Thursday, September 21, 2006

Play Date

My kids chased their friends through the house screaming as we sat out in a yard with the parents drinking beer and eating pizza. Oakland above the Warren Freeway really is a different city. The views, the wildlife, the problems: the kitchen remodel went over budget. Co-workers don’t get killed, children don’t get shot and old and sick people don’t live on the winding roads.

I complained somewhat bitterly about the state of Oakland as I see it from the county hospital. One of the parents concurred expressing disappointment with the City government and their complete lack of vision or leadership. They then stopped and qualified their comments. “I don’t think much of our councilperson but she really sticks up for this neighborhood.”

The comment stuck in my mind. See, Oakland city and county government spend a great deal of their time, energy and resources pandering to affluent voters in the hills. This isn’t their first priority, their first priority is developing good relationships with land developers so they can sell off public land and make enough rich friends to fund their ambitious ascents to Sacramento. Still they take pains to insure a higher quality of schools, services and life to the residents of the Oakland hills.

Just think about it. Do the obvious inequities of services in the City of Oakland contribute to the crime and desperation we are seeing?

In Loving Memory of Jamellea Deary

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Remembering a Friend

OK, I don’t deal with death well. In my family we get drunk and overeat. Not that I don’t do that anyway but… I knew Jamellea Deary, not well. We worked on the union negotiating team together, I knew her well enough to know she was hardworking, generous and kind. She worked at Fairmont as a nursing assistant, she spoke kindly of her patients, she liked her work and now she’s dead. She was 53 and a grandmother for goodness sake, she worked hard all day, helped her co-workers as a shop steward and drove a wicked commute. She never complained and always pitched in.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sure, They Look Harmless Enough

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Back to School

So I’ve been out of the loop, off my beat and out of my tree. Back to school for my little McNuggets. My son learned about the “Big Boom Theory” in school. Halfway through his description of gasses and the great cosmic fart, my daughter got jealous and interrupted him. “Hey what about the big splash?” My son countered with, “Emma you’re rude, you never use your manners.” My husband broke up the brouhaha by throwing them both in the tub.

So as soon as I catch up the laundry, finish the homework, pay the tuition and make the lunches, I’ll get back to the Dirt.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Fairmont Hospital

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Committee Comments

The Measure "A" Oversight Committee is in the process of producing a report (that's what committees do.) The following are Charlie Ridgell comments.

Highlights Section:
The report on the use of Measure A funds to support the School Based Health Center program at the McClymonds High School in West Oakland was one of the real highlights of my participation on the Measure A Oversight Committee. Maybe it’s because this program receives only a very small percentage of Measure A funds and uses them in an area of great need, namely to address the crisis faced by many high school students as they struggle to obtain an education in an under funded school system without adequate family and social support. The way our society is failing these young people is truly an outrage. It was heartwarming to learn of the good work being done by this program with the help of Measure A funds. I would support increasing the Measure A allocation to this program.

Concerns Section:
The people of Alameda County should be alarmed at the dishonesty of the Board of Supervisors in placing Measure A before the voters without informing them of the Board’s plan to cheat the Alameda County Medical Center out of a portion of the Medical Center’s Measure A funds through the Supervisors’ demand that ACMC “pay back” the County for previous years support of the Medical Center through its fiscal crisis which was, in part, caused by the Supervisors. This so-called ‘debt’ was agreed to by the ACMC Trustees under threat of the County cutting off support of the Medical Center . This scheme should have been disclosed to the voters prior to the March 2004 election, but it was deliberately withheld in order to deceive the voters as to the Supervisors’ intent to reduce the 75% portion of Measure A funds earmarked for ACMC. The Supervisors and the County staff knew what they planned to do but were too dishonest to tell the voters in advance of the vote.
The acquiescence of the ACMC trustees in this scheme is shameful and should be investigated as a possible a violation of their fiduciary duty to the Medical Center .

Simply speaking, the voters were lied to. As a citizen of Alameda County , and a member of the Measure A Oversight Committee, I feel our County government (Board of Supervisors and staff) have violated and betrayed the public trust.