Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oakland CANNOT Cut Police

There were 9 murders in Oakland just in April. Because there's no media coverage doesn't mean it's not happening. In what nightmare world does that make it time to talk about cutting police? This effectively translates into abandoning the residents and merchants in (for example) East Oakland, the majority of whom said they wanted more officers when they briefly had a media voice in the post-Lovelle Mixon spotlight.

In the comments around the blogosphere, one theory is that this is the old trick to send up the alarm and get Oakland funding - i.e., threaten to cut something important, everyone freaks, and the city government can either get outside funding more easily or at least has more tolerance from voters to expand their revenue options (taxes, bonds, etc.) If that's true, then I'm happy to be part of the kneejerk "NO!" that will help the cause, but frankly, I don't credit Dellums with being that clever. I think he sees a major shortfall and he wants to cut police, period.

The reaction from saner quarters? Because we still don't have a permanent chief, the Chronicle typically gets comment from the head of the Oakland Police union, Dom Arotzarena. "Crime will go up," Arotzarena said. "More people will die." Public Safety Committee Chair Larry Reid adds "I just think there's an issue (with cutting officers) when crime is Oakland's No 1 priority. I understand the difficult budget challenges we have, but it took us a long time to get the police department up to 803 officers."

Amazingly, Dan Lindheim said, "If we don't get outside revenue, we will have to cut public safety personnel. There is no question about it." I knew little about Lindheim, but he's confirming the suspicions of many that he's a Dellumzombie. Rather than throwing up our hands, Jane Brunner suggests that we try to find another way to fund the police that we fought so hard to get in the first place. Alright Jane - so how do we do it? Show me a way and you have my support.

Facing cuts in March of last year, Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose clearly got it: ”Even though we're trying to make cuts in some areas, public safety is our number one priority. It's our core service." Emphasis mine. This is a city that doesn't have nearly the crime problems that Oakland does, and still, for them, cutting police is not an issue.


  1. One other thing about Lindheim:

    Dan Lindheim lives in Berkeley. Gutting OPD doesn't endanger him or his family.

  2. Interesting. When I leave for work in the morning and watch the cars streaming into Oakland off Route 24 onto Broadway, I wonder how many of them are city employees, and what the cutoff is for requiring them to live in the city. Someone in Lindheim's position should be required to live in the city.