Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Free Frozen Treats on Friday

by Anneli Rufus
Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 11:21 AM

The folks at Ciao Bella Gelato have just sent a heads-up, saying that they'll be distributing free frozen treats this coming Friday at Lucky (4055 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then at Farmer Joe's (3426 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

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Tagami's Got the Army Base, Part II

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 7:30 AM

The Oakland City Council picked a team led by politically connected businessman Phil Tagami to develop the city's half of the former Army Base, according to the Trib. Last week, the Oakland Port Commission chose Tagami's team to develop the port's half as well. That means Tagami will control the entire base. His team plans to develop the base for industrial uses and support services for the port. His team defeated a proposal by a rival development group that wanted to build a giant retail center at the base. It's been fourteen years since the Army announced that it was closing the facility, and from what we've seen, Tagami's plans for the base make the most sense.

Cops' Union Takes $8.5 Million Cut

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 7:28 AM

The Oakland police officers' union agreed to accept an $8.5 million cut in compensation, as the city received $19.7 million over the next three years from the federal government for policing — the most of any city in the nation. According to the Chron, the Oakland City Council also voted last night to slash an additional $8 million from the city's budget. At this point, it looks as if the cuts, combined with the federal grant, will allow the city to avoid laying off police officers.

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Jerry Brown Opens Door for Big Donors

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 6:51 AM

State Attorney General Jerry Brown has solicited nearly $10 million from big donors on behalf of his two pet charter schools since 2006 — the most that any state elected official has collected in charitable contributions, according to the Chron. Ethics experts say that what Brown did was legal, but raised concerns that the attorney general was offering access to donors in exchange for the huge donations. "It gives them great access," Bob Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angles and former general counsel of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, told the newspaper. "If I said, 'Would you give $50,000 to my favorite charity?' and you do ... and I call you up the next day, I think you'd take my call."

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Did Schwarzenegger Break the Law?

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 6:32 AM

Top Democratic leaders say Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger may have violated California law when he used his line-item-veto powers to cut an additional $489 million from the state budget before signing it. According to the Chron, the governor further slashed social service programs for the poor, and cut an additional $6.2 million from state parks — a move that could result in the closure of up to 100 state parks.

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Cops' Union Takes $8.5 Million Cut

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 6:20 AM

The Oakland police officers' union agreed to accept an $8.5 million cut in compensation, as the city received $19.7 million over the next three years from the federal government for policing — the most of any city in the nation. According to the Chron, the Oakland City Council also voted last night to slash an additional $8 million from the city's budget. At this point, it looks as if the cuts, combined with the federal grant, will allow the city to avoid laying off police officers.

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Tagami's Got the Army Base, Part II

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 6:02 AM

The Oakland City Council picked a team led by politically connected businessman Phil Tagami to develop the city's half of the former Army Base, according to the Trib. Last week, the Oakland Port Commission chose Tagami's team to develop the port's half as well. That means Tagami will control the entire base. His team plans to develop the base for industrial uses and support services for the port. His team defeated a proposal by a rival development group that wanted to build a giant retail center at the base. It's been fourteen years since the Army announced that it was closing the facility, and from what we've seen, Tagami's plans for the base make the most sense.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Oakland Faces a New $18.7 Million Deficit

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 5:34 AM

The Oakland City Council will begin grappling this evening with a projected $18.7 million deficit for this year, less than a month after it solved an $83 million budget problem. According to the Trib, much of the new financial trouble is being caused by the city's failure to obtain the entire $67 million federal grant it sought for policing over the next three years. The city, at most, is expected to receive less than one-third of that amount. According to the paper, the council will consider a host of proposed cuts, including possibly eliminating 49 city positions, of which 36 are filled.

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$22 Million Is Not Enough to Clean-Up 1,000 Trucks at the Port

by Robert Gammon
Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 5:21 AM

The Port of Oakland, along with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, will announce a $22 million program today to clean-up 1,000 diesel-spewing trucks in West Oakland, according to the Chron. It's welcome news, but the newspaper's numbers don't appear to add up. The Chron reports that the program will pay to retrofit about 800 big rigs, and replace 200 others. But new trucks cost at least $100,000 each, so buying 200 of them will suck up nearly all of the $22 million. Plus, the retrofits are estimated to cost up to $20,000 per truck. In other words, the program would need much more than $22 million to accomplish what the paper claims.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Partnership at the Army Base?

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Jul 27, 2009 at 5:04 AM

A group of city employees is pushing for a partnership between the two competing development groups vying for the former Oakland Army Base. According to the Trib, members of Mayor Ron Dellums' staff commissioned a report — without Dellums' knowledge -- that recommended the two development groups led by Phil Tagami and Michael Johnson merge to make the most of the base. The report was then leaked to the Trib.

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