Final results: Yes 70; No 30%
I knew we were in trouble when I read this quote from yesterday's Trib: “Moore… did, however, vote for more police through a parcel tax, and he hopes it goes some way toward improving safety for Oakland’s children.” Too bad there was nothing on the ballot that actually provided for “more police.” This poor slob actually thought one of the measures provided for more police. Then, another reader pointed out that the lone Republican mayoral candidate, Arnie Fields, supported Measure BB because "we need more education."
But the really bad news came at around 7:30 p.m. when some women in my Crucible glass studio lab were talking elections and about how confusing everything was on the ballot. One of them is a graduate of Hastings Law School. I asked her if she happened to see my name in the Voter Information Pamphlet. She said she hadn't. She had no understanding of what the measure would do. (I assume she didn't read the arguments pro and con). She admitted that she was "confused" by the measure. And this is a women who went to law school and passed the bar!
So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the measure passed. After all, the title (which is apparently what most people read, and never get any futher) said: "...at no additional cost...." People read that and think it won't cost them any money. (Watching KTVU news this morning, they repeated this same misinformation).
Voters read that Measure BB "restores" 63 community policing positions, so they think police staffing will go up. It was the sly City Council and City Attorneys who came up with this language, and without another vicious legal battle, there was nothing I could do about it. So the hoodwinking of the public is permitted to continue, and now BB has passed.
I should also mention that the supporters of BB (all the people who stood to benefit financially) probably spent around $100,000 for flyers and websites and whatnot. We spent zero. They had people phone banking and walking neighborhoods. We don't have those kind of resources. They had the endorsements of the all the establishment people. I wish that angry taxpayers like me would be more organized, but we don't have the automatic cash flow and pre-organized PACs that the unions and the non-profits do. It was not a fair fight.
But every cloud has a silver lining. I stopped by the Don Perata party last night and chatted with OPOA President Dom Arotzarena, who assured me that the City would indeed be filling the 63 Measure Y positions right away. According to him, "they have to!" I sure hope he's right. Of course, this means other areas of the police force are going to get decimated, but for those of us who valued our neighborhood PSO, I suppose this is a good thing. In addition, it does give the City a much needed income stream to fund additional police, so I am hopeful that the City will rehire many of the officers laid off earlier this year. Lastly, if Perata is confirmed as mayor, I am hopeful that he will be able to negotiate necessary concessions with the union that will free up additional money necessary to get the force up to where it needs to be. Maybe with some actual leadership in City Hall, by someone who seems to appreciate the value of public safety, we will start making some progress.
In the meantime, however, I will continue with the litigation and my other efforts to keep our government honest and accountable. If the past is any indicator, I have a long and rough road ahead.