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Comment Archives: stories: Blogs: Seven Days

Re: “Oakland Cell Phone Surveillance Vote Postponed to Improve Privacy Protections

What are the penalties for police violating the policy, or using the surveillance equipment to spy on people without justification? If they can still use the gear to wrongfully invade our privacy and no one is held accountable, that's not acceptable.

Posted by Starchild on 07/27/2016 at 12:21 AM

Re: “Town Business: Did OPOA Gut Oakland's Police Commission?

I am glad to hear that Rashidah Grinage and Pamela Drake of the Coalition are still positive about the likely benefits of the prospective Police Commission.

It is a sad fact that the realization of the Commission is coming at possibly the worst possible time with the Police Officers Association with its hackles up so the process is fraught with a great deal of mistrust. And of course the Mayor is concerned above all with protecting her administrative power. The Council is having to do a lot of work in a very short period of time in their characteristic reactive "last minute" mode rather than in an extended process of democratic outreach and reflection and planning ahead. This sort of policymaking, although typical of Oakland, isn't guaranteed to produce the best possible outcomes.

Although I have for many years supported a Police Commission for Oakland, these days I am also feeling very sympathetic with our cops because of the revolving door of the Chiefs, the ongoing low morale and constant high level of attrition and the Mayor's utter irrationality and incompetence.

I'm also very concerned about the citizens who don't have nearly the level of police service they need and deserve, and who at the same time bear the high dollar costs of our department due to lawsuits and constant turnover. All this in a time when there is no evident leadership or vision for the future.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/25/2016 at 11:38 PM

Re: “Town Business: Did OPOA Gut Oakland's Police Commission?

Pamela is correct. Does the Commission still have 'teeth?' It may not have wisdom teeth, but it still has molars. The most important accomplishment of the measure is that it cuts the City Administrator out of the disciplinary process. This is a major reform. Although the Coalition is not getting everything we wanted, placing this item on the ballot is a significant step in what will be an ongoing process to bring the Oakland community into the process of how it is policed and will strengthen the ability to hold accountable officers who abuse their authority, racially profile and violate Department policy. The glass is not full, but it is more full than empty. No doubt there will be more work needed in the future, but make no mistake: this is a victory that should be celebrated and the work will soon begin to ensure a win in November!

Posted by Rashida Grinage on 07/25/2016 at 9:45 PM

Re: “Town Business: Did OPOA Gut Oakland's Police Commission?

Wow. How many more teeth will get pulled out of this thing by Tuesday?

Christopher Fallis
Oakland, CA

Posted by Christopher Fallis on 07/25/2016 at 1:40 PM

Re: “Town Business: Did OPOA Gut Oakland's Police Commission?

This "strong Mayor" proposal smacks of Jerry Brown's administration...
Let's make the police officers get private insurance for firearms, that way if they engage in activity that results in unjustified use of force with a firearm it will come directly out of their pocket or the pocket of the police union....
Read my Facebook pages for the rest of the solution to the problems facing Oakland and the rest of California...
" Real Estate Crisis or Government Sanctioned Racketeering?"
Regards, Allen Sanford

Posted by Allen Sanford on 07/25/2016 at 10:27 AM

Re: “Town Business: Did OPOA Gut Oakland's Police Commission?

I am still formulating my thoughts on the final proposal and the coalition will set a date to meet and vote on whether to endorse it after Tuesday's final council vote.
At one point we had discussed an "elastic clause" with CM Kalb and CM Gallo to prevent the scope from being narrowed. We'll continue to lobby for that language until Tuesday evening.
We are disappointed in the mayor and council's inflexibility on the issue of her appointments. It seems a compromise to this
mayor is that she gets everything she wants.

But it is NOT gutted and is stronger than the original council proposal. We hope people will understand the level of hard work put in by both the coalition-all of us, including people who emailed, called or spoke at council and the CMs who struggled with us and each other. This is landmark legislation that many said couldn't be done. In a city with a tradition of terrible police misconduct and little credibility, change has come.

Posted by Pamela Drake on 07/25/2016 at 9:25 AM

Re: “Town Business: Did OPOA Gut Oakland's Police Commission?

Sounds gutted to me.

Posted by JP Massar on 07/25/2016 at 7:42 AM

Re: “Oakland SRO Tenants Sue Tech Housing Investors for Harassment

The same outfit has purchased the warehouse at 1919 Market, around the corner from my house. A group of neighbors have had to confront Danny Haber over the neglect of the HUGE building, and frankly our meetings with him just made my skin crawl. He was even suggesting that they put in a "dive bar", so apparently there's a pattern with him wanting to open bars on the properties they... well "manage" implies they actually DO something without being forced.

On a more personal level, Danny Haber is a late 20's "bro" who brought a case of cheap beer to the 1st community meeting, and acted surprised when none of us "grown ups" wanted any. He did not wear a suit or make any effort to appear professional. I don't know if he's had to deal with a group of angry homeowners near one of these blighted properties, but if he has, he certainly hasn't learned how to come across as something other than a creep who loves to drink.

Posted by cwestoak on 07/21/2016 at 9:04 AM

Re: “Letters to Bay Area Media: Crime Is Way Up in San Francisco; Why Aren't You Reporting About It?

I'm glad I'm not the only one who knows this. The news does not report all SF crime in order to keep the squeaky clean reputation it has to keep transplants and tourists coming. Today is a perfect example. Today (7/20/16) a daytime fatal shooting in the Potrero Hill projects never got mentioned tonight on the news. Every shooting that happens in SF does not get reported compared to Oakland where they report and create backstories and interviews to embed in people's minds that Oakland bad, SF good.

Posted by mr.bsk on 07/20/2016 at 11:24 PM

Re: “SEIU 1021 and Activists Say They're Joining Forces to Support Oakland Police Commission

Update: Tonight, Tues July 19th we had a big turnout of supporters for a strong, politically independent Police Commission selected by a "citizens’' committee with a broad mandate for investigating all complaints about police misconduct and disciplining police and the police chief. People expressed their support to giving the Commission the power to review all policies and procedures of OPD. Out of about a few dozen speakers, maybe 3 people raised a few mild objections to certain provisions. No one publicly supported allowing any mayor to directly select any Commission members.

In essence all of the changes proposed by our Coalition for Police Accountability were supported by many people I had never heard or seen before, and by well-known residents also.

Two former members of the existing Civilian Police Review Board spoke. They both described how their frustration with the toothless Board made them quit. Three other former members have told me the same exact thing in private.

In the next few days we will ask for firm commitments from every CM to support our original charter amendment after deletion of any reference to changing binding arbitration. That was our agreement with all of organized labor except for OPOA and that's fine by most of us in the Coalition for Police Accountability.

The Mayor has stayed publicly silent on the amendment and only once arranged a meeting with the Coalition. Not unreasonable to assume the Mayor privately expressed her wish for her office to directly select 3 out of the Commission members, but we don't know.

But much can still happen in the week before the July 26th special session of Council to vote on a revised charter amendment. I'm sure OPOA has not given up their fight to weaken the Commission.

So please contact your council member and at-large CM Kaplan asking them to support the Coalition for Police Accountability modifications to the Kalb/Gallo proposal.

Len Raphael, CPA
Treasurer Coalition for Police Accountability

Posted by Len Raphael on 07/19/2016 at 11:30 PM

Re: “Town Business: A Strong or Weak Police Commission?

Dan Kalb has just relayed the announcement that the Council will only be taking the public testimony tonight, not voting.

It's good because we'll be heard earlier tonight. It also gives all of us more time to contact our council members.

Not so good in that it also gives the police union, OPOA, to throw their political weight at the council members to force a watered down Police Commission that will just be a better funded version of the ineffectual Civilian Police Review Board that we currently have.

Please show up tonight no later than 630. Register online to talk or just to cede your time when you get to the meeting.

This week contact Rebecca Kaplan and your local council member to express your support for the version advocated by our Coalition for Police Accountability. They'll know what you want.

Len Raphael, CPA
Treasurer www.CoalitionForPoliceAccountability.org

Posted by Len Raphael on 07/19/2016 at 2:44 PM

Re: “SEIU 1021 and Activists Say They're Joining Forces to Support Oakland Police Commission

BUT as Dan Kalb announced, the Council will be taking the public testimony tonight. It's good because we'll be heard earlier tonight. It also gives all of us more time to contact our council members.

Not so good in that it also gives the police union, OPOA, to throw their political weight at the council members to force a watered down Police Commission that will just be a better funded version of the ineffectual Civilian Police Review Board that we currently have.

Please show up tonight no later than 630. Register online to talk or just to cede your time when you get to the meeting.

This week contact Rebecca Kaplan and your local council member to express your support for the version advocated by our Coalition for Police Accountability. They'll know what you want.

Len Raphael, CPA
Treasurer www.CoalitionForPoliceAccountability.org

Posted by Len Raphael on 07/19/2016 at 2:41 PM

Re: “Town Business: A Strong or Weak Police Commission?

Would any of these schemes make Oakland safer for residents and merchants? No. So when anti-police activist Rashidah Grinage praises an editorial piece, you know it is not journalism and the author is not functioning as a journalist.

Posted by Charlie Pine on 07/19/2016 at 8:45 AM

Re: “Town Business: A Strong or Weak Police Commission?

The politics of a police commission charter amendment are messy, affecting the interests and power of the OPOA, all the other city unions, Mayor, City Council, and lastly the residents.

The detailed wording of the charter amendment will mean the difference between a pumped up version of the current Civilian Police Review Board and a community responsive Police Commission able and willing to step on any toes needed to improve constitutional policing in Oakland.

You touched on most of the remaining points of possible contention: mayoral direct selection of several commissioners, subpoena power, and selection/supervision of the commission's attorney.

Your omitted disagreement on whether the scope of the Commission to investigate and to review/recommend is to be limited to a very short list of current police misconduct.

The Coalition's original amendment and it's subsequent recommended change to the June 14th Kalb/Gallo version "allows the Police Commission to review all OPD policies, procedures, customs, and General Orders."

We also strongly recommend that the Commission be empowered " to investigate every public complaint it receives" instead of just "to investigate all complaints involving use of force, in custody deaths, profiling, and First Amendment assemblies" because as policing methods change, so will the subject of complaints. The current wording would not even allow the Commission to investigate OPD cover-up of the statutory rapes.

After several years of studying police commissions and review boards in cities across the US and talking to people who have served on those commissions and boards, to activists, academics, and a cross section of Oakland residents, we reached consensus on a model police commission for Oakland.

The Commission needs to be more than just an adequately funded version of the current Civilian Police Review Board.

Len Raphael, CPA

Posted by Len Raphael on 07/18/2016 at 11:08 PM

Re: “Town Business: A Strong or Weak Police Commission?

A masterful summary, Darwin. Thank you so very much for making a very complicated process understandable.

Posted by Rashida Grinage on 07/18/2016 at 10:51 PM

Re: “Town Business: A Strong or Weak Police Commission?

Oakland's police reform and democratic management challenges are far from unique.

The article below describes very well the situation in San Francisco which has a weak police commission. This should be a warning for Oakland but unfortunately most of Oakland's pols don't get it and our electorate has been permanently discouraged and disenfranchised.

http://48hills.org/2016/07/11/sfpd-is-a-to…

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/18/2016 at 10:18 AM

Re: “Vote by Oakland Council President McElhaney Preceded Husband's Substantial Contract for UrbanCore Project. Was it a Conflict?

Clarence C. Johnson,

Wiley Pierce's $250 contribution to Gibson McElhaney in January 2014 is the only contribution from a member of the Pierce family, or an employee of KCP, to an Oakland politician, according to city records.

Posted by Darwin BondGraham on 07/17/2016 at 9:14 PM

Re: “Federal Police Officer Offered to Pimp East Bay Teenager at Center of Oakland Police Sex-Abuse Scandal

Just another way for a hood rat to get rich of the taxpayers. Lies!

Posted by hobo joe on 07/17/2016 at 9:34 AM

Re: “Governor Brown Appoints Republican Oil Executive to be Industry Regulator

what a waste... the guy had long history of under the table cash payment during the time he was at sr2020, according to people who worked with him. He also got rid of many people who he did not like at that office, including a few exec and employees. I bet former ceo of sr2020 still has lawsuit against him, too. Jerry Brown should have done a long due diligence on this dude!

Posted by Sam 1 on 07/16/2016 at 7:59 PM

Re: “Vote by Oakland Council President McElhaney Preceded Husband's Substantial Contract for UrbanCore Project. Was it a Conflict?

Gibson McElhaney provides the fermented fish for Libby Schaaf's high fructose corn syrup in Oakland "secret sauce."

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/16/2016 at 11:01 AM

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