"No One In This Room Believes OPD Should Be Investigating Itself."

The Oakland Alliance, newly a member of the Coalition for Police Accountability, put in an impressive "show of force" at the City Council Tuesday, May 19th, in support of the motion to remove processing of walk-in complaints about OPD from OPD's Internal Affairs department and move it to the Citizen's Police Review Board.

Some seven Oakland Alliance members either testified, giving substantive and insightful commentary, or ceded time to other speakers, all in support of the motion while noting that the new law is only a first, and very small, step on the road to police accountability.

You can view remarks by Oakland Alliance members and others here, on the City's video of the City Council meeting, beginning at 4:13:00.

Mollie Costello: 4:13:50
OA: Rashidah Grinage: 4:18:20
OA: Dawn Delmonte: 4:29:20
OA: Nicole Deane: 4:31:25
OA: Michael Taylor: 4:34:25
OA: April Thomas: 4:36:20
Cat Brooks: 4:38:50
OA: Carroll Fife (ceded time)
OA: JP Massar (ceded time)

Call to Action

The Coalition for Police Accountability is asking the City Council to have only one option: the intake of ALL complaints should be brought only to Oakland’s civilian oversight body: the Citizens’ Police Review Board.

We want Internal Affairs closed to the intake of public complaints of police misconduct.

Come and express support for this proposal to our elected leaders!

April 21 City Council Meeting 5:30 pm
Council Chambers City Hall

If you cannot attend the meeting,
please contact City Council members:

REMEMBER: If you live in Oakland you have an At-Large representative (Rebecca Kaplan) AND a district representative. 

District 1:  Dan Kalb (510) 238-7001 dkalb@oaklandnet.com 
District 2: Abel Guillen (510) 238-7002 aguillen@oaklandnet.com
District 3: Lynette Gibson McElhaney (510) 238-7003lmcelhaney@oaklandnet.com 
District 4: Annie Campbell-Washington (510) 238-7004 acampbell-washington@Oaklandnet.com
District 5: Noel Gallo (510) 238-7005 ngallo@oaklandnet.com 
District 6: Desley Brooks (510) 238-7006 dbrooks@oaklandnet.com 
District 7: Larry Reid (510) 238-7007 lreid@oaklandnet.com 
At-Large: Rebecca Kaplan (510) 238-7008 atlarge@oaklandnet.com
To find your district enter your address here.

Create a Department of Race and Equity for the City of Oakland

It’s Time to Heal our Divided City 

Oakland is divided into two cities. One is made up of neighborhoods that have seen relatively little public or private investment, where schools and parks are in decline, jobs are evaporating, asthma and cancer rates are high, and basic services like grocery stores and banks are few. These neighborhoods are mostly communities of color. There is also another Oakland, one made up of neighborhoods that have benefited from years of investment. One where the children have access to good schools, clean air and beautiful parks, and residents can buy groceries and run errands in their own neighborhoods. These areas are mostly white.

Right now, an African American child from East Oakland can expect to live 15 years less than a white child from the Oakland Hills, only a few miles away. That’s roughly equivalent to the difference between Iceland and Iraq.

The fundamental role of government is to collect and distribute resources in a way that promotes the health and wellbeing of all residents, not just the privileged few. But despite the good intentions of our elected officials and City staff, we keep getting the same unjust results. We’re not moving toward our goal of uniting our city into One Oakland where all residents have equal access to public services and amenities, and equal treatment by public servants. But we have an opportunity before us to change that, with the creation of a City of Oakland Department of Race and Equity.
We need to integrate a race and equity lens into all of the daily decisions of government that alone seem insignificant, but together add up to a system of inequality. This isn’t a new idea - other cities across the nation have created municipal departments designed to examine the racial and equity impacts of funding decisions, contracting, hiring, and every other policy and practice, with great results. It’s time for Oakland to catch up.

The proposal currently before the Oakland City Council is simple. Establish a Department of Race and Equity. The details of how the Department will operate will come later in the public process, but the overall goal is to create a city that gives all Oaklanders access to the opportunities necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential.

We need your help to get the City Council to make the right decision. Right now some Councilmembers are hiding behind the need for further development of the proposal - details like staffing and budgets - but the legislation simply asks them to commit to the idea of One Oakland. We are asking our elected representatives to listen to the will of the community and commit to integrating a race and equity lens in every City decision, no matter how small.

The time is now. We are ready to be One Oakland.
 

Letter to Councilmembers:

I am writing today to ask you to support the proposal to create a City of Oakland Department of Race and Equity. Cities like Portland and Seattle have had great success with similar initiatives, and given the incredible racial disparities found in the Oakland community, it is time for us to catch up with national best practices.

Oakland is divided into two cities. One is made up of neighborhoods that have seen relatively little public or private investment, where schools and parks are in decline, jobs are evaporating, asthma and cancer rates are high, and basic services like grocery stores and banks are few. These neighborhoods are mostly communities of color. There is also another Oakland, one made up of neighborhoods that have benefited from years of investment. One where the children have access to good schools, clean air and beautiful parks, and residents can buy groceries and run errands in their own neighborhoods. These areas are mostly white.

Right now, an African American child from East Oakland can expect to live 15 years less than a white child from the Oakland Hills, only a few miles away. That’s roughly equivalent to the difference between Iceland and Iraq.

The fundamental role of government is to collect and distribute resources in a way that promotes the health and wellbeing of all residents, not just the privileged few. But despite the good intentions and sincere efforts of our elected officials and City staff, we keep getting the same unjust results. The impacts of institutional racism are too complex and often invisible to be handled from one bill to the next. We need to integrate a race and equity lens into all of the daily decisions of government that alone seem insignificant, but together add up to a system of inequality.

The proposal currently before you is simple. Establish a Department of Race and Equity. The details of how the Department should operate can come later in the public process, but the overall goal is to create a city that gives all Oaklanders access to the opportunities necessary to satisfy their essential needs, advance their well-being and achieve their full potential. I am asking you as a representative of the people of Oakland to listen to the will of the community and commit to integrating a race and equity lens in every City decision, no matter how small.

Why Pay for a Port Boondoggle?

That boondoggle is the Domain Awareness Center System - the DAC.

  • We don’t want it. 
  • We don’t need it. 
  • The Port refuses to allocate money for it. 
  • We shouldn’t have to pay for it. 
  • We need to protect privacy, not degrade it. 

In March of 2014 Oakland's City Council restricted the DAC - a surveillance system to be installed at Oakland's Emergency Operations Center, to just the Port of Oakland. A grant obtained by the Port from the Dept. of Homeland Security was intended to fund the operating costs. The Council also insisted that a privacy policy be put in place before the DAC became operational.

Oakland's Ad Hoc Privacy Committee worked from April through December creating arguably the best, most robust privacy policy in the US, along with other privacy protections. But in Dec. 2014 the Port of Oakland voted to reallocate the grant money to itself, leaving city taxpayers like you on the hook.

On Feb. 10th the privacy committee presented both the new privacy policy and other recommendations to the Public Safety Committee. Council members approved "in principle" the committee's suggestions, and City Council members expressed their thoughts on the Port's action. Councilperson Dan Kalb called the Port's action defunding the DAC "shameful." We agree.

But it’s more than just shameful; it's outrageous. Outrageous that the City Council could still be considering funding the DAC out of Oakland's own monies - when those funds could be better used to keep libraries open, repair potholes, fund youth programs and many other services that Oakland residents would like to see. Oakland has a balanced budget requirement, which means that the multi-million dollar DAC operating costs must be taken from other revenues. The fact is that almost no one in Oakland cares about or wants to see the DAC operational, and no one wants to pay for it when we have an estimated $20 million budget deficit with no tangible benefit to the city in activating the DAC.

If there's a road near you that needs repair, trash on the street that isn't being picked up, kids with no after-school programs, libraries suffering from reduced hours and staffing - or any other services you might want the City to provide - you need to speak up!

Call or email your City Council representatives today and tell them:
No
, no money we don't have for a surveillance system we don't want. Defund the DAC! 
Yes, pass the privacy policy and the committee's other recommendations, which they worked long and hard on, and which cover existing and future surveillance systems, ensuring our privacy rights. 
To get involved send an email inquiry to: oaklandprivacy@gmail.com

An FAQ on the history of the Domain Awareness Center: 
Background on recent DAC events via Electronic Frontier Foundation: 

Please send a comment to the Oakland City Council on the Privacy Policy:

Watch former Oakland City Council member Wilson Riles explain the trap of grant and expectations funding: 

YOUR CITY COUNCIL REPRESENTATIVES: If you live in Oakland you have an At-Large representative (Rebecca Kaplan) and a district representative. 

District 1:  Dan Kalb (510) 238-7001 dkalb@oaklandnet.com 
District 2: Abel Guillen (510) 238-7002 aguillen@oaklandnet.com
District 3: Lynette Gibson McElhaney (510) 238-7003 lmcelhaney@oaklandnet.com 
District 4: Annie Campbell-Washington (510) 238-7004 acampbell-washington@Oaklandnet.com
District 5: Noel Gallo (510) 238-7005 ngallo@oaklandnet.com 
District 6: Desley Brooks (510) 238-7006 dbrooks@oaklandnet.com 
District 7: Larry Reid (510) 238-7007 lreid@oaklandnet.com 
At-Large: Rebecca Kaplan (510) 238-7008 atlarge@oaklandnet.com
To find your district enter your address here.

Dan Siegel: Charter Schools Are Not The Answer To Oakland's Public School Crisis

The debate over charter schools is waged on misleading and superficial grounds. According to the dominant narrative, the charter school discussion pits incompetent teachers championed by corrupt unions against sincere, committed parents fighting for a decent education for their children in safe, clean schools. 

Reality is much more complicated. Public education is in crisis. Many children, especially low income children of color, are poorly served by public schools. But charter schools are no better. A recent study concludes that about 30 percent of charter schools out­perform public schools with comparable student bodies, while another 30 percent perform less well than the public schools. We can also identify many examples of successful schools, both public and charter.