All arguments pro and con on the ballot measures for November’s ballot have now been finalized and submitted. While I won’t have the opportunity to rebut the “rebuttal” to my original argument in the voter information pamphlet, I’ll do it here.
The supporters claim that the City can’t meet the minimum staffing/appropriation requirements in the current Measure Y “because of the local impacts of the global recession.” Interesting. None of our neighboring jurisdictions are slashing their police forces, so how is the global recession to blame? The supporters then go on to claim: “Opponents misstate basic facts.” Now, I took grave exception to this. So I called one of the signatories, Don Link (who is a big Jean Quan supporter and thinks she’s a financial whiz bang) and asked him which “basic facts” I had misstated. To his credit, he called me back and was very polite. But he admitted he hadn’t written the statement. He claimed he didn’t know who had, and said he hadn’t actually parsed every sentence. He wasn’t able to cite any specific facts that I had “misstated.” He admitted that Jane Brunner had asked him to be a signatory, and frankly, I suspect that she was the one that wrote this thing, but I’ll save my cross-examination of her for another time. In any event, it was very disappointing that people would just sign something like this, which is going to get presented to all Oakland voters, without checking the facts. Part of my crusade is about accountability and honesty and integrity, and Mr. Link is not supporting that goal by agreeing to sign a statement that he can’t back up himself. While I may use strong rhetoric at times, when it comes to “basic facts,” I don’t misstate them. I have evidence to back up every factual assertion.
The rebuttal goes on to claim that “crime has declined substantially for 3 consecutive years.” So, my understanding of the facts is that crime was down in 2009 and 2008, but I don’t know about this year, and I thought crime was up in 2007. I asked Mr. Link which statistics he was relying on, and he couldn’t cite any. Next, the statement claims: “The City successfully added 150 officers to the police force and staffed 84 Measure Y-related officers (exceeding the 63 required positions.” I stopped interrogating Mr. Link about these “facts” because it was pretty clear by then he didn’t know where the information came from. But seriously, if you’re going to claim stuff like this, you better be able to back it up with evidence. So if you take the police force at its all time lowest level, and its all time high level, maybe 150 officers were added. But we had those extra officers for less than six months! That’s hardly anything to crow about. As for 84 Measure Y-related officers - I’d say that’s a bald faced lie. I challenge anybody to support that number with evidence. The reality is that until I sued the City, only a fraction of the Measure Y officer positions were filled.
The anonymous drafter goes on to claim that “in response to legal challenges, the Court substantially ruled in the City’s favor.” Okay, only a lawyer could have written that. Trust me, not a single one of the signatories knows enough about the lawsuit to make such a claim. I didn’t win on everything, but the Court did determine ME to be the prevailing party and I was awarded my costs as a result. The City hasn’t paid me yet, but the judgment was clearly in my favor.
The other signatories included Jakada Imani (executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights), Maya Dillard Smith, former chair of the Measure Y Oversight Committee (who now works for Youth Uprising), and Lucy Kolin (co-chair of Oakland Community Organizations.) These are all groups that have a clear financial incentive to keep Measure Y funded. They know which side their bread is buttered on, no doubt about it. The final signatory was Dan Siegel, Jane Brunner’s law partner. The same guy who, last I heard, was representing one of the Mehserle verdict “alleged” looters seen fleeing Foot Locker with an armful of merchandise. Of course, having fewer police on the streets of Oakland benefits clients like that.