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Comment Archives: stories: Blogs

Re: “Oakland School Board Members Apologize for Mid-Year Budget Cuts at Packed Board Meeting

Good to hear at least one board member truly apologize for the board's collective negligence. The question now is why should we trust them and the OUSD administrators to make any cuts effectively and equitably?

This is not a very detail oriented board. They are relying on advice from current administrators and consultants on where and how much to cut. The current administrators are expected to ax themselves or their colleagues. The consultants are expected to objectively decide to cut some of the same administrators who hired them.

Hire a chief financial officer from outside OUSD even before they hire any more consultants. CFO's are cheaper and have to live with the results of their recommendations.

Delegate the cut decisions and the hiring of any budget consultants to an outside blue ribbon panel. Maybe use the existing Blue Print commission that was tasked with looking at school closures.

One of the consultants at a recent budget meeting touted "zero-based budgeting" where you start by assuming 0 expenditures and then increase it. That's exactly what needs to be used to evaluate all of the OUSD HQ costs in a totally transparent way. Only after that start looking at local school budgets and closings.

Len Raphael, CPA

Posted by Len Raphael on 11/28/2017 at 7:13 PM

Re: “Tuesday’s Briefing: San Leandro Cop Charged With Statutory Rape; 333-Unit Housing Project in Downtown Oakland Gets Financial Boost

OK, don't get me wrong here. 333 new housing units is a good thing in my book... But there is no cry of "gentrification"... No howling about damaging chinatown for this? No screams for "more affordable units"?

Why is this OK and others not? Inquiring minds want to know why DBG/EBX is NOT howling for blood?

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 11/28/2017 at 6:48 PM

Re: “Sideshows Spin Donuts Around Police Over Thanksgiving Weekend in Oakland

The difference between Survival Research Laboratories and street sideshows is that SRL events while spectacular and potentially dangerous are/were conducted under carefully controlled circumstances/venues... NOT on public streets with zero attempt at public safety.

Sideshows aren't art nor are they culture. And no, we don't need to facilitate any of it in the parking lot(s) of the Coliseum.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 11/28/2017 at 6:28 PM

Re: “Oakland School Board Members Apologize for Mid-Year Budget Cuts at Packed Board Meeting

10 Facts about OUSD's Budget:
#1- In 2013/14, the OUSD board depleted the reserve by 1% to pay its bills, taking the reserve to 2%- the state required amount and giving the district no room for spending error. Those funds were never replaced.
#2- Special Education Services in OUSD have been almost $14 million over budget for the last three years in a row.
#3- OUSD Food services have been over budget by about 4 million over the same time period.
#4- The board, nor the state trustee, or the Alameda county office prioritized or authorized replenishing the reserve when increased funding came in through LCFF.
#5 - New programs created to support underresourced schools during lcff cannot be supported in their current form and have suffered severe cuts.
#6 - Retirement benefits have increased about $25 million over the last three years and will increase 15 to 20 million over the next four years.
#7 - The State charges OUSD $6 million/ year to pay back a state loan taken out during state receivership. This loan still has about a 30 million dollar balance.
#8 - The board must cut expenditures and close the books with a positive fund balance. If the board does not, it will be taken over by the state.
#9 - Charter schools do not have to cut any money from their budgets to support these reductions.
#10 - In Oakland we are fighting over crumbs to educate our children. California is funded at about half the per student rate of some of the high performing states in the US.

Posted by john howard on 11/28/2017 at 6:13 PM

Re: “Mama's Royal Cafe Reopens Under New Ownership

They best have made some SERIOUS improvements. I hated the grunge vibe the staff had there, many of whom didn't appear to have bathed, and my observation of dirty fingernails of wait staff on multiple occasions was such a turn-off, I stopped going there YEARS ago. For the hipsters of Oakland, I'm sure they just LOVE a spot like this. Like I said - there better be some serious improvements in CLEANLINESS!

Posted by EB Pride on 11/28/2017 at 6:08 PM

Re: “Cheeseboard Alumni Launch Dimond Slice Pizza

Cheeseboard offers alternatives to the traditional pizza spots. There used to be a ROUND TABLE down the street (might still be there) but that is low-grade pizza for the masses. Dimond Slice will be a huge hit, as people love the artisan pizza, and for many of us with sensitivity to the acid in tomatoes - it's great to have a sauce-less alternative. All hail the Cheeseboard Clones!

Posted by EB Pride on 11/28/2017 at 6:02 PM

Re: “Oakland School Board Members Apologize for Mid-Year Budget Cuts at Packed Board Meeting

Thanks for this coverage. Harris is exposing himself when he talks about structural deficits. I would like to point out that their fiscal guy is Vernon Hal..He was there when I retired in 2005. Ok that is part of the problem but still even under Mr. Hal they were making progress in terms of paying the state debt. That all stopped with Wilson. There is no defending him , nor Harris

Posted by Earl Marty Price on 11/28/2017 at 5:23 PM

Re: “Peralta Faculty and Laney Students Vote to Oppose New A's Stadium Plan

We Oaklanders choose sports over college any day. And we choose money above all. That's exactly why we have our act totally together.

Thank you for the greed! It's Oaklandish and All-American.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 11/28/2017 at 3:15 PM

Re: “Oakland School Board Members Apologize for Mid-Year Budget Cuts at Packed Board Meeting

Thanks to Darwin & the East Bay Express for covering this issue. Up until a couple weeks ago it looked like the cuts to schools were a done deal. The No Cuts to Schools petition helped change the momentum.

Until the Board votes to change plans to cut schools they're still at great risk. Please sign the No Cuts to Schools petition here:…

Please share with your friends & neighbors.

Posted by Hugh Morrison 1 on 11/28/2017 at 12:50 PM

Re: “Cheeseboard Alumni Launch Dimond Slice Pizza

I like Cheeseboard and their spin -offs... but I see no threat to Oakland Staple Cybelle's across the street :)

Posted by Anthony Moore on 11/28/2017 at 12:05 PM

Re: “Peralta Faculty and Laney Students Vote to Oppose New A's Stadium Plan

YES! Don't bow to billionaire corporate land grabs!

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 11/28/2017 at 11:48 AM

Re: “Peralta Faculty and Laney Students Vote to Oppose New A's Stadium Plan

Build it now!!! Not sure what the union's fuzz is all about. It's not even up to them to decide. The Peralta board is pro stadium.

Posted by Jay78 on 11/28/2017 at 11:48 AM

Re: “Monday’s Briefing: At Least Seven Dead in East Bay Freeway Crashes; Number of Starving UC Berkeley Students Soars

With seven killed in crashes, someone's drivers license may be suspended for a month or two.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 11/28/2017 at 9:37 AM

Re: “Sideshows Spin Donuts Around Police Over Thanksgiving Weekend in Oakland

Hmmm...the sideshows are both spontaneous and organized via social media. I guess, in Clintonian lingo, it all depends on a particular word.

There are related problems in Oakland having to do with crazy driving all around town, shooting from cars (look for well-ventilated road signs on
Oakland freeway ramps). This kind of stuff happens every day.

From what I hear, the geniuses in city hall have decided that it is unnecessary to have a functional traffic division in the Police Dept. More good thinking downtown, as ever. Priorities.

My prediction: Mayor Schaaf will run for office again on a "home of the sideshow" platform. She can't lose.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 11/28/2017 at 9:34 AM

Re: “Sideshows Spin Donuts Around Police Over Thanksgiving Weekend in Oakland


Posted by mischivias I on 11/28/2017 at 7:44 AM

Re: “Sideshows Spin Donuts Around Police Over Thanksgiving Weekend in Oakland

One has to keep in mind that DBG and EBX thrive on the chaos this type of activity represents.

" spontaneously organized festivities "... Isn't that an oxymoron, not unlike " military intelligence "? Especially in the light of this statement:

"But these days, many attendees drive in from the Central Valley, and even as far away as Southern California"

These aren't spontaneous. They well organized and, if in fact attended from as far away as Southern California, well publicized.

All of this shows, yet again, DBG/EBX's poor reporting and selective fact checking in pursuit of supporting the wild west hell hole we know as Oakland...

All the while screaming that OPD and governance is out of control.

Make up your mind. Do you want a rule of law, or the opportunistic anarchy as it exists at all levels in Oakland today?

Rule of law means fair and equal enforcement of all those consumer/renters rights laws you want.

Anarchy means the street mobs and corporate/monied bullies continue to hold sway and rule with an iron fist... flying the finger at us all and saying in effect, catch me if you can... With EBX and DBG cheering them on.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 11/28/2017 at 7:34 AM

Re: “Sideshows Spin Donuts Around Police Over Thanksgiving Weekend in Oakland

Can we please use part of the Oakland Coliseum property for sideshows, stock car races, racing exhibitions, etc., when the Raiders leave? If the city provided a dirt track surrounded by earthen berms, surrounded by bleachers where people could see the action, and participants could show off their skills, maybe that would work. Since sideshow participants would be getting most of what they want, this might be a lot easier on law enforcement, too. LE would only have to make sure no guns or other contraband are brought into the venue. This could be a net moneymaker for Oakland, if people are willing to come from so far away to attend sideshows. If we build it they will come? It wouldn't cost that much to give it a try. I know, insurance. But we insure lots of other things, and this seems like it's here to stay. So make a place for it.

Posted by Jan Van Dusen on 11/27/2017 at 6:51 PM

Re: “Sideshows Spin Donuts Around Police Over Thanksgiving Weekend in Oakland

"For the uninitiated, a sideshow is a mischievous ritual." Mischievous?! Innocent parked cars totaled by reckless drivers; people and pets freaked out by gunshots; little children terrified in their home (some of the sideshows were on residential streets). As for OPD, one reason they are ineffective is that City Hall ties their hands.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 11/27/2017 at 3:30 PM

Re: “Sideshows Spin Donuts Around Police Over Thanksgiving Weekend in Oakland

The spectacle and danger remind me of the guerrilla art of Survival Research Laboratories, but sideshows look pretty boring, to be honest. How many times can you watch a car drive in a circle?

Posted by John Seal on 11/27/2017 at 1:41 PM

Re: “Savor Oakland Adds Fruitvale Food Tour

I'm very disappointed that you've included Reem's on this tour. There have been ongoing pickets at her cafe, because her facility features a floor to ceiling mural of a convicted terrorist, Rasmea Odeh who planted a bomb in a grocery store that killed 2 and injured 9. Reem Assil's response to the pickets was an orchestrated attack, reported in the local Jewish paper. A 78 year old Holocaust survivor was attacked!…
When physical attacked failed to stop the picket line, she filed restraining orders that were denied by the court. With all the fantastic eateries in our community, surely you could find one that reflects our community values better than Reem's. Thank you.

Posted by Maria Parker on 11/25/2017 at 9:05 AM

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