Infographic: How Oakland is balancing the budget

Oakland's newly adopted 2012 budget

With the dissolution of the Oakland’s redevelopment agency, the city is looking at a $28 million budget shortfall. In an effort to fill that hole, the city council passed a new budget Tuesday evening that includes dramatic cuts to city staff, scales back city services and consolidates several departments. (A full list of eliminated positions…

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Retailers launch Oakland Gift Card to help people shop locally

The Oakland Gift Card can be bought and redeemed at 19 local businesses.

A small group of local businesses kicked off the holiday shopping season this month by introducing a new gift card program intended to keep retail sales dollars in Oakland. The “Oakland Gift Card,” which is available in amounts between $20 and $200, is accepted by 19 Oakland businesses, ranging from electronics and apparel stores to restaurants and art galleries.

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Ex-offenders and low-income youth help reduce vandalism in Oakland through graffiti abatement program

Oakland Community and Economic Development Agency has partnered with service organizations to create job opportunities for out-of-work youth while mitigating blight in the city’s commercial corridors. The city’s partnership with Men of Valor, a non-profit re-entry program in East Oakland that provides housing, job training and other services to high school drop-outs, recovering addicts and the formerly incarcerated, has proven so successful since it began in June—removing about 114 graffiti markings from 88 businesses along Foothill and International boulevards—that in October CEDA decided to expand the program and take on new partners.

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High hopes for new dealerships rolling into Broadway Auto Row

City of Oakland officials have high hopes that the new dealerships will help reinvigorate Auto Row, a long stretch of Broadway between Grand Avenue and 40th Street that since, 1912, has been a hub of city commerce teeming with auto businesses. Prior to the economic meltdown of 2008, the street generated millions of dollars in sales tax revenue for the city, but now it boasts more vacant buildings and “for lease” signs than live dealerships.

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Ignite! expo helps Oakland business owners make connections

Food, handicrafts and live performances are not exclusive to street fairs—on Friday afternoon, more than 70 Bay Area businesses convened at the Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland for the 2011 Ignite! New Business Expo, where participants could not only showcase their products but also get connected to various business service providers.

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Beating back Oakland’s blight

City of Oakland blight inspector

In Oakland’s Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, building inspector Ed Labayog walks past a line of nearly a hundred people waiting to apply for a job with the city on his way to the street where his car is parked. Wearing a black button-up City of Oakland shirt and carrying a bag containing case files, a camera, and his lunch, he’s setting out to find blighted properties. For Labayog, seeking out trash, graffiti and signs of crumbling structures on private property is his job.

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New free Broadway shuttle cruises downtown

If you’ve been downtown this past week, you may have noticed a big green bus driving up and down Broadway. It’s Oakland’s new shuttle, which tours between the six major downtown commercial districts and is free for the public to ride.

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