Tuesday, June 7, 2011

save Oakland ___

Seems like all sorts of things in Oakland are under threat these days, and not all because of the budget mess. That certainly isn't helping, as there just isn't as much money to go around.

If you haven't heard, Mayor Quan has proposed 3 budgets, known as Scenarios A, B and C. Scenario A is the most drastic, and is referred to as the "all cuts" budget. It assumes no concessions from the public safety employees (possible) and the $80 parcel tax doesn't pass (quite likely, given past misuse of such funds). Some people think Scenario A is "political theater", to help at the bargaining table with the unions and to scare people into voting for yet-another-parcel-tax.

libraries - This is a big one to a lot of people -- libraries are important to them, especially for their kids. People turned out in droves at the last council meeting to show their support for the libraries. Under Scenario A, all but 4 of the libraries would be closed, and those 4 would have substantial service cuts. It's not just about books, it's about internet access, too. See the Save Oakland Library website for more.

tool library - Oakland has a great resource in the tool Lending library at the Temescal branch. Tools can be expensive to buy or rent, and this makes them available at no cost to all Oakland residents. But it's part of the library system and therefore under threat as well. See the Oaktown Art website for more.

adult literacy - Partly because of the library cuts, but partly because of statewide budget cuts, there's very little left of adult literacy programs in Oakland. Two years ago they served 25,000 students; last year it was less than 2,400. See the East Bay Express article for more.

public food in public spaces - Phat Beets distributes food as both CSA (we've loved our box) and via farmer's markets. But it also produces some of the food right here in Oakland, in gardens in public spaces. Some of those gardens are under threat. But this isn't a budget issue -- Phat Beets receives no city funding, and has done lots of work to improve the park. See the Phat Beets site for more.

Can everything under the budget ax be saved? No, there just isn't enough money to cover everything, even if the public safety employees make concessions. But make your voice heard for the things you believe in.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I hope the libraries survive. They are great in Oakland, and always willing to get books from different branches. Such a convenience. It's a shame they have to struggle like this, when libraries are part of the cure.