City Grants Subsidize $245,000-a-Year
Social Program Executive
The City of Oakland gives "anti-violence" grants to a social program that pays its chief $245,000 a year.
Following corporate style, Olis Simmons calls herself the President and Chief Executive Officer of Youth UpRising. With an additional $5,000 for expenses, her pay surpassed the quarter-million dollar mark. The amounts are reported in the agency's nonprofit tax statement for the year ended June 30, 2011.
City of Oakland Measure Y grants announced in July guarantee Youth UpRising $340,000 a year for the next three years, regardless of whether Simmons demonstrates that her operation delivered verified reduction of violence at a reasonable cost. Youth UpRising has never offered substantial evidence of results.
Simmons spun Youth UpRising out of the social services agency of Alameda County, which like the City of Oakland supports the private "nonprofit" with grants. Its total income for the fiscal year was $3.6 million. The independent agency arrangement gives Simmons more financial leeway with less oversight. Unlike a government department, for example, Youth UpRising banks a surplus for later use whenever Simmons wants, instead of having to justify and operate on a budget every year.
Youth UpRising is notorious for appointing gutter rappers to be "career counselor" role models for youth at the agency facility, which sits adjacent to Castlemont High School. Simmons brings criminals on board with ease. Rapper Too Short caused an uproar six months ago when he publicly advised boys entering puberty to commit sexual assault, giving graphic instructions on how to violate a girl.
The agency, although lacking in verifiable reduction of violence on the streets of east Oakland, has a sustaining relationship with Jean Quan. When she ran for mayor, her campaign used the Youth UpRising building. The alliance between Simmons and Quan goes back years prior to the 2010 mayoral election. Quan was the principal advocate of the Measure Y tax measure in 2004, which she sold with the lie that it would guarantee 802 police officers. That did not happen, but the City has granted Simmons millions of dollars from the Measure Y fund.
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Quan gets material aid and "volunteer" staff time for her tax measures and other ballot campaigns. Simmons rakes in easy grants from Measure Y taxes and other City funds to subsidize her executive pay.
In the previous fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, Simmons paid herself $220,000. Her raise to $245,000 – an 11 percent increase – while a deep recession grinds on is an ironic recognition of the fact that public safety in Oakland became even more tenuous. Oakland is now the fourth most crime-ridden city in the country.
From Form 990 for year ended June 30, 2011
– Aug. 5, 2012
This is the belt tightening Oakland engages in; do City officials wonder why voters reject tax increases?
– Jeff Lipsett