Oakland, California

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Oakland, California
Seal of California.svg.png
General information
Jean Quan at Lake Merritt during her Campaign for Mayor.jpg
Mayor:Jean Quan
Last mayoral election:2010
Next mayoral election:2014
City council seats:8
2013-2015 FY Budget:$2 billion
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:400,740
Gender:51.5% Female
Race:White 34.5%
African American 28.0%
White Not-Hispanic 25.9%
Asian 16.8%
Native American 0.8%
Pacific Islander 0.6%
Two or More 5.6%
Ethnicity:Hispanic 25.4%
Unemployment:11.4%
Median household income:$51,683
High school graduation rate:79.7%
College graduation rate:37.9%
Related Oakland offices
California's 9th congressional districtCalifornia's 13th congressional districtCalifornia LegislatureCalifornia state executive offices
Oakland is a city in California. It is the county seat of Alameda County. As of 2013, the population was 400,740.[1]

City government

The city government of Oakland combines a council-manager system with a "strong mayor" system. In this form of municipal government, the city council serves as the city's primary legislative body and the mayor serves as the city's chief executive. The mayor, however, appoints a city manger to oversee the city's day-to-day operations and execute city policies.[2]

Mayor

The mayor serves as the city's chief executive, and is responsible for proposing a budget, signing legislation into law, drafting legislation and appointing a city manager. Though the mayor is not a member of city council, he/she may vote in council meetings in the event of a tie.[2] Jean Quan is the current Mayor of Oakland.[3]

City council

The Oakland City Council is the city's primary legislative body. It is responsible for approving and adopting the city budget, appointing committee and commission members, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.[2]

Membership

The city council consists of eight members. Seven members are elected by one of the city's seven districts, while one is elected at-large.[3]

A full list of city council members can be found here

Boards and commissions

A series of advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the mayor and city council. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.[2]

For a full list of Oaklands commissions, boards and committees, see here

Elections

2014

See also: Oakland, California municipal elections, 2014

The city of Oakland, California will hold nonpartisan elections for mayor and city council on November 4, 2014. The filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was August 8, 2014. In Districts 2 and 4, however, the deadline was extended to August 13, 2014, because an incumbent did not file to run.[4] Three of the eight city council seats - Districts 2, 4 and 6 - are up for election.

Budget

2013-2015

Oakland's budget for the 2013-2015 biennium is available here. Approximately $1 billion is appropriated for both fiscal year 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, bringing the total appropriations for the biennium to $2 billion. Of that number, 40% ($450 million) is appropriated for the General Purpose Fund.[5]

Contact information

Office of the City Clerk
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 1st and 2nd Floors
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 238-3612
Voice Mail: (510) 238-3611
Recorded Agenda: 510-238-2386
Email: cityclerk@oaklandnet.com
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday – Friday

Office of the Mayor
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, 3rd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
phone: (510) 238-3141
fax: (510) 238-4731
TTY: (510) 238-3254

Lobbying

Main article: California government sector lobbying

For 2007 and 2008, Oakland spent $250,000 on lobbying.[6]

Public pensions

Main article: Public pensions in California

The city of Oakland asked police officers to contribute nine percent of their salaries in 2010 toward their pensions and agree to a later retirement age for new hires. When the union did not agree unless the city gave it a three-year, no-layoff pledge in return, city officials laid off 80 of the city's police officers. The cuts amounted to one tenth of the force.[7]

City officials claim members of the Oakland Police and Fire Retirement System were overpaid by $11.5 million. In August, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo ordered the pension system to shave away the excessive benefits and develop a plan to recover past over payments. The city alleges that in 2008, when the union representing officers agreed to cuts in holiday pay, the change was not reflected in payments to members of the Police and Fire Retirement System. In the city's view, the retirees can't benefit from raises but stand immune from cuts. In 2010, City Auditor Courtney Ruby found that Oakland, on just one of its bond deals, spent $250 million more on the pension than it would have if the city had simply paid into it. In June, the City Council voted to borrow money again to cover the pension bill - $210 million in new pension bonds that will cost an additional $105 million in interest over the next 14 years.[8]

Website evaluation

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Transparency grading process

See also: Evaluation of California city websites

This website was most recently evaluated Feb 21, 2013.

The good

  • Elected Officials
    • City council members are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.[9]
  • Budget
    • The most current budget is listed.
    • Budgets are archived for 10 years.[10]
  • Administrative officials
    • Department heads are listed for each department.[11]
    • Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
  • Public records
    • The public information officer is identified and maintained by Records Management office. This office provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
    • A public records form is provided by the Records Management office.[12]
  • Audits
    • The most recent audit is posted.
    • Audits dating back to 2003 are available.[13]
  • Permits and zoning
    • Zoning ordinances are posted online.
    • Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.[14]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and RFPs are posted online.[15]
  • Taxes
    • Tax revenues are broken down by federal, state, and local funding in the budget.
    • Local taxes, like property taxes, are available online.
  • Lobbying
    • Information on registered lobbyists within the city is provided.[16]

The bad

  • Public records
    • A fee schedule for documents is not provided.[17]
  • Contracts
    • Approved contract statements are not provided for vendors.[18]
  • Taxes
    • Residents are not able to pay taxes online.
  • Lobbying
    • If the county engaged in lobbying actives or if it's a member of government lobbying associations are not disclosed. Nor is the total cost lobbying activities or membership dues for associations available.

Recent news

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See also

External links

References