Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Must Read: Oakland Names New City Administrator; Brown Promises New Budget

By Robert Gammon
Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. The Oakland City Council unanimously confirmed Mayor Jean Quan’s nomination of Deanna Santana to be the new permanent city administrator, the Trib and Chron report. Santana had been a deputy city manager in San Jose, and formerly worked in Oakland city government. She is to begin August 1, and will replace interim city manager P. Lamont Ewell.

2. The City of Oakland and its police and firefighters’ unions still have not reached a deal on contract concessions, the Chron reports. The city is asking the two unions for about $21.7 million in givebacks, and then hopes that other city unions will agree to about $7 million in concessions to help Oakland close its $56 million budget deficit. Under the city charter, the city council must pass a balanced budget by June 30, leaving a little more than a week to reach deals with the unions.

3. Governor Jerry Brown plans to submit a new budget proposal to the state legislature as early as today, following his decision last week to veto the budget package approved by Democrats, the LA Times reports. Details about Brown’s new plan are sketchy, but the governor told legislators that it would represent “a vote people could live with,” even though it likely will include deeper cuts to state services and no tax increases.

4. It remains to be seen whether state Controller John Chiang’s decision to withhold pay from state lawmakers will provide the impetus needed to pass a balanced budget. Chiang ruled yesterday that the smoke-and-mirrors budget approved by Democrats last week was not “balanced” as required by law for the legislators to keep getting paid. Each lawmaker will be out about $400 a day until a balanced budget is passed.

5. Oakland’s redevelopment agency will have to give up about $40 million this year to the state if the Democrats’ plan for redevelopment is approved by the governor, the Trib reports, citing estimates from the California Redevelopment Association. Alameda will have to give up about $5.2 million; Emeryville, $13.2 million; and Richmond, $10.4 million.

6. The Alameda City Council voted 4-1 last night to approve a controversial new contract with the city’s powerful firefighters’ union, the Chron reports. The new deal for firefighters’ union, which was the largest campaign donor last year to Mayor Marie Gilmore and Councilmembers Lena Tam and Rob Bonta, does not include any pay cuts, although it does require firefighters to pay more into their pensions. The city is facing a $7.4 million budget deficit.

7. And new documents reveal that it was a PG&E crew that installed the faulty pipe that exploded last year in San Bruno, the Mercury News reports. The utility’s workers installed the pipe and its bad welds in the 1950s, and the new documents raise questions about what other faulty pipes were installed by PG&E throughout Northern California.

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