Well, today is not only Star Wars Day, but the birthday of The City of Oakland, California, my town. To that, this blogger says, Happy Birthday, Oakland!
Oakland turns 159 years young today, May 4th, and has only gotten better with age. Oakland is a city Oaklanders care about because of its - and yes, even in today's diverse society - incredibly high level of diversity and small town / big city feel. Oakland's an easy place to get to know and to love. It deserves many more birthdays.
And while we're celebrating, congratulations to my friend John Russo, who officially accepted the position of Alameda City Manager, and leaves a 16-year legacy of excellent political and policy work in Oakland.
Now, John can focus on the redevelopment of what was once the Alameda Naval Air Station and have that city play catch-up with its own development time table. It's going to be fun to watch John move Alameda out of its Mayberry RFD (remember the TV show?) pace and into a true big-city level of energy.
Here's a photo of John's resignation letter:
The question for Oakland is, can it replace someone of John's now legendary stature. I hope that the seat's not filled by someone who's a weak, "rollable" personality. The Mayor and the City Council may want that kind of person, but at the end of the day, it's not good for them. Russo saved them a ton of pain from potentially calamitous decisions on several occasions, most notably his challenge to the City's push to advance the production of weed, after the Feds told it to hold off.
Thanks Libby And The League Of Women Voters
Great thanks to my sister-from-another-mother Oakland's District Four Councilmember Libby Schaaf and the League Of Women Voters for their award to me for my blogging efforts. I was in New York City for The 2011 NFL Draft last week, but Oakland Local's Susan Mernitt was kind enough to not only accept the award on my behalf, but text me that everyone was saying nice things about me.
Of course, I only half believe it, but it's nice to know about.
It's a great award considering that it came on the heels of my crits of the League and the Sierra Club.
See, for the readers who don't know, I took on the issue of the League and the Sierra Club having a debate where they planned to invite just three of the ten Oakland Mayor's Race candidates. After a lot of pressure from this space, the Sierra Club and The League - to their credit - did the right thing and had a forum that was a real benefit to Oakland, where all of the candidates participated.
Here's a video from the event:
In fact, I met the terrific Kate Looby, who's the Sierra Club's East Bay Director at my gym a while back, and after exchanging pleasantries as I'd never met her or seen her before, and did not know she was with the Sierra Club, let alone in charge, had my ears burned almost off as she screamed at me from across the room, and then walk back saying "You're THAT GUY. I WANTED TO KILL YOU!!"
I gotta kick out of that one.
But, as I told Kate, it was all because I cared that all of the candidates get a chance to at least be seen by Oaklanders. Plus, we did get a good mayor out of the process.
Kate didn't kill me at the gym that night, by the way.
Dog on it.
Other Oakland News
Got this email from the Adams Point Neighborhood Group from April 20th:
We have experienced a total of six different street robberies in Area 2 in the last two hours. We believe that the same suspect is responsible. He is described as a black male, 25-30 years old, 5'9", 180 - 200 lbs, black ski mask, white short sleeve t-shirt and blue jeans. Suspect vehicle described as an 1985 - 1990 Ford Taurus, light blue with a license plate SIMILAR to 4FET409. Please call the Oakland Police Department if you see this vehicle. DO NOT APPROACH THE SUSPECT OR THE VEHICLE.
I have not seen a note that this person has been caught, so keep your eyes open.
Oakland Budget Video By Mayor Quan
I spotted this video on YouTube, which has been seen only four times since its upload on May 3rd; this embed and presentation should give it a small boost. She informs that the budget season will last a few months, and that the budget cuts are designed to "share the pain." Employees are asked to contribute "somewhere between 10 and 15 percent" in their payment reduction cost. The Redevelopment Agency Budget is not a part of this, as of this writing.
In this budget, the City of Oakland would have to close all of its libraries if it does not receive more contributions from employees.
Here's the Mayor, and new City Administrator Lamont Euwell below:
Mr. Lamont Euwell:
And with all this, the Oakland Coliseum got just a $7 million naming rights deal. Imagine if it was $80 million? That, oh, $20 million would have really helped the City of Oakland at the right time.
Now do you see why I am so upset with the Oakland - Alameda County Coliseum?