on the ground. Great work MTC and BART! Not. So, let’s get to it!

Below reposted from TransForm (great 501c3) email:

On Tuesday, October 6th, the Oakland City Council will vote on a resolution expressing opposition to the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC) project.

Two weeks ago the Oakland Public Works Committee questioned BART about the OAC and moved the resolution to the full Council because committee members have come to see that this project is bad for Oakland and bad for regional users of Oakland’s airport.

Make an immediate impact. Call your Council Member today, ask them to vote to oppose the OAC and FOR: (see numbers below)
A Stronger Economy: A bus rapid transit connector would have intermediate stops and would be affordable to all Oakland residents.
More Jobs: Reverting OAC funds back to transit agencies would create more jobs than building the OAC.
Better Transit: A bus rapid transit connector could be as fast as the OAC, AND the money saved would stop transit service cuts throughout the Bay Area.

Costs for the Connector have ballooned from the voter-approved $130 million in 2000 to $522 million. Riders are projected to pay up to $12 roundtrip (in addition to the price of a rider’s BART ticket) for a slow (possibly 27 mph), three-mile journey. All of the stops that would serve the local community have been eliminated, removing the economic development aspects of the project. Meanwhile, there is a fast, affordable alternative to the project.

After spending months trumpeting Oakland’s support of the OAC, BART is now saying that Oakland’s opinion doesn’t matter. Watch the video in which BART’s spokesperson says that. But Oakland is going to weigh in, and its voice will matter.

This vote is one of our last chances to stop the OAC and to secure a better connector, and we need your help!

There are three ways you can make your voice heard to the Oakland City Council:

Join us on Tuesday, October 6th at 7pm at Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza to speak in support of the Council’s resolution and in opposition to the current Connector. RSVP and spread the word on Facebook.
Call your Council Member to encourage him/her to support the resolution (find contact information below).
Email your Council Member to encourage him/her to support the resolution (find contact information below).

Tell the City Council, vote YES.

For more information on the Connector and TransForm’s proposed alternative, please visit http://www.OaklandAirportConnector.com or contact me directly.

Thanks for making a difference today for the future of Bay Area transportation.

Contact information for Oakland City Council:

Rebecca Kaplan, At-Large
RKaplan@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7008

Council President Jane Brunner, District 1
JBrunner@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7001

Patricia Kernighan, District 2
PKernighan@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7002

Nancy Nadel, District 3
NNadel@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7003

Jean Quan, District 4
JQuan@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7004

Ignacio De La Fuente, District 5
IDeLaFuente@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7005

Desley Brooks, District 6
DBrooks@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7006

Larry Reid, District 7
LReid@oaklandnet.com or 510-238-7007