After last week’s tragic shooting of three-year-old Carlos Nava, Oakland Chief of Police Anthony Batts told reporters “Maybe the loss of young Carlos will wake people up.” As reported in the Bay Citizen:
“Monday, August 8 at 1:12 p.m. should be the rallying cry for this city to turn itself around,” Batts said at the news conference. “Enough with excuses, enough with not doing the right thing, enough with not addressing injunctions, not wanting to do curfews, enough with not taking hard stances,” he said. “Because enough life has been lost.”
In a newsletter released on Tuesday, Council Members de la Fuente and Reid sent a similar message:
“To the silent majority in this city, the one that supports tougher law enforcement efforts in this city, IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO SPEAK UP. Whether these violent crimes are happening in your neighborhood or not, this is OUR city and we must unite and demand change.”
We have published the Council Members’ entire newsletter here.
Over the past two years, we have watched the City of Oakland not only lay off 80 police officers, but fail to take any measures to stem the rising tide of officer attrition; soon, we may well have fewer than 600 police officers. We have watched a small but vocal group openly opposed to increased policing bully the City Council as it considered gang injunctions. As a result, Council all but eliminated those injunctions. We have seen reasonable and measured youth curfew measures die in committee. We have watched the City Council vote to ground the police helicopter to save a small amount of money. We have watched and waited in vain for the City to adopt a comprehensive plan to reduce the violent crime that plagues our city.
What will it take for our City to stop the violence?
Attorney General Eric Holder and many other experts say the same thing our Police Chief says: an effective crime reduction plan requires prevention, intervention and suppression. When will our city move forward with an aggressive plan recognizing all three elements?
We know most people don’t have time to get involved. We know most Oaklanders have never sent a letter or an e-mail to anyone in City government before. Understandably, many Oaklanders find this all too depressing and would rather not think about it.
But we ask you this: if not now, when? We are on a pace to have 120 murders in Oakland this year. We need to tell the Mayor and the City Council this is intolerable.
We urge you to write your City Council representative, Mayor Quan, and Council Member At Large Kaplan and tell them you agree with Chief Batts and Council Members Reid and de la Fuente: No more excuses. The City must fight crime with gang injunctions, curfews, the police helicopter, and every other lawful, Constitutional force multiplier at its disposal.
At the end of this post, you will find the e-mail addresses for Mayor Quan and City Council Members. Please read the newsletter from Council members Reid and de la Fuente, then write your Council Member, Mayor Quan and Council Member Kaplan today. Tell them what you think, and tell them they must take every available step to end the epidemic of shootings.
Mayor Jean Quan
Council District 1 – Jane Brunner
Council District 2 – Patricia Kernighan
Council District 3 – Nancy Nadel
Council District 4 – Libby Schaaf
Council District 5 – Ignacio De La Fuente
Council District 6 – Desley Brooks
Council District 7 – Larry Reid (Council President)
Councilmember At Large – Rebecca Kaplan