The City Of Oakland is facing the State of California’s effort to eliminate California Redevelopment with moves that could only be called cold and draconian. This blogger was just informed that long-time Oakland KTOP Station Manager Ashley James was terminated.
In addition, James will be joined by three other KTOP employees, which almost – almost – reduces the public access channel to nothing. How KTOP will be ran with one or two people is a mystery this blogger is certain the City of Oakland didn’t take time to think through.
In fact, not only did Oakland not think about these actions, it’s clear the rush to meet the State of California’s deadline of February 1st was foremost in the minds of City of Oakland officials. James has until Friday – this Friday – to get out of his office. On top of that, James doesn’t know when he’s going to see his first retirement check from the California Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). From what I am told, the State of California takes three months to get a check to the person who’s out of the Oakland (in this case) employment system. It doesn’t look like Oakland’s got a plan to help employees in this position; it’s just dumping them.
Mr. James was an important part of the growth and development of KTOP, although I think he felt he had few real allies within the City Of Oakland. That’s really too bad in a lot of ways. But even worse, and this points to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, if this action of firing people to meet a state mandate continues, Quan will wind up with a fresh population of angry people ready to recall her.
I understand that a number of people being fired were not paid with Redevelopment Funds. That can only mean the total impact of the stoppage of Redevelopment is such that it reaches beyond those departments that use the funds – but that’s speculation. Better to ask the City of Oakland.
Meanwhile Ashley James is one Oakland City Council final decision from being out of a job, and thus seeing a great career end without celebration.
And needs a new job.