Dear Oakland Officials:
I just reviewed the agenda for your upcoming "retreat" on September 4, 2013 where you will be discussing options for what should be included in a potential successor to Measure Y, which expires at the end of 2014. I am writing to advise you that this discussion is inappropriate and is an improper use of City time and resources for political activities.
While the City has the option of drafting a new measure to replace Measure Y next year, to date, no formal discussions or actions on that topic have been scheduled. To date, I am unaware of any public official who has asked for the opinion or input of the Measure Y Oversight Committee regarding Measure Y's successes and failures. According to the Measure Y website, your stated purpose is to "oversee the proper administration of the revenue collection and spending, and the implementation of the programs funded through Measure Y revenue." It is neither your function nor your place to spend City time and resources trying to brainstorm what a replacement to Measure Y should include. Any discussion on such topics is outside your jurisdiction and would be considered in political activity - i.e. advocating for the drafting and passage of a new measure. (Nowhere in the agenda is there any room for discussion on the option of not renewing Measure Y, further supporting the impression that this meeting is inappropriately political.)
Based on the proposed agenda, I think we can all agree that Measure Y has been a huge failure. . It took many years and litigation for the PSO positions to actually get filled. Shortly after they were filled, the number of PSOs was cut in half. Now, PSOs are in charge of ridiculously large beats and are not sufficiently responsive to the community. The police staffing minimum was then eliminated, resulting in the size of the police force drastically shrinking, when the main purpose of Measure Y was to increase the size of the force to 803. The violence prevention programs have minimal to no measurable outcomes. Violence in Oakland has dramatically increased in the years since Measure Y was adopted, contrary to its intent. The proof, Oakland officials, is in the pudding.
Notably, if your committee had spent more time and effort actually ensuring that the commitments of Measure Y were fulfilled, Measure Y would not have been such a dismal failure. You share in the blame for Measure Y's failures. But Measure Y still has 1 1/2 years to go, and there are still many things you can do to try to redeem yourselves and improve accountability. Instead, you are choosing to waste your time and City resources engaging in what I consider to be overtly political activity - brainstorming how to come up with a replacement "Measure Y." Again, you have no business engaging in such a discussion and I urge you to cancel the meeting, or modify the agenda to include a discussion of topics that are actually within your purview.
Marleen L. Sacks