July 27, 2010:
Oakland's City Council on Monday night agreed to put a four-year, $360-per-parcel tax on the November ballot to fund police and fire services, a condition that the police union demanded before it would agree to have members pay toward their pensions.
The council also voted to put three other tax measures to a vote in the fall, when they hope voters will help ease the city out of its financial crisis.
One is a telephone access charge, which would bill residents $1.99 per telephone line and businesses $13 per trunk line. Another proposes to suspend until 2015 a minimum police staffing level set in a 2004 parcel tax, known as Measure Y. The third is an increased tax on cannabis businesses.
But the most controversial was the proposed parcel tax, which passed 5-3. Landlords would be permitted to pass half of the tax bill on to renters.
For More See: Oakland council puts parcel tax on ballot
July 30, 2010:
OAKLAND, CA (KGO) -- Oakland homeowners will now be asked not once, but twice to raise their own taxes this fall. The school board has voted to put a parcel tax measure on the November ballot to increase teacher pay, following the lead of the police department.
Oakland teachers are the lowest paid in all of Alameda County -- the average salary is $54,000.
The school district agrees teachers deserve a raise, but budget cuts have taken away that possibility. So both the district and teachers are now turning to homeowners.
"The parcel tax would sunshine after 10 years. It's a $195 per parcel tax with an exemption for low income residents," said district spokesperson Troy Flint.
That's about $16 a month; roughly 53 cents a day. If it passes, it would fund a 6 percent salary increase for teachers.
For More See: OUSD votes to put parcel tax on ballot
I'll be the first to admit the average teacher salary in Oakland is not a big compensation level in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, but how will the citizens vote in November? http://www.city-data.com/ reflects the cost of living index in Oakland at 176, the U.S. average being 100. It's an expensive place to live, and The Model City wants its citizens to vote to raise the cost of living in a recessionary time. I'll believe it when I see it!
It seems odd for citizens to vote to support Oakland police officers when they are the only union for The Model City that doesn't contribute to their own retirement. Doesn't seem like they have come to the table in any sufficient manner. It seems like an unfair proposal. If the citizens do not vote for it, The Model City will have to lay off roughly another 150 police officers later in 2010 on top of the 80 recently laid off.
City Officials have shown they have no back bone or plan to reduce the costs of Policemen and Firemen but rather off loading the issue back onto the citizens. It wouldn't surprise me to see many cities across America try this effort in one form or another.
The only solution that is truly viable for the citizens and the Oakland budget is bankruptcy. Let's support that and get on with it!
Hope all is well.
J.D. Rosendahl, Rosey