Budget vote tomorrow - Make your voice heard!

Tomorrow, please join our Special Budget Meeting at 10:30 AM (post comments here), when Council will vote on budget amendments from my team, Councilmembers Carroll Fife, Noel Gallo and Dan Kalb.

Our goal is to build a comprehensive community safety infrastructure. We make historic investments in violence prevention and alternative crisis responders. We also make significant investments in homelessness solutions, addressing illegal dumping, affordable housing, good jobs, small businesses, parks, arts, and culture directly in our most historically disinvested neighborhoods.

Thank you to my Council colleagues and so many people of Oakland, for your valuable contributions and feedback through this process.

With gun violence, pain, and trauma continuing to rise in our communities, my budget invests in violence prevention while maintaining a large portion of the City’s General Purpose Fund for the Police Department, including four police academies over the next two years, to focus on solving serious and violent crime. This provides us with a transition period to divert non-criminal calls for service to alternative responses and improve the outcomes of our public safety system. 

 

Pictured: Nikki with Taco, Kentrell, and Wayne of the Good Brotha Network, leaders in community safety and violence prevention, at the Peace and Healing Vigil at Lake Merritt on June 22, 2021.

I want to share important highlights about my budget and invite you to stand with us:

[1] Redirecting the Mayor's Expansion of Policing to Double the Department of Violence Prevention's Budget and Expand Alternative Responses

 

What You Should Know: Historically, Oakland has funded four police academies over each 2-year budget cycle.

The Mayor's 2021-2023 budget proposal, however, increased this standard allocation to six police academies, to address increased attrition rates and the dismal completion rates of police academy recruits (less than half, 44%, become officers).

 

What I'm Proposing Instead:

  • My budget rejects Schaaf's expansion of policing, redirecting the extra funding from Schaaf's two additional academies, instead, to double the Department of Violence Prevention's budget by investing $17.4 million (quadrupling the City’s General Purpose Fund contribution to the department) to increase and employ violence interrupters and community ambassadors in the neighborhoods most impacted by violence and trauma, and to prevent violence long before it starts.
  • My budget also uses the savings from Schaaf’s proposed expansion of police academies to provide necessary funding to stand up MACRO — Oakland’s alternative civilian crisis response program in the Fire Department — through which 3 mobile response teams will respond to non-violent, non-criminal 911 calls for mental and behavioral health incidents in East Oakland in Year 1 and expand to six teams in Year 2 in East to West Oakland.

 

In Year 2, the budget also proposes that response for 9 specific traffic-related 911 calls for service be transferred to our Department of Transportation, as recommended by the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force. These include calls for:

  • improper parking,
  • abandoned automobiles, and
  • vehicles blocking driveways,

 

which make up thousands of calls for 911 service to the Police Department annually. Removing these from OPD’s duties can focus officer time and resources on solving serious and violent crime. 

[2] Low-Level, Non-Criminal Incidents Comprise The Majority of 911 Calls for Service and Police Response

 

Oaklanders Deserve to Know This: Half of Oakland’s police resources are spent on patrol -- responding to 911 calls -- yet 75% of those 911 calls are for low-level, non-criminal incidents, and these are the vast majority of the calls officers respond to. In 2019, this included thousands of calls for:

  • blocked driveways,
  • car tows,
  • mental health incidents,
  • false alarms, and
  • requests to file a police report.

 

What I'm Proposing to Address the Mismatch Between Officer Skills and Most Calls for Service: We should not be measuring our safety by outdated metrics such as the ratio of police officers to violent crimes, or by how many 911 calls our officers respond to.

Instead, we must measure the impact of our public safety system by our officers’ targeted investigations and effectiveness prioritizing and solving serious and violent crime, asking questions like:

  • What are our clearance (solve) rates for homicides, assault with weapons, and armed robberies?
    • OPD's solve rates in 2019 were 53% for homicides, 16% for rapes, 11% for aggravated assaults, and 6% for robberies.
  • How well are we diverting low-level, non-criminal 911 calls to alternative responses in order to unburden our officers of spending time on these  calls -- like false building alarms, car tows, and blocked driveways -- that are a poor and wasteful use of their expertise and training?
  • How effectively are we getting guns off of our streets?”

 

TOP THREE OPD CALLS FOR SERVICE BY CATEGORY DESCRIPTION

Note: Based on total number of Calls for Service that had a Dispatch and Arrival time: 245,481. Source: Reimagining Public Safety Task Force Budget and Data Advisory Board Analysis of Oakland PD Calls for Service Data CY 2019.

[3] District 2 Investments 

Please find details on my budget amendments in my budget presentation. In addition, here are some specific investments in District 2: 

  • San Antonio Park - Reopen San Antonio Park Recreation Center with two staff and critical park repairs including: lighting and bleachers repair around basketball courts, moveable bleachers at soccer field, repair of tennis courts gates, and repair of surface roads. Build community-based  partnerships by engaging community organizations in staffing and programming. 
  • Chinatown - Lincoln Recreation Center
  • Bella Vista Park - tot lot resurfacing
  • Rose Garden - expansion of gardener position to full-time
  • Lake Merritt - extend Lake Merritt operations through November and develop a plan and timeline for phasing out City Department Teams and phasing in Parks Ambassadors and other alternatives to address safety and community at the Lake, while also developing programming and permitted events in parks across the city. 
  • Citywide we will invest in Parks Ambassadors, parks signage, litter collection, restroom cleaning, and increased capacity for special events permitting. 
  • D2 facilities investments include: Asian Branch Library, Lakeview Branch Library, Main Library, Lincoln Recreation Center, and Oakland Museum of California.
  • We also direct the City Administrator to prioritize implementation of recommendations from CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) analysis, particularly in flatland neighborhoods, business corridors and beats with high rates of serious and violent crimes, such as along E 15th St in D2 where traffic calming and lighting can help address human trafficking. 

 

[4] Join us tomorrow at 4pm in Downtown Oakland for a People's Rally + Press Conference 

No matter the outcome of tomorrow's meeting, we'll gather at 4pm at the Breonna Taylor Mural (on 15th Street at the intersection of Broadway, Telegraph Avenue and 15th Street) to reaffirm our commitment to a people-centered budget that expands investments in violence prevention in our most impacted neighborhoods, along with jobs, housing, parks, libraries and arts.

If the final budget is not approved tomorrow, Council will have a final meeting and vote on Tuesday, June 29th at 1:30pm.


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  • Nikki Fortunato Bas, Council President