Though a ton has been happening in Oakland this week, I’ve unfortunately been mostly unable to write about it, since I flew to LA after the MTC meeting and have been absurdly busy ever since. Luckily, others have covered the important stuff, so I thought I’d take a few moments to highlight what’s been going on.
Oakland passes all four election measures: Unless you’ve been out of the country for the past week, you know by now that all four measures passed overwhelmingly. I’m not going bother linking to any newspaper stories, but you should check out Brian Leubitz’s blog post about how Oakland’s election and other municipal elections show that Californian’s are ready to embrace new taxes when they make sense.
But state budget means there will be deep cuts to services Oaklanders depend on: During the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Jean Quan announced the election results and the Council seemed please. Unfortunately, they’re going to be back to the drawing board because the state legislature approved “borrowing” money from municipalities. V Smoothe has a good round up of state budget coverage, but I have to warn you that it’s depressing.
The OAC saga drags on: After hearing dozens of speakers explain why the Oakland Airport Connector makes no sense and urging the MTC to hold off on voting until after the Oakland City Council had weighed in, the MTC approved the $140 million in funding anyway. The most maddening part was that several of the commissioners who voted in favor of the funding explained that this project is terrible, but that it’s too late to change it, and anyways, it’s BART’s responsibility, not the MTC. The fight is still not over though. The OAC will be going before the Public Works Committee as an action item on September 15th so mark that on your calendar and see if you can go into work a bit late to attend the meeting. I’ll have more details and info about how to get involved next week.
And now we have the parking saga to keep us busy too: If you drive, you’ve probably noticed that meter rates have been raised to $2 an hour and the meters run until 8pm. I love this new policy, and not just as a transit user, but also as a driver. Last Saturday night I went out to dinner in Rockridge, and it was easier than ever before to find metered parking. Fragmentary Evidence wrote a very compelling piece about why it makes sense to raise parking rates. If you’re going to read anything today, read that. (Which reminds me, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned here how much I love Fragmentary Evidence. If it’s not on your regular reading list, it really should be.) For a different perspective on the parking rates, take a look at the Grand Lake Theater owner’s commentary in the Berkeley Daily Planet, which argues that the raise in rates is a “death sentence for Oakland businesses.” The Oakland City Council discussed this issue in depth on Tuesday (I’ll have a post up about that next week), and something tells me that we’re going to hear much more about this in the days to come.
Ride ACT shares two videos: Another excellent blog is Ride ACT, and in the past couple weeks they’ve shared a couple of YouTube videos that area worth watching. The first is a beautiful piece about the 54 line:
The second is a promotional video about AC Transit that I must admit is a bit cheesy, but still enjoyable: