It’s rational.

“I hate to be the first speaker after the lovefest but I’m afraid I’m not going to follow  in their shoes….as I said at the last meeting of the city council….you continue to nibble around the edges of the problem: the elephant in the room is the 70% of the budget that is eaten up by the emergency services.” Corinne Lambden, 6/28/2011 City Council Meeting

It’s pretty hard not to see the very real problem ROCs (regular ol’ citizens) are appropriately and repeatedly addressing at city council (to deaf ears!):

Police budget comprises 33% of total city budget and gave a 5% cut. A $26M budget has been cut by $1.3M, $734K of which is from the elimination of Animal Services. That means the concessions gotten from the police total $566K, which is 2% of their total budget. TWO PERCENT.

Fire budget comprises 33% of total city budget and gave a 3.5% cut. A $23M budget has been cut by $800K. No staffing cuts, no pay/benefits cuts…none.  ZERO PERCENT.

Libraries, Parks & Rec, and Public Works combined comprises 12% of total city budget and gave an 8% cut. A combined budget of $8.7M has been cut by $700K.  All services to residents. Cut. EIGHT PERCENT.

Let’s go over that again:  ….

Police: $26M budget. $566K in cuts. 2%.

Fire: $23M budget.  $0 in cuts. 0%.

Libraries, Parks & Rec, and Public Works: $8.7M budget.  $700K in cuts. 8%.

And again: 700 is to 8.7, as zero is to 23, as 566 is to 26…no wait!  That makes no sense!

People are outraged for good reason. If you cannot see it, you’re choosing to be blind, and you’re part of the problem here in Alameda.

Tam said last night that you can’t just start negotiations suddenly with the unions to get pay/benefits concession. I beg to differ. One word: Quan.

Moreover, there’s been absolutely no indication whatsoever that those in charge will now, or ever!, negotiate with the fire and police unions for real pay/benefits concessions.  I mean, we might very well be happy with the new budget if we were also told that the city was going to earnestly focus on gaining concessions from the union pay/benefits.

Goldman—newly promoted with what, $40K increase in salary?—kept saying something about needing to talk to ROCs about what additional cuts residents will be willing to tolerate to city services. Yet I have not once heard anyone in charge talk about talking to the fire and police unions about what cuts they will tolerate to help sustain our city and protect our quality of life services. I know, they don’t live here, but they do work here: better quality of life here is also better and safer quality of work for them too, right?! So not getting, and not intending to get, pay/benefit concessions from fire and police makes no sense from either side.

Alameda’s leadership and management continue to focus on pushing harder on residents…it feels like they are trying to get blood from a turnip when there’s two ripe oranges sitting right there in front of them: the fire and police unions!

Moreover, passing a budget with a multiyear deficit funded by city savings with the oft repeated “I hope” statements last night from just about everyone on the dais that the economy improves before we really have to do something about it… the definition of insanity. There are no indicators that the economy is going to improve.  Hello?!


Last night’s city council meeting video is here.


About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

4 responses to “It’s rational.

  • Marie

    Corrine called it a lovefest, whereas I was thinking of Stepford Wives and Husbands. Those speeches were rehearsed (and approved, but not by me).

    They really think people will believe this is the best they can do?!
    My sincere thanks and humble gratitude to those of you in attendance who spoke up voicing concerns.

    I watched the webcast intermittantly because I got
    so angry. I’m not ordinarily roused to such a pitch but I’m still outraged by our city “leaders”. Packing the council with their friends and long-time supporters! No one in my household was fooled.

  • Denise Lai

    …packing the council with sycophants who do not like independent thinking one bit apparently. As they said, critical thinking is impolite…I guess ‘unpleasant’ to have to think those ‘negative thoughts’…

    Characterizing what I heard last night: So let’s just pretend everything will go all right in PleasantVille and let’s hope the economy will turn around so we won’t have to face facts and we can continue to blindly live our happy little lives out…the suffering only happens to others—lesser residents—anyway, right? It wouldn’t dare happen to us…. And we’re not responsible for that, how could we be?! We’re happy, pleasant people; why must our lives be made unpleasant by this unpalatable discussion?


  • Marie

    Follow the link–this is a result of googling the person our
    city council named to investigate the Raymond Zack incident.
    Talk about an insider!!!!

  • T

    The firemen make too much money in Alameda, and I heard and have read in news sources that most don’t live here, but in more expensive towns, like in Marin county. I think their paychecks should be cut and we should draft some local young unemployed men to become volunteer firemen and get some work experience. Their union appears to be corrupt and it stinks to high heaven. The police should not be cut at all, neither should the animal shelter. It makes no sense whatsoever. I guess they are in cahoots with most of the city leaders? So, I guess that would make complete sense why they would have zero cuts!

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