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Re: “Why are Oakland's City-Worker Unions Making it Harder to Fire Bad Cops?

Some background on binding arbitration: All City of Oakland employees covered by union contracts have the right to choose to go to binding arbitration to contest discipline imposed by management for violation of work rules that were set by contract negotiations. Alternatively, the employee could choose to go to court and pay big legal fees and court costs.

Binding arbitration does a good job protecting employees from arbitrary, capricious discipline that could be imposed on police officers as much as on City Parks maintenance employees, etc. But typically, arbitrators "split the baby in half" in their decisions. Since it is impossible to half fire someone, terminated police officers invariably get re-instated.

Regardless of a charter amendment, any change to arbitration would not take effect until expiration of current police contract, two years from now.

In addition, Police and Fire sworn personnel also get binding arbitration to resolve contract deadlocked negotiations. No other City unions get that.
Two years ago Palo Alto repealed that type of binding arbitration for police and fire. They promptly reduced fire and police pay by 5%. Police and fire fighters are prohibited by state law from striking.

Binding arbitration for all city employees including police for discipline matters is common in big cities. SF is one of the few big cities that does not allow binding arbitration for serious discipline matters of police and fire.
For discipline matters, the arbitrator is selected by a process of elimination by City Attorney's office staff and the union's attorney (or equivalent) from a pool of arbitrators certified by a state body. Arbitrators who are partial to either management or employee end up without work if both sides are on the ball and exercising their veto power in the selection process.

Everyone except the police union agrees that the discipline binding arbitration process make it very difficult to fire bad cops. There is no consensus on how to fix that without going to the other extreme and eliminating it entirely for at least serious discipline charges. Not simple to fix in an equitable way. For example, if there's a police officer disliked by brass because she/he went to the press to disclose problem within OPD and brass brought bogus charges against them, it wouldn't be good to force the accused cop to file a lawsuit if an arbitrator would do the right thing.

As the article described, the nonpublic safety unions see any reform of police discipline binding arbitration as an attack on binding arbitration for all city workers.

Will T. asked which Council Members refused to approve the amendment with even a mild reform to the method of selecting the arbitrators (which probably would have no effect on the outcome of their decisions). I'd say all of the council members other than Kalb and Gallo.

Personally, I favor a variation of the SF approach combined with an independent Police Commission (SF's is not very independent) where binding arbitration is repealed only for police and only for serious offenses.

But it's more important to establish a strong, politically independent Police Commission none of whose members are chosen directly by any Mayor, with broad oversight and subpoena powers and scope, with its own staff attorney, then to fail approval because of insistence on reforming binding arbitration.

If this charter amendment is approved by voters in November we will have two years until the police contract expires to evaluate whether the Commission is able to fire bad cops and effectively discipline other officers and their supervisors. If we see most of the officers and their supervisors who were complicit in the cover-up of the statutory rape, get off with the usually binding arbitration letter of reprimand plus full back pay and restoral of rank, then we have to come back to Council to repeal binding arbitration for police serious discipline matters.

Regardless of future binding arbitration reform, we have to insist on transparency of all future contract negotiations with the OPOA (police union) so that whether we change arbitration or not, that we make sure the City has negotiated hard for clear enforceable standards of behavior for all police officers, including the brass. Without such rules, it is always going to be difficult for either an arbitrator or a court to uphold a disciplinary action.

Len Raphael, CPA
(opinions expressed are my own)

Posted by Len Raphael on 07/16/2016 at 11:59 PM

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: “Time for White Americans to be Part of the Solution, Not the Problem

This is an insightful commentary with a dire warning. I think all Americans need to take heed and step up to individual responsibility. I KNOW most black Americans don't want blood shed just by their patience and willingness to work with system for decades. By the current status of America on race relations with black Americans, I KNOW that a large majority of white Americans DON'T CARE about race relations with black Americans as an important issue in their daily lives. I KNOW THIS FOR A FACT.....a great portion of white America can come together with other races and elect a black president for two terms, when they think its to their individual benefit but cannot come together in 250 to 300 years over racial injustice to a major racial sect. A major sect of people carrying various degrees of the white blood line too, with a skin color shades deeper. It is my opinion that a large majority of white Americans DON'T WANT TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. Racial divisiveness continues go be perpetuated in the homes by parents, in the schools by teachers, in the workplace by employers and corporations, in the politic by power grabbers and authority enforcers. So even when Black Americans follow all the rules, rise to the top, wait on the nod or favor of someone in power, they are still disrespected....i.e. President Obama called a liar by a congressman during a State of the Union speech in front of the joint House of Congress and the SCOTUS. When black Americans, white Americans, all Americans, the world, witnesses this behavior....come on, what's next....

Posted by cynthia1948 on 07/16/2016 at 11:56 AM

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

Re: “Black Lives Matter Now: Short Essays by Express Readers on Racial Injustice in America

We can't hide from the headlines anymore and people from all over the world are now waking up. The European power structure with their religious jargon is now falling on deaf ears. Minorities all over the world are now being awakened.

From my first visits to Cuba, Central America, and Africa, you could feel the change and global revolution among the people worldwide within the air. That's why it's so imperative for people of color to learn their history and to be properly educated on who they are and their history of greatness.

And now I can compare the Black lives matter movement to the civil rights movement of the late 50s and early 60s. Both movements are equally powerful. Whenever I would compare their struggles, I've always thought the civil rights movement was more dangerous because of the lynching.

But now I can sadly say we are still witnessing lynching in 2016 by the same crooked cops, which has sparked the Black lives matter movement all over the world and equally placing both organization's struggles on the same page.

Pretty much we've been treading in shallow waters and nothing has changed. But it's just something special about this generation. I remain hopeful and optimistic that this generation will be victorious in our struggles.

Derrick Newton

Posted by Derrick Newton on 07/16/2016 at 4:52 AM

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

This city council continues to engage in these amateurish negotiations while allowing Wells Fargo to walk away with a minuscule fine...
Oakland should be requesting that the court make Wells Fargo come up with $378 billion...This is the amount that Wells generated in it's relationship with El Chapo Guzman's drug cartel during the same time that they were stealing homes in Oakland...
The problem in Oakland is corruption...
Pressure won't be put on Wells because Jerry Brown set up the corrupt system of politics in Oakland and everybody from the Mayor down is beholden to Brown for allowing the criminal activity...
Read my Facebook pages, Real Estate Crisis or Government Sanctioned Racketeering?....
Sincerely, Allen Sanford...

Posted by Allen Sanford on 07/16/2016 at 2:37 AM

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

This article is so obviously trying to blur lines between fact and innuendo . "Preceded husbands contract for urban core project". Notice it says husbands contract for UrbanCore project, rather than husbands contract for Urbancore. That's because the contract the husband had wasn't actually with Urbancore, but with KCP. The $4000 went to KCP, not to the husband. Also, what's "substantial" contract, if we don't know how much her was her husband paid? Was it $100? $50? Is that "substantial"? Husbands contract with KCP is one thing, KCPs contract with Urbancore is another thing, and the only thing with a dollar value in this article and the only thing that can therefore be considered substantial? Yet the monetary impact for McElhaney is unknown.

Posted by Clarence C. Johnson on 07/15/2016 at 11:58 PM

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

Did other employees of KCP donate to other councilmembers campaigns? That was conveniently left out of this article. Or did EBX not even look into that? Don't cherry pick facts to paint the narrative you want

Posted by Clarence C. Johnson on 07/15/2016 at 11:46 PM

Re: “Why are Oakland's City-Worker Unions Making it Harder to Fire Bad Cops?

Mary, this goes beyond how bad or not OPD is, beyond how straight or not OPD's IA which is supposed to determine and act on how bad that is, beyond any oversight, to the fact that any judgements any overseeing authority have are HIGHLY unlikely to be acted on due to a systematic bias in favor of officers, REINFORCED AND PROTECTED BY ORGANIZED LABOR. I am very appreciative of recent strides local unions have been making to (yay!) keep coal out of the port, but this behind-the-scenes lobbying to protect BAD COPS, that everyone, including not just the federal overseers, but the OTHER COPS (!!!) agree are bad, is f#*ing disgusting. I'd like to know exactly WHICH city councilmembers have been persuaded that it is a good idea to coddle, placate, PAY and honorably retire these f#*ing scumbags.

Posted by Will T 1 on 07/15/2016 at 7:49 PM

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

Why should we expect anything better from a Councilmember who continually thumbs her nose at the public process ? She personally used her own staff and City Planning management staff to inject her wishes on a private development project next to her home. Moreover, the City's illegal backroom deal with Urbancore on this E12th St parcel should have been a warning sign of what was to come. Nobody believes that the principal of Urbancore (Michael Johnson) accidently selected a firm that employed McElhaneys husband to survey the site. Also, I am sure that it was a coincidence that he personally performed the work. There is an old saying that some people don't believe fat meat is greasy. I am not one of those people. McElhaney is a shady operator who does not care about conflict of interest and disclosure requirements for public officials. As I recall, she has already been fined at least once by the FPPC for her shenanigans. I expect that there will be more disturbing stories unveiled as this Urbancore project moves forward. The project has wreaked with questionable ethical issues from the developer and the City from the beginning. My question is for City Attorney Barbara Parker. What will it take for the members of the City Council to comply with the law?

Posted by Gary Patton on 07/15/2016 at 7:30 PM

Re: “Eddie Huang Doesn't Care About the New Shit in Your City

I agree with Eddie...Bun Mam Soc Trang has the best Vietnamese soups I've had in either Oakland, SF or NYC. Well, at least since V's on Webster closed down about 10 years' ago.

Different of course from omnipresent Pha...and thus possibly to Vietnamese homey for some americans. But oooohhhh so good.

We'll get Bun Mam Soc Trang a place to open again soon enough!

Posted by Hugh Morrison on 07/15/2016 at 5:02 PM

Re: “Why are Oakland's City-Worker Unions Making it Harder to Fire Bad Cops?

The Ortiz case supports my suspicion since the June scandal started-----it's not just the cops who had encounters with Celeste Guap and Ms. Guap is not the only Oakland sex worker or trafficking victim to have been victimized by OPD officers. Keep digging til we know whether the OPD officer-sex worker scandal is limited and or whether OPD IA is a straight-shooting internal watchdog/professional standards organization or instead is using the same playbook as the Catholic church in Boston...

And the next time the Mayor, OPD reps or other City officials say stuff like "it's just the rookies"...."it' will all be fixed by auditing and revising screening and training", call them on that. Some of the officers in the sex and cover-up scandals were rookies, but some were not. The OPD supervisors who cover stuff up (Holmgren, home invasion case) are not rookies/recent recruits and are at the center of OPD's bad culture. Obviously, an officer who has used lethal force, cost the city millions in a settlement, has had his discipline overturned in arbitration and then offends again shows that OPD management spends more time bemoaning arbitration, little if any time correcting any management mistakes that led to the arbitration loss and zero time retraining the subject, formerly fired officers ......

Posted by Mary Vail on 07/15/2016 at 3:20 PM

Re: “DMX

I don't know what to think of this man who has CERTAINLY seen his share of hard times + struggling to overcome adversity + addiction.
I marvelled at his strength in abandoning the Illiminati + I read, and saw that he was possibly going to become a pastor BUT THEN OUT COMES THIS ALBUM WITH "GUTTERISH LANGUAGE"...motherf__ker, etc
Now he has me confused!
Pastors don't normally curse!???
I LOVE THIS MAN + can empathize with him but "you can't play both sides, my man"!!! STAY STRONG + BEST OF LUCK IN "All" your endeavers! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Posted by Juliette MacDonald on 07/15/2016 at 3:11 PM

Re: “Best Sports Astrologer

Way to go, Sweet Babar! So proud of you for never wavering in living your passion and doing it so beautifully❤️❤️❤️

Posted by Kate Taylor on 07/15/2016 at 11:09 AM

Re: “Landlord Being Sued for Allegedly Pushing Out SRO Tenants

So just to confirm Lily. One of the 5% owners has a Chinese wife, and therefor has decided he can "take out all of your belongings without notice" Is that right? *All* of your things were thrown away without notice? Are you familiar with Libel laws? There are always 2 sides to a story, but maybe only say true things if possible.

Posted by James Kilpatrick on 07/15/2016 at 9:45 AM

Re: “Why are Oakland's City-Worker Unions Making it Harder to Fire Bad Cops?

This is all small potatoes.

Remember that our Mayor successfully fired one of the recent new police-chiefs-for-a-day because he might have had an affair a decade ago.

No need to worry about the small stuff. Our Mayor is doing a great job keeping OPD in line.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 07/15/2016 at 9:38 AM

Re: “Jet Martinez Brings a Floral Green Flash to Downtown Oakland

This effect of Mr. Martinez's gorgeous mural on downtown Oakland, given its sight lines, becomes a real part of the city scape. The artist RIGO was painting large scale murals in San Francisco in the 1990's that functioned in a similair way, but to completely different effect. While RIGO's work often seemed to protest, Jet celebrates. Thanks for keeping it positive in this moment.

Posted by Kyle Knobel on 07/15/2016 at 9:31 AM

Re: “Mid-Week Menu: Stag’s Is Closing, FuseBOX Will Expand, and Human Interaction-Free Quinoa Comes to Berkeley

Stag's was tasty but a sure fire rip off, man. $25 for a roast beef sandwich and a soda? You should go out of business with that shit.

Posted by Jono Schneider on 07/15/2016 at 1:28 AM

Re: “Black Lives Matter Now: Short Essays by Express Readers on Racial Injustice in America

While I am honored to have had my piece selected, I'm quite disturbed that it was edited down. The call out was for up to 500 word essays and what I submitted was under that amount...yet the following was edited out. WHY? You asked for perspective, why would you limit mine when the lives of our brothers and sisters of color are on the line? Engage, especially if it makes us uncomfortable. PARTICULARLY if it makes us uncomfortable.

"I say that this impacts OUR community because these are our brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews who are dying, being locked up, and terrorized by people unwilling to interrupt and examine our personal bias as well as laws and policies that disproportionately harm our family of color.
When my black sister is curled up in a ball for days on end after seeing another video of an unarmed black man murdered by police.
When my black brother is numb and hides out in his house to avoid having to talk to anyone after another white man walks free after murdering a black person.
When my black niece makes videos about the pain of black girls not fitting in and it resonates with millions of cis and trans black women.
When my black nephew rehearses with his parents EVERY DAY before he leaves the house what to do if he encounters a police officer knowing that it may very well be an exercise in futility…#PhilandoCastille.
When any of my black family and friends have to weather a breaking point again and again and again….and then be expected to show up in service of curious white people (their boss, the person buying coffee in front of them, their landlord) who want to talk about these horrific events from a voyeuristic curiosity and be re-traumatized again and again and again.

I will NOT be silent while this country does this to my family. YOUR life matters, black family.
White family, if you see, you are EXPECTED to raise your voice and be in action with us. If you don’t see, you are EXPECTED to open your eyes. The atrocities we see (when we choose to look) on our own soil by far outweigh the smoke and mirrors our government and media will have you believe about "outside terrorism" coming in. Scared of ISIS? Try being black in any city in America. ISIS is not the priority. The liberation of our family being terrorized right in front of our closed eyes is the priority. Look, listen, learn, engage, stand up… know full well you’d burn the courthouse down if this was your brother or sister. Well, it is. Light the match, family.

#blacklivesmatter #noneofusarefreeuntilweareallfree"

Maureen Benson,
Oakland, CA

Posted by shakingmyheadindisbelief on 07/14/2016 at 10:28 PM

Re: “Barclay's Pub Forced to Leave Rockridge after 25 Years

Wow Bijan, you're a real prognosticator! You "predicted" the business would fail "back in the 90's" and only had to wait 20+ years for your prediction to "come true." Except the business isn't failing at all. It's being forced out by the landlord and plans to reopen. Also, if you wait long enough pretty much any business will close. Hey, I predict that you will die someday! I'm never wrong.

Posted by DawnTB on 07/14/2016 at 6:55 PM

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