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Oakland City Council Kills Kids Funding Program Compromise For Ballot Measure

I can only hope Kids First passes in November because the City's budget problems are so potentially bad that this "zero-sum" choice was presented: pay for more youth programs, and cut jobs, or don't and wait to see if the Kids First Initiative passes in November, and save City jobs.

Here's the Trib story, in part..

OAKLAND — The City Council rejected the idea of a compromise ballot measure Tuesday that would have increased funding for youth programs, but not as dramatically as a separate initiative expected to qualify for the November ballot.

A majority of council members worried a ballot-measure compromise could seriously dent the rest of Oakland's budget.
The meeting came on the heels of another blow to the city's finances: The council voted unanimously early Tuesday not to collect $12 million in increased Landscaping and Lighting Assessment District fees after officials faced questions about whether the new rates would have held up in court.

The decision followed a state Supreme Court ruling earlier this month in a Santa Clara County case that left it uncertain whether the increased fee would hold up in court if the city faced a legal challenge.

"It's a painful decision, but I think they made the right decision," City Attorney John Russo said.

The youth funding debate came more than a month after the Kids First! Coalition turned in about 43,000 signatures hoping to force a November ballot question that would, in three years, more than double funding for the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth, which goes to nonprofit organizations providing youth programs.

Councilmember Jean Quan (Montclair-Laurel) worked with the League of Women Voters and the Central Labor Council of Alameda County as well as Kids First! to craft acompromise that would have had less of an impact on the city's budget. Kids First! expressed approval of the compromise Tuesday.

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