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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Full Disclosure

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

max, max, max... you're all over the map, with nothing but opinion to base your, er, opinion on.

you likened anyone who doesnt agree with you to a proponent of a teen loitering policy, which, again, is something Michele Bachmann could have said.

you also have a skewed view of what you call "negative reinforcement." to you, a zero tolerance policy is the same as a federally-mandated court reform order. those are completely different concepts. one issue you dont seem to grasp is allocation and direction of police resources. another is that abuse of power is fairly serious, and not something which can be pooh-poohed.

and the fact is, you aren't in NYC or the midwest. hey, i'm glad you survived Ghosttown; maybe you should do a duet with Krayshawn next, since you have ghetto cred.

but you're not a policy expert, and just because you have one co-signer doesnt negate all the research that's out there.

it's not like i'm against public safety, i just dont think a teen curfew is the way to get there. if you want to go into victim mode and complain that you're not liberal enough for progressive thinkers to invite you in for a cup of Kombucha and a vegan scone, well, that's not my problem. But neither Reid nor de la Fuente qualify as progressive thinkers.

my position is this: let's get OPD in full compliance with the NSA. then we can talk about expanding their latitude. let's think out the logistics of enforcement prior to rubber-stamping any new tough-on-crime proposal which doesnt include restorative measures.

and you still havent addressed OPD accountability, which is a factor

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Posted by Eric K. Arnold on 10/02/2011 at 5:58 PM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

Well said, Max.


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Posted by yoyo_guru on 10/02/2011 at 1:32 PM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

Yeah, see that kind of response is pretty typical of Oakland, which is part of our problem.

When a guy like me, who'd be considered radically liberal anywhere else, mentions that a softer, well thought out version of a curfew law might be worth considering, I get stuff like what you've been saying. You liken me to the tea-party mascot and say you're surprised I don't want people arrested for jaywalking.

That's just ridiculous. Unnecessarily strident too.

My position is this: negative reinforcement for bad behavior sometimes works, especially in conjunction with positive reinforcement for good behavior and even better in conjunction with programs that provide tools for learning good behavior.

What I keep hearing is: negative reinforcement is always wrong, cops are never to be trusted, and can't be trusted to improve. I also keep hearing, from the same voices, that negative reinforcement is completely acceptable when it applies to cops and other authority figures.

I just don't buy it.

I also completely agree that incarceration levels in CA are grotesque, I agree that prison conditions are appalling.

As far as "we can't arrest our way out of the problem", I never suggested we do. Again, using that tired talking point against me is another example of what happens in Oakland when left wing democrats like me propose something that far left radicals oppose: we get painted as extremists.

I'd say this was all comical, except that I've been living in GhostTown for 6 years and I've seen no progress in the quality of life or in the safety of our youth. I know a 19 year old in my neighborhood who joined the military and comforted his mom by showing her with stats that he'd be safer in the military than in West Oakland.

And not always, but all too often, the dogmatic rhetoric I end up on the receiving end of? When it's most insistent it comes from people who live in the hills, or people who live in nice highrise apartment buildings overlooking lake Merritt.

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Posted by Max A on 10/02/2011 at 11:33 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

Max, i must say i'm surprised you havent proposed a 'zero tolerance for jaywalking' law. surely on your planet that is a reasonable measure.

this may come as news to you, but california, ALREADY participated in the incarceration escalation sweepstakes.

why even cite a reference which is completely irrelevant? #emptyargument.

you want hard numbers? ok.

here's two: California has a 70% recidivism rate. among young adults, that rate jumps to 90%

a teen curfew law will not reduce recidivism. you cant arrest your way out of the problem.

#real talk

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Posted by Eric K. Arnold on 10/02/2011 at 10:07 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

Ok, one more:

"Although the scale of New York City’s success is now well known and documented, most people may not realize that the city’s experience showed many of modern America’s dominant assumptions concerning crime to be flat wrong, including that lowering crime requires first tackling poverty, unemployment and drug use and that it requires throwing many people in jail or moving minorities out of city centers. Instead New York made giant strides toward solving its crime problem without major changes in its racial and ethnic profile; it did so without lowering poverty and unemployment more than other cities; and it did so without either winning its war on drugs or participating in the mass incarceration that has taken place throughout the rest of the nation."

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Posted by Max A on 10/02/2011 at 7:09 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

i can only hope that WAS your final thought, Max.

seriously, attempting to have a conversation about policing teens without first addressing police accountability misses the mark by a longshot.

you've got to deal with reality first, and statistics and research tell us that punitive, zero tolerance measures don't work because they dont soothe the underlying issues and solve the root causes of crime, undemployment and undereducation. Pumping money and police resources into flawed policies is a mistake.

until you can wrap your head around that,Max, you will always be off-target.


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Posted by Eric K. Arnold on 10/02/2011 at 2:02 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

And here's my final thoughts on why I think Bob missed the mark in this piece:

Bob says: "There's no way to know for sure if lower juvenile arrest rates mean that juvenile crime itself has declined."

Also: "In 2005 and 2006, Oakland reported a very low youth crime rate, because then Police Chief Wayne Tucker de-emphasized youth arrests in the city."

- Sound to me like Oakland's stats aren't reliable enough to draw any hard conclusion from.

"Long Beach, a similarly sized city that has a curfew, experienced a 12.8 percent increase in youth crime over the same period." "Long Beach, which strictly enforces its curfew, tallied 538 such arrests a year over the same time.""Arrest reports are the only statistical way to measure youth crime rates"

- So, Long Beach introduced a curfew, and began arresting youth for violating the curfew. Presto, youth arrests go up. Does that mean youth crime went up or does it mean enforcement went up?

New arrests for curfews would likely add to the arrest total. Further, peripheral arrests due to curfew arrests could have upped the total. A kid arrested for curfew violation who was searched and found with a concealed knife could mean an arrest for possession of a weapon that wouldn't have happened before the curfew was implemented.

Again: The stats don't necessarily tell us that the curfew made overall quality of life or over all crime worse or better. The stats tell us that the stats are hard to interpret.

Also, While De La Fuente and Reid's proposal doesn't explicitly mandate enforcement based on arrests, it doesn't preclude this either. I absolutely do not support that method. Arrests should only happen for obdurate repeat offenders, or for youth found to be committing arrestable offenses while they are stopped for curfew or loitering violations. A better way to deal with first offenses is a citation, which would include a letter to a parent or guardian. Also, detention doesn't need to be a criminal arrest. In Minneapolis, youth out past curfew are brought to a truancy/curfew center, as shown in my the previous comment.

I don't doubt that the stats Gammon used were from valid sources. I doubt the interpretation of the stats: he takes them to mean something bigger than I think they mean.

And I think that a fair analysis of curfews needs to look into different types of curfews. It appears to me that the exact policy that is coming to council is not the right one for Oakland, but that there are versions that could work.

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Posted by Max A on 10/01/2011 at 1:10 PM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

Here's a link to Minneapolis' policy, which seems quite reasonable.

Here's a link to an independent review of the Minneapolis Curfew/Truancy Center:

Again, if we're going to evaluate whether or not we should have a curfew, it's important to evaluate how that curfew happens. I'm not prepared to support the current Oakland proposal as written. A version more like Minneapolis would be another story.

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Posted by Max A on 10/01/2011 at 12:32 PM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

max, you're not a policy expert. you're just an opinionated advocate for your own views. theoretically, you're on shaky ground. you have no facts to back you up. So i'm taking everything you say with a grain of salt. there are deeper issues here which you are afraid to discuss, apparently. i dont know the cause of your fear. but any discussion/analysis which does not speak to the underlying issues is bogus.

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Posted by Eric K. Arnold on 10/01/2011 at 11:30 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

A curfew? Oakland police doesn't seem to be able to enforce the laws out there as it is. Let's just throw an extra one out there as a posture-laden band-aid.

And that curfew in Fresno? It's still a crime infested mess there, curfew or not!

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Posted by anneisanne on 10/01/2011 at 1:36 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary


I dont have the patience for your debating style. I don't have the patience to sit here and be compared to Michelle Bachmann when I'm completely sincere about seeking ways to make Oakland safer.

Nor do I have the patience to read that you presume, based on the color of my skin, that I don't care about abuses of power.

I'm done with this conversation.

Take the last word. Or don't.

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Posted by Max A on 09/30/2011 at 9:22 PM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

pen is mighty
sword not needed because my
comment removed

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Posted by FREE PAPER NOT SPEECH on 09/30/2011 at 6:51 PM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

max, since you seem to be unable to use the scroll function on your planet, i'll help you out:

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Posted by Eric K. Arnold on 09/30/2011 at 5:19 PM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary


Um. I'm on the planet where Bob and I just had a back and forth and HE acknowledged that he'd only looked into data about youth crime and not the other issues I mentioned, and he explained why. That's what planet I'm on.

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Posted by Max A on 09/30/2011 at 4:32 PM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

"Actually, that's not what Bob said."

what actual planet are you on, Max?

scroll down to the bottom of the comment thread and read the headline of Bob's other story on this. now tell me what it says.

"I said we needed to figure out the best possible way to implement this in Oakland. "

No, we dont need to implement this in Oakland. looking at your hypothetical scenarios, it's worth noting that the 10.7m grant announced just yesterday to hire 25 police officers includes human trafficking capacity, and will also increase OPD's community policing capacity. that's a good thing, since it speaks directly to the accountability issue, which you never seem to understand.

We need to prioritize OPD capacity to do things like take police reports from Spanish-speaking merchants in the Fruitvale; since the police refuse to do so, they are now arming themselves, according to the Bay Citizen. that can only increase the possibility of gun violence.

"The biggest flaw I see in the current proposal doesn't say enough about integration with other youth services."

does it say anything about integration with youth services? also, there are bigger flaws which perhaps would be of more concern to you were you a member of a minority group, and thus at more risk of deadly injury, harassment, trauma, and/or incarceration from ANY police contact, statistically-speaking.

it's safe to say, Max, John Burris will likely not be taking up your case anytime soon.

chronic truancy, the drop-out rate--and their correlation to crime, incarceration and recidivism--are best addressed by measures which are restorative and not punitive, research has shown. there's literally dozens of studies out there which all say the same thing.

a teen curfew is counter-intuitive to this idea. that's the gist of it.

looking a little deeper, the only people who really benefit are the prison guard's union, with whom De La Fuente has a longstanding relationship. i'm not going to speculate about Reid's motives, but his stance on this and gang injunctions hints that he is not fully committed to best practices to improve quality of life issues in the worst parts of Oakland.

but if you need help discerning, Max, you might want to listen to someone other than yourself, and/or do a little bit of research. no one is advocating a "youth loitering policy" and to imply such is fairly Bachmannian logic.

Posted by Eric K. Arnold on 09/30/2011 at 2:18 PM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary


I don't think the driving force is a desire to bring down youth crime. I think the driving force behind most of the proposals that are circulating right now is something a lot simpler: panic. It's all very reactive.

It doesn't mean that the ideas shouldn't be fully explored. It does mean that they should be explored more deliberately and that they should be integrated into a comprehensive strategy.

The fact that protection, truancy, and drop out rate came up in this conversation after crime reduction did doesn't matter. The initial motive is not relevant to the potential benefit of the proposal.

As far as OPD goes, I actually think implementing a policy that involves interacting with truant youth presents as much of an opportunity as it does a challenge. Demanding that they get it right in a pilot program is the way to do that.

Posted by Max A on 09/30/2011 at 11:44 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

"And in Oakland, it's going to need accountability included in it."

The problem for Oakland is that it's police department has been historically averse to accountability. The federal consent decree in the Riders case is the prime example. Eight years after OPD agreed to make a series of reforms, it still hasn't completed the tasks.

OPD is also averse to monitoring. It has stonewalled the monitors in the Riders case for years -- even though it okayed the current monitors -- a group of retired law enforcement officers from around the country, who say that the tasks in the consent decree represent basic standards that all police departments should live up to.

The latest monitor's report also shows that OPD has ongoing problems with violating people's rights. The monitors, for example, found OPD may be violating people's constitutional rights up to 30 percent of the time when cops stop people on the street.

In short, OPD's track record raises serious doubts as to whether a monitoring program (if it were to be) attached to a curfew would be effective.

As for whether curfews lower the number of youth crime victims, I haven't addressed it, because I don't believe it's a driving force for why a curfew is being pushed, and appears to have only been raised after it became clear that there is no credible evidence that curfews lower youth crime.

But even if this were about youth victims, the proponents of a curfew have not cited any credible evidence that show that curfews result in fewer crimes against kids either.

Posted by Robert Gammon on 09/30/2011 at 10:54 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

Again, I'm trying to discern how a youth loitering policy could help oakland. The biggest flaw I see in the current proposal doesn't say enough about integration with other youth services. I also think that the best sanction we can use is mandatory community service.

As far as potential for abuse goes: did I say I wanted this enforced without accountability? Nope. I said we needed to figure out the best possible way to implement this in Oakland. And in Oakland, it's going to need accountability included in it.

Also: you said "As Bob said, teen curfews don't work"

Actually, that's not what Bob said. The best summary of what Bob said is closer to "There isn't any data that ties a reduction in youth crime to curfews"

Bob made no statement about curfews and reductions in youth victimization. Nor did he say anything about truancy. Nor did he say anything about drop out rates, or in-school performance.

Posted by Max A on 09/30/2011 at 1:45 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

"On another note: Batts is right, OPD is part of the problem. But it's ridiculous to suggest that because they're part of the problem they can't be part of the solution."

not ridiculous at all. it's a matter of priorities. as long as OPD has the accountability albatross hovering over their domes, they will have a public relations problem. that affects their ability to effectively do their jobs, since perception plays such an important role in law enforcement. statistically speaking, OPD is more likely to point a gun at you than take a police report if you are a certain color and live in a certain area. my suggestion is, address that first. earn some community trust, and then ask for more latitude. power without accountability is a recipe for corruption.

Posted by Eric K. Arnold on 09/30/2011 at 1:07 AM

Re: “Why a Curfew Is Unnecessary

max, all you're throwing out is opinion. i'm purposely witholding my statistical analysis because, well, i'm working on a piece which is closely related to this topic which has all that, in droves. so you'll just have to wait. :)

this isnt a situation where who yells the loudest wins. you cant craft solid policy based on hypotheticals, especially if those hypotheticals are one-sided.

that said, i'll concede that a small amount of crime reduction could be achieved by some of the scenarios you imagine.

but the potential for greater harm through possible civil rights violations, abuse of authority, and criminalization of youth is far more likely, if we're keeping it "100". plus as Bob said, teen curfews dont work.

Posted by Eric K. Arnold on 09/30/2011 at 1:00 AM

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