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Council calls emergency meeting to discuss Kids, cops

This afternoon, the City Council scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday evening (PDF). On the agenda are two ballot questions for November: the Kids First initiative, and the police services parcel tax. The drastic step of a last-minute special meeting during the recess, according to a source with knowledge of today’s action, was prompted by a legal requirement for the Council to acknowledge the receipt of the qualified initiative, and an attempt by supporters of the police tax to modify it to make it more popular.

Last 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 long-term spending mandate) on the ballot. It was rejected by all but Ms. Quan and Councilmember Nancy Nadel, with the Council majority citing the expense of the measure. However, it was never presented publicly that the initiative had to be placed on the ballot by the Council even if they didn’t want to support one themselves, because enough signatures were gathered. The Berkeley City Council scheduled citizen ballot measures for its last two meetings, but neither Kids First’s backers, or the City Attorney or City Clerk, realized that Oakland had to do the same. Now the the Council is forced to call a special meeting with the hope that there are enough Councilmembers in town to avoid a lawsuit from Kids First.

Taking advantage of this extra meeting, Councilmember Pat Kernighan collected the signatures of two of her colleagues to force an additional item onto the agenda. The Council is now to discuss “clarifying” the police ballot parcel tax, presumably to address concerns raised by opponents. It is unclear what was wrong with the regularly-scheduled discussions at the Rules Committee and City Council which produced the once-final version of the ballot measure. Now, with only the bare minimum of 48 hours notice, the Council is to revisit the ballot measure with the possibility of substantial changes to major tax investment Oaklanders will be asked to make in November. Hopefully interested citizens will notice.

Posted in california, citycouncil, elections, jeanquan, kernighan, oakland, taxes.

6 Responses

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  1. Robert says

    Nobody realized!!! The city does this every couple of years, how can they forget? The incompetence seems to be broader than just the administrators office.

  2. dto510 says

    Well, in their defense, I think it’s been a long time since anyone collected signatures for a ballot initiative (the Inclusionary Zoning people tried and failed in 2006). Perhaps officials expected that Kids First wouldn’t have its signatures verified? But it does seem that someone at some point should have said that the Council will have to vote on KF2 whether they compromise or not.

    My problem is with how last-minute all of this is. That’s not very transparent to the public. Why did it take so many months for Jean Quan to bring Kids First to Council? Why did the police tax have to be pushed through so fast that now they need to modify it? It’s like Dellums’ sloppy administration is infecting the Council.

  3. V Smoothe says

    The current version of the police parcel tax proposed by Dellums is, consistent with virtually everything else that’s come out of that office since he began his term as Mayor, clearly hastily prepared and almost frighteningly sloppily written. If Pat Kernighan is adding the issue to the agenda to fix some of the inherent vagueness in the tax as currently written, that’s commendable.

    Still, if Dellums was a competent leader, or had any interest in keeping his campaign pledge of transparency in government, this issue would have had a fair public discussion on a reasonable timetable, and Councilmembers wouldn’t have to be fixing his tax increase at last-minute emergency meetings.

  4. Charles Pine says

    On KTOP I saw only Quan, Nadel, and Kernighan. Quan announced that Brooks had been expected but had just called in ill. There was not a quorum. The council will try again Monday, Aug. 4, at 9:30 a.m.

    Meanwhile, the council has not addressed its faulty declaration that the LLAD tax increase passed. Latest discovery is that Dellums and Edgerly called Peralta Colleges and apparently OUSD, telling them they could help pass the LLAD but would not have to pay an assessment! See

  5. dto510 says

    Thanks for the update, Mr. Pine.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. East Bay Conservative » Crystal Ball Says: Higher Taxes For Oakland linked to this post on August 4, 2008

    [...] to form, the city council hastily called an emergency meeting for last Wednesday to discuss taxing us [...]