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City council candidate questionnaire


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City council candidate questionnaire

  1. 1. City Council Candidate Questionnaire 1 Candidate: District: Note: Please limit your answers to 250 words except where the question indicates a different word limit. 1. Please state your position on the following November ballot measures along with a brief (No more than 30 word) statement supporting your position.  Measure Z: Public Safety (Parcel tax for police, fire and violence prevention programs)  Measure XX: Public Ethics (Restructuring of Public Ethics Commission and mandatory funding for its staff)  Measure XX: Redistricting (Redistricting commission for City Council boundaries ) 2. MOBN!’s public safety plan calls for increasing Oakland’s police force to 900 sworn officers within four years. To reach this goal, MOBN! advocates that the city should: 1) not layoff any Oakland police officers under any circumstances; 2) schedule, fund, and conduct sufficient police academies each year to increase that number, not simply replace officers who retire or otherwise leave the force; and 3) make increasing the size of the police department its number one priority. Do you agree or disagree? 3. OPD’s difficulty in achieving the authorized sworn staffing level appears to be exacerbated by high attrition and low morale, as shown by the department’s internal polling ( and it’s loss of officers only months after they complete their training. How should the City solve OPD’s attrition and morale problems? 4. OPD has been under Federal Court supervision for close to twelve years. While Oaklanders have repeatedly been told that the end is in sight, in late July, Judge Henderson stated that Oakland’s disciplinary processes have violated Court orders, and that continuing the same practices will "undermine any confidence in the sustainability of the reforms that have been and continue to be achieved." Then, on August 14, the Judge criticized the City’s recent inability to sustain through arbitration an officer termination in connection with response to the Occupy Oakland protests. (Source: The Court opined that Oakland could not be in compliance with two NSA tasks if internal investigations were inadequate and “discipline is not consistently imposed.” Many people believe the Monitor has repeatedly imposed requirements on Oakland that far exceed the literal requirements of the NSA, and that as a result of the Monitor’s shifting standards, Oakland may never be able to extricate itself from Court supervision. As a City Council member, to what extent would you be prepared to oppose
  2. 2. continued and changing demands from the Monitor, and what is your plan to end the era of Court supervision? 5. According to the Public Works Department, Oakland is on an 85-year repaving schedule, meaning a street that is repaved today won’t be repaved again for 85 years. Further, according to Public Works, maintaining the existing pavement condition on Oakland’s streets would require an estimated $28 million annually, while the amount allocated annually has been less than $6 million in recent years. Sixty percent of the City’s curb ramps are non-compliant or non-existent. The total needed to rehabilitate Oakland streets is over $435 million. How do you plan to reverse the ongoing deterioration of our streets and sidewalks? If you are elected, when will Oaklanders see a difference? 6. The extent to which the City faces unfunded liabilities and what should be done about them has been a contentious issue in recent years. As recently as last December, the City Administrator projected that for the three fiscal years beginning July 1, 2015, Oakland faces all-funds budget structural shortfalls totaling $795 million if it addresses its deferred capital expenses and deferred liabilities, and $342 million if it does not (Source: December 12, 2013 Update to Five-Year Financial Forecast, Attachment D, Do you believe Oakland faces a financial shortfall, and if so, how will you address it if elected in November? 7. Operation Ceasefire has been described as the centerpiece of Oakland’s violent crime reduction effort. We understand that funding for its manager has been dependent on grant funding and that there is an insufficient number of case managers to maximize Ceasefire’s success. Do you support expanding Operation Ceasefire? Where specifically do you propose allocating resources and staffing? 8. In 2012-2013, Oakland contracted with Strategic Policy Partners (Robert Wasserman et al.) to present a comprehensive public safety plan. Strategic Policy Partners made a large number of recommendations, some of which have been implemented and some of which have not. (The reports are here:,, If the voters elect you in November, please state whether you will support implementing the following recommendations (We are looking for a “yes” or “no” answer, with explanatory narrative not exceeding 25 words for each recommendation):  Call for Service Reduction strategy;  Expanded investigation capacity in each of the City’s 5 policing districts, so that each district has an investigative sergeant, 3 investigators, and 3 to 5 police officers.  Increased sworn police personnel to a ratio of 2 officers for every 1,000 in the population 2 (i.e., 800).  Expansion of the Ceasefire initiative.  Redesign of community policing, so that the entire Police Department, not just PSOs, are focused on community relationship building.  Measurement of the state of community / police relations.  Moving restorative justice practices into the community, to address neighborhood disorder and minor crimes in a manner that brings community into the process and prevents future crime and disorder occurrences.
  3. 3.  Appointing a Director of Community Improvement who will be responsible for coordinating collaborative action by city agencies, community groups and state and federal partners, to address both quality of life issues and crime.  Appointing a team of representatives from the community to work with the Director of Community Improvement, the Police Department and other government agencies to insure community coordination.  Bringing Security Ambassadors into the crime reduction strategic plan and require advanced training to those who patrol downtown areas, so they are active and have the ability to intervene in minor situations that impact public security. 9. In early 2010, Oakland’s Finance and Management Committee received a presentation from staff and visiting personnel from the City of Baltimore concerning CitiStat, a leadership strategy a mayor can employ to mobilize city agencies to produce specific results. (More information is at ). CitiStat involves use of a round-the-clock 311 reporting system for any request for city services other than policing. It uses data in a manner similar to ComStat. High level city management uses the 311-generated data and benchmarks and regular meetings to hold departments accountable, judge successes and failure, reveal what agencies are doing and not doing to achieve benchmarks and provide the best possible services to residents. Explain your familiarity with CitiStat and whether you believe such a program can and should be implemented in Oakland. If you do not believe it should be implemented in the near future, explain why. If you think it should, explain what you will do to support implementation. 10. Oakland has room to improve its policies in the areas of crime reduction, budget processes, street maintenance, and economic maintenance. What cities can Oakland learn from, and adopt or emulate policies from with respect to these subjects? What policies from other cities would benefit Oakland? 11. Do you support the following policies and, briefly, why or why not? A. Creation by Charter amendment of a Rainy day fund as recommended by MOBN! and the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC)? B. Annual polling of city residents on their satisfaction with city services? What would you do with that information? C. Conducting a police resource deployment study to determine the number of officers actually need by OPD and how they should be deployed? D. Will you support the preparation of a comprehensive public safety plan? 3