33 thoughts on “Cronyism at OPD

  1. oaklandhappenings

    Hey V– speaking of crime and police, could you please post another crime-stat page when you return to your regular blogging? Thanks. I am under the impression that with a violent July last year, that the numbers will be a little more interesting (closer)–comparing both years, than those of a few weeks ago when you last posted the stats.

  2. Carlos Plazola

    V–I think there’s an upside to all of this: The problems with the city are so deep-rooted, and systemic (from unions advocating only for their members at the expense of the Oakland residents, to lack of oversight, to fraud, cronyism, and gross mismanagement) and will require a complete and thorough shake up and subsequent rebuilding of city government.

    Our highest priority in Ignacio’s campaign for Mayor was to clean up all of this corruption, which is why we suffered the wrath of the unions and the entrenched interests in Oakland. These same forces backed Mario Juarez against Ignacio in an effort to gt rid of Ignacio once and for all.

    This battle has been going on in Oakland for at least 8 years, as Ignacio was already on a mission to clean up the city when I started working for him in January 2000. His, and our, inability to clean up the city has been a function of lack of public attention to this matter as the multiple interests of a bureaucracy, particularly unaccountable ones like Oakland City Government, will fight tooth and nail to protect the status quo because it benefits them.

    People never quite understood why Local 790 (1021) were so fervently against Ignacio, or why certain entrenched interested led the whole “Run, Ron, Run” movement that has led to our current state. But now people are beginning to understand the issues, even if they don’t know that the battle has been going on for years.

    Now, more than ever, the forces have lined up to finally create the momentum and public outcry to clean up the city–IF WE AS RESIDENTS STAY FOCUSED ON THE MISSION AND DON’T GET SIDETRACKED BY PARCEL TAX DEBATES AND OTHER DISTRACTIONS. The next mayor may just possibly run on a platform of cleaning up city hall, and the voters would give a mandate to that person that could not be stopped by anyone. But it is up to all of us to keep the pressure on, and seize our role in this historic moment for Oakland. If we get distracted, we have only ourselved to blame. If we stay focused, Oakland may finally reach its potential.

  3. Oakland Advocate

    Carlos, what you say makes sense–but weren’t YOU accused of some improprieties in regards to your association with Tidewater?

  4. p00neil

    I wish I were surprised. It’s evident that our city’s leaders are using the resources that we all must pay for as a way to keep themselves, their family, and their friends on easy street. Oakland’s approach to public safety is almost a joke.

    And if you think cronyism at the OPD is bad, keep an eye out for the next OFD class…

  5. Chris Kidd

    So the ball has finally started rolling. I get the feeling that there’s going to be significant amount of bloodletting across the board in all city departments. Both the public and (finally) the mainstream news are clamoring for purges of improperly hired employees. With the return of a no-nonsense Robert Bobb, they’ve now got a sympathetic ear(and portraying himself as an agent of change would be gangbusters for a possible run for mayor. my theory). How many employees would that be over the last 5-10 years? How many people are disgruntled enough about what they thought to be unfair or broken hiring practices over that time period who are willing to whisper in the right ears? How many employees, whether hired improperly or not, would be spooked by this enough to leave for the private sector or another city? For better or for worse, the circumstances are right for significant cuts.

    What seems most important to me is what the city does after the fact. If the city simply fills up all the empty positions, then its business as usual and we’ve lost a great opportunity. This could be a real chance to reform and reorganize city departments with an eye towards making them more efficient, accountable and responsive. Cronyism is just a symptom of the overall sickness of an improperly functioning city bureaucracy.

    I don’t blame the unions; they’re just doing their jobs. I blame our elected officials and ourselves for not doing our own. The opportunity is here now – we might as well take it.

  6. Carlos Plazola

    CK: The function of a union is to advocate and organize for the interests of its members through collective bargaining, but to do so without killing or debilitating the very same institution that gives it life. Many unions can balance this, and do (including ones I have belonged to). But too many public sector unions bleed their feeding institution beyond what is reasonable.

    Oakland Advocate:
    Actually, thanks for raising the point about Tidewater. I think people tend to mix the message with their perception of the messenger, so it seems reasonable to ask for clarification on this issue.

    For those who are unaware, soon after Ignacio lost the race for Mayor in 2006, I resigned from my position as council aide. A certain weekly newspaper suggested that I resigned because of allegations of impropriety raised around an investment I made in the Tidewater peninsula on the estuary. The truth is that I left my position as council aide for two reasons: First, I needed a new challenge in my career path because after almost 7 years as a council aide, it was growing somewhat monotonous and I had largely learned the tools of the trade and I was no longer being challenged.

    I also left because it became clear to me that one cannot be both employed in politics in Oakland, and an investor in Oakland. The result is that people will be generally suspicious about whether or not you are using political influence to further your investments, whether improprieties exist or not. I can see where this is a reasonable perspective. When I left, I was more intrigued and challenged by the idea of investing and developing in Oakland, and I saw that this would be an unnecessary distraction to the council office. But I remained committed to improving Oakland, and created Terra Linda Development–a land development company. One hundred percent of our projects (about 20 so far) are in Oakland, and about 50% of our time working to further development in Oakland is done on a pro bono basis.

    But the story of Tidewater is far more interesting and is telling about some of our challenges on economic growth here in Oakland. Prior to joining Ignacio’s office, I had already started buying rental properties and rehabbing them. I pulled equity from these and bought an old, run down Victorian and rehabbed it and sold it, then built another house and sold it. I then pulled all my equity and upon invitation from two investors, I became a minority (non-controlling) investor in 2 acres on the Oakland waterfront. They bought the site to build office space for their businesses. The site sits on some of the most beautiful estuary land, but is surrounded by old, blighted industrial uses that are largely owned by non-Oaklanders, primarily employ non-Oaklanders, and have not been very supportive of allowing our waterfront trail to go in.

    Soon after we bought it, the City passed Measure DD which promised a new trail along the waterfront, and the Regional Park District passed measure CC which promised a new park and boating facility directly adjacent to our site. Immediately, large housing developers started dropping purchase options in our lap and those of our neighbors. We refused all of them because we found the visions of these companies for the area to be mediocre at best. Nevertheless, one of these companies out of Los Angeles initiated a rezoning process to create mixed-use for the area. We had no interest in their company and were not behind their effort. Nevertheless, this local weekly chose to spin this as impropriety on my part. This is, however, part of the game and I don’t whine about it. The more unfortunate part came next.

    I did see the potential of the area that caused these four national homebuilders to be independently attracted to the site, and it is something that is true of Oakland, in general. The delta, or difference, between current value and potential value is enormous. I like to say that Oakland is like a beautiful but-run down old Victorian house on the most desirable block (Bay Area) in the best region (Mediterranean Climate) of the world. We have enough of a delta to create a fair return for investors, a tremendous revenue stream for the city, and significant community benefits for the communities where the developments occur.
    In the case of the Oakland waterfront, the delta is even larger, perhaps the largest delta in the entire Bay Area, if not Northern California.

    After leaving the council office, my partners and I became interested in independently pursuing the mixed-use idea for Tidewater to create a blend of light industrial, retail, office and residential, and to maximize the opportunity of creating great public realms and community benefits in the process. Leading thought in planned developments suggest that investing in community benefits and public realms can create a greater eventual return for the investor than the cost of the public benefits. In other words, the public interest and the private interests of the developer are NOT necessarily at odds, and can, in fact, be in-line.

    To this end, we retained the services of the urban planner/architect responsible for master planning 80% of the Vancouver waterfront (which is famous for both its modern development and sweeping and magnificent community benefits and public realms). Together, we developed a proposal to create a Specific Area Plan (SAP) that would modernize our industrial base in the area, create more housing, retail, and office space, and most importantly, raise private funds to complete our waterfront trail, provide 15-20% of all residential units as affordable family units, build day care facilities on site, and possibly even build a new public school. We also proposed to pay for all the infrastructure improvements as well as all the costs for the SAP including EIR costs, planning costs, and outreach costs. Once built out, which would take many years, of course, but would have started in the next economic up-swing, the project would have raised over $100,000,000 for the city in new tax revenues. The delta of the area is such that all this was feasible, and still is.

    Indeed, when we approached Dan Lindheim of the Mayor’s office with our proposal in mid-2007, we had obtained a commitment from a local double-bottom-line (two bottom lines mandated by their mission: profits and creating social good) investment fund for up to $20,000,000, and we were in serious discussion with a New York based pension fund for investment of another $100,000,000—all private investments into Oakland, in a town used to giving subsidies for major developments. What we offered was to transform the waterfront into a thriving center of activity, with great public realms, with immense revenues for the city budget, at no cost to the city. And we even threw in one final proposition to the Mayor’s Office: control. We were so confident we could come up with a widely supported plan that we were willing to give the Mayor’s office the authority, through the SAP authorizing legislation, to “turn off the light switch” if it turned out our process was not faring well for the city.

    What we received is what Lindheim has become famous for, a level of cynicism and skepticism that drives investors away. He, in effect, killed the deal, the investors walked away, and now the city will pay $2.5 million of its own money for a Specific Area Plan.
    For Oakland to prosper, it must clean its house and give confidence to investors that the city can manage its own resources effectively, and to articulate a vision for Oakland that creates a road map for growth. The dance of allowing investors to make a fair return, while creating attractive projects that create revenue for the city and significant benefits for the community, is something the next mayoral administration will hopefully do better than the current one. Until then, we have an opportunity to, at least, clean up our house, and be ready for the next wave of interested investors.

    Carlos Plazola

  7. Chris Kidd


    Great to get your take on the whole Tidewater issue. Tall tales have floated around on that project for over a year and it’s nice to get the story straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were. Quick question: is the fact that you’ve already created a design concept for the Tidewater the reason that it will be left out of stakeholder input for the current iteration of the Estuary Specific Plan? I never really heard a good answer on why it was getting different treatment than the rest of the area. If there’s already a comprehensive plan in place for that region, it would make a lot more sense to me.

    Just because I love being contentious – In regards to the unions issue: In a perfect world, the city employee unions would work in perfect concert with the city. But their right and responsibility is to secure the best terms possible for their members. It’s entirely arguable that it’s more advantageous for the union and its members to work in balance with the city, but they still have the right to attempt to ‘bleed their feeding institution’ if that’s what they feel is best (however much I may disagree with it). It’s our responsibility and the responsibility of those that we elect to look over the union’s shoulder to make sure that this line isn’t crossed. So far, we’ve done a bad job of that(notwithstanding the efforts made by IDLF). Maybe our current situation will help convince us, as a city, of the need to be more vigilant.

  8. Carlos Plazola

    Chirs: on the issue of the unions and their role, my philosphical poistion, which anyone can agree or disagree with, is that every individual, organization, or institution has a responsibility to balance their own self interest with the greater common good. The “tragedy of the commons”, where we devour the common interest because self interest wins, can only be avoided when we achieve this balance. Unions have a responsbility, as do developers, politicians, managers, non-profit advocacy organizations, etc, to balance their own agendas or desires, with the greater good. Of course, all of these must position against each other to attain the greatest leverage in bargaining, but at a specific point, compromise must be achieved as the various interests recognize that they begin to enter into the realm of working against the greater common good. Local 1021 long ago ventured into this realm, and has consistently worked against the interest of the city, overall, to leverage for or against things that were not in the best interest of the health of the city, and thus, themselves. Now, they will face significant layoffs. It’ll be interesting to see how they explain this to their members.

    Regarding the waterfront issue, there is no design concept for the Tidewater area. There never was. We never got that far. The council decided to weigh in on giving direction on the future use of the Tidewater area, including suggesting future potential big box retail between Tidewater and the freeway, because it is the one area of the central waterfront area that is in heated debate, so they weighed in on the matter. The rest of the area has largely been resolved relative to future use, with only tweaking on the margins necessary, so to speak. This said, it is my understanding that there will still be stakeholder input in this area as well. I’m not sure what led you to conclude that there would not be.

  9. avis

    Did I read this article right? It says “there is intense competition to get into the Oakland Police Academy.” “Hundreds of people vie for each spot.” WHAT????

    If this is true, why are we spending $7million dollars to recruit for the OPD? We have been told repeatedly that they city was having major problems RECRUITING anyone to the OPD and that was why we had to spend a huge amount of money on a big recruiting effort to get some candidates for the Academy, now this story that hundreds apply for these openings. WHICH IS IT?

    Can someone PLEASE explain this to me, what is the truth? Do we have hundreds of candidates or so few we have to spend $7 million to get some?????

  10. Max Allstadt

    My understanding is that they have candidates, but not enough qualified candidates. I also believe a portion of the 7 million was to be spent recruiting experienced officers from other cities who don’t cost anywhere near as much to train as a recruit.

  11. VivekB

    As someone who’s had to hire a few mid/high priced folks lately, the problem is also that you get dozens->hundreds of resumes for jobs, 99% of which are total crap. Seriously, you can’t believe what some folks think they’re qualified to do, and why they’re wasting your time & theirs even submitting an applications.

    The closest analogy is applications to Ivy League schools. How many folks applied to Harvard, Yale, & Stanford that had B minus grades, “just for the heck of it”.

    In this economy plus with the generosity of the CalPERS pensions after 30 years, i’m sure there’s many folks who think they might be qualified but in reality are just gumming up the works for the real folks.

  12. Chris Kidd


    We’re definitely in agreement; I was really just playing devil’s advocate. But when it comes down to it, whether or not a union has a responsibility to maintain the common good, the truth is they don’t *have* to.

    As for the Tidewater – I had thought that at the March 18th concurrent council/ceda meeting that subarea 4 would be exempted from public input in the EIR process for the Estuary Specific Plan. I couldn’t remember why. I figured if a design concept was already in place, that’d be as good a reason as any. Thus my earlier question to you. I’d offer more proof, but the minutes from the meeting aren’t available on the city’s website, even though there’s a link for the minutes. I’ll have to watch the video when I get home. Then again, that meeting was a long time ago, so maybe things have changed in the meantime.

  13. avis

    Max and VivekB

    I hear where you are coming from, I have been a recruiter since 1983, owned my own recruiting company in SF for many years. From this experience I can tell you that $7million is a huge budget to recruit less than 100 officers. Even if they are giving sign on bonuses to ALL new recruits this is still a lot of money in my humble opinion.

    I volunteered to help Oakland recruit cops in early 06 and couldn’t even get the mayor’s office to call me back so I’m not sure how wisely they are utilizing our tax dollars, but what else is new?

  14. Rebecca Kaplan

    A big part of the 7 million is not for just recruitment, but rather, for training. Police training academies are very expensive. Just to fill the number of police who retire or leave each year requires recruitment and training, and, to be able to enlarge the police force, requires running additional training academies (along with expanded recruitment), and this is expensive.

    This doesn’t mean I don’t think Oakland could do better. We need to look not only at the size of our recruitment, but also at the quality of the aim! We need not only to get more people to apply, but rather, to target recruitment to get a higher percentage of *good* applicants.

    Also, because training/recruitment, etc are expensive, we can also save money by working to improve our *retention* of police officers (e.g. programs that encourage officers to stay long term, such as home buying programs and other efforts to improve morale).

    As we continue to work to expand our police force (which I support), we need to include “quality” in our goals too….

    (Bad joke about being a “size queen” deleted prior to clicking “submit” ;-)

  15. Max Allstadt

    I wasn’t really coming from any perspective, avis. Just trying to answer your question. As to why academies cost so much, I can give you one quick component. Bullets are freakin expensive, and you have to go through a lot of them, in a lot of contexts before you’d be safely competent to walk around the city armed. I’m sure one of our anonymous police officer readers can add some other cost examples.

  16. Charles Pine

    The presumption underlying some of these posts is that recruiting police is a new thing that needs policy study.

    Major cities all across this country maintain an adequate police force. It’s not a problem for them, not a political issue for them.

    The problem in Oakland is political resistance to adequate staffing. Cute ideas are irrelevant at best, duplicitous at worst.

  17. tagami

    Carlos Plazola makes thoughtful point about balance that I would like to attempt to expand on a bit.

    One group or Interest cannot run the table and expect that the excesses of tenure, power, and control will result in anything other than an in-balance. The struggle over, and the eventual change in control will drive the oppositions desire to emulate the same tenure, power, and control by employing unreasonable measures to counter act the past.
    Each group desiring to hold or take power will escalate the rhetoric and the tactics to prevail.
    Balance takes a lot of discipline.
    To see past expediency and self interest ,to see through the slings and arrows of ideolog’s and theolog’s that are antithetical to progress of any kind unless it serves their distinct agenda.

    I need a hug!

  18. Carlos Plazola

    CK: re Tidewater area: best thing to do is read the current RFP that is out for Central Waterfront area. I read it a few weeks ago and it is my understanding that SubArea 4 is not exempted from public participation and input. The RFP calls for extensive community participation throughout the whole region. Even within the context of council deciding they want business housing mix from TW to water, and business/retail mix along freeway on Tidewater, there is still a world of dialogue to occur in the process regarding density, height, types of businesses, etc. Just look at the differences between HBX 1, 2, and 3. They are designed to produce very different types of communities. So…still lots of input necessary as far as I can see.

    CK and Phil: Interesting conversation we’re having about power, organizational behavior, etc, that I think gets to the root of what is wrong and what is possible in Oakland. At the end of the day, norms govern society as much as laws do. And norms are established and enforced when members of a society hold each other accountbale for certain behaviors. And where Chris is right that unions don’t “have” to do anything (none of us do, really) we all hold eachother accountable to act reasonable. Too often, especially in Oakland, unions, non-profits, and other “feel-good, do-good” entities are let off the hook for their misdeeds because they’re simply accepted as “good” in the progressive community. Meanwhile, developers, politicians, and other less “good” entities are constantly held accountbale.

    Phil, I hope you found that hug ;-)

  19. John

    Thanks to Mr. Plazola for his version of events related to his recent City Council position, the rezoning of the Tidewater area, and his interests there. Regardless of his motivations, however, it is still the case that while he was chief of staff to Mr. De La Fuente, Mr. Plazola worked to rezone industrial area where he owned land. Rezoning the area to allow condo development would have greatly inflated the value of his land. He resigned from Mr. De La Fuente’s office shortly after all this became public and now works as a lobbyist for developers. More specifically, Mr. Plazola is a registered lobbyist with the City of Oakland and lobbies City Council members on behalf of his clients, who are mostly large developers.

    Some skepticism of this explanation is justified, however. For example, every inmate in San Quentin will say they are innocent and that they can prove it if you will just sit down and have a beer and civil dialogue with them. For obvious reasons, it is no wonder he chooses to put the best light on it. To others, however, this appears to be a classic example of how individuals use their positions of power to further their own interests and line their own pockets. In Mr. Plazola’s case, the deal came to light before it was consummated – thus, the sour grapes.

    It now also becomes clear why Mr. Plazola seeks the ouster of Dan Lindheim, as he did in the June 27 Oakland Builders Alliance (OBA) press release. In that press release, OBA makes some rather far-fetched connections between the housing industry meltdown and foreclosure crisis with a lack of leadership in Oakland. The press release lists changes OBA would like to see in Oakland, with the ouster Mr. Lindheim as one of them. Blaming Oakland and Mr. Lindheim for difficulties in the U.S. housing industry appears not only far-fetched, but nearly irrational.

    Mr. Plazola pointedly blames Mr. Lindheim for the failure of the Tidewater project, bringing us closer to the real reason why, as president of OBA, Mr. Plazola called for his ouster. One might see his call to oust Mr. Lindheim as is nothing more than a personal vendetta; or that perhaps Mr. Plazola has some difficulty dealing with the disappointment of having missed out on the housing bubble; maybe he is simply a poor sport and a bad loser…who knows.

    But there is so much public awareness and knowledge regarding the housing industry these days that one should be led to a different, more accurate (and less personal and vindictive) reason for the collapse of Mr. Plazola’s Tidewater project. Most notably, that the housing mortgage industry was beginning to contract at the very same moment the Tidewater was proposed to the Mayor in mid-2007 and that that contraction has deepened and persists today. Everyone knows this. Yet even today and despite how broadly the mortgage and financial crisis are affecting housing investment across the US and world, Mr. Plazola clings to OBA’s irrational belief that one person, Dan Lindheim, caused the failure of the Tidewater project.

    If Oakland is going to succeed in its effort to become a better, more honest city, it will need leaders who can set aside personal agendas and who can correctly identify the causes of the problems we face. Oakland will also need leaders who, having clearly and honestly identified these problems, implement transparent and unbiased solutions in a way that bring benefits everyone, not just those who might personally benefit.

  20. VivekB

    For those wanting a crime stats, and can handle the lack of July data in an analysis, I just did a refresh: http://www.tinyurl.com/rockridgeres

    Based on some guidance I got during the last 12Y/13X NCPC meeting, I re-ran the crime stats with some closer neighboring beats (7X/9X/10X/11X/12X/12Y-13X, and also 4X). I also filtered just on Violent & Property, so stuff like petty theft/shoplifting wasn’t in there. Drugs also got filtered out, but that’ll be back in for the bigger, monthly analysis under the “all crime” category.

    The results were pretty interesting, 4X (downtown) had a bad June, but even they show marginal increase over 2005. According to the numbers, 12Y/13X is suffering the most when compared to 2005, although that could just be us catching up to everyone else. 12X shows a large drop from 2005.

    Here’s a link to the analysis, it’s normally restricted to registered users but this time it’s viewable by the public since it’s just a ‘mini-analysis’:

  21. len raphael

    unconfirmed info that the OPD substantially overshot its 803 target with the graduation of the Oakland and the Santa Clara police academy 26 week sessions now underway, plus approx 15 lateral transfers of cops from other cities. Projected force level would be 870 cops if all the grads were hired, and normal post graduation attrition occurred. (eg. half of lateral transfers usually return to their old cities).

    there are about 80 OPD cadets total between the two locations. Years ago the normal attrition rate was about 10 – 15% before graduation, mostly in the 10th to 11th week when they’re tested on combat situations. (so that hasn’t occurred yet). In recent years the washout rate was a much higher 40% rate. But the way the academies are being run now (implication being the standards have been lowered, but no detail given), the rate will be only 10-15%.

    There are no job guarantees made to cadets at time of admission. In the past similar overages occurred and some cadets later were hired, many were not. Cadets are paid straight time based on the +70k annual starting salary, so that’s about 35k. Then say basic benefits and payroll costs of another 25%, to get 44k x 80 = 3.5 Mill.

    The only instructor payroll cost charged against Measure Y would be OT. No data on that.

    Trainees fire about 1,000 rounds of ammo if they complete the academy. Price on cabela’s for 1,000 rounds of .38 was $400. X 80 = 32k

    Note: OPD charges other police departments approx $6,000 per trainee per session. 40 x 6k = 240k. Santa Clara is only charging OPD $800 per trainee because Santa Clara is running a loss leader to drum up biz for it’s relatively new academy. 40 cadets X $800 = 32k

    I thought only the special marketing costs were supposed to come out of Measure Y? But even if all the costs of these 80 cadets came out Measure Y’s 7 mill, looks like a total of 3.6Mill plus the cost of the instructors.

    That’s in the ballpark of guestimating using the cadet compensation of 3.5M plus 32k to Santa Clara plus 240k for Oakland location = grand total of 3.77Mill.

    So what the heck did OPD need 7mill of Measure Y?

    -len raphael

  22. len raphael

    opd union pres son admission as police cadet: another perspective.

    a. the only non medical person who had full access to his medical records was Deborah Taylor-Johnson. She’s was part of Edgerly’s troika. (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/06/24/BAV811DSGR.DTL) and personnel head of OPD. Russo’s office was never supposed to get such records on their own, and Johnson if she fed them to Russo’s office, did so improperly.

    b. the son had a brain tumor at one time and seizures from that. he had clearances from more than one outside doctor that his prior condition would not impair his performance. over the years, many cadets get medical waivers based on outside medical opinons.
    unlike Edgerly’s daughter situation where Edgerly tried to change the physical tests for admission, the union prez son was accepted thru normal procedures and appeals.

    c. the son had committed a misdeminor while younger, a certain period of time ago. there are many opd past and current cadets with misdemenors on their records, including those that are drug related. the OPD regs does not consider misdemors to be an automatic disqualification if they occurred when the applicant was youthful and a certain period of time has elapsed since.

    d. the son has performed fine in the current academy without any seizures.

    This smells like Edgerly working a PR counter attack against her nepotism charges; and Russo’s office using this to cut down the OPD union prez.

    Meanwhile while the pols are playing their power games, in a new low for my part of Temescal, one person was killed and another wounded during a car chase up 49th between Manila and Bway last night around midnite. Several shots were fired, including two that went wild into a nearby home, and multiple parked cars were sideswiped. No other info.


  23. Max Allstadt

    Len, are they training them with .38? They carry 9mm or .40. Plus each car now has an M4, so they must also train at least a little with 5.56. All much more expensive than .38, which is for all intents and purposes obsolete. Still, not going to amplify the bullet number by enough to make it significant.

  24. len raphael

    when i looked up costs of ammo, i didn’t know what calibre they were using. someone else just told me that it’s probably .40 and told me that retail price for 1,000 rounds of that approx $600. i’d assume the opd pays less than retail. so that would mean a max of another 200 bucks per cadet, or 80 x 200 = 16k.

    i don’t see rebecca kaplan’s point about training academies being very expensive. i smell an oakland muni govt gross fast and loose game with the numbers and figure residents are too uninformed to even question their numbers. disappointing to see rebecca slip into such easy acceptance of the city’s numbers as if she does want to alienate any of her hoped for future colleagues an the council.

    (btw, on the shootings and car chase around the corner from me, neighbor at the scene reports a body covered by a sheet for a couple of hours plus one person taken to hospital. newspaper and tv reports two people taken to hospital. police report not avail. definitely two bullet holes in side of a stucco house and appears to be multiple shoots into parked cars on 49th)

    -len raphael

  25. ken

    hey l&v- i can confirm no dead at the shooting site. i think those items on the street at night, people must have had dinner plate eyes… were just towels and such. bullet grazed one guy’s top of his head but he could walk around. the passenger got hit worse and couldn’t get up out of the car.

  26. Rebecca Kaplan

    Hiya there folks, I apologize if my prior tone sounded too “flip” for the vital topic of public safety. I absolutely agree that other cities have done better at police recruitment. However, I do not think that signing bonuses and other tactics like that (such as home loans) are “little” things or are irrelevant. Since other cities do use them, and have reported that the use of such strategies has been part of why they were having an easier time recruiting good police applicants, this is why I think they are worth including in our strategies.

    In terms of the total costs of the expanded effort to “get to 803″ — I do not accept as given prior numbers for the cost of training academies — my point was simply that not all of the “extra” cost of adding more police was for more recruitment and advertising, but rather, that a very significant portion of the cost was for training academies, which are “expensive” relative to the costs of advertising alone. I am not saying that academies do, or must, cost a specific amount, nor am I saying that we cannot do better, in terms of our costs for these items. Just that the costs for more training academies need to be included in understanding the total cost of police recuirtment/deployment, and help explain why the total costs would be more than typical “advertising” costs.

    I think that as the current round of new police deployment is completed, there should be an evaluation of the costs and results.

    This evaluation/audit should include:

    How much really did end up being spent on advertising? How much was spent on the expanded training academies? What other expenditures were made? What was the “success” rate of the trainees and how does this compare to past experience? How does the amount spent compare to the amount that was expected to be spent? How does it compare to Oakland’s past experience, and how does it compare to other similar cities?

    So, I am not “accepting” any numbers, in fact, I think there should be a real look at the actual costs spent, what they were spent for, and how we might be able to be more cost-effective in the future. All I am “accepting” is that training costs (in a legitimate amount) are part of the total cost of recruiting and deploying new officers.

    Also, as I plan to propose this evaluation of the current wave of recuitment/training/deployment, I would welcome people’s suggestions for additional questions and topics that should be included in the evaluation.

    I believe that Oakland will need to continue to work to expand our public safety efforts (including hiring more police), and whatever we can learn about how to be most effective, both financially and in terms of finding people who succeed in the academies, is worth learning from.

  27. Max Allstadt

    Len, I don’t doubt that money leaks from somewhere in the process. Still, ammo, insurance, paying recruits during training… I’m pretty sure it adds up to a substantial number.

    As for the shootings, I know exactly how to make them stop. Free crack, crank and smack. If he city spent 20 million on drugs and gave it all away, half the dealers in this town would be homeless in a month. The other half would probably resort to armed robbery or some other conspicuous crime which would make them easier to catch and lock up.

  28. len raphael

    rebecca, you’re saying the right stuff. once you’re elected, you’ll probably be the only person in the council to ask those questions. if you’re still demanding quantitative evaluations of city expenditures 2 years after getting elected, you would be an extremely rare oakland pol.

    -len raphael

  29. len raphael


    unlike the mayor’s office, OPD should know what it’s “variable costs” are to run an academy after all these years, and so the 6k it charges other cities to use our academy should cover most costs other than buildings.

    i’ll bet there was a bunch of bucks spent on marketing “consultants” and a whole bunch poorly spent on media (was there really a superbowl ad for OPD or is that an urban myth?)

    -len raphael

  30. len raphael


    unlike the mayor’s office, i would expect OPD to know what it’s “variable costs” are to run an academy after all these years, and so the 6k it charges other cities to use our academy should cover most costs other than buildings.

    i’ll bet there was a bunch of bucks spent on marketing “consultants” and a whole bunch poorly spent on media (was there really a superbowl ad for OPD or is that an urban myth?)

    -len raphael

  31. Max Allstadt

    Ug. Marketing consultants. Kinda like “standup philosophers” from history of the world part 1.

    Len, you’re the CPA, I don’t doubt for a second that your hunches are well founded. I wasn’t really defending the situation, just saying that some of their costs must certainly be very real.