What does violence interruption mean & look like?

In each of our neighborhoods, we deserve to feel safe. And Oakland is now implementing our new budget to support comprehensive solutions for community safety including more investment in violence prevention, alternative crisis response, homeless solutions, good jobs, parks, arts and more. 

Violence interrupter, community ambassador, community healing. What do these terms really mean, why do they matter, and how can we expand our impact to address violence now that Oakland’s budget has tripled the Department of Violence Prevention’s (DVP) funding?

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[NEWS] Wins in our budget for community safety & violence prevention

Last Thursday, Council passed our two-year budget, meeting this historic moment by changing course in our city. Our balanced budget makes unprecedented new investments in our most impacted residents and neighborhoods and in transforming public safety.

The time couldn’t be more urgent. Gun violence, homicides, and robberies have been devastating Oakland and cities across the country. Our marginalized communities suffer most from the trauma and loss caused by violence in all forms -- communal, systemic, historic. Just two weekends ago, we lost Dashawn Rhoades to gun violence at Lake Merritt, and two 17-year-olds, Marcel Alley Jr. and Isaac Mitchell, several weeks before in Highland Park. Our solve/clearance rates for serious and violent crimes are low, and as a city, we are not keeping our community safe.

As Council President, my job is to ensure we allocate and balance our budget to meet peoples’ needs. The people of Oakland are reeling from the economic fallout of the pandemic; people are out of work, more are unhoused and on the verge of losing their homes; we are at a crossroads. 

The Mayor proposed adding $57M to the Police Budget, which makes up nearly half of our general fund -- over $692 million in two years. The budget we passed, instead, diverts $18M from the police towards violence prevention, alternatives responses to non-violent 911 calls, reactivating our parks and open spaces, supporting disadvantaged small businesses with reopening, expanding arts and culture, and homelessness solutions. There will be a one year transition period to divert non-violent, non-criminal 911 calls before the police staff reductions take place a year from now in July 2022. 

The Police Department will receive a $38 million increase and will hold four police academies over the next two years. Their budget will continue to make up nearly half of our general purpose fund. In the meantime, we’ll conduct an independent audit of the Department to understand what is working, what isn’t, and right-size our investments to make sure we are doing all we can to keep Oaklanders safe.

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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.

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Our Council amendments to the Mayor's Budget

As we near the final steps of adopting our next 2021-23 city budget by June 30, I’m energized by the commitment so many of you have shown to advocating for a just and equitable recovery that centers Oaklanders most impacted by -- and already hurting before -- the pandemic. 

IMPORTANT BUDGET NEXT STEPS

[1] Preview my budget at my Budget Team's press conference, when I joined Oakland Rising for Monday Meals on Instagram Live and read more in Oaklandside. See my Budget Team's proposal here. Share comments with Council here. 

 

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San Antonio Park + Fire Station 4 Update

Hello San Antonio Community, 

I am grateful for your advocacy and engagement on the need for an equitable and authentic process for San Antonio Park’s Master Plan. 

I want to publicly share my strong support of the community’s overwhelming desire to:  

  1. separate the San Antonio Park Master Planning process from the relocation of Fire Station 4,
  2. Conduct robust community engagement for the master plan, as proposed by the Friends of San Antonio Park during the months of August through October, and
  3. Identify additional potential sites for Fire Station 4
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Door-knock for a budget that supports a just recovery for our people!

I’m thankful for so many of you who’ve been engaging on our city budget and who attended this week’s hearing on the Mayor’s proposed budget. In case you missed it, check out my initial analysis of the proposed budget and Capital Improvement Plan.

As I’m leading our Council amendments to the Mayor’s budget, I'm hopeful because we have already achieved initial wins and progress on an equitable City budget:

  • We are seeing initial increased investments in violence prevention and alternative responses to calls for service, which will improve community safety.
  • We are building support to prevent the elimination of 29 firefighter positions.
  • We are building support for equitable pay for frontline city workers, many of whom were not able to shelter in place, and who have continued to clean up our streets, fill potholes, and serve Oaklanders throughout the pandemic. 

 

It’s critical that we continue to work together to achieve community support for a people-centered budget that funds the housing, jobs, and services we truly need for all Oaklanders to recover and thrive. Here are two ways you can get involved:

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City Budget Update, Oakland A's, Public Spaces / Parks in COVID Recovery

This coming Wednesday the 26th at 9:30 a.m., I urge you to participate in a Special City Council Meeting on Mayor Schaaf’s proposed biennial city budget for FY 2021-23. In this budget, there are wins resulting from our people-powered advocacy and participation over the last year; there are also areas where we must make deeper investments in our communities to ensure a truly just recovery from COVID.

See highlights here from my initial analysis of the Mayor’s budget and Capital Improvements Plan.

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Engage in the City's New 2-Year Budget

Happy Mother’s Day to our beloved sisters, aunties, grandmothers, daughters, mothers & more — chosen and blood. This morning, I joined the senior volunteers with Toi Shan Association to surprise them with flowers and stroll the streets to support community safety in Chinatown.

On Friday, Mayor Schaaf released her proposed biennial city budget for FY 2021-23. We have been spending this weekend reviewing several hundred pages of information in a new online format before our Monday, May 10, 1:30 pm budget hearing tomorrow. 

 

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Council Prioritizes Recommendations to Reimagine Public Safety in City Budget

On May 3, 2021, at a Special City Council meeting, Oakland City Council unanimously passed a resolution authored by Councilmember Carroll Fife and co-sponsored by Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas to prioritize a subset of recommendations from Oakland’s Reimagining Public Safety Task Force (RPSTF) for Council to consider integrating in the city’s FY 2021-23 budget to be adopted by June 30, 2021. 

The prioritized recommendations include significant expansion of citywide services and supports for trauma-informed mental health response, civilian traffic enforcement, violence interruption, gender-based violence response, restorative justice, youth programming, and housing solutions. These proactive measures will help reduce violence while allowing OPD to focus time on violent crime. 

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Prioritizing strategies to reimagine public safety through our city budget

As we emerge from this pandemic and enter a new phase of rebuilding our lives and communities together, I hope you’re taking care and staying healthy and safe. I also want to welcome May as Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

On Monday, Council will consider a resolution authored by Councilmember Carroll Fife, chair of the Public Safety Committee, and co-sponsored by me, to prioritize a subset of recommendations from the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force to transform our safety system by shifting policing resources from enforcement and punishment to alternative responses to Oaklanders’ calls for assistance, and to investments that address the root causes of violence, poverty, and crime. 

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