Len Raphael 
Member since Oct 22, 2011

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Recent Comments

Re: “Oakland Police Chief Doubles-Down on Promoting the Cops Who Covered-Up the Celeste Guap Case

Punish the beat cops but promote the supervising brass. Business as usual at OPD.

Posted by Len Raphael on 07/11/2017 at 6:32 PM

Re: “Who Will Be There When You Call 911? Our Writer Plunges Into the World of For-Profit Ambulances.

This is the first coverage of ems I've ever seen in local press. Long overdue.

While you describe the business motivations of the various segments of the ems industry, you skip over the motivations of firefighter unions in this. As fire codes improved and older building replaced over the last few decades, staffing needs for firefighting have dropped. As population ages and Obamacare implemented/preserved, 911 medical calls increase.

But It is nutso expensive to dispatch an entire fire crew to every 911 medical emergency. Replacing firefighters with emt's paid at fast food wage rates is not the answer either, but surely there's something in between where the emt's would get paid decently and the public wouldn't get gouged by fire departments.

Posted by Len Raphael on 07/06/2017 at 8:44 PM

Re: “Crucial Legislation for New Oakland Police Commission Stalls in Committee as Activists and Councilmembers Fight Over Rules

If Council members believe that background checks are important, they should require checks of all candidates for elected office in Oakland.

The way it is now, the only "check" is the City Clerk checking that a candidate is registered to vote at their stated address. Candidates for City Attorney and Auditor must provide proof of current state license.

No official verification of resumes or candidate's statements.

Len Raphael, CPA

Posted by Len Raphael on 06/17/2017 at 9:38 AM

Re: “Buck Stops Nowhere: Oakland Unified School District Suffering From Multiple Vacancies in Key Finance Positions

Several months ago a top OUSD fiscal administrators was asked by a member of one of the oversight committees why a public agency of that size doesn't have even one internal auditor. His response was that OUSD doesn't need to waste money hiring even one internal auditor because it has an outside cpa firm audit their books.

At best, that demonstrates a scary ignorance of the function of external cpa audits, which can only be relied upon to detect massive fraud and never relied upon to detect waste and expense account fiddling which can be quite large in an environment without oversight.

Most of the elected board is still MIA about the absence of competent accounting management at OUSD. Not a peep from even the head of the OUSD volunteer audit committee, former City of Oakland City Administrator.

The organizations such as GO Oakland Public Schools surely knew the situation also.

OUSD HQ is a banana republic. People who knew that kept their mouths shut just tried to work with it as best they could.

Len Raphael, CPA

Posted by Len Raphael on 06/09/2017 at 10:24 PM

Re: “Parents, Teachers, and Students at Oakland Charter School Accuse Leadership of Mismanagement

Looks like the AIMS school administration and board have adopted the same secret decision making that OUSD administration and board have practiced for years.

We've tried small schools and charter schools. Even the few high performing charters like AIMS seem to self destruct and devolve into money grabs. We tried a state takeover that left us with same problems plus weakened school board and transparency.

With Vos in power, we wouldn't want a Fed overseer for local schools (even if there was such a thing).

The only consistently "good" thing about the Oakland public/charter school system is that it keeps the cost of housing down as parents leave if they can when their kids reach shool age.

Posted by Len Raphael on 05/25/2017 at 10:18 PM

Re: “Oakland Councilmembers Accuse Mayor Schaaf of 'Bait and Switch' With Soda Tax Revenue

You might ask why get all riled up before Mayor Schaaf has officially submitted her budget, just based on comments by two council members.

When you have two council members like Brooks and Washington who often disagree on measures, saying the same thing, it's a safe bet that the Mayor was testing the political waters to see how much of the soda tax revenue she could divert to fill the budget black hole.

If we wait for a formal budget proposal to evaluate before speaking up, the horse trading between council members and the Mayor will already be set in concrete.

Posted by Len Raphael on 04/30/2017 at 4:21 PM

Re: “Oakland Councilmembers Accuse Mayor Schaaf of 'Bait and Switch' With Soda Tax Revenue

There has not been a sudden, unexpected worsening in city finances from the start of the soda tax election campaign in 2016 to now to justify any emergency need to divert expected soda tax revenue to any other purpose. The City's budget office has consistently projected large deficits in each of the 5 year projections they have published ever since they were required to do so by Council several years ago.

Posted by Len Raphael on 04/30/2017 at 12:59 AM

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