Oakland, CA – Tuesday, June 23rd, starting at noon, my colleagues and I will continue our discussion of the Oakland Mid Cycle FY 20-21 Budget Amendments. We are working, in partnership with community, to provide a budget that responds to vital current needs, helping our community, including our local small businesses and non-profits deal with COVID-19 impacts and changes, and also providing safe civilian response to important needs, like mental health, which have been being handled by police.
I have submitted to the Council my proposed FY 20-21 amendments. These include funding for MACRO (civilian mental health response) along with additional strategies for civilianization such as for special events. We propose to support our Information Technology (IT) Department to help implement public WiFi, provide immediate funding to enable the homeless to be placed in hotels, and other options for safe physical distance, improve fire safety, and more.
Oakland City Council meeting full agenda and instructions on how to join:
MACRO- Mental Health Response
For decades, Oakland’s funding has been reduced for important community needs, but has increased for police. The number of 911 calls to address non-emergencies, especially regarding the mental health situations and the homeless, have skyrocketed. Sending armed officers often escalates the situation rather than solving it.
In the budget last year, with strong community advocacy, I successfully won funding for a study on how best to implement an alternative to police response for mental health, similar to the CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon.
Related Vox News article:
Urban Strategies Council, The Anti Police-Terror Project, Mental Health Commission, Block by Block Organizing Network, Brotherhood of Elders, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, Ceasefire, Coalition for Police Accountability, Copwatch, Department of Violence Prevention, Faith in Action, Family Violence Law Center, Frontline Healers, Homeless Advocacy Working Group, Homeless Action Center, Imani Church, Justice Teams Network, Neighbors for Racial Justice, North Oakland Restorative Justice, Qal’Bu Maryam Mosque, Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth, Timelist, Youth Alive and more were engaged in researching the response model, which should be launched this year, in partnership with community.
Homelessness Outreach – by Civilians
Currently, it is often police officers who are the visible lead in issues like homeless encampment communications and cleanings. This is very expensive, and can worsen community relations and lead to escalating outcomes. Our budget proposal provides that homeless outreach worker civilians will serve these roles, rather than police. We share the concern that we have received from so many of you, that we should reject the Mayor’s proposal to take funds from the newly-passed Measure Q (parks/homelessness) to fund police. Our proposal removes that usage, and provides civilian homeless outreach work instead.
I am also asking that we re-consider their proposal for a large expenditure on police helicopter.
See Memo at Link:
Risk from FireWorks
Please be aware that as the weather gets hotter, the risk of fireworks increases, and puts people in danger of fire spreading. Please do not put our community at risk of increased fires! One of the programs I am asking for is to support our Fire Department in expanding fire prevention efforts, including by responding to incidents of uses of fireworks, educating the public about the dangers, and retrieving them when possible, and helping to protect our community.
OUTSIDE USE OF FUNDS FOR CITY PROJECTS
In addition, we have discovered that some donor/grant funding, for city-run projects like homelessness and broadband, have been proposed by the Mayor to be given to an outside organization to manage city projects, with funding being diverted away from delivering service to the public. As we could not find any authorization that was given for this purpose, we have inquired of the City Administrator to track these, and any other grand/donor funds properly, with accountability and transparency for public needs.
See memo at LINK:
In solidarity and best wishes for health,