Last night, KTVU did a segment on Measure BB. There is a clip of Jane Brunner handing out a flier to a little old lady and telling her that if the measure doesn’t pass, they’ll have to lay off another 100 police officers. http://www.ktvu.com/video/25532246/index.html
Scare tactics and fuzzy math. (Measure Y only funds 63 officers, so where does the 100 come from?)
I understand the propoponents' arguments. I really do. I’m not deaf and blind. People will say, oh, Oakland really needs the money, without the money, things will be so much worse. Even more cops will be laid off. Is that what you want?
No, that’s not what I want. Anybody who’s been paying attention to my battles knows that’s the exact opposite of what I want. But I don’t believe throwing money down the toilet is the answer. And that’s what Measure BB is.
First, Measure BB only gives around $9 million to the police. The rest goes to violence prevention and fire, which, quite honestly, are simply not my priorities. If it were up to me, all the money would go toward additional police. But I also know that Measure Y was a compromise in order to get the two-thirds vote, and some money needed to go to other causes.
BB supporters are claiming that it will “restore” the PSO “positions.” Notice that they don’t say we’ll actually get the beat officers back. Because we won’t, folks. Where do you think they’re going to come from? If we’re at 680 officers now, do you really think the City will redeploy 63 officers to Measure Y positions, and the regular force will be down at below 620? Or below 600 in a few months? I hardly think so. Do you think they’ll actually hire the laid off officers back? I sure hope so, but I’m not banking on it, and the City is not promising they’ll do that. In fact, they’re saying if X fails, and BB passes, it will just mean that they’ll have to lay off fewer officers. So in my mind, that’s a clear message that nobody’s getting hired back. And when you and I start complaining about, “where’s our PSO?” the answer will be the same as it was before my lawsuit and Charlie Pine’s lawsuit. “There’s no deadline in Measure Y for filling those positions, so go pound sand.”
The City is broke. I get that. They do need the money. So the question is, what to do? Some of you say, raise taxes. I say, hell no. And not because I hate paying taxes. Well, okay, I do hate paying taxes, but obviously not as much as our mayor, because I actually do pay taxes. And I voted for Measure Y back in 2004. But we were betrayed by Measure Y. The neighborhood beat officers weren’t hired until after two lawsuits had been filed, and after the City had raided Measure Y of $15 million. And then we got the full staffing for less than six months. $100 million for less than six months of the promised staffing? Sorry, that was not a good deal from my perspective. So I can’t agree to any more taxes until and unless the City makes all of that up to us.
The police union is not paying into its pension. It is the only union that has refused to do so. If they started contributing, that would put about $7 million of ongoing money back in the pot - only $2 million less than what the City is currently getting from Measure Y. I have no doubt that the City can find $2 million worth of cuts somewhere else, instead of through this “Measure Y” fix. Hand me a red pen and I’ll find it myself.
Next, you guys need to keep in mind that even without more layoffs, the City is engaging in a deliberate strategy of reducing the police force by over 50 officers a year, because it is refusing to schedule new academies. So this whole threat of more layoffs is a red herring. The City effectively laid off around 100 officers before they even got to that 80 officer layoff in July. And we're going to lose even more officers, formal layoffs or no formal layoffs, until and unless the City actually commits to budgeting for and scheduling sufficient academies to give this City the police force it needs - 925 officers, according to Chief Batts.
Finally, the $9 million a year that the police gets under Measure Y is, quite frankly, a drop in the bucket compared to the City’s real financial woes, that they still don’t even want to talk about. Because of the unfunded pension liabilities, the City is facing an additional $53 million bill next year. http://www.contracostatimes.com/daniel-borenstein/ci_15987580?nclick_check=1 Where is the money for that supposed to come from? More taxes still?
Measure BB is a band-aid on a gaping wound; it does nothing to solve the real financial crisis, and does nothing to guarantee additional officers on the street. If Don Perata is elected, he has committed to getting the officers back, and increasing the size of the police force. He has ruled out additional layoffs. If we reject Measure BB, there will be a new opportunity to negotiate with the union and get the 9% concession, and other necessary concessions, now, not years in the future. Vote for Don Perata and against Measure BB.