Possible solution to Oakland’s public safety problem

When I last mentioned the other Oakland, all 4 (out of 5) City Councilmembers had handily survived the recall votes against them. Scandal-plagued Oakland kind of disappeared off my radar after that, and another blogger who had also followed the recall effort told me that he thought they actually had gone ahead and dissolved the city. Turns out he was wrong, but they do appear to have given up on their police department, and instead are working on a contract with the neighboring City of Sutherlin to provide police services for them. Can we do that with San Jose?

18 thoughts on “Possible solution to Oakland’s public safety problem

  1. C.Jones

    It’s time to start a petition for term limits for city councilmembers. Sadly, alot of citizens aren’t aware that there’s no term limitation for city councilmembers.

  2. C.Jones

    Max, I agree with you, if this election was held in November, I’m sure there would be a different outcome for some incumbents. In a city with so many burning issues, you’d think more than 5% turnout in some districts would show up.

  3. Max Allstadt

    How about a “competitive elections” measure?

    1 – city sponsored turnout drive for city elections.
    2 – hold elections alongside national elections, for all cases except special elections.
    3 – consecutive term limits – after two terms, a one term sabatical is mandatory.
    4 – revamp campaign finance rules to standardize online donation solicitation, and give much bigger teeth to enforcement of all campaign finance rules.
    5 – mandate that after every election, the efficacy of campaign rules be evaluated and loopholes be closed.
    6 – implement ranked voting.

  4. ralph

    this election clearly favored teh incumbent.

    here is a case of where something sounds good but does not work in practice. Since, i’ve lived in CA the presidential primary was too late to make a difference in the nominee. so in an effort to make one of the bigger states in the union matter, they move us up the chain.

    but with 2 strong candidates, and the proportional allocation of delegates, you could have still held a late primary and we still matter.

    if you move the local election up, it favors the incumbent b/c they got name and all; you keep it where it has traditionally been you favor the incumbent – voter fatigue. realistically ss and gh had no shot from jump.

  5. Max Allstadt

    Ranked voting means I would have voted:

    1.Sullivan
    2. Hodge
    3. Nadel

    Measure O, which was passed in 2006, called for oakland to do this. When done properly, it is a better reflection of the will of the people, and encourages multi-candidate races. For whatever reason, it has not been implemented.

  6. Nancy R

    The City Council doesn’t want to implement Measure “0″ as they don’t want to “implement” themselves out of a job as the current system, untouched, favors the incumbants.

    Prior to the last re-election of Pat Kernighan, District 2 voters grumbled about the lack of implementation of Measure “O” as there was a great slate full of great challengers. Soon as Pat won she promised to implement “O” as it was only fair.

    Two years have passed and she and the City Council have done zip.

  7. V Smoothe

    The reason we didn’t have IRV this year is because Debra Bowen decertified the voting machines that would have been equipped to handle it. The City Council had absolutely no power over that. Measure O passed at the same time that Pat Kernighan was re-elected for the most recent time in November of 2006, so there could not have been grumbling about non-implementation, since it didn’t even exist yet.

    In any case, IRV is a terrible idea.

  8. Nancy Rieser

    Your right. My District 2 buddies also corrected my misconception. They were wishing that O was in place at the time of the primaries as it as Pat’s results in the June primaries were somewhere in the mid-30 %….

    And I did not know the hold up was with the certification – mea culpa twice. I got to wash the crankiness and jadedness out of my system.

    If that’s possible.

    Thanks for putting up the cool stuff, V. My little nephew can’t go with me like I hoped, but I am going anyway! It says all ages.

    I am SO there.

  9. V Smoothe Post author

    Max –

    You can read my endorsement of No on Measure O here. Beyond that, the issue really deserves a post of its own. I’ll try to get to that next week.

  10. Barry

    Only 28% of Ala. Co. registered voters cast their ballots. Absentee outnumber the “day-of” by 2 to 1. Lesson learned: lie early, as apparently the election is finished a month before the polls open.

  11. Max Allstadt

    i don’t know which variation of ranked voting they’re shooting for, V.

    From what I read, something called the shultze method seems best to me.

  12. Max Allstadt

    I read your counter endorsement, V.

    rather simplistic. to me saving money isn’t the argument for ranked voting (IRV is an inferior method of ranked voting).

    Game theory shows that Schultze ranked voting is the most accurate tabulation of the will of the people. No system is perfect, but this one is closest. If 13% can’t figure it out, educate’m. If you can figure out your vote on American Idol, ranked voting shouldn’t be too much trouble.

  13. OP

    V, I agree with you on most things, but not on IRV. I am so thrilled that we should have it in 2010. If you do write a post, please give it a fresh look — I was skeptical at first too.

    I don’t think saving money is the biggest argument for IRV — although saving the $500k every two years would be nice — and, to be fair V, that was only one of several arguments the proponents put forward in their mailing and at http://www.oaklandirv.org. The most compelling to me were — higher turnout elections because local races could be consolidated in November (look at how dismal turnout was this go around…), the freedom to vote for the candidate you believe in as opposed to the one that is the more viable (e.g. I was a huge fan of Frank Rose, and voted for him, but struggled by wondering if I shouldn’t vote for Killian since he had a better chance of making the runoff), and ensuring majority winners in special elections (in 2005 Pat Kernighan was elected with ony 28% of the vote, hardly Democracy at its finest).

    One last thought: although you are right the SOS ruling had a large role in the decision to delay its use this year, there was a lot of political foot dragging/machinations behind the scenes. Berkeley, for instance, will most likely use IRV in November when Oakland would have.

  14. OP

    In response to Nancy, you are correct that many Councilmembers did not want to implement IRV and there was almost no political will to make it happen. However, Pat was true to her promise and has been a strong advocate of IRV. I don’t think Measure O would have even made it to the ballot without Pat.

  15. Max Allstadt

    Thanks for bringing up Frank Rose, OP.

    If we’d had IRV, my vote for At-Large would have been a whole lot easier to decide.

    1. Rose
    2. Kaplan
    3. Pine
    4. Killian
    5. Hamill

    The questions remain about the method of tabulating ranked votes though. If strategy counted for anything, for instance, the Hamill campaign might have asked supporters to vote:

    1. Hamill
    2. Pine
    3. Rose
    4. Killian
    5. Kaplan

    I know it’s hard to game the system with the Shultze method. But with IRV, does voting your candidates closest competitor last have an undemocratic effect? When you have a ten way race, do long-shots like Rose become opportunities to skew results?