Len Raphael 
Member since Oct 22, 2011

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Recent Comments

Re: “Friday’s Briefing: Soda Taxes Work, and SF Worries About Warriors Traffic, (Heh)

Maybe Berkeley's soda has succeeded in greatly reducing sweetened drink consumption and maybe it hasn't. The Berkeley "study" was a survey of low-income Berkeley youth self-reporting their own behavior.

Why would you reach sweeping conclusions about the Berkeley soda tax based on what youths self report in ultra health conscious Berkeley?

NPR reported the same study and then talked with a Philadelphia researcher who got hold of wholesale purchases of sweetened drinks. Then somehow got the comparable numbers for adjacent cities. Big increase in wholesale purchases, raising the question of whether small retailers have simply evaded the soda tax in Phil by purchasing outside of the Phil instead of thru the bigger distributors. Oakland has an audit enforcement clause, but we don't know what compliance has been here with retailers paying the tax.

Posted by Len Raphael on 02/25/2019 at 11:04 PM

Re: “Oakland May Cut Weed Tax

Apart from the wisdom of our City relying heavily on marijuana tax revenue, it was always unrealistic to tax the heck out of marijuana businesses that are not allowed under Federal income rules to deduct those taxes and many other normal operating business operating expenses.

Len Raphael, CPA

Posted by Len Raphael on 02/05/2019 at 7:15 PM

Re: “Should Oakland Schools Finally Try to Integrate?

It would be helpful if you gave us some of the political background behind OUSD segregation. Many of the participants in the decisions not to integrate via busing and/or redistricting are still alive but elderly.

My impression, and it's only that because the participants I've contacted did not want to comment, is that decades ago there was a deal struck between mostly white hills community leaders and flatlands African-American community leaders in which flatland schools were supposed to get a bigger share of OUSD resources in return for accepting segregation. At the time integration was not seen as a positive by Black Power advocates and certainly not wanted by many white hills residents.

If that's the background, it turned out to be a very bad deal for poor kids of color.

Posted by Len Raphael on 12/14/2018 at 9:53 PM

Re: “Lucia’s Pizza Goes Mobile in a Piaggio Ape

Do we really want any more wood-burning ovens around here? At least stationary ones could get fitted with scrubbers.

Posted by Len Raphael on 11/24/2018 at 12:56 AM

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

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