Image from toolkit at saveoaklandlibraries.org, http://saveoaklandlibrary.org/toolkit/
Oakland Local reader--and Oakland library Amy Martin, has a note she would like Mayor Quan to read:
Dear Ms. Quan:
I'm a children's librarian with the Oakland Public Library, three years now. Before that, I held the same position at San Francisco Public Library, Hayward Public Library, and the Chicago Public Library.
When you ran for Mayor, many of us in the library supported you. We celebrated when you won. We knew you are a lover of libraries, have a personal connection to them, and authored much of Measure Q.
What a shock it has been to see you propose a budget that decimates our city's library system. And then to see Council claim that, barring a parcel tax (which cannot happen this fiscal year) and employee concessions (which we will give, though we can't possibly give back enough to save the libraries without concessions from Police), they have no other choice but to adopt that budget.
There IS another choice. There must be cuts to police funding. The amount of the city's general fund that goes to the police is unrealistic and unsustainable. If Council threatened to lay off 200 police, they would return to the bargaining table. If they don't, Oakland should declare a state of fiscal emergency, which would re-open police contracts. After all, what is it but a fiscal emergency when a city cannot maintain its core services?
And I hope you are not under the impression that "temporary" layoffs and library closures are possible. You cannot lock up 14 buildings full of books, movies, tools, and other items the citizens have paid for, even temporarily. Those materials belong to the taxpayers of Oakland.
Police should contribute to their pensions. I also believe that civilianizing some positions is a good solution. I do not believe that Council are powerless over the police at this point. If that were true, it would be horrifying. Core services taken away from residents because police don't want to contribute to their pensions? That's a frightening statement about the power of the police, and the ineffectiveness of city government, in Oakland.
The loss of our libraries would do irreparable harm to residents and taxpayers, and would leave Oakland's library system the worst in the nation, an embarrassment to a mayor who ran for office with testaments about them on her lips.
Events being held include: