Category Archives: Uncategorized

MOBN! Endorses Administration Position on Sharing Crime Data

OPD and other police agencies use CopLink to share data on arrests, incident reports, calls for service, gun casings found at crime scenes, Shot spotter, etc

There is a disagreement between Oakland’s Privacy Advisory Commission (PAC) and the Oakland Administration on the use of a multi-agency crime database.  The decision on the use of the CopLink database will be made at the December 1 City Council meeting and MOBN! will be supporting the Administration.  MOBN! does not lightly discard the advice of the PAC. The following explains why we do so in this case.

PAC’s Concerns About ICE Access

The multi-agency database is CopLink, operated by the company Forensic Logic. Data on arrests, incident reports, calls for service, gun casings found at crime scenes, Shotspotter (a gunshot location detection system), etc is entered into the CopLink database by law enforcement across the country, and then that database can be queried based on the crime evidence from any one agency (e.g. OPD). Querying this database enables police officers to know if there is a connection to a crime in another place. The PAC is concerned that ICE could query the data to determine where a wanted ICE subject is located, which could happen if that subject had been arrested and if ICE had access to the database. But ICE is specifically forbidden access to the CopLink database. The ATF has access to the database, but again it is restricted from sharing that data with ICE. The CopLink database does not contain data from OPD automatic license plate readers, nor from facial recognition, nor from body worn cameras. It is strictly a database of crime data.

The PAC is requesting that Oakland’s use of CopLink be confined to Alameda County, because they believe that outside of that closely held jurisdiction some other law enforcement agency might share the data with ICE; the PAC is saying it’s ok for OPD to see broader data, but for only this limited area to see OPD data. The problem with this is first, if you don’t trust other jurisdictions you should not trust Alameda County either, and second, it renders CopLink useless for other jurisdictions solving multi-jurisdiction crimes.  There are numerous examples of people involved in crimes in Las Vegas, Stockton, Richmond who are also involved in crimes in Oakland.  It is to our benefit for Richmond, Stockton  ,Las Vegas to be able to connect up crimes that happen in Oakland so the perpetrators can be stopped.

Making arrest data easily available to a wide set of law enforcement agencies can certainly raise concerns if it is not done in a way that minimizes the potential for abuse. However, Forensic Logic has put into place robust security to make sure that unauthorized access is not allowed, and ICE is not allowed. MOBN! maintains that the benefit of helping to solve crimes, crimes which in Oakland often are committed by people from other regions, that helping to solve those crimes is worth the need to trust that this security holds.


As we observed in our last blog post, the Task Force members have been appointed.  The members, and their appointments, are as follows:

Anne Marks (District 1 CM Kalb), David Kakishiba (District 2 CM Bas), Antoine Towers (District 3 CM Gibson McElhaney), Brooklyn Williams (District 4 CM Thao), Mariano Contreras (District 5 CM Gallo), Keisha Henderson (District 6 CM Taylor), Reygan Cunningham (District 7 CM Reid), James Burch (At- Large CM Kaplan), Pat Kernighan (Mayor Schaaf), Carol Wyatt (Community Policing Advisory Board), Nikki Dinh (Safety Services Oversight Committee), Ginale Harris (Police Commission), Ivan Garcia (Oakland Youth Advisory Commission), Losaline Moa (Oakland Youth Advisory Commission), Brenda Roberts (Budget Advisory Commission), Gus Newport (Co-Chairs’ Appointee), John Jones III (Co-Chairs’ Appointee).

The “Kickoff Meeting” occurred on the evening of September 16. At that meeting the two sponsoring council people (Loren Taylor and Nikki Fortunato-Bas), the City Administrator Ed Reiskin, the facilitators (David Muhammad, of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform and Anand Subramanian, Managing Director of Policy Link) and all the Taskforce members spoke of the great importance and historical significance of this opportunity to change the way that public safety is approached in Oakland.  Many expressed the personal importance to them as they are raising families in Oakland.  It was stressed that now is the time for change, we can do this and be a model for others in the country.

It was announced that the meetings will be every other Wednesday at 6PM. Details on this meeting, the presentations from the meeting and the meeting schedule can be found here:

Given that the Taskforce has to do its work in time to make recommendations for the June budget, the facilitators recommended that the discussion be tightly focused on the following five questions:

  1. What activities/functions should OPD do less of or no longer do? What should OPD specifically continue to do/where are officers’ time best spent?
  2. What community based services or other government agency programs should be implemented specifically to replace or be an alternative to the reduced or eliminated police services?
  3. What other community services and assets do we want or need that do not necessarily replace a police function, but helps create neighborhood safety, peace, and healing?
  4. What improvements/reforms are needed from OPD?  
  5. What do we want from the County, especially: Behavioral Health Care Services, Public Health Department, Social Services Agency (which includes Child Welfare) Probation, and Sheriff?

During the allocated public comment time MOBN! board member Michael Ubell stated that what also needs to be addressed is how the transition should take place between what is now in place and the newly design system. Facilitator Muhammad said that was an important question that will need to be included.

Policy Link also outlined their community outreach component.  This includes:

  • Partnering with base-building organizations/coalitions
  • Conducting three online town halls
  • Creating an online survey which will be open for 6-8 weeks
  • Promoting to most-impacted residents through traditional/social media, flyers, etc.
  • Ensuring comprehensive youth engagement
  • Receiving public comments at Task Force/City Council meetings


After several years of reduced violent crime in Oakland, 2020 has seen as noticeable increase.  From our recent review of first eight month of weekly crime data reports published by the Oakland Police Department (OPD) murder (“187(a) PC) is up 29% from last year, and 31% over the average of the preceding three years, and assault with a firearm is up 42% from last year and 51% over the three preceding years. Obviously, we have major public safety problems requiring major city activity. Other crime rates are up too, but it is the increase in violent crimes that caught our attention.  The full data is available here.    

Oakland’s City Council, as reported in the recently started Oaklandside, unanimously established a “Reimagining Public Safety Task Force,” whose first stated goal is to “transform public safety by reducing the Oakland Police Department General Purpose Fund (GPF) by 50%.”

The second stated goal is to “significantly increase the proportion of the total GPF budget for departments providing community programs and services to address the root causes of violence and  crime, including: Housing & Community Development; Parks, Recreation and Youth Development; Human Services; Economic & Workforce development; Race &  Equity; Violence Prevention; Workplace & Employment Standards; Library; and Fire.”

The Task Force, co-chaired by councilmembers Bas and Taylor, will comprise seventeen members, with one nominee from each councilmember and the Mayor, one each from the Community Policing Advisory Board, Public Safety Services Oversight Commission, Police Commission and Budget Advisory Commission, two nominees from the Oakland Youth Advisory Commission and two nominees from the City Council designated co-chairs (so council members Bas and Taylor will apparently appoint both as council members and as co-chairs).

The Council’s resolution further provides as follows:

  • That the Task Force’s goal is for Oakland to “rapidly imagine and reconstruct the public safety system in Oakland by developing a recommendation for Council consideration to increase community safety through alternative responses to calls for assistance, and investments in programs that address the root causes of violence and crime (such as health services, housing, jobs, etc.) with a goal of a 50% reduction in the OPD . . . GFP [sic] budget allocation.” (There is no provision concerning the proposed percentage reduction in crime).
  • That it shall be the duty and function of the Task Force to engage in thorough analysis and extensive community and stakeholder engagement, and then recommend to Council policy changes that reduce the OPD budget, reduce race and equity disparities, include alternative health and safety responses, and includes “more efficient community centered public safety responses.”
  • The following backgrounds for persons appointed to the Task Force:
    • Representation from “Impacted Communities,” defined as including formerly incarcerated individuals, victims of violent crime and their family members, immigrant community, community members impacted by police violence and “historically underrepresented populations.”
    • Health/Public Health expertise.
    • City of Oakland labor / union representations.
    • Law Enforcement Operation / Budget Knowledge.

The resolution authorizes the City Administrator, after consultation with the co-Chairs, to enter into a contract with a “community engagement consultant/facilitator” for up to $100,000 without the usual advertising, competitive request for proposal / qualifications or Council approval.   Presently, Council Members Bas and Taylor have proposed as co-facilitators these individuals:  former Alameda County Chief Probation Officer  and current CEO of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (and a leading expert on Operation Ceasefire) David Muhammad;  Anand Subramanian, Managing Director of Policy Link , former practicing law firm litigation attorney and former director of San Francisco’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement; or Policy Link President and CEO Michael McAfee, an army veteran and doctor of Education with a pre-Policy Link experience as senior community planning and development representative in the Chicago Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The plan is also to do the following:

  • Have the City Administrator identify staff to “aggregate and conduct analysis related to 911 calls and assignments; police overtime; resources and staffing levels of the Police Commission, CPRA and OPD sworn and non-sworn); the budget as it relates to OPD and non-law enforcement approaches to public safety; and potential organizational changes;
  • Have the City Administrator also identify staff to provide and make available information and data including the analysis and key documentation around the Negotiated Settlement Agreement, Measure Z, Equity indicators, budget and staffing information; and
  • Have multiple opportunities for public engagement “through various channels” reaching “impacted and underrepresented communities,” valuing and lifting up the lived experience of the community.

All of the Task Force Members have now been reported, and the Task Force’s “kickoff meeting” was scheduled for last night.  In the next twenty-four hours or less, we will be reporting on the Members, and on the kickoff meeting. Like other Oaklanders, we want to do all we can to ensure that this approach is as successful as possible in enhancing public safety in Oakland.  We’ll be watching this closely and reporting as events occur.  And we will be doing far more reporting on our views concerning changes that should be made, changes that should not be made, and the reasons for our views on both.

Under the Magnifying Glass: Inequity and Covid-19 — Tuesday, August 25 at 12:30

Make Oakland Better Now! is pleased to invite you to an important panel presented by the Oakland Rotary #3 on the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Don’t miss this important presentation!

Note that this meeting will occur on a Tuesday of next week and include a live (see the Rotary Club of Oakland’s YouTube channel) 50-minute panel discussion.

COVID-19 is a global crisis, but it’s not affecting everyone equally. This special event will examine how health, economic, and racial inequities are converging during the pandemic, and how we can create better outcomes for individuals, communities, and our nation.


Dr. Mary C. Daly, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Dr. Anthony Iton (MD, JD, PHD), Senior Vice President, Healthy Communities, The California Endowment

Dr. Carmen Rojas, President and CEO, Marguerite Casey Foundation, and Founder, The Workers Lab


Dr. Robert Ogilvie, Oakland Director, SPUR (San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association) and a member of the Make Oakland Better Now! Board.

Care to attend?  As mentioned above, go to the Rotary of Oakland YouTube channel on Tuesday, August 25 at 12:30 p.m.

If you would like to learn more about Oakland Rotary, visit their website,

We’re recruiting interns now through the end of the year for a PAID fellowship. Students, graduates, and those with commensurate experience looking to support social and civic justice policy advocates in Oakland apply now!


(Oakland, CA):
Make Oakland Better Now! is a grass-roots group of voters, volunteers, and policy advocates working together to make Oakland a safer, more prosperous home for everyone. Founded in 2003, we’ve researched, lobbied, and successfully campaigned for a number of new, impactful policies, including the city’s Rainy Day Fund, Measure Z and Operation Ceasefire​We conduct and communicate independent, high-quality research to educate voters on local policy implications and government action.

Areas of focus historically have been:

●  Public Safety

●  Public Works

●  Accountability and Transparency

●  Budgetary Responsibility

In 2018, the following issues were added:

● Homelessness

● Equity and Justice

Nonprofit and nonpartisan, MOBN! ​recently developed a strategic plan in 2019 to raise awarenessabouttheorganization. AdvancingMOBN!’s missionhasbeenagreeduponasthe next logical step in the strategy which the intern will support through various activities, including research topics related to current public safety and racial equity legislation, social media posting, blog writing, corresponding with board members, etc.

Core duties: The intern will work directly with the board President along with other board members. • Assist with a broad set of activities that support policy advancement at the local and state level, such as legislative research, city council meeting attendance, and memo drafting. • Complete research tasks as assigned, such as ​community policing background research; finding, organizing, and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data; and preparing memos, briefs, reports, and presentations. • Other administrative duties as assigned. Skills and Qualifications: We’re looking for an undergraduate or graduate student interested in the intersection of research, public policy, and communications. Commensurate experience will be considered in lieu of a formal degree.

The ideal candidate will possess: • Demonstrated knowledge of or experience working on education research, national reform efforts, policy and advocacy, federal/state policies and processes, or within the social justice or field. • Excellent oral and written communication skills. • Familiarity and experience with qualitative and quantitative research and analysis. • Strong computer skills, including proficiency in MS Office applications and social media platforms and scheduling (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Hootesuite.)

To apply: Please submit a cover letter expressing interest in the position with dates of availability, your resume along with LinkedIn/Handshake profile, contact information e.g., telephone numbers and email addresses, for three references (including at least one academic or professional reference) and and a writing sample that highlights your communications, research or analysis skills.

There is a rolling application deadline for the summer 2020 internship cycle with the first being Friday, July 17, 2020. This is a remote position however, candidates from/with deep knowledge of the Bay Area preferred.

Please apply using this link. The stipend amount for part-time interns up to 20 hours per week is $2,000 maximum per month, based on experience and/or education.

If you have any questions, please email ​​. MOBN! is an equal opportunity employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Budgeting Wisely in a Time of Restraint 5:00 p.m. | Monday, June 1, 2020

The city of Oakland is facing a very difficult budget situation. We believe that the mid cycle budget amendments will be more like the adoption of a whole new budget. Join us in this Digital Discourse with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

Co-presented by SPUR and the League of Women Voters Oakland.

Register here.



Photo: Sergio Ruiz/SPUR


Many months ago, seeking a ballot measure to amend the Oakland City Charter, Council President Rebecca Kaplan began circulating proposed changes to Oakland’s Measure LL (Charter section 604), the Police Commission Charter Revision. President Pro Tem Kalb began making conflicting proposals. Both agreed that the Commission needed to have an Inspector General and independent legal counsel. The Make Oakland Better Now! board has agreed with that since Measure LL went to the voters.

These issues are on the Council’s Special Meeting Agenda for Tuesday, April 21, 1:30 p.m., to be conducted virtually (details in the agenda). The vote then will not be to place them on the ballot, but to begin the required meet and confer process with the Police Officers’ union and possibly others.

President Kaplan’s proposal also seeks to remove the ability of the mayor to appoint (with Council approval) any of the members of the police Commission. As written and as approved by the voters, four members of the Commission and all but one alternate are appointed by the Selection Panel, while three members and the remaining alternate are appointed by the Mayor, subject to Council approval. President Kaplan seeks to have all the appointments removed from the mayor and transferred to the Selection Panel.

While we support the two changes concerning Inspector General and legal representation, we believe the other primary proposal is unnecessarily politically divisive, and may well make it harder to succeed in November. So today, we have written the following letter to council:

President Rebecca Kaplan and Members of the Oakland City Council. Via E-mail

Re: Proposed Amendments to Charter Section 604 Concerning Police Commission

Dear President Kaplan and City Council Members:

Make Oakland Better Now! urges your consideration of the following issues concerning some of the April 17, 2020 proposed revisions to the section of the City Charter concerning the Police Commission:

Section 604(a) Creation and Role

We strongly support the provision adding the Office of Inspector General. We propose revising the proposed addition of subsection 5 as follows:

    1. The City Administration may not exercise any managerial authority over Commissioners or their designated staff, and may not initiate an investigation for the purpose of removing a Commissioner. However, it may request an investigation of a Commissioner through the City Ethics Commission or another non-City Administration office with City responsibility for investigating conduct.

Section 604(b) Powers and Duties

We support subsection 12, permitting the Commission to directly retain attorneys to provide the Commission with legal service.

Section 604(c) Appointment, Terms, Vacancy and Removal

We strongly agree with Councilmember Kalb that section (c)(2) should not be eliminated. The question here is whether or not the Mayor retains the authority to appoint two Commission members and one alternate, with approval by the Council. This was strongly debated when the terms of Measure LL were being considered by the Council before the election, and the decision then was the right one. While the majority of Commission members are selected by the Selection Panel, the Mayor and Council should have some authority for a small number of these important appointments. This was agreed to by the voters. Nothing has gone wrong. Suggesting the change for no real reason will simply select a form of political division that should not be involved in this significant matter. Directly related to this, we agree the proposed revisions to what was subsection (c)(3) and is identified as (c)(2) in President Kaplan’s proposed revision, as well as what; was subsection (c)(3)(c) and is identified in the same proposed revision as (c)(2)(c) are not appropriate.

We also agree with President Kaplan’s proposals for subsection (c)(1) concerning the role of alternate commission members as committee members, and Council’s authority to require three commissioners to have certain areas of expertise. And with respect to the role of alternate commissioners, Subsection (g)(3)’s third sentence, partially proposed for amendment by President Kaplan, should provide as follows: “The Chair of the Commission shall appoint a Discipline Committee comprised of three Commissioners, who may be either regular or alternate members.”

We also agree with Council Member Kalb that the proposal to have subsections c(2)(a)(i) prohibit current Department employees from Selection Panel eligibility should not be included.


The Make Oakland Better Now! Board

Note to Oaklanders: We will probably be attending the Tuesday meeting by Zoom or telephone, both to encourage amendments concerning inspector general and counsel, and to stress the importance of eliminating divisive amendments to ensure the significant ones are passed.


Many Oaklanders have already heard about this, but to make sure you all know:  In this era of the Covid-19 virus pandemic, City Council and Council committee meetings will be rare but not non-existent (there were few in the last days of March, and just one meeting of any kind is presently set in April, a Council meeting on April 7).  And for the time being, pursuant to Governor Newsom’s order, meetings will be telephonic.  In that regard, Council held an emergency meeting on Friday, March 27, and enacted an emergency measure providing tenant and other protections.

Notice of the meeting to consider the measure was so brief MOBN! had no time to schedule telephonic appearances and express views.  But it is certainly critical for Oaklanders to know about it.  And among the key elements of the ordinance, passed on one reading as an emergency ordinance, are the following:

  • The Oakland City Administrator issued a proclamation of Local Emergency which was ratified by the Oakland City Council, and is presently deemed to extend to May 31.
  • Except when a tenant poses an imminent threat to the health or safety of other occupants of the property, and such threat is stated in the notice of termination as the grounds for the eviction, it shall be an absolute defense to any unlawful detainer action . . . that the notice was served or expired, or that the complaint was filed or served, during the Local Emergency.
  • Any notice of rent increase in excess of the CPI Rent Adjustment, as defined in Oakland Municipal Code Section 8.22.020, shall be void and unenforceable if the notice is served or has an effective date during the Local Emergency, unless required to provide a fair return. Any notice of rent increase served during the Local Emergency shall include the following statement in bold underlined 12-point font: “During the Local Emergency declared by the City of Oakland in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, your rent may not be increased in excess of the CPI Rent Adjustment (3.5% until June 30, 2020), unless required for the landlord to obtain a fair return. You may contact the Rent Adjustment Program at (510) 238–3721 for additional information and referrals.”
  • Notwithstanding any lease provision to the contrary, for residential tenancies, no late fees may be imposed for rent that became due during the Local Emergency if the rent was late for reasons resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes, but is not limited to (1) the tenant was sick or incapacitated due to COVID-19, or was complying with a recommendation from a governmental agency to self-quarantine, (2) the tenant suffered a substantial reduction in household income because of a loss of employment or a reduction in hours, or because they were unable to work because they were caring for their child(ren) who were out of school or a household or family member who was sick with COVID-19, or because they were complying with a recommendation from a government agency to self-quarantine, and (3) the tenant incurred substantial out-of-pocket medical expenses caused by COVID-19.  Any notice demanding late fees for rent that became due during the Local Emergency shall include the following statement in bold underlined 12-point font:  “You are not required to pay late fees for rent that became due during the Local Emergency declared by the City of Oakland in response to the COVID-19 pandemic if the rent was late for reasons related to the pandemic. You may contact the Rent Adjustment Program at (510) 238–3721 for additional information and referrals.”
  • In any action for unlawful detainer of a commercial unit based on non-payment of rent, it shall be an absolute defense if the failure to pay rent during the local emergency was the result of a substantial decrease in income (including but not limited to a decrease caused by a reduction in hours or consumer demand) and the decrease in income was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented. This section shall only apply to small businesses as defined by Government Code Section 14837(d)(1)(A) and to nonprofit organizations. Any notice to a commercial tenant demanding rent shall include the following statement in bold underlined 12-point font:  “If you are a small business as defined by Government Code 14837(d)(1)(a) or a non-profit organization, you may not be evicted for failure to pay rent during the if the failure was due to a substantial decrease in income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, or by any local, state, or federal government response to COVID-19, and is documented. This does not relieve you of the obligation to pay back rent in the future.”  This section shall remain in effect until May 31, 2020, unless extended. Nothing in this section shall relieve the tenant of liability for the unpaid rent.
  • No Residential Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent that Became Due During the Local Emergency. In any action for unlawful detainer filed under Oakland Municipal Code 8.22.360.A.1, it shall be a defense that the unpaid rent became due during the Local Emergency and was unpaid because of a substantial reduction in household income or substantial increase in expenses resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic.  This includes, but is not limited to, where, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the tenant suffered a loss of employment or a reduction in hours, or was unable to work because their children were out of school, or was unable to work because they were sick with COVID-19 or caring for a household or family member who was sick with COVID-19, or they were complying with a recommendation from a government agency to self-quarantine, or they incurred substantial out of pocket medical expenses due to COVID-19.  Any notice served on a residential tenant demanding rent that became due during the Local Emergency shall include the following statement in bold underlined 12- point type: “You may not be evicted for rent that became due during the Local Emergency if the rent was unpaid because of a substantial reduction in household income or a substantial increase in expenses related to the Coronavirus pandemic. This does not relieve you of the obligation to pay back rent in the future.  You may contact the Rent Adjustment Program at (510) 238–3721 for additional information and referrals.”   Nothing in this subsection shall relieve the tenant of liability for the unpaid rent.


Do You Feel Safe In Oakland? Join a discussion on February 27



Join us for an in depth discussion about public safety and strategies for violence prevention in Oakland as they relate to public health, implicit bias and community/police relations.

  • Director of Violence Prevention Guillermo Cespedes
  • Stanford Professor Jennifer Eberhardt
  • Community Activist Reverend Damita Davis Howard

Doors 6:00pm. Program at 6:30pm. Free & open to public.

Tickets at:


The Fair Chance Housing Ordinance Goes Before Council Tonight

At tonight’s meeting, starting at 5:00 p.m., City Council will be considering the Fair Chance Housing Ordinance, supported last week unanimously at a Special Community and Economic Development Committee meeting, and on the Consent Calendar for tonight’s agenda. Make Oakland Better Now! long ago agreed to support this measure, modeled after the Fair Chance Act, which went into effect on January 1, 2018, a California law that generally prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking about a conviction history before making an offer.

This type of law, also known as a “Ban the Box” law, would be applied to housing, and remove some barriers for formerly incarcerated individuals to access housing.

Here, we share an in-depth interview published on the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative website from May 2019 with one of the leaders, Make Oakland Better Now! Committee of 50 member John Jones III.