On Friday, June 25th, the State of California published a revised budget that includes Senator Nancy Skinner’s amendments which allocate $10 million to fund Oakland’s Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (“MACRO”) program. Once approved, the total budget for MACRO will be $16.5 million including both state and city funding.
Housed in the Fire Department, MACRO will be a more appropriate, non-police response to non-violent/non-felony calls for service. Developed with community participation, MACRO intends to respond to crisis and help save lives while allowing police to spend more time responding to and solving violent crime.
On May 4, 2021, Vice Mayor Kaplan wrote a letter to the Chairs of the Senate and Assembly Budget Committees advocating for funding MACRO. It states:
“In Oakland, we understand the urgent need to improve access to mental health services for non-violent crisis calls, rather than criminalizing community members who already find themselves in a vulnerable state…
…We respectfully ask that you continue your support of our city by funding our unarmed crisis intervention team — Mobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland (“MACRO”). In coordination with several grassroots communities and with an outpouring of community support, the City of Oakland is launching MACRO to respond to non-violent crisis calls…
We are working towards ensuring that this program is set up to uplift lives in our city. MACRO is being launched as an internal program within the Oakland Fire Department, the personnel would be non-sworn and preferably from our city’s most impacted communities. The City of Oakland has funded the program to launch in East Oakland, but there is great need throughout our city.”
“On behalf of the City of Oakland, I express my deep gratitude to Senator Nancy Skinner for advocating on behalf of the City that the State prioritize the needs of our communities by allocating $10 million for MACRO,” said Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan. “Now we urge Governor Gavin Newsom to approve the state budget so that Oakland can lead the way in developing this important civilian crisis response program.”
“I thank Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan for her persistent leadership over many years in developing Oakland’s MACRO crisis response program and advocating for state funding,” said Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas. “I also thank Senator Nancy Skinner for ensuring that Oakland’s efforts to reimagine safety succeed with this budget allocation.”
Final legislative votes on the state budget are expected on Monday, June 28th. Last Thursday, June 24th, the Oakland City Council approved its biennial budget redirecting $18 million from policing to violence prevention and alternative crisis response. MACRO’s total two-year budget will be $16.5 million with the $6.5 million City of Oakland allocation and the state allocation of $10 million.
Oakland Legislative Background:
Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan’s 5/4/21 Letter:
City of Oakland Resolution Establishing MACRO in the Fire Department, Co-sponsored by Councilmember Dan Kalb and Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, 3/16/21
Post based on press release from Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas to Zennie62Media Inc.
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