Skip to content

Kids First, Cops Last?

The City Council has a big decision to make tomorrow that is very similar to the decision last week to place a parcel tax on the November ballot. At the behest of Jean Quan, Nancy Nadel and Pat Kernighan, the Council will have a special session to discuss a ballot measure sponsored by Ms. Quan that will permanently allocate up to $23m General Fund dollars to the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. According to the OakBook, this fund last year spent $10m in 138 grants to outside nonprofit groups, with extremely poor accounting for outcomes.

Last week, on the parcel tax, the same city councilmembers who called for this special meeting addressed concerns raised by the public over the city’s wasteful spending. The parcel tax proposal was a response to a community initiative that sought an increase in the police force without additional taxes. Speakers on the parcel tax proposal told the Council last week that police services could be funded by eliminating wasteful spending. This view was supported by Council President Ignacio de la Fuente who voted against placing the tax on the ballot. Ms. Quan in response said that there was on perhaps a million dollars in the budget that could be reallocated. Now, however, she’s proposing spending an additional $13m on grants to youth programs without an accompanying tax hike.

So which is it? Can we only spend an extra $1m on new officers, or $13m, without raising taxes? Or are youth programs more important than police officers? Mayor Dellums also called for the parcel tax publicly while taking a dim view of spending more money without raising taxes.

Tomorrow morning’s vote is a major test of the Council majority’s fiscal responsibility and honesty. They told the public last week that there was no way to spend more than a million more dollars on police services without raising taxes, now they are to vote on spending up to $13m without raising taxes. Ms. Quan claims that the Council is over a barrel because the Kids First! nonprofits have collected enough signatures to place their spending mandate on the ballot. A recent poll shared with the media by the mayor’s office shows that 20% of Oaklanders will vote no on the police tax mainly because of concerns over government waste and inefficiency, and 69% of those polled say “the amount of taxes people have to pay for city services” is a very, somewhat or extremely serious problem. A compromise measure placed on the ballot by the Council would not only be more likely to pass than KF2′s more extreme measure, but will also confirm the worst fears of the voters who are wary of supporting the police tax, severely hurting its already-iffy chances of passing. Oaklanders will see tomorrow whether a majority of the Council values police services or a program that hands out grants to nonprofits without accountability.

Posted in california, citycouncil, delafuente, dellums, elections, jeanquan, oakland, opd.

Tagged with , .

5 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. How many Ks? says

    From what we’ve seen so far, two things are clear about Kaplan. She is a follower not a leader. And she is, if anything, more opportunist than Killian. Green official abandons Green Party … talks both sides of her mouth on development … endorsed yes vote on LLAD tax and not a peep about the ballot-box stuffing …

Continuing the Discussion

  1. OakPAC Endorses Rebecca Kaplan for Oakland City Council « Living in the O linked to this post on July 21, 2008

    [...] and leadership right about now in Oakland. From our lying mayor, to the budget crisis, to the screwed up fiscal priorities of our council members, it’s clear that we’re ready for some change in elected [...]

  2. Dellums admits budget errors, prepares to make more « FutureOakland linked to this post on July 23, 2008

    [...] of the city’s budget is spent on salaries, and city services are widely acknowledged to be poor (as a recent poll confirms), major changes in the union contract will be the only way to solve a fiscal crisis in this [...]

  3. Council calls emergency meeting to discuss Kids, cops « FutureOakland linked to this post on July 28, 2008

    [...] week, the City Council discussed a compromise hastily placed on the Council’s agenda by Councilmember Jean Quan to have the Council place its own compromise with Kids First (a [...]

  4. Bookmarks about Kids linked to this post on January 10, 2009

    [...] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by hypershadic on 2008-12-15 Kids First, Cops Last? – bookmarked by 3 members [...]