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Oakland City Council Votes Not To Collect LLAD Tax Increase

In what Oakland Residents For Peaceful Neighborhoods (ORPN) calls a "victory for the people" the Oakland City Council voted last night not to collect the increase in the tax for the Landscape Lighting and Assessment District (LLAD) after the Alameda County Superior Court upheld the tax.

ORPN reports on this:

City Backs Off LLAD Tax Hike

At a special July 22, 2008 meeting, the Oakland city council voted not to collect the Landscape and Lighting Assessment (LLAD) tax increase that it previously declared voters had approved.

The decision is a $12 million victory for Oakland residents, who expressed broad outrage at the blatant ballot-box stuffing in a mail-in vote that City Hall conducted in April and May.

However, no councilmember admitted that she condoned and participated in the vote rigging. Instead, the council took cover under a state supreme court ruling on assessment districts in general issued last week.

Before the vote, one resident told the council, "If the press play on this matter starts to become bigger, the last thing Oakland needs is more loss of credibility and more scandal." He was referring to the Deborah Edgerly affair, the county grand jury expose of credit card abuse, the KTVU report on mayor Dellums' luxury living and short working hours, and more.
Another resident told the councilmembers, "You need to apologize" for stuffing the ballot box. They did not. In fact, councilmember Kernighan went out of her way to insist that the LLAD election was conducted properly. She said giving the City's Port about a million extra votes was just fine. Her pugnacious disrespect for the people of Oakland was not well founded, however. She disclosed that the council in closed session had considered going to court itself to get a ruling on its vote count, in effect trying to pre-empt an imminent legal challenge from some voter. With the state supreme court ruling, however, Kernighan conceded the tactic was doomed.

The failure to ram through a LLAD tax hike that would not even help parks is a particular failure for councilmember Quan. She failed to pass a LLAD increase in 2006. She insisted to her colleagues that there be a LLAD vote this Spring. Having lost her wild proposal for a $100 million palace library (Measure N), too, Quan's reputation as the tax queen is tarnished.
At the July 22 meeting, the council voted to leave the LLAD tax at its current level. The council did not rescind its banana-republic certification that voters "approved" an increase. It was a bitter moment. No councilmember made any self-criticism. The decision did not reveal any change in the political character of any councilmember.

Oakland residents have learned a lot about City Hall during this fight. Oakland residents won a victory....

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