FINAL BUDGET MEETING It’s down to the wire for the Oakland City Council to approve its 2015-17 $2.3 billion biennial budget. June 30 is the state deadline for municipalities to approve fiscal budgets for 2015-16. Tuesday night’s meeting could be a long one despite the short agenda. And the rafters will again be packed with residents after an Alameda County judge issued an order for the Oakland City Council to reopen the City Hall chambers gallery. But expect those seats and others to be packed with union members getting in their last word on the next budget. Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Desley Brooks, Noel Gallo and Dan Kalb also have proposed amendments to the council president’s budget.
CAMP SWEENEY REBUILT A day after an Alameda County grand jury report documented the overall clean, but dilapidated state of the San Leandro criminal justice youth center known as Camp Wilmot Sweeney, the board will allocate $15 million toward rebuilding the facility. The total cost of the rebuilt is $54 million with $35 million coming from a state community corrections grant. $532,000 will also come from the Alameda County Probation Department’s fiscal management rewards fund. The facility has been criticized in the past for being outdated. In the current grand jury report also detailed flaws in the current camp’s video and audio surveillance.
MORE $ FOR ALAMEDA BRIDGE REPAIRS Getting in and out of Alameda at night through the Park Street and High Street Bridges has been difficult over the past few months. Repairs and rehabilitation of both bridges have been ongoing for months. The board last year approved up to $2.25 million to do the job. But cracked welds and replacing worn out traction studs will need another $720,000 to finish the job, says a county staff report. The Alameda County Public Works Department will ask the board to approve a waiver to forego the bidding process for the additional work by the existing company already doing the work.
#ENGAGEHAYWARD Participation in city government has not been one of Hayward’s strong suits in recent years. City Council meetings are sparsely attended and exasperated by an extreme media desert exists in most of Southern Alameda County. To foster greater public engagement, the city is proposing to employ various social media techniques to the mix. “The foundation to #EngageHayward is design thinking—focusing on the resident side of engagement rather than the city side,” said a city staff report. The proposal is four-pronged: video and social media; Reddit-style web site; hack-a-thons and “City Hall to You,” which is similar to Hayward’s Neighborhood Partnership Program, essentially bringing city leaders to neighborhood meetings. If approved, #EngageHayward could begin in September.