This guest post was written by Nathan Stalnaker, who spends the day organizing in West Oakland and serves on the Board of Make Oakland Better Now! and is an elected at-large member of the East Bay Young Democrats.
The City of Oakland suffers from gridlock and a fiscal crisis that just won’t quit. Even so, again and again, the same characters are repeatedly elected to the same positions. Our system is broken. Our local races are anti-competitive. New people enter the races and win only when an incumbent steps down. It begins to seem that to become an elected official in Oakland, you already have to be or have been an elected official or spend your time currying favor with those already in office.
A Catch-22? Sure. Could an initiative calling for term limits for City Council stir things up sufficiently enough to get fresh policy thinking in City Hall? Absolutely. Read the petition yourself. To balance experience and fresh ideas, the petition was crafted with a three-term (12 year) lifetime limit.
The other petition circulating tackles the Oakland budget. Petitioners seek to bring the idea of a Rainy Day Fund (RDF) to Oakland Voters. Nicolas Heidorn of the Budget Advisory Committee has a perfect, detailed explanation of the proposal on Make Oakland Better Now’s blog. In short, RDF is a savings account for the City. If Council had adopted this same policy in 1997, the available reserve would have covered the deficits experienced in the last four fiscal years. Here is the petition for RDF.
Join the movement to put Term Limits and Rainy Day Fund on the 2012 Ballot. Let’s open up the electoral process and protect future generations from the stagnation that grips this current Council. It’s the perfect time for this initiative and the perfect time for Oakland to discuss this pressing issue openly.
How: Join us for the campaign kickoff!
- Come enjoy breakfast
- Councilmember Libby Schaaf and Mayoral Candidate Joe Tuman will speak
- Come and see the inside of the Old Mother’s Cookies Factory
- Spend the afternoon meeting your neighbors, gathering signatures, and talking about Moving Oakland Forward
When: Saturday, October 29 • 10:00am – 2:00pm
Where: 1148 East 18th Street Suite #10, Oakland, CA 94606
Please RSVP name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to TOLA for their efforts in these reforms.