Things are getting a bit nasty in Oakland. Four City Councilmembers proposed a budget plan that would cut general fund allocations for several departments. There is a shortfall of at least $31 million. The public safety departments represent 72% or more of our general fund expenditures, so no matter how much other stuff they cut, without cutting police the budget cannot balance. Everyone I have spoken with received a robocall from the police association yesterday, misrepresenting the situation and blaming potential police layoffs on Councilmember Jean Quan. Appears to be connected to a mayoral campaign. Announced candidates include former state senator Don Perata and undeclared candidate Rebecca Kaplan as well as two-term city councilmember Quan. (There are a few other candidates as well.)
4:28 yesterday (Tuesday 6-22-10)
[Lovely male personage calling did not identify self at beginning or end of message:]
“The Oakland City Council is threatening to lay off 200 police officers. This would ___?____ [unintelligible word] their public safety response and place everyone who lives and works in Oakland at risk. A private citizen wrote in a local paper that “it would turn Oakland into a war zone.” The City Council Finance Committee led by Jean Quan has refused to consider other viable options or even to consider making cuts to nonessential city services. Please call Jean Quan’s office to protest the layoff of police officers. Her number is 510-238-7304. Let’s work together for a safer Oakland.”
Scare tactics, possibly illegal robocalls, and misrepresentation of the budget proposal. Not likely to improve relationships with the police organization.