Marcus Johnson, co-chair (?) of Safety First, my favorite member of the now-finished Blue Ribbon Housing Commission, fellow Oakland blogger, member of the Measure Y Oversight Committee, NCPC chair, and from what I’ve heard, all around nice, civic minded, hard-working guy, is circulating a petition to place a measure (PDF!) on the November ballot to amend the City Charter to establish a “a minimum of 1075 full duty sworn officers.”
A demand that we increase the police force this much without providing additional funding for it is nothing short of irresponsible. While I absolutely agree that we should increase the size of the police force, we need to do it in a sensible (and funded) way. Trimming the budget is not as simple as many people seem to think it is. I’m not saying it isn’t doable – there are plenty of areas in the budget that I think money can be freed up. There are also sources of increased funding for public safety that we could be exploiting. If I ever manage to catch up on my backlog of half written posts here, I hope to start discussing some ideas for this soon.
But until we do that, we can’t run around making unfunded and unrealistic demands of the City. The Safe Streets and Neighborhoods Act will accomplish nothing other than putting us on the fast track to being the next Vallejo. Vallejo!