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Know your enemy: Oakland's Pat Kernighan's letter in support of Bratton contract
Letter to NIMBY and anti-crime groups in Oakland. Please show up to the city council meeting on Tuesday Jan 22nd at 5:30 pm and help to fight against this Law and Order charade. http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/01/16/18730349.php
Dear Bella Vista Neighbors,
The need to address Oakland's epidemic of crime and violence has never been more urgent. I am sure you already know that and you are looking to Oakland's leaders to take action. This Tuesday night, both you and I have a unique opportunity to take action in a meaningful way. My part as a City Councilmember is to vote YES on four matters, each of which will help the Police Department become more effective in reducing crime. (Details on those items below.)
It is extremely important that the City Council vote to support these measures for two reasons. Foremost is the practical impact these measures will have in helping to reduce the crime that is plaguing our city. The second reason is to send the message that our city will not be bullied by the group of people who have attended several Council meetings to heckle, boo, or shout down any Councilmember or citizen who disagrees with their point of view.
I am writing to ask you to do something out of the ordinary to help me and several other Councilmembers turn the tables on those who would disrupt the meetings and intimidate other members of the public from speaking. At this Tuesday's meeting, we want to FILL the Council Chambers with people who believe in orderly and civil discussions of issues, who respect the right of free speech for all people, and who support the right of everyone to participate in the democratic process. We are calling upon you, the people we represent, to come in large numbers to this City Council meeting and fill the seats and set the tone. You don't need to speak unless you feel comfortable doing so. I am just asking that you show up, take a seat, and respect the right of others to speak their minds.
Now I know that many of you will say: "I'm not going to that circus and subject myself to the abuse I've read about!" To that I say two things: First, as chair of the meeting, I will insist on decorum, and if there is heckling, I will ask the police officers to escort those people out of the chamber. But also key is our strategy to out-number the disrupters. In fact, if most of the seats have been taken by ordinary folks who value an orderly and peaceful process, there will not be enough room for a large presence of the hecklers.
We are going all out to organize a strong presence of reasonable people at this one meeting. Expect to see fellow residents from West and East Oakland, Montclair and Chinatown. Please be part of this! Think of what a powerful message it will send. Sane Oaklanders reclaim their City government!
If you can attend:
--Arrive by 6:00 pm if possible, so you will be sure to get a seat. (Chamber opens at 5:30 pm)
--Location of City Hall is 14th Street between Broadway and Clay.
--Free Parking during the meeting in the parking garage next to City Hall.
--Drive into the garage on Clay Street, just north of 14th Street.
--The walk between the garage and the door to City Hall is less than 100 feet, so you will be safe coming and going.
(Walk out of the garage on the north side of the building, for shortest walk.)
--Several bus lines serve 14th Street if you take public transit.
--We may get to the public safety items as early at 8:00, but could be 9:00 pm.
Please let me know by email if you will come to the Council meeting. (Please email me directly, don't reply to the yahoo group.)
With a strong presence of like-minded people, I think you will find this to be an uplifting experience.
Please, bring a friend and take back our city on Tuesday night!
pkernighan [at] oaklandnet.com
**If you wish to speak at the Council meeting, you need to sign up in advance. I recommend filling out the speaker card online this weekend (you will be earlier in the line of speakers than if you wait to do it in person at the meeting).
Go to: http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/CityClerk/index.htm
and follow the directions for Speakers Cards. You will need to indicate which items you want to speak on. The public safety items are #s 20, 21, 22, and 23. If you sign up, but don't wish to speak, you can cede your time to another speaker at the meeting.
Item 20. Hiring 21 civilian police technicians
Item 21. Contract with Sheriff's Department for short-term assistance
Item 22. Funding for a Police Academy to train officers, to begin September 2013
Item 23. Contract with Strategic Policy Partnership, a law enforcement consulting group that includes Bill Bratton
***A note on the consulting contract that includes Bill Bratton, former NY Police Commissioner and LA Police Chief: The recent media focus on "stop and frisk" does not fairly represent this Bratton's accomplishments. In addition to achieving substantial reductions in crime in New York City and LA, he also brought the LA Police Department into compliance with a federal consent decree, reduced the number of police misconduct claims to a small percentage of what they had been, garnering accolades from the ACLU in the process, and increased the level of trust of the LA Police Department by residents in all neighborhoods of that city. I believe the Oakland Police Department can learn a lot from him, both on crime reduction and improving community relations.