What Will It Take To Restore The Oakland Police Department?

As we explained last month, all four City Council members elected in the most recent election have adopted the MOBN! position that rebuilding the City’s police department is the City’s highest priority.  Last month, City Council Members Larry Reid and Libby Schaaf proposed three public safety measures, including one that Council confirm a police academy conditionally budgeted for June, 2013.

MOBN! supports all three measures, including the academy confirmation, the use of Alameda County Sherriff’s deputies and the hiring of civilian technicians.  But even if these proposals are adopted, the City’s current course will not restore the department in the near future.  Here’s why:


Oakland Project Ceasefire Update

Members of the MOBN! board recently met with Oakland’s Project Ceasefire team for a progress update. While the project is moving slowly, it is moving in the right direction.  We are pleased with the team’s care, thought and implementation, with one reservation:  the project still needs a full-time manager to devote his or her full attention to this important project.  Team members also see this need.  At the City Council Public Safety Committee meeting on Tuesday, December 11 at 5:30, they will be asking for an allocation of Measure Y reserve funds for a full-time manager.   MOBN! will be attending the meeting to urge that the committee recommend, and Council ultimately approve, the dedicated management everyone in the Cease Fire process agrees is essential.  We’ve also expressed our views in this letter to the Committee.

MOBN! members know that we and other community groups have been advocating for an effective Ceasefire program for a number of years now.  The evidence from across the country is that when implemented carefully and properly, Cease Fire is one of the few strategies proven to reduce homicides in violent cities.  Point 4 of the MOBN! Public Safety Plan provides:

The City must fully implement long-term Cease Fire programs for gun violence reduction and open-air drug market elimination, based on the Cincinnati /Boston model. The City must regularly report to the citizens on the extent to which these programs are reducing gun violence and eliminating open-air drug markets.

More information is available here, here, here and here.  Scott Johnson’s recent post on the City’s current efforts is available at Oakland Effect here.


Oakland and Plaintiffs Settle Receivership Issue in Riders Case

Oaklanders who follow MOBN!’s posts know that Federal Judge Thelton Henderson  had a hearing scheduled  next week on the question of whether the Oakland Police Department should be placed in receivership.  Yesterday the plaintiffs and the city jointly filed a proposed settlement of the plaintiffs’ receivership motion.   The proposed settlement is available here.

More information about the case of Delphine Allen et al. v. City of Oakland (“the Riders Case”) and the Consent Judgment (the “negotiated settlement agreement,” or “NSA”) are available herehere, here and  here.  Discussions about what the settlement means for Oakland, who won and who lost, will occur in the days to come.  But today, we will briefly summarize what the parties agreed to and what the Court will order if Judge Henderson agrees with them.




Make Oakland Better Now! congratulates our elected or re-elected City Council members Dan Kalb (D1), Lynette Gibson McElhaney (D3), Noel Gallo (D5), Larry Reid (D7) and Rebecca Kaplan (At Large).  Running for office is very hard, and we recognize that no one would do it who didn’t sincerely  want the best for our City. In that spirit,  we wish our newly elected and reelected officials the greatest success in making Oakland the city we all want it to be.

Now that the election is over, it’s time for even harder work to begin. The question we hear from all parts of  Oakland is this: what do these election results mean?  Most people seem to think we will see an increase in civility among council members, and that’s a good thing.  But it will take far more than increased civility to make the changes Oakland needs.  City leaders need to do something they haven’t done in many years:  they must align their actions with their oft-stated beliefs in public safety, budgetary responsibility and government transparency.




The MOBN! Board endorses Ignacio De La Fuente for the Oakland City Council At-Large. We strongly encourage you to vote for Ignacio as your first choice for City Council At-Large in November.  After careful consideration of all candidates, we based our endorsement upon the following points.

First, for several years Ignacio has shared our view that public safety must be a top priority for Oakland. But more than just talking about public safety, Ignacio has been willing to support and champion a variety of measures to public safety and attempt to reduce violent crime in the city. While he has not always had the support of other soon-to-be retiring members of the council, his leadership on this issue has been instructive of what he might accomplish, given the more influential post that comes with the At-Large seat.



Make Oakland Better Now! is proud and pleased to endorse Lynette McElhaney for City Council District 3.  We urge Oaklanders to join us in working for Lynette and contributing to the success of her campaign.  In reviewing her responses to our questionnaire and observing her presentations at candidate forums, we were impressed by:

  • Her commitment to and understanding of public safety strategies that work.  Nearly all city council candidates express a commitment to Cease Fire, a long-time MOBN! priority.  But as a founding member of the Richmond Ceasefire / Lifelines to Healing strategy Work Group, Lynette has been an integral part of Cease Fire in Richmond, which has experienced a significant reduction in violent crime.  She clearly understands the importance of real, Boston / Cincinnati Cease Fire programs.
  • In a district where it can be hard to advocate for more police, she makes it clear that a fully restored police force must be an essential element of Oakland’s public safety plan.  Lynette is in full agreement with MOBN!’s public safety plan, including agreement that restoring the Oakland Police Department to 900 sworn officers must be our highest priority.
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Make Oakland Better Now! Questions All City Council Candidates

Oakland has 25 candidates running for city council in this November’s election. Seventeen are competing for  open seats in District 1, 3 and 5, two are challenging the incumbent in District 7 and four are challenging the incumbent at large. (If you aren’t sure which district you live in or who your council member is you can find out here.)

One of MOBN!’s missions has always been to empower Oakland voters, and nothing is more powerful than knowledge. So with the help of many MOBN! members and blog readers, we’ve developed a candidate questionnaire designed to gauge city council candidates’ views on some of the critical issues facing our city. We’ve asked the candidates to respond by September 12, and will post the answers as quickly as we can. Once posted, the MOBN! board will ask for your thoughts as it considers endorsements.

The questions we are asking appear right after the jump.