Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. Three Oakland city councilmembers blocked Mayor Jean Quan’s plan last night to put a parcel tax measure before voters in a special mail-in-ballot election in July, the Chron and Trib report. Quan’s proposal was considered an urgency measure, because the city did not provide ten days advance notice of last night’s vote. As a result, Quan’s plan needed approval from at least six of the eight councilmembers, but Ignacio De La Fuente, Libby Schaaf, and Desley Brooks voted against it. The $80 a year parcel tax would have raised about $11 million for the city annually, and would have helped close Oakland’s $46 million budget deficit. Quan has asked Council President Larry Reid to reschedule a vote on the measure so that the ten-days-advance-notice requirement can be met.
2. The Oakland council also stymied an effort to renew a $2 million contract with the city’s main private security contractor, ABC Security, in the wake of allegations that the company violated city campaign finance laws, the Chron and Trib report. De La Fuente and Councilwoman Jane Brunner had argued that ABC’s contract should be renewed, even though the company was rated only sixth best among those who bid for the deal. ABC’s owner Ana Chretien is a long-time close friend of De La Fuente and is one of the largest campaign contributors in city politics. In addition, last month City Auditor Courtney Ruby said that ABC appears to have violated the city’s prohibition of making campaign donations when a contract is up for bid. However, the council voted 5-3 last night to award the contract to Cypress Security, which was rated highest among the firms that bid.