Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Highlights From Last Night's City Council Meeting: Parcel Tax is a Go; Parker Named City Attorney

by Ellen Cushing
Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Big fun last night as the Oakland City Council debated a number of contentious issues and set the ballot for this fall's special election. The bullet points:

Barbara Parker, who's been acting as the city attorney since John Russo left for Alameda, was officially appointed City Attorney with a 5-3 vote. Voting for her appointment — which will fill out Russo's term and end in January 2013 — were Councilmembers Larry Reid, Pat Kernighan, Rebecca Kaplan, Nancy Nadel, and Libby Schaaf; Desley Brooks, Ignacio de la Fuente, and Jane Brunner voted against. Of particular note: Councilwoman Brunner — who's openly said she wants the job and whose (now removed and cached) web site said so as recently as yesterday afternoon — didn't abstain, nor did she say anything when a deputy city attorney asked the council if any of them would also be seeking the office (and would therefore have a conflict of interest). Regardless, Parker enjoyed massive public support at the meeting: Of the dozens of speakers during public comment, not one spoke against her, and the chambers were filled with folks wearing neon "I Support BJP" stickers.*

In more City Attorney-related news: a proposal that would ask voters to decide whether to keep the position an elected one also passed — despite lots of public comment arguing against it. Everyone except Brunner and de la Fuente voted to put the measure, which was proposed by Councilwomen Kernighan and Nadel, on the ballot for November's mail-only special election.

And finally: The much-debated $80 parcel tax will also go to the voters on November 15.

* fun/interesting sidenote: as the Chron's Matthai Kuruvila points out, BJP is also the name of an ultra-nationalist Indian political party, which would explain some of the odd/vaguely horrified looks Parker's people were getting outside. Awkward!

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