People making the conscious decision to work together, to put their differences aside in pursuit of shared interests, to find initiatives with the potential to improve quality of life (and, with it, economic, social and/or environmental performance), and to navigate obstacles to get something done, constitutes success. Grand success. Why? Because it so greatly exceeds what can be reasonably expected in the course of the day-in, day-out operations of most places.
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California is burning. The cost of living here In California is among the highest in the nation. The cost of education is through the roof. Year after year, funding for California’s schools, community colleges, housing, and critical social safety and emergency services have continued to be slashed, leaving many of us with a lack of opportunity, and a growing inequality that is gnawing at our communities. There is rampant pay inequality and our buying power has been going downhill since the 70's.
Let’s bring in industry to the DuPont property like the Easy Mile manufacturer (Leguir) which will build the autonomous small buses we need for local transit and to the BART. It will provide living wage careers with health and retirement benefits. It will generate a large revenue source for the city which will create strong local economy.
Right next to that lets bring in a High-Tech Battery power station for the DuPont site. There are less than half the regulatory requirements than a regular fossil fuel plant for siting it there and far fewer environmental concerns. It will store up wind and solar during their nonproductive periods. It will prevent brown outs and power excursions and will be far less affected by power outages. It too will bring in living wage careers and city revenue. Pittsburg has their own fossil fuel power station generating income for their city and career jobs for locals.
We can create a link between Junior and senior high schools with junior colleges whether via an apprenticeship, technical program or pathway to university, with a subsequent pathway back to careers in Oakley at these facilities
Because of non-living wage jobs and an increase in fixed income retirees we need low cost housing like high density apartments. Gentrification is occurring here and driving up the cost of housing. Poor retirement and pension plans also require affordable housing for seniors.
If we bring in light industry with living wage jobs over on the DuPont property we will attract more small businesses and retail with living wage opportunities and begin to eliminate the need for more affordable high-density housing and low-income housing.
Currently we have only 3 fire stations and 34 firefighters for the entire East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) with a current but growing population of 115,000. In Oakley, we have one fire station with nine firefighters for 24/7 coverage. The recommended per capita number is one per 1,000 residents. Oakley alone requires a minimum of 41. For the district, 115. The districts population is growing rapidly. We need many more firefighters and the buildings with equipment to support them. Our firefighters are paid up to 35% less than other surrounding fire districts. Poor pay and lack of job security creates a high turnover rate and increases the cost of training. To fully qualify a firefighter for active duty costs between $15,000 to $20,000 over a period of 9 months. This year, funding for the Knightsen station has ended and it is closed
This lack of adequate stations and staffing causes an increase in response times to fires and medical emergencies, which increases the likelihood of death, loss of property dramatically increasing fire insurance premiums when homeowner insurance policies are up for renewal.
Currently voters are unwilling to approve, with a mandatory two-thirds majority, a tax measure to assure a return to appropriate staffing levels and response times.
Creating an “Emergency Services Additional Revenue District” (ESARD) for ECCFPD will provide a permanent solution to assure a sustainable adequate level of emergency services indefinitely. Legislation is required to create this new type of local financing entity. An ESARD would have powers like the long-established “School Facilities Improvement District”.
The ESARD will receive the additional 1% property taxes from the unincorporated communities in the ECCFPD with the ability to receive secured loans from the California Treasurer. The incorporated cities within ESARD will be exempt. The ESARD must be governed by an appointed board of directors consisting of elected and appointed officials as well as labor and public members within the boundaries of the ESARD. The creation of the ESARD should maintain existing jobs within the jurisdiction of this new district.
With the record rainfall and increase in plant fuels, this year, the fire hazard this fourth of July and the rest of the fire season, coupled with the closure of another fire station in June, is far more dangerous than ever before. This increasing danger will continue until we do something about it. Under the current service model the likelihood of all resources being committed and unavailable for additional calls within the city is high.
A consensus to secure adequate permanent funding for ECCFPD is needed now. Not the current gridlock and increased risk of late arrivals for medical emergencies and more out-of-control fires. This ESARD proposal will eliminate this problem permanently.
Senate Bill 628 2014 Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs) which replaced Redevelopment Funds are used to finance the construction or rehabilitation of a wide variety of public infrastructure and private facilities. EIFDs rely on the principle that, if you build something, it creates value. If you zone something, it creates value. Infrastructure also creates value.
We have an Urban Limit Line which helps to control sprawling. We also need community based programs partnered with non profit organizations like First Generation Farmers, AgLantis and our own Oakley Community Garden to fill the empty lots and unused real estate in Oakley to provide quality local produce to our restaurants, schools and those in need and at the same time provide education in agriculture. Locally owned and grown to the benefit of all.