Alex Katz 
Member since Nov 17, 2015


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Recent Comments

Re: “Critic Accuses Oakland Leaders of Failing to Report Police Department Sex-Crime Scandal to District Attorney

To the Editor and EBX Readers:
The headline and entire premise of the story are based on incorrect information.
The story reports that the Court’s order requires “city leaders” including the Mayor, City Attorney and City Administrator to report to the District Attorney reasonable suspicion that an officer committed a felony or serious misdemeanor.
However, that is not true.
As you can see from a quick reading of the relevant section of the order (it’s only two sentences), the requirement doesn’t apply to or even mention the Mayor, City Attorney or City Administrator, nor does it apply to the Court-appointed Monitor/Compliance Director or plaintiffs’ attorneys John Burris and James Chanin.
I’m writing for the sole purpose of fact checking so your readers know that the whole story is based on a misreading or perhaps a misrepresentation of the order.
Here is the entire section:
“OPD shall develop a policy to report, as soon as possible, evidence of criminal misconduct by a member/employee to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office for their review and collaboration. Said report to the District Attorney shall be made when there is reasonable suspicion to believe the member/employee has been involved in a felony or serious misdemeanor.”
Your reporters only quote the second sentence, so readers don’t know that the first sentence disproves Mr. Chanin’s accusations against “city leaders” right out of the gate.
The Court order is unambiguous that the police department reports to the DA when investigators have reasonable suspicion that an officer has committed a felony or serious misdemeanor.
I ask that you correct the inaccurate language in the story that states “the decree required … city leaders to notify the district attorney.”
And at a minimum the story should note that the actual language of the order contradicts Mr. Chanin’s accusations against the City Attorney and other city leaders.

Alex Katz
Chief of Staff
Oakland City Attorney's Office

Posted by Alex Katz on 09/26/2016 at 10:06 AM

Re: “Tenant Advocates say Oakland Officials Delaying and Obstructing Rent Control Ballot Measure

To the editor and readers:

This story misrepresents the City Attorney’s response to tenant advocates.

We explained to the reporter why the accusation of “delaying and obstructing” by the City Attorney’s Office is unfounded.

But that explanation isn’t in the story, which of course makes it look like we didn’t offer any explanation.

So if you read this and you want to know why the City Attorney’s Office wrote a title and summary over 500 words, here you go:

The City’s practice for decades has been to write a 500-word summary (when needed) and a separate title, e.g. Measure Z from 2014.

This ballot measure is complex and needed a full summary, so we followed the City’s historical practice and wrote a 500-word summary, with a separate title of about 30 words. We provided the summary and title to the City Clerk on time. Five days later, the proponents objected to the word count. We immediately revised the summary to accommodate their concerns and filed it the day after they objected.

Why exclude this explanation from the story? And why leave out the timeline showing a quick response by my office and minimal "delay"? It certainly doesn’t support the premise of the story, that “Oakland officials are delaying and obstructing” the measure.

The City Attorney is a strong advocate for tenants. For example see the many public nuisance and tenant protection lawsuits she has filed against problem landlords in Oakland. She’s also an advocate for good landlords who follow the rules and treat people fairly. And she personally supports expanding just cause eviction protections citywide.

The City Attorney’s job on this and other ballot measures is to provide voters with an impartial, fair and factual summary, title and analysis, and she will continue to do so.

For the record, my original response to the reporter’s questions is below.

Alex Katz
Chief of Staff
Oakland City Attorney’s Office


Mr. Bond Graham:

With respect to the ballot measure:

There’s no attempt to delay. We followed the same practice the City has followed for decades of applying the 500-word limit to the summary. Oakland is a charter city, meaning the City can follow its charter and ordinances. We revised the summary after the proponents objected to accommodate their concerns.

We issued the original title and summary on March 18. The proponent's letter objecting to the word count is dated March 23. We issued the revised title and summary on March 24th, one day after the proponents objected.

As to your question about advice to Councilmembers:

The City Attorney is bound by attorney-client privilege. We are legally and ethically barred from releasing confidential advice to clients. We cannot even confirm whether or not we provided advice. However, the client who holds the privilege can share advice with you if s/he chooses to do so.

I also understand that you are asking about the City Attorney's rental property? Her property is already covered by the just cause ordinance, therefore there is no conflict.

Thanks, Alex

Posted by Alex Katz on 06/01/2016 at 5:54 PM

Re: “Legal Battle Over Coal in Oakland Is Heating Up

The City's demurrer addresses the specific allegations and claims in the lawsuit. It does not change the commitment the City has made to examine the evidence and its options to address any public health and safety and environmental impacts of coal.
Alex Katz
Chief of Staff, Oakland City Attorney's Office

Posted by Alex Katz on 11/17/2015 at 8:20 AM

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