Bruce Nye: Make Oakland Better Now! Announces its ninety-day plan and February 21, 2010 General Assembly

Last August, more than 100 Oaklanders met at St. Theresa’s Church to form Make Oakland Better Now!, a grassroots issues and advocacy organization devoted to improving public safety, public works, transparency and accountability in the City of Oakland. Make Oakland Better Now! was formed by Oakland residents, many of whom hadn’t been activists for a long time and many of whom admitted they hadn’t paid as much attention to Oakland politics as they should have. But they believed Oakland was a wonderful city that urgently needed to change. And they were determined to build an organization that would be a force in these three critical areas in the 2010 mayor’s race and beyond. More specifically, Make Oakland Better Now! is determined to shine a light on mayoral and city council candidates’ positions in these three areas and to monitor improvement after the election.

At our kick-off meeting and in the months afterward, Make Oakland Better Now! assembled a leadership group determined to move this city forward. This group has been asking questions, listening, reading and developing a sense of Oakland’s recent political history. They’ve met with this city’s opinion leaders, city officials and knowledgeable people outside of government, trying to cast as wide a net as they can. The process isn’t over yet, and will, we anticipate, be an ongoing one. But we are finally ready to move.

The most important thing for you to know right now is this: our next general assembly will be on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. Please mark your calendars now, and do everything you can to hold the date. This will be the meeting when our membership adopts positions and sets priorities in the three areas most important to Oakland: public safety, government transparency/accountability and public works. We are working on selecting a centrally located, easily accessible venue, and will be announcing the “where” information very soon.

The leaders of the three committees are in the process of finishing a list of proposed MOBNow! positions and priorities in their areas of interest. That process will be finished by December 28. In January, each committee will hold a study group meeting and a committee meeting; we’ll also be announcing the dates, times and places for those meetings before year’s end. At the study group meetings, we’ll have experts prepared to answer the committee’s questions. At the committee meeting, we’ll make the final decision on the positions and priorities to recommend to the general assembly.

The next ninety days are going to be important, busy and exciting. We need as many folks as possible to pitch in and help. If you’d like to be more involved in any of the three areas (public safety, public works or transparency, accountability and budget), or in support (events, outreach, publicity, etc.) e-mail And there’s always more information available at Please join us – Oakland needs you.

This guest post from Bruce Nye, one of the founders of Make Oakland Better Now! has been cross-posted at Today in Montclair.

3 thoughts on “Bruce Nye: Make Oakland Better Now! Announces its ninety-day plan and February 21, 2010 General Assembly

  1. MarleenLee

    I read your recent post on Oakland Local re public safety positions. I tried posting a comment but I’m not sure it went through, because it is not showing up as a published comment. Hopefully their system allows for all comments to be published for everyone else to read. In any event, because I’m not sure the system is working, and because I think it is important for the comments to be published, I’ll try to repeat it here.

    I was just wondering on what basis the public safety positions were based? Were interviews conducted with Chief Batts? With individual police officers? Were formal surveys conducted? What was the basis for switching from the previous system to geographic policing? Why do you think this basis was faulty? Does Chief Batts agree with the recommendations? What is the basis for stating that the past emphasis on staffing has not reduced crime? Are you aware that ever since putting an “emphasis” on staffing, the actual number of staff went down dramatically, rather than up? And are you aware that for the months we actually had better staffing, crime went down? Are you aware that Chief Batts believes the department is dramatically understaffed?

    The issues here are incredibly complex and have already received extensive scrutiny from numerous experts (including the Hartnett report and recent surveys conducted by Chief Batts). Without understanding the basis for the MOBN “positions,” or the qualifications of the persons making them, I am not sure how much weight I, or others, can really give to them.

  2. Livegreen

    I am very concerned about what Marleen has mentioned, and about your post on Oakland Local. The ENTIRE reason OPD switched to Geographic Policing was to AVOID driving all the way across town! Furthermore the Police Beats STILL EXIST, they’re just organized in Geographic Area Commands so that Captains within can exert control over their area and be held accountable for their oversight and management.

    As a result Beat Officers and Patrol operate ONLY INSIDE each area of Geographic Command. Abolishing them will have the OPPOSITE effect and revert to when OPD had to travel across town. That’s why the Hartnett Report recommended Geographic Policing in the first place!

    Bruce, I don’t know who’s fed your group this info but it’s wrong. Stating the incorrect as factual only decreases transparency. And asking politicians to answer questions based on factually wrong information will only get realy confusing answers.

    That is not good for your effort or for Oakland.