Oakland layoffs 1,500 workers

Oakland, Calif. officials sent layoff notices to about 1,500 workers as a result of the loss of millions of dollars in California redevelopment funding.

About 200 city workers are expected to lose their jobs, and police officers and firefighters will be exempt from the move, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

The jobs expected to be cut are paid for, in part, out of redevelopment funds provided by the state, intended to fight urban blight. Gov. Jerry Brown approved the California Legislature's plan last summer for cities to shut down redevelopment agencies -- although cities could keep the agencies operating if they agree to reimburse money to the state, the newspaper said.

Oakland had to give notice to half of its 3,000 employee force to comply with seniority layoff protocols, forcing a complete revamping of City Hall, said Sue Piper, a spokeswoman for Mayor Jean Quan.

"We had a great, two-year balanced budget, and then the state pulled the rug out from us. This is forcing us to make some very tough decisions," Piper said.

Wendy Johnson, 55, a customer service worker in the Office of Parks and Recreation for 17 years, said the cuts could be overwhelming for her and her family.

"I love Oakland. It's a part of me, my heritage," said Johnson, a lifelong Oakland resident. "But I worry about my grandkids, that they won't have the same great city to grow up in that I did."

Source: UPI