Remember my post a couple of weeks ago comparing the parcel tax proposal to Glenn Close’s character in “Fatal Attraction?” Well, she’s coming at us again with the meat cleaver. Put it tentatively on your calendar for June 21 (first reading) and July 5 (final action).
Lost among all the brouhaha over the gang injunction hearing at Tuesday night’s (Wednesday morning’s) meeting was the fact that the council once again took up the subject of scheduling a special election to vote on the proposed parcel tax. Given the wee hours of the morning, there wasn’t extensive discussion of the matter, but the Council did agree to hold two meetings to discuss whether to hold a special election to consider the $80 tax. The fact that the special election would cost around $800,000 was brought up. Also mentioned was the fact that the election (if any) would likely be scheduled in November.
As I noted earlier, the budget needs to be approved by the end of July. So anybody with half a brain would realize that a parcel tax election in November is not going prevent whatever cuts need to be made to balance the budget between now and the end of July. So what exactly is the urgency for a special election? Never mind the fact that even if the tax were to pass (still unlikely), the tax wouldn’t be collected until the end of 2012? These finer points are obviously lost on the few speakers who showed up to support the concept - people who have obviously never met a tax that they didn’t want to pay. No speakers showed up to argue the other side - but they’re probably all too smart to stay up till 2 a.m.
Speaking of smart people, John Russo knows when to make his exit. Check out this video interview with him by Zennie Abraham. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail?entry_id=89211>a=commentslistpos#commentslistpos
He goes into a fair amount of detail about why he’s leaving. It’s because he has fundamental moral differences with the way the leadership of Oakland is dealing with two big issues - public safety and the budget. He explains that because of his personal feelings and opinions, he’s the wrong person for the job. And he’s right. A client deserves “zealous advocacy.” And when your client is an incompetent, unscrupulous scumbag, and you have moral differences with that, you need to tell them to find another lawyer. (As I myself told him during our most recent chat, "you might as well be representing Phillip Morris!") He also goes into a fair amount of detail about a subject I covered in my last post (about how much Oakland’s debt is already costing homeowners) and how much it is likely to cost us in the future, about how Oakland’s financial “plans” are leading us very clearly down the path to bankruptcy.
So I ask you, when the sitting City Attorney publicly announces he’s quitting, in the middle of his term, because he thinks the City is so financially irresponsible that he can barely find the words to describe it, is this the kind of cause you want to throw more money at in the form of a parcel tax? Or will you join me in my continued fight to demand fiscal responsibility?