So compared to many of the other items at Tuesday’s Council meeting, the unenforceable smoking ban was actually pretty unimportant (but kind of funny). They renewed the interim zoning controls (but only after staff spent the last four months cancelling projects that have been in the planning process for over a year), agreed to issue an RFQ for the Army Base (but only after have to fight with staff, who completely ignored the CED Committee’s instructions), and approved an 8 foot “bubble” between patrons of abortion clinics and pro-life protesters (but only after having to listen to a long line of pro-life activists complaining about their right to free speech being violated – thankfully, due to the late hour, there were only about 15 speakers. The rest had already been forced to leave so they could catch the last BART train back to the suburbs).
But the most depressing part of the meeting was when the Council received the quarterly Measure Y hiring progress report. On Monday I criticized the report for having too many excuses and not enough solutions. I don’t want to be disrespectful of the police department – obviously a police officer’s job is very difficult, and I do realize that there is a nationwide shortage of qualified officers contributing to our problems. But somehow other cities manage to maintain some degree of safety on their streets, and I think that most Oaklanders would agree that there is something severely wrong with our police department – whether that problem is the OPOA, not enough funding, mismanagement, the wrong approach to policing, or something else entirely. Something somewhere is not right.
But not according to the OPD Captain who gave the Council the report. If there was any question before about whether or not OPD administration is completely deluded, there isn’t anymore after listening to him tell the Council “We’re a model agency.”
Jane Brunner wasn’t persuaded. She wanted answers:
And she wasn’t impressed with that one. So this is a bit long, but it’s worth watching if you’re at all concerned with the lack of police presence on our streets. Props to Jane Brunner for not giving up and trying to insist on some answers from OPD. But watching the waffling and doubletalk from police department representatives certainly does not inspire optimism.
After sitting through that, I left with the impression that maybe the City Council and Mayor Dellums should start working on a strategy plan of their own – one where the primary strategy is to find a new police chief.