Friday, April 3, 2009

Oakland Violated Measure Y

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 12:43 PM

The City of Oakland has misspent millions of dollars of Measure Y funds, a parcel tax that pays for part of the police department's community policing program, an Alameda County Superior Court judge has ruled. The decision by Judge Frank Roesch affirms a tentative ruling he made in February. The police department had used Measure Y funds to recruit, hire, and train rookie cops so that it could put veterans into community policing roles. But Roesch ruled that this program violated Measure Y, because he said the measure requires that its funds can only be used to pay directly for community policing officers.

City Attorney John Russo previously said he would appeal Roesch's decision if the judge affirmed his earlier tentative ruling. The question is will the city have to return the funds immediately to the Measure Y account or can it wait until the appeals process has run its course? Or, can the city simply put rookies into the community policing positions, and thereby fulfill the intent of Measure Y? Oakland attorney Marleen Sacks, who filed the suit against the city on her own behalf, estimates that the city must return about $15 million to the Measure Y fund.


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