City of Oakland

The Details Of Defunding The Police In Oakland: The Kaplan / Bas Budget Memo Of July 21, 2020

The Oakland City Council is discussing Agenda Item 16: “Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget Amendments”, which includes the “Defunding The Police” report filed by Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan and Councilmember Nikki Fortunado Bas, the text of which has been digitized and is presented below. But also included below as links to the Scribd versions, is an analysis by the Oakland City Adminstrator and The Oakland Interim Police Chief.

This presents the rather complex effort of unwinding jobs currently done by the Oakland Police Department, and to achieve the objective of “defunding” without losing those services provided, just as Berkeley Councilmember Ben Bartlett and the Berkeley City Council has worked to do for the City of Berkeley.

It must be noted this was not resolved Tuesday night. In fact, a substitute motion that would have approved the Kaplan / Bas proposal was, ironically, killed by Mayor Schaaf in a tie-breaking vote. But that brought us back to the initial OPD Budget, and subsequent options to be considered on July 28th. The media got this wrong. The Oakland Police Department will experience some form of service reassignment – it’s just a matter of what kind.

Anyway, such an event as the Mayor’s tie-breaker happens roughly once every other Oakland City Council Season. The most famous of such votes was cast by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown on August 17th, 2009 and caused the development of what is now called The Lake Chalet Restaurant.

Date: July 21, 2020
To: Members of City Council and Members of the Public
From: Council Member Nikki Fortunato Bas
Council President Rebecca Kaplan
Subject: BUDGET Amendment MEMO – Investing in Vital Community Needs
_________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Colleagues on the City Council and Members of the Public,

We have heard from many people about the importance of ensuring that funding is dedicated to vital community needs, including those to address racial disparities, violence prevention, and public health. Oakland police officers themselves say “we can’t arrest ourselves out of the problems.” To address the root causes of violent and serious crimes, our residents need mental and physical health services; youth programs; safe, affordable and stable housing; remedying homelessness and protecting public health and access to safe quality jobs.

To address public calls for service that do not require a police officer to respond, including non-violent and non-crime 911 calls, our residents need trained, trauma-informed crisis responders who are trusted by the community, as well as a community support helpline that is not part of the police department. Over a year ago, we proposed and passed funding for an initial study, to develop a civilian response model for mental health needs. This program, now titled MACRO, is now being funded for launch this year – which is possible in part because of strong community advocacy and because the funding for the initial steps was provided by Council action in the previous budget vote in 2019. This budget proposal builds on this and takes further steps, both in terms of additional changes in the current fiscal year, and in terms of providing the funding to study and pilot improved resources for community needs, and set us up for further success ahead.

As a City, we must answer the calls from an overwhelming number of community members to divert police spending to community needs. This includes an immediate commitment in this FY 2020 – 2021 budget to re-allocate $25 million in the OPD budget, and to make a commitment to develop a plan for a 50% reduction in the OPD budget for the next two-year budget cycle, and to include community stakeholders in that process. In order to make this future commitment real and realizable, we propose to take certain initial steps now, in this budget, in order to make sure we will have the plans and resources to accomplish this goal. This also means talking about not only what we don’t want – but also about what we do want – including funding that takes into account issues raised in the Black New Deal and elsewhere to ensure we are funding needed health supports and economic protections for our hardest hit communities, including responding to needs around homelessness, sanitation, protecting local small businesses, and more. In addition, this budget restores positions and services that reduce blight and fire risk.

This includes taking action now to provide for trained mental health responders for mental health needs, instead of relying on police to respond to mental health needs. It includes revising the methods for handling of Special Events, saving money for community organizations and making event planning more coherent. Serving the needs of the community also means we need to cut police arrests for bicycle and pedestrian violations, and heavy-handed policing of demonstrations, and to support civilian helpline support for those in need. It includes laying the ground work for further planned changes, including options for revising traffic enforcement methods, and engaging with stakeholders and with our State and County leaders, to help make these changes happen. And setting up our processes and input for taking next steps.

Sincerely,

Rebecca Kaplan Nikki Fortunato Bas
Oakland City Council President Oakland City Council Member, District 2

The following is a supplemental to the main report you just read, above. It’s called “Budget Amendments- Notes and Errata”.

Date: July 21, 2020
To: Members of City Council and Members of the Public
From: Council Member Nikki Fortunato Bas
Council President Rebecca Kaplan
Subject: Budget Amendments- Notes and Errata
_________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Colleagues on the City Council and Members of the Public,

Thank you very much for the opportunity to review and revise our budget, to ensure we are addressing core community needs. The amendments we have proposed include specific steps that will make it possible for Oakland to attain the type of change we need – in which we have fewer resources going to incarceration and heavy-handed policing, and more support for core community needs. Previously, we have stated our intention to get to a significant 50% reduction in policing by our next budget cycle. In order to make that commitment a reality, we need to start taking steps now, to get us in that direction, as well as make shifts this year.

To ensure that staffing is in place to do the work and analysis needed, to accomplish this change, we provide for a policy analyst in the administration who will be able to prioritize these issues. We also recognize that the steps we take now can also help with cost savings this fiscal year, and that decisions we make now, will make our goals for the next year more likely to succeed. Therefore, we propose that changes begin in this year, in terms of handling of special events, bicycle and pedestrian enforcement, protests and demonstrations, media, and more which will allow us to redirect funds this year, while also building for the future.

For example, the City of Eugene Oregon states they are saving around $8 million per year (in a smaller city, so we could save more) on police costs, and improving outcomes, by having a civilian response program handling issues like homelessness and mental health (called CAHOOTS). In order for Oakland to succeed in this way, we need to make sure we launch our similar program (now called MACRO) in a way that will allow it to be sustained and effective. Therefore, we propose providing for internally employed responder teams, made up of a paramedic (such as in the Fire Department) and a counselor/case worker (such as those in HSD), together with a vehicle and the ability to respond.

We also need to recognize that many in our community do not feel safe calling 9-1-1, and that many calls that do come in to 9-1-1 currently might not require in-person deployment, but could be handled by telephone support. Other jurisdictions, including Sacramento, are supporting community-based phonelines for these purposes, and Oakland should include this strategy as well. (The phoneline would provide primarily remote support, and could contact MACRO for issues needing additional response).

We provide for existing civilian job classifications to be unfrozen to pick up some tasks, like evidence, handled by OPD. We propose to work toward alternative methods for traffic enforcement, including partnering with other jurisdictions working on similar efforts. When an action we seek may also require action from County and State decision-makers, this is not a reason to give up, but rather, to work together, including with community stakeholders and advocates, other cities, and our legislative representatives, to seek those further actions.

We seek to save funds both for our city budget and for our community, by reducing the millions in extra policing spent for events and festivals.

We also propose deeper investments in community safety, in response to community requests, including: (a) $1M to create school-site based violence prevention and crisis intervention teams at high schools and middle schools with the highest rates of expulsion and suspension. These would join the Coordination of Services Teams (COST) and support OUSD’s safety planning as they remove police from their schools by the end of the year. The program would engage principals, school site leaders, and youth leaders to develop a crisis intervention and violence prevention program with the purpose of increasing safety in our schools and eliminating the need for law enforcement presence, suspensions and expulsions. These teams would include positions modeled after Oakland Unite’s current programs, including “life coaches,” “violence interrupters,” and “gender based specialists,” which are trained in conflict resolution, mediation, child and adolescent development, and gender-based violence including domestic and dating violence and sexual exploitation. The teams would complement other services that are a part of the school site’s COST, such as mental health clinicians, restorative justice facilitators, and nurses provided by OUSD and other community partners. (b) $300,000 to support Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) and adults subject to Human Trafficking to provide outreach, support, housing, and job training in partnership with community organizations led by survivors of sex trafficking. (c) $500,000 for Community Safety Ambassadors to assist with public education, service requests, conflict resolution and event support in our neighborhoods and business corridors. This builds on existing work of trained and trusted community organizations including Community Ready Corps and Trybe. In order to provide clarity, transparency, and certainty in the budget adoption, we have provided for clarification and affirmation of those CARES Act funding proposals which had been intended but not fully read out to the public.

This proposal also provides funding for key community needs, including those in response to COVID, racial injustice, homelessness, and economic impacts. We are proposing funds for food service for those at-risk (including seniors and persons with disabilities), and steps to ensure CARES act funds are deployed in a timely way to hard-hit communities, including our artists, non-profits, and small businesses.

BUDGET SPREADSHEET CORRECTIONS:

1. CARES Act Line 16: Correcting, department should read “HSD”
2. General Fund Lines 10 & 17: Correcting, number, should read $245,795
3. General Fund Line 28 comment: Remove Asian Prisoner Support Committee

Sincerely,

Rebecca Kaplan Nikki Fortunato Bas
Oakland City Council President Oakland City Council Member, District 2

There was an attempt to include other City Administrator analysis documents in this post, but the two other reports had problem with the Legistar document code, where the word “Error” appeared, and not the document.  That includes the budget spreadsheet that was referred to during the Oakland City Council meeting that’s going on, now.

Oakland Police Department: View Informational Memo – Kaplan 7202020

Oakland Police Department: … by Zennie Abraham on Scribd

View Supplemental Oakland City Administrator Report – 7202020

View Supplemental Oakland City Administrator Report – 7202020 by Zennie Abraham on Scribd

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