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For Civilian Oversight of Oakland Police, Please Attend Budget Hearing Thurs. May 28
by PUEBLO ( pueblo [at] peopleunited.org )
Wednesday May 27th, 2009 12:46 PM
We must participate in budget hearings to save the civilian police review proposal in Oakland! If the Council doesn't include the additional resources needed to hire additional CPRB staff by the end of June, we will have no hope of implementing this plan in the near future, if at all! Please, show up, call, or send your comments electronically to demand that the Civilian Police Review Board receive all citizen complaints against OPD.
Attached below is the agenda for the Budget hearing tomorrow at City Hall.

Public Comment is first: 1:00 - 1:15 so please incorporate a brief appearance into your lunch break.

It's not clear whether additional public comment will be taken during the remaining 5 and a half hours of discussion on the budget. Too bad the agenda doesn't break down the discussion into areas like CEDA, Public Safety, Public Works, etc.

Anyway, a brief plug about why the budget they pass should include funding to transition from internal affairs to CPRB would still be very welcome.

Talking points:

* OPD receives 44% of the General Fund with no accountability for how it’s spent. This does not even include overtime, millions of Federal and State dollars in grants, nor does it include the millions of taxpayer dollars spent every year on police misconduct law suits. The resources that are dedicated to police services and the associated consequences of police behavior are cannibalizing the city’s discretionary funds.

* The City has spent over $8 million on costs associated with the Riders’ Class Action law suit, in addition to the millions of dollars in settlement money paid to the plaintiffs and their attorneys. The millions of dollars paid each year in police misconduct law suits must be reduced to save resources needed for City services that are now being cut.

* When the Settlement Agreement is concluded, there will no longer be effective monitoring and oversight of the Oakland Police Department. All of the reforms that have been mandated may be ignored without consequence, setting back 7 years of work on making improvements in policing.

* Police should do police work; citizens should investigate complaints of police misconduct. Civilians can investigate complaints nore cheaply and more credibly than sworn officers can. The public will trust the integrity of those investigations if done by people who are not associated with the subjects of the complaints.

* In time of lean resources, funds must be used strategically and wisely. The civilianization of the complaint process is both. It maximizes police personnel who can be available to do police work and provides for a cheaper and more independent process of handling citizens’ complaints of police misconduct or abuse. Although the budget is lean, this policy will save taxpayers funds within a few years, and for posterity, while providing better oversight of the Oakland Police Department.

* Despite the Negotiated Settlement Agreement, we have seen scandal after scandal in Oakland – everything from the alleged corruption in handling the Chauncey Bailey investigation to the cover up of the abuse committed by former Internal Affairs Chief Poulson and most recently the botched SWAT action that resulted in officers losing their lives, and the inconsistent statements being made about the mistakes that were made. Without ongoing oversight by a civilian agency, what basis do we have to hope for better days to come at OPD?

Also: Council should make sure it's in the budget, rather than depending on outside funding from grants.

Even if grant money is obtained to fund the start up, it will be limited in duration. If the City then doesn't pick up the funding from the General Fund, those positions will be lost. So, it's better for the Council to set aside funding in the budget, to be reimbursed if outside money is granted.

Please identify yourself in terms of whose district you’re in, and what other affiliations you have – ie, NCPC member, business leader, etc.

NOTE: IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TOMORROW, THERE’S ANOTHER ONE ON MONDAY, JUNE 1ST AT 4:00 PM AT CITY HALL!

Calling the Mayor’s Office and City Council members is also very important, especially if you cannot attend any of the budget hearings.

And, as you can see below, it is also possible to submit comments about the budget electronically.

* Calling the Mayor’s Office is vital! Call Marisol Lopez at 238 3120

* Calling the City Council members, also:

Jane Brunner 238 7001 District 1
Pat Kernighan 238 7002 2
Nancy Nadel 238 7003 3
Jean Quan 238 7004 4
Ignacio de la Fuente 238 7005 5
Desley Brooks 238 7006 6
Larry Reid 238 7007 7
Rebecca Kaplan 238 7008 at large

You don’t have to live in a particular district to phone that Council person; police accountability is a city-wide issue.



previous related Indybay post: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/05/26/18598350.php


PUEBLO
510-452-2010
pueblo [at] peopleunited.org