Updated: The Oakland police union began robo-calling Oakland residents yesterday, blaming Councilwoman Jean Quan for the city’s plan to lay off cops — even though she is not the driving force behind the layoff plan. The automated calls provide residents with Quan’s council office phone number and urge people to phone her and tell her not to put Oakland “lives at risk.” The calls represent a new escalation in the battle over whether police should begin contributing to their own pensions or face layoffs. And because they single out Quan, the union’s actions appear to be political since she is running against the police union’ favored candidate — Don Perata, who has taken up the union’s cause in this debate.
“They’re attacking me, but I’m not even the hard-liner on this,” Quan told the Express. Quan pointed out that Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente has been the most outspoken proponent of the cop layoff plan and of forcing police to start paying at least 9 percent of their own pensions. De La Fuente also is advocating for the immediate lay off of 150 police officers, while other council members are mulling over a proposal supported by Mayor Ron Dellums to eliminate eighty police positions now and ask voters to approve tax measures in November.
Nonetheless, the cops’ union has steadfastly refused to go after Perata’s longtime friend and close ally, De La Fuente, and instead is targeting Perata’s opponent in this year’s mayoral election. The union also has spared Councilwomen Jane Brunner and Pat Kernighan even though they hold similar views to Quan. Neither of them are running for mayor against Perata — nor is De La Fuente.
It also should be noted that the robocall contains innacurate information. It alleges that Quan has refused to consider budget cuts other than police layoffs, when in fact, she, De La Fuente, Brunner, and Kernighan proposed nearly $19 million in cuts unrelated to the layoffs earlier this week. The council plans to vote on those cuts — and the cop lay-off proposal — tomorrow night.
The robocall (unfortunately the intro got cut off):