Economy

Budget vote approaching

The roller coaster ride of city budget-balancing will not come to an end on July 1, at least according to several Oakland City Council members at last week’s meeting.  However, looking at Mayor Dellums’ original proposal to balance an $83-85 million general fund deficit in comparison with the revised proposal that four city council members put forth on June 11 gives us a slightly clearer picture of what to expect . Here’s how some of the departments will be affected:…

Rockridge residents contemplate going solar

Renewable energy was the topic of the Rockridge Community Planning Council Town Hall meeting on Thursday night; namely, how and why to go solar. After two short power point presentations, Eric Nyman of Berkeley-based Sun Light and Power and Evan Raymond of Renewable Artistry (both of whom install photovoltaic solar energy panels on roofs as well as solar thermal equipment) fielded questions from the 16 Rockridge residents in attendance. Some reasons to install solar equipment that Nyman listed included reducing…

Budget Diaries 2: No end in sight

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 fines, the cameramen…

140 fewer officers? Try 202

Mayor Ron Dellums’ proposal to reduce the Oakland Police Department by 140 officers if he fails to get federal stimulus money could end up cutting 202 officers and effectively ending  community policing, according to police. The emergency 911 would not be affected, police said. “It is going to be traffic officers and Problem Solving Officers,” said Jeffrey Thomason, the public information officer at the Oakland Police Department. Thomason said that even if the cuts were made, the Oakland Police Department…

Rising BART and AC Transit fees sends some commuters reeling

By STEVE SALDIVAR Commuters said Friday that the BART and AC Transit increases that will go into effect on July 1 are  unfair and unaffordable. “We need to get more help from the government, not less of it,” said Mahvash Nasehi. “Most people who use BART are low income people, they can’t afford to buy cars. They’re losing their jobs and now an increase in BART? It’s just not fair,” said the Brentwood resident. Nasehi uses the BART sparingly but…

Local parks will suffer from proposed budget cuts

In the murky darkness underneath the 24 Freeway in Rockridge is a little slice of doggie heaven. On a recent Thursday afternoon, five or six pooches – it’s difficult to keep track – romp inside a large, caged doggie run while their owners chat. The dark, mulched run is not pretty to look at, but it’s convenient. Not far away, in a much more verdant spot, several children climb on small rocks in a shallow, plant-fringed pond or play on…

Oakland follows Detroit

At Bay Bridge Auto Center, Mike Khugiani is Chrysler’s latest casualty. “Chrysler decided to discontinue the dealership with us,” said Khugiani, the general sales manager. That means fewer cars to offer at the dealership that also sells GM and Nissan. On the other side of the street at Honda of Oakland, the long decline of the U.S. auto industry has only added customers, said Raymond Kwan, sales manager Honda of Oakland. Detroit may be 2,400 miles away, but the U.S….

Career Center popular with Oakland’s unemployed

Across the street from the City Center where professionals work purposefully on laptops and Blackberries, a different scramble unfolds inside the Old Oakland Bank building. There, a portion of Alameda County’s 80,100 who are unemployed—10.3 percent, in April compared to 5 percent at the same time last year—shuffle through literature on how to sharpen resumes and and interviewing skills.