Sunday, January 24, 2010

The City of Oakland's Financial Priorities

The NY Times has a review today of the Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill, a new restaurant gracing the shores of Lake Merritt, a body of water sitting squarely in the midst of my fair city.

The restaurant sounds okay, not great; the gorgeous surroundings are evidently intended to make up for an inconsistent menu.

What caught my eye, though, was the price tag on the building it's in: the city laid out the greater part of $22 million to refurbish the century-old lakeside pumping station now inhabited by the restaurant.

God help me. This is a badly mismanaged city with a celebrated absentee mayor and a terrible school system that was in state receivership for some years. $22 million would make a real impact on the schools, in terms of physical plant improvements or, say, arts education.

Why, oh, why, can't we have a decent decision-making process here?


Anonymous said...

150 new jobs...
new tax revenue...
Bringing Lake Merritt back to it's former beauty.
Oakland restaurants getting reviewed in NY.

Sounds like a good start to a new Oakland.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Wish I could edit that comment to correct it's to its. That said, $22 million, and mostly low-paying restaurant jobs.

Anonymous said...

Restaurant should get about $4 million revenue per year. Assuming the margin is 20% (which is very generous), that means a $3.2 million of revenue that go to jobs and taxes. The restaurant's operator put in $2 million, so the investment will be recouped in 6 years.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Your understanding of "recoup" is different from mine. Money that goes into the general economy isn't directly recouped by the City. The City will recoup what's paid directly to the City as rent.