Len Raphael 
Member since Oct 22, 2011

Favorite Places

  • None.
Find places »

Saved Events

  • Nada.
Find events »

Saved Stories

  • Nope.
Find stories »

Custom Lists

  • Zip.

Recent Comments

Re: “Democrat Rebecca Bauer-Kahan Wins the East Bay Assembly District 16 Race

Wouldn't conclude that her victory had much to do with people ignoring smear campaigns or not getting swayed by tons of mailing pieces. Maybe more a vote against Trump, maybe a better ground game? In Oakland Berkeley Albany Piedmont Richmont Emeryville 15AD there hasn't been a viable Republican candidate for years. The Dem who won, vastly outspent and out mailed the other candidate and had an independent expenditure sending smearing away.

Posted by Len Raphael on 11/17/2018 at 6:52 PM

Re: “Oakland’s Measure AA May Have Passed After All

The selling of AA to the voters was as deceptive as any ballot measure I've seen from the biggest corporate interests.

The only way voters could have understood the pro's and con's of AA was to have read the densely worded text of the measure. At least three times. That left voters relying on the endorsements and the summary written by the City Attorney, even if voters knew to look for the short rebuttals.

The City Attorney wasn't about to get into the long-term impact of a 30-year inflation adjusted parcel tax with ill-defined performance criteria and complex and confusing oversight provisions.

I would be surprised if many of the elected officials who endorsed AA realized that both the Oakland teachers union and most OUSD community activists opposed AA even though the same teachers and activists would support a rewritten version of AA crafted with broad community input.

Don't use the courts to ram AA down our throats. Go back to the community and listen to the criticisms. Dedicate the entire tax to pre K education run by OUSD, not by non-profits or even county agencies.

Fine to provide oversight over OUSD to make it's spent wisely. But ultimately the expenditures should be controlled by the OUSD elected school board, not by a panel appointed by any mayor or council.

If you don't trust OUSD to educate our kids, then fix OUSD instead of bypassing it.

When you rewrite AA eliminate the funding of Mayor Schaaf's unproven "Oakland Promise" program. That program was supposed to be funded by the private sector. It's $9 million a year for 30 years plus inflation adjustments for an unproven program which could be totally discredited five years from now, as so many other educational fads have been found to be ineffective. That comes out to more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the course of AA plus inflation increases. Spend that on what we know works: early childhood education.

Len Raphael, CPA

Posted by Len Raphael on 11/11/2018 at 7:44 PM

Re: “A Guide to Oakland's Ballot Measures

I'd have been fine with AA for 30 years if all its 1 billion dollars went to a public agency such as OUSD for providing sliding scale preschools. Could be a great use of "surplus" OUSD property also.

But instead we're getting a 30 year Billion dollar pig in a poke.

Posted by Len Raphael on 11/05/2018 at 12:07 AM

Re: “A Guide to Oakland's Ballot Measures

I'd have been fine with AA for 30 years if all its 1 billion dollars went to a public agency such as OUSD for providing sliding scale preschools. Could be a great use of "surplus" OUSD property also.

But with AA we're committed to a 30 year Billion dollar pig in a poke.

Posted by Len Raphael on 11/05/2018 at 12:04 AM

Re: “A Guide to Oakland's Ballot Measures

Whether you think AA should be approved or not comes down to whether you think it's a good idea to give a board appointed by the mayor and approved by the council, the discretion to spend millions of dollars for ill-defined goals. Before AA, the private sector didn't think the Oakland Promise Fund part of AA was worth giving millions to. So now taxpayers are asked to fund it.

Best I can tell Oakland's mayors and council members haven't done that great providing basic city services over the years or providing for paying our retirement obligations. I don't have any reason to believe they or their appointees will do any better with successfully educating our kids. At least with OUSD we vote out the board members who are supposed to set policy goals and hire/fire administrators.

I'm not concerned that the 30Mill/year for next 30 years will get diverted to the City's general fund for non-educational uses. I'm more concerned that we used ballot budgeting to set in stone 9Mill/year of that for the Oakland Promise unproven undefined educational strategy. Educational theories change as fast as nutritional guidelines. Committing that much money to any one theory for thirty years is nuts.

With AA we not only have 9Mill/year going to Oakland Promise programming but have to watch that the 18Mill/year part doesn't go to politically connected non-profits without directly elected public oversight.

I'd have been fine with AA for 30 years if all its 1 billion dollars went to a public agency such as OUSD for providing sliding scale preschools. Could be a great use of "surplus" OUSD property also.

Posted by Len Raphael on 11/04/2018 at 11:59 PM

Re: “A Guide to Oakland's Ballot Measures

Mind boggling that virtually every progressive elected officials, candidates, and organizations endorsed AA.

Didn't they even hesitate when they saw it was a 30-year parcel tax instead of the standard 10 years? Over a quarter of a billion dollars of the tax revenue will go entirely to fund the mayor's cockamamy educational experiment. Not the early childhood ed part, but the Oakland Promise part.

Seriously, in an area where crummy 80 year old houses go for over million dollars have we stopped asking ourselves if something is worth spending that much money for? Or none of these people can multipy? Or is it simply "other people's money" so they don't bother to do the math?

And the only people who stepped up write rebuttal to AA in the election pamphlet were Jarvis Ganners. Sheesh.

If AA passes, we're going to have to find out how to pass another measure that fixes the problems with AA.

Posted by Len Raphael on 11/04/2018 at 2:05 AM

Re: “A Guide to Oakland's Ballot Measures

With all ballot measures, the devil is in the text details. Reading City Attorney and City Auditor analysis is almost a waste of time better spent on reading the text and comparing the text to the blue sky promises on the ballot measure websites.

Publications like EBX don't have the staff or expertise to evaluate many of these. Sponsoring a panel of knowledgeable supporters and opponents, and summarizing their positions would be more useful than endorsements.

Measure AA aka Early Childhood Education is a good example. Normally well-informed supporters of AA will tell you how all of the 62% of the 30 Million inflation-adjusted annual tax revenue will go to OUSD to operate pre schools. But that's not what the text says.

Section1606(b)(2) Expanding Existing Public Services stipulates that for the first five years of Measure AA, "Funding priority should be given to public agencies .... particularly at OUSD and City of Oakland Head Start" "After OUSD and Head Start has reached agreement with the Implementation Partner... the Partner may contract with private non-profit agencies..."

That legalese including a reference to "capacity limitations" will keep lawyers for OUSD, City Attorney, and charter schools fighting to a compromise that will fall far short of "will go thru OUSD" And after 5 years that stipulation is gone and it's at the discretion of the Implementation Partner or the board.

AA's language for how 31% of the annual 30 million in tax revenues will be spent is so vague that we really have no idea how it will be spent except that it has to to be spent to " "induce a college-bound identity and college-going culture" in low-income Oakland kids.

Read the ballot measure as much as you want but bottom line is that it will be used to fund the Mayor's Oakland Promise program which was a private industry/public partnership program that never attracted enough private funding.

The one thing we should have learned from the Measure Y community policing litigation is that the ballot measure summaries, analysis, and the descriptions given by elected proponents is irrelevant after a measure passes. It is the strictly interpreted, literal reading of a measure that we have to live with it.

The Measure AA text details lays out a 30 year, 30 Million plus inflation parcel tax that competes with OUSD for taxpayer dollars. It is opposed by both strong OUSD funding proponents such as myself and by ordinary homeowners weary of getting hit with parcel tax on top of parcel tax with poor accountability.

Posted by Len Raphael on 11/02/2018 at 7:08 PM

All Comments »

Readers' Favorites

Most Popular Stories

  • Towing for Dollars in Alameda

    Since 2013, more than 1,400 vehicles have been towed from one West End apartment complex by one company: PPI Towing.
  • The East Bay's Tow Hustle

    Towing companies are taking cars illegally, and it's costing people. One of the worst offenders is PPI Towing of Oakland.
  • Maejoo Is Small But Mighty

    The modern yet petite San Leandro Korean restaurant offers limited seating and menu options, but delivers on quality and taste.
  • The Problems With Bioplastics

    People mistakenly try to recycle them, thereby contaminating the waste stream. Plus, they're not really compostable.
  • Pro-Tenant and Pro-Housing

    East Bay voters made it clear that they favor candidates who advocate not only for more renter protections and more homeless services, but also, more housing.

© 2018 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation