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Budget Diaries 3 – The End or Just the Beginning?

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD To balance an $83 million general fund deficit,  the Oakland City Council passed an amended budget proposal Tuesday night  that leaves many departments’ budgets substantially smaller. The most controversial change, Council member Jean Quan noted while reading the proposal aloud, was the $13.4 million cut to the Oakland Police Department’s personnel budget.  It’s equivalent to the 10 percent cut the city requested from all departments. The police union is still in talks with the council and how the…

Safeway Talks Bigger, Piedmont Wonders if it’s Better

By AYAKO MIE Residents gathered Thursday at the Chapel of the Chimes Mortuary on Piedmont Avenue for a second meeting  called by Safeway officials to talk  about the store’s plan to redo the shopping center in Pleasant Valley. “Obviously, it is a corporate sponsored meeting,” said Eric Edwards, a resident of the Rockridge Manor condominium next to the shopping center, referring to the Safeway brand foods and beverages offered those who attended. Safeway, which also has a development plan underway…

Budget Diaries 2: No End In Sight

By ALEXIA UNDERWOOD In the beginning, a little after 3:00 p.m., the council chambers were crowded and the air was thick with anticipation. Two television stations jockeyed for camera room, residents lined up against the walls and some people found seats in the balcony to watch the Oakland City Council discuss a new alternative budget proposal to Mayor Dellum’s much maligned proposal for 2009-2011 on Tuesday. But by 11 p.m., after countless speakers and hours spent quibbling over parking meter…

Libraries, seniors, feel the bite of recession

Several fat books stacked on Deborah Cunningham’s lap spilled over the edges of her wheelchair.  As an aide wheeled her away, the dark-haired, elderly woman, a retired English professor in her mid-eighties, grasped them tightly.  She is one of ten or eleven repeat customers at Mercy Retirement and Care Center that look forward to the monthly Bookmobile visits from the Oakland Library system. The Bookmobile, a large, multicolored bus that traverses Oakland streets two days a week to visit under-served…

No golden parachute for stores on Piedmont Avenue

Loren Partridge has until February 28 to vacate Cunningham Partridge Gallery and Framing, the Piedmont Avenue business she has run for seven years. “I’ve seen it coming for months,” Partridge said last Saturday afternoon. “Then January came, and boom.”

After night of pleas, council passes cut-down budget

By MAGGIE FAZELI FARD Oct. 22 — After five hours of heated discussion–including pleas, arguments, and even musical performances by more than 200 Oaklanders begging city council members to reconsider layoffs and spending cuts–last night’s budget discussion ended somewhat anti-climactically.

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