Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan wants the city auditor to look into allegations that Mayor Libby Schaaf gave away office space at City Hall to Oakland Promise, her signature program for childhood education, free of charge.
Oakland Promise is a non-profit formed with the East Bay College Fund, that pledges to offer every child living in Oakland financial support for their education from kindergarten through college graduation. Funding for the program comes mostly from philanthropic sources, although the city and Oakland Unified School District also contribute some limited financial resources to Oakland Promise. But questions over Oakland Promise’s presence at Oakland City Hall and whether public facilities are being improperly used has been raised publicly and privately over the past two years.
“During the 2016-2018 time period, we heard allegations that Mayor Schaaf had ordered that city hall facilities be given, free of charge, to the Oakland Promise, without going through our legally mandated process for use of public facilities,” Kaplan wrote in a memo to Oakland City Auditor Courtney Ruby this week.
Kaplan also reported that her office received about Oakland Promise employees working at City Hall and using a City Hall phone number for day-to-day business.
In the letter, Kaplan said Schaaf’s office obfuscated about the use of City Hall facilities by Oakland Promise and then later admitted the arrangement, but without acknowledging who paid for the space.
Kaplan’s call for an audit of Oakland Promise underscores a deepening rivalry between the council president and mayor. During the most recent budget season, Kaplan pushed for the elimination of the city’s new Department of Transportation, another initiative backed by Schaaf.
County Transportation Leader is Retiring
Art Dao, a long-time proponent for improving transportation in Alameda County will retire from the Alameda County Transportation Commission in December, he announced Friday.
As executive director of the commission, Dao helped steward billions of dollars in new county tax revenues to improve transportation and aging infrastructure in Alameda County. During Dao’s tenure, the commission created the Bay Area’s first express lanes, the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit project, and the BART/Oakland Airport Connector, while easing traffic flow on the notoriously congested Interstate 80.
All of this was accomplished with the help of county voters who approved tax measures in 2000 and 2014 to fund many of the projects fronted by Dao. Measure BB, approved by voters in 2014 created $8 billion in projects slated to be built over the next 30 years. A similar tax measure was famously defeated by just over 700 votes countywide in 2012.
The commission said the regional body will conduct a national search for Dao’s replacement.
In Other News …
Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash are threatening to spend $90 million on a statewide ballot measure if a bill that gives so-called gig workers more rights is approved by the Legislature. The group of tech companies offered Thursday to raise the minimum wage of its workers to $21 an hour, in addition, to allowing them enter into a bargaining agreement, Politico reported. Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to sign the measure. … In a further sign of labor’s strength in the state capital, Newsom also brokered a deal that would make it more difficult for charter schools to be approved, the Associated Press reported. The bill transfers authority to approve new charter schools from the state to local school districts. … Meanwhile, Newsom brokered a deal to help struggling renters in the state to “cap annual rent increases at 5 percent plus inflation, with a 10 percent maximum increase,” the AP reported. … Sen. Nancy Skinner’s potentially landmark bill that would require universities in California to pay student-athletes when their name, likeness, and image is used is already forcing the NCAA’s hand. The AP reported that a NCAA working group on the matter is pondering the NCAA’s next move and the result could be rule changes that make an end-run at Skinner’s legislation, if signed into law. …
The high-cost of housing in the East Bay is leading residents to move to place like Oregon and Texas. The East Bay Times reported more people are leaving Alameda County than moving in. The trend is the same in Santa Clara and Contra Costa Counties. … Affordable housing advocates protested a proposed 38-story tower in downtown Oakland Tuesday because the residential development’s 300 units have none set aside for affordable housing, KTVU reported. The project at 1750 Broadway was previously approved by the Oakland Planning Commission. … A new seismic study of buildings at U.C. Berkeley found at least six of them would likely be severely damaged during a large earthquake, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The university is contemplating whether to limit the use of some of the buildings, including the five-story Moffitt Library. … Levels of E. coli at a West Berkeley lagoon spiked last week, Berkeleyside reported. Berkeley city officials recommend against having contact with the water at Aquatic Park. … Union healthcare workers briefly shut down an intersection near Kaiser Permanente in Oakland on Labor Day, the Times reported. Last month, the unions authorized a strike set for October. …
Researchers from a number of high-profile California universities published a paper calling on the California Air Resources Board to “bolster accounting reviews” in order for the state’s landmark cap-and-trade environmental law to remain on pace for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, KQED reported. … San Francisco is not only taking the Warriors away from Oakland, but bringing the city’s popular Bakesale Betty chicken sandwiches along for the move. SFGate reported the venerable Oakland institution will have concession stand at the Chase Center. … BART’s track replacement work near the Lafayette BART station ran into problems Monday morning after a crane knocked down a power line and blocked all westbound traffic until 3 p.m., SFGate reported. … A series of metal medallions inscribed with witty comments and phrases has shown up in Central Berkeley over the past few months, Berkeleyside reported, and nobody has any idea who is behind the effort. … As the A’s begin the stretch run for a possible second straight trip to the post-season, star reliever Liam Hendriks credited his breakout season as the team’s bullpen stopper to his wife’s tarot reader, the Associated Press reported. … Donald Trump is coming to the Bay Area for the first time as president sometime next month for a campaign fundraiser, Politico reported. It’s not yet known where the event will be held, but don’t bet on Oakland.