OAKLAND — As expected, the Kids First! initiative, which would dramatically increase city funding for youth programs, has qualified for the November ballot.
The ballot question will come 12 years after Oakland voters approved the first Kids First! initiative, creating the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. The second Kids First! measure would, in three years, more than double the money the city pays into the fund, which goes toward city, county, school and nonprofit youth programs.
Proponents of the initiative turned in about 43,000 signatures, and the Alameda County Registrar of Voters found 30,864 of them to be valid. About 23,900 were needed for the initiative to qualify.
Mayor Ron Dellums and the City Council have voiced opposition to the measure, out of concern that a dramatic increase in youth funding will hurt the city's ability to provide other services. But David Kakishiba, executive director of the East Bay Asian Youth Center and a chief organizer of Kids First!, is confident it will pass in November.
"There are more people beginning to come out and wanting to campaign to support this measure," said Kakishiba, who also is president of the Oakland Unified School District board.
The council is scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. Monday at 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza to place the initiative on the ballot, a formality required by law.
Monday's meeting follows the council's rejection July 22 of a compromise ballot measure that would have phased in an increase for the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth over a six-year period.
The vote was 6-2 against the compromise.
Council President Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale) said at the July 22 meeting that council members needed to balance the needs of youth and others, including seniors, who rely on city services.
"If in November the citizens want to vote for this measure, then it's our job to balance the budget and deal with it," he said, adding, "but we cannot just continue promoting this type of budgeting, trying to balance our budget by ballot measure."
Council members on Monday will also consider tweaking a measure they placed on the November ballot that would institute a new parcel tax for boosted police personnel and a new crime-data management system.
The changes were proposed by Councilmember Patricia Kernighan (Grand Lake-Chinatown), who said the amendments wouldn't change the intent of the measure, but rather would clarify that the increase in police personnel will remain in perpetuity.
The measure would add 35 police officers and 25 police services technicians each year for three years beginning in the 2009-10 fiscal year. Kernighan wanted to be clear that the additional personnel would remain on staff once that three-year period elapses.
A dispute over whether Assistant City Administrator Cheryl Thompson is entitled to a severance package worth five-months' pay and car allowance continued this week.
Thompson was put on leave in early July and will be terminated Aug. 7. Before she left, former City Administrator Deborah Edgerly tried to secure a severance deal for Thompson, which the two said they agreed to in 2004 when Thompson became assistant city administrator.
The agreement was never put in writing. But Martin Horowitz, an attorney for Thompson, said in a letter to City Attorney John Russo's office that just because the deal wasn't put on paper, doesn't mean it's not valid.
"Your unsupported legal contention that 'all employment agreements must be in writing' is patently incorrect," Horowitz wrote in a letter Tuesday.
Thompson earns a salary of more than $216,000 a year. When she was put on leave, Russo said she was not entitled to the severance pay, partially because the city's policy only allows severance packages to be offered to new employees, but also because there was no evidence the agreement actually existed.
Russo said at that time: "Our position is, Where's this employment agreement in 2004 that you're mentioning? Does it exist? Without a written agreement, it's not even possible for us to even consider it."
Chauncey Bailey Day
Dellums has proclaimed Saturday as Chauncey Bailey Day in Oakland to mark the one-year anniversary of the journalist's death.
Bailey, 57, was shot as he was walking to work at the Oakland Post on Aug. 2, 2007. He was working on a story about Your Black Muslim Bakery. A bakery handyman has been charged with murder in connection with the death.
Contact Kelly Rayburn at 510-208-6435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.