Small group gathers to consider council recall
on October 1, 2009
A small group of local business owners and Oakland residents gathered at the Grand Lake Theater last week to discuss what to do in response to the September 22nd city council meeting, where the July 1st parking measures were kept intact.
The meeting’s host was Allen Michaan, who owns the Grand Lake Theater and leads a group against the parking measures under the slogan “rescind or recall.” Michaan began the meeting by initiating a discussion to determine which council members the group would attempt to recall.
Although attendees had varying opinions, the consensus became to target the three council members who abstained from a vote to take immediate action to roll back parking meter hours at last week’s city council meeting: These were District 3 Councilmember Nancy Nadel, District 6 Councilmember Desley Brooks and At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. They also plan to recall District 5 Councilmember Ignacio de la Fuente, who did not attend the meeting and who could have cast the deciding vote, many believe, had he attended.
Michaan’s desire to recall councilmembers is no secret. In fact, his current marquee reads, “Shame on the City Council for the Damage their Parking Racket is Inflicting in Oakland. Recall?” Michaan had done his homework and brought a packet to the meeting that outlines exactly how to recall an elected official.
“We’re here because we care about what’s right for Oakland,” Michaan said. “The council is doing what is expedient for the budget, but they’re chasing our customers away. We’re trying to save the city from irresponsible leadership.”
The group also made plans to introduce two ballot initiatives to the June 2010 election. One will let voters decide to make Oakland a meter-free city, in which parking spaces still have time limits but patrons do not have to pay to use them.
Peter Brady, a former Oakland small-business owner, said he recently went out of business in large part due to the increase in parking meter rates and hours. “This put the final nail in the coffin,” he said.
The group’s other initiative would change the number of city council seats from eight to five and recommend that the city outlaw the seven districts that currently exist. Instead, the initiative proposes each councilmember would have to be elected at-large by the entire city.
The city council will take the parking issue up again when it meets next Tuesday, October 6th, at 6 p.m. at City Hall.
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