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:
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.
Make Oakland Better Now! will be present at the next Oakland City Council Meeting on June 13th at 6:30pm to urge the City Council to adopt the Mayor’s proposed budget with Council President Kernighan’s proposed changes. This post is the second in a series to look at the budget amendments proposed by Council President Kernighan and those proposed by Council Members Brooks, Reid and Gallo. More information can be found in the Oakland Tribune’s Coverage, here, and Chip Johnson’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle, here (paywall). We encourage all Oaklanders to join us at council in urging your representatives to adopt a budget reflecting the city’s need for public safety and fiscal responsibility.
Make Oakland Better Now! was set to publish a post today that costed out the City Council President’s proposed budget amendments (we’ve been calling the proposal “APB1”) and the proposed amendments to the budget by Council Members Brooks, Reid and Gallo (“APB2”). We had reached the conclusion that APB2 would result in a city budget out of balance by millions of dollars.
On June 13, Make Oakland Better Now! will be present at the Oakland City Council Meeting at 6:30 p.m., urging the City Council to adopt the Mayor’s proposed budget with Council President Kernighan’s proposed changes. This post is the first in a series to look at the budget amendments proposed by Council President Kernighan and those proposed by Council Members Brooks, Reid, and Gallo. More information can be found in the Oakland Tribune’s Coverage, here, and Chip Johnson’s column in the San Francisco Chronicle, here (paywall). We encourage all Oaklanders to join us at council in urging your representatives to adopt a budget reflecting the city’s need for public safety and fiscal responsibility.
Oaklanders who follow these things know what’s happening with the city budget. As our City Council gets ready to pass a new two-year budget between now and July 1, we have the following:
On Sunday, April 28, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church, 114 Montecito, Make Oakland Better Now! will sponsor a public forum, “Can Oakland Afford to Be Safe?,” featuring Chief of Police Howard Jordan, City Administrator Deanna Santana and key staff members to discuss the connection between Oakland’s budget challenges and the need to rebuild the Oakland Police Department. All concerned Oaklanders are urged to attend. Meanwhile, we are beginning our analysis of the mayor’s proposed policy budget and its impact on public safety.
Make Oakland Better Now! is in the process of analyzing the mayor’s proposed policy budget that was released on Wednesday. One element struck us immediately. While this is the first proposed budget to include police academies in years, we question whether those academies will result in the sworn officer increases the mayor has announced. We are concerned that because Oakland needs at least 900 officers, if not more, the goal she posted are being moved and not in the right direction.
Oaklanders who follow City Hall know that four public safety proposals are coming before the City Council tonight at its 5:30 meeting, as Council decides whether to:
- Authorize a temporary contract with the Alameda Sheriff’s Department to borrow ten deputies and a sergeant for two days per week;
- Add twenty police service technicians and one crime lab position;
- Remove conditions for holding a police academy in September, 2013 and begin the processes to hold that academy; and
- Amend the city’s public safety consulting contract with Strategic Policy Partnership to allow Robert Wasserman of that agency, together with other consultants, to put in place a short term crime-fighting strategy and a long-term Citywide crime reduction and Community Safety Plan.
Like most cities, Oakland operates on a two-year budget cycle, adopted to cover two fiscal years running from July 1 through June 30 two years later. The current cycle runs through June of 2013, which means we are half way through it.
As is typical, the city is about to start looking at its fiscal performance to date and changes in its projections in order to determine what changes should be made in the second year of the budget. Council will begin considering mid-cycle adjustments on Monday, June 4 at 6:30 p.m. The agenda is here.
The reports containing the City Administrator’s and Mayor’s recommendations are here and here. For the first time in recent memory, there are no recommended layoffs, closures or reductions of city services. While there are budget overruns (the largest is in the OPD — either $8.6 million or $9.6 million), there are also some positive revenue developments.
The Administration’s proposal addresses a number of important issues MOBN! has been stressing for quite some time: increased civilianization of police department functions, increased police academies, and possibly a new approach to NSA compliance. The Administration also indicates it has looked seriously at the Los Angeles Police Department (as MOBN! did here) and hopes to bring in a civilian inspector general, which LAPD has had for more than ten years.
The administration is also recommending implementation of an “unanticipated expenditures fund,” which looks like the first, small step toward a rainy day fund, a practice MOBN! and the City’s Budget Advisory Committee have long advocated.
We have a number of questions about some issues, including the City’s use of one-time sources of income to counter unexpected expenses, the potential shrinkage of its reserve and the reasons for a number of the budget overruns. We have raised these in our letter to Mayor Quan, City Administrator Santana and the City Council, which is available here (full text also available after the jump). We will also plan to present those questions at the meeting Monday night and future meetings considering these changes.
To read the full text of our letter, click “Continue Reading,” below.