"Brokeland" Debate Erupts Amid Talk of Oakland Bankruptcy

Oakland's $100 million budget deficit has city council, mayor at odds

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Jun 10, 2009  |  Updated 4:00 PM PDT
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"Brokeland" Debate Erupts Amid Talk of Oakland Bankruptcy

Mia Mabanta

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The historic recession hasn't just affected businesses like General Motors -- in the East Bay, entire cities are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Vallejo went bankrupt back in 2008. This year, it may be Oakland's turn -- though Mayor Ron Dellums says no way.

After the police department, fire department, and creditors are paid off this year, Oakland will only have $60 million to run everything from the library system to the parks department.

Mayor Dellums, a former Congressman, is currently in his old capital haunts. He's in D.C. hoping to wrangle $60 million in federal help in order to avoid laying off 200 police officers in a city that's struggling with crime. In a statement issued yesterday, Dellums assured residents that bankruptcy was not being "seriously considered, nor is it being pursued at this point."

At the root of the problem is the housing market's implosion. Much of the city's revenue comes from property taxes. As property value assessments go down, so does the city's revenue, meaning the city is earning its "Brokeland" moniker in more ways than one.

Photo by Mia Mabanta.

Jackson West blames Proposition 13.

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