Oakland City Council Committee Preview
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza
Tuesday, Jan. 28, begins at 9:30 a.m.
>>> PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE
DAC RETURNS In a committee item likely to attract a great deal of attention from Oakland’s vocal privacy activists, the public safety committee will look to pass to the full council a $1.6 million professional service contract to Schneider Electric, Inc. for the design, building and maintenance of the second phase of the Domain Awareness Center, a port and citywide surveillance hub in Oakland. (Item 6). WHAT IT MEANS Those same privacy activists will point to an East Bay Express article last month that asserts Schneider Electric, the corporation seeking the DAC contract, also dabbles in nuclear weapons production. If so, that is clearly in violation of the City’s Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Ordinance. A city staff report, however, says Schneider Electric does not work in relation to nuclear weapons. A lawsuit is pending against the city that hopes to block the DAC, if it moves forward. Also within the agenda item is a provision for the committee to switch gears and drop Schneider Electric and authorize staff to begin negotiations with another vendor on its evaluation ranking list without council consent.
BE AWARE An informational report on automated safety speed cameras near schools will be submitted to the committee, at the requst of Councilmember Desley Brooks. The staff report, however, finds safety speed cameras are illegal in California. Typically, such cameras are legally employed at busy intersections to record red light violations and railroad crossings. (Meeting starts 6 p.m. Committee members: McElhaney, Kalb, Schaaf; Gallo, chair)
>>> COMMUNITY & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
HOUSING FORECLOSURE DATA A staff report shows the number of Notices of Default in Oakland were unchanged in October and November of last year, but represent a 54 percent decrease from a year ago. Short sales have also slightly decreased. However, homeowner association-related foreclosures have risen, said the report (Item 4). WHAT IT MEANS Like most economical indicators in every segment of the local economy, the overall picture shows Oakland is bouncing back, but not as fast as its residents and homeowners need it to be. In addition, this item may bring attention back to the council’s ill-fated attempt to look further into an anti-foreclosure strategy similar to nearby Richmond. At the time, Councilmember Desley Brooks said she merely wanted detailed analysis on the extent of the foreclosure problem in Oakland.
BE AWARE The city will accept $50,000 from Oakland Maritime Support Services as part of a court finding last November it violated the Clean Water Act by allowing storm drain water from its trucking maintenance facility to enter the bay. As owner of the property at the Oakland Army Base, the city agreed to pay $300,000 to settle the suit along with a pledge from the plainants not to challenge the transfer of OMSS to a new property at the Port of Oakland (Item 3)…The committee also looks to adopt a resolution to locate funding to construct a walk path along San Leandro Creek (Item 6). (Meeting starts 2 p.m. Committee members: McElhaney, Schaaf, Kernighan; Reid, chair.)
>>> FINANCE AND MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
BE AWARE A report on the city’s unfunded liabilities, requested by Councilmember Libby Schaaf, is presented. Let’s cut to the chase, the number stands at $1.64 billion, which includes capital improvements, workers’ compensation and pension costs…A city staff report is also offered detailing the Radio and Telecommunications Fund Report, which shows a budget of over $3.5 million. Last week, a study found the city’s Radio Shop inadequately funded and potentially an impediment to the long-term success of its public safety radio system. (Meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. Committee members: Brooks, Kaplan, Kernighan; Schaaf, chair)
LIFE ENRICHMENT COMMITTEE – A report requested last summer details the long-term outlook for the Oakand Art & Soul Festival. (Meeting starts at 4 p.m.)
PUBLIC WORK COMMITTEE – Canceled
NOW YOU CAN’T SAY YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Good, useful summary. Shows clearly the lack of clear, useful thinking in the Council about the surveillance center, the foreclosure problems, costly failure to oversee an environmental problem, the very deep abyss of unfunded liabilities and the failure to support proper functioning of the police radio system.
The only thing left out is a warning to those tempted to attend a CC meeting that the meetings themselves are very poorly organized, incredibly tedious and, essentially, anti-democratic (Council allocates miniscule amounts of time to listen to citizen's concerns).