If you want to know what Obama will do to the US, just take a look at what Dellums had done for Oakland. For example...
Oakland deficit could reach $50 million
Christopher Heredia, Chronicle Staff Writer
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Oakland's budget deficit is on course to more than triple the $15 million shortfall that former City Administrator Deborah Edgerly figured in the city's current spending plan, according to new projections obtained by The Chronicle.
Edgerly, whom Mayor Ron Dellums fired July 1 amid a police investigation into whether she tipped her nephew to a gang probe, may have overestimated city revenues for the current fiscal year by $38 million, according to a July 17 finance department report.
In addition, the city would not receive $12 million in planned revenue if the recent mail vote approving an increase in the city's lighting and landscaping tax is invalidated - bringing the city's revenue shortfall this year to nearly $50 million, or 10 percent of Oakland's $500 million general fund.
City Council members Ignacio De La Fuente and Jean Quan, as well as Acting City Administrator Dan Lindheim, said Friday that they thought Edgerly's budget projections had been overly optimistic.
The council and mayor approved the budget after agreeing to close Edgerly's projected $15 million deficit by cutting costs in all departments, leaving 28 vacant jobs unfilled and forcing all nonessential city employees to take five days off without pay in December.
But officials said Friday that the dire forecast may force them to lay off employees and cut services, difficult decisions they say they will make after returning from summer recess and begin poring over Oakland's finances.
"We're waiting anxiously for some of the real balances," Council President De La Fuente said Friday. "We're going to have to prioritize and remember (that) we're responsible for providing the basics - with public safety being No. 1. We're going to have to make some tough decisions."
Edgerly's office in May projected that revenue from sales taxes, property taxes and real estate transfer taxes would increase this fiscal year from 2007-08.
Lindheim, at Dellums' direction, has ordered a complete review of the city's budget situation. Dellums' office will announce changes in the city's financial plans next week, Lindheim said Friday.
"I've told council and department directors I expect we will come back in the fall with a revised budget," Lindheim said. "I'm presuming we're going to be making additional cuts."
Oakland, like cities across the nation, is feeling the pinch of the downturn in the housing market and a softening in consumer spending. City officials said the recent sale of Brandywine Realty Trust, a real estate investment firm with a regional office in Oakland, could net the city $6 million in property transfer taxes, lessening the blow a bit.
Quan, who chairs the council's Finance and Management Committee, said she has been saying for months that Edgerly was overly optimistic in her budget projections, a point she said fell on deaf ears.
"I warned the council, but the response I got was people were OK with it," Quan said Friday. "They said she had been right in the past.
"If these numbers hold, we're talking about cutting city staff by 5 to 10 percent," Quan said. "We'll keep safety first. You're not going to see a reduction in police officers, but we may have to cut support staff, such as technicians, who are a critical component in helping with investigations."
Library staff may also be cut, along with programs for senior citizens and pothole repairs, Quan said.
Before she was fired, Edgerly had planned to retire July 31, a month after the city's new budget took effect.
"There is an incentive for all public figures to make things look better than they may be," Lindheim said Friday. "The problem anyone dealing with budgets has to confront is that the worse you portray the situation, the greater the cuts you have to make. No one wants to make major cuts."
Meanwhile, the council will meet in closed session Tuesday to discuss a citizen challenge to the vote count in the spring election to raise the lighting and landscaping property tax to pay for the upkeep of parks, medians and streetlights. At issue is whether city ballot-counters gave too much weight to the vote of the Port of Oakland.
"There are very serious concerns and allegations by citizens that the vote count was not accurate," De La Fuente said. "We're taking it very seriously."
Lindheim said Dellums believes the election was valid and the vote should stand.
Oakland's new budget woes
Former City Administrator Deborah Edgerly may have overstated revenue projections for the current fiscal year by $38 million, a new city report says. Here are her estimates for three key revenue sources, compared with those made by county officials and city consultants:
-- Sales tax: $51.8 million
-- Property tax: $136.3 million
-- Property transfer tax: $44.9 million
Projections by city consultants and Alameda County assessor's office
-- Sales tax: $43.8 million
-- Property tax: $129.7 million
-- Property transfer tax: $27.2 million
Source: Oakland Finance and Management Agency