MOBN! SUPPORTS THE PROPOSED PUBLIC SAFETY MEASURE – IF THE CITY GUARANTEES A THRESHOLD NUMBER OF OFFICERS
Tuesday night, Oakland’s City Council has a very big agenda (and will be holding a very long meeting). But the most critical item on that agenda is a resolution to place a public safety and services ballot on this November’s election, to take effect in January when Measure Y expires.
As most readers of Oaktalk know, Measure Y was passed ten years ago, and provides for a parcel tax and parking tax that provide $22 million for “problem solving officers,” violence prevention programs and fire funding. We could provide a litany of issues and problems with Measure Y, but will save this for another day. Our questions have been (1) what would happen without the $22 million?, (2) what would the voters be willing to do?, and (3) what politically acceptable solutions were there to solve the biggest problems with Measure Y.
Tonight at 6:00 p.m., the Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee will meet for the second time on the subject of “Public Safety Initiatives Throughout the City.” Staff reports are here and here. MOBN! has long advocated for a comprehensive public safety plan, with coordination of all of the city’s safety efforts, specific goals and accountability. We had hoped that this is what we would get from Strategic Policy Partners (Wasserman and Bratton). Instead, we got bits and pieces, and a long memo urging more community involvement.
Despite a slight reduction in violent crime in the last sixteen months, the city has much yet to do. In this letter to the Public Safety Committee, we set out our view of what a plan would look like, and what some of the key components should be.
Make Oakland Better Now! has started a 10 part series on strategies for making Oakland better, and we will be continuing with that soon. But others have good ideas as well, and we want to share some. The ideas in this guest post are those of Steve Spiker. A self-described urbanist, technologist, photographer and husband and father, almost new home owner, he is the Research Director for Urban Strategies. His blog, where this post first appeared, is here.
Oakland is once again talking about data and facts concerning crime, causes and policing practices, except we’re not really. We’re talking about an incredibly thin slice of a big reality, a thin slice that’s not particularly helpful, revealing nor empowering. And this is how we always do it.
Chip Johnson is raising the flag on our lack of a broad discussion about the complexity of policing practices and the involvement of African-Americans in the majority of serious crimes in our city, and on that I say he’s dead right, these are hard conversations and we’ve not really had them openly. The problem is, the data we’re given as the public (and our decision makers have about the same) is not sufficient to plan with, make decisions from nor understand much at all. Once again we’re given a limited set of summary tables that present just tiny nuances of reality and that do not allow for any actual analyses by the public nor by policy makers. And if you believe that internal staff get richer analysis and research to work with you’re largely wrong.
As a result of the very hard work of one of MOBN!’s board members, we are now able to offer an updated video of the April 3 debate featuring nine mayoral candidates. The video and audio are now in sync, and just about all of the missing audio has been restored.
Make Oakland Better Now! and MGO are expecting more than 200 people at the mayoral candidate public safety debate on Thursday, April 3, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at Temple Sinai. See the original announcement here, and RSVP here. We have notified all of the participating candidates of the protocol and ground rules, and here is what we have told them:
Dear Mayoral Candidates:
Thanks to all of you for agreeing to participate in the MGO / MOBN! Mayoral Candidate Public Safety Debate, which as we have advised, will take place on Thursday, April 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Temple Sinai. We look forward to the contributions each of you make toward the public dialog about what it takes to make Oakland safer.
Our debate committee, journalist panelists and moderator have met, and agreed on the following protocol and ground rules:
Make Oakland Better Now! is pleased to join the Oakland Police Foundation and Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce in co-sponsoring tomorrow’s Neighborhood Champions Awards Event. Come join us as we will celebrate “Community Policing Partnerships That Work” by honoring the police officers, district attorneys, outreach workers, citizens, and the faith-based community who actively contributed to East Oakland’s 28% reduction in violent crime.
Date: Saturday, March 8, 2014
Time: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Place: Acts Full Gospel Church, 1034 66th Avenue, Oakland
Last week, Oaklanders who live in the hills received their mail-in ballots for Measure A. This measure, which creates and funds the Oakland Wildlife Prevention District, replaces the expiring Wildfire Prevention Assessment District. For the past ten years, the WPAD has successfully provided funding for prudent fire-reduction measures in the hills-based wild lands interface. The previous district has been supported by a parcel tax of $65, which expires at the end of this year. With the new district, this tax will increase by $13… While we are critical of many things Oakland’s city government does, MOBN! supports this initiative.
We are concerned that the campaign against Measure A is based on half-truths, innuendo and irrelevancies. We believe that when voters within the district know the facts, they will join us in voting to maintain the effective public safety efforts previously supported by the Assessment District, and now supported by the WPD.
Make Oakland Better Now! believes that the Oakland should regularly conduct scientifically valid polls of its citizens to learn what Oaklanders feel about how the police department is doing, and how the city’s budget process is meeting Oaklanders’ needs.
Valid polls typically cost about $25,000, and we believe the money would be well-spent. We will continue to urge Oakland to conduct this type of survey. But until it does, Oaklanders should take participate in two non-scientific surveys that will allow them to provide their views on the Oakland Police Department and the city’s budget process. Make Oakland Better Now! urges all Oaklanders to take the 15 minutes it will take to respond to both of these surveys:
Tonight, beginning sometime after 6:30pm, the Oakland City Council is expected to adopt the fiscal year 2013-2015 budget (item #9). The importance of the budget can hardly be understated: this document will control the City’s expenditures over the next two years. The budget is where the Council is called upon to put its money where its mouth is; more than any other document, it reflects the values and priorities of our elected leadership.
In April the Mayor submitted her budget to the City Council, which proposes $487 million in appropriations over two years. You can find MOBN!’s discussion of the Mayor’s budget here, here, and here.