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According to a friend, City of Oakland employees got a real long Labor Day vacation.
First, the City was closed last Friday. Then we had the three day weekend holiday which was to end on Tuesday, but in the City of Oakland's case, employees were furloughed on Tuesday (and I know because I saw Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente looking badass in sunglasses at the Lake Chalet's Patio for "Taco Tuesday") so that means most didn't come back to work until Wednesday - unless they happened to take that as a sick day.
The result: a full six days off.
Even with all of that rest, morale is still really low in all quarters. Why? Well, for starters to be furloughed means you don't get to work that day and you don't get paid. My friend thinks its a good way to save money, so no complaints there for that person, but it's not the same for some others.
The City of Oakland's massive deficit woes have directly impacted its labor force, used to the ability to clock-in overtime to make additions to the house or help their kids. All good things, so I'm not making fun of the situation, just pointing to one reason for the low energy in City Hall.
The unfortunate truth is it's hard to see where or when we get back to a fully operating city government. I for one don't think such government service cut backs are healthy because they impact areas like building inspection and the Oakland Rent Board, which needs to be more, not less, able to respond to complaints, which are certainly coming because of more and more Oakland landlord-tenant disputes borne of lost jobs and declining rental incomes.
But absent a growth in new businesses in heavy industry sectors and a massive fiscal stimulus grant, I can't see recovery any time soon.
And just wait until the commercial real estate recession becomes a near-depression. A that point, Oakland may have to reconsider bankruptcy.
I hope not. There's one possible solution: more redevelopment project areas to keep property tax revenue in Oakland, and filing a new lawsuit against the State of California regarding its own budget-balancing money grab actions.
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