Ignacio De La Fuente: Balancing the City Budget and My Position on Police Layoffs

Last night, at the first of Oakland’s two scheduled budget readings, the City Council voted to approve a range of recommendations with the goal of balancing the FY 2010-2011 budget. Going into Thursday night’s meeting, the City faced an unresolved shortfall of $31.5million in FY 2010-11. The deficit is projected to increase to $48.3 million in FY 2011-12 and then to 60.1 million in 2012-13. Already this year, the City has balanced $11 million out of the $42 million shortfall anticipated for Fiscal Year 2010-11, which begins on July 1, 2010. The balancing measures, much of which were prepared by me, Council President Brunner and Council Members Quan and Kernighan passed by a vote of 5-3.

Included in last night’s budget balancing proposal were cuts to every city department, including the sale of city owned property, eliminating all free employee parking, 5% salary reductions for employees making over $100,000, a 15% cut to the offices of all elected officials, and more. The full detailed proposal can be found here.

How we got here:

  • Less than four years ago, in FY 2006-07, the City collected over $471 million in General Purpose Fund (GPF) revenues, and by year-end had nearly $56 million in reserves. That year alone, the Real Estate Transfer Tax revenue was at $61.5 million.
  • In FY 2010-11, the City is anticipated to have only $10.4 million in GPF reserves by year-end, and is projected to collect just over $400 million in revenues by year-end. The Real Estate Transfer tax collection is now at a low $28 million. Collectively, this means that the City has nearly $120 million less in resources today than just four years ago.
  • Over the past four years, while the GPF-funded workforce shrunk by 12.5%, personnel expenses in this fund have dropped by less than three percent due to salary increases primarily for Police and Fire, as well as medical and retirement costs that have continued to rise.
  • As those who have been following the budget process are aware, I have been extremely vocal about the fact that we are dealing with a structural deficit, meaning that that it will only grow in future years unless ongoing balancing measures are implemented.

    There is a very real problem when the City spends $485 million annually and we only generate $410 million. It is not sustainable. We have a responsibility to balance our budget each year, unlike the state and federal government. I am the first to say that these approved budget recommendations do not reflect all of the important structural changes that need to be made in the City, but we have made many painful decisions that I hope will be implemented as soon as possible.

    As it pertains to police officers, the City is continuing to look at ways to address the tremendous crisis we find ourselves in. My position is that we cannot merely do what we need to do to get through the current fiscal year or wait until a ballot measure is voted on in November.

    No one on the City Council wants to lay-off police officers. No one doubts that the majority of men and women in our police department work extremely hard everyday to patrol our streets and keep us safe. But the reality is that the City of Oakland is in an economic crisis and unless our police department works with us, rather than against us, to restructure the budget, our City is going to find itself in a crisis which will continue to threaten the economic viability of our city and the employment of many of the police union’s very own membership.

    I know I sound like a broken record but I firmly believe in and will continue to push for management tools and technological enhancements within our police department because I believe that until we have these critical systems in place to accurately measure and analyze police workloads, deployment tactics, response times, and real-time crime stats, we will never know how many officers Oakland needs.

    Systems such as GPS devices, In-car video cameras, and Comstat are being used by cities and police departments all over the country to not only enhance officer and public safety but also to make officers more accountable to citizens.

    Demanding accountability doesn’t mean I don’t support our officers, it merely reflects the responsibility I have to the people who actually pay for our police officers – the residents and business owners of Oakland who deserve to know the tremendous monetary costs associated with staffing Oakland’s police force.

    If we had these systems in place today, it could show on a daily basis where our resources and personnel are, how they are deployed, and the results they are achieving, or where we are falling short. They would also tell us how many officers we have on the street on any given day versus how many are sitting behind a desk riding on the coat-tails of those officers who are hard at work on the streets of our city.

    Delaying the implementation of these tools is costing taxpayers’ money, the same way the City’s lack of urgency to balance this budget has driven us into an even deeper financial hole.

    I recognize and agree that Public Safety is a core function that ought to be a priority of local governments but in an effort to avoid laying off police officers, I have for months been urging the Oakland Police Officers Association (OPOA) to come to the negotiating table and agree to contribute to a portion of their pensions. Today their contribution is zero. A 9% contribution from police sworn personnel would save the City approximately $7.3 million per year. This figure is equivalent to the annual cost of 36 fully loaded (salary & benefits) police officers. Thus far the Oakland Police Officers Association (OPOA) has been unwilling to agree to this concession and have said publicly that they will “not agree to any concessions that include layoffs”. There is no logical way that we could guarantee there wouldn’t be layoffs when we have even bigger budget deficits next year and the following year, and meanwhile, the police and fire departments continue to make up more than 70% of the general purpose fund costs for the entire city.

    I can personally say that when times were “good”, I was supportive of several negotiations which benefited public safety unions. Now it is their responsibility to recognize that the City is not in the same position it was in years past. The devastating fiscal crisis we’re experiencing leaves us very few options, and forces us to cut programs, services, and personnel citywide. It should be clear to everyone including the police union that these are not “good” times; very difficult decisions need to be made, and everyone needs to share the pain – including police.

    Beyond the role they have already played in the process, residents may soon have the option to help guide the way Oakland navigates this economic crisis, in the form of a ballot measure, or “Measure Y fix”. The “Measure Y fix” that will likely appear on your November ballot seeks to modify Measure Y, a 2004 voter approved parcel tax measure that guaranteed $19 million a year in parcel taxes for police if the city budgeted for 739 officers by rescinding the 739 budgeted officers’ requirement for three years.

    Because I don’t believe we have the luxury of relying on the unknown results of still unwritten ballot measures to balance this or any budget, included in the $31 million in balancing measures is a direction to the City Administrator to lay off 80 police officers as of July 2010.

    What you need to know about the police layoffs and a possible “Measure Y fix”:

    • If Oakland voters oppose a forthcoming “Measure Y fix” to rescind the restriction on Measure Y, the City will lay off an additional 122 police officers in January 2011.
    • If Oakland voters approve a forthcoming “Measure Y fix” to rescind the restriction on Measure Y, the City will lay off an additional 27 police officers in January 2011.

    I wish to thank all of my colleagues on the council and all the City staff who work hard daily serve the residents and businesses of Oakland. In particular, I want to thank Council members Brunner, Quan, and Kernighan and their staff for their partnership in crafting a proposal that balances the FY 2010-11 budget.

    I also wish to thank the countless residents, business owners, organizations and other people who invest in Oakland and have provided their feedback and budget recommendations to support us during this very challenging process.

    I hope we continue to use this crisis as an opportunity to get the city on a path to financial recovery so that we can finally begin to live within our means. There is more work to be done.

    This guest blog is cross posted from District 5 Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente’s e-mail newsletter. To receive these updates regularly, you can sign up for the newsletter here.

    534 thoughts on “Ignacio De La Fuente: Balancing the City Budget and My Position on Police Layoffs

    1. len raphael

      One of the biggest drawbacks of the City Council 5′s “pragmatic” approach is that once you’ve pushed the cops into accepting say a 9% employee contribution, they are back in line with all the other city employees. which is to say all of employees are paid more than comparable cities throughout the country.

      Now that the cc members have gotten “structural deficit” religion, they lost momentum to fix that by pretending that a give back here and there, a sale of asset etc. will come any where close to closing the gaps we’ll be facing in next few years.

      Now they’ll face the union solidarity that RK wished for. Solidarity that can be backed up by municipal strikes when you try for those medical retirement benefit cuts, 2 tier systems, cutbacks in vested benefits.

      No matter that you would have to face that regardless, but delaying that show down and painting cops as the main villains loses credibility when you come back in a year or two and ask for yet another 500 buck parcel tax.

      -len raphael

    2. Livegreen

      My Yeah, I’m really wondering what they’re going to ask ALL the unions OR the taxpayers to do again next year. I think the Oakland Chamber idea (mentioned on FORUM this past week) to throw open the books projected for the next several years, & work on a solution once and for all.

      Of course that’s presuming the unions will even come to the table, which they probably won’t. In that case the City can at least show it put it’s best foot forwards.

      But one things for sure: this is nothing compared to next year when all the unions are included, especially if the measures fail. & I think they will.

    3. Mary Hollis


      So did RK vote “No” on the budget so she can claim privately to the Unions that she didn’t support these cuts? Even though such a vote does not impose on her any need to come up with an alternate plan, since she knew the budget would pass anyway?

      If that was just a piece of political opportunism on her part then she has just lost my vote. I thought she was better than that.

      And why would we be scared of a municipal strike? Wouldn’t that give us an opportunity to lay people off and then re-hire on new contracts?

      The problem right now isn’t that the Unions might get upset. It’s that they are not nearly as upset as a true structiral solution will demand. It’s appeasement and bribery that got us into this mess.

    4. len raphael

      i don’t see it as opportunism so much as her keeping her powder dry. she already has seiu and alameda labor council support and informally a bunch of dellums supporters. no need to annoy the business groups and residents who want more cops not fewer.

      though JQ has a lock on the ngo’s, RK seems a natural for their second choice.

    5. Ralph

      I like RK as much as the next guy, but a number of her votes come across as calculated political moves. Now, she may try to put them into a bigger context but they come across as politically trying to win voter approval moves.

      Can someone tell me what the heck this stuff is on KQED at 11:10pm?

    6. Dax

      The OPOA is gonna play this thing to the hilt and them make the CC look foolish by giving them almost everything they have asked for– — the 9% contribution.

      Then what? The city council will then look bad when they need to cut even more from police budgets.

      Interesting mailer today from Coalition for a Safer California.

      Didn’t everyone get one?

      Its like a full on campaign brochure. Big glossy and saying lots of scary things, trying to put pressure on the CC.
      A bit of what it said…
      Led by Council members Jean Quan, Rebecca Kaplan, and Pat Kernighan, the city is planning a vote on Tuesday, June 29th.

      There are other budget cutting alternatives, but they require the Council members to offend special interests and campaign contributors.

      Instead, they are looking to cut cops from the anti-gang unit, the sexual assault, child abuse and auto, and residential burglary unit.

      So what are the other alternatives and who are the special interests and campaign contributors they might “offend”?

      I suppose the OPOA is not a special interest.

    7. Dow Chemical

      If Kaplan has Dellum’s people behind her, I know I will not vote for her for anything. After her posturing on the Nik-Nak thing, I figured her for a self serving chicken. We have enough of those.

    8. livegreen

      I agree about the mailer from a Coalition for a Safer CA. Is this what the CC mean when they tell us to “organize”?

      Or are they honestly, subtly asking us to gather support for what we want, so they can hear from us in the same #’s as the union, non-profit & corporate interests? (Who are paid to do this).

    9. Jim M

      The city of San Carlos is considering hiring out its police force to save 2 million a year for 26 officers. Extrapolating the numbers, you could probably put and end to your deficit by doing the same with OPD and OFA. You get the same service just pay as you go up front. The agency you hire probably handles payroll, medical, and retirement. You can reduce your labor force in those department as well.
      The only losers are community activists and politictions; most of whom use these two groups to play public fear and anger to push an agenda. Let’s just do it and return to a normal government.

      Tha said. V, when will your old site come back? I miss the news feed and layout.

    10. len raphael

      the npr interview with Richard Ravitch is worth skimming over the nys sex scandal summary to listen to Ravitch. When asked why politicians have allowed spending to grow much faster than revenues, he charitably says that pols can’t stop giving voters what they want. he doesn’t mention giving unions what they want. but still worth listening to.

      old union guy but fully aware of the state and muni oncoming comet, he didn’t make specific recommendations for layoffs, compensation cuts, or retroactive retirement cuts. he simply proposed full GAAP accounting for expenses and liabilities, and strict controls on spending and borrowing.

      Theory is that with that transparency and controls, the electorate will end the spending party or vote to greatly increase taxes.

      his recommendations were ignored by republicans and democrats.


      in this later news interview he notes that Wall Street is already brewing up financial products to sell to strapped States.

      How do we find out if they’ve been hitting on our officials and staff with product suggestions?

      ” NEW YORK, NY April 29, 2010 —New York’s $9.2 billion budget deficit is expected to balloon to $15 billion next year, according to Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch.

      Speaking to a midtown audience of real estate developers, Ravitch said he does not expect the state to reach a budget deal any time soon, despite the state’s desperate fiscal situation. The budget is nearly one month late and Ravitch says there are no external triggers forcing lawmakers and the governor to act.

      “States can’t go into bankruptcy. They are not included in the bankruptcy code,” he says.

      Today’s outlook is different from the city’s fiscal crisis of the 1970s when the state couldn’t find any lenders. Instead, he says, bankers are circling Albany with tempting offers.

      “The financial community is ready to lend the state all kinds of money. They have 20-odd schemes they are suggesting about how the state can borrow money,” Ravitch says.

      But New York has to be careful; borrowing would dig the state even deeper into fiscal trouble. Ravitch says New York is not alone: all 50 states are facing a total of $350 billion in deficits and more than $2 trillion in unfunded pension liabilities.”

      -len raphael

    11. len raphael

      I felt left out because we didn’t get any robocalls or flyers. But today letter came froth e SF POA, “presorted standard” postage, notated “not authorized by a candidate or a committe controlled by a candidate”.

      Some silliness about how many of their members live in Oakland. Yeah sure. If many of our cops live in Danville, you know their members don’t live in Oakland.

      Not a bad letter till it got to the part “we understand that she (referring to JQ), along with cc members rk and pk are behind the effort to weaken Oakland’s public safety program”

      Hmm, left off IDLF and inserted RK. Actually sounds like a cop wrote the “are behind”.

    12. Ralph

      Len, just got my letter. I feel like I should email Gary. If I am not mistaken SF has almost $3B to play with in their Gen Fund. According to Gav’s budget some $440 odd million goes to SFPD. I wonder if Gary has any guess as to how big Oakland’s GF is?

      For some fun facts – SF expects to see an increase in Property tax revenues (7%) and transfer tax (56%) in the coming fiscal year. Sales tax though took a 0.2% hit and is down to $98M for the year.

    13. Max Allstadt

      I think that the reason Desley Brooks and Rebecca Kaplan voted against this measure is pretty clear: It’s unsustainable.

      Kaplan talked about wanting to enact pension reform via an amendment to the City Charter. I’m all for that.

      The council has been signing sweetheart contracts for a long time. If they can’t develop discipline because of their self interested need to kiss up to unions, maybe the people should change the charter to ban certain kinds of sweetheart deals. The charter should also be changed to prevent unfunded pension obligations if at all possible.

      I pay 100% of my retirement savings. I currently work 50 to 60 hours a week, don’t get overtime, don’t get health insurance, don’t get paid vacation, and I don’t get paid sick leave. I’m doing work that is highly skilled, brutally physical, and I get paid less than an Oakland parking meter repair technician does.

      So as far as I’m concerned, merely demanding that all city employees including fire and cops pay at least a 25% contribution to their retirement isn’t a big thing to ask at all. It’s still kind of a sweetheart deal. I would wholeheartedly support a ballot measure that would void any contract with city employees that did not mandate a sustainable pension contribution scheme.

      The police layoffs weren’t the only thing on the budget table last week. There were some other errors. We shouldn’t be offering the Kaiser Center for sale at a fixed low price, for instance. There should have been no price on it, and an open bidding process, with the city entitled to reject any and all bids if they were too low.

      In short, there were plenty of reasons to vote “no” on this budget proposal.

      Frankly, almost every time I’ve heard Desley Brooks talk about how some large financial proposal was horseshit, she’s been right. I’m with her on this one too.

    14. Max Allstadt

      Oh, and Len,

      That mailer you mentioned was created BEFORE the budget vote. They accuse Kaplan and Brooks of taking a stance that they didn’t take. Clearly it was done as an opportunistic election-focussed ploy.

    15. len raphael

      Max, you gotta up that 25% to more like 50% of total retirement plan contributions. eg if non public safety safety employee portion is now 8% and the employer portion is 19.6%, that’s total now of 27.6%. A quarter of that wb lowering non public safety. So i’d guess start at requiring 50% or almost 14% for non safety. Similarly for safety people, 27.9 + 9 or 8 = 36.9%. A quarter wb 9 something, so sb 19%.

      Employees will go nuts over that, so give em a choice between retiring early or retiring at 62. Move older public safety people to desk jobs.

      I have to admit i missed the first 2 hours of the cc ktop. Did RK talk in that portion to explain her position?

      No need to clutter up the charter with amendments about retirement benefits. Adopt GAAP accounting and open up the books online, real time.

      CC members would find it hard to say everything is under control if those numbers went into the budgets.

      Might need a charter amendment re tying spending growth to revenue growth, and limiting borrowing.

    16. len raphael

      The battle is joined.

      Completely missed the really nice full size full color SEIU mailing piece. That cost some bucks.

      -len raphael

    17. Ralph

      Len, yes, RK covered pension reform in her remarks – including charter amendments. Sadly, my generally cynical nature harbors doubts that we can actually do this.

    18. Max Allstadt

      Len, opening up the books online and adopting GAAP might well make a better charter amendment. It’s the kind of true open government that I worry we’ll only dream of for quite some time, but radical transparency is absolutely the way to go.

    19. Max Allstadt

      Oh, and since I never get mailers, can I make a suggestion for the rest of the election? Would somebody be kind enough to create a flickr account and scan every mailer? And attribute them to a source too?

    20. Dax

      Folks, all the mailers and letters are from Coalition for a Safer California

      See Calif Sec of State site, as they say, “Follow the Money”, or should we say, follow Don Perata & Co.


      $100,000 on May 12th, 2010

      ($260,000 to Don Perata aka Perata Engineering)

      Next see FOSTER MEDIA, INC. and their twin org.
      $25,000 May 4th, 2010

      See owner John Foster and Perata and FBI ….see article


      RONALD T. DREISBACK $10,000 May 12, 2010

      Another long time Perata donation regular to his various causes.

      And on and on…. I don’t have time right now to do justice to matching up each donor to Don Perata, but you can be sure everyone is connected to this scheme and “coalition”…

      Should be called
      “Coalition to maintain OPD compensation and elect Don Perata mayor”

      BTW, SF Police Officers Association $40,000 between May 12 and May 21st, 2010

      Nice to see they’re concerned about their officers who live in Oakland.
      All 3% of them.

    21. Dax

      PS, two other donors to the Coalition for a Safer California.

      Laura Blair and Carlos Plazola


      I think its fair to say, they’ll be supporting Don Perata as the most probable next mayor. That is, with the help of the OPOA.

      So, as we can see, everyone is supporting everyone as they position themselves over the next 4 years of wringing out every drop of money they can from the Oakland pot-o-gold (not quite so golden these days, but there are still a few dollars on the table)

    22. len raphael

      Dax, the oakland muni gravy train will coming to a grinding halt despite its many benificiaries best efforts, but there are plenty of pieces of prime city owned real estate to sell off for cheap; and lots of legal and consultant fees for deals to “smooth” the city’s deficit out past another term or two of elected officials.

    23. Dax

      Not so fast, Oakland may yet be saved by agricultural interests like AgraMed.

      Interesting donor, Jeff Wilcox of Lafayette, who gave $5,000.

      Nice to see that residents of Lafayette are so concerned about crime and justice in Oakland…
      He seems to have a interesting take on Oakland.


      No known prior connection to Perata or any mayoral candidate.
      Just a potential pot grower simply wanting to help the police maintain their full compensation and numbers as they carry out their duties.

    24. Dean Vesuvio

      What I want to know is whether IDLF would support allowing Montclair to separate from Oakland in return for a large payment that would solve this budget mess.

    25. len raphael

      Pot growers as an interest group. Better to special interests than none. What’s it take to adopt the SJ real time calendar system for officials?

    26. Dax

      Montclair leaving Oakland. But what is the Montclair boundary?

      If you make it HWY 13, then what about all those folks between Montclair and Piedmont, you know, living in “Mont-Mont”, (that sometimes goes under the pretentious name of Piedmont Pines.)

      We’d better wait until the fault line that IS Hyw 13 moves the 20 feet that is scheduled, and then when the streets settle into their permanent location, new lines lines can then be drawn.
      I trust everyone reading here knows that the geologic reason there is a valley between Piedmont and Montclair is because HWY 13 is a active fault.
      Or so I was told years ago in a Geology 101 class.

      BTW, is selling half or more of the Lake Chabot Golf Course still in the plans of those who have a plan?

      How do you sell “half” a golf course, and what do you do with the other half?

    27. Livegreen

      I was curious why the OPOA-”Dapper Don” mailer took a swipe at Desley Brooks, since she’s not running for Mayor. Well, it’s probably because she has a poor relationship with OPD/OPOA (the blame for which lies on both sides, as far as I can tell).

      There’s a lot of jockying for City Council going on here too, not just for Mayor. A LOT. & it hasn’t got much coverage yet.

      Finally the OPOA has done itself a lot of damage with this mailer, a disservice to the Officers who honestly do care about the Community (no matter where they’re from) & also to some of the candidates they support (in some cases through no fault of their own). This is going to get used against them at election time, so ironically it’s stupid for the OPOA too.

      Thanks for the links on the CfaSC, Dax. I was going to look them up too so u saved me a lot of time…

    28. Naomi Schiff

      If I am not mistaken Jeff Wilcox owns land in the central estuary area, across the freeway from the Cotton Mill Lofts, has worked with Joe Decredico to figure out something to do with it, is thus connected to Carlos’s (and Joe’s) organization Oakland Builders Alliance. I don’t know anything about any agricultural interests he may have. But I think would-be-development is more likely the point.

    29. Naomi Schiff

      PS: Now that I skimmed the article referenced above, it is the same guy. He proposed “mini-lot” tract housing for the site earlier on, at one point during the real estate boom. There are some medium-important historic buildings on his site, and so I went and spoke with him one day about possible ways to retain some of the historic stuff.

    30. Dax

      Naomi, I was having a little fun, calling his AgraMed connection a agricultural interest.
      They don’t want to grow veggies, they want to grow pot.

      Perhaps I should have referred to his “medical interests”…

      All I know is that he isn’t giving $5,000 purely for a “safer California”.

    31. snappingturtle

      Dax, actually Piedmont Pines is an area on the other side on hwy 13, east of Shepherd Canyon, between the highway and Skyline Blvd – accessed by going up Ascot Drive.

    32. Dax


      Yes, of course, you are correct. I don’t know exactly why I put those two together. I use to have a friend living between Hwy 13 and Piedmont and we always use to joke about it being “Mont-Mont”…

      My association of Piedmont Pines and pretentiousness derived, unfairly, from a introduction to a book written by one W.W. Bartley, III, (the third) who, after his name, instead of just saying Oakland, said
      “Piedmont Pines, Montclair-Oakland” so there would be no mistaking his not living in the “other” Oakland.
      I always thought the combination of using III (the third) after his name, with no first name, and then being sure to mention he was only really on the outskirts of Oakland was a little over the top.

      BTW, the book he was writing the introduction to was “Werner Erhard, The Transformation of a Man, by W.W. Bartley, III

      A little something from Mr. Peapody and his WayBack machine, huh?

      Why that stuck in my head for 30 years, I’ll never know. Borrowed the book from a girlfriend’s mother’s bookshelf, and as we now see, like so many books, it was never returned. (that was 1980) Oh well, I’ve only had it here in the closet for those 30 years.
      Thinking I might thin out some unneeded items here, huh?

      Here is a gem from the end of the introduction….

      “tells how a poor boy from Philadelphia, a car salesman name Jack Rosenberg, a liar, an impostor, and a wife-deserter, Got to that California freeway:………….

      You see, Jack Rosenberg (Werner Erhard) has his “transformation” take place while he was driving his Mustang on the freeway between Corte Madera and the Golden Gate Bridge.

      Ah, the 70′s…. when California was really California, but with only 20 million people.

      I really must clean out some of these old books.

    33. Mary Hollis


      I don’t buy that RK and DB only voted “No” on the budget because it is unsustainable.

      The CC had a week to put together a budget. So there was no time to put together a long-term structural and sustainable solution to the budget mess anyway.

      Moreover, it is not as if the two of them came up with an alternate budget that both balanced the books for the next year AND was sustainable.

      Frankly, I think DB is a pompous self-involved windbag and she’s never impressed me. But RK who doing a half-decent job until this point.

      I don’t like this budget. In fact, I think it sucks. But at least it starts to make real cuts. And we need to vote for it to buy the time to really fix the mess. Voting against it was a posturing and pandering protest vote to appease the unions.

      If the budget had been voted down, there was nothing else to replace it with. But they relied on the others to have the courage to vote for it and, knowing that, they made a cheap political play.

    34. Naomi Schiff

      I agree with you, Mary. DB and RK knew it would pass, so they could get a free ride: they could bloviate and not have to take the risk of voting to cut cops.

      Dax, that’s amazing. I took a class with WWB the Three (as we called him) at UCSD back in the ancient past. If it helps any, add to your description an English accent. Or at least, he had one at the time. I’ve always been tempted to go in the dead of night and add a nicely-carved “OAKLAND” to those Piedmont Pines signs. Lest anyone should think they are trying to escape their oaklandishness.

    35. Mary Hollis

      It’s usually realtors that invent these fake names for the posh and not-so-posh parts of town. San Francisco has some doozies e.g. Lower Nob Hill (Tenderloin) and Baja Noe Valley (Mission).

      But Piedmont actually did secede from Oakland decades ago so it’s not unreasonable for a township or neighborhood to aspire to that. Is there a procedure?

    36. Livegreen

      I’m not sure I buy the argument that RK & DB were trying to appease the unions. First, the other unions wanted the Officers to contribute. 2nd, RK has already lost potential support of the OPOA to Dapper Don. & there’s no way the OPOA will EVER support DB.

      That leaves the possibilities that they disagreed because of the principled reasons they stated, OR they did it because they wanted to re-center themselves for the elections. Or both.

      Either way it’s true that it’s easier to make a principaled opposition when one isn’t a member of a group working towards compromise or a practical solution, but somebody else is. (& DB almost never is a member of such a group).

      I would like more information on both their motivations before deciding whether their reasons were principled or merely convenient. Is their an online link to their statements, or KOTP archived video when one doesn’t have cable?

    37. CitizenX

      “And why would we be scared of a municipal strike? Wouldn’t that give us an opportunity to lay people off and then re-hire on new contracts?”

      Police and fire unions may not strike — the Charter grants them binding arbitration in place of striking to settle disputes. The civilian units are protected under federal, state and local regulations. Laying them off and rehiring is not in the cards.

    38. CitizenX

      “I was curious why the OPOA-”Dapper Don” mailer took a swipe at Desley Brooks, since she’s not running for Mayor.”

      Ah, but the even districts — 2, 4 and six are up for election this year, along with the Mayor. Four years ago IdlF tried to get Marcie Hodge elected, but Brooks beat her out. Perata, de la Fuente/Brunner would like nothing better than replace Brooks (often the contrarian) with someone they could control.

    39. Dax

      The following story in the news on Monday was probably the biggest story that one could read, yet I’m sure very few did.
      The implications for Oakland are obvious.


      SAN JOSE, Calif.—About 70 city janitors are losing their jobs in San Jose because of budget woes.

      City officials facing a record budget deficit have decided to hire private contractors to perform custodian duties, saving the city about $4 million a year, including $3.3 million at the airport.

      It’s the first major outsourcing of city work in more than a decade.

      City custodians earn up to $23.07 an hour, plus pension and health care benefits that bring the hourly total to $40.41.

      Contract custodians can be paid $12.83 an hour, with benefits, under San Jose’s “living wage” policy.
      Cost of a public employee custodian, $80,052 when you include benefits and pension.

      Cost of the “contract” custodians about $27,000 to the city.

      Notice they choose the least powerful employees to begin this process.

      Of course, everyone knows that a good percentage of those “contract” custodians will be working for contractors who use undocumented workers. They must do so to win the low bid. That is part of the reason compensation for those occupations are so low in the private sector.

      Now, what is interesting is whether San Jose, like Oakland and San Francisco, is a professed “sanctuary city” and, as such, would seem to be against any significant enforcement of making contract employers use E-Verify or other such measures to ensure that citizens and legal residents get those “contract” custodial jobs.

      I’ve been saying for some time, that if and when public employees ever have to compete directly with “undocumented” workers for their jobs, you will SUDDENLY see a sea change in attitudes of their unions and workers on the idea of illegal worker workplace enforcement.

      Looks like the lowly custodians are being hung out to dry by their fellow public employees.
      Which job category will be next? Painters, gardeners, the potential list is long. Oakland pays its street traffic painters (lines and crosswalks) about $68,500 plus a benefit package bringing the total compensation up to around $105,000. How much do you think a private contractor would do the same work for? $40,000 or $50,0000 total compensation.
      And who would that private contractor hire?

      Take a look at San Carlos. No, not the outsourcing of the entire police department, but rather the laying off of all their park and city gardeners. Again, when the work is put out for private bid, who do you think will be coming in low?

      Now look at Oakland. Will Oakland be considering using private contractors for its parks and custodians, painters, etc. etc.
      You know, they could cut their costs in half by doing so, but who would then get the work?

      I won’t go over all the implications and potential for hypocrisy involved, but this trend, now in a big city like San Jose, is really significant.

      As the economic crush continues, how can private citizens dig deeper for parcel taxes, or Perata’s sales tax, when we are paying $75,000 or $80,000 in total compensation for custodians, while the guy, a possible resident of the city, is only getting $27,000 to do the same job.

      The private world and the city world and all the hypocrisy in the middle.
      The outside world is coming to the public employee world very soon.
      Why are the wages so low in the custodial jobs of the private sector?
      Why are they so high in the protected world of the public employee sector?

      How will all this clash with the Oakland City Council’s progressive ideals?

      This is the beginning, only the beginning and it goes far deeper than the current police compensation issue.

      But really, it takes, according to IDLF, $188,000 to pay the total compensation for each officer. That is over $90 per hour.
      Now we see another Bay Area city paying its contract employees $12.83 per hour. Both regular city worker positions (not management) and yet we see a ratio of 7 to 1 in compensation.
      Very interesting as to how the progressive Bay Area handles such public employee disparity.

    40. LoveOakland

      The only thing more onnoxious than the prison guards union sending us a mailer about the Police that incidentally targets only Perata’s un-favorites is the silly letter that arrived yesterday from the head of the SF Police Assn. doing the same thing.

      Very offensive.

    41. len raphael

      Dax, don’t assume that the private janitorial companies are using illegal aliens. one of my clients is a good sized janitorial company who uses union employees are all jobs that require union workers. on other jobs uses non union. he’s scrupulous about checking immigration status because you lose the contract if there’s an immigration violation that comes up.

      having said that, there can be a wide range in bids for janitorial contracts. not uncommon to bid below cost to get the contract and try to get a better price once you have a foot in the door.

      i’m sure private sector union janitors are paid much less than seiu muni janitors. just look up the contract boa signed with union janitors about 6 months ago and compare to what oakland pays janitors. boa was paying about 25% less on hourly pay alone.

      -len raphael

    42. len raphael


      Don’t follow how the “The CC had a week to put together a budget.”

      While i would say they had three years, giving them the benefit of the doubt they had at least 3 months.

      What’s changed from 3 months ago? continuation of the trend line on revenues? opoa didn’t cave? no surprise there either.

      Yes there were some real cuts in this budget and they made some good corrections such as reducing IT cut.

      But 3Mill for selling the OFD facility to RDA? or the optimistic rental of vacant space. HJK shell game with its 30Mill of debt? why not just borrow directly against the City Hall building. At least one state has already done a sale/leaseback of its capitol bldg.

      Those were one shot gimmicks, that might not even be consumated.

      You’re ok with that $360 parcel tax?


    43. Dax

      Len, First of all, I never said anything about “illegal aliens”…
      I said they may well have a workforce with “undocumented workers”.

      Now as to your friend who has a janitorial company. Who are his clients?

      First, the type of customers that require union janitors.
      Second, the type that doesn’t require union janitors, but cares greatly about immigration violations.

      I don’t want the specific names, but just the kind of business or entity.

      Additionally, it’s small wonder that a San Jose contractor can supply custodians at a $12.40 wage level when the entire occupational field is lowered due to the outside forces in their industry around them. Everyone gets use to cheap janitors and it spreads even to the few contractors who follow the rules.

      I’ve got to wonder, if a city has a sanctuary policy and other rules that discourage asking, just how is a city going to determine the legality of the janitorial crew? I mean, what are the odds of ever being detected?
      Also it seems most cities and political groups around this area are fully against using E-Verify.

      I know a certain city that uses contractors to do its sewer renewal projects.
      I have seen and interacted with one of the crews since the job took months on the immediately local residential streets. The crew parked all their equipment every evening in a very very close location for about 3 months.
      You get to know and see the dozen or so workers.
      I have no proof that is 1000% foolproof, but I’d be willing to bet $1,000 that 3, 5, or 7 of the 10 or so regulars were not documented if one investigated it.
      Without explaining in detail, I had many close encounters with them as I was very interested in the technology they used in the process.
      Including video guided underground tools with cameras.
      Additionally I found it rather amazing in a multi-cultural city such as Oakland, that the entire crew was not even 5% multi-ethnic.
      I mean, I don’t know how you even get away with that in this era?

      I do not think Oakland insists on their contractors proving that all workers are fully documented. I don’t think a single person is assigned to check it out. I don’t think anyone wants to know, any more than they want to ask children in school if they are legal.
      I would guess in San Jose, Oakland, and San Francisco, it is nearly forbidden to even raise the subject, let alone proceed with a investigation. Not politically correct.

      What I am saying is that if a trend develops that contracts out the work that some public city employees have been doing, that other forces at work in the private sector will then impact city workers.
      I don’t think the actions of San Jose and San Carlos are the end of it.
      Rather they are the beginning.

      BTW, I worked nights as a janitor in college. For a private contractor who had the contract with a PG&E office.
      We were all union and even though I only worked 20 hours per week, I got medical and dental coverage. Wages were good also.
      That kind of situation is extremely rare in the current economic environment. I doubt the compensation package a person like I was, would now get, would be anywhere near as good.
      Only public employee janitors would get equal or much better than what I received.

      On a side note—-

      I talked to a person in the HR department of Albany today.
      He gave me the history of their pension system hikes.

      Prior to 1999 they were 2.0% at age 60

      In 1999 they boosted it to 2.0% at age 55

      Then in 2007 they jumped it up to 2.5% at 55

      At that same time, safety personnel were boosted from 2.0% at 50 to 3.0% at 55.

      A interest city, perhaps the only hold-out during the “Great Pension Rush”, was Alameda. The somehow managed to keep their regular employees at 2.0% at 55. Now they’re looking very smart.
      They did however boost their safety from 2.0 to 3.0 at 50.

      Of course Oakland’s 2.7% for regular employees tops those.

      Look at what is happening in Menlo Park. Initiative on the ballot and the unions suing to remove it.


      By all means, the union doesn’t want the people to have any say on the issue. After all, that puts the issue in the public light. Terrible idea.

    44. len raphael

      for sure the effect of illegal aliens gotta be to depress wages in the construction and maintenance, landscaping etc fields.i used to say that the real estate bubble in oakland and sf was fueled by a combo of cheap money and cheap labor. certainly benefited the middle and upper middle class.

      their customers are publicly held companies. cutthroat bidding.

      some services for some municipalities.

      btw, check out Hercules. they never joined the Bay Area cop and fire compensation race. don’t know about their retirement benefits.

    45. Max Allstadt


      If you want to call Kaplan’s demand for a sustainable budget and systemic pension reform “bloviating”, I guess that’s your prerogative.

      By that standard, I think we’d all be much better off if Jean Quan had spent some time “bloviating” during the last six years while she was chair of the finance committee. Indeed, if she’d “bloviated” significantly even two years ago, the City might not be broke.

    46. Mary Hollis


      Yes, you’re correct, I meant that as of the last meeting, there was only a week left. and so voting No on the only plan in front of you is pointless, except to send a cheap message.

      And yes, a real budget is what we need, but nobody on the CC is capable of doing that. And hell no, I won’t vote for any parcel tax, or sales tax increase.


      The illegal alien argument is a red herring here. Given Oakland’s high unemployment, there should be plenty of people willing and able to do unskilled work for, say, $15 or $20 an hour. A private company would have taken that route years ago.

      In fact, you could probably pay a contractor the same salary as the existing staff, and the savings on healthcare and pension benefits alone justify doing it.

      Plus there are long-term political benefits to gutting the ranks of public sector unions.


      Anyone can “demand” a sustainable buget. It’s a great sound bite. But it’s still a cheap shot if RK didn’t have an alternate budget to offer for a vote. And if she did have one, we didn’t hear about it. Kvetching from the gallery is easy when you know the the budget you claim to hate is going to be approved anyway.

    47. len raphael

      I just replayed the first half or more of the last cc meeting.

      NN clearly doesn’t get the extent, the causes, or the solutions to Oakland’s fiscal problems. Anyone who can say that “everybody has to take a little bit of pain” is out of touch by several orders of magnitude of pain needed.

      PK didn’t do her usual putting her finger on the problem and then shying away. This time she just enthusiastically stated “it’s the economy’s fault”.

      DLF doesn’t lose any sleep about his role in causing this, “one and a half years ago we told you it would get worse and it did”.

      LR just sounds like he wishes he could have retired before the sh hit the fiscal fan.

      RK did give some explanation of her position. Almost in a PK sort of way, she touched on the general need for pension reform, raising retirement ages, costly medical benefits, and shortfalls in pension funding.

      By she went from what could have been the first cogent CC commentary on those structural problems for the entire City workforce to singling out the cops not contributing to their pension. Calling the cops pigs is popular again in Oakland and she took full advantage of the opportunity to do so.

      While I think MOBN presentation was a milqutoast acceptance of the cc majority smokey mirror gutting Measure Y raising parcel tax act, they seem to be the only speaker to point out the obvious that OT increases will wipe out most of the projected savings from cop layoffs.

    48. David

      And what was the GPF revenues in 2000?

      I bet they have significantly outstripped inflation the past 10 years, yet they still cry poverty when no one has had a real, inflation adjusted raise in the past 10 years (median income is flat).

      The only class of worker with real, inflation-adjusted wage gains? Government workers.

    49. JB

      Starting today, every OPD officer is on 12-hour shifts with all days off canceled in anticipation of the Mehserle verdict. This will cost the City $2M a week in overtime. On July 12th, 80 of those officers will no longer have a job. (And soon we will hear that OPD overtime overages are to blame for even more cop lay-offs.) Meanwhile, it looks like all other City buildings will soon be closed and City employees sent home in fear for their safety. Thankfully, all 4200 of them will still have jobs when they return. The priorities of the City Council never cease to amaze.

    50. MarleenLee

      Len, I’d need to see the actual math on overtime. There is only so much an officer can do in the course of a day, and only so much overtime that people can and are willing to work. You can’t lay off a bunch of cops and claim that the same amount of work will get done, for more or less money, by just filling in with overtime. I’m sure that overtime will go up, but I would assume that overtime is already pretty maxed out as it is.

    51. len raphael

      ML, next time line up a couple of more people to cede time or do the nifty trick David M and Sanjiv do of signing up for multiple items and combining. Labeling cc of stealing measure Y is close to the truth, but it was a put off to residents not familiar w Y. Still yours was one of the best comments from the audience.

    52. Mary Hollis


      Yep, Marleen was a breath of fresh air and it was really too bad that some of the crowd didn’t cede her more time.

      And she’s right about this too – sure, there will be some extra OT but the whole point of cutting cops is to cut the work they do that can only be paid for with money that doesn’t exist.

      I’d trash all the NCPC staff and the PSO’s for a start, but at some point, real cop work has to be cut too.

      Result – the streets are less safe. but you can’t spend money you don’t have.

    53. MarleenLee

      Len, I don’t think stealing is too harsh of a word, and I want the public to know what the council did. When you take money that you have no legal right to take, that’s stealing. Particularly when their own attorneys told them at the time not to do it. It is unfortunate that the vast majority of Oaklanders still do not have any idea of how terribly the Council (mis)manages their money.

    54. Dax

      Mary, re- “The illegal alien argument is a red herring here. Given Oakland’s high unemployment, there should be plenty of people willing and able to do unskilled work for, say, $15 or $20 an hour. A private company would have taken that route years ago.”

      “In fact, you could probably pay a contractor the same salary as the existing staff, and the savings on healthcare and pension benefits alone justify doing it.”

      The point was as follows… If cities such as San Jose begin contracting out certain jobs such as they are doing with their custodial jobs, paying $12.40 per hour instead of the city employee rate of $40 per hour, then as those contracts go to bid, the winning companies will either be using partial undocumented workers, or using workers from a general field of employment where overall wages have been driven down by the large percentage of workers in that employment category now being undocumented. Custodial work is a prime example.

      In either case, you would, for the first time, have people in city government facing what they seem to ignore is happening to regular workers in their area who are not artificially “protected” from the large increase in undocumented workers in that field. Fields where wages and benefits are kept low by a unlimited supply of cheaper labor.

      This is all the more interesting because these same cities are the ones who have put in place policies allowing or encouraging ever greater numbers of undocumented workers to come and compete with the long time residents of their city.

      In other words, Oakland city employees don’t face the same competitive pressures that their fellow citizens in the lower skilled work force face.
      They are protected from the competition of large numbers of undocumented workers who would other wise compete for their positions. This is because the city hiring procedures are restricted, such that almost zero undocumented workers are hired. While at same time, official Oakland city policies almost encourage more undocumented workers to come to Oakland and compete with long time Oakland residents for lower skilled and lower educated private positions.

      The grand hypocrisy of these divergent policies has always been apparent to me, but the “progressive” nature of Oakland political discussion prevents the issue from being openly addressed.
      The bottom line is that they fully protect their city employees from the very market conditions they encourage with their other policies.

      I’ll tell you this. People out in the neighborhoods know what the effects of those policies are and in private conversations they resent what their city leaders have done to the economic environment of the lesser educated and lower skilled residents. Those people in the neighborhoods know how the open labor market, with its supply and demand pressures, is treating them.

      Now, the reason why this is mentioned here is because two Bay Area cities are now throwing some of their workers into the fray of the real world by firing them and allowing private contractors to bid on such jobs.
      Private contractors will all tell you, they can’t win bids in most areas without figuring in the savings obtained by using a significant component of undocumented workers in their workforce. Cheaper labor is needed to win bids.

      Len has indicated that a city such as Oakland would insist in the bid details that no contractor use undocumented labor on the city jobs, but as I said to Len, any attempt to investigate the use of such labor would be running counter to city policy where you never ask anybody about who they are with regard to their legal residency status.
      I do not believe Oakland, and probably not San Jose, ever investigate the backgrounds of the employees of contractors doing city work.

      I know all this discussion is uncomfortable and normally not discussed in politically correct Oakland, but it also happens to be the real world.

      Of course, at this time, Oakland has not yet begun to contract out work that is currently done by regular city employees.
      On the other hand, until a few weeks ago, San Jose and San Carlos weren’t doing that either.
      How quickly the San Jose city work force allowed their fellow employees to be thrown overboard. But then again, they were ONLY custodians.
      I mean, its not as if they were the elite city workers, like firemen and police officers. Cut cut cut, but just don’t cut the elite positions.
      Just like the rest of society has done in the private sector to those in the lower skilled and lesser educated professions.

      I don’t think political leaders and even many union leaders care much about the underclass in this country unless they have some power or are represented by pressure groups who can give them a voice.
      In Oakland, custodians, gardeners, construction workers have no voice unless they happen to be public employees.

      The plight of Oakland’s underclass has declined greatly while those who happen to grab the magic ring of city employment have seen their situation rise dramatically.
      Now, a crunch is coming. The real world is peering in.

      Meanwhile, as we seem to be nearing a possible double-dip recession depression and while Oakland has a true unemployment rate of about 17 to 20 percent, we see the police campaign to keep everything right up to the tip top of the peak for wages, benefits, OT, pensions and the like.
      As though the real world didn’t exist. As though an extra $360 parcel tax or a new Perata sales tax is only fair in order to keep them in their current economic status.

      In the news last night. Berkeley opens up 3 positions in their police department.
      OVER 1,000 serious applicants apply.
      Supply and demand, it simply does not exist in the Bay Area when it comes to compensation levels for public employees.

      So at one end of the Bay Area we have lowly custodians being thrown overboard to the laws of supply and demand, while up north in Berkeley we see 1,000 trying for 3 protected positions.

      I guess this is just all normal. And we have multiple mailers telling us so. Gee whiz, I wonder who sent those out, and why?

    55. livegreen

      Dax, The far-left, open-border crowd has a back-up line: displaced workers “should join a union”. To which other liberals nod their head in agreement (based on idealism even if reality is that’s impossible).

      The fact that undocumented workers have undermined the very unions they encourage is beside the point.

      This is a very convenient answer since it appeals to an ideal, ignores a reality that the private sector unions in many sectors have been totally undermined or dramatically reduced. But it also allows the open-immigration crowd to take no action fighting for those who’ve been displaced, and still give a feel-good answer that fits with their ethics in theory, if not reality.

      They will milk it for all they can, enabled by a media that likes simplistic sound bites.

    56. Dax

      LG, you’ve got that right. They say displaced workers should just join a union at the very time union membership of private sector workers has dropped to just 7.2%… and most of that belongs to workers in a very few larger and traditional concerns.
      At the same time there is a falling 7.2% union membership in the private sector, the lowest level since 1900, the rate of union membership in California state and local government is now over 58%, leaving out mostly only the upper management types.

      Private sector workers get displaced and replaced, or see their wages and benefits driven into the basement, while those “progressive” public sector unions make darn sure they don’t allow any outside competition to their own members.

      Yet they often support “progressive” measures that ensure there is loads of new competition for those lower level workers in the private sector.

      The heads of those in the Bay Area have been in the clouds for so many decades, they seem to have not looked around and seen what has happened to their fellow residents.

      What do they say—- “If the shoe were on the other foot”
      If local government workers, state workers, nurses, teachers and the rest were all facing the same outside competition as those in the private sector, they’d of had their legislators pass draconian laws 10 years ago.

      Yet they often support those legislators and city council members who pass progressive legislation that only serves to further exacerbate the problems faced by private sector workers.

      Only this year are they finally feeling some of the heat coming from the economy that is threatening their jobs and compensation levels.

    57. len raphael

      dax, gotta digest your post. a piece of the puzzle, is similar to marijuana laws, the fed and local laws conflict. unlike med mj, feds have often announce that they will enforce immigration employment penalties against the employers.

    58. linda

      Are you freaking crazy?

      Look at this map!


      Dude, Oakland can not afford to lose police officers. Take a salary cut, start enforcing leash laws, start selling T-shirt or something. Figure it out.

      This city is becoming more and more of a crime-ridden hole. Those of us who don’t particularly enjoy living in the ghetto are going to get out if you don’t fix the crime issue, and that’s not going to be fixed by cutting police officers.

      For Christ’s sake. Our murder rate alone is a national embarrassment.

      I’d rather you legalize prostitution, regulate and tax it before you start cutting police officer. Seriously dude. Get with the program.

      I can only assume that you live in Montclair or something.

    59. Naomi Schiff

      Actually, from down here in the flats too, as a 36 year (oh my, that long!) resident: the crime rate, bad as it as, has fallen a lot. Of course neighborhoods go up and down. But police are not the entire answer. There are many factors and among them are making sure our youth are in school, educated, have constructive things to do in the afternoons, and are not faced with a hopeless future. And yes, my house has been broken into and I am aware of crime. But the electronic media mean that we are much more aware of crime in other neighborhoods than the one in which we live, and can see the statistics building up much faster. The crime rate has not risen lately.

    60. David

      Naomi, not to nitpick your larger point that crime has perhaps fallen, but can we please, please, please, kill the myth that poverty=crime? If that were the case, why have crime rates fallen across the country in the face of the Great(er) Depression that we’re having right now? And if you scoff at my characterization, just wait. And read some news articles from 1930 talking about that recovery right around the corner.

      Poverty doesn’t cause crime. Period.

    61. Ralph

      The murder rate is bad but it is not a national embarrassment. Other cities are worse.

      Youth need to be attending school and participating in meaningful activities that let them know that there is another route. Too many kids get caught in being the victim and think that the system is against them. They never go beyond the corner so that don’t know that a larger world exist. Parents also need to be held accountable because the taxpayer can not be the fallback.

    62. len raphael

      youth uprising and maybe some other Kids First funded orgs are making an effort to tamp down Grant verdict riots. Bad riots = end of much funding to ngo’s. cc would run back to hiring more cops. guns vs butter.

    63. Ralph

      Maybe Youth Uprising should change their name to Youth Rising. As it is, they sound like little anarchist. I’ve often wondered if they actually considered how that name can be perceived.

    64. len raphael

      layoffs are unacceptable but unavoidable without some concessions. i want to say the cc incumbents got us into this mess, but i won’t go there at this time.

      so, if opoa agrees to 9% contribs to retirement for all cops; and age 57 (add 7 years) for the say 200 lowest seniority cops, in return cc agrees to no layoffs and no pay or further benefit cuts except retirement medical benefits in same proportion as all other city employees agree.

      also, a two tier system for all new hires. tbd.

      this would give cc a precedent for getting ofd and seiu to boost retirement age for existing members. maybe the least senior 1/3? or ?

    65. len raphael

      Dax et al, does Calpers have any data on what percentage of public safety employees retire on disability before 20 years of service?

      are there any big cities in usa that have greater than 20 year or older than 50 year minimums?

    66. Ralph

      Baltimore recently reformed their PD pension plans. For new entrants, as well as some older members, the new minimum for full benefits is 25 years.

      From Baltimore City announcement
      Modifying age and years of service requirements to earn full benefits would be consistent with national and local trends. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), ten states increased the age and/or service eligibility requirements for a normal service retirement between 2005 and 2009. Baltimore County recently increased police officer retirement eligibility requirements from 20 years of service at any age to 25 years of service, or age 60 with a minimum of 10 years of service, and increased the requirements for firefighter retirements to even higher levels.

      I also suggest checking out the NCSL page. They have add’l info on which states have DC and hybrid plans.

    67. Livegreen

      My guess is that Baltimer officers get paid more unlined with NY. The Bay Area needs to address it’s nuclear arms race in PD salaries & stealing officers from each other (lateral transfers), as a region, if it wants to bring salaries down to earth.

      The current system emulates compensation for CEO’s & University Presidents & Chancelors. It is not sustainable. & it’s just plain dumb.

    68. len raphael

      Regardless of what a competitive compensation package eventually will be for cops, and how we the residents agree on how to allocate the funds,

      the cc has gone from the extreme of giving cops too much, too easily, to the opposite extreme: playing hardball negotiator.

      cc has not bothered tc meet with opoa since wednesday and have not scheduled a meeting until next wednesday. layoffs of the 80 youngest cops start a week after that.

      main sticking point is that cc doesn’t want to give a no layoff promise past december 31 2010. cops want something close to 2.5 year no layoff but there’s a chance they would vote to accept one year.

      One year would give the cops and the city time for a reality check on cop cop compensation and job availability. it would give city time to figure out how staff with a decimated demoralized police force with a preponderence of older cops.

      A petition is being drawn up by people who oppose this brinkmanship of the city but understand the city can’t afford the current levels of compensation.


    69. Ralph

      Yes, Baltimore is more in line with the national average. I think they top out at less than $70K/yr. And at 37 murders per 100,000 people, Baltimore’s murder rate is worse than Oakland as well. Someone in law enforcement has traded on the public’s fear and bent the council over backwards. I am of the mindset that all bay area PDs are overpaid.

      I think there is something wrong when the starting pay for the PD exceeds that of the council. This system is screwed up and unfortunately our elected leaders have not demonstrated any leadership in this arena. My gut tells me that Bay Area PD should be considerably closer to $60K/yr. I would love to know how to get them back to that.

    70. zac

      I guess I’d just caution that making cops and firefighters retire at an older age would leave you with…older cops and firefighters responding to your calls. Beyond the obvious problem of whether old people can do these jobs is the fact that many of these older guys are going to be spending more time injured, and more will retire on disabilities than if they were able to retire younger. I have absolutely no stats to back me up, but I know the these jobs break people down, and older people spend more time on the disabled list. So raising the retirement age might just raise the amount of money you’re paying in injury leave and disability retirement. Might be a wash.

    71. len raphael

      Ralph, is Baltimore doing a two tier system, or somehow negotiate that vesting schedule change for entire police force?

      Ralph, I got a economist grad student buddy interested in looking at why many of the bay area cities pay so much more than other high cost urban areas, some with worse crime, maybe none with worse working conditions. i got those links to other city cop pay sites, who has a link to the pulled oakland generic salary survey?

      Somehow i don’t think the cops had anywhere the clout over cc members that seiu has. in oakland, if cc was that worried about appearing weak on crime, they would have paid less and hired more years ago.

      And as for the power of cop agitprop, oakland has been an anti cop town for most of the past 30 years. ever since the anti war protests and the person who got their legs chopped off by troop train. a few spikes in popularity when the sla killed oakland school admin or mixon’s killings.

      Zac my info is even more hearsay than yours, but my baseless rumor has it that the younger opd officers are more likely to go out on disability than normal. one theory is that the higher pay attracted inappropriate candidates. another theory is that the extreme OT is harmful.

      I know that OFD and OPD has stats and would think a foi request would eventually disgorge them. Not sure how to test for the OT factor.

      -len raphael

    72. Ralph

      So council has finally learned that making promises that they can neither control nor keep is a bad idea. Where was this brilliance when they were handing out guaranteed 4% COLAs even when the CPI only moved a point.

      Zac, we are still talking about people who can be as young as 51 at retirement. I’m not buying what you are trying to sell, but it doesn’t sound like you are terribly convinced of it either.

    73. Mary Hollis


      Not all cops are on street duty, chasing down guys half their age or facing down teenage gangs. Not all fire officers are climbing ladders and carrying old ladies over their shoulders.

      There are plenty of management jobs, administrative jobs, investigative jobs, station jobs, IAD jobs (IAD is a strangely huge percent of OPD) and so on. It’s the job of the senior officers to give relevant work to different officers depending on their age, fitness level and other skills.

      Also bear in mind that many of these cops retire in their early 50′s and then take jobs doing security where, presumably, the same level of skills, fitness and dexterity are required. All while drawing that fad, unaffordable pension that is killing us all.

    74. concernedoakff

      @mary hollis – Actually there are less than 3 staff positions for personnel under the rank of Battalion Chief, and as of right now, one ONE of them is actually staffed. He will be back on an Engine next week.

      ALL of the rest of the personnel in the Oakland Fire Department work on Engines and Trucks in the field, going to 911 calls.

      We do NOT have excess staff positions, in fact we do not even have enough to meet anything close to our actual needs, which of course directly affects our ability to do our jobs.

      I cannot speak for the cops, but for us, we definitely have guys over 60 going to fires every day. They are right in the thick of it, pulling hoses, throwing ladders and going in.

      @len – you cannot really be comparing nurses to Firefighters can you?

    75. len raphael

      OFF, true that nurses don’t have to carry 400 lb people out of 4th story windows, but for a 110 lb female nurse to catch a 400 lb person falling out of bed or getting smacked in the head there are some equivalent physical requirements.

      floor nurses unlike firefighters, have to do those task frequently. ff’s have to perform in short intense bursts, how often in Oakland last year?

      btw, tell me why again i see two fire trucks plus an ambulance for medical emergency calls?

    76. len raphael

      the Grant trial reminds me that for the last decade it has been very difficult to attract qualified applicants to any Bay Area police dept except for cushy Piedmont, Walnut Creek etc.

      We got BART cops who should never have been hired or should have been canned.

      At the peak of the OPD hiring frenzy, the time when Rk was pushing for hiring lgbt vets, talk of signing bonuses etc I suggested OPD for a 26 year Mehserle look alike I knew. Hell no, you couldn’t pay him enough to work as a cop in Oakland.

      But work as FF in Oakland was seen as the perfect job if you qualified and you waited 4 years and you fit the gender racial quotas of the day.

    77. Dax

      “Not all cops are on street duty, chasing down guys half their age or facing down teenage gangs. Not all fire officers are climbing ladders and carrying old ladies over their shoulders.”

      “There are plenty of management jobs, administrative jobs,..”

      Like Dom Arotzarena.

      I’m nearly 60 and I very seriously doubt Sgt. Arotzarena could catch me on foot. On the other hand, if he grabbed me before I could take two steps, he could control me with one hand tied behind his back.

      BTW, doesn’t the OPD have some minimum requirements for physical fitness and weight?

      Push-ups, pull ups, aerobic capacity (1/4 mile run….or 1 mile run, with some age adjustment)

      Just last night on the news, I saw a SFPD officer who would have seriously difficulty jogging one lap on the track due to perhaps a 270+ pound body on a 6 ft frame.

      I thought there were annual physicals and fitness tests.

      From a article on the NYPD
      “It’s ironic that police academy cadets must take fitness tests, but are not checked after they’re on the force, said Jay Smith, president of FitForce, which develops fitness standards and once tried to work with the NYPD.”

      Now, I wouldn’t be making such a issue of this, but how many times do we here the “fitness” issue raised when it comes retiring at age 55 or 57 or 60. We’re told “you don’t want old guys who can’t cut it”… but then we don’t seem to be even testing the 45 year old guys to see if they can keep up with a fit 57 year old guy.

      On another side note regarding police pay. This interesting note from the SFPOA, who by the way paid $40,000 for that mailer to be sent to Oakland residents…


      “Gary (the SFPOA President) was commended for his primary role in advancing, in thirteen years, the total compensation of SF police officers from #92 in the state of California to #3 in the nation (cities with populations of 200,000 and over). (Hayward is numero uno.) Gary appears close to accomplishing his personal goal of financial freedom for the rank and file: a thirty-year veteran Q4 police officer, on January 1, 2009, receiving an annual wage of $104,598 and thereafter retiring with an annual pension of $94,138. Gary set forth the pay raises that have been received over the last decade: 1992 – 5%; 1993 – 5%; 1994 – 5%; 1995 – 0%; 1996 – 3.5%; 1997 – 3.5%; 1998 – 3.5%; 1999 – 5.5%; 2000 – 5.5%; 2001 – 8%; 2002 – 8%; 2003 – 0%; 2004 – 9% (with uniform allowance); 2005 – 6.5%; 2006 – 4.9%; 2007 – 6%; 2008 – 7%; 2009 – 6%, and 2010 – 4%. (Note: subsequently the contract was revised to provide for a 2% raise in July 2009, 2% raise in January 2011, and a 3% to 5% raise in July 2011). What a glorious record of accomplishment! This will be known as the Delagnes-Cunnie legacy. ”


    78. Mike

      If I could elaborate on a few things:
      Some Oakland Fire Apparatus have paramedics on them. Some don’t. It is the goal to send a paramedic staffed piece of equipment on every emergency run along with the ambulance for 2 reasons.
      1. Fire equipment is usaully closer and more abundant than privately owned business driven ambulance companies and thus it is more effective care to send the fire dept with a paramedic to medical calls. Natioanlly, fire departments respond to 60% calls for medical emergencies.
      2. If the paramedic apparatus is unavailabe for whatever reason (already on a dispatch, training, etc), the closest piece of equipment is sent so that they can render immediate aid such as rescue breathing, CPR, stopping bleeding, etc that may be life saving. Additionaly, the next closest piece of equipment with a Paramedic on it is also sent. Paramedics can provide advanced treatment and, although further away then the first apparatus, often times still arrive before the ambulance. That’s why sometimes you see 2 fire engines on a medical call along with the ambulance.

      Regarding age. Actual fires are a small percentage of the work of firefighters, however, the work is overall very strenous. 60% of calls are medicall,often times requiring patients to be carried down narrow hallways and several flights of stairs in awkward positions or removing from banged up cars. Additionaly, just responding to false alarms in high rises and carrying 80 lbs of gear up several flights of stairs, weekly drills, climbing ladders with heavy equip, etc, without going to an actual fire is very taxing even for young fit people. You see see, it really is not a job for elderly people. Most guys that are a lot older in the business tend to be promoted to a rank where they supervise.

      As far as the Police. The core of police work is patrol. You cannot simply find you way behind a desk or some administrative position simply because you are older. We have civilians that do desk work. They are paid much less for it. Do you want police departments wasting your money putting a fully paid police officer behind a desk doing a job a civilian can do for much lower salary? I thought you wanted to save money? Other police only positions that do not involve patrol or any kind of street work and which puts an officer “behind a desk” usually involve a promotion of some kind such as a Segeant who is a Detective, or another type of investigator or the PIO, or adminstrative positions such as Captains and Chiefs. There are only a handful of desk jobs available. If you are under the impression that there all these desk jobs waiting around for officers to just hop behind once they reach senior citizen status, you are mistaken.

      Both careers are for the young and strong.

    79. Ralph

      The initial fitness test requires individuals to complete a 1.5 miles in 14.36 minute and I think 35 situps within a minute and 20 odd push-ups without resting. Not that I need to worry about it but it is ggod to know that if it ever came down to a footrace between Officer Friendly and me, I got it easy.

      That pay escalation is disgusting.

    80. Mike

      There is no initial 1.5 mile run in OPD’s entrance exam. Nor are there push ups and sit ups.

      It is an obstacle course.

      And remember, the entrance exam for any department is set at minimun standards. Once you’re in the academy, you will be pushed, sometimes to your limits physically.

    81. Dax


      Looking at SFPOA data on their annual raises we see the following comparison.

      During the time from May 1991 to May 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, $1,000 in salary would have gone up to $1,608

      That is 1991, at $1,000 is the same as $1,608 in 2010.

      Instead, the SF raises in police pay went from $1,000 to $2,340.

      So, the police salary that is now $100,000 in SF would only be $68,700 had they just stayed in pace with the Consumer Price Index.

      Now, those are national numbers.

      IF I look at a data base for San Francisco specific from 2000 to 2010 we see the SFPD wages went up from $1,000 in 2000 to $1,409 in 2010

      That is $1,000 to $1,409

      Had that same $1,000 gone according to the SF specific inflation, then that $1,000 would only have gone to $1,274.

      Thus during that period, actual “real” pay increased an additional 10.6% over and above what officers were getting 10 years earlier.

      However, pension and benefit increase were raised even more under the new provisions.

      So, you’d have to multiply the “real dollar” increase of 10.6% times the pension increases of X percent…

      Add on the 10 years of the 90′s and the next 10 years, and you come up with “real dollar” increases of about well over 1% each year.

      Put in terms easier to understand and NOT counting pensions and benefit boosts,

      A $100,000 officer would only be making about $70,000 to $80,000 if he was paid in the same “real inflation adjusted dollars” as the officer in 1990.

      Real increases that have elevated true police pay far higher relative to others in the area.

      If you include pensions, benefits and salary, the total benefit package of a current officer in San Francisco is probably 30 to 35 percent higher than it was just 20 years ago.

      Meaning that in true inflation adjusted dollars, officers are being paid a huge amount more than a officer was paid just 20 years ago.

      Police officers, as a group are much more highly paid today, relative to the rest of society, than they were paid 20 years ago.

      It is NOT just your imagination, it is factual.

      Oakland and San Francisco would NOT have budget deficits if police and fire were compensated to the same relative levels they were getting in the past.
      We have had salary, benefit and pension “inflation” in piled up on top of normal regular inflation.

    82. Mike

      Oakland and SF has a deficit for 2 reasons:
      1. The state of the general economy and the dwindling tax base.
      2. The mismanagement of money by council members who didn’t save for a rainy day and spent money like it was going out of style on credit that they didn’t have instead of being responsible with it.

      It’s not the police and firefighters who have caused the deficit. It’s the above. I’m glad that bay area public safey is finally paid what they are worth salary wise. It’s more than just “a job.”

    83. Ralph

      Dax, thanks for the breakdown. In my earlier attempt to calculate where 2010 salary should be I used a range of current salaries and discounted for what appear to be generous benefits. But $70K appears to a reasonable base.

      I would love if someone can tell me how the position of an SFPD, OPD, bay area is any more challenging than Baltimore or LA both of whom who pay their officers less.

    84. Mike

      One of our officers came from LAPD. The cost of living whether you believe it or not is a lot less down there.

    85. Mike

      I’m sorry I misead your question. Oakland officers work 33% harder than the 10 major cites in California and work harder than LAPD. We have less officers per capita then they do. Our crime rate is higher per capita than LA.

      I will check with my friend in Baltimore on what their cost of living is. But just because a certain employer pays less doesn’t make it right. Perhaps they should be brought up to our standards pay wise out in Maryland!

    86. zac


      I’m not trying to “sell” anything; I’m just admitting that I don’t have any hard numbers. But I can say without a doubt that older firefighters have more injuries than younger firefighters, just from my observation. If you believe in the general principle that people’s bodies weaken as they age, then you should believe that firefighter’s bodies also weaken as they age. We haven’t found the fountain of youth, even with all the hydrants we open. I’m not trying to make up some statistic, I’m just saying that you should not be surprised if an older retirement age yields more time on the injured list.
      Like somebody mentioned above, we have very very few desk jobs. Our front office is dramatically understaffed compared to cities of our size. I’m not arguing for more desk staff; I just want you to understand that we are very lean in that area.
      Next, every engine in Oakland has a paramedic on it. And two of the seven trucks have paramedics. We contract with a PRIVATE company, called AMR, to provide transport service. The paramedic on the engine has all of the same skills and equipment as the private medic on the ambulance. The only differences are that fire can arrive sooner, and AMR can drive the patient to the hospital.
      And as far as Baltimore goes, everything I know about them I learned from their website, but I see that their population is 650k and their fire dept is 1800 people. In Oakland we have 450k citizens and 450 firefighters. I don’t understand why they need three times as many firefighters per capita as we do, but I would guess that their budget is not any lower than ours given the radically higher staffing numbers.

    87. Dax

      Mike, your statement

      “It’s not the police and firefighters who have caused the deficit. It’s the above. I’m glad that bay area public safey is finally paid what they are worth salary wise. It’s more than just “a job.”

      I take that to mean, that prior to 1991, police and fire were actually underpaid by perhaps 25%.. Taking the 1.33 back to 1.0 in my example.

      Now Mike, tell me, if that is true, how did they manage to fill the ranks quite easily back then? Remember, the did so during good times and bad economic times.
      Mind you, I come from a family of fire fighters and police. They were all quite happy with their jobs and their benefits and pensions.
      Yet today, relative to inflation, the same positions are paid much more.

      So are we to conclude that the “market” rate is not appropriate for police, fire and other city employees?

      If that is true, the tell me, how do we calculate the proper compensation?
      Does the ability of the city to pay have anything to do with what is proper, or must we pay this “above market” rate regardless?

      Even if we have to add additional parcel taxes on residents who are on the brink of economic collapse, just so we can stay at what you suggest is “finally paid what they are worth salary”

      BTW, you talk about the cost of living being higher here.
      If you’ll note above I specifically took some of my figures from the government statistics for the SF Bay Area.
      Thus comparing 1991 to 2010 was appropriate.
      Even allowing for that true inflation adjusted compensation for SF police officers was rising rapidly when viewed from a economic perspective.

      Typical officer, not Sgt or above, retiring to 27 years of a $95,000 pension. That after 30 years.

      Of course, after 25 to 30 years, lots of officers become a Sgt or other rank with higher final years pay upon which to calculate the 90%.

    88. Mike

      You are looking at the rate of inflation only. Most of us are interested in the most essential goal of every American which is purchasing a home for a family, which has outpaced the rate of inflation.

      I would suggest that those who protect society, those who put themselve’s in harm’s way, at the very least, should be able to afford a home. Without the higher levels of salaries paid these days, it would be virtually impossible.

    89. livegreen

      Mike, You’re earning more than the vast majority of Oakland residents. Who somehow also find a way to afford to live here. So it’s simply not true that you can take a pay cut & not live here. Or in the surrounding areas. Like the rest of us lower to middle of the middle class do, earning less than you.

      If there’s competitive challenges, it’s not the cost of living. It’s the Bay Area arms race to pay PD’s more. I’m curious why NYC & vicinity hasn’t had the same challenges, with all the same surrounding areas.

      Bay Area governments should be speaking to each other about this situation. & we should be encouraging Officers who aren’t willing to leave Oakland just because San Francisco is offering a $5,000 bonus for Lateral Transfers.

      Why haven’t we been? Because Dom encourages candidates from outside Oakland to join, & who are more likely to leave at the first sign of a pay increase in a neighboring city?

      What is the % of new Officers who reside in Oakland vs. those who don’t?

    90. Dax

      Zac, the 1,800 fire department “members” in Baltimore is not the same as
      450 “firefighters” in Oakland.

      First of all, Oakland has about 530 people mentioned as part of the fire department payroll.
      Also, Baltimore handles some aspects of emergency services that Oakland does not.

      Their fire department runs their own EMS ambulances.
      If you get picked up, it isn’t by a private ambulance that the fire department is handing you off to, from what I understand.

      So right there, you may have lots of extra employees.

      I won’t investigate all the differences, but to some degree the 450 and 1,800 are apples and oranges.

      Additionally Oakland is actually a bit under 400,000 in 2010.
      That is about 60% of Baltimore’s stated 650,000
      US census says 2006 equals 397,067 for Oakland.
      The highest I ever saw, was 420,000 at the dot com peak.
      People have left.

      Still, they may have more staff per 1,000 population although, like the situation in San Francisco, the population is not the only criteria of needed staff.
      San Francisco only has a population of about 776,000 but because of all the visitors and daily business people pouring in, it has a department with a payroll of 1,664.

    91. livegreen

      Petition being circulated, with compromise position:

      To sign the petition, send your name and Council District to me for inclusion on the list:



      We the undersigned object to any layoffs of OPD Officers and ask that the City Council reach an agreement with the Oakland Police Officers Association that accomplishes that goal. We understand that Officers are willing to contribute to their pensions and need assurance that there will be no layoffs for at least one year.

      We urge you to get it done.

      signed by:


      On July 2nd, Geoff Collins, Olu Oluwole (Chair of the CPAB) and Don link met with the President and VP of the Oakland Police Officers Assn. to find out if anything could be done to prevent the layoff of 80 officers already given pink slips and scheduled to be laid off on July 12 The 3 of us don’t want to see the layoff of any officers, now or in the future. We feel it would be detrimental to the city and to these superbly (and expensively) trained young officers who are the future of OPD. They formed a “covenant” with the city when they signed on to OPD and they feel that that covenant has been broken by the citizens represented by city government.

      What we learned gives cause for concern, because it appears that no one has made any preparations—created a plan—for OPD if the layoffs do occur, and the OPOA is pretty much resigned that they will unless some real energy goes into ending the negotiating impasse and laggard negotiating schedule. There seems to be no sense of urgency on the City Council’s part and palpable drift in the process. The OPOA is willing to meet every day, any day to continue negotiations, but the next meeting is scheduled for Wed. July 7, 5 days before the scheduled layoff of 80 officers is to take place. Why not yesterday and this weekend?

      What are the issues separating the CC and the OPOA? It is not the matter of police officers contributing 9% of their salary to their pension. That was agreed to in principle before the last CC meeting. The real obstacle is the OPOA’s need for a guarantee that none of the 770 officers who were on the force in March of 2009 (referred to as “family”) will be laid off, because these officers voted to forego a 4% pay increase scheduled to begin in 2009. The OPOA recognizes and accepts that that increase—while technically put on hold until 2013—is essentially gone due to the economic plight of the city. The CC is willing to guarantee no layoffs for the 770 for 5 months only, until Jan. 2011. The OPOA wants that guarantee for the remainder of the current contract which expires in 2013. When asked if a 1 year guarantee would be acceptable, the OPOA reluctantly said maybe, but it would be a stretch and difficult to get past a vote of the membership. We feel that that guarantee might be enough to get the agreement approved.

      There are some ironies in the lagging negotiations and the looming deadline, because the 80 slated for layoff on July 12 are most likely yes votes for an agreement with the city, as are the 150 or 200 officers who could be laid off afterwards in some of the worst case scenarios for early next year. These officers all know their situation because layoffs are based on seniority.

      Another irony is the pension contribution. In the opinion of the Pres. of the OPOA, it is now or never. Officers are feeling disrespected and discounted by the citizens and city government, because they are being portrayed as greedy and uncompromising at a time that they have given up much in the way of concessions, They opened their contract and gave back
      $ 31 M+ in 2009. They agreed to the pension contribution this year. Intransigence is likely to grow exponentially in the future if an agreement cannot be reached now to avoid layoffs and to heal the wounds opened by the layoff threats.

      Once we see the layoff of police officers, we will see public safety in Oakland deteriorate and continue to deteriorate for decades to come. Layoffs are the easy WRONG answer. The CC needs to get back to work, doing its job, and fixing this near-term problem. More long-term problems await them to be sure, and they will have to be dealt with as well. That’s their job.

      What to do: sign our petition AND contact your Council Member, and Jane Brunner and Ignacio De La Fuente (who are negotiating for the CC) to let them know that you oppose layoffs, period.

      Chief Batts has warned that police services will undergo a dramatic change with significant reductions in service if the layoffs occur: http://www.insidebayarea.com/top-stories/ci_15431528

      Your Council Member and Brunner and De La Fuente need to hear about widespread opposition to police layoffs:

      mailto:atlarge@… (Rebecca Kaplan)

    92. Mike

      Oh I could afford to live in Oakland and any city other in the Bay Area (except Hillsborough). But I will live where there are excellant schools and in an upper middle class neighborhood.

      I’m not buying some dump in a run down neighborhood or living in a lower middle class neighborhood. Been there done that. I won’t subject my family to that nonsense – you can be sure of that.

    93. Mike

      Hey let me add. As officers we become very very loyal to our fellow officers and develop a strong bond. We don’t simply pick up and find another job as soon as another dept has a higher salary. It’s very hard to walk away from all your friends that you’ve been sharing good times and bad with. So you’re completely wrong about that.

      For one thing, senority has its benefits such as better shifts, higher pay, etc.

      But more importantly, there is something about being an Oakland Police Officer. We LOVE working here in spite of the awful crime. Most of us could get hired at just about any dept because our experience here is so much greater than at other agencies, but we choose not not to. We are family. OPD Blue. We wear it with pride.

    94. Adam

      I have not posted on here before, but as someone at work directed me to the site due to my connection with Baltimore I will answer a few questions.

      I am an Oakland FF/Paramedic, I used to live in Baltimore and my brother was a Baltimore City Firefighter/Paramedic so perhaps I can clear up a few things.

      Baltimore is an incredibly cheap place to live. An house that costs 400,000 dollars in a middling part of Oakland (if you could even find one) would be about 200,000 dollars in Baltimore. The property taxes are also quite a bit less. If you were to go to the equivalent of Contra Costa County or Dublin, everything is even cheaper.

      You can quote me all the statistics that you want. I have lived in both places and the Bay Area is more than twice as expensive to live.

      Yes, Baltimore has wwaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy more Firefighters than we do. They also work a 42 hour work week, which is 14 hours less than we in Oakland do. They also have 4 different shifts, where the Oakland Fire Department has only 3.

      They have huge amounts of staff positions, Paramedic supervisor positions and rescue positions that we do not have. Baltimore is just better staffed than we are. I wish that we could have as many people as they do, but obviously, that is not going to happen here.

      While they do operate the Paramedic ambulances in the city, the majority of the members are on the Fire Suppression side. From what my brother told me, about 250 people are on the ambulances.

      They do not have a huge influx of business people in the daytime, at least no more than Oakland does.

      The east coast in general has better staffing for their police and fire departments, and also has stricter laws regarding overtime, forcing the cities to higher more personnel rather than paying smaller number to work higher hours.

    95. Mike

      Regarding Baltimore
      My friend who lives out there just emailed back and forth with me about the city. I’ll copy and paste a few quotes directly from him.
      “Yes, right now gas is $2.63 ”

      “The State & County Police get all the perks. Baltimore City Law Enforcement are getting screwed.”

      “Average rent in the county for a 2 bedroom is about $630.00-$690.00. The city is higher because its the city ”

      Seems like the cost of living is cheaper in Baltimore based on his comments. Not only that, it appears that Baltimore PD is getting “screwed” on their pay.

      Lets try and bring Baltimore’s pay up folks!!

    96. Mike

      Hey thanks Adam didn’t see your post. We must have been posting at nearly the same time. It’s always nice to see people here such as yourself who post with ALL of the facts instead of HALF of them!

      Makes the truth a lot easier to see.

    97. livegreen

      Mike, A few points:

      -Re. affordability, if you’ve purchased a house up until 6-7 years ago, you could have had a decent house in a GOOD neighborhood with decent schools with no problem. 3-4 years ago (at the height of the market), not. Now, you could buy again.

      -Most of us who are for responsible spending are not against the Officers, we simply want responsible spending. Not just for OPD but for other departments. We earn about as much as City workers (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less). We’ve paid plenty of property taxes and what more have we been asked to do in a recession? Pay more property taxes. Nope, ain’t going to happen.

      -I REALLY appreciate your OPD Blue to the core. However your OPOA leader regularly brings up the comparisons with other other Bay Area Cities. If he doesn’t mean it he at least uses it as a negotiating tactic.

      -I also appreciate your willingness to work in Oakland. I know it’s challenging. I’ve heard the same proOakland sentiments/caring for the communities from the Officers I’ve worked with through my NCPC.

      -I’m concerned that the last row between the OPOA & CC has really ripped up the relationship. As poor as it might have been before, it’s worse now. That is going to really hurt compromise. & I believe the CC & the OPOA are BOTH responsible.

      I think the Petition above shows a willingness on the part of some citizens to push the two sides back to the table. That push is by people who are both civic leaders & supportive of OPD. They KNOW something has to be done for the good of BOTH.

      But both the CC & the OPOA are going to have to swallow hard to do the right thing. Otherwise both sides will be hurting even more. More danger to Officers, more crime for citizens, etc.

      It’s time for compromise. There’s simply no other way.

    98. Mike

      Well the OPOA has already stated they are willing to compromise and negotiate paying 9%. But it is the CC who refuse to negotiate. The want to give us only 5 months with no lay offs – excuse me?? What planet do the CC reside on?

      When those 5 months are up you know what will happen next, they will again ask for more concessions and again threaten to lay off. In order for someone who is close to retirement to vote to give back (again), it would have to be worth it to them. No one will give back with a 5 month gaurantee, and then be expected to give back at the end of 5 months. And then what’s next? More give backs after that? Next thing you know, we have guys retiring in 5 years giving back 20-30% total right before they retire. That’s just not going to happen.

      The CC needs to give us a few years of no layoffs before the dept will consider giving back 9%. Otherwise we’d be foolish.

      I suppose a “good” neighborhood is a matter of opinion. I like the suburbs. Danville, Marin, San Carlos – those are my types of good neighborhhods. And I also know that without 2 incomes, I cannot afford to buy there. (Condos don’t count). But don’t think because I don’t live in Oakland that I am any less dedicated to the people I serve. I view America as one Nation. When I serve one city, I am serving all communities. We are not independent of one another in this small world. We are all interdependant. America is one great community.

    99. Mike

      Oh I forgot. I would expect our leader to bring up other Bay Area cities when it comes to wage comparisons and workload comparisons when people complain we are overpaid. Industry standards used as comparisons certainly seem fair. (I’m not sure if that’s what context you were referring to).

    100. Ralph

      Employers are not required to pay you a wage that allows you to buy a house. If paying a wage that allowed each employee to buy a house were a factor, then teachers would be paid a whole lot more. Heck, we would all be paid a lot more.

      I have always been of the mindset that officers do not switch jurisdictions because the guy next door is offering a penny more. I mean a guy in not the Air Force today and then decides he wants to join the army tomorrow because he can get better pay. It is one of those jobs that is different than lawyering or finance. You form a bond with fellow officers. I am not aware of high rates of PD jumping happening in the bay and I don’t think it was prevalent in Baltimore.

      BPD is not getting screwed on their pay. If I recall correctly they earn more than NYPD. If you do a city to city comparison, you will see that an equivalent wage should be no more than $70K? The Bay Area is overpaying.

      Yes Baltimore is less expensive, but Oakland is not twice as expensive. At approx. 2.3% Baltimore RE taxes are quite a bit more.

      With business people, employers, vacationers, science center, the pavilions, the aquarium and a number of other places drawing visitors, I am guessing that there are well over 100K and probably close to 200K additional bodies in Baltimore’s downtown core during the daytime. I don’t think Oakland has anywhere near as many people occupying the streets.

      You can quote me all the statistics that you want but I have lived in both places.

    101. Mike

      That was MY friend that said BPD was getting screwed on their pay not Adam. He lives in Baltimore (not a cop). I don’t know the circumstances other than he said the State agencies were doing well compared to the city.

      As far as employers paying a wage to buy a house, it seems that quite a lot of people disagree with you when it comes to police officers and firefighters – those who serve and protect and lay their lives on the line for you should be compensated for that more so than an average worker. I distinctly remeber programs especially for police and firefighters which allowed them to purchase homes at a discount as long as they resided it for a minimum amount of years approx 15 years ago because first time home ownership was difficult for ANYONE.. I also think teachers should be paid more much too. Heck in a perfect world, we SHOULD all be paid more. But it’s not perfect. Warriors and rescuers are rewarded first I guess.

      When I was kid policemen and fireman were heroes. Maybe it’s ok if society takes care of its heroes since they take care of society.

    102. livegreen

      BTW, does anybody have a breakdown of the $35 million the OPOA claims to have already given? I haven’t seen a breakdown that adds up to that amount & the delay of the 4% increase adds up to that…

      It would be helpful to understand.

      BTW, Mike, I don’t think the OPOA is going to get multi-years without any cuts, simply because the budget deficits for next year or two are going to be large again. & this time around the City’s going to need contributions from the other unions. If they make OPD immune the other unions are going to dig in.

      Of course it also depends on the City’s priorities: Does the CC cut everyone equally or prioritize certain departments & expenses? I believe in prioritizing but this liberal city has a tough time doing that. So OPD is simply not going to get priority over youth programs, parks & rec, libraries or even the OACC.

    103. Mike

      You may be right. That’s why our officers are interviewing with other departments. It’s a shame the city will lose all those good people. All that money spent on training wasted. The citizens wont get any response anymore for burglaries or non injury traffic acidents, etc. The REAL losers in all this are the people like ourself who live in Oakland.

    104. livegreen

      Does anybody know where the often sighted 4% of the budget going to OFCY comes from? (Including the city’s pie charts referenced in Jean Quan’s pie newsletters). Measure D (the compromise measure that replaced Measure OO) clearly states “3% of the Actual Unrestricted General Purpose Fund (GPF).”

    105. Ralph

      My bad.

      As to pay premium, I did not say that being a member of public safety is not worth a premium. I don’t think it is worth the $30K premium Oakland is paying. A pay premium does not mean you pay a wage that allows someone to buy a $500K dollar house.

      Also, let me again correct the record, I never once said that safety and teacher should not benefit from homeownership programs, not available to the rest of public servants.

      If the city thinks that it is desirable to have its officers live within city boundaries, then the city should offer a homeownership incentive program. I guess now would be as good as time as any to mention Baltimore offers such a program. I am not against these programs and fully support them. Maybe in 99 or early 2000s, I believe a city on the peninsula provided a similar benefit for its teachers. What you don’t do is give each officer a $100K/yr and hope he buys in the community.

      From the janitor to the CEO, find me an employee who doesn’t think he should be paid more. We all know that our Chief Elected Officer doesn’t think he should receive less.

      I love PD and safety as much as the next guy, but from a business perspective, I think we are overpaying for the services. Furthermore, I do not trust city council to be responsible with my money. CC has signed off on a number of fiscally irresponsible agreements and not just with OPD but with all unions. One should never agree to annual 4% COLAs for the next 5, which is what council did few yrs back. But when you review the actual change in CPI for that period, the average y/y change was about or less than 2%. So, CC has every reason to expect that Oakland residents are going to be reluctant to pay more in taxes.

      Personally, if I were OPD I would be arguing for a rollback of Kids First. It goes unreported but last year those meddling kids got a $4MM raise while every other organization took a cut. Yes, people who don’t vote and don’t pay taxes got a raise.

    106. Mike

      I don’t think 500K gets you much of a house these days. At least not in a real good neighborhood, unless of course you move out in the boonies and I’m not going to commute for 2 hours each way, but once again it’s personal opinion. We all should feel comfortable wherever we choose to call home.

      But I appreciate your honesty. We can just agree to disagree on whether 100K a year is overpaid for public safety.

    107. len raphael

      when California cops and fire fighters transfer to other CA cities and counties how does pension plan portability work?

      Does the new dept’s vesting schedule just take over from date of transfer?

      Don’t OPD’s retirement medical benefits completey vest at 10 years of service?

      If yes to the above, economically there are no barriers to lateral transfers. A pita for sure, but a year of no layoff cooling off period should be enough time for cops to decide the minimum compensation that would keep them at OPD, and the city will find the maximum it has to pay to attract or keep cops of the quality the city decides it needs.

      I don’t doubt the Bay Area salary surveys, cost of living comparisons, higher demands of working for OPD (in many ways). But it is also possible there is a Bay Area police and fire compensation bubble that will deflate over the next year. .

      Maybe even if there is a bubble but it stays inflated, but a year will give the various Oakland factions time to work out a consensus on what level of abilities, skills, and experence we are willing to pay for at bubble prices.

      Oakland is a poor city with a high percentage of poor people. Majority of active voters might well decide to/have to settle for a BART level quality police force. Maybe paying Burris more, and discouraging more well to do residents and businesses is the trade off we decide to make.

      Or if Dax and David are right, that it’s a compensation bubble about to burst, and in a year say the most senior 50% of the opd will say they’re not giving back anymore unless the city files Chapter 9.

      And the city responds by laying off the other half of OPD, and hiring returning vets and transfers from other parts of CA and the country.

      If the city sticks to it’s tough guy give back 9% in retirement contribs and we’ll only give you a 5 month no layoff promise, my guess is that OPOA will vote no. The best connected young cops will get jobs in the Bay Area at comparable wages. The other young cops will lose their houses and move to cheaper areas. Oakland will have a very short period of time to find out if the gamble was worth it.

    108. Mike

      If you transfer to a city that is in the same pension plan, you carry your time in the plan with you. Yes, the new schedule takes over.

      If you come from a different plan, you have 2 choices when you retire. Reciprocity and roll them both together, or collect them independantly. Independantly can be beneficial if say you retire at age 50 in one plan and begin collecting. Then you go to a new agency and begin working there and accruing time in a new plan.

      OPD requires 5 years to be fully vested, however, when you retire, there is no medical coverage.

      Anyone layed off has a right to be hired back before anyone else 3 years after being laid off.

    109. Mike

      2013. I don’t remember which month. Probably June due to the approaching end of the fiscal year.

    110. len raphael

      mike, on the 5 year vesting schedule, is there partial vesting for each year worked during the first 5 years, or is it all or nothing the way the military requires you to work 20 years or get nothing.

      still ‘fused over the no medical benefits. either/both the city’s financial statement footnotes and a report from Lindheim discuss a 598Milll unfunded obligation for earned post retirement medical and dental benefits. Are you saying that none of it is for police?


    111. Mike

      I’m not sure about the partial vesting. I think you are asking if someone works 2 years and leaves and goes to another PERS dept, do they get fully vested after working for 3 years at the new agency. I am not sure. I think since they are in the same retirement system, they are most likely credited for time under 5 years in the prior agency. However, you cannot collect any benefits ever unless you have met the minimum 5 year vesting.

      When we retire, we have no medical benefits. We have to pay our own. That’s an Oakland thing, not a PERS thing I believe. San Francisco, which is not PERS provides full medical coverage upon retirement.

    112. Mike

      Miltary get credit for hiring but nothing towards senority. Senority is dept based only.

      Pension wise, I don’t know if there is some credit given or some buy backs available for deferred comp.

    113. livegreen

      Mike, That’s not true. For about $500K this is what you can get:


      On an OPD salary you can probably afford a touch more too & with a 2-income family even more. And we’re not even looking at neighborhoods like Maxwell Park which are great & even more affordable.

    114. Mike

      (That wasn’t directed to you). There are some on the board who think I am WAY over paid. Yes, if I was top step – approx 100K, I could barely swing one of those homes.

    115. Adam

      Baltimore does offer a housing incentive program for police officers. I have a friend who is a Balto County PD officer who bought a house under this program. They had 50% taken off the price and paid for by the state. Yes, 50%. They had to then live in the house for 3 years and could then sell it and take 100% of the profits. Not a bad deal if you ask me!

      Yes, while the RE tax does look higher on paper, you are not taxed with the city/county line items that California is so famous for. California is a proposition-happy state, and so tends to tax by vote. Most places are not like that.

      As far as I personally am concerned, I live in Oakland and I own a house here. It is honestly not easy to pay for it. I live in a “marginal” area as well, but bought during the great boom years. Honestly, while I respect the opinions given on here, I also am telling you the truth that I do not take home enough money to support a 2 kid family (I don’t have kids) and still live comfortably in the city of Oakland.

      Statistics are great. Reality is even better. I have lived in cheap places and expensive places. I can honestly tell you I lived a much more lavish lifestyle when I was living on the east coast. It just costs more for everything here, and despite my admittedly generous salary, I do not feel like I am living the high life here in this city.

      As I have to go to work today, I leave you with this: please be careful over this weekend and hopefully we will not meet in person.

    116. len raphael

      Only know NYC living costs, and yes outside of manhattan and high end sububurbs, cost of lving is much lower than Bay Area. eg. Brooklyn (not counting trendy neighborhoods). for about the same price you get 2 br,1ba stucco house built on a small lot in 1922 in Oalkan, you could get a 4br 2 ba wood frame, asbestos shingle house on a larger lot with much better public schools.

      if you have school age kids, that alone saves you 10 to 40k/year.

      House would probably be older. Property taxes within the city would be about the same as here.

      Stuff is often much cheaper. Maybe its the competition or efficiencies of density or the lower average income, but seems you could always find good food, clothing, and stuff for less than Bay Area. Even the costco in Brooklyn stocks ethnic stuff foodstuffs liike bulk capers much cheaper than those tiny jars you get at Trader Joes.

    117. Ralph

      Well, I don’t know you from Adam but what is wrond with meeting in person for a beer?

      I am not a fan of those additional line items. Still I don’t think you ever get to the 2+% in Baltimore. Oakland is probably the worst offender on the bay area.

      As to making enough money to support 2 kids, most of us bay area working stiffs need a second income to do that. And if you want to send them to a good public school you probably need to more out of Oakland. What I need is a good private school, which Baltimore has in spades.

    118. Adam

      Ralph, I meant in a professional capacity that I would rather not meet anyone on here. Those are usually not pleasant situations!

      Also, when you pay 210,000 for a place, 2% is a lot less money than 1.8% + line items for a 500,000 dollar house. My friends back east cannot believe how much I have to pay to live in Oakland.

      You are correct that the private schools are plentiful and cheap in Bmore. It would be a difficult choice if/when I have kids to stay or leave this city.

      I understand that many people work very hard for a living and make less than I do. I am thankful for my job and my pay. I do think I am compensated correctly for what I do for a living as well.

      Be safe out there.

    119. livegreen

      Mike, You gave me the $500K & said it doesn’t get much of a house in a good neighborhood. I just plugged in the #’s and, well, it does.

      BTW, I earn less than you & live in a similar good neighborhood, & yet the city wants to increase my taxes (as they do each & every year) to pay for high city salaries & benefits. & the City will put property taxes on families that earn even less…

      We’re kind of all in the same boat here, which is why compromise is so important. & so is improving safety & the schools. (That would make it more appetizing to many median income families to live here).

      Stay safe out there. We do appreciate the hard work OPD does & I hope we can find a median that works for both of us & for all.

    120. Mike

      Well if I was at top step I could afford it – maybe. But according to some people here, a little compromise isn’t enough because they feel I am way over paid and should be making 30% less. I’ll leave you with Adam’s last statement:

      “I understand that many people work very hard for a living and make less than I do. I am thankful for my job and my pay. I do think I am compensated correctly for what I do for a living as well.

      Be safe out there”

      I’ll be on riot patrol.

    121. Dax

      Mike, “I do think I am compensated correctly for what I do for a living as well”

      If only that were the only criteria for all of us.

      However, the market place is a fairer method within limits.
      I’m not saying because there were 1,000 applicants for the recent 3 Berkeley openings that Berkeley should pick the qualified person willing to do it for the lowest bid, but there has to be some sense of compensation appropriate to the market.

      As I stated in a prior post, back several years, when the economy was good, and unemployment under 6%, the OFD had about a dozen openings and got over 8,000 applications before they ran out.
      It would seem probable that they would have gotten many well qualified applicants even if the total compensation package had been 10% to 20% less. In other words, back where it was (inflation adjusted) 20 or more years ago.

      You can’t get away from the fact that there has been real compensation increases (even after adjusting for inflation) over the past several decades.

      I do not think, OPD and OFD personnel were underpaid 20 and more years ago.

      BTW, what was the PERS percent for each year of service back in the 1990′s ?

      3% for 30 years, was what? Was it below 3% and if so, was it 2.0 or 2.5 percent at X years?

      Now, if the typical officer retires at about 57, you have said there is zero medical from 57 to 65. About 8 years at about $6000 a year for typical Kaiser coverage. Tax deductible.
      However, I assume a portion of those officers are covered under their spouses work policy or some subsequent job they take.
      But you can’t count on that being the case.
      On the other hand, I am in that age range and have to pay my $500 per month out of pocket so its hardly rare for many of us.

      So, am I correct, you get zero dollars for those 8 years of medical?
      I don’t suppose you get anything other than Medicare after age 65, whereas some Oakland employees get coverage from 65 and and beyond.

      My brother, a retired officer in another city, was also without coverage during those years. I still find it strange in the Bay Area public employee atmosphere, that OPD did not get some coverage.
      Suggests to me, you traded that point for something else in negotiations, given that other city workers have such coverage.

      Yes, I hope everyone is safe during the coming week of “trial” watch.
      However I suspect the Berkeley-SF anarchists will attempt to make use of this and encourage others in Oakland to follow their rantings.

      Personally I won’t feel bad if a few of those types get “handled” and jailed with gusto.

    122. Mike

      Well historically there are always thousands of applicants for big city police and fire jobs but only 2% of applicants are hired. Most are screened out in the early stages due to background issues, failing the interview, etc.

      Half the aplicants aren’t even serious or prepared to enter a career in law enforcement or fire service. They simply decide “Gee I’ll take the fire test next month because I want a great job and bennies” without realizing they are up against applicants who have perhaps gotten college degrees in fire science or administration of justice, or worked as a reserve in either career, volunteerd in the community, served in the military, etc. Some people are so dumb, they actually show up at a job interview in blue jeans instead of a suit. So the numbers themselves have always been high.

      Most police departments currently won’t even take an application unless you are a lateral or at the very least an academy graduate. I suspect that Berkeley opened their doors to everyone instead of only laterals. I would be extremely surprised if there were 1000 laterals applying to Berkeley. Why they would do that I have no idea. For one thing, it’s not cost effective to structure a test for so many people. Another, why waste time and money sending someone to a 6 month academy with no gaurantee they can make on the street, when you can hire someone already trained and street proven?

      Several other dept’s are hiring in the Bay Area for laterals and they have maybe 20 applicants for 2 positions. Not bad odds if your interview skills are good.

      I don’t think they were underpaid years ago either. But neither was housing as expensive 20 years ago. A comparable home 20 years ago has exploded in price making what was affordable 20 years ago with a police officer’s salary, not affordable now.

      I don’t know what PERS was in the 90′s. I believe it was less. But with the economy improving, wages improving, bennies improve too. Some cities were believe it or not considering paying 4% at 50 or 55 before the economy dropped.

      You are correct. We get nothing for medical. Medicare is a joke. If you can find full medical coverage – I mean real good coverage for $500 a month I am amazed. More like $1000 but remember, when we get older, we likely will have pre-existing conditions develop. Makes coverage very very expensive or impossible. The best bet is to find another job with medical pension benefits after 5 years vesting, work those 5 years, and retire from there. That will give you the coverage you need. Some cops find another police job in another retirement plan to get that medical coverage. Back to working nights and weekends in your late 50′s or early 60′s but you gotta do what you gotta do.

    123. len raphael

      we gotta dig into that 598Mill unfunded post retirement medical obligation. seems awfully high w/o cops.

      on cost of living, just got back from oakland walmart. tell me again how the greatest good for the greatest number of residents was achieved by preventing Walmart from selling fresh food?

    124. len raphael

      part of the cause of higher living in Bay Area is higher cost of housing due to land and regulatory constraints. but even before housing prices here blasted past the east coast, services, food and clothing was more expensive here. gotta think a big part of that were the strong bay area unions in the distributiono retail, and some service industries.

      But didn’t the stead increases in muni employee compensation coincide with the bay area housing inflation of the late 90′s? or did it start even during the housing recession of the early 90′s? (correct my dates please)

      the theory of unions is that they equalize the power held by owners of capital, and raise everyone else’s standard of living. Something didn’t quite work out that way here. Seems to have added inflationary fuel to the housing infglation fire where unionization pushed cost of services and goods went up, and union employees got higher compensation because prices went up.

      remember how at one point Safeway checkers were making something lie $30 plus really good benefits? After a bitter strike Safeway and union agreed to a two tiered system.

      len raphael

    125. len raphael

      pre early 90′s compensation for all Bay Area all muni employees had mediocre gross wages relative to private industry but much better benefits.

      Over the next 20 years it went to much better wages for most employees (except some technical ones and teachers) and great benefits.

      one explanation is that cities were awash in tax revenue and federal grants and cities bid up the price of all muni employees maybe, but weren’t there periodic fiscal squeezes in many cites during that period including Oakland?

      the other theory is that mini unions after they gained collective bargaining rights gained substantial influence over elected city officials thru campaign support.

      regardless of theories, it’s not that hard to come up with comparables for public safety jobs in the bay area that were not unionized. Should be a range of Federal security jobs such as IRS special agent, FBI swat type team, DEA agents, etc. that have comparable physical and cognitive requirements/demands.

      I haven’t looked at compensation for those positions.

    126. len raphael

      corrrection: the federal jobs are probably union, but the federal govt, congress is so large, with so many lobbyists and donors, that even the biggest unions such as the postal workers, have relatively little clout compared to state and local govt unions.

    127. Otownlivin

      Fed law enforcement pay is actually quite high. All Fed LEO Officers are paid on the same pay scale known as the GS scale. Some are now paid on the new “GL” law enforcement scale, but it is equivalent.

      Top step GS-13 Fed LEO base pay – $93,175.00 (non-supervisory journeyman)

      Plus a 35.15% Cost of Living Location Pay for the San Francisco Bay Area, which per the federal government pay scale is by far the most expensive cost of living in the United States. For comparison Washington DC/Baltimore/Northern VA is 24.22% and NYC is 28.75%.

      Plus 25% “LEAP” pay, which is guaranteed overtime, and which everyone gets.

      Total Pay – 157.407 per year + overtime, shift differential, travel pay etc….

    128. David

      1) Do NYC cops own in Manhattan? Chicago cops in Lincoln Park? In my experience, Chicago cops live out in the (much cheaper) northwest side of the city.

      2) If you can “only” afford a $300K house, how the heck are you living in Danville? It’s been my understanding that it’s generally costlier out there.

      3) Explain to me why you can’t afford living in Oakland when I’ve lived here 13 years and in only one year have I made more than an Oakland cop? I don’t live in the ‘hood. I’ve been mugged once, but not near where I lived at the time. Yes, I only recently could afford a house, but well, so what? Most people, you know, have to save for 10+ years to afford a house. That’s the way it’s been for almost all of America’s history (median age for first time home ownership prior to the bubble has been 32 for a looong time).

    129. len raphael


      Please give a link to pay levels for various federal law enforcement positions, before the regional adjustment?

      Also what qualifications are.

      yes the fed regional adjustment for the bay area is one of the highest. seem to recall they were trying to eliminate regional adjustments for all fed purposes, but don’t know if they ever did.

    130. len raphael

      David, Mike

      analysing our way into a “just/fair wage” is a jesuital thing where one can justify a wide range of values. much like appraising real estate in a difficult market.

      suppose it serves a purpose of making the people proposing cuts feel better or the ones opposing cuts feel justified but i would think if the city gives cops a 12 month no layoff committment, and the cops make a 9% employee retirement contribution, all sides will have a good idea before those 12 months what a fair market value is for opd cops.

      Am sure that all government compensation levels are “sticky”, especially decreases.

      Could be that compensation for cops qualified and willing to work here will go down. or maybe politicians will decide we have to lower our standards and hire a bunch of multi cultural Mehserle and Picones but try to compensate with better training and supervision (and higher settlements).

    131. Ralph

      I think the $93K for a GS 13 is incorrect. A GS-13 in the bay area is going to start at $96K and top out at $126K. I also think Hawaii has a higher adjustment but that is neither here nor there.

      I believe if you go to OPM.gov you should be able to access the various GS schedules by locality.

      People can’t afford to live here because they squander their money on booze, cars, and women or men under the assumption that they will never afford to live here so might as well live large. Yeah, buying a house is expensive but if you save your nickels and dimes, you might be able to do it.

    132. Dax


      re- “Medicare is a joke. If you can find full medical coverage – I mean real good coverage for $500 a month I am amazed. More like $1000 but remember, when we get older, we likely will have pre-existing conditions develop. ”

      Huh, #1, Medicare is not a joke. You get Part A essentially for free.
      You pay about $90 for Part B, ( some high income, probably including most officers on retirement at over $85K pay about $135 for Part B)
      Then you pay a plan like Kaiser another $115 for Kaiser advantage.

      So you are paying from $200 to $300 and you get very full coverage under Medicare. Very good coverage.

      Now, as to a policy for a male aged 60 with Kaiser, the highest plan costs about $600.

      The next level down with some higher co-pays or some small deductibles is just under $500.

      Yes, if an officer aged 57 has some pre-existing conditions, they might not be accepted.

      Its hard for me to believe there isn’t a foolproof route for retiring OPD officers to get health care.
      If you are covered by Kaiser when working, you can continue with it, but I’m uncertain if you are forced to go through medical review to continue on a private pay plan.

      I can’t believe that OPOA has never made this age 55 to 65 medical coverage gap a huge issue. Even more so than some of the salary hikes and pension boosts.
      There must be some official bridge from 55 to 65..

      Yet as I say the above, I know my brother did in fact NOT have coverage during those years. I thought he was crazy to risk it.
      He only had one bad episode that cost him about $8,000.
      Last December he turned 65 and is not on Medicare.
      So given the amount he spent on medical care during his pre medicare coverage, he lucked out and didn’t even have to pay the $400 to $600 monthly… and the $8,000 bad episode ends up being cheap.

      However he could have had something really serious costing $100,000.

    133. David

      Sure, Len, I agree, a “fair” wage for a government employee is especially hard to decipher as there are usually few markers for productivity. It’s easy to comp a sales guy $100K if he’s selling $2M worth of widgets (or more, depending on profit margins). As I’ve stated and read a lot of agreement though, someone making $100K in the private sector is expected to fund the bulk of his retirement. Heck, someone making $50K is also expected to fund the bulk of his retirement. One can also determine that if NYC cops who live in a place that is more expensive, but make less money, that there might be something out of whack with comp here.

      Ralph. I’m the cheapest man on the planet, but it’s certainly doable to buy a decent house in Oakland on a sub-$100K salary after 10 years of saving, say, post-college. And I make my own booze. or at least beer, if the ATF is reading.

    134. Mike

      If you’re happy with kaiser go for it! Me, I want a little more control over who I see and the treatment I get. Again, no we DO NOT have medical coverage once we retire – period. Dax you seem like the kind of person who always needs the last word so go ahead and take it.


    135. Mike

      GS-13 is TOP step. FEDS start at GS 5. 7, or 9. Starting salary is typically around 60K year. The Federal pension is horrible. After 20 years FEDS get approx 34%. (The older FEDS have better retirement plans similar to what we have).

      This info is per my friend who is a Federal Agent.

      And David I didn’t say I lived in Danville. I would LIKE to though! I currently have a condo.

    136. Ralph

      On the Fed scale GS 13 is a grade. Steps TOP out at 10.

      Federal pension plans are both boilerplate and variable. Prior to ’86(?) most, if not all employees, we covered by CSRS, a std pension plan % & yrs service. After ’86, all new employees were covered by FERS (a 401K type plan). I believe existing employees had options to convert. Subsequently, to attract and retain qualified employees, some agencies offered additional retirement plans and also went off script on the std GS grade and step pay plan.

      The top Grade on the GS scale is 15.

    137. Mike

      there are steps within grades. You start out at Grade 5, 7, or 9. Each grade has micro “steps” within it. Grade 13 is the highest Grade.

      Grade 14 and above is a Supervisor.

    138. Ralph

      I assume you were writing as I posted. (I also made an assumption that everyone understood the Federal Grade/Step pay scale, which consider how much I am annoyed by grammar screw-ups, I really should have checked myself.)

      Yes, steps are within Grades, which is why GS-13 TOP step makes no sense. And my sense of reason does not compute GS-13 is the highest grade. Oh by the way, we also have a GS-14 and GS-15. (I get what you were trying to say but like I said grammar screw-ups irk me.)

      In a prior life, I was an auditor. I spent many hours auditing federal agencies.

    139. Dax

      OK Mike, a last word on a slightly different topic.

      From today’s Matier and Ross in the SF Chronicle.

      “Adachi’s plan would make all city workers contribute 9 to 10 percent of their pay to their pensions. Right now, half pay nothing. It would also have city workers pay 50 percent of their dependents’ health care coverage, up from the current 25 percent.”

      That is going on the ballot if they have gathered enough signatures.
      A interesting proposal.
      Similar to some things being suggested in Oakland.

      Say what you want, there is a movement all across the state, to adjust over-all public employee compensation which simply got out of control in the past 15 years.
      This movement is not just a bunch of right wing money pinching nuts, but common folks who have seen public employee compensation move well beyond their own and at he very same time they are being asked to pay extra fees, parcel taxes, parking meters, red light fines, permit fees, and everything else to hold those same public employees at the upper limits.

      Instead of making everyone out as “anti-police” or anti-public employee, the people are just expressing that the compensation system went over the limits of fairness relative to the rest of society.
      It did so at a time when our economy was operating above the normal curve.

      It is wrong to insinuate that those who strive for fiscal sanity are anti police or anti fire or even anti city worker.

      City workers and city leaders will just have to make the numbers work with the revenues they have in hand.

      Lots of unpleasant things happening in so many households.
      As Americans we aren’t use to this. Attitude adjustments are needed all around.

      If city employees end up, relative to inflation, at compensation levels 10% lower over the next few years, then that is how it must be.
      We can hardly expect the average resident to not only lose his 10% to 20% of income but to then also have to hike up his taxes/fees on top of that to keep public employees from suffering at all.

      Perhaps Kaiser with the shortcomings you suggest, is all we can afford to provide our public employees.
      I live with it. As does every family member I have.
      Any public employee who wants more, will just have to pay everything above what a typical Kaiser policy costs.
      Now, you may have a system you like that costs no more than Kaiser.
      If so, that’s fine.

      We all do our part. I was out early this morning cleaning up local streets and park areas, after last nights celebration.
      If the city can’t afford it, or would take 3 weeks to do it, I can do my favorite sections and park within hours of daylight.

      So I don’t just complain and do nothing to help.
      I even pick up items near city employee’s and city retiree’s homes, many of whom live in my immediate area.

      I do realize you get NO medical from age 55 to 65.
      Whereas other city workers, from what I know, get up to $425 coverage during those years and continue to get up to $425 even after age 65.

      I find it strange the OPOA didn’t bargain for that over the past 15 years.
      On the other hand, you have not been paying into the pension like those other employees. I’d have to do the math to see how that would equal out.

    140. len raphael

      Dax, that might clear up the mystery of how we got a 600Mill post retirement medical benefit but cops don’t get any of that. would have to look at the contract history to be accurate. didn’t OFF say ofd does get something for post retirement medical?

      Over the next couple of years there will inevitably be downward movement on stick muni wages for all employees.

      But I don’t see how say a 20% in cop and fire compensation is going to amount to more than 60Mill/year max of savings. All that would do is make up for the drop in real estate transfer taxes or so.

      If you believed JQ that’s all we need to do.

      Won’t touch the unfunded and underfund retirement obligations for all employees, won’t touch permanently deferred infrastructure costs. Not to mention likely OUSD deficits.

      -len raphael

    141. Mike

      Ok I lied. I’ll speak to you again dax.

      I get tired of repeating this but I’ll say it one last time. For Christ Sake. The reason we don’t pay into our pension is because we also forgoed pay raises. If we would have payed our pension (like the fire dept), we would have also gotten a fat pay raise (like the fire dept), so it’s 6 or 1/2 dozen or whatever that phrase is. Either way we would making the same net income in the end so if we had been paying it by now we would also bemaking a higher salary so it would be a wash? Got it? The only difference is the CC couldn’t falsely claim we weren’t doing our part by contributing like they are claiming now.

      As far as public employees pensions in general. I agree with you for the most part – except police and fire. I think those who put their lives on the line to serve and protect should be treated a bit better than city janitors, officer workers, and librarians. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    142. len raphael

      (darn, wish we could edit after posting).

      which is that instead of fighting room by room over cop compensation, we need to figure out general outlines of higher parcel and maybe sales taxes, and then whether we go on the standard Oakland “integrated” or prorata approach enunciated by our Mayor or existing Measure Y drafters, or some form of selective core service approach.

      That could require most of our voting residents, employees, ngo’s waking up on the same day with either a revelation or a hefty inheritance to make even that work without pushing the Chapter 9 limits or some kind of Federal workout/TARP legislation.

    143. John B

      I was told recently by somebody at OPD that Police service retirees (post 50 Y/O) receive in excess of $400/month from the city toward their health insurance premiums.
      I am unsure as to where this funding specifically comes from, but am sure the city could supply this info.

    144. Mike

      That would be news to me. All the senior guys tell me there’s no coverage. That’s why they retire and go to SFPD for 5 years – to get their medical…

    145. Dax

      From Mike– “I agree with you for the most part – except police and fire. I think those who put their lives on the line to serve and protect should be treated a bit better than city janitors, officer workers, and librarians. ”

      I agree to this extent. When regular employees were brought up to 2.7% in one giant leap (from 2.0%), they became to close to police and fire.

      First of all, they aren’t doing equally dangerous work.
      Second, they can normally easily work at their jobs well past 55 or 60 with no real difficulty.
      Third, they have no 90% limit on their pension.

      A guy could come out of high school, go to work for Oakland at, say, 20 and work only until age 57. That worker would collect 100% pension.
      He might just be sitting at a desk answering the phone, and certainly there is no need to retire at 57.

      So, regular employees were brought way to close to safety employees in their rate.

      Now, if I was King, I’d have everyone where they were prior to the “Great Pension Rush” of the late 90′s and early 2000′s.

      Something like 2.0 for regular and 2.5 or 2.6 for safety.
      30 year officer who was a Sgt for example, would retire from Oakland at about $84,750 for the next 25 years. 2.5% x 30 = 75% x 113K
      Total $2,118,750

      Regular city employee works from 25 to 65 at 2.0% and gets about 80% of about $70,000 or $56,000 per year for the next 17 years.
      Total $952,000

      As large as those are, they are still well below today’s current Oakland standards.
      And they are simply huge compared to what regular workers find in the private sector. Huge.

    146. Ralph

      Yeah, that editing function would be nice.

      Public Safety should have a better retirement than gen pop public sector employees. But their benefits should not be onerous and public safety should not have excessive pay as well. Public Safety can not hold the city, any city, at gunpoint just because their primary function corresponds to the city’s primary responsibility.

    147. Otownlivin

      If you want information about the feds look at the OPM website. It is confusing, but you can see the basic pay schedule.


      A GS-13 Step 10- (after approx 10 years of service) makes $93,175 no matter where you live as a base salary.

      The San Francisco Bay area is not one of the highest, it is THE highest in the United States as far as living expenses go according to the Federal Location Pay Schedule. The next closest is New York – Newark – Bridgeport NY/NJ/CT at 28.72%.

      LEAP pay is Law Enforcement Availability Pay and is given in lieu of overtime, making the 40 hour work week in reality a 50 hour workweek for Agencies that pay LEAP, which all 6c covered 1811 positions do (more government speak for a law enforcement position classification of Criminal Investigator). This is then added in as 25% of base pay. This is not counted in the pay schedule that I posted above.

      The retirement is 1.9% of salary after 20 years, then 1% more per year after to a max age of retirement of 57 years old.

      The government also pays into a 401k style plan with 100% matching funds as well called a Thrift Savings Plan.

    148. Dax

      EBMUD employees should be paid the most.

      After all, they can turn off the taps, and besides air, water is your most pressing need to survive.

      I’ve heard one of their perks is free water at the workplace.
      All you can drink and all you can carry home in your vehicle.
      Wow, they’ve got it made. Can pass free jugs around to family and friends. Bring home a 5-gallon-er and top off the pool.

    149. Mike

      Excessive is your opinion. I think I am paid fairly for my line of work.

      In life there will always be SOMEone near the top of the pay scale and someone near the bottom. I suppose in future market dips, that SOMEone will always held to blame by the have-nots. We just happen to be the have-somes right now who get the fingers pointed at us instead of the true culprits.

      We are not holding the city hostage. The economy is generally down and the city mismanaged all their money by spending on credit instead of saving and investing. We are just targeted because we are very well paid.

      But then, we’ve been down this road before and are starting to go in a circle. Look folks, lets not keep arguing. Both sides have stated their points. Nothing is gained by being repetitive. We will not convince one another. You have your beliefs and I mine.

    150. Mike

      Beats me. But nothing you all suggest will fix the deficit. The effects will take YEARS to be realized.

      I suggest have to CC open their books. Last year they someone found 20 million in an account they didn’t even know existed – oops!

      There’s money. They just don’t want to spend it. The crooks…

    151. Ralph

      When anyone starts to say that they are paid fairly, I will always question it because most people think that they are underpaid? That being said and given the nature of this forum, I think your are oversimplifying my position.

      In general, I don’t think anyone should have both excessive pay and an excessive retirement. I have no problem with OT if that is part of one’s std comp plan. I am not going to be a person standing before city council reading off people’s salary and OT. My general thought is if you want the OT then you sign up for the position, but don’t be upset with the person because you are not getting OT or earning 6 figures.

      I don’t think this is a case of have and have nots. I think there is something screwed up with the city’s pay scale. And many factors go into pay, I just think the city did a good job analyzing them and thinking about the overall pay structure. (Heck, I am probably one of the few people who thinks councilmembers are underpaid.)

      I never begrudge employees for getting as much as they can for their services. I am more often than not an employee. I prefer to make more to less as well.

      As to your point regarding the city mismanaging the money. Yes, the city mismanaged the the money. The simple case a street cleaner earning near $70K/ year. “JoJo Dancer, you just got an 8th grade education from OUSD; what are you going to do now?” “My cuz sez he ken git me a job as an street sweep. He make $70 large. You hear 7-oh.” (So by my simple line of thinking and yours, there is no effin’ way a police officer should make less.) The city should not be giving JoJo Dancer fixed 4% raises either.

      The people also screwed up with ballot box budgeting. There is no way the kids should get as much as they have, and last year, they certainly should not gotten a raise when everyone else took a cut. Note, these same annoying kids will pick up more money as the city gradually recovers while the rest live on the austerity plan.

      But one simple fact remains, there simply is not enough room in the rest of the budget to close the gap without some concessions. I will never sit here and say that police officer should be paid less than JoJo Dancer. But I think there is a point below the current levels where all employees are paid a decent wage for their work. And with OT you will still do well.

      I don’t know how the city negotiated past giveback with its unions but they should not be coming back year after year. Most employers recognize the type of hardship this causes and really try to work out a plan that will work for more than a year. I don’t know why the city hasn’t.

    152. Ralph

      darn edit function, clearly, I don’t think the city did a good job analyzing all the factors that go into pay.

      thanks for posting the OPM link. Someone fed me some bad sushi about HI.

    153. Mike

      Gosh I never said I’m against concessions during hard times.

      We gave 34 million back last year over a 3 year period which was to avoid layoffs.

      We are negotiatiing to give back again this year but the CC will only gaurantee 5 months of no lay offs.

      Now what?

    154. David

      Give back.

      Look, I’m still making 20% less than I made in 2005. I’m lucky it’s not a 100% pay cut. I’m not the only one. And you’ll be joining us. Or you’ll have the 100% pay cut. That’s the way it is.

    155. Ralph

      No lay-offs for five months is not unreasonable.

      You are a smart man. Five months gives the city a chance to put a tax measure before the voters. Keep in mind the word on the street is the voters are not for any new taxes. I am not sure if it is because they took a 20% pay cut, a 100% pay cut, hate the way the city has managed its resources or some other reason. Whatever the reason, the voters do not seem inclined to pay additional taxes.

      Given that fact and the relative size of the police budget, it would be crazy for the city to take a position that guarantees no lay-offs for longer than 5 months.

      You can not spend what you do not have.

    156. len raphael

      What about Oakland and SF’s “Living Wage” principle?

      That will conflict head on with lowering josephine the street sweeper compensation to private sanitation company levels

      SEIU would shut the city down.

      btw, are “structural” deficits like structural unemployment, ie. permanent unless an economic miracle happens?

    157. Livegreen

      There are two seperate but related issues on the compensation spectrum. One is the overall Pay, the other is the pay comparison between different workers and making equal concessions (or break it into three if you want).

      Yet when concessions are being made this time around, only OPD is being asked to make them. Come to think of it, so are we (another tax).

      I don’t get that part. Because the OPD concessions are clearly not enough by themselves. Why aren’t the other unions ALSO being asked to contribute? (Besides employees earning $100K +). Clearly there’s a reason for this and something else is going on behind the scenes…

      Does anybody know exactly WHAT?

    158. zac


      I can only comment on why Fire is not being asked to make more concessions right now, as I don’t know a thing about the other unions. The reason we’re not being asked is that we just made big concessions. We already pay in 13% towards our retirement and we just agreed to work four hours per week for zero dollars in compensation. We raised our work hours from 52/week to 56, which is essentially an 8% wage cut. Incidentally, I could whole-heartedly support a proposal like Adachi’s, requiring city employees to contribute 9% to their retirement, because that would mean that Fire would have to contribute four percent LESS than we’re doing now.

    159. len raphael

      zac, don’t be shy, the only reason fire isn’t on the chopping block is that your union leaders are more saavy than opoa leaders, both locally and on national level. Traded 4% of gross wages plus several more hours work for a no layoff clause.

      but as long as you’re around, what are the post retirement medical benefits for ofd?

      -len raphael

    160. Livegreen

      Zac, By “just” u mean last year, or this year? I thought these happened last year around the same time OPD forgoed their 4% increase.

      BTW, per Jean Quan’s newsletter, they’ll b negotiating w you guys as soon as they get done with OPD. How I don’t know (w a no layoff clause).

      I agree with Len about your union leaders being smart, but by the same token it is not an insult to them to say our leaders were increadibly dumb to make such a concession. I mean can anybody promise no layoffs?

      This just adds to my point about negotiating w every union seperately. When everything is going up they all point to the one making more as reason to pay more, and then they ask for the one making more to concede morbefore they will. It makes it much faster to go up than to go down, & it prevents priorities from becoming the cause. Instead it’s “fairness”.

      “Fairness” to City employees has become much more important than making the tough priorities. Or doing what’s fair for taxpayers.

      Is that the reason the City isn’t negotiating with the non-safety Unions? Or is there another? Again, there must b a eason or it wouldn’t be just on the backs of OPD & OFD…

    161. Greg Harland

      Hi Everyone,
      First, I’d like to thank all of you for your contributions to this blog. I’ve followed it for some time now, and it’s contributed a lot to shaping my ideas. I’m writing to make sure you know about the second Mayoral debate. It will be on Thursday, July 15th. at 7PM, at the Lakeshore Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Avenue.
      I believe it will be standing room only, so if you want a seat, get there early.

    162. livegreen

      Thanks Greg. Will Don Perata show up? If so, question for him (I’m out of town):

      Has his manipulation of the OPOA hurt them or helped OPOA negotiations? How so?
      Has his manipulation of the OPOA hurt him or helped him? How so?

      Will his son move his Exit Strategies print business from Alameda to Oakland to help generate jobs here? When did the Don move to Oakland? (Before or after he moved from Alameda to Piedmont)?

      Most importantly, WTF are his plans for Oakland? Same question for the other candidates. We need specifics, not generalizations.

    163. Mike

      “No lay-offs for five months is not unreasonable.”

      You’re out of your mind. If you think for 1 minute our members will vote to give back 9% and then get laid off anyway 5 months later you are smoking crack.

      Sorry, the CC can go to hell. I’ll look for another job in another dept now because I’m gonna get laid off anyway if I accept that stupid deal.

    164. Ralph

      The trend in pension reform would indicate that employees will be paying more to their retirement. So, paying the 9% should be automatic.

      Now the question is how does the union preserve the most positions for most people. If the other party is telling you it is relying on new tax revenue from residents who are already feeling pinched and screwed then would it not be wise to come up with a plan B. The alternative is a whole bunch of ‘ees take a 100% pay cut and you still contribute 9% to your retirement.

      I think Naomi said it best when she said, “There simply isn’t enough money.” You can’t get blood from a stone. It just seems to me that the union should be coming up with a position that preserves the most jobs.

      Other cities have managed to do it without having to ask for additional tax revenue so why can’t Oakland?

    165. len raphael

      Oakland can’t do it because it spent every last nickle of its real estate bubble tax revenues on premium wages for public safety and most non public safety employees, super premium wages for semi skilled employees, and spent every last nickle on programs that only rich cities like SF and NY can afford in good times.

      Wouldn’t be surprised if our debt service is unusually high also, but have to check that.

      Never even bothered to budget for retirement medical costs.

      City’s concept of growth was adding residential housing units, and assuming that sufficient ongoing tax revenue growth would automatically arrive to offset the ongoing costs of servicing new residents.

    166. Mike

      Ralph, again, you’re smoking something. No one but an idiot would give up 9% with only a 5 month guarantee.

    167. len raphael

      Ralph, compared to the millions the city has lost on various development deals and subsidies, ineffective programs, patronage jobs of all sorts, why not compromise and give the cops 1 year no layoff committment in exchange for their 9% retirement contribution.

      There is a social and economic cost to the city of laying off cops, if nothing else in the damage it does to attracting investors, businesses, tourists etc.

      If you give only a 5 month no layoff commitment, the best young cops will not stick around waiting to find out what’s gonna happen in just a few months.

      We have a large investment in training and learning time that will go poof.

      If we give them a year, young cops will not have to rush to the exits now. They can look around, check out the odds of getting a better long term deal at other depts and maybe decide they should stay here and persuade the older cops to work out further concession with job security.

      Oakland has time to figure out it’s priorities and find out the training cost and quality of replacing those 80 to more likely 200 cops.

      A no layoff promise for 1 year is not such a big risk for Oakland, since we’re getting closer to Chapter 9 anyway.

    168. Ralph

      You and I both know that the city is not going to file for bankruptcy. The cost will cripple the city for years.

      I have the same question for you, if the city does not have the money to close the gap where do you propose that the city obtain the money?

      The city’s number one priority is public safety. That being said, I do not think that the crime rate will spike if we cut police. (If it is not evident, I am not a fan of cutting cops, but where do you propose we find the money to balance the budget.)

      If you think that we can address the budget problem by getting older cops to give up more, then why not just do it now. Plan B.

      Again, I know you know the investment in training is a sunk cost, which does not factor into the decision.

      Personally, I think it would seem to make more sense to find the Plan B which works for multiple years and doesn’t require layoffs.

    169. Mike

      Here’s my “Plan B”

      Give back 9% with no layoffs for 2 years.

      2 tiered retirement system. New employees pension paid at a lower % per year for ALL city workers.

      Modify Measure Y to divert more of the funding diectly to the police department and away from some of the other allocations.

      Attrition rates of 65 officers a year, do not hire any laterals, and no more scheduled academies should make all current employees safe from layoffs during that 2 year period.

      Do NOT attempt any parcel tax increases.

      In 2013 there is an expected large number of OPD officers retiring, further reducing the number of personell.

      Observe the state of the economy at the approaching 2 year mark. If it is improving, which it likely will be at that time, we may still be in a deficit, however, conditions will be improving financialy. At that time we can determine a course from there…

    170. len raphael

      Ralph, i wouldn’t be so sure Chapter 9 isn’t in our future. Something scared the cc into finally acting tough and pushing for an even higher parcel tax than the one they first floated but decided it wouldnt pass.

      Maybe knowing that the public gets to see the five year projection plus the 400mill pension obligation bond coming due next june. Or more likely dreams of dellums bringing home the mega federal bucks finally died.

      14 to 25mill bucks for legal fees. Orrick might take a second on City Hall (after the 30Mill “moved over” from HJK Center) if it gets a high profile case like ours.

      Would the bond market punish us? Why should they on new dedicated revenue bonds where their security is as good or bad as it ever was. On General Obligation bonds? investors would have to be really dumb to think we’re a higher risk for default after Chapter 9 than we are now.

      Within the next year some city or county will test the limits of Chapter 9 on postretirement med benefits and even vested retirement benefits and we’ll know whether it will be worth doing.

    171. Livegreen

      I like Mike’s proposal for a compromise. Where do we sign? As long as it gets us a good way towards where we’re goig. For next year it’s time for the other unions to pitch in too.

    172. MarleenLee

      The failure to schedule academies has practically the same impact as layoffs – it reduces the number of staff available to deter, fight and investigate crime. OPD’s attrition is closer to 50 officers a year, not 65, but still. The force is already down more than 30 officers.

      I’ve suggested modifying Measure Y to route more money to OPD in the past. No takers.

      There are options on how to find money to avoid layoffs and the City has continually ignored those options. They include pay concessions from all the unions (so that salaries/benefits are more market rate, not inflated) and getting rid of Kids First and violence prevention funding. Getting rid of Kids First and Measure Y violence prevention funding would free up more than $15 million annually. Compensation concessions from the other unions could free up another over $20 million annually. You can’t convince me that there aren’t other options. But until the taxpayers start screaming as loud as the unions and those who live off of City “grant” money, CC isn’t going to listen, apparently.

    173. zac

      We agreed to the four hrs/week increase almost exactly one year ago. We’ve been paying 9% into PERS since before I came in (1998) and we’ve been paying 13% for the last four or five years.

      I don’t exactly know what the retirement benefit is for medical; I’ve asked and keep getting different answers. All I know is that the city pays less and less of it every year, and that retirees are forced to come up with more and more. I’ll try to find some real answers.

      And as for our no layoff provision, I need to point out that with Fire, layoffs generate more smoke than heat. Unlike police, we have minimum staffing so when you layoff firefighters you just have to fill their spots with overtime at 1.5x. Our total package is in the range of 1.6x of our gross pay, so by laying off you only save ten percent of a salary for every pink slip. If PD’s multiplier is similar, then laying off a cop who makes 100k saves the city $160,000. Laying off a 100k firefighter saves 10k. So while it might be cathartic to purge a chunk of the fire department, the actual dollar savings wouldn’t be that high. Also, when fire is shortstaffed, the remaining folks work lots of MANDATORY overtime, and the result is that some people get their names in the paper for making lots of OT. If you want to thin the ranks of the FD then I beg you not to also be shocked when the people who are left see their yearly incomes go up as a result of the OT. Also–and I can only say this from personal observation–but when people are forced to work lots of mandatory overtime, the rate of sick and injury leave skyrockets as well, which would cut into the already marginal savings achieved through layoffs.

      And on a completely unrelated note…can the word “forgoed” possibly be correct? It’s like nails scraping along my inner grammatical chalkboard. How about forewent? Or foreswore? Gave up?

    174. livegreen

      Apologies… :) I was going to correct that but ran out of time.

      & whenever the image of nails scraping against the chalkboard comes up I think back to the scene in the Pink Panther where Inspecteur Clouseau is being tortured using nails on a chalkboard. So the analogy brings out a smile :)

      The art of turning a negative into a positive…

    175. Ralph

      We can agree to disagree on bankruptcy. If I recall correctly, the courts have have reduced OPEB but have been loathe to touch the pension benefit.

      I think a combination of what Mike and Marleen have proposed is reasonable:

      1) Officers pay the 9%
      2) Two – tiered retirement for all
      3) Compensation concession from other unions (this is huge)
      4) MY modification
      5) Rid ourselves of Kids First

    176. livegreen

      #3 is one of the biggest challenges but a must

      #5 would require another ballot measure, it would not be eliminated. The closest thing would be a compromise.

    177. Ralph

      Elimination of KF may be tough, I would want to give it a shot. I am okay with them getting no more than 1.5% and the floor turned to a relative percentage.

      I am not sure if I have been clear but it makes no sense that these kids got a $4MM raise when actual voters, taxpayers, and city workers took pay cuts and lost jobs. Something is seriously wrong!!!

    178. Mike

      Mandatory overtime is awesome. Big bucks! And most of the time is down time – not running calls 24 hours a day. So lets not make it sound like OT in the fire dept is bad thing. Worry about your own spelling. =)

    179. CitizenX

      To get rid of Kids First would require a ballot measure and some leadership. It’s the leadership which is sorely lacking here. No City Councilmember has the guts to stand up and suggest getting rid of Kids First and making funding of the various poverty pimp programs a part of the budget deliberations, where they could compete with public safety, parks and libraries and basic infrastructure.

    180. JB

      Marleen- FYI, the PSO unit has been officially disbanded and will report to Patrol effective Saturday, July 10th.

    181. MarleenLee

      JB – thanks for the info. Oh, and by the way folks – did you know the City is continuing to collect Measure Y taxes after July 1, even though they know they’re not allowed to? Outrageous! We just paid $100 million for 5 years of Measure Y, and got the staffing we were promised for 5 months. And now Measure Y is dead. Except for violence prevention, of course. (Mike and you police folks, – don’t you have a problem with that?)

      And then the City want us to pay even more taxes? Are they insane? Ignacio -hope you’re reading this!

    182. Mike

      Yeah, I have a lot of problems with the CC but with 80 officers being laid off the dept has no choice but to disband the PSOs. Just wait, it’s going to get worse after July 13th. Our dept will be totally stripped. Why don’t you guys rally in front of City Hall instead of posting here??

    183. MarleenLee

      Mike, OPD does have a choice. There is a balance in the Measure Y fund and the City is apparently giving it all to violence prevention, instead of dividing up the money in accordance with Measure Y. You should be making a big stink about that.

    184. Mike

      It’s not OPD’s decision Marleen. otherwise we’d divert all that money to paying our wages. It’s the city who divies up the measure Y money.

    185. livegreen

      Sounds like this is going to get more political before it gets less.
      Isn’t this only going to add flame to the fire, both for existing/new lawsuits
      (I don’t know where yours left off ML) AND for getting new taxes passed?

      There’s no way I’m voting for any more parcel taxes unless there really temporary. I MIGHT consider a sales tax (it to would have to be temporary). But if our M-Y money is still being collected, I’m not even going to vote on a temporary one. & especially one that cuts more officers.

      Time to compromise along the lines of what Don Link, Mike & ML have suggested AND get the other unions to chip in. Why should I pay more money to people who already earn more than I do, aren’t core services, and get 10x the benefits I do?

      City of Oakland, BART, the Port. Are they all just jobs programs? Does the CC represent them or us? Time to decide. If they keep it up I might just be forced to vote for Don Perata. But I really really don’t want to.

      (Maybe this is all part of the strategy to p-o voters & get the Don into office?)

    186. Mike

      The CC is/will be bringing a proposal to the citizens to modify Measure Y funds so that more of the money can go to funding OPD wages. That’s something YOU have to vote on. (In Nov I believe).

    187. Mike

      Yeah it’s a lot. I don’t think I should say. I’m not sure the dept has released that info. It would be improper for me to say anything. The city is funding it.

    188. MarleenLee

      Mike, unless you see the language being proposed for that new parcel tax, don’t believe a word of it. I’ve done a public records request on the proposal and so far it has not been produced. The idea is to get rid of the 739 minimum staffing requirement. This is the OPPOSITE of what the police want. The City wants to be able to collect Measure Y taxes AND be able to lay you guys off at the same time. Why would you support that? And on who decides how to divy up Measure Y funds – no, that’s NOT up to the City to decide. The percentages are specified in the Measure that WE the voters approved. So WE decide how the money gets divided. The City is choosing, apparently, to ignore those percentages. What’s new.

    189. Mike

      Well OK. YOu decide. That’s why YOU will vote on it, hopefully to divert more to the police. As far as reducing minimum staffing, that’s so they don’t lose the funding when they drop below a certain leevl and have to start another expensive academy – it’s not to eliminate us. It’s to keep us on board. We’re eliminating positions through ATTRITION.

    190. Ralph

      I could support a temporary increase in sales tax. Then again less than 25% of my taxable spending is in Oakland and when I exclude the big household this percentage drops to less than 5%. Sales tax away. I am going to be singing a different tune when Oakland gets its retail strategy together but for now, I am fine with a temp increase in the sales tax.

      Oakland does seem to be running their own welfare program. Union seniority rules make it impossible to cut high cost deadweight. Can we enact a charter amendment that prohibits seniority rules lay-offs and go to needs.

      Vote for Don? Really? Joke?

    191. len raphael

      Ralph, I doubt if overall civil service rules are set at local levels. But then why does it seem that teacher’s tenure is local controlled?

      You don’t want to give oakland pols and managers any more power over employees than they already have. In a city where scrutiny of and civic interest in muni govt is very low, that’s a formula for our local govt totally going off the tracks into patronage heaven.

      In the ousd contex same risks but the oversight by parents and testing etc. is hecka more than our city govt. operations.

    192. livegreen

      Ralph, Yes, I’m joking. Except Jean Quan is so associated with all these problems we keep debating & debating. So I went to the Don’s website and he actually gives a decent interview where he has a better handle on issues than I thought he would (of course, why wouldn’t he, dirt or no dirt).

      BTW, the Don’s website has an interesting feature. At the end of the first fluff video (or by clicking on the icon on the bottom right hand corner) other video choices come up.

      Besides watching Youtube videos of carnival & women weight lifters you can find Zennie interviews of the Don’s competition. I’m going through them right now to learn more.

      One things for sure, we sure have some average candidates. I might yet warm back of to RK…

    193. len raphael

      JQ has Moses handing down the ten commandments attitude towards the residents on matters financial, that she doesn’t have on other issues. People either love it that all the thinking has been done for them or hate it.

    194. len raphael

      i’m too embarrassed to ask for a clear explanation of how the city can lay off any officers now and still spend any Measure Y money until it’s revised by the voters. so i’m posting this from Larry Benson who does had questions even though he’s very knowledgable on community/police issues.

      reposted from yahoo opd:

      : Fate of Community Policing

      — On Tue, 7/6/10, larry benson wrote:

      From: larry benson
      Subject: [OPD] Fate of Community Policing
      To: “Anthony Toribio”

      Dear Captain Toribio,

      I am writing you and CCing others, as I just got the telephone call from Officer Nadia Clark that I have been both dreading and expecting. Obviously this call was about her being moved as our PSO to regular duty as a patrol officer. I request possible answers from anyone who has any.
      My questions are many.
      1. What will happen to community policing without a PSO?
      2. Why should citizens continue to come to NCPC meetings if they can not name priorities in their beats?
      3. Will Measure Y PSOs be under different rules?
      4. How can OPD continue to draw funds and tax the citizens under Measure Y to pay officers if its minimums are not being met.

      During the same phone call Nadia let me know that officer Mayumi Taylor would not be in our beat either. I thought she was essentially being paid for by the Broadway/MacArthur/ San Pablo redevelopment PAC.
      1 Will officer Taylor not be an NET officer any longer?
      2 Will her salary and equipment continue to be paid for out of the PACs monies until July 2011?
      3 Will monies be refunded to the PAC?

      Larry Benson
      Chair, Golden Gate Beat 10X NCPC
      Vice Chair of Broadway/MacArthur/San Pablo PAC

      Mr. Benson,

      I can address your questions about PSOs, NCPC meetings, PSOs, “Measure Y officers,” and Measure Y.

      1. What will happen to community policing without a PSO?
      Community policing in Oakland has become nothing more than a public relations gimmick used by our cynical City Council and City Attorney, who know that community policing plays well to all sides. It is a meaningless term, kept alive because the citizens of Oakland are willing to increase their taxes for empty promises of “community policing.”

      Real community policing in Oakland has been declining in Oakland ever since the elimination of the CPO (Community Policing Officer) unit in FY 2003-2004. Measure Y was the promise by the city to restore those officers, but it was a promise that was never kept. The jury may still be out on whether there was any intention to honor the terms of Measure Y in the first place, but there can be no doubt that the citizens of Oakland have been ripped off by Measure Y.

      Your neighborhood will get a lot more dangerous. Not because you’ve lost your PSO, but because in one week the Oakland Police Department will be decimated by layoffs. Yes, one week. In the November election, if Oakland voters don’t pass a “modification” to Measure Y which would allow the city to legally collect $20M without funding 63 additional officers and an additional parcel tax of $360/year, the police department will be reduced by an additional 17%, to 580 officers (from the current 770—if you believe the city is not juking the stats).

      2. Why should citizens continue to come to NCPC meetings if they can not name priorities in their beats? Citizens can continue to meet and try to solve problems within their communities. I would argue that they will be able to do that better without an NSC than with one, but I understand there is disagreement on this point. Citizens can continue to define their problems and priorities, and try to solve those problems with whatever resources are available. Unfortunately, a 25% reduction in sworn officers will mean that the police component of that solution will be much more limited than it has ever been since Oakland adopted the philosophy of “community polcing.”

      3. Will Measure Y PSOs be under different rules? There are no “measure Y PSOs.” Measure Y pays for 63 additional officers, if, and only if, the city pays for 739 “sworn uniformed officers.” The city would like you to believe that there are “Measure Y officers” that aren’t being cut, but that is just an out and out lie to to fool you, and keep you paying the “Violence Prevention Tax.” By definition, only the 740th and any additional sworn officers are “Measure Y” officers, and then only if there are 802 or more officers.

      4. How can OPD continue to draw funds and tax the citizens under Measure Y to pay officers if its minimums are not being met? Thye short answer is they can’t, but OPD isn’t drawing those funds and taxing the citizens under Measure Y. The City Council and the City Attorney are cheating the citizens of Oakland by collecting this tax without providing the officers required by law. They have been cheating the citizens of Oakland for the last 5 fiscal years, but Measure Y was written with so many loopholes that they have been able to get away with it. Even without loopholes, you have to individually sue the city to have your tax refunded. Proving that it cannot be legally collected has to be done on a case by case basis, no class action suits are allowed.

      Measure Y has been so sucessful in cheating the citizens of Oakland that the City Council is doing the exact same thing they did in FY 03-04, lay off officers and then offer to ransom them back to the citizens.

      And that’s the way it is. I’d be very interested in the opinions of anyone you have addressed your questions to or is on your cc list.

      Bob LaMartin


      RE: Fate of Community Policing

      Mr Benson:
      1. What will happen to community policing without a PSO? The lay offs will have a far reaching impact on the services your police department provides. Although the PSOs will be back in Patrol, community policing is still very much important to OPD. The way I look at it is we will have many PSOs in Patrol that can train and mentor officers who do not have the specialized training and experience PSOs have.
      2. Why should citizens continue to come to NCPC meetings if they can not name priorities in their beats? The NCPC (and the NSCs) will now have a greater responsibility to get the community organized and involved. I intend to call a meeting with the NCPC leaders once the Mehserle Trial is over so we can strategize on how best to proceed. The NCPC remains a viable way to address community concerns and communicate with your beat officers.
      3. Will Measure Y PSOs be under different rules? The PSOs will be assigned to Patrol and will be given an opportunity to draw, based on seniority, where they work. Their focus as patrol officers will be to respond to calls for service.
      4. How can OPD continue to draw funds and tax the citizens under Measure Y to pay officers if its minimums are not being met. My understanding is OPD will not draw MY funds.
      Regarding Officer Taylor:
      1 Will officer Taylor not be an NET officer any longer? Officer Taylor we remain a PAC officer for the Broadway/W. MacArthur/San Pablo Corridor.
      2 Will her salary and equipment continue to be paid for out of the PACs monies until July 2011? She remains in her PAC assignment.
      3 Will monies be refunded to the PAC? She remains in her PAC assignment.

      Anthony G. Toribio
      Captain of Police
      Patrol Division, Area One
      Oakland Police Department

    195. len raphael

      what i meant to say, was i’m too embarrassed to admit that the cc has me bambozzeld and flumoxed re their latest measure y machinations.

      are they spending measure Y or have they stopped or will they stop?

    196. Ralph

      I am listening to the interview now. DP site sure has improved since my last visit.

      I notice that I pop up in the background in one of the videos. I only saw 2 so it is very well that I may pop up as in interviewee if there are more. I attended the LM Town Hall but I don’t recall saying anything that is pro DP.

      I like what he said about a mayor needs to be present when there is a crime the magnitude of the takeover robbery. I think I have been saying that for yrs.

      I can tell from DP’s comments, he has watched The Wire.

    197. len raphael

      Reykjavik, Iceland new mayor: “With his party having won 6 of the City Council’s 15 seats, Mr. Gnarr needed a coalition partner, but ruled out any party whose members had not seen all five seasons of “The Wire.”

    198. MarleenLee

      Len: Bob LaMartin gets a lot of stuff wrong in his email. Of course, a lot of it is his opinion, which he is entitled to, so I won’t challenge him on that. The bottom line is that the City approved a budget prior to July 1 that does not “appropriate” sufficient funding for 739 non Measure Y officers. The City knows full well they can’t continue collecting the tax after July 1. But they’re doing it anyway. Why? For the same reason they did it last year. They are hoping to cut a deal with OPOA that will allow them to rescind the layoff notices and retroactively “appropriate” the necessary funding. (Last year, the gimmick was hoping to get the COPS funding, which they did). That doesn’t make what they’re doing right, or legal, but since when did the law stop the City from doing what it wanted to do?

    199. len raphael

      ML, what’s the approx math for the budgeted savings (cost)

      a) 80 layoffs net of lost Measure Y if the city cant do the retroactive “appropriation” for whatever reason.

      b) What would it be for the full? 200 layoffs?


    200. MarleenLee

      Len, the City can’t do basic arithmetic. If they could, they would have realized Measure Y would not generate enough money to sustain itself. But assuming each officer costs $188,000 per year (City’s approximate number), then the City saves $15 million with the layoff of 80 officers. But then they lose $20 million of Measure Y funding. So the layoff actually costs them $5 million. They are geniuses, aren’t they? The City needs to lay off over 106 officers just to break even with the loss of Measure Y funds.

    201. livegreen

      We’ve been informed that the PSO’s are being re-assigned because the City has fallen below the minimum # to draw M-Y money. So they’re planning on continuing to use the tax $, buy retroactively allowing this under the revised
      M-Y measure that we’ll vote on in November? This is the kind of 3 card monty they do even when they don’t have authority.

      Gee, and they wonder why we’re cynical?

    202. Mike

      Hey folk it’s all over. The layoffs will occur.

      The OPOA has offered 3 seperate contratcs to the CC and they turned all 3 down. The OPOA has given the CC what they want but they still refuse to accept any deal. OPOA is baffled why the CC is doing what they are doing other than they just simply are intent on laying off.

      Perhaps they want to use this layoff as leverage to get extreme concessions from OPD under threat of another 120 layoffs in Nov. Who knows. We’ll pick up our lives and move on to other departments.

      But it is YOU, the citizens of Oakland who are going to really suffer due to a decimated police force and thanks all to your city council members. Take care and good luck.

    203. livegreen

      Mike, This is really too bad. I really wish the OPOA had just stuck to the points at hand instead of the robo calls & mailers attacking Jean. The CC is now trying to stick behind that.

      If, as you say, the OPOA was willing to make concessions, then there’s no reason the CC shouldn’t have worked out a deal.

      I’d really like a copy of the OPOA offers to ask the CC why they didn’t compromise. & if necessary, stick that one on them, where it belongs…

    204. David


      The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Adults shows that only 19% would be willing to pay higher taxes to avoid layoffs of state employees. Sixty-nine percent (69%) say they would not be willing to pay more in taxes for this reason. Another 11% are undecided.

      Adults feel similarly when it comes to funding entitlement programs. Twenty-two percent (22%) would pay higher taxes to prevent cuts in entitlement programs for low-income Americans. Sixty-three percent (63%) say they would not pay more to keep these programs afloat. Another 15% are undecided.

      Americans are slightly less opposed to paying higher taxes for education. Thirty-four percent (34%) say they are willing to pay higher taxes to provide funding for public education, but 54% say they are not. Another 12% aren’t sure.

      Thirty-seven percent (37%) say they are willing to pay higher taxes to increase the number of police and firemen in their communities. Still, 52% say they would not be willing to do so. Another 10% are not sure.

    205. len raphael

      Eff’d up move by cc. Give them F- as labor contract negotiators. But we knew that already from their previous extreme in the other direction.

    206. len raphael

      David, when you adjust those percentages down for likely voters, but up for high proportion of poor residents who believe they are impacted by program cutbacks, high proportion of renters, up for high income residents with high social conscious and low prop 13 values, i’d guess even in an off year election odds are more like 50/50 to raise parcel taxes.

      November governor and mayor race, and some cc members not an off year election even though not like Obamba or Prop 8 either.

      So 60/40 to raise parcel taxes if Kids Firsts and Uprising work closely with SEIU on this.

    207. len raphael

      don’t think idlf and pk expected cops to walk. jb and jq would prefer the cops stayed, but more important to them to save programming best they can.

    208. Dax

      Looks like OPD is running a lean ship. After all, it only cost them $188,000 per officer.

      Look at Fairfield and their stimulus funds..

      Jul 5, 2010 8:18 pm US/Pacific
      Stimulus Check Helps Fairfield Avoid Layoffs

      The Fairfield Police Department will receive a symbolic $1.55 million federal stimulus fund check Tuesday morning that will prevent the layoffs of five police officers.

      That comes out to $310,000 per officer!
      Perhaps they’re counting more than just officer compensation.
      Otherwise I’m thinking Fairfield officers ride around in Mercedes and each has a personal valet, just like the medieval knights of old.

    209. livegreen

      Dax, That might also include related costs like patrol cars, etc. One of Mike’s links above (to a SJ article) had a list of highly paid departments. Don’t know if Fairfield was listed or not, but some wealthier towns appear to pay our officers significantly more. But there’s no way for us to match those…

      It truly has become an arms race in the bay area.

      One note about the benefits of compromising with the OPOA: when we emerge from this downturn the City could have reduced some of it’s costs. By not compromising, the costs per Officer have not changed. So if the City ever wants to rehire (because of crime or a reviving economy) the underlying costs still have not been addressed.

      Time to start looking at the costs of other municipal employees…

    210. Ralph

      For the record, Fairfield received a THREE YEAR COPS Hiring Recovery program Award. These award cover entry level salary and benefits for the period.

    211. len raphael

      Apropos police layoffs.

      laying off 80 cops on short notice instead of negotiating is what i should have expected from a city where the two leading mayoral candidates participate in demonstrations and the mayor gives his advance approval.

      i don’t think many of our cc members will lose any sleep when they layoff another +120 when their parcel tax fails in november.

      not clear from this article whether kaplan and quan participated after OPD requested that the crowds disperse as unlawful assembly.

      clear that our mayor blessed the whole thing in the afternoon reminding everyone of their constitutional rights to assemble

      -len raphael
      desmond st

    212. len raphael

      what was RK doing “dissuading cops from doing their job”

      she and quan and brooks have taken the traditional city council micromanaging our government to new depths.


      if it’s true that cc has already ruled out compromise on immediate layoffs, the honorable thing for Batts to do is to resign because this mayor and city council wil sabotage him at every step.

    213. livegreen

      This is really not good for DT business development. Hopefully it will be seen as a 1-off event (though the looting has happened 2x now). It’s really too bad to see new businesses & restaurants being looted.

      Ralph & V, All ok by where you are?

      It’s also too bad to see all the negative media coverage, when apparently there were people speaking out in positive and not violent ways, but these got little coverage (same as last time).

    214. Ralph

      Last night was peaceful until it wasn’t at which point the police should have done their thing and the peace line should have steeped out of the way.

      The violence and destruction was no different than what happened in Seattle and DC. But because of the victim and place, it will be labelled as a black issue. I don’t think that the Bay Area’s overly sympathetic population helps the situation.

      Mostly shattered windows and graffiti. I think some have portrayed the damage as being less than it is. It isn’t. (When you think about it some building such as Sears take up huge chunks of blocks.) As to the graffiti, the taggers hit buildings but they covered just as much wood and other construction wrap.

    215. Ralph

      I think more people should have been arrested and I am hopeful that the police are able to use public photos to identify and arrest others. I would like to see a Facebook page which ask people to identify the people creating mischief.

    216. len raphael

      Ralph, the pictures i viewed of the after sunset period, not just mainstream media, were all of the footware store, entirely young blacks. the other pictures gave this white guy the impression of 75/25 young black/young white and asian.

      be interesting for me to count faces and see how racist i am. but then maybe the picture taker had their bias too.

    217. Ralph

      Len, I will admit to being biased in my writings on these events. I have used the “outside agitator” (code for white people) label to describe the arrest being shown on my screen knowing full well also on my screen was a kid from West Oakland grabbing shoes from FL. Last night was more like a bag of skittles – anarchists and opportunistic punks of every stripe and flavor. And just as the color seemed to cover the rainbow so to did the age.

    218. Naomi Schiff

      We need more boring middle-aged people to hang around at these things as human buffer zones. (I tried for awhile but it was a long work day; I got tired and had to go home to rest my elderly self! Ay, there’s the rub.)

    219. Ralph

      I really love the optimism of the middle-age people. If I recall correctly, when councilmembers were trying to stop the threatening hordes, the infants said get your hands off of me.

      Those people did not need a human buffer zone, as a child they needed a parent to teach them right from wrong, to respect property, to teach them that FL is just as valuable as mom-and-pop, and you don’t take bottles and fireworks to a peaceful protest.

      Finally, after listening and reading the words of some people, I am not sure those who ‘dis’ the corporate store are doing the young people any good. A mom and pop may hire one or two workers but FL may be able to hire 5 or 6, a chance to become a franchisee or grow into management. It just isn’t a case of this or that. It is this and that.

    220. len raphael

      According to another witness in OaklandLocal, a majority of our city council formed a human chain between cops and protesters. The videos only show Quan and Kaplan.

      I can understand distrust of OPD by people of color, but what i don’t understand is why the majority of our own city council doesn’t trust the police chief they selected to properly command and control our police force?

      Or did they think they were protecting our police from violent protesters?

      if they believe Chief Batts is incapable of controlling his own officers then they should ask him to resign.

      if they believe Batts does not have sufficient cops to protect our city, then they should tell that to voters and should have asked for Federal and State reinforcements.

    221. Livegreen

      Len, Don’t u realize we have a CC made up mostly of elderly activists? Many are from the idealistic 60′s, and their interpretation is the same as then, it’s the Police against the oppressed.

      Go to Jean’s website and listen to her idealism. Reality has nothing to do with it. One might b tempted to ask, why not help others AND have law & order. The answer would b the same.

      To emphasize both your point and mine, I find it interesting our CC was holding back OPD. Did they think this was where the trouble was coming from, & not the rioters?

    222. len raphael


      makes Berkeley, Madison, Santa Monica etc. look like right wing fortresses.

      but mostly, their behavior on the protest fleshes out Quan’s, prior statement about “we can’t police our way out of crime”; Brunner’s statement of a couple of years ago that we didn’t need any more cops, or RK’s portraying cops as greedy blood suckers.

      since they distrust their own police force, they should lay the entire force off and use all the savings to fund social programs.

    223. JB

      It’s worth reading this article:


      In it, Brunner admits that the City Council cannot give a no-layoff guarantee to the OPOA because the City Council’s budget requires police lay-offs and the improbable new taxes that the lay-offs are designed to make more probable. Although the OPOA offered to start making its 9% pension contribution in exchange for no lay-offs, the City Council declined and is proceeding with its original, far-fetched plan to get more from taxpayers.

    224. len raphael

      LG, a buddy of mine who knew jq back in the day, tells me that jq was a wannabe maoist. i don’t see that as something evil, just silly. jq had no seichel then and none now.

    225. Danger Dan

      I’m disgusted with the city Council. They’ve stripped the police force to nothing. You guys are screwed!

    226. Mary Hollis

      JQ was recently rather delightfully termed the “Mad Queen” and it is inconceivable to me how anyone could ever have voted for someone quite so irredeemably clueless. (Not that I like ANY of the other major mayoral candidates either but that is besides the point).

      Parenthetically, WTF were JQ and RK doing on Thursday night trying to micro-manage the cops? Oh, on second thoughts, don’t tell me.

      But speaking of inexplicable voting, is anyone (and I mean anyone) going to vote for a November tax increase to subsidize this nonsense?

      OK, I mean anyone who is liable for property taxes and who isn’t a public sector employee.

      Then again, maybe that excludes 51% or even 67% of the electorate.

      There really is no way out of this mess, is there?

    227. Ralph

      Did you get a flyer from SEIU? Council wants to increase the RE tax and this clowns want me to increase the sales tax to protect vital services. I love a clean street as much as the next guy but I am not about to increase my sales tax so Josephine Streetcleaner can keep her $70K a year job. I have an idea for where the city can easily find $25K.

    228. Dax

      Regarding the “Street sweeper operators”…

      Actually their base wage after their initial 2 to 4 years is $59,000
      Then they add on even a minimal few bits of work, and they are up to about $62,000 .
      Remembering that the $59,000 is for a 37.5 hour work week.
      Thus when they work even 40 hours on average, they end up in the $65,000 range.

      So, you first have a basic pay rate (per normal 40 hour American work week). Then you add in a benefit package that runs around 55% to 63% of base pay on average for Oakland.

      Thus you end up with a “street sweeper operator” working a 40 hour week, costing the city over $100,000 in total compensation.

      Now, if they work from age 25 to ONLY age 62, they can retire with a 100% pension for life. Life expectancy for that worker is 20 years.
      So they get $59,000 x 20 = $1,180,000 during retirement.
      Plus they get any medical expenses up to $425 for life for an additional $102,000.

      But then again, I doubt you can get street sweeping done for anything less these days.
      I mean, Oakland’s total compensation package is ONLY $48 per hour.

      Can you really hire a street sweeper for less these days?
      After all, think about the training.
      NOPE, Oakland must compete with other cities and the private sector where street sweepers make far more.

      So, YES, we must raise parcel taxes or sales taxes to keep our street sweepers at a competitive wage.
      The SEIU is correct. Their members have already been cut to the bone.

    229. len raphael

      re the seiu flyer, looking up tanya williams on the trib’s database, seiu streetsweeper poster employee, shows base of $52,507 plus 641 ot.

      Ortega De Cuevas, Felipe T, Heavy Equipment Mechanic, Public Works made a base of $69,639 in that database and 0 OT.

      Bowman Alison F Library Assistant Library $54,740 $0 OT $87 other.

      Dax, do you know what year were used in that database?

      When did the $%? cola’s stop? Were they every year or every two years?

      So the above have gotten a couple of 4% cola’s after that, but then a net 10% cut including 37.5 hour work week?

      what were the maxed out steps for the assistant librariian and the mechanic?


    230. Ralph

      The 2007 table I used indicates that the streetsweeper is an 80 hours / pay period gig. I forget if the other 2 were 75 or 80. Long story short, not all positions are 75 hrs.

      I thought the 4% were built in annual bumps. City government the only place the employee can guarantee you a raise even if your performance stinks and the revenues are nil.

    231. len raphael

      i should have paid more attention to prior theads.

      Pre 2010 furloughs, what were the work hours per pay period per broad job class?

      How did the furloughts affect the above?

      I’ll ask Trib how current their data is for oakland.


    232. Sid

      This crisis is simple: Oakland police is so greedy, they would rather lose 80 fellow officers than pay into their pension (like the rest of the City employees do!).

      The average starting salary of an Oakland police officer is about $71,000, which is almost double what an officer gets at New York City! On top of their salary Oakland police officers make tons of overtime. A recent newspaper article says that the average salary (including overtime pay) of an Oakland police officer is over $150,000. These guys still don’t want to contribute anything to their pension plan? Give me a break!

      Folks, keep an eye on those politicians like Don Perata, who support the police union’s demand.

    233. Joe

      In California, police, fire fighters, and prison guards act like Gods! These guys misuse their unions like mafia men! Let us give them a boot. Don’t negotiate with them on salaries, because they are already making way too high.

    234. Mike

      Sid do you even read english? Oakland Police already agreed to pay into their pensions. All they want is a gaurantee they won’t be laid off next year but the city council has refused to do that.

      NYPD happens to be one of the worst paid police depts in this country as far as starting wages. And OPD has half the amount of officers per capita as NYPD and works much harder than them anyway. I don’t what “article” you read but it’s bullshit. Overtime is very limited in our dept and only paid if it’s absolutely necessary such as guys working a homicide or if there are almost no officers left to work in part of a city etc.

      Now please, get your head out of your ass.

    235. Erich Weiss


      It’s that simple? The OPOA, on Friday, publicized that they have offered the CC a 9% employee CALPERS contribution and a 2 tier retirement…this is on top of the previous 30+mil savings with current contract amendments, shift differential annulments and other ancillary shift/scheduling agreements. All that is wanted is a 3 year moratorium on layoffs. No word from the CC as layoffs continue.

      Compare these offers to those made by any other City department…how many layoffs elsewhere? 60 citywide? What concessions have you seen from OFD? An agreement to pay their employee contribution after receiving a raise in excess of the contribution? Wow… that must have hurt.

      Don’t use OT to average an OPD salary. 1st, much OT is funded by other sources. And 2nd, most OT is gap coverage to perform duties that would otherwise be performed at straight time had the department been fully staffed. Before you compare NYPD pay to OPD, do some math and figure out how many cops per capita there are and compare. Then compare how many violent crimes, calls for service, etc., per officer and you will find that not all things are equal. What is a fair salary for OPD? A salary which can attract and retain qualified and professional police officers is the answer. Sid, don’t compare OPD starting salary to NYPD – compare it to any other agency in the bay area – any 1 of the other most populated municipalities State wide and you will see that OPD starting salary is within the norm.

      Sid, 1 of these 80 officers, in her short career, has now been in 2 riot skirmish lines, had previously received an on-duty concussion and the loss of 3 of her finger tips – oh – and witnessed the horrific events of 3/21. Using the above discussion regarding street sweepers, is this line of work and the consequences of such worth an extra 11k a year?

      You are welcome to apply to work the street at any time.

    236. Dax

      Erich, while there are “some” points in your post, your post is a good example of how the OPOA over-works every single angle to portray their salary, OT, benefits, and pension to be ONLY reasonable.

      I don’t doubt you believe everything you’ve written, but in all those details you seem to lose the overall sense of reality that the city faces.
      Simply put, the OPD has to make up a fair portion of the savings and they cannot give guarantees away to every group, when they don’t know what the future holds.

      Finally, every Bay Area police department using every other department to justify every part of their compensation is just wrong.
      We see where that led us in the past.
      A particularly good example is the pensions. That period of time when every department pointed to every other department to get pensions jacked up, has led us to a point everyone agrees is unsustainable, such that we now face “two tier” pension plans all over the place.

      “Two tier” and the need for such, shows clearly how out of step the entire compensation process became.
      Now, just because OFD got a “no layoff” clause, OPOA says it should get the same. Just as with the pensions, pointing to past city mistakes, is no reason to continue such.

      Simply put, Oakland police total compensation today is far greater, even after adjusting for cost of living, than it was 15 and 20 years ago.
      It was pushed to excess during unusually good economic times.
      Now a correction is needed.
      The OPOA seems unwilling to admit that total compensation went beyond what the city could afford during normal economic times, let alone during a downturn.

      Oakland had financial problems even before this deep downturn.
      Returning to a normal affordable level of total compensation is NOT a cut.
      It is only a return to what is just and fair to the citizens of the city.
      BTW, similar adjustments are needed by all the other city workers as well.
      Personally I think their 2.7% at 55 is more egregious than the police 3.0 at 50.

      Both need correction but the misc employee’s 2.7% is the furthest out of line.

    237. David


      Yet again, the OPD’s logic is confusing.

      First, many times it is stated that the OPD “needs” higher comp to justify higher COL. But when presented with the fact that NYPD (a much costlier place to live) is paid much less (never mind Chicago, Boston and wherever), you shift the argument. The fact is that OPD is paid more than PDs with higher COLs than the Bay Area.

      Second, many times it is stated that OPD “needs” higher comp to justify the added danger that OPD experiences, aka, hazardous duty pay. But there are several locations (St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago) that are more dangerous than Oakland, yet again, those cops are paid less.

      There are several ways to triangulate to what I would guess would be about the “right” comp–what other large departments (not in the Bay Area) pay, adjusted for COL, what other dangerous locations pay, and what is a top wage in the area no matter what the occupation. When OPD makes more than higher COL locations, make more than more dangerous locations, AND make more (with OT, benefits etc) than, say, a typical family doctor/are in the top 10% of comp locally, it’s pretty fair to say OPD compensation is too high. On top of it, the city simply can’t afford it. Nor can it afford to pay street sweepers $58,000/year etc. Nor can other Bay Area cities afford to pay their cops (witness San Carlos, Vallejo etc).

      It’s really striking how out-of-touch local police AND gov’t workers are regarding just how rich their salaries and benefits are. I would really recommend you take a look at BLS statistics and see local wage scales. You really are in the top 10%.

    238. Ralph

      For sake of clarification, NYC cost of living is not substantially higher, if higher at all, than Oakland. NYC consists of 5 boroughs – The Bronx (not to be confused with any other Bronxes), Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan. Of the five, only Manhattan is higher than Oakland. Do not be misled by the false comparison to “Manhattan.”

    239. len raphael

      Dax, you and i both undestand the city council refuses to transparently addresses all entire city job compensation structure including benefits, and unaffordable social programming,

      A combo of the council members deceiving themselves and the voters how bad the “structural deficit” is.

      Instead of doing that, cc members keep flashing the same pie chart showing the high percentage of the general fund paid to public safety employees.

      Yes of course the biggest portion of the needed cuts have to come out of the group paid the most.

      But don’t expect cops to roll over to do more than pay the same pension contribution that other employees only recently started paying themselves.

      Because when council members like RK keeping jabbing their finger at 44,000 paid NYC cops yet fail to mention that we pay Tanya Williams 52,500 to sweep streets; or Jose De Cuevas 62,600 to work on trucks.

      To balance the true structural deficit of this town you would need to find highly trained cops able to perform the all the demands of a dangerous city with layers of paperwork, reviews, federal civil rights lawsuits filed etc, zillions of hours of ot on short notice, and all for 35k/year and retire at 65.

      Seriously, the public safety compensation issue has to be dealt with in the context of the total over compensation and poor service delivery of the entire government here.

      After those cuts, then taxes have to be raised without the borderline public embezzlement of Measure Y funds, or the vote rigging of the Landscape assessment.

      Purest nonsense that there is a fiscal emergency that can’t be put off a few more months until the cc comes up with a short and long term budget, including massive cuts and give backs from all employees including those paid out of restricted funds.

    240. Dax

      Mike, you seem to be so wrapped up in your view of this subject that you can’t see the way the entire consciousness of the public has shifted.

      You might characterize it as “blaming public employees” for bad times, but the reality is that only in the past couple years, have the public even been allowed to see and understand compensation levels.

      You may forget, but it was only via the court’s 2007 ruling on public employee salary disclosure in IFPTE v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal. 4th 319, that we, the public, were even able to really get a idea about what public employees made.

      That information, finally made easily accessible to to the public has opened up some eyes. Combine that with further legal efforts by the Contra Costa Times, for full disclosure of pension details has slowly awoken the public to what has been going on the past 10 to 15 years.

      That 10 to 15 years, where public employee compensation has far outpaced the cost of living, and where it has even further outpaced private sector employment compensation.

      So Mike, I guess the entire public is now “on crack”…

      Given the addictive qualities of the public’s desire to know more, I’d say you and the OPOA will need to get your information in order.

      For example, no more hearing about how officers only live an average of 5 or 10 years into retirement, passing away at much earlier ages than other workers.
      A total myth, fostered by those for whom it fit a need.
      I hope we have cleared that one up, but one has to wonder who told that one to all officers and anyone else who would listen.

      You know what we need, something like a unbiased Consumer Reports organization that would lay out what true compensation is for a given position. That compared city by city, area to area.

      One thing that I am sure about, the general public has only a tiny glimpse of what true public employee compensation is.
      I wonder how many residents of Oakland realize that the typical city employee receives $20 per hour in benefits, mostly tax free, BEFORE they even begin to be paid their regular salary.
      Those same residents who don’t even get $20 per hour in their regular, taxed paycheck.

    241. Naomi Schiff

      One wonders whether the longtime police are at loggerheads with the more recently hired ones. Are the longtime members of the dept. trying to hang on to their benefits at the expense of the new ones?

    242. Ralph

      Naomi, I have always been under the impression that the older long-term members of any group have been reluctant to give up benefits granted. They like to rig the system for themselves. I feel this way about the lowest union to Congress.

    243. Mike

      The cost of living in California and the Bay Area in particular is higher than most of the US. Baltimore for example, as another poster whose brother lives there already stated on this thread, is much cheaper to live in. Consequently, their police dept is also paid less. NYPD, who is paid horribly low, also suffers from multiple cases of corruption with entire precincts being involved with the mafia. You wanna know why? Because when you pay shit wages to people and they can’t support families, they end up stealing. Depts that pay the lowest wages also end up hiring the rejects that weren’t able to get hired at better paid depts.

      But were neither here nor there. We’re not asking for pay or benefits higher than everyone else in the Bay Area. There are several depts paid more than we are; San Francisco and Santa Clara for example.

      But the issue isn’t OPD’s wages. It’s about pension contribution. Even De Lafuente stated it’s not about us being paid too much but rather about having to make concessions due to the current state of the economy. AND WE HAVE AGREED TO FURTHER CONCESSIONS INCLUDING PAYING 9% INTO OUR PENSION AND A TWO TIERED RETIREMENT SYSTEM. Which is exactly what the city has asked for!!! But the city council is refusing to guarantee no layoffs in return! That’s where we are stuck. Why give back and then get laid off anyway???!!! You guys are starting to sound like a broken record repeating the same mantra over and over. try reading the fuckin news for once.

    244. Dax

      It would be simply irresponsible for the city council to give a multiple year guarantee of no lay offs.
      What would happen if they run even further into revenue decline.
      What then.

      It was a mistake to ever give such assurances to the fire department.
      One in a long list of financial mistakes the CC has made over the years.
      Is it any wonder none of them have ever made a go of it in a business venture.

      You can’t promise what you don’t have.
      Look at the mess they created when they boosted all regular employee’s pensions by a full 35% back in 2004… Insanity.
      Better yet, lets make it retroactive… Oh yeah, 35% boost and retroactive.
      Many of the same brilliant minds that still sit on the CC.

      Now you want them to be cowed into giving out “guarantees” for which they have no guaranteed source of income from which to pay.
      How crazy would that be?

      We continue to see how some just “don’t get it”…
      They act like the funds to pay for promises will just magically appear in the next year and the one after that.

      Politicians acting like money isn’t real…or that it will be found some how. That kind of irresponsible behavior has to stop.

    245. len raphael

      Mike, IDLF woke up one morning last year and realized that the cc had dug a retirement benefit hole for every one of the city employees so deep, that no economic recovery short of a combo of the dot com plus the real estate bubbles could pay for those benefits when the boomers started retiring.

      It took some of the other cc members much longer to realize what they had done, though to this day they blame it on “the economy”.

      Yes another ten percent reduction in wages will be needed across the board from every city employee (ok, maybe not librarians), and maybe even more from clerks and streetsweepers, but the extreme pain coming down the pike will the massive givebacks from every current city employee to reduce the looming retirement obligations.

      9 and 10 and 13% pension contribitions, even with two tiers, won’t come close to covering the retirement benefits that the city promised you and all the other employees.

      RK doesn’t bother mentioning that many cities and counties in NY even though they pay their cops paid much less than here are facing the same reality that they promised retirement benefits they never could afford to pay.

    246. Dax

      Yeah, but Mike wants to keep everything as is, with only tiny adjustments, tweaks.

      However, he clearly sees that the pension system he is part of is unsustainable.


      You see the “TWO TIERED” system he proposes and knows is needed, leaves him loading up on the unsustainable system he is part of now.
      So this window of excess pension offers he has gained is clearly excessive. Why else would they be offering “new hires” less?

      Face it Mike. Your unsustainable pension should never have been offered by the CC.

      9% to 13% pension contribution is the bare minimum needed ONLY to address the pension aspect.
      It does nothing to cover the general budget deficits that excess compensation has brought about.

      Trading bandaid pension contribution patches for job guarantees is not going to cut it.
      Its not about whether people like the police. Its about the simple financial math. The simple calculator, eschewed by the CC for the past 15 years, does not lie.

    247. len raphael

      Mike, it’s unpleasantly that simple. You and all the other city employees bought a pig in a poke in your negotiations over the years. You all should have gone for (even) bigger pay checks and much smaller retirement benefits.

      Problem with that for you would have been that the voters understand gross wages even though they zone out about vesting schedules with percentages. Problem with that for the cc members is that they never had the cash to pay any more in current wages.

      Higher retirement benefits was a win win for all city employees and the cc, and a set of future concrete shoes for the residents.

      We can argue forever whether you were “overpaid” or “underpaid”.

      i can rant about patronage or just ineffective social programs and grants.

      Probably can find another 5 to 10 million in waste.

      All that’s at the margin compared to the depths of this retirement benefit pit.

    248. Mike

      Tough shit!! What do you want me to do? Take a 30% pay cut and lose my fuckin house because the city council are a bunch of jack offs who mismanaged the city’s money? I already gave back 10% last year. I don’t think giving 9% this year for a total of 19% is “tiny” as you call it. You can kiss my ass with any of your further delusional requests.

    249. Naomi Schiff

      Mike, you could use politer language and it might help you make your point. You make yourself sound like a boor. My business pays 3% into retirement. We haven’t been able to afford any raises for three years. We had to drop to a slightly less wonderful health plan. And I know and like and respect each of my employees. Even though I earn less than some of them.

      The truth is that when the economy tanks, most everyone except the incalculably rich are affected. I don’t understand why you are so enraged and overheated, when you are simply just now noticing what every small business person has been struggling with for a few years now: the economy is in trouble, and so are we all.

    250. len raphael

      Mike, you have a right to be angry. You got screwed by the city. You negotiated in good faith over the years, put up with a city that largely didn’t appreciate and support you and now is telling you sorry.

      Bought a house. planned your life based on a house of cards.

      Some people would say you were “overpaid”.

      I don’t believe that because we didn’t have competent applicants for OPD beating down our doors for the past decade even at the price we were paying. That tells me we were not overpaying.

      I’d rather you swallowed the cc’s line that the economy is to blame, so you don’t resent the resident’s but that’s a crock.

      But delusional I’m not.

      Over the next two years it will come down to massive give back from all city employees (though I’m sure SEIU and the many social programming supporters or bankruptcy.

      If I were a city employee with vested retirements that might survive Chapter 9, I’d start looking for a better run, wealthier city or at least one with cheaper cost of living.

      -len raphael

    251. Mike

      Len don’t forget. As bad as it gets, it’s cyclical and always gets better in a few years and we’ll pull out of this. So there is no way you’ll ever see “massive” give backs from police and fire.
      But you actually have a bit of a voice of reason here.
      Some of the other pople here are the delusional ones – that’s for sure.

    252. David

      Ralph, if you’re comparing apples-to-apples, a crack house in Queens still sells for more than the equivalent crack house in West/East Oakland.

      You’re right Mike. Either you’ll be taking a 9, 13, 20% pay cut or a 100% pay cut.

    253. David

      Yeah Mike. Happy days are just around the corner. Try reading some news articles from 1930. They said the same thing. Right into the teeth of the first Great Depression.

    254. len raphael

      Mike, god knows I only wish this were another cyclical downturn as JQ seems to think.

      The point we’re hammering on, (ignore the under/overpaid stuff) is that for the past two decades the typical cc or state legislator in the USA intentionally ignored the retirement arithmetic and unrealistic investment assumptions. They were inexcusably wildly optimistic even in the boom years.

      In a few years, if this economic slowdown isn’t a leading indicator that globalization really has permanently hurt most American workers (which i think it has), then yes Oakland will be able to start giving you raises again.

      That will not compensate you for the 40% or bigger cut public safety and all the SEIU member will have to take in your prior accrued, vested retirement benefits. ie. it’s not just the retirement benefits going forward that will need to be cut, it’s the benefits that the city has legally promised to pay you that it will never be able to pay unless the feds bail out Oakland and other cities and states.

      That might happen, but i ‘wouldn’t bet on it.

      The feds have a huge deficit and looming medicare and social security retirement costs of their own.

      Maybe the federal courts will protect your legally vested rights from Chapter 9. Employees of private companies don’t get that protection, so there will be tremendus pressure on the courts not to give it to public employees.


    255. Mike

      If I take the 100% I can easily get a job at another police dept. And there are plenty of openings in the Bay Area and throughout California.

      You can’t keep cutting Oakland Police wages or you won’t even HAVE a police force. Officers will pack up their bags and move on to other agencies. There won’t be any cops left. Your city will die without the police. THAT’S why they’ll never be “massive” cuts to public safety. They’ll close the zoo, libraries, and Fairlyland first.

    256. Naomi Schiff

      But as said before, even closing all that stuff would not pay for the police contract and pensions. (Do you crave the giraffes’ alfalfa rations? Much of the zoo is supported by private contributions and entry fees. City only contributes 15%. Perhaps we should move to a fee-based police department?)

      Mike’s comment shows how difficult it is to get everyone to pull together, instead of being entirely focused on their self-interests. I guess Mike has no particular allegiance to Oakland, and that’s understandable, but you would think he might have some interest in his fellow Oakland police employees. Note no response to the question about whether old-timers are pitted against recent hires.

    257. Dax

      “Some of the other people here are the delusional ones – that’s for sure.”

      I’d say the following. There are more residents, city workers, and council persons who are “delusional” compared to most of the people posting here.

      They were delusional when they got the idea that the stimulus package funds of last year did anything other than to delay the real crunch. The crunch that was coming to Oakland EVEN if the markets hadn’t collapsed to the degree they did.
      Even a normal recession of a year or so and a housing decline of only 10 to 20 percent would have led to many of the same problems we now find. Its just that the problems would have been papered over a few more years.

      If the city council, mayor, and union leaders want to see real delusional thinking, just try placing a parcel tax on the ballot.
      Anyone doing that is in need of counseling, as they are living in a never world.
      The revenue end isn’t going to be growing. The pizza in front of everyone is it, slice it as you may.
      Says nothing about what everyone deserves, but rather what is available.
      Being fiscally responsible is far different than not valuing police, fire, or other workers.

    258. Mike

      Naomi I didn’t answer your question because I refuse to even dignify it with a response.

      My allegiance? It is to my FAMILY first – feeding and housing my family, my fellow officers upon whom I would die for next, and THEN everyone else.

    259. len raphael


      Since we can’t honor our negotiated legal obligations to city workers, we’re in no moral position to ask any of them to show us loyalty or to question their loyality to colleagues.

      We have put them in the situation of pitting union against union, younger worker against older worker.

      Pardon the unintentional pun, but it is a “cop out” to blame the mess we’ve created on “the economy”.



    260. len raphael

      Mike, short of finding a position in a cheaper, solvent city, you best shot (there i go with the unintended puns again) is to link arm in arm with the SEIU, going door to door campaigning for a $1,000 parcel tax.

      This 99cent a day parcel tax is not worth your time and money to support because it won’t be nearly enough.

      if opoa waits too long to decide, seiu will link up with the nonprofits like Youth Uprising, Kid’s First and throw you to the howling voters. might even be too late considering SEIU was always a big fan of the Kid’s First ballot measures.

      -len raphael

    261. Mike

      No Len. None of will even waste our time trying to pass a parcel tax. No one believes it would pass. The voters have been lied to enough by useless incompetent criminal council members!

      SEIU isn’t our friend. Their members ripped us with false accusations, lies and deceptions perpetuated by the CC at the June 24th propaganda meeting.

      The fact is that the fire and police are the lifeblood of any city. You cannot run any city without them. That’s why they are (usually) the last to be cut. The streets may not get swept, the parks may not stay open, etc, but without police and fire your city will be rampant with crime and burn to the ground. People will move out, businesses will cease to operate, and the cycle will worsen. Therefore, any drastic cut to public safety is in reality, a cut to yourself.

      However, in Oakland’s case, it appears the CC may be too incompetent to realize this. God help you all.

    262. Naomi Schiff

      So wait a minute, Mike. If you don’t think a tax will pass. You realize that the rest of the gen. fund is not big enough to pay the tab for public safety. So what DO you think should happen? I don’t understand your position. I get that you are unhappy with the situation, but I don’t see what you are proposing.

    263. Mike

      I just told you. Give the CC what they are asking for, 9% and two tiered retirement system and we want 3 years of no layoffs for everyone (till our current contract expires) instead of 1 year that the CC proposes.

      By then with an attrition rate of 4-5 officers a year and an expcted large amount of retired officers in 2013, all current employees will be safe from layoffs when the contract expires in 2013. That works for everyone. It also shows loyalty to those of us who suffered an immense tragedy on Mar 21 2009 and continue to serve the citizens of Oakland.

      Additionaly, put up a vote to the citizens to modify measure Y in Nov to allocate more of measure y funds to the police instead of superfolous (sic?) areas.

      When 2013 comes about in 3 years from now, we may be more economically stable as well. The bad economy will not last forever.

    264. len raphael


      The cc members intend to do the exact opposite when they rewrite Measure Y.

      I guess it helps be an optimist to put on a badge and go out on the streets of Oakland.

    265. Marleenlee

      Oh, so now the council’s measure y fix is to transfer violence prevention money to the cops? If so, that would be totally different than the original”fix” proposal (which, by the way, the public has never seen) which was to allow the city to continue collecting measure y funds and lay off a bunch of cops at the same time.

    266. Naomi Schiff

      I don’t think we have really heard what the current “fix” is but I do think it would take some real diplomacy to craft something that a) will help with the budget problems b) would pass the gauntlet of both the Marleen Lees and the violence prev. programs voters, or at least enough of each to let it squeak by, and c) would prove workable over the slightly longer term.

      Being a kind of “getting to yes” person, I am curious as to whether that’s possible, and whether you, Marleen, and everyone else here, have ideas that tend enough toward compromise that we could come up with something passable.

    267. Mike

      Yes, and also to lower the minimum amount of staffing in order to colect Measure Y money.

      See, right now, when we fall below a certain level, in order to collect Measure Y money, we HAVE to hire new recruits or lose 20 million a year. If we lower the number minimum number required to collect Measure Y funds, we can let the dept numers drop due to attrition and not have to spend more money hiring new recruits. And the city would still be able to collect the Measure Y money.

      Comminity policing is one of the best “violence prevention” methods availabe and has been successful in Oakland and is successful nationwide. If we lay off officers we are going to lose all our PSOs and the entire community policing model we have built up will be destroyed.

    268. Ralph

      Frankly, because I do not like the measure as written and I am already paying the freight, I am more than willing to suspend the appropriate for 739 language to allow the city to collect MY taxes. As people seem to like the way the tax is being allocated I am content to let the current usage continue.

    269. Marleenlee

      Mike, that interpretation of measure y is mine, not the city’s. I am arguing that by not budgeting for or scheduling any new academies the city is violating the law and is not allowed to collect the tax. The city claims it can let attrition drop staffing down to zero and still collect the tax. That is just ludicrous. Not scheduling academies is the same as layoffs from my perspective. Obviously not mike’s, however. Mike will fight to save his job, I’ll fight for the staffing we were promised. I would support a fix that
      would divert violence prevention money to police if the police are willing to make significant concessions. But the city also has to get staffing back up to 803.

    270. Marleenlee

      Ralph, by approving the quan fix you are allowing us to be taxed and allowing a reduced force. That is against public safety and against accountability.

    271. len raphael

      mike, my cursory read of last month’s measure y rewrite proposals, was also that the same amount of tax would be collected but the minimum police staffing requirements would be eliminated. mystery to me what the allocation of the tax would be between violence prevention and cops, or if there would be anything specified.

      from your perspective, you’d settle for getting the 60% of Measure Y which cc might have given opd or a few months, even though the cc would let the dept drop 100 or more if it had to, if it meant no further give backs or layoffs.

      from the residents’ point of view, the prior years’ cummulative 100 mill was taxation without representation, and going forward we’ll be manipulated into legalizing that misappropriation and end up with even fewer cops.

      so you can expect resistance to changing measure Y. if that needs 2/3 vote, it will probably fail along with the 99 cent/day tax. if doesnt need 2/3 it could well pass.

    272. len raphael

      Ralph, would you have voted for Measure Y if the cc had wide discretion to allocate between cops and violence prevention? Can I assume you had no problem with the defeated predecessor to Y, Measure R ?

    273. Naomi Schiff

      Okay, so Marleen do you think it would be better to repeal Measure Y, to rewrite it as a cops-only measure without violence prev. component or with a smaller part of that (not sure it could pass, but for the sake of the argument.. . ), or what? I understand you want the academies as a generator of future recruits but not sure how the money works?

      I have followed your objections and I think I understand them. What I don’t see for sure is what you recommend as positive actions going forward, that still fit within the budget. Or are you supporting addl tax measures?

    274. Marleenlee

      Naomi, yes, I would prefer all the money went to police. Violence prevention programs are a luxury we can’t afford right now. We are in crisis. That would give the city an additional $7 million a year to work with. This, along w/opoa concessions, should give the city the money it needs to avoid layoffs -and hold necessary academies.

    275. Ralph

      I have not seen the fix so I can not opine. I generally do not like council deciding how OPD, OFD, or BettyBop spend money to perform their duties. I am okay if people decide that they want to be allocate tax dollars to a specific activity. So as long as the dollars are used for stated purposes I have no objection.

      Len, you can assume all you want. Since I did not vote on Measure R and Measure R is not on the table and I have lost my ability to google, it will just have to be like how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop – the world may never know.

      I am not going to vote for any measure that dictates the council needs to include academies in the budget. What happens if for whatever reason 97 officers decide that they hate the cost of living in Oakland and decide to move to a lower cost but fairly active hotbed for crime, like Baltimore. The city has no academy to replace these fine officers; so some lawyer is going to come along and sue to enjoin the city from collecting the tax money.

    276. Erich Weiss

      I don’t disagree that adjustments are needed to public safety wages and benefits, and I’m not attempting to use facts and figures to my advantage. Simply put, NYPD salary and COL comparisons can’t be accurately made. I’m also simply stating that the market and a city’s desired level of police professionalism will dictate a fair wage.

    277. David

      Erich, if you believe “the market” will dictate a fair wage, then the union should be disbanded, as should all public employee unions.

    278. len raphael

      trying to picture the cc and opoa making a variation of the deal done back in 2003/04 where opoa has to agree to reduction in force by retirements and 0 hires for three years. in return, for what, the opoa announcing what a wonderful thing a leaner opd would be for law enforcement, endorsing the repeal of Measure Y staffing rules?

      mike et al, how does binding arbitration work? is it truly binding or can it be overturned by litigation?

      -len raphael

    279. Naomi Schiff

      Marleen, I don’t nec. agree with your whole position, but I appreciate the clarity of your response. I have what may sound like a dumb question. Does Oakland have to run its own academy, or could it contribute to a multijurisdictional version? How cost-efficient is this training?

    280. Ralph

      That is not a dumb question. You know how they say, if you have the question chances are someone else does too. I have been wondering the same thing.

      Employers with employees stationed across the US make wage adjustments all the time to account for the cost of living. Fed Government is a good example as are 3 of my employers who have wage scales for CA bay and the the rest of the US. Reasonable minds can analyze other wages to determine a fair wage that takes into account the nature of the work, the cost of living, and other stated goals. A starting figure of $68k-$71K is not unreasonable. It only gets unreasonable at the top end.

      But there is a problem when the top paid street cleaner is hauling in $29.61/hr (2007) and who after the city’s generous 4% raises is now sweeping in nearly $70K/yr. I just can’t believe that you best paid streetcleaner is worth more than your lowest paid officer.

    281. Erich Weiss

      I believe most of the negative public opinion concerning public safety expenses is a result of unreasonable retirement packages. This is a much larger problem, but in addition to 3% @ 50 which can only be dreamed of in the private sector, there is no excuse for wage bumping at the end of a career. It is not uncommon for a retiree to gain sudden promotion, obtain a Masters, and transfer to graveyard for 26% increase to their lifetime retirement. Not only is this a much larger problem, but it has very little to do with current OPOA and CC disagreement.

    282. Erich Weiss


      Your last comment re disbanding all unions can only mean that a city or city council can always be relied upon to offer a fair wage. History has proven otherwise. Although I agree power can be abused on both ends, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

    283. Mike

      3% at 50 for the average city worker may be out of line but it is well deserved for police and fire. In those careers, you’re exposed to so much, it’s not the type of job you want to end up doing for 30 plus years and into yor 60′s. If your body aint all tore up, your mind will be lol.

    284. Mike

      Len I’m not well informed on binding arbitration so am unable to answer your question regarding it.

    285. David

      No, Erich, that’s not what I’m saying. You said “the market” will determine the wage. The CC is not “the market,” any more than a labor cartel set up by a union is. Your statement that “the market” will determine OPD comp is denying reality.

      Mike, if by “grown-up” you mean those who maintain illogical arguments in their heads without realizing it, ok, glad I’m a kid.

    286. David

      Another thing to ponder. If the City Council, City government, CalPERS, etc are all incompetent fools who couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag if you gave them scissors, never mind manage multi-billion dollar pension plans, why in heaven’s name don’t you fight for high(er) salary and fund your own retirements (like the private sector does)? I’d be scared to hand over a significant chunk of my salary to a bunch of nitwits, why aren’t you? Oh, because you have the taxpayer to back you up…well, as a wise person once said, the problem with socialism is that you run out of other people’s money. I think we’re at that point. Sorry the gravy train ran out early for you guys.

    287. Mike

      I don’t have a problem with CalPers. They are the biggest investor in the stock market. The market happens to be in a temporary down you dipshit. I DO have a problem with the city gov not saving for a rainy day when calPers told them not to contribute money when the market was good. Instead they spent the money and kept borrowing and spending on credit.

      Don’t be jealous because your paycheck always sucked.

    288. Mike

      Jealous pencil pushers meet 24 year veteran live safer. I’m paid well to do a job neither of you have the balls to do. Life sucks huh?

    289. Ralph

      Speaking for myself, you are sorely mistaken if you think I care that you may or may not earn more than I do. And I have no idea why you need to act like a BSD but it is a free country and you can do whatever you want.

      My sole interest is in creating a salary structure that is sustainable. I don’t care that you earn OT. It is part of your pay package. The only thing I care is that the base and benefits are reasonable and sustaintable.

    290. Dax

      “Jealous pencil pushers”
      “I’m paid well to do a job neither of you have the balls to do”
      “Life sucks huh?”
      “I’d rather tow my boat to the lake and waterski lol”

      Can we put those quotes in the Yes brochures for the November parcel tax?

    291. Ralph

      Damn, I hate when I unintentionally personalize a phrase with the word “you.” What I meant was I do not care if a police officer earns OT and it adds to their compensation.

      And life does not suck.

    292. Naomi Schiff

      This youthful exchange makes me wish we had a mom to step in and chastise the quarrelers. Oh, right. I am one. Seems to me the OPOA played a game of chicken with the council, and for the moment has lost. I’m sorry about that. I hoped for a workable way forward. I do think Mike has an exalted view of his indispensability. Why assume that police alone save lives? You aren’t. I saved a life myself, recently. No pay and no credit for it, but it was quite real. I don’t think we get anywhere by claiming that one profession or another is inherently more valuable than another, especially given the variable quality of the execution of the tasks. Okay, I agree public safety is critically important. But so are educating our children so they will grow up good citizens, attending to the health of our families and neighbors, assuring the functioning of the city’s physical systems, establishing safe intact lives for our seniors, oh well I could go on.

    293. John

      You’re not some anonymous commenter hiding behind a screen name questioning the masculinity of a couple of guys who disagree with you. You have identified yourself as a police officer and you are not doing yourself or the OPD any favors by your bombastic BSD comments.
      In fact a lot more people read this blog and its comment section than actually post to it and now you are the voice of police officers in its comment section. You are doing a poor job of representing. But I am sorry to say I’m not surprised by the attitude you have given the tone of the, possibly illegal, fear-mongering robocall sent by the OPOA union president to Oakland residents a couple of weeks ago.
      After that call I started losing sympathy for the OPOA –
      1. Deferring, not turning down but deferring a raise for 3 years is not a sacrifice. The economy is in the worst recession in 70 years, inflation is at near zero percent so I don’t see the sacrifice. Since early 2008 my firm has had 3 rounds of layoffs and has also instituted furlough time-off, hence my lack of sympathy for OPOA’s “sacrifice.”
      2. In the private sector employees pay into their retirement in variety of ways – social security, IRA, 401K, etc. Its time Public Sector employees including public safety officers do so too. And having to pay into your pension isn’t a pay cut, it’s differed compensation as your going to get the money back with interest when you retire. So I don’t have any sympathy for the OPOA on that point either.
      3. I agree that police work is grueling work and have no problem at all with police officers being able to retire with full pensions at 50. What I have a problem with is “retired” officers doing what you said you would, going to work for another public safety agency and collecting a check from that agency while they also collect a pension check from their previous agency. This “double dipping” is nothing more than greed. Of course officers are entitled to their pension but only AFTER they fully retire. I don’t know if this reform would be at the state level or federal but it needs to be fixed.
      4. Pumping up pension benefits by working tremendous amounts of overtime or rapid promotions in the last year of employment has got to stop. This isn’t just a public safety union problem, it is a public sector union problem and it is an abuse of the system and nothing more than naked greed. A start would be to base pension benefits upon the last 3 years of compensation not just the final year.
      5. Given that 1000 people applied for 2 positions in the Berkeley PD, as good as you think you are, I think you may have a little more difficulty than you realize finding another position as easily as you have stated in your posts.
      6. In the private sector an employee with your overweening sense of entitlement is toxic to building a good team and at my firm we would have gotten rid of you in the first round of layoffs. One of the benefits of being in the private sector is being able to get rid of dead wood. What matters is quality, productivity and profitability, seniority – not so much.

    294. Mike

      We also have the equivalent of a 401K. It’s called a 457(b) and I contribute to it thank you very much. But you shouldn’t act jealous just because we have a pension and you don’t. It’s part of the reward for being a public safety officer.

      I don’t whine about the guy who drives a Ferrari because he makes 500K a year selling houses. I don’t whine about a baseball player making multi million dollars for hitting a little ball. I just accept that in life there are some people who have it better than me and alot of them don’t work half as hard as me. But I don’t tell them that they should be brought down to my standards just because I have it harder and make less. I’m not one of the “I want what you have” people – speaking of entitlement that EXACTLY what you sound like.

      Listen up and learn….

      1. Deferring an expected negotiated raise is a cut in my opinion. If expenses and costs of living are increasing and an expected pay raise is not given while those costs are still rising, you have in essence taken a cut whether you feel that way or not.

      2. Having to pay into your pension is also a cut. That’s less monthly net income I see to pay my bills. In addition, that 9% that the city pays is added to my total annual income when I retire so that if I pay into it instead of the city, my pension is reduced by 9%. Pay cut.

      3. It’s not double dipping to retire from a public safety job in one pension system and then go work for a public safety job in another system. YOU can retire from one career and find another another job yourself just as well. There’s no difference. It would be the same as you retiring as a bookeeper from a company that you were loyal to for 30 years and collecting your 401K and then perhaps finding another company in the same field to work for or even start your own business in the same field. That’s not the defeinition of double dipping. Double dipping means collecting 2 paychecks FROM THE SAME SYSTEM. You’re trying to fault someone for working a second job after retiring – huh??

      4. You CANNOT “pump up” pension benefits by working overtime. It is based on salary. No amount of overtime will increase your pension benefits. At least not in police and fire pay. I can’t speak for other civil service jobs. Please educate yourself before you speak. Nor can you simply get “rapid promotions.” Do you think promotions are handed out like candy on Halloween? Being promoted is very competitive and standardized in civil service. Any discrepency is met with a lawsuit by employees who feel the process was unfair to them.

      5. Bekeley had a huge number because they opened their position to ENTRY level applicants instead of just LATERALS. So they got tons of people with no prior experience applying. Most agenices require prior police experience or at least an academy graduate before they even accept your application, thus, the selection pool will be significantly less. Furthermore, I have little doubt that Oakland officers, with all their experience compared to any other lateral, will be very easily hired compared to other applicants. Typically there are 20 applicants for say maybe 2 positions. A lot better odds especially for an oakland cop wouldn’t you say?

      6. I’m not concerned about what you or anyone reading this thinks. After all, if the rest of the readers are as ignorant as you and have the facts all twisted what does it matter what they think??

    295. len raphael

      The older cops finally understood the depths of the city’s money problems, saw the writing on the wall and figured that no matter what they gave back now, would not be anywhere close to what was needed from all city workers to even make a dent in the coming avalanche of deficits.

      They figured the city was too scared to declare bankruptcy, so the current contract was good for another 1 or 2 years anyway and with their seniority and the city’s crime situation they could hold on till retirement and not lose a nickle.

      it was obvious the city was clueless how to fix it’s money problems. that the cc was pinning its hopes on an absurdly high parcel tax and probably a sales tax. the only tiny life preserver for the cc budgeting might be convincing voters that they didn’t violate the voters’ trust with the way they misspent Measure Y money, and to trust them again by giving them total freedom to spend on anything. But that’s only 20Mill.

      Maybe the city didn’t negotiate very well, but they did make more concessions than i had asked for.

      time for the cc to give the voters the straight facts about our financial situation, the whole megillah including all the retirement obligations.

      they have to face down SEIU and OF the same way they way willing to face down OPOA and tell them regardless of whether cutting their compensation and vested benefits is enough to fix the overall problem, we can’t provide even non safety services when we’re paying so much more in compensation to non safety employees than private industry pays for the same jobs.

      -len raphael

    296. Mike

      OMG Naomi you “saved a life” once. Congratulations!

      I’ve only spent 24 years saving (or at least trying to save) lives and putting my life in HARM’S way. Spit on, assaulted, almost ran over a couple times by cars, watched my friends die, been to several funerals, had several coworkers critically injured and lose their careers in the line of duty, watched countless people die from traumatic accidents and gunshots, did mouth to mouth on a SIDS death, and even helped someone do CPR on a dog once and brought it back to life. And that’s not even 1/10 of it.

      Hell no I am not entitled to my overblown paycheck!!

      Yeah you’re a friggin HERO Naomi!!!

    297. Mike

      For those of you who seem to think taking away a scheduled pay raise is not a cut, look at it this way:

      Let’s say you’re in the private sector and you are looking for employment. I am a potential employer and conduct a job interview and then decide to hire you. You and I then engage in a discussion what your salary will be for the next two year. ( negotiate a mutaly agreed upon salary, and sign a contract). We both agree that in 2010 I will pay you 80K a year and in 2011 I will pay you 92K a year if your performance is satisfactory.

      Excited, you go home and tell your wife you finally got that job you’ve always wanted. As the end of your first year is approaching, you recieve high performance evaluations from me your boss and are excited to know that a 12K annual pay raise is coming for all your hard work. That’s 1000k a month you need and are depending on because you just bought a home 6 months ago and since your old car with 180K miles on it finally broke down, you just bought that SUV last month. It doesn’t help that yor wife just had her second baby and is on maternity leave and will be staying home for the first few years until the baby is old enough for preschool. THANK GOD you have that raise coming next month because things are super tight right now, you are beginning to fall behind, and will DEFINITELY NEED that 1000K a month raise that you negotiated 11 months ago.

      As the week before your raise is due, your boss pulls you in his office and tells you, “Gee Harry you know that raise I promised you? Well things are tight right now and I can’t afford to give it to you this year. We’re going to have to DEFER it until NEXT year. Sorry buddy”

      You leave the office dejected, upset, enraged. Scared. What are you going to do?? You have a mortgage, a new car payment, and a new baby on the way. You expected this raise because it was promised to you in a NEGOTIATED agreement that you had – a contract that you signed with your employer.

      You file a complaint with the ” State Pay Cut Dept” which handles cases involving employers riping off employees and state that your boss CUT your pay because he promised you that 1000K a month that you agreed upon and it’s due now and you desperatley NEED that money now! You have been expecting it and are afraid of losing your home and not being able to feed your family. This fictional agency say, “Well kid, since you never actually got your pay raise, it’s technically not a cut so you really haven’t lost anything so quit complaining. Sorry Charlie, your case has no merit. Now beat it, scram!”

      Maybe the above little story can make some of you numbnuts see how giving up a negotiated and expected pay raise is in fact taking a pay cut.

    298. Mike

      I think the OPOA was very reasonable and willing to work with the CC. All they asked for was a gaurantee of no layoffs for the remained of the contract instead of 1 year. With an attrition rate of 4-5 officers a month we’d be looking at losing approx 150 officers at the end of that 3 years. Probably even more due to expected hig retirements in 2013. The CC’s logic in not working with the OPOA wis mind boggling.

    299. David

      There are about 2.3 doctors per 1000 people in the USA. That means there are around 850-1000 doctors in Oakland. About the same number of cops. Cops in Oakland make about as much in salary, OT and benefits as the average family doctor, except a doctor doesn’t start making a full salary until around 30, and typically has around 100-200K in med school debt. You may think that a doctor doesn’t “work” or isn’t very valuable or doesn’t possess any valuable skills, but then again, you could very well be an idiot, and I suspect the majority of people would disagree with you.

      I suspect if you took a poll of the people who pay your salary and benefits, Mike, that a majority of them would be 1) surprised that you make as much as a family doctor and 2) consider that compensation to be too high.

      You see, we taxpayers get a say in your compensation. Like it or not (and it appears you don’t like it), ultimately we’re actually your boss. And the business (i.e. us) doesn’t have the money to pay you at those levels anymore, and in fact, I bet a lot of us got behind in following how you were being managed, and are regretting our lack of oversight regarding the underbosses (CC) who gave you raises when we weren’t looking. So, take a pay cut or move on, aka, quit/get laid off. So tow that boat, you poor thing, somewhere else (you do realize that bragging about your boat does not make you more likely to get a raise from us).

      As to your hypothetical sob story, there are literally thousands (roughly 50,000 in Oakland) of people who would just like a job, and of those thousands, I’m certain that more than a few got a 100% pay cut while their wives were pregnant, etc etc. Hell, I’ve gotten laid off when my wife was 6 months pregnant. Took me over a year to pay that bill off after I found a new job. So again, take your 10:1 odds against on applying for that Berkeley cop job or wherever your lovely heart takes you.

    300. David

      PS: “temporary down you dipshit”

      Mike, define “temporary.” I may be a dipshit, despite what all the IQ tests/SAT/GRE tests have said, but I would point you to these little things called “history books.” I do think that you can read, despite your rampant misspellings. Heck, you might even just look at Yahoo Finance. Look at a chart of the stock market from 1929-1954, 1966-1982 and 1998 until now. I suppose “temporary” could mean 25 years, 17 years or 12 years and counting of zero returns accrued from the stock market, but a lot of reasonable people would realize the havoc that a multi-decade 0% return does to retirement planning. Considering that currently we’re looking at 3% yields on 10 year Treasury bonds, 2% average dividend yields AND the stock market, after 12 years of no returns is still only at an “average” valuation level, I’m not sure this “temporary” problem ends all too soon.

    301. Mike

      It’s not a sob story dummy. It’s explaining how taking away a pay raise is indeed a cut by showing you an example.

      And what makes you think that doctors are more valuable than police officers?? There are people with PhD’s who have FAILED the police academy!! Why do you continually put doctors on a pedestal above others? General practitioners aka: family doctors spen their entire careers in an office doing exams, writing presciptions, and ordering x-rays. They can’t even take vital signs. They pay medical assistant to do that for them. If they take on a 200K debt that is their personal CHOICE. The REAL doctors who are surgeons, etc and actually WORK for a living make hundreds of thousands a year and deserve their pay. Since cops inOakland work 0 times harder then any family doctor or cheap dimestore lawyer, perhaps our pay isn’t so out of line then.

      Yes I’m well aware of people like you who “pay my wages”. They like to remind me of their superiority when I issue them a speeding ticket. I just smile and tell them to have a nice day after they sign.

      Don’t worry, like I said, Oakland cops are easily hired in other depts. Berkeley notwithstanding. =)

    302. Mike

      OOPS. Thats….

      Since cops inOakland work 10 times harder then any family doctor or cheap dimestore lawyer, perhaps our pay isn’t so out of line then.

    303. David

      Yep, Mike, that’s just an example of 1) your ignorance and 2) your sense of entitlement that makes it even easier to vote no on every parcel tax.

      I would invite you to ask your neighbors if they think a cop or a doctor should make more money. I don’t put doctors on a pedestal; I use them as an example of a highly trained (more training than a cop), highly educated (and certainly more educated than a cop) people who are in the position to save lives AND they don’t get as rich of comp as you do. As always, you can’t help but have a nice bout of cognitive dissonance in your post. You denigrate a physician who just does exams, and then you point out what “guys like me” do when you write me a speeding ticket. So, writing a speeding ticket deserves a higher rank than doing a physical? Not to psychoanalyze, but you’re also deeply insecure about your intelligence, you should work on that.

    304. Mike

      Writing tickets is only a tiny fraction of the job. I think you know that. You’re an excellant manipulator of an argument – I’ll give you that much credit.

      Most people are ignorant about that doctors really do. Most doctors don’t save lives. The average family doctor couldn’t remember how to do CPR if his life depended on it. Educated alone doesn’t mean you deserve more money. Otherwise every 23 year old college grad should be making 6 figures lol. There are other things that entitle one to a largeer paycheck such as honor, bravery, sacrifice, duty, – things you probably have never experienced. I suspect you likely have never served your country either.

      Well it’s been fun but I must go to work. Have a great day!

    305. Erich Weiss

      May I make a call to elevate our current discourse? I appreciate this forum and enjoy the sharing of ideas in a civilized manner- if I wanted to read pithy comments, needless insults and profanity then I would frequent the Tribune’s comments section.

      I understand your frustration, Mike, and empathize with many of your points, but you have chosen to identify yourself as an OPD member – your stance deserves mature, professional and tempered delivery. Quite frankly, I think you are inadvertently detrimental to the very arguments you and I are attempting to make.

      David, perhaps I am misusing “the market” in my point, but let me explain my application of supply and demand. If Oakland chose to pay officers 41,000 a year (comparable to NYPD as you or others have mentioned) then you would expect to see a shortage of qualified applicants and waves of veteran officers leaving for better neighboring wages. This may be true even if you reduce wages by 10 -20% since OPD is already saddled with more work per officer than other agencies; an officer would be willing to take a pay cut only if workload is reduced or personal safety increased. Realistically, you would see OPD become a training ground for new recruits – City paid salary during the academy and free OTJ training…these new officers will more than likely leave for better pastures at the earliest opportunity…it should be our goal to have officers dedicated to quality performance and career building which requires partnerships with the community and long term dedication.

      Look at the recent articles concerning New Orleans PD in the aftermath of Katrina. Mass corruption, PD looting and unlawful killings abound. I believe NOPD was one of the worst paid departments at that time. Can’t make an argument that higher wages ALWAYS equate to more professionalism since Rampart and others serve as CA examples, but I do think it is an important element.

      Of course, I also understand a citizen’s unwillingness to pay more for service at this point…Measure Y was a joke and is fresh in our memories as is the poor performance of this city’s government. It is up to OPD though to prove they are worth the cost if given the chance. Batts is on the right track but, absent sufficient resources, will fail to make meaningful change. Consider that at the ballot box please.

    306. Otownlivin

      I would like to give a bit of unbiased perspective.


      Oakland Police Officers on average handle more calls for service per officer than any other Police Departments in the State of California. (Cal DOJ stats)

      Oakland Police Officers have been among the top 5 most assaulted Police Officers in the State of California for more than 10 years. (Cal DOJ stats)

      OPD is one of the highest paid Departments in California, with among the highest level of benefits given to Police Officers.

      OPD has an extremely high attrition rate, given as 5 Officers per month. For a comparison, Oakland Fire Department averages less than 5 per year, mostly through retirements. One of the reasons for the attrition rate is the complete lack of morale, high call volume/burnout, attitude of many citizens towards the Police Officers and the extremely high level of frivolous Citizen complaints, leading often to a new Police Officer having great difficulty being hired with another Police Department.

      Overtime has absolutely no bearing on the level of pension retirement. This is set as the average of the last 3 years of base salary, paid at a rate of 3% per year of work, up to a maximum of 90% after 30 years of service.

      Overtime for Police Officers is usually mandatory or connected with Court Cases. It would be incorrect to state that a majority of overtime can be avoided. If a court date is set, the Officer must attend.


      The Oakland Police Department has too much overhead. There are admin positions that could and should be cut.

      Oakland citizens are going to notice the change in levels of service offered to them from the Police Department, and people most likely will have their lives endangered as a result.

      The Oakland Police Department tried to play hardball and lost. This attempt at the swaying of public opinion has backfired. The head of the OPOA has lost control of his own union, and certainly of the good feelings of the public.

      The city council does not even know where a majority of the city budget goes.
      ‘nough said.

      There is a huge amount of waste and corruption, plenty of which is based in the remnants of the 1950′s-1970′ White Political power structure, and the 1970′-1980′s Black Power structure that has been collapsing with the influx of more diversity and a younger political base that crosses color lines much more freely. This corruption is devious in that it is not the typical hand greasing political machinations, but is based in the backdoor dealing for city contracts, job offers, tax breaks and business financing. Look at the very public Fire Department hiring scandal for an example – hand picking people out of a crowd, most of whom were connected to the Fire Department’s leadership.

    307. len raphael

      EW and OT, well put.

      6Am this morning a shooting in Temescal at 49th and Manila, opposite Emerson Elementary, close to Temescal pool and as the realtors say “just minutes from Bakesale Betty’s”

      At 830AM the three cops i saw marking off the crime scene etc looked like they were in their late 50′s.

      -len raphael

    308. Naomi Schiff

      While it is possible that Mike may be the most wonderful human ever, it is also possible that others are wonderful too. However, for the sake of the discussion I am willing to stipulate that Mike is always more virtuous than anyone else. That way he won’t have to mention it again and we get move forward.

    309. Dax

      Regarding police work load.
      I certainly don’t doubt there is lots of work in Oakland, but I was puzzled by a statistic that was given out yesterday by the OPD.

      They said, more than once, that there were 300,000 calls per year.

      Now, if we do the math, say using 750 officers, and adjust for days worked, about 240, then we come up with about 1.66 calls per day per officer “day worked”.

      Obviously there is much work that doesn’t come from calls, but rather just seen on the street.

      Still, I was rather perplexed by that 1.66 calls per day worked.
      Of course not all officers are out in the field.
      So, we bump it up to 2.5 or so.

      Is that about right?

      BTW, I like numbers. I believe it is “a” starting point for understanding.
      Otherwise we are all just flailing about with vastly different sets of reality.

    310. Mike

      Checking in for a few minutes and able to elaborate.

      We have less than 300 officers in patrol.

      300,000 calls a year divided by 365 equals 821 calls a day. (We usually have over 1000).

      The number of officers actually on the street fluctuates depending on time of day. I’m not sure but I think peak levels are approx 150 for the entire city during peak times. Probably half that during minimal times accounting for scheduling, sick, disability and vacation. So lets average that number and say 120 officers.

      Divide 821 calls between 120 officers and you have 6.8 calls per officer. However, a significant amount of calls require 2 officers to respond to. So that 6.8 number gets bumped up to maybe 10 – 12 calls on a 10 – 12 hour shift.

      Now we haven’t taken into account “self initiated activity” that isn’t a “call” but rather things such as vehicle stops and pedestrian stops that officers do routinely which add to the volume of workload. Then there is time writing reports in between those calls.

    311. Dax

      Well you made some important points, but I have to take possible exception to one of them.

      If there are 821 calls per day and during that day you have 300 officers on patrol, you use that number to divide the 821 calls, not how many are on any given shift (the 120).

      One important point though is how many calls are made by 2 officers.
      I often see patrol cars with 2 officers and I’m sure many calls require backup for safety. Lots of calls like that, I’m sure.

      I don’t think anyone is suggesting the workload isn’t full, but I was just curious given the number the spokesperson gave out.
      I think the Chief also mentioned the number.

    312. len raphael

      another number given out, by capt in my area, was (i cant find my notes but i did post it here a few months ago)an astounding number of 911 calls that go without any followup. i want to say the number given was 10,000 per month.

    313. Mike

      No we don’t have (less than) 300 officers on patrol. We have (less than) 300 officers in the ENTIRE Patrol division. They don’t all work every day.

      Divide those (less than) 300 officers by 3 seperate shifts during 1/2 the week and seperate 3 shfits during the other half of the week (with some overlap of shifts).

      Every traffic stop requires at least 2 officers. Every call where there is a potential threat of violence, including ANY complaint such as noise, loud music, argument, etc requires 2 officers. Some calls require 3 or even 4 officers based on the nature of the dispatch information. Now we’re not even talking about serious incidents such as fights, assault in progress, shootings, etc….

      Makes for a very busy day.

    314. len raphael

      repost from Don Link today (north oakland voter yahoo group:

      “Len: some of the facts as I know them. Calls for service used to be over 1 M per year, and are 800 or 900 K now.

      Patrol staffed properly requires up to 335 officers.

      Police salaries in NYC start at $ 44K, but have several tiers in every grade. The OPOA Pres. said that he would take NYC’s salary arrangement in a heartbeat, because most cops there make more than 100K per year before overtime. He claimed that NYC’s salary structure here would cost Oakland a lot more than it pays now.”

      I have never seen any figures on the number of 911 calls never responded to or not investigated.

    315. Otownlivin

      In fact, at times there are less than 40 Police Officers on patrol. The least I have heard of is 38 Officers for the entire city.

      38 Officers on patrol. Seriously.

    316. Mike

      And that was before the lay off. (The FISRT lay off). How long do you think till the old timers put back in a patrol car start going out on injuries? You guys should be out at city hall picketing the city council – seriously…

    317. len raphael

      Did anyone dig into the city council members’ facts comparing NYPD and LA police compensation to OPD, past the starting salary levels?

      Looks to me like the opoa pres comment is much closer to reality than the comparison repeatedly made by our city council members, particularly RK.

      NYPD patrol starting salaries are indeed much lower than OPD, at 44k vs 70k w/o OT for a patrolman. But NYPD’s comparable salary ramps up to 90,829 after 5.5 years. Retirement is 2.5% @20 but there’s a 12k supplemental so that it’s not that much lower. (don’t know what the employee contrib is).


      also see http://www.recruitmilitary.com/nypd/nypd3.asp

      Ranks above patrol are very well paid in NYC as they are here.

      Couldn’t find official data for LAPD that showed fully loaded pay ie. with typical shift differentials,

      This official site shows 80k to 84k for patrol officers after 3 years.


      but the unofficial sites indicate very close to NYPD at about 87k/year.


      They have a multi tiered retirement system, so i couldnt figure out if new cops got 2% @20 or 2.5%. Couldn’t figure out contribution either.

      But overall impression is that patrol officer pay in NYC an LA is maybe 13% lower than OPD.

      Re. the much more steeply ramped pay grades for OPD, I don’t know how long that has been in force, but if a dept had the problems we had three years ago attracting rookies, it would explain that.

    318. Mike

      It also explains the lies and deceptions that the CC continually engage in. They are a bunch of CRIMINALS!

    319. len raphael

      wb pretty funny if we spent the last few weeks beating up on each other about the cost of living in NY vs Oakland, “just” wage, “reasonable” compensation, and a “market clearing” price for wages based on the wrong wage comparisons.

      wouldn’t be funny if the politicians turned the residents into a howling mob screaming at the greedy pigs, and then went into negotiations with opoa confident that the mob would support them laying off those selfish police.

    320. Naomi Schiff

      It really hasn’t got anything to do with New York, anyhow.It remains a fact that there’s this huge percentage of the budget which is public safety. Regardless of the mistakes of the past, we still have to grapple with the current situation. Recriminations are not really that helpful.

    321. len raphael

      Naomi, those misleading comparisons were used by the politicians to drum up support for laying off cops, the assumption being that we are grossly overpaying cops and can rehire them later for much less.

      So yes, it is helpful to point out that at worst it was a policy decision based on bad data. The history of the use of those particular statistics is interesting also.

      An example of bad data driving out good. Or maybe just “there are lies, damn lies, and statistics”

    322. Ralph

      I love the comparison to NY, Baltimore, national average as much as the next guy, but it is a misuse of fact to say that OPD officers should be paid $44K or $53K. Those numbers should only be used as a reference point to determine an equivalent pay scale for OPD officers.

      Len, I do not think that you believe that OPD should start at $44K per year, but you are suggesting that our council members do. And while they have made some boneheaded compensation decisions in the past, I don’t think they are interested in making an equally boneheaded decision in the opposite direction.

    323. Mike

      Speaking of compensations. Our CC are among the highest paid in the nation – 70K a year for a part time job and they don’t pay into THEIR pensions one iota.

    324. len raphael

      mike, i have not been able to get a straight answer whether cc members and the mayor have officially agreed to pay in their full 8 or 9% employee contribution.

    325. David

      Mike, you clearly have no idea what physicians do every day. And regarding manipulating an argument, I merely use your inconsistencies to demonstrate that your reasoning has no merit.

      Have a wonderful day.

    326. Otownlivin

      Stop missing the point folks.

      OPD needed to cut admin positions, instead gang task force, narcotics and sex crimes have been cut, and patrol will be significantly affected.

      This is due to the intensive mismanagement by both the Oakland Police Department administration and our city council, headed by an incredibly incompetent Mayor.

      There was never a chance for the OPOA to stop the layoffs. The city council has too many anti-police elements, starting with Desley Brooks and Jean Quan, who pander to their electorate by redirecting funds into programs that are less than imperative.

      The very public gambling loss by Dom Arotzarena has left his union weaker, and the city less safe. He has turned public opinion quite rapidly away from the plight of these young and talented Officers that watched as the city turned it’s back on them.

      Stop comparing Apples and Oranges by trying to compare the pay in different cities to the Bay Area. Every place is different.

      We need to worry about our own city with it’s myriad problems and try to use the tools that we all possess to fix them.

    327. len raphael

      if the rank and file doesn’t replace him with a more articulate, personable president, then i can see why OPD would serious community relation problems even without a hostile city council.

    328. Mike

      let me make something quite clear. The members of OPD including those who were laid off are in full support of Dom Arotzarena and the OPOA.

      The vast majority of us would not accept a 1 year no lay off clause and that includes members currently laid off.

      This wasn’t “gambling” as you call you. This was an attempt to negotiate a reasonable contract for all our officers. In the abscense of the CC accepting all reasonable offers made, EVERYONE lost.

    329. Mike

      Arotzarena is a HARD WORKER who busts his ass for us – not a fluffy politician. You wantsomeone “personable” then go talk to the mayor – HE is ver personable!!

    330. Otownlivin

      Mike – I never stated that the Officers do or do not support Sgt. Arotzarena, I am stating that his wheeling and dealing has turned a great deal of the public against his desires, right or wrong.

      Union leaders in this era NEED to be fluffy politicians, not the hard nosed bosses of past eras. The oakland fire department union and SEIU suffer from the same type of leadership issues. All organizations need a pretty face backed up by muscle and brains underneath.

      You can’t tell me that over the past 2-3 years that a cat and mouse game hasn’t been played between the union and the city. This was a gamble, pure and simple.

      Unfortunately for those new Officers, everybody lost.

    331. len raphael

      mike, i wouldn’t know any thing about your current pres other than the way he presented opoa’s position in front of the cc meeting, and in interviews.

      eg. he should have nipped RK’s 44k vs 72k right in the bud, before it blossomed into a cry for opoa’s blood.

      he went on about the foregone raises which while economically were a giveback, p/r wise they never existed.

    332. Mike

      That would have been a waste of time because it falls on deaf ears. The public is simply not interested. Look at the people on this forum. It doesn’t matter if we are paid equivalent to other departments, by the time you explain all of that, the public has already stopped listening.

      What’s important is quick one or two liners: “YES WE AGREE TO PAY 9% CONCESSIONS, WE JUST WANT A GAURANTEE OF NO LAYOFFS”

      Now THAT catches the public’s attention. Arotzarena knows what he is doing. But it’s hard to negotiate with incompetent moronic short sighted selfish council members who care not about their consituents.

    333. Otownlivin

      “But it’s hard to negotiate with incompetent moronic short sighted selfish council members who care not about their constituents.”

      Now THAT I can agree with 100%.

      Most public safety unions need better PR people, but it is inherently in the nature of many people who work in those professions to have disdain for Public Relations people, as it is seen as total BS. Which I will give you usually it is.

      It is also, however, effective and essential.

    334. Mike

      Our union doesn’t negotiate with the public. it negotiates with the city council.

      Public safety (fire & police) have historicaly always had public support and “PR” has never been an issue generaly speaking. The idea of a safe city tends to sell itself. Or at least it has until recently.

    335. Dax

      Interesting chart and study I just ran across, regarding Oakland Police total hourly compensation compared to all other large California cities in 2009.

      I’d never seen anyone else post this.

      Take a look.


      $91 per hour…average.

      More as you near 30 years.

    336. Naomi Schiff

      Mike I have already stipulated that you are a fine person and very valuable, perhaps a better person than anyone else in Oakland. You don’t have to post every crime story here.

    337. Mike

      Let’s cut the 75K a year parking meter money collecter’s pay. (Edgerly’s son).

      Lets lay off the CPRB which is utterly useless and serves absolutely ZERO purpose.

    338. V Smoothe

      Enough, Mike. If you have something substantive to say, you are welcome to participate in the discussion on this site. But these comments are like half a step away from spam.

    339. len raphael

      Mike, cut the sarcastic crap. You have made valuable contributions to this site, but this isn’t the chron or the trib site and no one wants it turn into that.

      And unlike some others, reposting concatenated (yeah, 50 dollar word) postings about the shootings is a valid statement, but do it one posting or it becomes spam.

      And yes, that last one has pushed me over the edge into supporting a recall campaign for all the city council members. Sunset the whole lot. And do a two term limit, min number of meetings per year charter amendment at same time.

    340. Naomi Schiff

      I have lived with my name for a very long time, and may have a thicker skin than you imagine, Mike. I think it is possible to discuss issues with civility and respect.

    341. len raphael

      Mike, it’s her salon, and we’re the guests. Maybe you’d talk like you did about N face to face as you did online, but I doubt it.

      If you would say the same things same way face to face, try putting your full name and town on your posts.

      Some of the abusive posters on chron and trib often do have useful things to read, but lifes too short to wade thru the wierd rudeness.

      I don’t quote our Prez too often, but words do mean something.


    342. Mike

      Heavens no I wouldn’t say it to Naomi’s face cause I’m too scared she might chase me with a blow dryer and beat me up!! What’s with the double standard here? How come Shifforbrains can insult me and when I respond it’s not ok?

    343. Mike

      Nice tactical switch Len but no cigar for you.

      Livegreen you have to remember, in my business I have to have the ability to wear many hats. Look how easily I can manipulate the emotions of forum members. I could almost see that steam coming off of Len’s scalp! ;)

    344. Dax

      Almost funny news story from SoCal.
      Oakland can point to Bell, California as proof that their pay and salaries are not excessive.

      Bell’s population is 40,000
      City Council members have been discovered to be getting $100,000 per year even though the official pay is only about $8,000 per year.

      “The LA Times reported that Bell’s Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo was earning $787,637 annually, twice as much as President Obama; Police Chief Randy Adams was earning $457,000 a year, 50% more than Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck; and Assistant City Manager Angela Spaccia was earning $376,288, more than most city managers.”


      Apparently this was all hidden from the public until they were forced to divulge information due to the recent court rulings about the people’s right to know.

      Much of the salary structure in Oakland was only revealed after the newspapers were able to get court ordered release.

      More detailed information is healthy.
      Very few, if any residents, other than city employees, ever learn what city benefits, wages, and pensions are..
      Even many of the employees are not entirely clear about the details.

      Now, I’m not comparing Oakland to Bell.
      Still, open information is critical for the public to have educated input.
      Clearly, the old system where only the council members and staff knew what was happening, has led to excesses.

    345. David

      A role model for Oakland:

      While many communities are fearfully contemplating extensive cuts, Maywood says it is the first city in the nation in the current downturn to take an ax to everyone.

      The school crossing guards were let go. Parking enforcement was contracted out, City Hall workers dismissed, street maintenance workers made redundant. The public safety duties of the Police Department were handed over to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

    346. Naomi Schiff

      If Maywood were the largest municipality in LA County it might be hard for the county to afford sheriffs to police it.

    347. Mike

      So you want the ACSO to take over patrol in Oakland huh? And where do you suppose they are going to find 800 spare bodies to patrol Oakland’s streets? I’ll tell you where. They’ll hire 800 laid off Oakland cops. That’ll be a grand savings lol!!

    348. John

      On a recent post you said; “The idea of a safe city tends to sell itself. Or at least it has until recently.” The sense of entitlement and arrogance the OPOA has brought to the table is summed up in that one sentence. Conflating OPOA’s demands and public safety as the same thing is arrogant. Like any union OPOA wants the best benefit package it can get. Because you are police officers you can wrap up your demands in a pretty/scary package called public safety. What you want for your wallet is NOT necessarily what is best for the City. As for your union president; “Arotzarena knows what he is doing. But it’s hard to negotiate with incompetent moronic short sighted selfish council members who care not about their consituents,” let’s look at this comment a little closer.
      1. Union president sent out a possibly illegal robocall that angered so many people, he actually turned people against the union.
      2. 80 officers lost their jobs.
      3. You have no guarantee that there will not be future layoffs.
      4. OPOA is pushing for a police only parcel tax that has no chance of passing.
      5. He is doing such a poor job at presenting your union’s position he made it into the rankings of the “Bad Week for” column in last Sunday’s SF Chronicle.
      You define this as, “knowing what he is doing?”
      Your union president is failing you miserably. You are failing your union miserably with your attitude on this blog.
      I am a resident and I am sick and tired of public safety union shakedowns, like OPOA’s latest demands. I am tired of my take home paying going down (in the form of tax increases) because of your union demands. Given the contempt you so obviously have for the leadership of this city how do you come to work each day? It makes me question just how effective an Oakland police officer you can be.
      I will be voting NO on any police parcel tax because of your union president’s attitude and your attitude, Mike.
      BTW I helped start my neighborhood’s NCPC 12 years ago so before dismissing me, I actually support the police. But you and your union president have turned me against the OPOA. Way to go Mike!

    349. V Smoothe

      Mike, I find it sad that you seem to think being an annoying pest is some kind of achievement. In any case, your comments addressed to Naomi yesterday were completely unacceptable, and you have been warned previously about your behavior. You are now banned from commenting on this blog.

    350. Dax

      Since it relates to raising city revenues I thought I’d post something about the marijuana vote.

      Before I write this, I’m sure I don’t understand all the details of the Oakland proposal or Prop. 19, however I am almost certain that neither do the members of the Oakland City Council.

      From the Chronicle…
      “De La Fuente, Desley Brooks, Rebecca Kaplan, Larry Reid and Patricia Kernighan voted to pass the motion. Jane Brunner abstained, and Nadel and Quan voted against it.”

      I’m sure this was mostly done as a revenue raising measure, in the style that the Oakland Coliseum deal and the Ice Skating rink were also going to be a bonus for Oakland’s tax base.

      City council members with extremely limited economic sense, passing measures that are not based in reality.

      The Chronicle says…
      “But if state voters pass Prop. 19, a November initiative that would legalize recreational use of marijuana, proponents believe the city would be well situated for the booming industry.”

      Now I ask you, what other legal crops are being grown inside warehouses?
      Indoors where you have to supply the “sun” at great cost.
      If Prop 19 passes, who in their right mind is gonna be commercially growing pot in Oakland?

      Do I even have to mention the adverse ecological impact a huge “grow light” based factory is going to have on power consumption?

      The only hope for Oakland to benefit from this idea is if California does not pass Prop 19.
      Does any commercial crop grow in Oakland?

      Perhaps I don’t fully understand Prop 19, but won’t someone just get 1000 or 10 x 100 acres of land in the valley and cheaply, with free sunlight, grow tons of pot, using their normal supply of cheap non-union migrant labor?

      It seems laughable and naive that council members were speaking about labor issues. The typical “good paying” union jobs with benefits being created.
      Please…, you can’t be serious.

      Quan voted no, she has environmental concerns.
      Did anyone attend the meeting? I’d like to know what the environmental concerns were?

      OH I can just imagine. We’ll have someone suggest that they’ll cut down on electric use (for grow lights) by producing power on the roof of the factory using solar panels.
      I’m thinking half the council would approve of that.
      (don’t tell them you could just eliminate the roof and have the sun shine directly on the plants)

      OK, I didn’t hear all the discussion or reasoning.
      Why do I think this entire proposal is pie-in-the-sky thinking by the folks who gave us Mt. Davis?

      Rebecca Kaplan said,

      “It’s really important for Oakland to be a vital part of that growth and development for licensed facilities,”.

      I’m getting the impression she just may not be much brighter than the rest of the crowd.

      Any reason why everybody won’t just switch those backyard tomato plants to pot”?

      I mean, this ain’t like growing grapes to make wine. Rather its like growing grapes to have…grapes.
      No vast fermentation process involved.
      Granted, I don’t grow my own tomatoes and lettuce, but hey, I get the lettuce at 99 cents, not some crazy $50 per ounce Oakland tax hiked price.

      Kaplan and Reid were the ones behind this.
      Tell me, do you think those two, or their staffs have thought through even half of these issues?
      And if you conclude, as I do, that neither they nor their staffs have the ability to do so, then exactly who wrote this up?

      Another “sounds good” proposal?

      They’d better pray Prop 19 doesn’t pass.

      By the way, in one of those “factory” proposals, the potential owner said he would hire 371 workers to produce 58 pounds.
      Now, that is 2.5 ounces of pot per worker per day.
      That 2.5 ounces has to pay for the factory lease, electricity, equipment, accounting, distribution, security, and of course a ROI (return on investment) for the business owner.

      When pot is legal, just how much do you think 2.5 ounces of pot at the wholesale level is going to go for? (Don’t include the $50 per ounce tax)

      Say $50 per ounce, so that plus the $50 tax, plus the retail markup and you are already above $150 per ounce. That, in a legal market where you can grow your own at home?

      2.5 ounces x $50 equals $125 per employee, but only after you’ve paid for our profits, and overhead.
      Leaving what per day to pay the worker?

      Minimum wage with no benefits?

      You tell me, does anyone here think that either Kaplan or Reid, or their staffs have done even such simple math as I have put forth above?

      Or are all their ideas based on pot selling for $300 and $400 per ounce?

      Anyone asking “what if” questions?

    351. len raphael

      Dax, RK and LR’s advocacy of growing pot makes me want to make a comment like one of Mike’s stupid ones. No, that could be misinterpreted.

      What i mean is that RK comes out with solutions that show 0 understanding of economics in real world or even theoretical world but are politically correct.

      I like Reid’s support of cops, not his support of the Airport connector. I don’t think he’s big on analysing issues quantitatively.

      And no, i am not Greg Harland’s shill. I haven’t even decided if I’ll support any mayoral candidate but rather work on charter amendments and sunsetting the entire cc. if anyone here wants to help on that, join the yahoo group Oaktalk.

      -len raphael

    352. Dax

      While not about Oakland, the recent article about Bell, California is must reading.

      Some still wonder why the general public is up in arms about what they see in some extreme cases and in the overall system of PERS as it relates to many cities.

      Bell city mananger, age 55, will now get $600,000 pension for life.
      The police chief, age 59, will get $411,000 for life.


      Those abuses are huge. On the other hand promotions with higher salary for the final year or two are much more common.
      Also, there are various ways to add in unused vacation pay, leave, etc. to boost final years pay.

      Having said that, I don’t have any specific Oakland abuses of the “final year” calculation system.
      There may be none, I just don’t know so I won’t speculate.

      I’m fairly sure there are no $400,000 or $600,000 pensions in Oakland.

    353. Naomi Schiff

      I watched some of the city council meeting last night. Quan did point out that the huge hoped-for tax income from marijuana farming was unrealistic and highly unlikely to materialize. (Certainly not something to count on to balance any budgets!) WE don’t have the ideal climate, but perhaps we are closer to the customers than the suppliers in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, so maybe there is some small amount of logic there.

    354. Otownlivin

      Dax – Distortion of truth once again from you.

      I am not sure how many times it has been said on this board that you cannot “jack up” your final years salary from overtime, sick time, vacation time or any time. You retire with 3% per year of work while paid into the PERS system to a max of 90% salary for 30 years of work after age 50. If you only work 20 years, you only get 60%.

      Why is this so hard to comprehend?

    355. Ralph

      Naomi, did JQ happen to mention if any of the other estimates were realistic? I assume the parcel tax is the only one that they can calculate with any accuracy of course it has the least likely chance of getting enough votes to pass.

    356. Naomi Schiff

      Well this particular discussion was about the marijuana farms, not the budget in general. Claims have ranged wildly about how much tax it would bring in. Some people said the city would get more than 30 million a year, but that seems unlikely.

    357. Dax

      Otownlivin says:
      July 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm
      Dax – Distortion of truth once again from you.
      You need to read better. Had you read earlier in this thread, you would have seen the following…

      “Now, I’m not comparing Oakland to Bell.”

      The post was about Bell, California.

      I also said the following IF you had read my post…
      “Having said that, I don’t have any specific Oakland abuses of the “final year” calculation system.
      There may be none, I just don’t know so I won’t speculate”

      So much for your accusations of my “distortions”.

      There are indeed other cities where unused vacation time can be paid out in and counted in the final years wages.
      As well as other items included, although I have never seen overtime included.

      Had you read my post in the thread on
      Tax Fever, Part 1, you would have seen me make the following post in response to Zac who is a Oakland Safety employee.
      Fireman I believe.

      the following reply by me
      July 20, 2010 at 7:16 pm
      “Yes, I do appreciate your explanations.
      We all need to understand exactly what is and isn’t the case with regards to salary, benefits and pensions.
      For example I often hear people complaining about public employees, including police and fire, running up their pensions by doing lots of overtime in the last year. I know that is not true. Yes there have been other ways of unfairly boosting pensions, but OT is not one of them.”

      I have never said that OPD retirees boost their pensions by OT, or inclusion of unused vacation pay, or sick time.

      The one issue where I do not have adequate knowledge regards pension boosting is in final year or two promotions.
      I do not know if that is common in Oakland, like it is in may departments in California.

      In the future please read my posts before accusing me of distorting the facts.

      Now as to one of the missing set of facts for OPD retirees.

      What is the status of their post retirement medical coverage.
      I have been told there is NO (ZERO) coverage from age 50 or 55 until they enter Medicare at 65.

      Is that true? No medical, no dental, from their date of retirement…for the rest of their lives and the rest of their spouses life and their children’s lives. NOT a dime once they leave active duty and enter retirement.


      If so, what are the provisions during their career for a “medical fund” wherein they can put money away for the 10 to 15 years before they enter Medicare.
      And after that I would assume they are fully responsible for a Medicare supplemental program such as Kaiser Senior Advantage (about $115) and also Medicare Part B ($90 to $135)..

      OK, clear up that if you will.

      I find it odd because OFD and all misc. Oakland employees have some coverage between retirement and Medicare and even beyond, until death.

      Some info on the OPD provisions for post service medical costs.

    358. David

      San Jose is outsourcing janitors etc. Contrary to Mike’s belief, I’m not so silly as to believe that Oakland could send everything to the County, especially given that Oakland is a good chunk of Alameda Cty. However, as with San Jose and many other munis throughout the country, either Oakland reaches agreements to cut pay & benefits, or it outsources (which as pointed out, would likely result in the same people being rehired at private sector–lower–salaries& benefits), or it simply fires people/goes bankrupt. I know I’m preaching to the choir now that Mike is banned, but the city simply cannot pay its bills with the current cost structure, AND there is no reasonable hope of it being able to do so even IF a recovery (HAHAHAHHA) is around the corner.

    359. V Smoothe

      Outsourcing City services, either to the County or to a private contractor, would require that voters approve an amendment to the City Charter.

    360. Ralph

      Add charter amendment to outsource city services to stuff for Oaktalk to address.

      I just signed up, so let me in!

    361. Otownlivin

      Dax – You have consistently been inconsistent with the numbers and statistics that you have given for a number of things.

      I am neither a City Worker, nor an Oakland Cop or Firefighter. I am just trying to prevent one group from being demonized with numbers and information that is incorrect.

      From what I was recently able to find out, OPD nor OFD have medical retirement benefits prior to or after medicare kicks in.

      You have repeatedly given out incorrect information about salaries, benefits and retirements that I think is unfair to leave unchallenged.

      I understand your desire to bring everyone down to a salary that you feel is correct, and to prevent a decent pension system from remaining in place, but not everyone feels the same way, nor nearly as strongly as you do about this subject. In fact, I personally feel that the salaries are near, if a bit above what market value is, despite the current fiscal situation.

      A typical American response to a stimuli to to rapidly react, without seeing a long term picture or trying to reach a long term goal. This type of reactionary fiscal and political meddling is one of the main reasons that we are in this mess to begin with.

    362. Ralph

      Reacting to stimuli, Oakland pays its employee on average 15% more than surrounding districts. See city commission labor study, which has been posted and referenced in the parts more times than I care to count. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that private sector pay for some city jobs is probably lower.

      The pension system is not only not decent but unsustainable.

      If you want to see a true problem rapidly react, without seeing a long term picture is marijuana. Those in such a great risk to get the revenue fail to see the unhidden costs – black market for scripts, additional robbery because of perceived high cash business, increased potential for addiction due to lower cost and easier access (see teen addiction in Shasta county), elctrical lode, increased truancy by students to high to make to school and parents to stoned to care (to quote lyrics from Afro-man, “I was gonna go to school, until I got high.)…

      Dax Light or Dax Jr.

    363. Ralph

      Correction The pension system is more than decent (it is quite generous) but more importantly this generosity is not sustainable.

    364. livegreen

      Otownliven, You say Dax has repeatedly given out incorrect information, but other than the 1 instance (medical benefits) you don’t give any of the other info you say Dax has given incorrectly.

      & even in the 1 instance, you don’t say how Dax is wrong, or what the correct info is. Rather than just accuse somebody without any supporting info, please enlighten us.

    365. Dax


      You say the following regarding my posts,
      “You have repeatedly given out incorrect information about salaries, benefits and retirements that I think is unfair to leave unchallenged.”

      Then earlier in your post you say, “From what I was recently able to find out, OPD nor OFD have medical retirement benefits prior to or after medicare kicks in.”

      Had you read the following exchanges,
      Discussion thread — Tax Fever, Part 1,
      zac says:
      July 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      Read that post and the next 5 between myself and Zac.

      You would have clearly seen that at the very least, the Firefighters are fully covered for their own medical up to Medicare.

      The only question Zac has not answered thus far, is whether after they obtain Medicare, will their medical payments cover a typical supplemental policy such as Kaiser Senior Advantage ($115), or whether their medical coverage can be used to cover their Medicare Part “B” (from $95 to $135)

      However, there is no question, according to Zac, that the OFD retiree is fully covered for his own medical policy such as Kaiser between retirement and Medicare.

      OPD is a separate matter.
      I do not yet have the full facts on that.
      Mike suggested they have no coverage, but some have indicated there is a fund or savings policy for them to cover the medical between retirement and Medicare.

      Now, at least you should make some corrections to your information regarding OFD retirees.

      Despite what you wrote, I don’t seem to find anything you’ve said about my “inaccuracies” which backs up your contention of me giving out false information.

      Please supply a example of where I have been wrong with the facts.

      I don’t imagine I am perfect, but you have supplied nothing to suggest otherwise.

      I encourage those OFD and OPD members who post to let us know the true facts.
      Zac has brought out a partial explanation of the post retiree medical plan.

    366. Otownlivin

      OFD does NOT have medical retiree coverage per a retired Oakland Fire Captain I just spoke to.

      Dax has given out incorrect pension information on numerous occasions on this board.

      Lets begin.

      1) “But really, it takes, according to IDLF, $188,000 to pay the total compensation for each officer. That is over $90 per hour.”

      How is this incorrect? You are falsely correlating wages with benefits, which cannot be calculated hourly, due to the fact that these stay constant independent of salary or schedule. In addition, what level of officer is receiving this wage?

      2) “$12.40 per hour instead of the city employee rate of $40 per hour”

      This is a fallacy due to the wages of independent contractors are calculated without taking into account the overall contract, which without knowing the whole story could actually cost more than using a city employee.

      3)”Oakland and San Francisco would NOT have budget deficits if police and fire were compensated to the same relative levels they were getting in the past.”

      If you think that this statement is true, then nothing I say is going to make any difference. Salaries in many occupations have gone up or down over the years.

      I was once a welder making a wage of about 9 dollars an hour. A typical welder today makes 34 dollars an hour. Does that keep up with inflation?

      4) “Typical officer, not Sgt or above, retiring to 27 years of a $95,000 pension. That after 30 years.”

      Again, YOUR incorrect numbers. Base salary of $90,597.00 per city website. 90% of that is what? That’s right, not 95,000 but 81,537.31 after 30 years of service. How you are getting 27 years of that I do not know.

      5) “I do realize you get NO medical from age 55 to 65.”

      If you realized this many posts ago, why are you continuing to question it?

      6) “Third, they have no 90% limit on their pension.”

      This is incorrect. No employee can collect more than 90% of their pension.

      7) “Simply put, Oakland police total compensation today is far greater, even after adjusting for cost of living, than it was 15 and 20 years ago.”

      This I will agree with you on. However, as I stated above, many jobs have had similar jumps in compensation, usually commensurate with their perceived use to society. Look at nurses, doctors, etc.

      I would argue that that Police Officers in today’s society are more at risk, more isolated and more prone to physical and mental issues than even some combat soldiers, and certainly more than society at large.

      8) “Now, if we do the math, say using 750 officers, and adjust for days worked, about 240, then we come up with about 1.66 calls per day per officer “day worked” [300,000 calls].”

      I think this was already disproven, but since we have established that at any given time that the number of officers on patrol can be as low as 38 and is usually at around 50, lets average at 47 officers on patrol. 300,000 calls divided by 365 = about 821 calls per day. With 47 officers that means about 17-18 calls per beat officer. I am not counting shifts, let’s pretend that they are all one person, as I do not know their shift rotations.

      17.5 calls per beat area with a majority of those calls needed at least 2 officers, and for math sake, lets make 3 of them needing 3 or more officers. So, 17.5 + 7 with 2 officers and 3 with 3 or more officers means that most of those beats are averaging about 27-30 calls per day. If you have ever seen the amount of paperwork that police officers have to do on even the smallest deal, you would be able to BEGIN to fathom how much work that is.

      That is a busy freakin police department.

      So these are just a few example of incorrect, disproven or just plain wrong statements from you, and that is just on THIS subject.

      I represent no group, no union and no interest. I just do not like people using statistics on their own terms and putting what turns out to be false information in the eye of the public who may not know any better.

    367. Ralph

      How is stating $188,000 as total compensation confusing? Most people who have a job know the difference between total compensation and salary. Any employee who doesn’t is probably earning too much. Furthermore the last time I saw the $188 used it was thoroughly referenced as a city number. This is not confusing at all.

      CC has been quite generous with my tax dollars. They were giving out 4% raises even as the economy was tanking.

      Officer pay has been through the ringer. If I recall correctly it tops out at just over $100K not including CC pension contribution. Our friends at the IRS treat that as taxable compensation which gets factored into the retirement calculation.

    368. Dax

      OK Otownlivin, I’ll address your misinterpretations one by one…though not all in this first response as I can’t take all night to go over your points.

      A. (your first un-numbered point) Regarding the OFD medical coverage from retirement until Medicare.

      IF you had read the thread I directed you to here, Tax Fever, Part 1, you would have seen the extensive posts by Zac a poster who says he is OFD.

      He said the following in that thread.
      zac says:
      July 19, 2010 at 4:55 pm

      “OK folks, here’s the skinny on retirement medical for firefighters”…..

      ……”In retirement, the city pays to the Kaiser level FOR THE MEMBER ONLY”.
      Go read that thread where he goes into much more detail.
      So, either your OPD retiree is wrong or Zac is wrong.
      I’m sure we’ll come to some conclusion on this.
      For now, given the detailed explanation that Zac gave this board, I’ll stick with his detailed answers to my questions.

      Now for some of your other mistaken points.

      1) “But really, it takes, according to IDLF, $188,000 to pay the total compensation for each officer. That is over $90 per hour.”

      How is this incorrect? You are falsely correlating wages with benefits, which cannot be calculated hourly, due to the fact that these stay constant independent of salary or schedule. In addition, what level of officer is receiving this wage?
      First of all the $188,000 is the figure widely given out in the news by IDLF and other city officials. That in the recent days during the dispute.
      You simply figure out the number of hours worked by the “typical” officer and divide that into the $188,000 figure.

      Furthermore, independent wage surveys done on the OPD have come up with a similar $90+ hourly figure.

      Look for yourself…

      Issue #2 on your list.
      2) “$12.40 per hour instead of the city employee rate of $40 per hour”

      This is a fallacy due to the wages of independent contractors are calculated without taking into account the overall contract, which without knowing the whole story could actually cost more than using a city employee.
      You can object to this all you want, but that is what was REPORTED in the San Jose Mercury News.
      Now who should we believe, YOU or the reported data and city officials quoted in the newspaper article?

      I’ll stick with my version until you dig up some countermanding facts to show otherwise.

      #3 on your list
      3)”Oakland and San Francisco would NOT have budget deficits if police and fire were compensated to the same relative levels they were getting in the past.”

      If you think that this statement is true, then nothing I say is going to make any difference. Salaries in many occupations have gone up or down over the years.

      I was once a welder making a wage of about 9 dollars an hour. A typical welder today makes 34 dollars an hour. Does that keep up with inflation?
      Can’t you read, I said…”3)”Oakland and San Francisco would NOT have budget deficits if police and fire were compensated to the same relative levels they were getting in the past.”

      “RELATIVE levels” means two things.
      One, relative to inflation
      Two, relative to what their level was on the community wage ladder in past decades.
      Of course I did not mean…..nominal wages…I was referring to inflation adjusted dollars and also to their relative point on the wage structure to others in society.

      AS I have indicated, I come from a family that has had employees in the OFD and OPD dating back prior to 1920…
      Grandfather, uncles (2), cousins, and a multitude of friend’s fathers as well as schoolmates. Half my friend’s fathers were either OFD or OPD.
      Our holiday social gatherings were primarily made up of Oakland public safety workers. I know what they made relative to others in society over all those decades and what they currently make is several steps up the ladder from those prior levels after adjusting for inflation.
      Not only is the pay higher, but when coupled with the benefits and pensions, the over-all compensation is considerably higher.
      I know the levels of income my uncles had and I know the past three years income of a OFD neighbor just a few doors away. I compare the rank and such and have no hesitation saying today’s overall compensation is considerably higher than 10, 20 and 30 years ago, EVEN after adjusting for inflation.

      You point #4..
      4) “Typical officer, not Sgt or above, retiring to 27 years of a $95,000 pension. That after 30 years.”

      Again, YOUR incorrect numbers. Base salary of $90,597.00 per city website. 90% of that is what? That’s right, not 95,000 but 81,537.31 after 30 years of service. How you are getting 27 years of that I do not know.
      Once again you are COMPLETELY incorrect.

      You seem to be out of touch and have no understanding of how OPD pensions are calculated.
      BASE PAY is not the lowest starting wage for a sergeant, it is that portion of their pay that is NOT overtime or “other”.

      If you have even the slightest bit of interest in understanding this, then go to the Oakland Tribune Data section and look up Oakland, Police Services, then look at all the sergeants.

      You will find sergeants base salary ranging from $111,000 to $119,000.
      That is the salary their pension is based on.
      Take a typical $114,000 base salary and a 30 year career. 90% x $114,00 = $102,600 per year retirement.

      I’m sorry, but do you ever even look into what you are writing about

      I’m going to give this a rest and then at a later time address the rest of your wayward examples you chose to present.

      Do you even think about this stuff before you write?

      BTW, go to the data center and find me some of those OPD sergeants that have a $90,597 base salary… LOL…
      You need to get into the real world of OPD pay levels.

      I’ll come back later when I have more time and point out the foolishness of your other examples of “Dax’s misstatements”

      But really, do you take even a little time to investigate any of this?

    369. John B

      I know that the OPD cops work extremely hard, with daily challenges…

      I also have also been told by an OPD associated person I know that service retired officers (50 plus) get the same (similar?) single person (less than 500 dollar) Kaiser level health insurance supplement that Zac mentioned. Spouses/kids not covered after retirement.

      Also, base compensation also can often include several different types of premuim pay (educational, shift differential etc), which often count toward final compensation for purposes of determining their retirement pay.

      Most importantly, and in light of recent contract/budget issues, the city currently picks up the whole (37% of base pay) pension contribution that is sent to Calpers to fund their retirements. This includes the 9% OPD portion that seemed to be part of the sticking point during this last go-round (against city’s refusal to guarantee layoffs for 3 years).
      I think that this payment constitutes a big part of that 160-190K everybody talks about.

    370. Otownlivin

      I answered what YOU wrote. YOU again are incorrect.

      YOU wrote this :

      “Typical officer, not Sgt or above, retiring to 27 years of a $95,000 pension. That after 30 years.”

      Note that you said NOT Sgt or above. SO pray tell who is incorrect or do you want to just admit your mistakes?

      Stop changing your numbers. It makes all your other points that much more irrelevant.

    371. zac

      Like I stated in the other thread, our post-medical retirement is a dollar amount. It can be applied to kaiser, to other plans, or to Medicare. We pay into medicare like any other worker and can utilize the benefits the same way as well.

      I don’t have any idea why a retired captain would say that Oakland pays nothing in medical care for retirees. The city absolutely does pay. They don’t pay for our families the way they do when we’re active, and they may not pay the full amount of our personal coverage, but they absolutely don’t pay nothing. That being said, having to pay for spouse/kids is certainly something you feel. Don’t jump all over me Dax: I’m not saying we get bad benefits. But you have to admit that going from paying nothing to paying $500 per month is something that a new retiree might notice.

      And, I just want to mention again, since we’re talking about the fact that cops currently pay 0 into their pensions, and are now debating whether to pay 9%…Oakland’s firefighters have been paying 13% into the pensions for many, many years. Not zero, not nine…THIRTEEN. And I want to dispel the rumor that we got a concomitant raise to offset that pay-in. This is simply not true. We HAVE gotten raises over the years, but there was never a quid pro quo, either explicit or implied. This was a negotiated item. And as a union rep let me assure you that when we raised our contribution from 9 to 13, our members certainly didn’t feel like they were staying even and they let me know how they felt about that in vivid terms.

      And as for pension spiking, that’s something that just doesn’t happen here. Our pension is based on our base salary, not overtime. And we don’t do a lot of giveaway promotions in the last year. Just yesterday we promoted captains and battalion chiefs. Everyone with more than 13 yrs on the job got passed over. I don’t have the announcements in front of me, but I think the last lieutenant’s and engineer’s lists were pretty much the same way, so the newly promoted folks will be paying into their pensions for many, many years.

    372. len raphael

      I started to read your post, nodded my head slightly in agreement as went on, and then stopped and reread these two sentences:

      ” We HAVE gotten raises over the years, but there was never a quid pro quo, either explicit or implied. This was a negotiated item”

      That’s exactly the point. Wasn’t the 13% contribution negotiated as a package including all compensation and work rule related changes?

      Unlike the employees, the city doesn’t care that much how it splits up the total cash outlay for your compensation package between wages and pension. It cares about total amount and the timing of when it has to come up with the cash,(and maybe some social security or medicare tax if applicable.)

      So the relative allocation between pension contribution, cash wages, other benefits, work rules that affect cost is irrelevant as a way to compare the city’s cost of ofd compensation vs cop compensation.

      -len raphael

    373. Dax

      Otownlivin, Sorry but even with your finding that focus on the sergeants instead of the originally mentioned regular officers, you are still wrong.
      See what you said.
      Otownlivin says:
      July 23, 2010 at 8:37 pm

      I answered what YOU wrote. YOU again are incorrect.

      YOU wrote this :

      “Typical officer, not Sgt or above, retiring to 27 years of a $95,000 pension. That after 30 years.”

      Note that you said NOT Sgt or above. SO pray tell who is incorrect or do you want to just admit your mistakes?

      Stop changing your numbers. It makes all your other points that much more irrelevant.

      So we use your non-Sgt and we look at your use of the base salary as only being $90,000 arriving at a 30 year pension of only $81,000.

      You are still way off base. Did you even bother to go to the Tribune Data Bank and see what a typical 30 year officer (not a sergeant) is earning.
      The more senior of those are still earning well over $100,000 base pay upon which their pension is based.

      Example….Looking at OPD officers from numbers 226 through 275. Of those 50 officers of all ranks, we find 35 regular officers.
      Now, you need to understand the ranking is done on total pay, not base pay.
      Many officers, including newer officer are ranked up their based on OT and “other” pay.

      However if we only look at base pay for those 50 personal, we find 35 regular officers (not sergeant or above).
      Of that 35, those with the most seniority etc. will receive the greater base pay.

      Looking at the top 15 of those 35 regular officers we find the average base pay is $105,160.
      Calculating a 30 year 90% pension on that base pay, we end up with a annual pension of $94,650 per year.

      Almost exactly in line with the $95,000 figure I used and far in excess of your absurd $81,000 figure.

      Remembering here, we are only talking about a typical officer with more seniority, not sergeants, and higher officers.

      As I stated previously, many if not most guys with 30 years are going to end up even higher than that as they become a sergeant or more ending up with a pension of $103,000 or above.

      OK… so I was correct after all, and only chose the sergeants only data by mistake.

      Thus it now appears that my original statement was indeed correct.

      Actually in my answer to you I was wondering why I had low-balled the data for the sergeants to only $95,000 pension annually.

      Clearly my original post, the one you disputed, was indeed right on the money with regard to a police officer’s pension after 30 years.

      Now, Otownliving, do you care to respond?

      Do you still insist on suggesting that a typical officer (not sergeant or above) is retiring after 30 years with only a $81,000 pension?

      Have you bothered to look at the real facts in the data bank?

    374. Dax


      Now to address a couple more of your truly foolish accusations regarding my posts.

      Lets examine two more of your misrepresentations of what you called my mistakes.

      Look at your #6 point.
      6) “Third, they have no 90% limit on their pension.”

      This is incorrect. No employee can collect more than 90% of their pension.

      I don’t know whether you can’t read, or don’t read, or just chose to take my statement totally out of context.

      Lets let others judge what I really wrote about pensions of “over 90%”.
      July 5, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      From Mike– “I agree with you for the most part – except police and fire. I think those who put their lives on the line to serve and protect should be treated a bit better than city janitors, officer workers, and librarians. ”

      I agree to this extent. When regular employees were brought up to 2.7% in one giant leap (from 2.0%), they became to close to police and fire.

      First of all, they aren’t doing equally dangerous work.
      Second, they can normally easily work at their jobs well past 55 or 60 with no real difficulty.
      Third, they have no 90% limit on their pension.

      Clearly my reference to pensions of over 90% pertained to “regular” Oakland city workers who indeed can get pensions of over 90%, even over 100%..

      Perhaps that is just one more point about Oakland pensions that you are completely unaware of.

      So tell me, Otownliving, did you make that distortion deliberately or was it just a mistake?

      Now as to your point #5 trying to prove I was mistaken
      5) “I do realize you get NO medical from age 55 to 65.”

      If you realized this many posts ago, why are you continuing to question it?

      Once again, why do you distort what I have said by using it “out of context”?
      Are you just trying to mislead people or don’t you read well?

      The following quote comes from a conversation I was having with Mike, a member of the OPD, and we were talking about OPD ONLY….

      Regarding that I said the following

      ““I do realize you get NO medical from age 55 to 65.”

      Which is a completely true statement according to what he told us.

      You are trying to compare that statement about the OPD contract with what I have stated about the OFD contract’s medical provisions.

      Do you even read the entire posts from which you grab these quotes of mine?
      Do you understand the difference between a OPD contract and a OFD contract?

      They are different you see.

      Or are you just trying to distort and mislead the people reading here?

      I really wish you would tell us which it is.

      I was correct about the OFD contract according to Zac who is a current member and I was correct about the OPD contract according to Mike who is a current officer.

      Why don’t you spend a little more time and attempt to get your facts correct before you go spouting off about what you think are incorrect posts of others.

      Clearly you are wrong on almost every count.

      So much for your knowledge about this subject matter.

      I repeat, have you even spent any time examining the Oakland Tribune data base to understand what true base salaries are?

      And please learn the differences between OFD, OPD, and regular city employees as it relates to pensions and medical benefits.

    375. Otownlivin

      Dax – I am not going to engage in this any more. You clearly have your mind made up already, and no matter what anyone has to say, you are apparently not open to discussion.

      It has already been established that the numbers the Oakland Tribune uses are not true base salary numbers but added to benefits as well.

      Zac – The Retired Captain I spoke to retired under the “old system” according to him, if that makes any difference with the medical payments.

    376. Dax


      No, no, you can’t just say something like that and walk away without substantiating it.

      “It has already been established that the numbers the Oakland Tribune uses are not true base salary numbers but added to benefits as well.”

      Tell me the source of that.
      Tell me where it has been established that the Tribune numbers listed as “base” are including benefits as well.

      I have not heard anyone say that.
      Cite your source.

      I have quite easily shown how you have taken my quotes out of context, out of long prior posts, and tried to portray them as being inaccurate when the reality is they were completely accurate in the context and in the specific examples I used them in.

      That is about like this past weeks “out of context” use of Shirley Sherrod’s remarks by Brietbart news service.
      Twisting her meaning by taking a out of context snippet.

      So, before you run off, please let the other readers here know what your source is for the following statement

      “It has already been established that the numbers the Oakland Tribune uses are not true base salary numbers but added to benefits as well.”

      Had that been discussed and proven here, I’m sure I and others would have taken notice of such.
      Either you substantiate that remark or we can assume it just follows your pattern of saying everyone’s figures are wrong except for those you choose to believe.

      I welcome your response, describing how the Oakland Tribune’s “base” salary data is incorrect and includes benefits as part of their “base”.

      OK….. Expecting your answer soon.
      I’m sure others also await your reply.

      If you are correct I will happily acknowledge it. Proof please. Source please.

    377. Ralph

      Am I the only one who finds it funny that Otownlivin was complain about using false and incomplete information and promptly decided to exclude that the retired Fire Captain retired under the old system. I don’t know, call me crazy, but that seems like an important piece of information.

    378. zac

      Yes, the 13% was part of a whole new contract, so it was negotiated along with many other things, including salary. But what I hear so often is that we got a raise over and above what we would have gotten because we agreed to that. The implication is that there was some sort of sweetheart deal to make it look like we were giving up 13% when actually we got a raise to keep our pay the same. You’re right that benefits are just pay by another name, and don’t make much difference to the city. But I’m objecting to the story line that we colluded with the city to make it look like we were taking a hit when really we were getting a secret raise some other way. That’s just not the case. Cops and firefighters make about the same in base pay, but our total is reduced by thirteen percent which feels like…earning 13 percent less.

      And as for the retired captain who retired under the old system, I don’t think it’s really worth getting into the weeds on the details of that system. It was a city-funded plan, not part of PERS, and only applied to people who retired more than 10 yrs or so ago. Their top pension rate was 66% but they get the same raises as currently employed members rather than the COLA that PERS gives. Basically–it’s an old system, no one, is currently retiring under it, and there’s not a lot about it that is going to change.

    379. Steve Lowe

      So how do we go about bringing the “civilianization” of OPD into being?

      This has been approved in principle by CC: merely replace the cops who’ve got desk jobs with civilian employes who can take calls and other clerical stuff at a far reduced pay rate than that of a sworn officer whose talents and training
      are needed for peacekeeping, patrolling, problemsolving, etc.

      No more OT earned, as at present, in basically clerical positions.

      And if we extend civilianization to some other functions, like having a presence at construction sites or big events where alcohol isn’t being served, then there’s even more savings. Why should we be paying hazard pay or OT for those things?

      Ostensibly, we can’t take even this simple, pragmatically cost-cutting step because it will cost too much to train the civilians to handle those functions, but betcha buttons in this economy that the trainees will be so happy to have any kind of a job that they’ll gladly take a break in pay during whatever time it takes to be in training so that the initial cost of bringing these eager applicants up to speed will be negligible.

      So if we’ve cut deeply into the OT budget enough via this civilian-based plan, it saves Oakland from having to reduce the number of actual feet on the street, as the OT budget for OPD is maybe as much as 10% of the overall City budget?!!

      Am I wrong to think that the real reason for not taking this action has more to do with OPOA’s reluctance to go along with any Department reform that hasn’t come from the Association’s top dogs? If not, what’s the real skinny here, and how do we get something on the ballot that the voters won’t reject out of hand because it has a parcel tax or some other assessment associated with it?

    380. Livegreen

      I think it’s important to remember what Zac is saying, and also that OPD & OFD did not do this unilaterally. The City Counsil agreed to this, & responsibility lies in great part at their feet. Furthermore it was recently pointed out to me that part of the reason they don’t pay as much as others into their pensions is they passed up on their salary increases when other Union members were getting them. (Dont know if this is true or not). The CC was happy to agree to this at the time, even at the beginning of the recession.

      However it is also OPOA’s fault that they did not emphasize these points & others in the beginning and instead of representing their own members, decided to frame their argument in terms of the Mayor’s race (which might b the reason IDLF used the 200 # which never was to begin with). The OPOA did not do their members any favors.

      Now the CC and OPOA are BOTH to blame for present circumstances AND for the mistrust they share. Questions:
      -Can they get past this mistrust, & still work to solve the budget crisis? If so, HOW?
      -If not, then what are we to do?

      Citizens of Oakland, we’ve got a real problem in river city if they’re not willing to talk to each other…

    381. Ralph

      Did anyone see the Chron article regarding the growing pension crisis. I love this California Professional Firefighters

      (SOME)Workers stepping up
      Carroll Wills, spokesman for California Professional Firefighters, said government workers understand the situation.

      “There are concessions being negotiated right and left,” he said. “Employees are stepping up to pay a larger percentage of their pension and health costs.”

      Firefighters get it. I am still waiting for the police. Apparently the Oakland scenario is playing out in other CA cities.

      I would think that they would be better off negotiating now than wait for Queen Meg to make wholesale changes to state plans. After that, it is only a matter of time before the trickle down happens.

    382. livegreen

      But, on this one issue, Queen Meg is right. One doesn’t have to be a conservative to know that Guaranteed Benefits are unsustainable. They were out of whack with our economic model from the beginning.

    383. Dax

      A few points about the recent Chronicle article on California pension problems (state and local)


      The article suggests that the really huge pensions are not the norm.
      Then it says something that is factually true, but very misleading.

      It says the average state CalPERS pension is only $24,000 per year.

      Most readers would say, gee whiz, that’s not so huge, more than my Soc. Security, but not that huge.

      What the article does not include with that fact, is that the retiree of that average pension worked only 20.1 years for the state to obtain that pension. (That according to CalPERS website)

      A typical person, even if they go to college, will then work from age 23 to the current 67 required for full Social Security. That is 44 years.

      Compare that to the state worker who is getting the $24,000 average with 20 years of service.
      Were they to work a similar 44 years, their pension would instead be about $53,500.
      In addition to that $53,500 they would also get, correct me if I am wrong, medical coverage for life.
      (I do not know if this includes their spouse, but from what I have read the worker gets medical for life)

      So compare those truer numbers with what CalPERS always puts out to the public.
      Not lies, but very misleading to the typical reader of such articles.

      NOW, of further interest, is the fact that Oakland pensions, for regular employees are MUCH more generous than the states.
      Couple that with the fact that Oakland’s base salaries are also much greater than the states.

      The Oakland worker also gets up to $425 per month for medical coverage in retirement. (I am not sure if the spouse is covered in retirement under that $425 or if there is a additional $425 or zero)

      All in all, Oakland’s rate per year worked is 2.7% while I believe most regular state workers are still at 2.0%.

      Think about this.

      That Oakland rate is 135% of the state’s.
      Couple that with a base salary of perhaps 120% of the states and you have a pension ending up at 162% of the state pension.

      Throw in a 37.5 hour work week compared to a 40 hour work week and you further increase the relative pension to about 172.8% of the state pension.

      Now, of the above data points, I can’t get, and I doubt we can find the true data on the relative salary for a given position between Oakland and a State worker, but I am guessing it is somewhere between 10% and 30% greater in Oakland. I just took 20% as my example.

      That $68,500 traffic painter in Oakland would then be a state traffic painter at about $57,000 per year.
      I’d have to check into that but I do believe similar state positions pay less than Oakland. Obviously there will be exceptions.

      That $68,500 Oakland traffic painter, if he works from age 23 to age 60 he retires with 100% pension for life (actually 99.9%).. and can collect that annual $68,500 until his expected death at age 82+
      22 years x ($68,500 + $5,000 medical) for a total payout in retirement of $1,617,000.

      Divide that figure by 37 years and you get $43,702 for each year worked.

      Couple that with the $68,500 salary and you end up with $112,200 dollar a year without even counting all the health, dental etc benefit given while working.
      you end up with the compensation of that traffic painter being well in excess of $120,000 per year.

      Working about 1,750 actual hours on-the-job hours each year, it is running about $68 per hour to keep that guy traffic painting.

      Ooops, getting carried away with numbers again.

      Round it off. That Oakland “traffic painter”, easily over $1.00 per minute in compensation.

      And you want to raise my parcel tax to make sure you can cover that?

      The entire Oakland public employee compensation system has blown up over the past 15 years. BLOWN UP!

      If you could suddenly create a brand new Oakland and open up the doors January 1st, 2011, you could hire a whole work force, fully capable, for 25% less total compensation. Easily.

    384. livegreen

      Dax, Please clarify something: what are the origins of the 37.5 hour work week? Like the furloughs, did this start as a way to reduce labor costs while avoiding both conflict with the Unions & reducing the costs for actual time worked?

      You might already have posted this, but either way, the dates & origins would be helpful to understand leadership & management of Oakland…

    385. livegreen

      BTW, It would be interesting to know, no matter it’s origins:

      Is the 37.5 hour work week factored in to wages & compensation when hiring City workers, or in Salary Surveys with other Bay Area cities (like San Francisco) that have a 40 hour work week?

      If not, it would mean that there is no longer any cost savings for a 37.5 hour work week.

    386. Livegreen

      Further to my comments above on top of Zack’s:
      If crime starts going back up (& it might already be) things will
      go from bad to worse. & the OPOA will be even less inclined to negotiate.

      Personally I think they should compromise on the no layoffs and move on to the other Unions. I’m getting increasingly frustrated with both sides and I know I’m not the only one.

    387. Naomi Schiff

      Weirdly, I don’t think any of this has much to do with the crime rate. The crime rate fluctuations seem pretty independent of the no. of police. The main thing about the crime rate is that it makes dramatic talking points, fearmongering, panic induction, and propaganda. For all sides. I think for the sake of discussion we ought to all stipulate that we all don’t like crime and hope the rate will go down, not up. I think a better discussion results if we just agree not to use it to make any arguments on any side. I have long noticed that any mayor during whose term crime goes down will take credit, no matter what was going on in the budget, the mayor’s office, or the police department. Generally there’s some national trend, and we follow that, albeit with our own unhappy tendency to be several points higher than comparable cities. But the fluctuations are pretty much in sync.

    388. livegreen

      Naomi, Show me the stats where that’s the case please.
      I agree that relying on recent events might be premature. But that doesn’t mean they’re not related.

      Interestingly the CCM who have recently been advocating cutting officers up until recently were touting in their newsletters about how crime was going down because of OPD hiring.

      OPD was grossly understaffed before the recent firings.

      I’m not fear mongering and I never have, so I don’t think the concerns I express should be set aside because of somebody else’s actions (I’m assuming you’re referring to OPOA tactics) that are beside the point. & I have stated that OPOA should compromise for the good of the City.

      But so should the City Counsel. There ought to be a compromise between the 1 & 3 years. & it’s time for other Unions to chip in.

    389. Dax

      Perhaps there ought NOT be a compromise between 1 and 3 years.
      If 1 year is the only choice that is fiscally sound, then don’t compromise with 2 years.

      This idea that we must be “reasonable…meaning compromise” is how Oakland and other cities got into trouble.
      Its time to stop such tactics.

      Take a look at what is happening to Oakland’s bus service labor negotiations.
      AC Transit

      Read this outrage regarding the size/percentage of benefits
      From the Contra Costa Times

      “The district has been paying its bus drivers an average base salary, before overtime that most receive, of about $53,400 a year, plus an additional $45,400 in benefits and pension contributions. That’s right, benefits were costing the district an additional 85 percent of salary, a ratio unheard of in the private sector and even on the high end for the public sector.”

      “At the same time, the district has raised fares and in August will implement the second service reduction this year. And the district remains on the hook to make up a $250 million shortfall in the employee pension plan, which is only funded to about 63 percent of the level it should be.”

      “In short, this is a bus system about to drive off a financial cliff.”

      “average base salary, before overtime that most receive, of about $53,400 a year, plus an additional $45,400 in benefits and pension contributions.”

      I would love to see the numbers for Oakland’s regular employees.
      I’ve always used 57% to 67% as Oakland’s average benefit/pension package, but it may be higher.
      In fact for lower salary employees it probably is higher.

      Is a $55,000 Oakland employee getting $45,000 in their benefit/pension package.

      Anyone know the numbers on that point?

      Perhaps Oakland and other local government agencies and cities are way beyond the point of compromise.
      Perhaps they are instead in survival mode.
      Compromise is what has led them to their current fiscal circumstances.

      Where was the compromise when Oakland raised its pensions retroactively from 2.0 to 2.7, a 35% leap?
      What, was the union demanding a 70% boost and the CC compromised at only 35%?

      Where was compromise when Oakland lowered the work week from 40 to 37.5 hours?
      Was the alternative a 35 hour week?

      Clearly on those two issues, there was no compromise by the unions.
      The CC caved.

    390. livegreen

      Dax, I agree with you in principal. I’m saying Officers should not be the only ones to pay as the CC is asking them to do now, & that cuts can resume in 1 1/2-2 years if that’s what they were to compromise on.

      A good portion of the City are anti-police & this City Counsel often acts this way. As I’ve heard it, that is part of the very problem they are having to get the OPOA to meet them.

      The CC should consider beginning negotiations NOW with the other unions.

      I am very concerned about crime and both increased loss of lives & increase in burglaries (which are increasing right now in middle class areas) & more middle class families leaving Oakland, only exasperating the tax base .

      Although at this point maybe the transfer taxes will help the city so, ironically, temporarily improve Oakland’s budget crisis.

      Finally, as you’ve pointed out, the CC had it’s hands all through this cookie jar of employee benefits, for ALL the Unions. Not all the blame belongs on the Police Officers. It also lies on this CC. IDLF might be trying to flip back the switch politically, but since he isn’t doing it in reality on all the Unions he & the others aren’t making up for the damage they’ve done.

      Telling us repeatedly how bad our Police Officers & their benefits alone does not change -or forgive- this fact.

    391. Naomi Schiff

      I love the phrase: exasperating the tax base!

      I don’t think that the city council is anti-police. After all, they negotiated that sweet deal in the first place. I do think that on the state and national level, cities and public safety unions are facing a tough situation and a rude reality that will force changes all over. Oakland is not unique in this respect.

    392. Dax

      Public safety unions, police in particular, are willing to have this “anti-police” theme played.

      Suggesting that city councils who strive for sensible fiscal responsibility are somehow anti-police or don’t appreciate what police do, or don’t care about public safety.

      This is a very destructive approach the police officer associations are taking in order to force greater pay or in order to forestall any cuts.

      The simple truth is that the portion of city budgets that is now going to pay the compensation of police and fire is far greater today than it was 12 and 20 and 30 years ago.

      The real compensation of safety workers, adjusted for inflation, is far greater today than it was in prior decades.

      What went to excess in affluent times is now too expensive. Cities were living in a unreal world when the current levels of police and fire compensation were enacted.
      The cities, the city councils, were drunk with revenues and the police associations allowed the drunks to keep pouring out the benefits, the pensions, and the salaries.
      Surely some of their leaders knew the day would come when these levels of compensation would no longer be sustainable.

      Now is that day.

      True fairness would be for all safety employees to share in the reductions.
      Instead the tactic being used is for the last hired to be thrown overboard by their own membership rather than having any normalization come to their compensation. Then blaming the city councils for the layoffs and lower public safety.

      You have a certain level of revenues.
      You either lower overall compensation or you lower staffing.
      You do one or the other to make the math work.

      Or you give the general public a pay cut, via a parcel tax, sales tax, or fees.
      In effect in order to not cut safety employees you cut the income of the public, a group which has far less income than the safety employees.

      You tax citizens whose average income is under $50,000 per year to keep in place safety employees whose average income is over $100,000 per year.

      Yeah, that sounds fair.

    393. Dax

      LG, Oh, you shouldn’t take it as such a direct difference with your position.

      In fact, after I had posted it, I thought I should have included what I have posted here several times. Namely, that I believe the “regular” Oakland city employees have even greater over-compensation in several areas.

      Many of them in salary relative to the market, and even more, especially with regard to their outrageous pension plan.
      The plan, foolishly boosted in 2004, which IDLF now says must be rolled back for all future hires.
      What he is saying is that the current 2.7% is fully unsustainable and what he is not saying is the 2004 decision was a huge mistake. Especially since it was made retroactive.

      Now, taken as a whole, are the “regular” Oakland employee compensation packages more out of line than the Oakland police compensation packages? I’d have to think about which group is more out of step with reality and fairness.

      Tough bargaining with either group is not tantamount to suggesting either group is bad. Tough bargaining should not allow one group to suggest they are being singled out.

      Simply put, the city of Oakland has been a very poor negotiator over the past 12 years and beyond.
      But just because they blundered all those years, doesn’t mean the resulting compensation packages are a legitimate reflection of true market value.
      Reductions from excessive compensation packages are not really cuts.
      They are a return to what is proper.

      People are too reluctant to say police compensation is higher than it should be.
      Also, they seldom know what the compensation package is for regular employees. Talk to neighbors and ask them what the regular city employee pension plan is. Not 1 person in 50 will know any of the details.

      Even here, its hard to discover precisely what the medical is.

    394. len raphael

      Naomi, majority of Oakland city council has been anti police for many years. They negotiated lavish compensation in return for closing police academy and letting attrition reduce the size of the force at the same time they knew cops were getting moved out of crime investigative units into Internal Affairs.

      Until Pat M challenged JB in 2008, she was against hiring more cops. And then after she had her first challenger in years, she allowed as how more cops were ok if a parcel tax was passed.

      JQ I believe has made some quotable statements that wb funny if you had never been a victim of crime here. Was she the one who said “We can’t arrest our way out of crime” about the time of the takeovers?

      Someone has to explain to the cops how RK was trying to protect them at the Grant riots.

      D Brooks has made her position clear.

      Nancy, has the perhaps undeserved reputation as someone who has given sanctuary to suspects cops were looking for. Oakland urban cop myth, or reality, as a proponent of the predecisor to Measure Y, the one that gave all the money to ngos and maybe something to ofd, before it went down at the polls, NN certainly can’t be accused of being even neutral on cops.

    395. V Smoothe

      Actually, the much mocked quote about how “We can’t arrest our way out of the problem” did not come from any Councilmember. It came from the Police Department.

      I find the suggestion that the City Council as a whole is “anti-police” totally ludicrous.

    396. Ralph

      If only we could be as organized as our friends in San Diego. Today Council plans to vote on some revenue raising measures (TAXES). We need to stop them on the sales and parcel tax.

      Back in the day we had a councilmember who stated for the record he would campaign against Double O. More recently, I have heard he would do the same for a parcel tax. I will believe it when I see it.

      Down San Diego way, council walks the talk; Councilmembers Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer and a wide coalition of taxpayer advocacy groups to protest the money grab. Concerned business owners and citizens will step forward to voice their opposition to a proposed sales tax increase in the City of San Diego prior to a discussion at the San Diego City Council meeting on Monday afternoon, July 26 at 1 p.m. Speakers will call for the City to address pension reform, managed competition and spending cuts before asking taxpayers for any more of their hard-earned money.

      We need to make our voices heard today at 4 at City Hall.

    397. Naomi Schiff

      Well, Len, I don’t agree with the above description. It may come of my own experience with police, which has been mixed, including asking them to step in in cases where they were really wonderful, and includes seeing innocent friends seriously maltreated. Police are people and some of them are much better at what they do, and at being fair, than others. If you happen to suffer at the hands of those others you will have a different experience than if you have benefited from the activities of the better ones. The systems in place should help to even things out, but have not always done so, to say the least. City councilmembers present and past have had to navigate the territory between rampant crime and unfair enforcement. It isn’t easy. Some of their actions have been unsuccessful, but we shouldn’t oversimplify and just condemn them, I don’t believe. As solid middle-class citizens I think they all see the need for a competent police department and in their various districts often have worked with police on enforcement issues.

    398. Robert

      Dax: “The simple truth is that the portion of city budgets that is now going to pay the compensation of police and fire is far greater today than it was 12 and 20 and 30 years ago.”

      That is actually incorrect. The percentage of the total city budget going to police was higher in the 60s and 70s than it is now, and has dropped back to about 20% recently. Yes, it has consumed more of the general fund, but that is more a reflection of the restricted funds making up an increasing portion of the budget over the years and not due to dramitic increases in police funding compared to total city spending.

      Even if you look at only the general fund, the police fraction has only gone from 38% to 44% from 1980 to 2007. Hardly a dramatic increase.

    399. len raphael

      v, why do you find it “totally ridiculous”? I find it totally ridiculous that most of the cc consider cops to be an unnecessary evil, but you are saying that it’s totally ridiculous for me to say that most of cc holds that opinion.

      that’s because you’re don’t know 60′s lefties like i do.

      but it’s mostly because of their behavior. no way in heck the cc should have approved so many settlements re opd over the years without demanding Russo either fight them using inhouse counsel or downsize and hire agressive outside counsel.

      For Russo to justify his frequent and high dollar settlements by the high litigation risks, ignores the devasting effect his rolling over has on cop morale. Sure, if you’re the founder of Pueblo, you believe there should be more complaints and higher settlements.

      Any cc that allowed it’s police staffing to drop as low as it did during the boom years, while boosting “anti violence” ngo funding shows where it’s priorities lay.

      Fundamentally the same as Dellums.

      And no, i’m not channeling mike here.

    400. We Fight Blight

      If we can’t arrest our way out of crime can we tax ourselves out of a budget crisis? Seems to be the approach of City Council.

      Not sure why there doesn’t seem to be much, if any, traction at City Hall or by the demanding electorate to focus on bloated non-police and fire employee salaries and pensions. Yes the we have to reign those in too. But the initial cuts and givebacks for non-police and fire were not enough. Police were made the scapegoats because the City Council knew that residents would never pass a parcel tax to maintain someone’s bloated salary in public works. But because of concerns about crime, just maybe, just maybe the unwitting electorate would vote for a parcel tax and other revenue generating measures to save police.

      Sooner or later bloated salaries will have to take a hit. When an Assistant Public Works Director, who is responsible for trees and sidewalks, makes $165,000 only $10,000 less than the Governor of California and the same as the Director of Caltrans, who has responsibility for billions upon billions in highway improvements throughout the entire state, you know something is out of whack.

    401. Naomi Schiff

      Len, if you checked out the particulars on some of those cases I think you would admit that Oakland’s finest don’t invariably do us proud. I personally know about at least one police abuse case where it was a very good thing the city settled because the lawsuit would certainly have been more expensive, and likely not won. Maybe you know all the details–I am not an admirer of the city atty office–but there really have been serious discipline problems and rights abuses over the years. I don’t think all cops are bad. I don’t think all lawsuits are justified. But your assumptions are a bit over the top.

    402. livegreen

      I’m disappointed PK voted for the Property Taxes tonight. She’s made some responsible leadership quality announcements recently about negotiating with the OPOA.

      Considering we know the taxes won’t pass, IDLF & RK are showing themselves to be the most responsible & realistic.

      On the other hand parts of Pat’s areas are getting hit pretty bad so, between that & the elections, maybe she feels she has no other choice.

    403. Anita

      It looks like we will have opportunity to restore the laid off officers. The city council voted to put the Measure Y fix and the $360 per year parcel tax on the ballot.

      The Police officers will get what they wanted in the first place, 3 years without layoffs in return for phasing in paying their 9 percent retirement contribution and new officers will be in the 3% @ 55 retirement. (BUT THEY WILL ONLY GIVE THESE CONCESSIONS IF THE CITIZENS PASS THE PARCEL TAX!!)

      Will this parcel tax really solve the budget problem??

      As I see it, the structural deficit will eat up the 55 million a year and more especially with the no layoff guarantee for the police.

      We have several big ticket items coming up in the next couple of years, the underfunding of the retirement systems and the unfunded retiree medical payments.

      Will the city propose another parcel tax next year to balance the budget, or with both the police and fire department having a no layoff guarantee, will we close down the rest of the city?

    404. Ralph

      There is no way I am voting for this parcel tax. OPOA is phasing in the 9% contribution it is not immediate and in the meantime, council wants to extract blood from my stone. It is not going to happen and I will be on the street corner with IDLF telling voters just how much they have been bamboozled.

      OPOA and Council must think I am some kind of idiot. There is not one PD within spitting distance of Oakland where the officers don’t contribute at least 9%. Furthermore none of them are hiring. And even after adjusting for the COL there is not one place in the country which pays better than the bay, not to mention no one is hiring officers something about being unable to afford them in this budget crunch. If you honestly think I am going to give up $360 so these guys get the pleasure of phasing in their 9% contribution over time, then you have been spending too much time in Hampsterdam.


    405. livegreen

      Now there’s a good Baltimore boy & Wire fan.

      Re. my comments above about Pat, I guess I wouldn’t have been surprised if I’d read her newsletter: http://www.patkernighan.com/

      Prey, City Council, do tell what your back-up plan is when the new Parcel Taxes don’t pass? Blame the voters?

      Yeah, that’s what you’re gonna say. But what are you going to DO?

    406. Dax


      “Even if you look at only the general fund, the police fraction has only gone from 38% to 44% from 1980 to 2007. Hardly a dramatic increase.”

      If we accept those percentages as accurate, that would be a 16% increase in their share of the general fund spending.

      If you think that is “hardly dramatic” then you have caught the disease that affects growth in government spending.

      Even 16% is a huge change.

      If a relative proportion of that was salary then it would mean, in real terms that the police were getting 16% more in compensation now, than in the past.
      (in real inflation adjusted terms)

      However if city expenditures were also growing during that time, relative to inflation, then it might very well have a multiplying effect.

      In other words, if your portion of the pie grew by 16% and the pie also grew by 16% (inflation adjusted), then it would be possible that the true, inflation adjusted compensation might have grown by 34.5% and would indeed be very substantial.

      That is how city councils and even the public can be led to believe that a increase from 38% to 44% is “hardly dramatic”.

      Or that a increase in the city workers pensions from 2.0% to 2.7% is not significant.
      The reality is that it is a 35% increase and if coupled with salaries going up perhaps 15% (inflation adjusted) then you just had pensions going up 55%.
      That is about what has happened in Oakland. And We’re not even talking about the work week for general employees being cut to 37.5 hours.

      I won’t go on, but I do believe that the typical police compensation has grown far faster than inflation over the past 20 years.

      Oakland police and fire workers are today several steps up the economic ladder compared to where they were decades ago. Relative to the rest of society.

      That might be OK if we weren’t asking those lower on the ladder to now boost their taxes (lower their income)..to keep those above them free from the impacts of the difficult fiscal times.

    407. len raphael

      Was the 50% passthru to rent controlled tennant of the proposed parcel tax, the price Pat K extracted for her support of the tax? Or the trade for dropping a utility tax?

    408. Ralph

      When the parcel tax fails, council can also lay some of the blame on JB. Before I realized that OPOA would phase in the 9%, I liked that PK acknowledge that the voters were frustrated, 2 years was too short, and 5 years removed any pressure for the city to act with deliberate speed. 3 years was just right (I preferred the unadjusted 3, d*** DL, but I could have made do.) But there is no way on God’s green earth that I am going to give them 4 years. It removes any sense of urgency.

    409. livegreen

      Len, My guess is her decision is based on the fact that part of Pat K’s district has been hit with a lot of burglaries recently and she’s feeling the pressure, probably from residents who can afford the additional taxes.

      This is but another reason why the CC should have taken all unions on at the same time as the OPOA. & it should be an amount that actually SOLVES the challenges over the next several years.

      Focussing on Public Safety, & even inside of that cutting only OPD but not the NGOs, makes it look like a) You’re picking on Officers, b) If crime increases you lose the battle.

      Well, crime IS showing signs of increasing. Investigators ARE being pulled from investigations (to respond to 911 calls), meaning investigations of robberies & burglaries are low to non-exisistant.

      & as recently as last year CC members have been pointing to how crime has been decreasing since their hiring of new Officers. It’s simply very difficult to argue (Naomi’s point) that cops don’t affect crime when they just finished arguing the contrary.

      The CC has worked THEMSELVES into a political corner that is going to be very tough to get out of. Especially when they are arguing only with the OPOA & the OPOA is willing to risk newer Officers getting fired, wait for the consequences, and get a very diluted compromise.

      This is very tough negotiating.

      The question is: What happens when the taxes don’t pass and the situation is worse? What will the City Council actually DO? (If they focus just on Police, the same thing will play out again).

    410. Naomi Schiff

      My guess is they are praying the economy gets better quick and saves us all. Well I pray that too, but it would be wise to have a contingency plan for if taxes don’t pass and economy doesn’t improve fast. I don’t find myself as angry as some of you, perhaps because if I were on the council I am not sure what I would do. IDLF and RK haven’t really put forward workable plans either. Interesting piece in the paper this morning about the proposal to protect local govt from state takeaways, and how cities and counties don’t agree on it.


    411. Ralph

      It is clear from last night’s council meeting that no one is expecting a quick (3-4 yr) improvement in the economy.

      I think what annoys me the most are people who just want to pay the tax to get the police but don’t care if the police don’t come back with a reasonable offer to contribute like 9% now.

      LG, OFD has given. From the state to the local I think there leadership gets it. It is OPOA and some other PDs that do not get it. You can get something from the other unions but it will not be significant. I am not sure what the NGOs have to do with this, unless you mean that the city should suspend Kids First.

    412. Livegreen

      I mean the Measure Y (M-Y) NGOs. The C Council (CC)plan has been to dispand M-Y community police officers (PSOs & CRTs) but not suspend or reduce the budget of the M-Y street outreach & other NGO’s.

      This fits with the Leftist politics of the CC. It also creates more animosity with the OPOA right as they’re going into negotiations with them.

    413. Dax

      From the SF Chronicle article…

      “Council members believe uniformly that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to pass. Some argued that it would alleviate pressure on the budget, begin structural change in city employee salaries and democratize the decision.”

      “begin structural change in city employee salaries”

      What? How? “Begin—change”?

      We are being asked to give $1,440 dollars for 4 years.

      Four years in which they can kick the can down the road, with only hope and a prayer that anything will be different in 2014. Then in 2014 the argument will be about “if we CUT the tax, we’ll have to fire cops”…

      This tax is nothing more than a transfer payment from residents, most of whom make less than $50,000 per year, to city employees, who in this case, mostly make in excess of $100,000 per year.

      A transfer of $1,440 so that ~gradually~ police officers will begin to make the same pension contribution everyone else is expected to make.

      Yank that $360 per year away from the 2014-2015 budget and you’re gonna have a built in $50,000,000 hole.

      Kicking the can down the street.
      What structural change in city salaries?

      It is gonna be very easy for voters to just vote NO on all the measures, even if voting yes on Measure Y might be of value.
      I’m guessing they’ll all go down and the OPOA & City Council will have just bought themselves another round of layoffs.

      Talking to them, all parties don’t think there any chance these measures will pass.
      So why are the city council and the OPOA leadership agreeing to this.
      In each case, to appear to be trying to solve the problem.

      Usually when you look at organizations and leaders, the first imperative is the continuation of the leader’s positions first, the organization’s survival second.

      Seems everyone here is trying to make it look like they’ve done something.
      Later they can wash their hands of the decision, saying the voters have spoken.
      They, having given the voters only one poor choice.

    414. Laid Off Cop

      After being a silent observer I have decided to chime in for a response. There is a lot of erroneous information being spread on this forum. How have we get to this point? I assume like anything inlife, all it takes is one person with a “fish” tale and as it gets passed down the line, people who want to believe in something repeat that tale over and over, albeit adding their own litle twist to it and at the end it resembles a monstrosity. Let me address some obvious falsehoods.

      STEVE LOWE’S comment for example:
      :So how do we go about bringing the “civilianization” of OPD into being?

      This has been approved in principle by CC: merely replace the cops who’ve got desk jobs with civilian employes who can take calls and other clerical stuff at a far reduced pay rate than that of a sworn officer whose talents and training
      are needed for peacekeeping, patrolling, problemsolving, etc.

      No more OT earned, as at present, in basically clerical positions.”

      Blatanly false. We already have over 300 civilians in desk jobs and extremely few officers at desk jobs. Overtime is very limited. It is only given when absolutely needed such as when a detective is working a murder, or if there is no one left to patrol an area of Oakland because we are so short of personnel as examples.

      Steve Lowe further questions why “we pay overtime” at construction sites. But the reality is that you don’t pay overtime at construction sites. The construction companies pay the officer’s overtime wages so the citizens and city of Oakland pay absolutely zero for having an officer work at a construction site. (The reason we are there is to insure people driver by slowly to prevent workers from being killed).

      Some posters like to mention other police dept pay scales: Baltimore and NYPD for example. However, those are taken out of context. Baltimore’s cost of living is much cheaper and New York’s cost of living in 4 out of the 5 boroughs is also much cheaper. Additionaly, New York has twice he officers per capita as Oakland and is one of the safest city’s in the US. As mentioned, NYPD’s pay jumps dramatically. One of our officers has 2 relatives who work in NYPD as his statement to me is that their benefits are way better than ours. Nassau county NY get 108K a year top step.

      What is my point here? The point is that to argue an issue, ANY issue, you have to look at something fairly and objectively. Simply bringing up statistics and quotes without looking at the WHOLE picture does nothing to validate your argument.

      Likewise, when trying to valiate your point about officer’s wages, by quoting the annual income of a highly ranked police officer whose pay is already above the average cop and who also works a lot of overtime and is one of only a HANDFUL of the nearly 800 officers and trying to say “see here look how much these cops make” is a form of false advertising. Every industry, public and private will have those few employees, who work themselves to death, and will stand out as top earners. That doesn’t mean they represent the norm, the average, the majority. To use them as examples to justify your position on our wages is the type of lies I expect from politicians. Either that or you are a vicitim yourself of the hysteria. Take a step back and THINK folks.

      I am (was) a step 2 police officer. I made 75K a year. Decent money. Not outstanding. I took a massive pay cut to become a police officer because it’s what I wanted to do. I bought a home just prior to joining OPD. Last year I lost my expected $300 a month raise and other monies that ended up totaling approx 1k a month. I expected that money because prior to joining the police dept, the contract with the city stated that was what we were getting. I planned my life around it. However, in order to prevent lay offs I gave up what amounted to 10% of my income.

      Now the city wants more. Fine, I (we) will give up more. We all understand that in hard economical times, sometimes hard adjustments have to be made. I look forward to the future when time are better and losses can be made up for ALL of America. I expected a reasonable agreement with the CC of no lay offs in exchange for giving back. 1 year is not reasonable. I don’t want to be back at the table again next year being threatened yet again. For Pete’s sake, we lose 50 officers a year from attrition. that is 150 cops in 3 years. Why the CC cannot be reasonable is beyone all of us.

      NAOMI, I assure you, the CC absoluetely has something aganst the Oakland Police. We don’t know what it is. It seems to be ego driven. We even offered MORE than the 9% and they still said “no”. There is some issue there with them that is unexplainable.

      Those of you who think the OPOA has thrown us younger guys out are again wrong. Any agreement the OPOA makes with the CC has to be approved by the Officers in the dept – voted on. I certainly would not agree to 9% for 1 simple year and I was on the chopping block. We all stand by the OPOA as united.

      Another falsehood is that there “are no jobs out there”. Wrong agin. Within only the first 2 weeks I know of approx 10 of the laid off officers who have been offered jobs in other police departments and I as well have a department interested in me. There are plenty of depts hiring. Salinas needs 10 officers, SFSU PD 7 officers, Napa 5 officers, and off the top of my head I can think of 12 depts looking for approx 2 each. That comes to about what 50 job opeings in the bay area and surrounding communities? And those depts are specifically giving preference to laid off Oakland cops.

      I know many people have given up their income and many have given up more then maybe I have. I’m fortunate enough to have a union fight for me. Many of you don’t. NO ONE want to give up their income. Whether they make 50K or 500K a year we ALL become accustomed to our home and our standard of living. It’snot about “you have more to give so you should give up more”. That doesn’t fly in the REAL world. 20% is 20%. If any one of you who have lost so much had a union I absolutely GUARANTEE you that YOU would be doing the same exact thing as any other union employee – you would be fighting for your wages and benefits.

      The CC are masters at lies and deception. The have used propaganda to inflience you. They were calling the OPOA off the hook to try and get the parcel tax on the ballot and then they turned around and tried to say it was the OPOA pushing the parcel tax – liars! Absolute liars. This parcel tax was the CC’s idea.

      It doesn’t sound like it will pass but as you defiantly pound your chest and say you won’t vote for it, remember this, you’re the ones who really suffer. – the citizens. When it’s time to rehire thos officers where will they be?? They will likely all be working for other depts and how many will want to even come back? How much MORE money is Oakland going to have to invest to train a bunch of new officers?

      It’s only temporary. The economy WILL get better. This isn’t the great depression.

    415. livegreen

      LOCO, I agree with you that:
      –This is the CC’s doing & that they have something against OPD, otherwise they would have spread the damage around.
      –They’ve put a lot of blame on you all, although I will note that the OPOA contributed to this in part (& PO’d a lot of citizens) by doing the Robo calls instead of concentrating on the issues.
      –About your corrections to Steve Lowe’s points;
      –About the cost of living in Baltimore;
      –About salaries & benefits in NYC after a few years (though you leave out the opening salaries AND I disagree with you about the cost of living in other burrows);

      But I will disagree with you on the taxes. You say it will get better and so we should pay more now while it’s bad. But we HAVE paid. We’ve paid and we’ve paid and we’ve paid during good times. & now during bad times the CC & OPOA want us to…Pay Again.

      & when the good times return again, what do you think they will ask us to do again?

      There has to be balance. & here I will agree with Dax. It is part of a union message that we as private citizens should accept everything because we would fight if only we had a union defending us. This is simply “triangulation” and a non-issue since…we don’t!

      Our income has fallen significantly more than what is proposed for you. & many are barely hanging on to our houses and many others have already lost theirs. & many others are simply moving out of Oakland.

      & yet you want those of US who’ve lost the most, and earn less than you, to pay more.

      I can see this coming a mile away. After the measures are defeated both the OPOA & CC are going to say the voters don’t care & the budget problem is the voters fault. (Apparently it’s simply too hard for them to acknowledge the realities on the ground or adjust their MO from good times to bad). It’s like they WANT to take away the wrong message.

      LOCO, I will part with one final note of both agreement and disagreement: Yes, the CC IS the master of deception. & so is the OPOA. Especially it’s own membership.

      Some of us DO care about Officers & that the burden should be shared. We just don’t have the money to be the ones sharing most of the burden.

    416. David

      It’s not about “you have more to give so you should give up more”. That doesn’t fly in the REAL world.
      >(Laid off cop)

      Really? Interesting. Then why as I make more money do I pay a higher percentage in income taxes? I welcome your conversion to the flat tax gospel; we all need more adherents, but I question if you really meant what you wrote.

      It doesn’t sound like it will pass but as you defiantly pound your chest and say you won’t vote for it, remember this, you’re the ones who really suffer. – the citizens

      And us citizens don’t suffer when we can’t afford higher taxes and have to move or cut back even more? As I posted on another thread, I have $19.53 the end of this month. So where do I get the $30 to pay the incremental property taxes?

      It’s only temporary. The economy WILL get better. This isn’t the great depression.
      And that’s what they said in 1930. Whoops. Famous last words. Mark mine, the stock market will be flat for another 5 years or so (giving us 17 years of no return going back to 1998), the R.E. market will be flat for another 5-7 years (the last downturn, remember that–1991-1997–came off a smaller bubble and had flat prices for 7 years), tax revenues will be flat for about the same time (obviously), and there won’t be any money for increased pension contributions or salary raises.

    417. Dax

      Laid off cop,

      You made many reasonable points.

      I have a question about one point you made.

      You said you made 75K a year.

      When I go to the Oakland Tribune data bank, I have a very difficult time finding officers who make 75K or less.

      I go very deep into the lists of the OPD and when I look at those members from #751 through #875
      (mostly officers but some other OPD staff) I find only about 6 officers below 80K. Three of those are in the 79K range and the other three are 77k, 74.5k and 71.5k.

      Now those figures do not include their overtime or “other” pay.

      I have to assume a couple of those at the 71K and 74K may not have worked a full year for one reason or another.

      If I look at a typical salary in the group from #751 to #775, I find just one at $79,948 who with OT and “other” ends up making $91,071.

      All the rest between #751 and #775 have their regular salary listed at from 81K to 87K……and that is before adding on any OT or “other”.

      So after searching I am having trouble with the 75K you mention you received.

      Clearly that is not impossible but reviewing the records in the Tribune it seems a rare officer is earning that level.

      Now, there may be something else at play here, or with the Tribune data base, but if you or someone else might explain what that may be.

      I have only the public records to go upon.


    418. Ralph

      This is real simple contribute 9% today and the parcel tax passes. None of this phase in over time stuff. Man up and pay the 9. Alternatively, take a 30% cut and join SFSU PD.

      As to the NY/Balto compare, at least as I have stated those numbers are only a starting point from which reasonable people should be able to calculate a reasonable base for OPD. (LG and LOC, I would not go so far as to say that 4 out of the 5 burroughs are much cheaper. When I researched and posted on this a few weeks ago, I noted that the Oakland and NY4 were about even. Manhattan is the outlier.)

      Pay the 9% immediately and you probably get the parcel tax. I simply refuse to pay generous benefits while people around me are losing jobs and houses. Where do you expect them to find the extra money. (Problem with council their compromise solutions never seem to include the non-union voters of Oakland.)

      The genius of unions – we aren’t going to contribute 9% without anything less than a 3 year guarantee on jobs so some of you will need to take a 100% paycut. Others may get picked up in other depts so your paycut will only be 30%. Good luck.

      Is 9% really worth all of that?

    419. Laid Off Cop

      I have no idea where they get those calculations from. Step 2 is paid at $39.30 an hour which is $6,287.44 a month x 12 equals just over 75K a year. That’s all I make. Some people may make a little more if they have a college degree etc. Ovetime is so sparse that when it is offered it’s like a rush of vultures trying to sign up for it.

      I do get some overtime for court – usually traffic court. But there is a big trade off. I enjoy my time off and hate driving through commute traffic across the bridge at 8 AM to spend time in traffic court most of the time. By the time I am done, half my day is over. I think I should be paid OT for having to come in on my day/s off – seems fair.

      Top step (step 6) is $47.16 an hour $7,545.79 a month. There are other pay incentives for officers with more than 10 years on, night differential if you have a certain minimum amount of years on, etc. (I don’t remember what they all are).

      SFSU PD is somewhat of an anomaly on the pay scale. Most depts do in fact pay much higher than they do. And even if I DID only get that SFSU PD job, I’d rather work there for 30% less and know my job was SECURE then work give 9% back to Oakland and not know if I would be laid off 1 year later. But I probably have a job secured in a suburban dept making almost as much as I did in Oakland and for 1/8 the amount of work so don’t be too gleeful. =)

      So, the 9% will be paid as a condition of securing jobs – not for free. We have agreed to give it – just want a fair trade off. Why give something to prevent getting screwed and get screwed over anyway? What we ask for in return isn’t unreasonable. Especially with the high attrition rate expected of 150 or more officers in that 3 year period.

      You seem to have missed my other point – it’s not about the “genius of unions” – remember, the union can’t make decisions without the membership approval. WE as members need to vote “yes” or “no” and no member, not even I would vote “yes” and give 9% for only a one year guarantee. So instead of wimping out and voting yes and taking their one year promise, we all stuck by our guns and told the union to not give in and be firm with what we wanted. If anyone has “manned up” as you call it, WE certainly have because it takes guts to throw your job on the line for what you believe is fair instead of caving in to pressure.

      I’m not here to get into an endless debate with people here. I hear the same arguments repeated like an endless broken record. Some of you are reasonable, some of you are not. Len is probably the most reasonable person on this forum. I can imagine myself sitting down and having a discussion with him. Others here are just fanatical in their opinions and absolutley not open to dialogue and seeing any other opinion other than their own. What man on the earth knows everything??

      Remember, the old saying about two sides and the truth lying somewhere in the middle? Some of you have forgotten that. You are so extremist in your view and not open to anyone els’s that you have closed your mind off to anything else. It doesn’t help that your angry about your own personal losses and transferring that anger to the line officers on the street who have done nothing to you but go to work and serve you. You gotta blame someone right?

      Yes I do believe the economy will get better like every economy has. And the housing market will improve, and thus, the tax base will improve from the housing market, bringing this whole country out of the current hole it is in.

      But if your opinion is that we have another Great Depression coming like a few of you do, then why are you even participating on this forum at all? Because nothing any of us do will save anything in the long run. We are all doomed.

    420. livegreen

      I should think the details on the steps are fairly easy to confirm through either the City website or the salary survey that V had posted before. For the sake of discussion I’m willing to accept your figures right now.

      However repeating an argument that Officers continue to ignore is not the same as being extremist: taxpayers have suffered greatly in this recession, losing income, jobs & houses.

      I agree with meeting in the middle, and have argued for compromise. But it is city employees as represented by their Unions (I realize not all individuals) that appear not willing to do so.

      Ignoring compromise and putting it off until after the elections is irresponsible, both because it increases the damage and it increases the impact. On both taxpayers AND city employees.

      You can call these facts & this suffering “extremist” if you want, and if it helps you dismiss taxpayers concerns. I appreciate the hard work OPD Officers do, but I don’t appreciate voices such as yours that take us for granted. Any more than you appreciate the CC taking you for granted.

    421. Ralph

      I don’t want to get into an endless debate either. I don’t know why I continue on this particular thread because I am now at the point I only read about half (possibly 3/4s) of what people write. This lack of wrap is difficult on my eyes.

      A couple years ago, I was convinced that the only way to save us all was to let it all collapse. Now, I am of the mindset that if people make sensible decisions we can get through this crap.

      I am a little annoyed by officers who think that the voters are angry. What I don’t think OPOA and CC understands is you can not get blood from a stone. Council should be making every effort to expand the pie. You can continue to absorb bigger slices of the same pie – it just doesn’t work.

      The union wants a 3 year guarantee but you are looking at the same future as everyone else. What happens when the city can not keep this deal? I agree that the city should not come back to the unions and taxpayers every year to solve their problems. Make the tough choices and move on.

      Chances are at a 9% immediate contribution and a temporary parcel tax, you buy yourself immediate security.

      I hate the idea of a parcel tax and will not vote for it with a 9% phase in but I can reluctantly pull the trigger if OPOA gives 9% immediately. I’ve made this point to council. Hopefully, the people at OPOA can figure out that the people do have a point where we can reluctantly agree.

    422. John B

      LOC: I am truly sorry for the City/OPD layoffs, and that you have been most directly affected. I feel strongly that the loss of young and trained-up officers in this city will prove most damaging in the short and mid term.
      That said, this budget problem is structural, and is not so much about surface base pay issues, to OPD or others.
      The city’s 37% or so CALPERS contribution rate is likely going to have to increase substantially. Thus, the need for OPD to start paying their 9%. Sooner rather than later.
      Throwing in the active and retired medical insurance liabilities (allegedly quite underfunded)…this equals unsustainable, even with a return to more normal market returns.

      And with all that being said, I still understand the OPOA’s position on the guaranteed no-layoff provision. I just think that they cannot convince the taxpaying public in Oakland to support their position during these times.
      And just a slight correction, I think that your base pay at the hourly rate you quoted was more like $81K a year or so.
      Good luck, and thank you for your service to the city.

    423. MarleenLee

      Keep in mind that with the proposed revision to Measure Y and with the new parcel tax proposal, there is no provision that a SINGLE cop will be rehired, nor is there any provision for additional police academies, nor is there any guarantee that there will not be additional layoffs. Basically, you are just donating $450 annually to the bloated salaries and pensions of public employees, and doing NADA for public safety. Don’t buy the threats and lies and distortions being told by the council and others. Read the measures. Seriously. $450 for NOTHING.

    424. len raphael

      John B, the post retirement medical benefit obligation is not “allegedly quite underfunded”. In the footnotes to the city’s financial statements and in every official reference to the obligations by the city, the benefits are UNFUNDED, ie. “pay as we go” off the finacial cliff.

      -len raphael

    425. Dax

      Regarding the salary paid to individual OPD officers.

      I see the hourly rate mentioned, but I have to believe that almost all officers are operating and collecting what was said to be the following.
      “There are other pay incentives for officers with more than 10 years on, night differential if you have a certain minimum amount of years on, etc. (I don’t remember what they all are).”
      It would seem most officers are collecting many of those incentives.
      As such I think it is misleading to think that the top step for a regular officer is only $90,550 (not sergeant or above)

      I’ve looked at ONLY the base salary, not including the overtime or “other” pay.

      When I look at cross sections of officers I find typical base salaries far higher than $90,550

      Looking at OPD staff #226 thru #250 we find 15 regular officers, (not higher rank)
      Their average base salary is $102,362 and their average total pay is $136,000
      Not including benefits or pension.

      Looking far lower on the list of regular officers we see #476 thru #500 of which 24 of 25 are regular officers (not higher rank)

      In this group of 24 we find a average base salary of $97,881 and their average total pay is $113,000

      So I think it is important when talking about OPD pay for regular officers, (not including sergeants and above), to not be viewing them as between $75,000 and $90,000.

      The samples I took indicate typical officers are earning far more than that.

      Laid off cop – says he doesn’t know where that data comes from, but I am sure what we are seeing is the actual data the city gave to the newspaper.
      Certainly no one is making up thousands of salaries.

      So when we discuss this, I think it is inappropriate to look at the hourly Step rate unless we know the prevalence of the multitude of “pay incentives” that it would seem most officers are enjoying as part of their regular pay.

      And I’m not even talking about the overtime.

      Having accurate facts is extremely important when giving the true picture to the public.

      No one should object when we put forth the actual facts.

      Too often we are dealing with the exceptions rather than the norm.

      OK…. I suggest others look at the data and do some math to show a picture you feel is valid.

    426. Anita

      Here are the monthly and annual salary for an 80 hour police officer right from the City salary ordinance. http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/fwawebsite/personnel/PDF/SalaryOrd.pdf This is the base pay without shift pay, education pay, holiday pay or overtime.
      Monthly — Annual
      Step 1 6485.67 — 77828.04
      Step 2 6811.30 — 81735.60
      Step 3 7072.11 — 84865.32
      Step 4 7305.78 — 87669.36
      Step 5 7566.61 — 90799.32
      Step 6 8174.55 — 98094.60

      and here is the salary for an 84 hour officer

      Step 1 6809.96 — 81719.52
      Step 2 7151.86 — 85822.32
      Step 3 7425.72 — 89108.64
      Step 4 7671.08 — 92052.96
      Step 5 7944.82 — 95337.84
      Step 6 8583.28 – 102999.36

    427. David

      Another Great Depression coming? It’s already started. For heaven’s sake, the fewest houses were built this past month since the government started counting in 1963. Guess what the unemployment rate was in 1931, 2 years after the stock market crash (like we’re 2 years after Lehman Bros etc)? 10%. Hmm. We’re also screwing up just like FDR did back then. Europe recovered way before we did in the 30′s, and Europe is looking better and better because they haven’t pissed away a borrowed trillion dollars trying to sustain a broken cost structure.

      In any case, I bet at least one or two of your relatives lived through the first one. The point is that we’re not doomed, but public sector cost structures that put these public workers in the top 10% of income levels will not, and cannot be sustained. Period. The economy will not come back until that is realized. The private sector can’t support it, and the shackles the public sector continues to put on the productive economic sector will guarantee no recovery. Enjoy looking for a new job, hope you get one. You won’t, however, escape this depression unless you move to another country. Canada’s looking good. Chile…Germany. See ya.

    428. Dave C.


      If you’re on a Windows computer, comments wrap appropriately in Firefox. Not sure what’s causing the spillover problem in Internet Explorer or Google Chrome.

    429. About to be LOC

      I have been following the threads and just wanted to say to be careful with the numbers. I work for OPD and checked my name in the data base. I can say with certainty the numbers are wrong (by more than $10,000) and I would have loved to have made what it said. I also checked it with other people I know and again wrong.

      As I read these posts it is obvious you guys are no dummies and are scouring for information. I would caution you on using newspaper information as it is often wrong. Papers facilitate two things entertainment and making money.

      The numbers you read are a result of case decisions on public records act requests. Meaning the city is compelled to provide it. It doesn’t mean that its accurate or that the city care if it’s accurate.

      Please remember OT does not count towards PERS and OPD has virtually no OT available unless absolutely necessary and it needs to be approved by a Capt. Any other OT is either privately funded or mandatory as a result of position i.e. call out investigators.

      Please keep in mind that the measure Y “fix” will lay off 27 officers in addition to the 107 already gone.

    430. Ralph

      Dave C,
      It is a mystery to me. It is only this thread where I have the wrap issue.

      About to be LOC or anyone,
      Is the the info in the paper based on the city fiscal or calendar year? Also does it include the city paid ‘ee portion of the pension and other city paid benefits such as for uniforms? I personally only reference the step scale because it can’t be distorted.

      Nothing is gained by the city supplying false information for these public record request and I don’t think anything is to be gained by implying that the city provides false information because they do not care.

      It would probably help if someone included the footnote that explains the data.

    431. Dax

      About to be LOC,

      I’m sorry, but you’ll have to do better than that to have us throw out the data numbers published.

      You can’t just say the following..

      “The numbers you read are a result of case decisions on public records act requests. Meaning the city is compelled to provide it. It doesn’t mean that its accurate or that the city care if it’s accurate. ”

      You need to give us much more precise information than that to have us disregard the data base and go along with your single observation.

      I find it odd that Mike who has posted here so many times never mentioned that his base salary figures were wrong.

      And you have not said exactly which part of your published figures are wrong.

      BTW, we are NOT talking about the Overtime figures nor the “other” pay.
      We are talking about what is listed under “base” salary.

      We know that OT is not counted towards your CalPERS pension.

      However salary enhancements are from my understanding. Education, shift provisions, yrs of service, etc, are included in the final years salary used for pensions.

      None of the posters here who say they are OPD officers have included the details about the base salary enhancements, including those for education, shifts, weekends, etc.
      I don’t know all the items that boost salary and LOC said he wasn’t aware of all of them or the percentage increases they bring about.

      I just don’t believe that the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle have pulled these figures out of a hat, nor that the many cities have foisted false information on the media.

      All we have is you saying yours is off by $10,000 and not telling us WHAT is off by $10,000

      You have not provided clear information about precisely WHAT is off.

      IF you could do that, then we could check with the Oakland Tribune and they could check with the OPD and clear up the matter.

      As it now stands, all we have is your post saying such.
      For now, I’ll stick with the vast data base.
      I have NOT seen anyone from any city nor any agency (BART, GG Bridge, etc) nor any district who has disputed the numbers.

      Why would the OPD numbers be the ONLY ones that employees say are inaccurate?

      Please supply something more than what you have done in your post.

      Also please tell us about what the prior post from LOC said
      ““There are other pay incentives for officers with more than 10 years on, night differential if you have a certain minimum amount of years on, etc. (I don’t remember what they all are).””

    432. len raphael

      I’ve come to appreciate Lindheim . He’s intelligent, lives in Berkeley so he’s affected by his decisions, and has no obvious political debts other than to salvage Dellums’ legacy from complete failure.

      He doesn’t bs the way our cc members do. Wish he had the guts to have told the residents 3 years ago what was clear to him then also, that we’re broke and getting broker.


    433. livegreen

      Len, Maybe it’s not that he didn’t have the guts. Maybe it’s that he either didn’t know or didn’t care to say it. Maybe it would have made Dellums look bad, but now that it’s out of the bag he’s not afraid to do it.

      BTW, some of his proposals earlier on to deal with the budget problems appear to be nothing more than rubber stamps on proposals by staff. Instead of working on underlying costs, they’ve been moving the General Fund debt over to special funds and onto Redevelopment. (Or maybe he’s been fully engaged in these “solutions”, it’s true I don’t know the interplay behind the scenes).

      The point is he & staff have been just as culpable in ignoring the City’s structural problems. & as Marleen found out, he has even participated in the smoke & mirrors, by removing public access to the Salary Survey as requested by one of the Unions.

      These are but two examples. I’m not at all convinced that he’s significantly better than our City Council members, or the Mayor he defends.

    434. About to be LOC


      That’s fine you can stick with your database. My BASE pay was off more than $12,000 and my total comp pay was off by more than $17,000. Why does no one dispute these claims because no one cares about what the paper prints anymore. Having been there at the scene of many of the reported incidents and meetings the paper gets the facts wrong most of the time.

      I don’t expect you to throw away your reasoning on my account, but your numbers are faulty. The paper doesn’t even account for the accuracy of what they are reporting. They city doesn’t care because they are not going to waste their time making sure the numbers are correct for a newspaper.

    435. Dax

      About to be LOC,

      I’ve got to tell you, I’m getting very tired of posters who say they are OPD employees coming here and telling everyone we don’t have our facts straight when we rely on the published data.

      We operate with what we can get.
      Up until recently the city and the OPOA were placing roadblocks against allowing any financial or compensation information from being released.

      Then it gets released and you come here and tell us its ALL distorted and inaccurate.

      IF this data, that has been posted for months is so wrong, then why hasn’t your union, the OPOA come forth and disputed the accuracy of the entire data base?

      Instead, you come here and tell us that Tribune reporters don’t get the details wrong most of the time when covering police incidents, so we must then conclude that the Tribune data base must be wrong.

      I fully reject that reasoning.
      The Tribune was given the data from the city. If you want to blame anyone for any data inaccuracy, then start with the city.

      I am 100% certain that if the data base was full of distortions, that the Oakland Police Officers Association would have made that charge publicly.

      We, the citizens are relying on that data.
      IF you feel there are many discrepancies in the information then your president,
      Dom Arotzarena should hold a press conference or issue a press release or write a opinion piece in the paper.

      He certainly has been in the news constantly over the past few months.
      He could easily have addressed this problem if indeed it was factual.

      Thus I am tired of anecdotal complaints from posters who say they are police officers and come here declaring the entire data base to be totally inaccurate.

      I ask you, what should a wise citizen do?
      Should we rely on something that is fairly official or instead conclude that a unverified poster is correct?

      If I was you, I’d be on the phone to your OPOA leadership.
      They, more than anyone would want to discredit a over-inflated data bank, IF.. only if it were actually the case.

      I leave it up to you to get them motivated.

      They spent $40,000 on mailers trying to scare us a few weeks ago.
      So they are willing to spend $40,000 in order to influence the public, but can’t spend a few minutes getting a inaccurate data base corrected?

      Does that make any sense to you?
      Should it make any sense to us?

      You are telling us that your previously reported $75,000 base income is actually shown in the data as about $87,000 and that none of that $12,000 is due to shift differential, or education, or length of service, or any of the other many salary enhancing items.

      That is a huge difference. A difference that I’m certain the OPOA could want to correct so that citizens would get a true picture.

      Are you going to call the OPOA or should I call them with your charges, so they can get the Tribune to correct the problem?

      Let me know.

    436. len raphael

      Lack of transparency for city financial info is staggering. Don’t know how we can fix that via charter measures or ballot propositions, but something has to be done.

    437. About to be LOC

      Sorry to burst you bubble but its all base pay. I don’t receive any of those little perks you speak of. Actually many of those who have been laid off and will be laid off are in the same boat.

      The OPOA resisted the disclosure of our salaries for the same reason you don’t post your salary here or tell your friends what you make. It’s private. We lost that battle so be it.

      We can go back and forth about the worth of trying to correct every incorrect news report that’s printed and whether the news agencies would even do so. The OPOA have given interview after interview but only tid bits of what is said is ever diseminated. I don’t know what to tell you. Trying to fix these things is like beating your head against the wall. So we post here. You may not like it, I get that so do with the information as you want.

    438. Anita

      Laid off cop says he makes $39.30 per hour. For an 40 hour per week employee, there are 2080 work hours per year. That would make his annual salary $81744.00 and his monthly salary $6812.00 and the city’s salary ordinance says he makes 6811.30 per month.

      The figures he gave would amount to 160 hours in a month. But there are 173.33 work hours in a month.

      If he was paid less than that, he should contact the city and get his missing pay.

      That is the kind of misrepresentation that can make the citizens think twice about approving any property tax increase.

    439. Laid Off Cop

      Anita relax and take a chill pill would you?

      My hourly income and monthly income are exactly what I told you. I’m looking at my pay stub right now. I multiplied my gross monthly by 12 and simply forgot that 2 of the months had a 3rd paycheck so that makes the 6K difference from 75K to 81K a year. Goodness we know if it’s published on INSIDE BAY AREA it must be true lol!!

      And I know both “Mike” and “About to be LOC.” Neither Mike nor I check the Tribune published pay sclaes however I can tell you that as About to be LOC has stated, many of their stories are filled with inaccuricies. I’ve witnessed this countless times regarding crimes Ive been involved with.

      Dax you need to fund a new hobby besides posting on the forum here. You’re too angry. It’s not good for your health. You seem like a bitter person. I hope you don’t drive immediately after posting!

      And David I want to thank you for your well wishes on my new job search. It’s nice to see citizens such as yourself actually support your police officers. I’ll be fine though don’t worry. If you’d like I’ll keep you updated.

      Have a GREAT day!!

    440. len raphael

      Dax, email me a list of various compensation info we’ve been having to back into and guestimate. Nothing confidential about the benefits and pay scales etc. and silly we have to beg for the info.

      -len raphael

    441. Ralph

      why do we pay city employees every two weeks? What happened to twice a month?

      couldn’t we pick up some additional interest and it would certainly make it be easier for ‘ees to calculate their annual pay. :)

    442. zac

      Reading this discussion I found it hard to believe that LOC would be lying about his total compensation. And since I’d never looked at what the paper says about me, I thought I’d go online and check it against my YTD totals on my final paycheck. Here’s the deal: The Inside Bay Area site overstated my Fire Dept pay by about $9,000.

      And because I found the insinuations against LOC so unpleasant, I’m going to make an offer. I’m willing to meet one of you for coffee this Saturday morning, show you my pay stub, and then let you report back to the listserv that the online listing has the potential for a 5-figure error. I don’t know whose fault this misinformation is, but I know that we need to move away from these nasty, super-charged accusations against a guy who is just trying to get the facts out.

      Any takers? Email me off the list at zdunger@yahoo.com

    443. Naomi Schiff

      Folks, this detailed review of payscales doesn’t really serve the purpose of figuring out a way past a budgetary jam. The police make pretty fine salaries, more than many of the citizens who will have to pay the property tax bills soon. Whether it is 7000 or 10000 less or more doesn’t make much difference to the larger point. It is possible for two groups (or more) to oppose each other from legitimate points of view without necessarily demonizing each other. Each group has a valid stance. The problem we have is that no arrangement has been worked out which will resolve the money shortage, so far. No matter what the police say, many won’t vote for higher taxes. No matter what the citizens say the police union is not going to okay huge cuts. We have to be much more creative, flexible, and not waste energy on arguments about who is more deserving or righteous. Everyone’s right, on their own terms, but there is not enough money.

    444. Ralph

      I agree and disagree.

      I agree arguing over the pennies in the check is pointless especially when I think that both side don’t have a complete grasp on what is being reported.

      But on the other hand, I think there is a solution that all but Ms. Sacks may be able to support but our agents refuse to put forth. OPOA contributes 9% immediately and the voters will reluctantly cough up some ducats.

      Correct me if I am wrong but the only ones who will really feel the impact of this 9% are officers nearing retirement whose pension eligible salary will take a hit. Giving up the 9% won’t change the officers take home pay.

      Zac, I want my coffee and bagel.

    445. JB


      You have it exactly backwards. If OPD begins paying the 9% Employer-Paid Member Contribution (EPMC), officers about to retire will receive the same retirement as before (because their base pay and roll-ups will stay the same). However, all officers will see less take-home pay. Not 9% less because the money is pre-tax, but less (exactly how much less will depend on their federal tax bracket).

    446. len raphael

      Btw, asked Sanjiv H tonight what status was on CC members and Mayor paying 0 pension contributions.

      They are still paying 0 and no moves to change that. While the CC members could voluntarily pay in their 8 or 9% employee portion, to make it mandatory would take a charter amendment (if i got that correct).

      -len raphael

    447. livegreen

      All details aside, I have to agree with Naomi. Since the tax measure will fail, & the impasse will resume, the details of how a compromise will work have to get rearranged.

      Come November 3rd, what do we do? I suggest an across the board even cut for all salaries & benefits for all Oakland employees.

      This helps a) establish an easily calculable formula, b) avoid history of past Union negotiations which brought us to the present, c) impossible chaos, d) the City Council can blame ACTION (instead of INaction) on the voters.

    448. livegreen

      To Len’s comments, this for a part-time City Council. I support this Charter Amendment.

    449. zac


      I’m not trying to be confrontational, but I do feel the need to point out that many of the city’s unions are currently under contract. The city council can’t simply impose an across the board pay/benefit cut any more than they can impose a property tax increase without a popular vote.

    450. Anita

      I think the CC needs to set the example for the rest of the city employees. They should not get any benefits that the rank and file employees don’t get.

      For example, if it is true that they don’t pay the 8 percent retirement contribution, they shouldn’t be asking the employees to pay their employee contribution. They give themselves pay raises, justifying them saying the charter requires it, while city employees go years without a COLA.

      Maybe it is time for a charter amendment to limit compensation of the elected officials.

      Even though in the big picture it is a small amount, they are the leaders and should set the example. Every penny helps.

    451. zac

      I agree that it doesn’t really matter if the published pay scale is off by ten grand or so. What does matter, and very much, is the ease with which people call each other liars. It’s fine to disagree with the the public safety unions, and it’s fine for them to disagree with people on this board. But I wish we could all just agree up front that everybody wants this city to be solvent and successful going forward. If the goal is for the unions to work in concert with concerned citizens, then this sort of divisive rhetoric is exactly the wrong way to reach a difficult consensus. I only made my offer because I hoped it would curtail some of the breathlessly snide comments directed at LOC. I have no idea who he is, but I’m sure he worked hard for the citizens of Oakland and I don’t see any benefit in calling him a liar just to put the cherry on top of his pink slip sundae.

    452. livegreen

      Zac, Layoffs for the Unions that don’t agree to contribute. & remember that constituents will remember their lack of cooperation when their contract does open up.

      Barring that, what this is pointing to is what Dax or someone else pointed to earlier: no right to strike (like for the OPOA), or no municipal unions.

      BTW, until our recent experience this is not something I would have advocated for. It’s just that when the economy is improving it seems Unions want everything the private sector has and more. But when the economy goes down, unions don’t want to contribute one little penny.

      Now this is not the experience I grew up witnessing, and it is not the experience I’ve seen with private sector unions, who seem to be willing to contribute & help their companies survive. Instead the public sector unions appear to have the attitude that citizens should pay more whether the economy is good or bad.

      If Unions believe in partnership then they must contribute. If they don’t believe in partnership, then why should we believe in them?

    453. len raphael

      Zac, ask your fellow union leaders to get the city to provide full transparent, easy access to accurate compensation info, including retirement benefits for all employees and officials.

      you can’t blame residents for making mistakes when they’re forced to ferret out the info from error ridden ANG database.

      if residents are going to get angry at you, it might as well be based on accurate data.

    454. Ralph

      Okay, reading back through what I wrote, I can see where a misunderstanding can occur. I was tired and opted to omit the very thing which you wrote about because I thought it was obvious and had already been hashed for the record. Specifically, by officers “taking a hit” I used only the officers nearing retirement because their salary would decline by the 9% EPMC as they are coming to retirement. I assumed everyone understood that everyone would feel the hit but the nearing retirement would feel it harder – now and again when they retire in the next few years. Officers who are 17 years away from retirement will “make it up” over time as they receive raises.

      And by “nearing retirement” I was referring to someone not less than 3 yrs and probably more than 4 and closer to 5 years down the road.

      You use the phrase “about to retirement.” Are you referring to someone 3 – 5 days, 3 – 5 months, i.e. some period subtantially shorter than the 3 years I using.

      Next ?, is it the 9% EPMC which becomes part of the base used to calculate pensionable salary? From what you wrote it sounds like the city offers the ‘ees a tax gross up (i.e. compensation to pay the tax on the 9% EPMC, which I assume it a taxable benefit).

    455. Ralph

      Correct me if I am wrong but the auto unions tried their best to bring down the auto industy by asking for benefits that simply were not sustainable and added significantly more dollars to the cost of the American auto versus their foreign competitor. I don’t know if the American automanufacturers started making substandard cars to keep them cost competitive or they just made crappy cars.

      But I agree at least one union does not appear to be interested in a partnership.

      Coffee / bagels – tomorrow also works for me.

    456. David

      The main difference with private-sector unions is that they confront managers with fiduciary duties to their companies, and therefore push back on unreasonable demands (although with GM etc, management clearly didn’t push back hard enough). Public managers don’t feel the same pressure or duty–hey, if giving everyone raises & more lavish pensions gets me the votes and backing of the OPD and OFD, then great! This is why public sector unions are a bad idea, period.

      The question confronting us and other municipalities, states, and the feds is, do we work for the government or does the government work for us? If the latter, public cost structures need to be reduced. If the former, well, America as originally conceived is dead.

    457. JB


      There is base salary, plus roll-ups. CalPERS calculates retirement based on these. Then there is the EPMC, which for Public Safety employees is 9%. Currently the City pays this. The City Council wants OPOA members to take over this payment. If they do, the City will continue to make the payment (EPMC stands for “Employer-Paid Member Contribution” after all). If the Ballot Measure passes, OPOA members will pay the City which will pay CalPERS. The payment will be deducted pre-tax. Because it is not a reduction in base-line pay, it does not affect retirement at all. And because it is pre-tax, it is less than a 9% hit for OPOA members. I’m not sure I can make it any more simple than that. This information comes straight from the CalPERS web site explanation of how to break down cities’ contribution to their employees’ retirement.

    458. Ralph

      Thanks but that doesn’t quite answer my question. I am probably asking the wrong way. Do you have a link to the CalPERS information?

      I was led to believe that the 9% is both a taxable benefit and CalPERS calculates retirement based on a formula that includes base salary plus the 9%. So if the base salary is $100K and the city pays the 9% then CalPERS will calculate the retirement based on $109,000. If the EE pays the 9% then CalPERS will calculate the retirement on the $100K. This is I what I meant by taking a hit. Now this may be what you meant by rollups but I don’t have the magic key card.

    459. John B

      I think that Ralph is right about the current agreement with PERS and the 9%.

      The city’s 9% EPMC contributon counts toward an OPD retiree’s final compensation computation, on top of base pay and in addition to other eligible incentive/premium/rollups or “Pers-able” compensation.

      I have no idea whether this amount would change if the Officers started paying the 9% themselves.

    460. Anita

      Not to take the side of the OPOA, but the city paying the employee PERS contribution came about because the OPOA gave up part or all of their raises for several years and instead had the city pay their PERS contribution. By paying their own PERS contribution, the employees are taking an actual 9 percent cut in pay.

      Unlike a 401k where employee paid contributions are tax deferred, employee paid PERS contributions are fully taxed when they are earned. They are tax deferred when the employer pays them for the employee.

      The issue of the city paying their PERS or the employee paying it is irrelevant. It is part of their total pay no matter who pays it. So by making the employee pay their PERS contribution and not giving them an offsetting pay increase, they are taking a real cut in pay in that amount. It just looks like they are getting something extra when the employer pays it.

    461. livegreen

      Getting back to the CC’s proposal to solve the budget problem, their previous proposal was either 80 Officers would be cut OR they would have to contribute 9% of their PERS (EPMC or whatever).

      Then come November more Officers would be cut, 122 if none of the Measures passed, 27 if only M-Y fix passed, and 80 returned to service if both measures pass.

      The latest compromise (as I understand) calls for phasing in the Officers’ 9% contribution & no additional layoffs if all the measures pass.

      Can somebody explain to me how that is different from the CC’s original proposal? (I mean besides phasing it in). What hidden details have changed, or has nothing changed except their language?

      They already said if both measures pass all Officers would return to service.

    462. JB


      You’re right. The CC has maintained the same position throughout. The difference is that the CC was suddenly faced with the prospect of NO $360 ballot measure (because they know it will go down in flames, and De La Fuente was campaigning aggressively against it). Lindheim reminded them that they would then, by their own logic, have to lay off 122-150 officers immediately. Delaying this self-imposed necessity until after the November election was preferable, especially to our procrastinating CC. Come November, after the failure of all the tax measures, all bets are off, and it seems that OPD will be downsized considerably with no immediate political ramifications for the reelected incumbents. Only Quan will lose her seat and she voted for the Parcel Tax because otherwise she’d be running for Mayor as the CC member who just laid off over 200 police officers.

      John B,

      Just as is currently the case with OFD’s EPMC, the anticipated OPD payment of their EPMC would have absolutely no impact on their retirement. This is finessed by the City’s continuing to pay the EPMC while OFD and OPD members essentially reimburse the City for its payment.

    463. Laid Off Cop

      Just to clear up a few things:

      I was told by a veteran officer at OPD that the 9% contribution that the city made towards the pension counted as income in the final tally when figuring pension payments.
      Thus, if your pay was 100K a year and the city paid 9%, your pension percentage was based on 109K a year so that officers paying into their pension took a loss on both ends. An immediate loss from their paycheck deducted as a contribution and also after you retire you lose that 9% added to your base pay. I don’t have any documentation – this was told to me word of mouth. I also assume pension payouts are taxed, and thus contributions would be taken out pre-taxed, otherwised you would be paying double taxes. (But I’m too young to collect so someone may please correct me if I am wrong).

      Also, I believe that if the parcel tax passes, it alone fixes the 51 mill deficit so it prevents layoffs and everyone is hired back regardless of whether Measure Y passes or not.

      BTW I saw a recent news story where they interviewed several people on the street about whether they would vote to pass the parcel tax and surprisingly, 90% of the citizens interviewed stated that they would indeed vote yes to pass the parcel tax. It looks like there is a distinct possibility that the citizens do in fact believe in its police dept and OPD may be back up to its prior staffing level at the end of the year.

    464. Naomi Schiff

      Indeed, you are correct that the people on this site may not represent a cross-section of the citizens. The fact that there apparently will also be a school tax measure on the ballot means that people are being asked for quite a bit of money, though, endangering both measures.

    465. John B

      LOC: Thanks for the clarification, as that was what I was told on the 9% also. Still no confirmation as to whether this would influence final compensation, but I assume that it would have to reduce it by the 9%.

    466. Dax

      Regarding the employee’s contribution that is paid by the employer, there is a law going through the state legislature that affects this aspect of whether such payment applies to the final years pay, when calculating the pension.

      This is in AB1987 by Assemblywoman Ma of SF.
      The bill has gone through several revisions

      You can look up AB 1987


      Here is the next to the last one that affects that particular issue.

      Under section 31461 (C) the following would be included as part of the “final year’s pay”
      (C) Employer “pick up” of member contributions that meets the
      requirements of Section 414(h)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.
      the subsequent revised version of the bill reads as follows
      (C) Member
      contributions that meet the
      requirements of Section 414(h)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.

      Now, this bill has not passed the state senate yet. Then it would have to be signed by the governor.

      The bill has many other provisions that claim to end pension abuse, but many of which don’t do anything of the sort.

      In answer to the question before us now, my understanding is that the final version of the bill as amended is what we have in place now.

      In other words, the word leaked out that this “so-called” reform bill would have allowed the “employer paid” portion to be counted on top of the employee’s regular salary.

      For example $100k + $9K = $109K for pension calculations.

      However the newspapers raised a stink and the most recent version does not allow the $9K to be counted for the pension.
      My understanding is that this continues what is currently law.

      Thus, today, I don’t think the city’s payment of the $9k is counted towards the pension calculation.

      I believe today, that only the $100K would be counted.
      A note, I am only referring to this aspect of the law.

      There are still a boat load of other items that can sometimes, in some pensions, be counted…in some cities.
      I’m not saying Oakland does any or all of these…

      “items such as bilingual premium pay, uniform maintenance allowance, educational incentive pay, pay in lieu of annual leave accrual, holiday pay, motorcycle bonus for cops, field training officer bonus and longevity incentive. ”

      Read the Daniel Borenstein columns for more on this. (he is not talking specifically about Oakland, in fact more about Contra Costa County)


      and a prior article…


      I would be interested if anyone who really knows, would indicate different than what is above.

      I would be surprised if Oakland’s paying of the member’s 9% contribution causes the member’s pension to be 9% higher.

      Lets see what people report.

    467. Dax

      OK, I have the final correct answer as it relates to Oakland police officers final years pay used to calculate their pensions.

      In Oakland, the 9% employee contribution that is paid by the city IS indeed added to their salary.

      Thus, if a officer salary and other items counted as salary, were $100K, then the 9% would be added onto that to calculate the pension

      $109,000 x 90% = $98,100

      $8,100 more each year compared to if the 9% was not counted.

      A thought occurred to me.
      Some of the discrepancy officers have reported here regarding the Tribune/Chronicle data base, might be accounted for IF that extra $9,000 is included in the reported figures.

      However there was also a FF who reported his numbers in the Tribune were also over stated and being a fireman, the city is not paying his employee portion of the pension.

      One last point. I’m wonder if that new bill going through the state legislature would eliminate the ability of PERS or the City to count the 9% towards the pension calculation.

      I am uncertain if it disallows such a practice.

      I find it odd that Oakland presently includes the 9% as part of the pension calculation because other jurisdictions apparently do not.

      Again I refer to the Borenstein article about the earlier version of AB 1987

      The legislation would add to the list of permissible spiking techniques. For example, public agencies typically pay not only the employer’s share of payments into the pension plan, they also pay part or all of the employee’s share. Under AB 1987, that latter amount would be counted as income when computing the employee’s pension.

      For Contra Costa County employees, the effect would be to immediately boost pensions for new retirees by as much as 4.4 percent. Future retirees of the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District would enjoy a pension spike of 6.5 percent. And at the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, the bill would instantly sweeten pensions by an average 6.7 percent.

      The way he writes that indicates that those agencies currently do NOT count the employer paying of the employee’s share as part of their pension calculation.

      Now, as I said, the final version of the bill, made after Borenstein wrote the above passage, eliminates the requirement that the 9% would be counted as part of the pension calculation.

      However since Oakland is counting is now, it would seem that it is not outlawed if a city chooses to do so.

      Apparently other cities and counties do not include it.
      I don’t know why Oakland does or if they would be precluded from continuing that, should this new legislation pass and become law.

      To repeat, Oakland currently does indeed include the 9% as part of the final years pay.
      So the 100K police salary becomes 109K.

      That is actually a somewhat hidden boost to the salary/compensation.
      Bringing in, depending on the officer, an extra $7,000 to $10,000 a year in pension.

      Very interesting.

      It also does indeed make a change in the 9% more of a impact.

      Currently while the 9% is paid, I don’t think any of it is taxable.
      And if the employee pays the 9% he still pays the same income tax on his salary.

      So he would indeed not only lose the 9% he would now have to contribute, but would get a lower pension which for many officers, especially those later in their career would be a much bigger impact.

      A 25 year officer who just made sergeant would have his final few years of being sergeant being counted at about $110,000 in stead of $120,000 for the purposes of pension calculation.
      Costing him perhaps $9,000 a year during 25 years of retirement. Or $225,000 of pretax income.

      The $9,900 a year he would lose during his final 5 years of his career would be a secondary issue amounting to less than $50,000.

    468. Ralph

      I do not count the EPMC as pension spiking. It does add to the ‘ee pension and I don’t like the practive but it is not as egregious as the practice of promoting someone to a position that pays 2x current wages 2 years before retirement just so the individual can go out with a smile on his face.

      I support bilingual pay, holiday pay, night shift differential and some other items being included in person’s pension eligible salary. If this same individual had a 401K plan in the private sector those items would be factored into wages as applicable and the ‘ee would not be restricted from contributing to the plan and the ‘er will still match on those amts.

      I do not support any leave being included in the pension pay calculation. We ask ‘ee to take leave to recharge and reduce their potential for burnout. It is not their personal ATM. Plus, you never want people in your finance function always working. Abolish sick leave and make one leave pool and cap it.

    469. Dax

      Ralph, you’ve got to start spelling some things out.

      I don’t know why, but in this forum/board there is a overuse of acronyms and abbreviations.

      EPMC, ee, er,

      Reading your last post I could not figure out what EPMC was…
      I couldn’t figure out why you were including “Employer paid medical care” in the discussion..

      Now, I read above, where someone defined it. Employer Paid Member Contribution.

      Very difficult for anyone new coming here. Took me a while to figure out IDLF.
      Just seems like so many posters here use these acronyms and abbreviations much more than on most similar forums.
      Especially the names JQ, RK, JB, DP,
      JZ, MrT, etc.