The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce sent out this request, which I have elected to re-post and amplify here at Oakland News Now.
Tell Oakland City Council to Not its Abuse of Emergency Powers
Friday afternoon the Oakland City Council – led by Council President Rebecca Kaplan – cancelled its regularly scheduled meeting set for Tuesday evening to instead slip in a short notice “special meeting” in an apparent effort to put a major public safety measure on the November ballot that would drastically change who oversees the Oakland Police Department.
During this time of emergency, it is irresponsible for our elected leaders to be playing political games with the public process. Regardless of the merits or challenges with Council President Kaplan’s proposed ballot measure – it is simply an abuse of power to circumvent the required 10 days of advanced public notice normally required in favor of a last-minute special meeting’s mere 48 hours. The public cannot possibly be expected to weigh in during that timeframe, nor are they given adequate speaking time during the Council’s Zoom/Teleconference meetings.
This is a worrisome trend. The Oakland City Council cannot establish a precedent in which complicated legislation is rushed through simply because their emergency powers give them the ability to do so. This cannot be Oakland’s new normal.
Special or emergency Council meetings must be reserved for time-sensitive matters of urgent public interest. While public safety is obviously one of Oakland’s most important issues, the Council has until August to put a new police accountability measure on the November ballot. Arguments hiding behind “meet and confer” requirements with the Police Union fall flat when a similar measure wasn’t put on the ballot until late July in 2016.
If Council President Kaplan is committed to an open and transparent legislative process then she owes it to the community to resume normal public noticing and committee meeting practices for this and the many other policy and leadership issues with which Oakland is faced. The COVID-19 crisis cannot be used as a blank check to wield power behind the scenes.
No one knows how long or how often Oakland will be under a Shelter-in-Place order, but one thing is certain: our leaders need to be the best versions of themselves and abandon infighting and petty games. Now more than ever.
EMAIL THE COUNCIL TO LET THEM KNOW THIS IS NOT OK:
Contact the council members below and CC [email protected]
Council President (At Large Member)
District 1 Councilmember
Nikki Fortunato Bas
District 2 Councilmember
Lynette Gibson McElhaney
District 3 Councilmember
District 4 Councilmember
District 5 Councilmember
District 6 Councilmember
District 7 Councilmember
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