Oakland City Council Special Meeting, 12/7. Council President Bas opens by reviewing order of business, will take 2 ceremonial items first, before moving on to public comment. There's several public hearings today. Measure Z and academy budget resolution will be taken together.
Bas says that the academy vote is about filling police positions that were already budgeted in June. [but the academies and associated costs were not budgeted, I have to add]
As far as Bas' comments go, she's right. Even with the most optimistic [and apparently false] estimates, OPD doesn't get beyond the sworn staffing budgeted for 21-22 until June '23. The sworn staffing for 22-23 is actually higher than 21-23, so they'll still be "under-staffed"
Cheers to the speaker during the ceremonial item for referring to "Far East Oakland". Reggie Burnett is an og scraper bike original, talks about creating a bike shop in the East because there wasn't one.
Another ceremonial item, Assistant City Administrator Richard Luna is leaving City. Luna is currently the facilitator for the Redistricting Commission, but is stepping down from that role too.
Bas says that its misinformation that the Council decreased the OPD budget, they increased it by 38 MM, there were no cuts or lay offs.
Bas says that Council values all public safety workers as well as all city workers. She says that the votes today are about implementing budget--keeping sworn officer level above Measure Z level, and keeping the budgeted number of officers.
I hadn't really looked at it from Bas' perspective. It's going to be her way of presenting her support for more academies, which is aided by a greater than anticipated attrition rate. There's not enough police to fill the roles that Bas' budget approved.
Bas keeps returning to the academies as "implementing our budget"
Public comment begins
A cheer went up in my head when this speaker was cut off in middle of his lengthy comments, but that's neither here nor there.
On today's budget, also legislation directing the City Admin to return to Council with a budget amendment to baseline the restoration of Head Start after federal budget-related cuts to the City's program several months ago. Speaker just referenced, spoke in favor of restoration
Jennifer Findlay criticizes the City's bad math on attrition and graduation rates, which are under-estimated and inflated respectively. She also says that she'd like Council to investigate efficacy of pre-academies
Speaker calls Oakland an "emerging city". Asks Council if they'd want to be an Oakland police officer, criticizes Carroll Fife, says Fife ignores her on FB.
Another caller calling on behalf of fully funding Head Start, no layoffs, calls it an anti-poverty program
I'm a bit surprised that the number of callers on the Head Start item are rivaling the academies/police funding.
Sarah Yoell, a lobbyist who is married to a former police officer who now owns a cannabis industry security firm, calling on behalf of PG&E on the solar item
Cat Brooks of OPD says that community's pain is being manipulated to increase OPD budget. She says they issued a study yesterday that shows that police inefficiently use their time and resources antipoliceterrorproject.org/no-police-staf…
Brooks says Miguel Masso, officer who shot Alan Blueford was a lateral [Blueford was a lateral who had worked in two different depts] Oaklandside looked into Masso's background [actually surprised this didn't come up sooner] oaklandside.org/2021/03/29/sec…
To Brooks' point that they're only one officer under Measure Z. It's true, the graduating academy in late December will take care of this deficit easily
Luz Hernandez says she's been robbed at gunpoint, but calling OPD couldn't have done anything about it. Accuses City of taking advantage of public fears to try and raise OPD funding
Two victims of violent crime called in today to break the stereotype that victims of violent crime want more police. Just not true. Often an eye-opener that police are powerless and disinterested.
A caller describes themself as a retired healthcare worker, police spend their time on things other than violent crime, investments on policing don't have an impact, poverty is a bigger factor, put money into violence prevention.
Speaker describes herself as a life-long Oakland resident, says violence is at a high point, but that police can't fix that. She says they need to invest in anti-poverty, MACRO, violence prevention. She says Oakland hasn't even met the budgeted amount of police
Maureen Benson former Police Commissioner, and member of the data group from Reimagining Public Safety Taskforce. In their analysis 31% of officer's time is spent on non-policing. She says they could invest in civilian investigators, and take officers out of Office of Chief.
Felipe Cuevas SEIU 1021 local president, which also represents OPD civilian employees says that OPD brought 3 sworn officers into roles that belong to civilians, he says that the work they're doing isn't in their specs. He says they should be out on the street doing police work.
Couple of speakers have referenced nuggets I've reported! Whoo hoo!
To Bas' claim that today's moves are simply to fill budgeted positions, it's a shaky proposition. The OPD estimates Council was given in June showed that 4 academies would not keep up with attrition necessary to reach to 737
Nick Perraino, researcher w/SEIU says union only learned there would be budget related lay-offs from Head Start after fact, too late. He also says that Council has a lot of changes in civilianization they could undertake for police funding. OPD civilians are also over-worked.
Another speaker who says they were held up at gunpoint, also says witnessed 127th homicide. She says law enforcement was in area before shooting, they couldn't prevent shooting, they were late on scene, did not provide care. Says belief in police reducing crime is delusional
Speaker says that Head Start is a violence prevention program that's being gutted. He says that the Head Start manager does not have experience in Head Start.
Several Head Start comments have been about the importance of non violence preventions, and how they happen outside the public safety discourse
As the meeting goes on, callers that don't support the academy increases start to outnumber those who support it two to one.
Liana Molina with EBASE supports Head Start workers, against closures, lay offs wants to baseline budget with funding to preserve the program. Also urges Council to hold off on action to expand funding for Police, focus on how to maximize existing staff, also finish audit.
Molina one of several people who say they've been held up at gunpoint who also don't support more police. Certainly more on the anti- side of the argument than on pro-
At least 3 speakers were involved with Reimagining Public Safety Taskforce. This one is 50 year Oakland resident, says OPD does little or nothing to reduce crime. She says that NYPD only spends 7% on police, and aren't in highest violent crime rate list [they are paid much less]
Speaker is the second person to say that the Lake Merritt was teeming with officers when victim was killed at Grand last week and it stopped nothing.
Yet another speaker who says were a victim of violent crime & police weren't a help. Couldn't prevent any crimes on her street, including murder, from happening on her block. Respond after fact. She says unconscionable that during same meeting Head Start is fighting for funding.
Daniel Robelo, another opponent of the funding for more academies, says there is no staffing crisis, 60 officers can be redeployed to street that already exist. He says that this is a craven political move.
Reissa Jaffe recounts that a person with a mental health crisis murdered her father in 2010, and she doesn't support more police. She doesn't hear victims asking for more police in Oakland.
Speakers against more academies/funding, now approaching triple those who support.
Speaker says that issues today on agenda, are underfunding of youth vs overfunding of OPD caused by fear and political opportunism. Says he was punched by mentally disturbed person. Police played no role, services could have.
Public comment is over as the meeting moves on to Consent Calendar, clerk reading off list. Usually the items are voted for as a slate, and there's not a ton of discussion. Time taken up in reading whole list, pontification, throat-clearing from each Council member prior to vote
Consent Calendar passes unanimously, they're on to the public hearings. They're on to the Montclair BID annual report and levy approval. Going to get some food and what not during this, but usually when I do this, some insane kinda scandal is revealed.
On to same thing with Rockridge BID.
They're also doing the federally required "CAPER" report on use of HUD funds for affordable housing and homeless services. Pretty demoralizing how little 21 MM does.
307k settled in this case for city sewage back up that destroyed a Chinatown bank
We're going to the legislative agenda item first. This is the City's lobbying agenda at federal and state level foor fiscal year. Then they'll do the academy item together with Measure Z after that.
Bas says she wants to remind council and public about Council priorities which are in the report, here:
The City's lobbyist Niccolo DeLucca, VP at Townsend Public Affairs, long time city lobbyist at fed and state level giving report. Sifting through this stuff was interesting for me as I was learning about city politics, maybe for you too. Sometimes reveals! oakland.legistar.com/LegislationDet…
We're getting ready for the academy and Measure Z deliberations, in a couple of minutes
DeLucca says that Townsend didn't realize there'd be a surplus at state last year, so they're getting ready to be able to take advantage of that this session. Fife is trying to find out what the homelessness funding goes to.
Sorry, about that last tweet where I said the public safety items were up, my mistake, there's another set of items yet to go through...
CWS will refund all charges to property owners who were over-charged for trash service, that's 6 MM per City Attorney.
My count at the end of the day for "pro-academy" legislation was 9 callers. That's with both Taylor and Coalition for a Better Oakland doing a call out for comments, as well as OPD using City social media organs.
They are on the Head Start funding item. It would add full-funding of Head Start as a baseline in the mid-cycle budget, stabilize the City's Head Start staffing
The background on this: One of City's 3rd party Head Start orgs broke off from City, and applied for fed HS funds directly on its own. They got the contract, which took the money away from the City. Council approved layoffs, shutting sites. Council later brought the funding back
Council Members Thao, Bas, Kaplan apparently responded to a grassroots organizing from HS workers, community groups. One of the sites to be closed was in D6, but Taylor was not involved in bringing funding back.
Worth noting, Council was distracted on the day they approved the HS cuts, because they were administering aid to Fisher who was intolerably injured by the City following a due diligence process on giving him a billion dollars.
Taylor says he doesn't see identification of external funding for HS in legislation. Taylor as Life Enrichment Committee Chair knew about cuts & approved them, especially obviously, the one at Arroyo Viejo. Kaplan responds that direction includes pursuit of other funding sources
Thao asks why they're even here asking for the money, says this was all done in secret. It's weird, they all voted for the reduced legislation, and the report said that meant staffing cuts
There was one CM present at every stage of supporting HS layoffs, Taylor. But they all supported them when it came to council. It's possible Council expected to get another set of legislative instructions when the time came to make the cuts.
One of the outcomes of the shift of HS to Unity Council, the third party provider that applied for funds alone, is that Arroyo Viejo's HS in the park was moved to a school trailer around the corner next to a dangerously dilapidated abandoned city tennis court that UC is renting
HS Director Sara Bedford tells Council that the sites that were set to be closed are now open again [after Council restored funding], but they are not up at full.
The legislation directing City Admin to find funding for full HS at City of Oakland passed unanimously.
We're on to the academy budget amendment and the Measure Z hiring plan, which will be taken together. Reiskin is giving the reportback, says that the Council asked for the Measure Z plan, and the budget amendment for Measure Z academy staffing comes along with it.
Reiskin repeats the city's mantra on the Measure failure to stay above 678. Admin gave the plan to council and council passed it, but Reiskin says it was based on mismeasure of attrition and academy production and didn't succeed. Mentions Thao's academy addition in September
Reiskin says that there are now 676 sworn police in OPD, and graduating academy in two weeks will add supposed 26 more officers. [which actually means the problem is resolved almost immediately]. Reiskin says that without the academies in next FY they'll fall below again.
Reiskin says that they will pay for the new academies in FY 21-22 by repurposing existing unused OPD funds, shifting eligible city wide equipment related costs to the equipment fund, and unused city wide salary savings
Reiskin says that he's incorporated Thao's lateral academy request both in reports and in legislation. Reiskin says there will be 734 sworn by June of 2023, which is less than current budgeted. CAO estimating 30 from each academy--after attrition that's 60 officers by June 2023
My article runs down everything Reiskin just talked about patreon.com/posts/explaine…
Reiskin adds amendments saying that part of the resolution as far as modification of hiring plan is contained in one of the reports. Second declares use of the "exception" to measure Z minimum staffing requirement, i.e., the revised plan.
Kalb's amendments would stipulate that any citywide salary savings used to fund the academy costs wouldn't come from DVP or MACRO. The text on right would go in notes for line item 5. Kalb says he's heard the rhetoric on that, and wants it in writing.
Thao is going through her lateral academy plan. She says that laterals will be faster, she wants a panel including youth, thorough background investigation, and the hiring bonuses.
Thao's amendments. A bit confusing. She's crossing out the elimination of holiday foot patrols, but adding the amount to the total of salary savings. It also incorporates Kalb's amendments about not taking salary savings from MACRO or DVP
Another set of Thao's amendments for item 7, the Measure Z hiring plan; add her stipulations about lateral head-hunter org hire, the signing bonuses, and "interview panels" that include race/equity expert, plus youth. All would be dependent on City Admin's review.
Thao moved her items, but the Clerk wants them separated as they correspond to both the Measure Z hiring plan item and the budget amendment for budget. Thao said she's had city attorney review and its all good.
As I wrote, Thao's sixth lateral academy plan is complimentary to the City Admin and it appears pretty well coordinated. There's been no pushback at all on the seventh academy yet, and it appears there won't be.
Kalb is clearing up whether or not they'll lose Measure Z funding due to the number of days they've been under required staffing [my understanding is that the exception they're about to vote on prevents that from happening at all]
Kalb says that he's disturbed about the rhetoric about violent crime and "defunding". He says that the staffing budget was the same as last year's when crime was lower. He says we shouldn't be doing this, whoever is doing it. Deal with facts, and no rhetoric.
Kalb notes that the rhetoric also encourages officers to leave, instead of convincing them to say.
A bit confusing, but Kalb was exploring the option of doing nothing, i.e, not passing the legislation today to earn the exception. City's response is that it would have been 72k per day under the staffing requirement applied to next year's Z tax revenues.
Clarification on what Thao was seeking on removing holiday foot patrol funding...same amount is supposed to come out of city wide staffing savings. That would be $1.4 MM from OTHER departments. Between equipment and other dept savings, that's $3.8 MM that's from GPF, the majority
Gallo just said he wouldn't vote for the two academy item if it includes laterals. He said we've been down that road and it doesn't work.
Armstrong chiming in on OPD attrition. Most have been resignations, time on job 6 to 8 years [could it have been the vesting of their retirement based on salary increases?]
Armstrong says that the last academy had 23 grads. He says the most recent academy started with 31, they lost five but held there at 26 which he expects to graduate. [my math says that 186th academy grads of 26 does not raise the average past 24]
Armstrong has mentioned recruiting out of "athletic dept" at Laney dozens of times over the past six months. No one has ever asked him what the actual rationale of that is, or why athletes would make good police.
Gallo is back on laterals. He says, "you and I know that in the past we've run into challenges on lateral recruitments"...Armstrong said he asked for permission for laterals several months ago, but out of 6 candidates received, none of them fit, misconduct.
Armstrong says laterals would get into department faster. The lateral academy is 12 to 15 weeks, that's up from 10 weeks about ten years ago. There's also field training, another 15 weeks.
It's not surprising that the laterals are running into problems here. Kaplan defends the idea, saying that there's always problems with recruits. She says they should ensure that they're doing laterals differently, to weed out problems.
Thao defends her lateral idea. She says there's a lot of differences between this conception of laterals vs the past way they've been done.
Kalb says excluding discipline cases is a given; he says that they won't know whether there's officers willing until they begin recruiting. Kalb said, "we won't get 30 officers that way, maybe 10 or 15". [Welp, they've listed every subsequent academy at 30, so how does that work]
Reid said she has questions about the timeline of hiring laterals as well as cost, and also doesn't want to authorize giving more to outsiders than residents entering academy
Reid also asked about potential contract conflicts with OPOA about incentivizing officers. Also asks if laterals would also get seniority. Asking if incentive program will work with pre-academy
Bas says her goal is to reduce violence in community, attack root causes of violence. She says she wants to add friendly amendments 1) hiring panel will exclude officers with disciplinary, etc problems, 2) probationary period if that info isn't fully available.
Bas also wants to add another motion. None of it has to do with the items, but from previous legislation. She says she's willing to take this to Rules.
Taylor thanks "hundreds of Oaklanders that have emailed and called" his office on issue. He says its important to keep a civic engagement and discussion. Taylor complains that his items aren't being heard today due to "rules manuevering".
Taylor says that people have been left out of conversation by not adding the resolution. I believe one person mentioned Taylor's missing legislation today. Out of 9 people who called into this meeting. Just observing the facts.
Taylor wants to use procedure to agendize his items to the next meeting. He says he supports the City Administration's proposal
The Measure Z hiring plan, with amendments has been moved and seconded, but they're still discussing
Clarifying that Bas' item is a scheduling item, not an amendment.
Trying to understand the hiring timeline for Thao's lateral academy as it requires also contracting a hiring firm to do a nation wide search, and then choosing and convening a hiring panel in some undisclosed way.
CM Fife asks Armstrong about attrition rates, and asks Armstrong to explain why police are leaving. Armstrong says they've done exit interviews, OPOA surveys, city leadership, dept leadership and lack of appreciation and support. He says workload and heavy discipline as well.
Armstrong says they're engaging more with officers, discussing concerns about their feelings. He says attrition also means that workload gets bigger for remaining officers, extending officer shifts. Armstrong says "accountability" creates "some concerns or some unhappiness" [lol]
Armstrong says that internally and publicly there needs too be more support and appreciation of officers. Fife says that rhetoric from OPOA and Armstrong himself portray Council as bashing OPD and she says that's not happening.
Fife says she wants the access to the separation reports, even with names redacted. Fife says that Kianna Subtle had told Public Safety that the separations were for retirement and to be closer to families.
Fife says there's a difference between misinformation and disinformation, one may be inadvertent but the other is deliberate. Armstrong says that Subtle's comments were from a survey that was too broad to get specific data.
Armstrong says that it affects morale when police hear from CM's that they don't believe that their efforts prevent crime. He says that officers are preventing violent crime.
[Armstrong is something else, man]
Fife says that Armstrong didn't answer questions. She says that OPOA and OPD are putting out media and press releases blaming Council. "If you point your finger and say you're not doing that, it doesn't build trust"
Fife says that it's not City Council's fault that OPD has failed to hire the number of officers they're budgeted for. Fife says that Armstrong and the mayor said there was a hiring freeze when there wasn't.
Armstrong says that he never said that there was a hiring freeze, but that positions were frozen. He says less police were budgeted with fewer academies. He says its not a hiring issue.
Armstrong is not being honest and its not a statement of opinion.
Armstrong just said they had an attrition rate of 5.5 but sometimes it was as high as 10. This is bothersome, because attrition rate is a monthly average based on the previous year's attrition rate. So, it was always 5.5, whether or not it was 10 one month. The math is unserious
They predicted 5.5, but it ended up being higher. But it wasn't higher because it was higher in October, it was higher over several months combined and not then lower.
Fife says she can't support the legislation right now.
Bas says that positions were eliminated by Schaaf in her budget to transfer the funds to overtime and "right size". She says "not having the facts plays into public dialogue that has been very harmful to moving forward"
Bas also says that Schaaf had sent an action alert saying that 60 new officers would be hired, when that's just filling the vacant positions that are already budgeted.
Reid is having an extended rhetoric about violence.
Reid has come back to the idea that the lateral plan is excluding local residents who could be recruited and incentivized. There does seem to be some opposition to a lateral academy. Reid is hesitant, Gallo said no already.
Reid said at the beginning of this statement that she was waiting for answers about laterals, but she's really gone off on a tangent that's discursive, she's thanking police officers by name now.
Reid asks if there's enough staffing in Criminal Investigations.
Whoa, Reid has been talking for over five minutes straight and almost none of it has been about the academies.
Reid's monologue was probably closer to ten minutes. Pretty incredible, she asked perhaps two questions
Kaplan says number that Council approved for staffing is higher than the number hired by OPD. Kaplan says that some people thought the number of police should be higher and some thought it should be lower, but the fact is that OPD couldn't hire the number that was approved
Kaplan says she wants to make it clear that the Council has not been considering layoffs.
Kaplan says that last year hundreds of cops stayed downtown to police protests and didn't respond to armed caravans, but that wasn't their choice and they shouldn't be criticized for it.
Reiskin says he appreciates the convo about honest, and supports all officials to be mindful about their comments [ha ha]
Reiskin: lateral recruits are half the time and half the costs. He notes that cops outside of CA would need another month of training [so academies could be over four months if majority out of state]
Reiskin says that recruiters may only cost about 40k, so that part is not a big expense, the incentives will be deliberated in another meeting.
Reiskin says that the primary place they'll be filling vacancies with new hires in patrol, then investigations and ceasefire.
Bas takes privilege of president to make final comments, says she can move forward in unity on academies as long as they move forward in equity and mutual respect, advancing facts and getting away from disinformation that has harmed public trust and potentially caused violence
Bas basically says she's going to vote on the two academies, one lateral, one regular. Not everyone appears sold on laterals.
Bas says that there will be a scheduling motion on the incentive item for laterals and traditional academies to 12/21. Reid says she's not supportive of the nation-wide hiring plan, but is supportive of unammended CAO resolution which is vague on specifics of lateral
Reid said she doesn't necessarily support the laterals, but does support the CAO's legislation. Thao points out that the CAO Measure Z plan already has a commitment to attempt a lateral
Thao says that she worked with the City Administration to add the lateral language in the Measure Z legislation.
Taylor made last attempt to remove the mention of lateral academies in the Measure Z legislation, but Thao called question. Fife & Reid abstained. Gallo voted no, Kalb, Kaplan, Taylor, Thao, Bas yes. It passed. This is just Z plan, but it does commit CAO to pursue lateral academy
So we are back to item that amends budget, directs creation of 2 academies. Thao + Kalb's amendments to budget line items: Kalb's DVP/MACRO savings can't be used for academies, Thao removed deletion of holiday patrols, added amt to GPF salary savings. Add that to base language
Gallo is reiterating his opposition to lateral academies, he says they caused problems in the past. He says he wants to trust the CAO will do better, but needs to see the plan.
Reid wants to go back & change her vote for last Measure Z item in light of better understanding now. City Attorney says only someone who voted yes can re-open a vote. Taylor moved to re open the last vote on Measure Z plan, which requires a vote, Gallo seconded.
The motion to reconsider the Measure Z vote passed, so now they're going back and re-voting on the Measure Z plan again [some silly stuff, but okay]
On the second round vote: Fife abstained, Gallo, no. So this time it passed with six ayes. Reid wanted to go back and show up with a yes vote, and that's obviously for appearances
Back to budget amendment to fund & authorize academies in first FY. Fife abstain, Gallo no. Kalb, Kaplan, Reid, Taylor, Thao, Bas yes. 6 ayes, passed. Council voted to authorize, fund 7 academies, with 5.8MM from FY 21-22, and adding 5.3 MM to baseline budget FY 22-23 mid-cycle
On to a scheduling item for recruiting part for lateral and regular academy, including financial incentives. The legislation amended to state 20k incentive for traditional academy is a minimum. passed. So incentive & head-hunting part of plan for laterals are still up for grabs
Taylor introduced a scheduling motion for legislation that didn't make this meeting, Rules didn't schedule it last week. Lot of direction to City Admin & report backs, some can't be carried out by City, academy part no longer applicable.[800 officers by end of 2023 is a fantasy]
City Attorney says that Taylor's motion only requires a second according to rules of procedure, no vote of body required. It's done. Gallo seconded it with caveat he doesn't support it all.
Kaplan says there's some confusion about the item Taylor just read in and thanks him for reading it in. She says that there was heated rhetoric about the item, but that its for direction to bring report back in January 2022 and the language doesn't match.
Thao addressing allegations by Taylor that she and Bas over-reached, she said that it would have gone to a future Rules meeting and it wasn't immediate enough for a Rule 28 request. She says there was no political motivation, mentions Taylor's accusations [below]
Kalb said that they'd already voted on the academies so that part is taken care of.
Fife says some of the info in Taylor's proposal was duplicative.
City Attorney says Rule Taylor was trying to use to schedule isn't applicable, because item was never scheduled to Rules. She says items that aren't urgent would just be rolled over. She says it would be more appropriate for Taylor to wait to see if its scheduled at next Rules
Taylor should have probably waited til the next Rules meeting, instead of making this move that's made public there's explanation why it wasn't scheduled and that nothing in it was urgent, and some of it was duplicative.
Thao corrects Taylor that the item was never scheduled to Rules at all. City Attorney says that the item was submitted, but never considered by Rules because of the cancellation. It auto rolls over to the next Rules meeting. Taylor's motion didn't go forward in the end at all
Taylor then moved to schedule the item from the floor, which any council member can do. It passed, Fife was absent,
They moved on to open forum. NOw there's actually another meeting, annual meeting with CPAB, SSOC, and Police Commission. Here's the agenda. Unclear why Taylor didn't schedule his plan here.
At the end of the meeting, Bas took point of privilege to respond to an inquiry about the total cost of the academies. Bas confirmed that the academies total cost was 11 million dollars [pretty sure I'm the only one who's reported that]
oh no, I wrote Cat Brooks of OPD. Sorry, Cat.

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