Tag Archives: Libby Schaaf

Budget Bits Returns: Shaping Oakland’s 2017-2019 Budget

Oakland Budget

Oakland 2017-2019 Budget Preparation Begins

For many years and several budget cycles, Make Oakland Better Now! has provided Oakland residents with tools to help understand the city budget. We’re proud to dive into the numbers again this year, as Oakland’s Mayor, City Administrator, and City Council move toward adoption of the 2017-2019 budget. Continue reading

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New Year, New Police Chief

Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick

After 7 months and a nationwide search,  Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that Anne Kirkpatrick will be the new Chief of Oakland Police Department. (Read coverage from the East Bay Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and East Bay Express.)

“I think it’s the greatest opportunity in American policing today,” Kirkpatrick said at a press conference. (Watch full video of the event on KTVU or East Bay Times.) Kirkpatrick plans to start in late February.

Kirkpatrick is the former chief of Ellensberg, Federal Way and Spokane, Washington,  having served as chief for five years or more in each (the average tenure for a chief in a major American city is less than 3 years). She most recently worked for the Chicago Police Department, where she was hired in June to oversee police reform efforts. She will also be OPD’s first female chief, although she downplayed that, observing that the qualities of character needed to make a good chief (e.g., integrity, character, decisiveness, etc) are all gender neutral.

Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick

The recruitment process began last summer and involved dozens of input sessions and surveys. Results showed that the community was looking for a candidate with integrity and a strong record of crime reduction, as well a someone who could “lead cultural change.” (Read the full results of Chief of Police Community Survey.)

Kirkpatrick has already promised to be this kind of leader and said she would listen to Oakland’s needs. During the press conference, she emphasized the importance of moving forward and vowed the OPD would continually improve. OPD would learn from recent scandal, she said, and would not “retreat” from NSA compliance.

“Reform is where we have policies, procedures, and we direct behavior. I am more interested in transformation. That’s the change in thinking, that’s the cultural change.”

Among other things, Chief Kirkpatrick stated that early on, she would be meeting with Robert Warshaw, the Court-appointed monitor, to reach agreement on exactly what will constitute compliance with the remaining tasks. Make Oakland Better Now! believes that after years of the monitor’s invoking compliance requirements that are nowhere to be found in the NSA, effectively moving the goal posts, this kind of negotiation will be critical.

Chief Kirkpatrick will be starting on February 27. At her press conference and before, she stated that she will devote much energy to reaching out to all aspects of the community and learning as much as she can about Oakland. She noted that ever since leaving her first police job in Tennessee, she has been an outsider, she has always been successful, and will strive to get Oaklanders to be so happy with her performance that they urgently want her to stay. And as part of her work to reach out, she will be participating in ridealongs with officers throughout the city.

The news of Chief Kirpatrick’s appointment comes less than 24 hours after Mayor Schaaf announced that starting January 9, Venus D. Johnson will become Director of Public Safety, an important position that will lead the effort to “break cycles of violence in Oakland through effective crime prevention coupled with smart and principled policing.”

It’s been a long wait. The new Director of Public Safety and Police Chief come at a crucial time in Oakland’s fight against violent crime. 2016, versus previous years, saw almost no change in violent crime, with murders down just 4%, homicides and injury shooting down only 5%.

The people of Oakland deserve much better. But we are hopeful. Make Oakland Better Now is ready to work, to do everything we can to support Police Chief Kirkpatrick and Director of Public Safety Johnson, two respected and capable leaders. It’s a new year, and the city’s taken a important first step in making our city safer in 2017.

Police Commission Measure: Exactly What Did the Council Just Do?

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Last month, the City Council passed a resolution putting a police commission measure on this November’s ballot. (Read recent coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Express, and East Bay Times.)

The new commission will differ in a number of important ways from the existing Citizens’ Police Review Board. It will possess subpoena power. The charter provides for mandatory staffing of one investigator for every 100 officers. By a 5-2 vote, it can fire the Police Chief for cause (with “cause” to be defined by enabling legislation). It nominates future chiefs, and the Mayor chooses from the nominated candidates. And it has policy-setting powers to “accept or reject” OPD policies related to use of force, profiling, and First Amendment assemblies. It’s already been called one of the strongest police commissions in the nation.

Like most individuals and organizations involved in this debate, we believe this measure is a terrific step forward, and we will support it. But there’s still much work to be done.

Continue reading

Oakland’s Police Commission: Where We Stand

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Oakland City Council will be considering a ballot measure establishing a police commission, civilian inspector general, and Community Police Review Agency at its meeting on Tuesday, July 19 at 5pm.

We posted about this measure on our blog when it was going to the Public Safety Committee last month. (There’s also been plenty of local news coverage from San Francisco Chronicle, East Bay Times, and East Bay Express.)

We’ve reviewed the Police Commission Charter Amendment in full, the most recent revision, and a red-lined revision from the Alameda County Labor Council. Exactly what will go to Council for a vote remains unclear, but here is what we know so far: Continue reading

The Mayor’s Safe Oakland Series Explores “Fair and Just Policing”

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Mayor Libby Schaff’s Safe Oakland series has explored tough topics such as community policing and trust-building, and the presentations often address how the city and police department are collaborating with policymakers, academics, and community activists to improve public safety.

The most recent event in the series, “Fair and Just Policing” with Yale Law professor Tracey Meares, continued this important dialogue. Meares, who served on President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, shared insights from recent studies on criminal justice and looked at the intersection between social psychology and law. Continue reading

Positive Change for Ceasefire in Oakland

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Just about everyone who reads OakTalk, gets Make Oakland Better Now!’s e-mails, or follows us on Facebook knows that we are hosting an Operation Ceasefire Summit tomorrow, Saturday, January 9 at 2:00 p.m., at the Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church (3434 Lakeshore Avenue).

But what just about nobody knows – and we didn’t learn until recently – is that there was a major change in how Operation Ceasefire is run. Last October, with no publicity at all, Mayor Libby Schaaf issued an “Executive Directive” bringing a much higher level of accountability to Ceasefire management.

We’ve made the entire directive available here, and we’ll be asking members of the Ceasefire team about it at the summit.  But here are some of the elements we really like:

• OPD is to establish a Ceasefire Management Team (“CMT’) consisting of Captains, Lieutenants, and the Ceasefire Coordinator (Reygan Harmon, who will be on our panel), reporting to the Chief.

The CMT is to meet weekly with the Chief, and sometimes other OPD management and representatives of the Mayor’s office to review plans and action steps. And OPD is to prioritize full staffing of units under the direction of the CMT, including Crime Reduction Teams (“CRT’s”.)

• Harmon, who has until now reported to the Chief, will be jointly detailed to the Chief and the Mayor’s office, and will become both Ceasefire project director and interim public safety policy director for violence reduction. This is important, because it keeps the Mayor’s office directly involved in Ceasefire management, making her directly responsible for the strategy’s success.

• The Human Services Department, which is responsible for much of the services element of Ceasefire, is directed to report to the Mayor by the end of 2015 on the following:

– Developing a citywide outreach and support program that reduces the risk of violence consistent with Measure Z guidelines.

– The continued development of existing shooting reviews and Case Conferences, as well as the adoption and ongoing development of Safety Plans.

– Advising on how Measure Z case managers, Leadership Advisory Council, and related elements from multiple agencies will be integrated into a cohesive program under the Ceasefire initiative.

• HSD is also directed to prioritize case management capacity by taking measures such as prioritizing cases based on risk of violence, accelerating the hiring of new case managers, and working with existing contractors to create additional slots.

• OPD is directed to have a dedicated Ceasefire crime analyst in place by April 1, 2016.

• A problem analysis focused on robbery is to be in place by July 1, 2016.

• A contract for rigorous academic evaluation of Ceasefire (to be funded under Measure Z) is to be in place by May 1, 2016.

• And, “Recognizing that only in those cities in which Ceasefire is institutionalized are reductions sustained over time – OPD and HSD shall work with the Ceasefire Coordinator and CPSC [California Partnership for Safe Communities, whose Stewart Wakeling will be on our panel] to develop comprehensive and detailed plans regarding Ceasefire institutionalization and sustainability by September 1, 2016.”

As we said, we like this Executive Directive, particularly its focus on deadlines and accountability for all the players in this important collaborative community safety effort. And since we know that Ceasefire has failed in other cities where it has been abandoned after being treated as the flavor of the month, we really like the focus on institutionalization and sustainability.

We’ll have lots to ask our panelists about on Saturday, and look forward to seeing as many Oaklanders as possible.

Date: Saturday, January 9, 2016
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Ave, Oakland, CA
RSVP on Facebook: www.facebook.com/events/542580982575583

Mayor’s State of the City Address: Accountability, Infrastructure, and Housing

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In our last post we analyzed Mayor Libby Schaaf’s strategy for “holistic community safety” outlined in her State of the City address. Today, we’ll continue our discussion, looking at her other three stated top priorities: responsive, trustworthy government, sustainable infrastructure, and equitable jobs and housing. 

Responsive, trustworthy government 

The Mayor’s total policy discussion on accountability was as follows:

“I could tell you about our transparency and ‘gov 2.0’ projects—like our Digital Front Door website redesign, our employee civic lab or plans for a 3-1-1 call center, but it really starts with the people.”

She then praised top staff members, the City Administrator, and other recent additions to her team.

Our take:
We don’t criticize the Mayor for publicly and openly supporting her people—that’s an important part of leadership. But we call for more emphasis on policy. A starting point might be these initiatives from her campaign white paper on how to “bring Oakland government into the 21st Century”:

What I Will Do 

Implement 311 System for better service delivery:
Do you know what number to call to report illegal dumping or a pothole? Most big cities use a 3-1-1 system to make it easy for residents to request help from their government. As Mayor I will implement a world-class 311 customer service center that transitions the City to a new generation of technology that centralizes citizen requests and makes the process and resolution of each request accessible to the public 24/7 on our website.

CityStat and the Office of Strategic Performance:
I will link the 311 service request system with a CityStat performance accountability system led by a newly established Office of Strategic Performance (see Louisville, Kentucky for a good model). I will work with department heads to establish clear performance measures and nurture a culture of continuous improvement within City Hall. In pursuit of this goal, OSP will help City departments and agencies deliver high quality services to citizens in a cost-efficient and transparent manner. Three core efforts include strategic planning, performance management, continuous improvement consulting and training. We can save on technology procurement dollars by conducting internal and external user research to scope projects more efficiently, determine what the needs are and design a scope of work to fulfill those needs. Too often contracts are signed without a clear understanding of the pain points, and key opportunities to solve actual problems are missed.

Sometime soon, Oaklanders should hear about where we stand on these efforts.

More after the break. Continue reading