Union rallies behind embattled Jean Quan

January 13, 2012 9:04:01 PM PST
There was a rally in Oakland Friday afternoon in support of embattled Mayor Jean Quan, who is not only fighting a recall effort, but now is also dealing with a major fiscal crisis prompted by the loss of redevelopment dollars.

As the city of Oakland faces a major budget crisis members of one construction union say recalling Quan will only make matters worse.

"Seems like everything that happens in Oakland is blamed on the mayor; I read about the layoffs, that's not a good thing, but can we afford to spend a million dollars on a recall? I don't think so," union leader Fernando Estrada said.

The rally comes one day after City Administrator Deanna Santana announced Oakland will send more than 1,500 layoff notices to more than half the city's employees. It's thanks to the loss of $26 million in redevelopment money.

In the end, about 200 employees will lose their jobs, decisions that will be made by the City Council and Quan.

Quan says she worries about so many notices going out to so many people.

"I think we have to because of the bumping and because no legislation has been introduced yet and basically on Feb. 1 the court says redevelopment goes away," she said.

Oakland's crisis is especially bad because, unlike other cities, redevelopment money in Oakland is spread across the entire budget. It even pays for half the salaries of the mayor, council and top administrators.

Gov. Jerry Brown sympathizes with Oakland's plight but maintains redevelopment agencies must go.

"There's a lot of good things; I used redevelopment when I was mayor myself, but all good things come to an end," Brown said.

Meanwhile, in Oakland organizers of two recall efforts are working to gather 20,000 signatures each needed to qualify for the ballot.

"I do not have any faith that this mayor can lead this city out of this crisis at all," recall organizer Gene Hazzard said.

For those city workers who will be laid off in Oakland, things will happen very quickly -- by Feb. 1.