Oakland City Council shakes up Schaaf’s soda tax allocation

Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks said 
Mayor Libby Schaaf’s soda tax budget ploy was
“dishonorable and desperate” on Tuesday..

Opposition among Oakland City Council members, and the public, toward Mayor Libby Schaaf’s budget proposal to use soda tax revenues to help close the city’s funding gap may have forced her Tuesday night to change her mind.

Schaaf appeared to concede the point offered by Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan, Anne Campbell Washington and Desley Brooks that the use of Measure HH soda tax dollars for filling budget gaps is not in the “spirit” of the initiative widely approved last November by Oakland voters.

After some harsh words directed at Schaaf by Brooks and a number of public speakers opposing the budget item, she maintained the proposal was legally-sound, but possibly not in the spirit of the measure. Schaaf also vowed to work with the City Council in that effort. The mayor’s proposal to close a $34 million budget deficit was released last Friday. A competing City Council budget proposal is forthcoming.

The trio of councilmember quickly seized upon the use of the Measure HH soda tax fund last Friday, saying, “We must keep our promises and allocate these monies to the intended purposes.”

During the budget presentation, Schaaf rebutted the criticism by telling the council that Measure HH also requires the creation of an oversight committee and none of the councilmembers have yet to make individual appointments to the group. Schaaf asked for nomination within the next 10 days.

But that comment to the council was slapped away by Brooks, who called Schaaf’s actions “dishonorable and desperate.”

“I think it is very desperate of the mayor to pretend that the reason that she allocated the $6 million of ‘HH’ money was because she hadn’t received any nominations from the council,” said Brooks.

“She didn’t talk about health,” said Brooks, recounting a past conversation on the subject with Schaaf. “She didn’t talk about that it sends a bad precedence that we not honor our word.”

Campbell Washington sidestepped the legality of using soda tax revenues for anything other than health programs, but focused on the message it sends to voters who backed the measure last November. “What is completely unacceptable is to completely destroy the public trust when we went door-to-door,” she said.

The barrage of criticism against the soda tax proposal took immediate effect. After public comment, which included a few dozen more pointed jabs at the mayor’s proposal, Schaaf walked back from her stance on soda tax revenues, saying she would work with council within the spirit of the ballot measure and stated a promise to use the money for health issues and programs.

Schaaf also defended another controversial portion of her budget proposal that includes no allocations to the city’s so-called “rainy day fund.” Previously 25 percent of excess revenues from the real estate transfer tax were set aside for the fund. Schaaf said suspension of the rainy day fund contribution would allow the city to keep 45 percent of park employees, and other related city staff positions.

Categories: Anne Campbell Washington, budget, Desley Brooks, Libby Schaaf, Measure HH, Oakland, Oakland City Council, Soda Tax

4 replies

  1. By MW:

    First of all, Libby Schaaf, and who is a lawyer, is in good standing with the California State Bar, in other words the totally corrupt organization that pretends to monitor and regulate California's lawyers, and she is also highly rated by Martindale Hubbell, an old boys network of insider and politically connected lawyers that pretends to rate lawyers on their “ethics.” So obviously on those criteria alone we have “proof” that she is honest and trustworthy and would not try to pull anything dishonest, unethical, or sleazy.

    Second, she is a Bay area style liberal, and I dare you to find any creature more honest, ethical, or wonderful than a Bay area style liberal. To give just a few examples, think of Dianne Feinstein, Willie Brown, Jim Jones (and later of Jonestown infamy), Bill Lockyer, Nadia Lockyer, Leland Yee, Yusef Bey, and Nate Miley.

    Isn't it wonderful having all of those lawyers and Bay area style liberals infesting our local governments!!!

    And if Oakland city government is truly and actually short of money, then it should do something about the beyond ridiculously high salaries and pensions it gives to a bunch of useless drunks who pretend they are committed to fighting fires and enhancing public safety.


  2. By MW:

    Libby Schaaf, and who is both a “liberal” and a lawyer, “knew” that what she was trying to pull was “legal,” but than those who are “liberals” and/or lawyers “know” that virtually everything they do and try to pull is “legal” as long as they can come up with some lies, garbage, and nonsense “justifying” it and “proving” it is “proper” and “legitimate.”

    And if Schaaf should lose the next election, she could always get a job with an organized crime and kidnapping ring that pretends to be a law firm and also specializes in harassing whistleblowers who tell the truth about certain wealthy businesses that show total and complete contempt for laws prohibiting dumping of toxic and hazardous materials, in other words the type of conduct that leads to slow mass murder.

    And then if she engages in trying to destroy a whistleblower by the use of kidnapping, intimidation, harassment, and a financial battle of attrition, she could always take the position that the kidnapping was legal by insisting that it was not kidnapping, but that supposedly it was deposition and discovery.

    Since for a few decades now society has been in increasingly high gear concerning itself with diversity in the workplace, in other words the percentage of each gender and ethnic group particular employers and job classifications are composed of, let's also have a law limiting the number of lawyers that can infest government.

    And such a law would greatly improve the quality not only of Bay area local governments, but also the California state legislature.

    In fact each time I get called for jury duty I am excused, since I write a letter to the presiding judge of that particular court explaining that if I were a juror and the lawyers engaged in the standard lawyers' lies and garbage, I would very likely start laughing out loud, and might even end up rolling on the floor laughing.


  3. By MW:

    Actually it's a shame that Libby Schaaf did not succeed in managing to get the soda tax money, and which when it was put on the ballot was marketed as a method to fund health items, instead funneled to the general fund.

    Since if she had, she then could have in the future put another special tax measure on the ballot, and which she could have again and also promised would be used to only fund one specific item, and then she could have again, and in spite of her earlier promises, basically stolen and embezzled it AND AGAIN applied it to the general fund.

    Not that any politician, and especially a liberal politician, would ever lie, deceive, and engage in bait and switch.

    But in the Bay area we do not need Barnum and Bailey's Ringling Brothers Circus for entertainment, since we have our local politicians, and who are much more skilled at being clowns than are the professionals working for the circus.


  4. By MW:

    Now accusations have made it into print in a major newspaper that previous to the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, and in which thirty-six people died, members of the Oakland Fire Dept had occasionally visited the building, and rather than doing proper inspections, had instead whitewashed and covered up major fire and safety violations, and had then also even danced at Ghost Ship warehouse parties.

    If members of the OFD did dance at those parties, did they also drink, and perhaps also get drunk, while at those parties!!! Did they possibly also share drugs – AND PERHAPS WHILE EVEN ON DUTY AND GETTING PAID – while at those parties!!!

    In other words, I suspect by the time this is all over the six million dollars in soda tax money that Libby Schaaf wanted to grab, seize, and basically embezzle would not have been enough to cover even the photocopying bills for all the sleazy lying lawyers and crooked law firms the city of Oakland is going to have to hire to defend itself against the wrongful death suits.

    And eventually there will probably be a public demand to cancel the pensions to some of the firefighters who were involved. And the grand total of the canceled firefighter pensions would quite likely greatly exceed six million dollars.


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