By , The Oakland Post

A proposal to redirect $200,000 in federal youth job funding to hire a single city administrator, who would serve as the city’s youth employment coordinator, was met with resounding opposition this week from community members and members of the Youth Council, a committee of the Oakland Workforce Investment Board.

< p>< p>“This is the first time that I’ve seen this. I thought in the (WIB’s) approved budget this was described as the mayor’s summer jobs program. It was presented that this was money to be put on the streets for summer jobs,” said Kathy Chao Rothberg, member of the Youth Council and executive director of Lao Family Community Development.“What’s being presented here is $200,000 for a coordinator’s position. I ‘m not comfortable with this,” she said.

“Why does it take $200,000 to hire one person?” Asked Gay

Gay Plair Cobb, CEO of Oakland Private Industry Council

Gay Plair Cobb, CEO of Oakland Private Industry Council

Plair Cobb, Youth Council member and executive director of the Private Industry Council, speaking at the Wednesday afternoon meeting at City Hall.

“This is the only source of revenue for local service providers to run summer jobs programs,” added Cobb, pointing out that the WIB has said it has no funding for agencies in the Fruitvale District serving Latino youth and no funding for young people in West Oakland for the fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Created by a work group of the Youth Council in a nonpublic meeting, the proposal was presented as a memorandum to the Mayor’s Office. It said the Youth Employment Coordinator will work with community partners to develop and leverage federal funds and other resources to increase programs for youth.

Some people at City Hall were speculating that the proposal had originated in the Mayor’s Office. Mayor Jean Quan was contacted but did not reply to the Post’s questions. If the money were used for $1,000 stipends for youth interns, it would put 200 young people to work. Among the community members opposing the new position was Marlon McWilson, member of the Alameda County Board of Education.

“You cannot say you are advocates for youth and then go take $200,000 from kids,” said McWilson. “If we’re talking about reallocation of funds, we should reallocate the funds to organizations serving West Oakland and Latino students.”

While the city wants to spend money for an administrator, West Oakland is not getting job resources for young people, said Ron Muhammad, a West Oakland community activist.

“We should not be coming … to meeting after meeting talking about West Oakland. We’re just asking for equity,” said Muhammad.

Marilyn Washington Harris of the Khadafy Foundation for Non-Violence urged members of the Youth Council to consider the needs of all the young people in Oakland who are to risk of dying by violence.

“It’s not my fault, and it’s not your fault. It’s all of our faults collectively, because we’re not doing our job,” she said. “People of color… are the people who are dying. Those are the people who do not get the funding.”

The motion to fund the position was tabled to a future meeting because the meeting no longer had a quorum.

Cross-posted at The Oakland Post

10 Responses

  1. Furious Oakland resident

    The police and mayor should be objecting to this. Fewer jobs, more crime. More crime, lower tax base. Lower tax base. fewer cops… more crime etc. Not rocket science.

    Disgusting that someone would even agree to such a salary in the cash strapped Oakland.

  2. Allen Sanford

    The City of Oakland has been devastated by the economic crisis. Jerry Brown left the police department, East and West Oakland in shambles. These three elements are what plague the city now. If as much attention were given to the East and West Oakland communities as was given by now Governor Brown, the City would be far ahead of San Jose as an economic hub. Instead, Richmond is taking the lead in fighting the banks and attending to the business of jobs for youth. Mayor Quan has been no better than Brown. The City of Richmond has been provided with evidence that will allow them to win their eminent domain case against Wells Fargo and Deutsche. This evidence was provided by ajsanford-honestyproject. Government sanctioned racketeering is the issue. Oakland is geographically situated to be the most prosperous city in the East Bay. Exploitation is the reason why this is not the case.

  3. Allen Sanford

    If as much attention were given to East and West Oakland as has been given to keeping sports franchises in the city. the city would be the most prosperous city in the East Bay.

  4. neighbor

    And that position will probably be given to a friend of a well connected city employee. Too many Oakland city employees already go to work, don’t answer the phone, and are underqualified for their overpaid salary.

  5. Imskeptical

    Isn’t this typical? Isn’t it like everything else Oakland does corrupt and backward? The money should go to hiring kids to do real work, at minimum wage, so that they get the idea of what work actually IS. Work is a foreign concept to many kids here in the ‘hood.

  6. Len Raphael

    Or it could just be that Oakland just wants to hitch a ride on what might be a Federal job training program gravy train..

    Before getting worked up about this, find out how much each job training program costs per trainee. Then read the evaluations to see how many trainees actually get placed in a decent job where they still hold a year later.

    Several years ago, the number for one of the biggest programs here was something like a couple of hundred thousand per trainee for awful results.

    You’re missing the forest for the trees focusing on just this particular financial waste.

  7. Karina

    $200K? You can hire 3-4 qualified people for that much. But if the funds are aimed for job training, use them for the stated purpose but measure the results. How many jobs do the kids get and what do they do after the program? Get good results and you get more funding

  8. Allen Sanford

    I would agree that dealing with this one issue is not much when it comes to the total picture. However, it no issues are dealt with you will never solve the problem. The problem in Oakland is too deeply ingrained to deal with everything at once. Like what’s happening in Washington and with the issues at BART. These issues evolve. They will continue to have to be reevaluated. Demographics change, populations increase and decrease. People get older and programs are needed while others need to be eliminated. The issue is vigilance. Vigilance is what has been lacking in Oakland for the past 50yrs.

  9. Nicola

    This is an outrageous example of the kind of feather-bedding that the public complains about all the time. So “the Youth Employment Coordinator will work with community partners to develop and leverage federal funds and other resources to increase programs for youth” but won’t actually DO anything for the $200K to provide even one such program? Oakland’s youth desperately need opportunities to improve their life-chances, and there are already any number of well-known organizations in place to put those funds to work immediately.


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