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Alameda Group Presents Two-Part Budget Forum with ‘The Kevins’

Alameda Citizens’ Task Force presents a forum, De-Mystifying the Budget: An Explanation of the Alameda City Budget – Where We Are Now and What We Need to Do to Gain and Protect Financial Sustainability.

The first session of the two-part forum will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, at the Alameda Hospital Community Meeting Room. The second session will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24, at the Alameda Main Library, 1550 Oak St.

City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy and City Auditor Kevin Kearney will attend to discuss the budget and recommendations for the improving the city’s financial sustainability. Refreshments will be served.

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For Alameda: still no state budget

With many California employees taking one or two mandatory unpaid furlough days a month and the governor threatening to send layoff notices to the 20,000 state employees with the least seniority, there’s still no budget deal in Sacramento. The no-taxes Republican minority continues to block the Democratic majority.

And lest you think Alameda is alone in its plight to keep the city budget numbers lining up. There’s this: Ventura workers taking pay cuts to save jobs.

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More California budget cuts proposed for the current year

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced additional cuts to the state budget today. To bridge an estimated $11.2 billion budget gap, he’s proposing to raise $4.7 billion with new taxes (including raising the state sales tax by 1.5 cents, taxing services like car repair and veterinary visits, and raising taxes on drinks served in bars and restaurants). Cuts to K-12 education funding in the current school year total $2.5 billion under the new plan. No word yet on what cuts will look like for 2009-10. “A drastic situation like this,” Schwarzenegger said in a news conference, “takes drastic measures.” State Republicans say they’ll fight the increase in taxes.

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Pictures of school protests in Alameda

In case you missed it, yesterday afternoon many of Alameda’s main streets were lined with protesters in trash cans drawing attention to some to the features of public education—arts, music, athletics, counselors, clerical staff, ‘children’s futures’—that are, by way of catchy slogan, ‘too valuable to throw away.’ The protest was an upbeat, cheerful affair, drawing lots of yells and honks of support.

Pictured below in trash cans are Edison Elementary students Liam John with Tyler and Julia Kennedy as well as Alameda High teacher, Rob Siltanen. There’s also a shot of trash cans/protesters from the kickoff rally held on the steps outside AUSD’s district offices.

Some of the younger students in trash cans report learning this lesson: if you drop your sign and lean over to get it without someone else anchoring the trash can, you will fall on your head.
LiamJuliaTylerrobsiltanen

rally for schools

[Ed. note: The California Progress Report has a nice piece (with lots of pictures) on yesterday's protest.]

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Alameda and Encinal High School students protest cuts

Jim VargasFor those of you wondering what all those helicopters were doing over Alameda around mid-day, they were tracking the group of high school students who walked from Encinal High to Alameda High, where they rallied in support of high school athletic programs. Apparently, it was the traffic helicopters who saw the students walking and alerted other media. And so many Bay Area news outlets, just as they did last night, paid a visit to our small city. (Pictured above is Channel 2′s Jim Vargas.) Ian Merrifield, Encinal High’s student body president, described how the protest came about:

It started with just a few students this morning deciding they were unhappy with the budget cuts last night and they started grabbing signs. At first, it was a couple hundred kids coming outside of Encinal and then everyone said, ‘Hey let’s march to district office.’ And then we had certainly more than half of Encinal walking halfway across the island to district offices. It all went really, really well. It was great… We came to the district office and few leaders from each school had a meeting with the superintendent and we discussed our plan for action and then we brought all the kids inside the auditorium for a question and answer session.

You can find more details about the protest here.