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City of Oakland Had An Illegal Fireworks Plan
By now, everyone in Oakland is aware that illegal fireworks rocked city neighborhoods until the wee hours of Thursday morning. City leadership issued their usual statements that they would do their best to crack down on individuals using illegal fireworks and discharging weapons the night of the 4th of July. Of course, as of this writing, most Oakland citizens are also aware that the effectiveness of the city of Oakland’s plan to curb the use of illegal fireworks was debatable.
However, what the majority of Oakland residents are also not aware of is the fact that Oakland City Council Member Abel Gullien submitted a request to the city’s Rules and Legislation Committee to have the Oakland Police and Fire Departments explain their plans to curb the use of illegal fireworks on the 4th of July.
In response to the councilmembers request, staff referred to the city’s infamous 2016 fireworks plans.
Some of the highlights included:
Fireworks Collection Barrels
Oakland citizens were encouraged to drop off illegal fireworks at fireworks collection barrels located at various fire stations in Oakland (all located in low-income communities). The 2016 report stated that the city collected over 50 pounds of illegal fireworks since 2010. However, the majority of the fireworks confiscated were mostly fireworks confiscated by the Oakland Police Department during criminal investigations and routine traffic stops.
The city sent out numerous press releases discussing the dangers of illegal fireworks AND the discharging of firearms on the night of the 4th of July. To take it one step further, Oakland Police used the its ShotSpotter program to identify neighborhoods and homes where gunshots and fireworks were reported the prior year. After identifying said addresses, Oakland Police would leave letters at the addresses warning the residents that using illegal fireworks, and discharging firearms, was a serious crime. Oakland Police then told the residents they would be increasing observation of their homes/neighborhoods to note any fireworks/firearms violations the night of the 4th of July.
Oakland Police stated they would deploy over 200 officers on the night of the 4th of July to respond to calls about illegal fireworks and firearm discharges. Although the Oakland Police Department did its best to respond to calls about illegal fireworks, our monitoring of police calls that evening shows Oakland Police were mainly dealing with numerous other high-priority criminal calls throughout the city (yes, crime in the city didn’t stop because of the fireworks).
As of our posting, the city of Oakland has not provided any data concerning arrests or calls concerning the use of illegal fireworks on the 4th of July. Yet, we do know for a fact that a little girl was the 4th of July injury in Oakland when she suffered burns due the explosion from an illegal firework.
Was the city of Oakland successful in curbing illegal fireworks this year?
You tell us!
We will post our audio clips of the Oakland Police 4th of July radio calls, and be sure to check out our 4th of July photo blog documenting the 2018 festivities in the Oakland.
Oakland City Hall Is Getting Metal Detectors
On May 18, Oakland staff continued its debate with the Oakland City Council about methods for increasing security at Oakland City Hall. Currently, Oakland City Hall security consists of a pair of unarmed security guards that require individuals to sign in at the main entrance to the building. Needless to say, Oakland City Leaders felt that with the rise of various raucous protest at city council meetings, there was a need to increase security at the building. Therefore, responding to orders from the city council, the Oakland Public Works Department created two options for city leaders to decide on.
Option 1 would create two screening stations (each with a metal detector, bag x-ray, three unarmed security guards, and an armed Oakland police officer) at the 14th and 15th street entrances to City Hall. Option 1 would have an annual cost of over $995,500.
Option 2 would have just one screening station at the 14th street entrance, at an annual cost of $701,500.
With both options, the traditional main entrance to City Hall would be closed permanently.
City staff is recommending that funding for either option come out of the city’s Internal Service Fund facility charges. This action would require city agencies to re-balance their budgets due to the increased facility charges.
Currently, almost every other government building in Oakland and San Francisco require screening by armed guards and metal detectors before entry.
For instance, San Francisco City Hall has multiple screening stations manned by numerous armed San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs.
More eLock Bike Lockers Are Coming To Oakland
In July 2018, the Oakland City Council accepted the City Administrator’s recommendation to waive the bidding process and award eLock Technologies $200,000, over the next five years, to install 16 additional bike eLockers. The resolution authorized the additional bike lockers be installed at the Rockridge Branch Library (since the majority of staff ride their bikes to work) and at the corner of Lake Park and Lakeshore Avenues.
Each location would have 8 lockers each.
Currently, the city of Oakland owns 20 eLockers near the 12th and 19th street BART stations. Since eLock was the only company that was able to meet the city’s stringent requirements, the city recommended that the eLock be awarded an additional $200,000 over the new five years and bypass the competitive bid process.
The City Council readily passed the resolution
The City Council stated they plan to install 20 more eLockers in the future, but will need to locate funding..
Oakland Officially Has A Police Commission
It has been decades in the making, but in June 2018 the Oakland City Council voted the Oakland Police Commission and Community Police Review Agency into existence. Born out of the federal mandates against the department for its numerous criminal infractions committed by its officers, in 2016 Oakland voters passed Measure LL to amend the city charter to create the before mentioned Commission.
The creation of the Commission also officially repealed the long standing Citizens Police Review Board.
The Commission will have the authority to investigate charges of abuse by OPD officers and additional broad powers including:
The power to remove the Chief of Police;
The power to conduct an annual performance review of the Chief;
The power to access all department files and records, with the exception of personnel records; however
Discipline Committees would have access to ALL department files; and
The power to fire OPD officers.
Police Commissioners would be appointed by the City Council and the Mayor.
BART Authorizes $763,000 To OnSite Medical Service To Provide Basic Life Support Service To Downtown San Francisco BART Stations
This month, the BART Board of Directors approved a proposal by BART staff to provide basic life support service at its Embarcadero, Montgomery, Powell Street, and Civic Center stations on non-holiday weekdays during the morning and evening commute (6:00am – 10:00am and 3:00pm – 8:00pm). The purpose of the medical support would be to provide emergency assistance to riders suffering medical issues on trains or at the stations during commute time.
The hope being that delays on the system would be reduced with having OnSite medical render emergency aid at the station instead of having to wait for local emergency services to arrive.
Currently, BART provides stand-by paramedic service during commute times with King American Ambulance Company. However, with the contract expiring on August 31, 2018, BART was slightly surprised when no paramedic company offered to bid on the on-going paramedic contract when it went to bid. Therefore, BART decided to downgrade its contract from using paramedics to using use EMTs instead.
With the approval of the contact, OnSite Medical Service (who won the competitive bid) was awarded a three-year contract (with a two-year option) in the total amount of $763,640. The contract will run from September 2018 through 2021.
REGISTER TO VOTE
The deadline to register to vote is fast approaching for Alameda County voters.
Qualifications to Register to Vote
To register to vote in California, you must be:
A United States citizen and a resident of California (for information on voters in the military or overseas, please see Military and Overseas Voters),
18 years old or older on Election Day,
Not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony (for more information, please see Voting Rights: Persons with a Criminal History), and
Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court (for more information, please see Voting Rights: Persons Subject to Conservatorship).
Qualifications to Pre-register to Vote
To pre-register to vote in California, you must:
Be 16 or 17 years old, and
Meet all of the other eligibility requirements to vote.
You will automatically be registered to vote on your 18th birthday.
You can register to vote online. However, if you wish to have a paper application mailed to you, follow these steps:
To Obtain a Paper Voter Registration Application
If you would like to register using a paper voter registration application, you can pick one up at the Registrar of Voters Office, located in the Rene C. Davison Courthouse at 1225 Fallon Street, Room G1, Oakland, California. Forms are also available at any public library, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, or U.S. post offices. It is important that your voter registration application is filled out completely and be postmarked or hand-delivered to your county elections office at least 15 days before an election.
To request a paper voter registration application be mailed to you, please call the Registrar of Voters at (510) 267-8683 or (800) 345-VOTE(8683)
You can find more information on registering to vote in California by clicking here!
City of Oakland Votes To Change Its Cannabis Policy
On July 2, 2018, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously to amend the Oakland Municipal Code regarding its enforcement of cannabis distribution.
Oakland Staff, concerned with various technical issues surrounding the city’s enforcement of cannabis dispensaries, made numerous recommendations to the City Council.
The more notable recommendations being:
Removed the non-enforcement provision for cannabis applicants/organizations, so whereas Oakland Police couldn’t enforce laws against cannabis operators who had an application pending, now said operators would be open to enforcement by the city;
Limit the number of Dispensary Permits to two per individual or organization;
Added Infusion and Packaging permit types to align with State laws;
Limit the number of special event permits to 12 per year per location, individual or entity. The hope to prevent an individual or entity to serve as a de facto dispensary by distributing cannabis at the same spot throughout the year;
Allow ancillary cannabis activities at the location of permitted dispensaries;
Added a public hearing requirement for cannabis uses near a residential zone.
The City’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission discussed and approved all the suggestions by staff, which was easily approved by the Oakland City Council.
Since the Spring of 2017, the city of Oakland has stated that it has received over 1000 applications from individuals/organizations for cannabis dispensary status.
No information on how many have been approved as of this writing.
The Golden Punch: City of Oakland Has To Pay Big For Assault By One Of Its Council Members
The Oakland City Council, in July, approved a $2.2 million settlement regarding the now infamous altercation between City Council Member Desley Brooks and Oakland resident Elaine Brown.
In 2015, Ms. Brooks and Ms. Brown became entangled in an altercation with court documents stating Ms. Brooks pushed Ms. Brown to the ground. As a result of the fall, Ms. Brown suffered an injury to her shoulder, which eventually required surgery at a later date.
In 2017, a jury awarded Ms. Brown $3.75 million stating that the actions of Ms. Brooks towards her was done with malice. The court at a later date would reduce the judgment amount.
Although the City Council voted to approve the settlement, Council Members Gibson McElhaney and Gallo voted not to accept the settlement. Whereas, Council Members Brooks and Larry Reid were not in attendance at the vote.
Oakland Creates a New Department to Oversee Race and Equity
In its 2015-2017 budget, the city of Oakland quietly created a new city department to oversee Race and Equity polices in the city.
Some of the major business goals for the department include:
Raise and sustain the visibility of the citywide vision;
Identify and eliminate the root cause of inequities in Oakland;
Help develop a law and justice system that provides equitable access and fair treatment for all;
Eliminate all forms of discrimination in city activities;
Help develop city parks that provide access for all individuals; and
Foster and organizational culture that promotes fairness.
Currently, the department has a staff of two with an annual budget of $304,075.
The City of Oakland LOVES Parking Tickets
According to its 2015-2017 Adopted Budget, the city Oakland expects to make over $23 million in parking tickets and fines annually.
So, if you think you can get away with not paying your parking tickets in Oakland, think again!
BART Use of Force Policy
Curious about how BART police decides on when to use deadly force or how it defines deadly force?
Or what steps BART officers take to de-escalate a situation before using deadly force?
Well, we’ve posted the BART policy on our website for your viewing pleasure.
Oakland A's Looking For Someone To Help Engage The Community In Building Their New Ball Park
The Oakland Athletics announced today they were seeking someone to fill the role of their "Manager, Neighborhood Engagement in its External Affairs department. This person will help the team engage the community while its seeks a location for its new ballpark.
If you're interested, we've included the official job posting for the Oakland A's.
Feel free to apply on their website..
The Oakland Athletics (Oakland A’s) are seeking a Manager, Neighborhood Engagement in its External Affairs department to assist with neighborhood outreach and strategic relationship development around the A’s new Ballpark effort in Oakland, CA. The primary responsibility areas for this role include: Managing Neighborhood Outreach, Strategic Communications Planning; Assisting VP of External Affairs with: Public, Business and Government Relations; Key Stakeholder Relations; Strategic Partnerships; Key Sponsorships; Events; and Internal / External Team Management. This person will oversee aspects of the aforementioned areas ensuring key deliverables are met and that the Oakland A’s organization is aware and prepared for External Affairs related opportunities and challenges. This includes devising and implementing agile external communications plans that help deliver the organization's strategy as directed by the Vice President of External Affairs.
RESPONSIBILITIES - Implement and continuously improve the A’s External Affairs strategy to advance the goal of securing a new Ballpark in Oakland. - Manage and execute projects with an agile awareness of time and focus, ensuring key deliverables are met and the A’s are aware and prepared for External Affairs related calls to action. - Manage key relationships by collaborating with critical path stakeholders, providing them with counsel, and advising them of potential risks; establishing new relationships with client groups; and following up to ensure positive relationship management specifically related to our efforts. - Guide External Affairs-related communications functions around the local market. - Manage and ensure the effectiveness of External Affairs related communication project elements and cross-functional relationships both internally and externally by establishing metrics and measures of success, monitor and review metrics; benchmark internally and externally; and identify potential improvement opportunities. - Organize and execute External Affairs-relevant collaborations. - Identify and implement new and innovative External Affairs initiatives and communication ideas by staying current on industry and business best practices and determining the most effective methods of integration. Conduct research on current, past, or future messaging and approaches to identify potential risks; and modify current processes to improve efficiency or quality. - Performs additional duties and projects as assigned by the Vice President of External Affairs.
REQUIREMENTS - Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Communications, Political Science, or related degree. - Experience working in and/or an advanced familiarity within Oakland, CA communities. - Related project management and communication experience. - Significant demonstration of diplomacy in dealing with internal and external stakeholders. - External Affairs, Community and or Neighborhood engagement relevant experience required. - Public speaking experience required. - Microsoft Office Suite, Verbal, Written Communication Skills, highly adaptable and self-motivated, ability to work autonomously and with minimal direction - 5-7 years of related experience in related field
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law
Second Quarter City of Oakland Crime Stats Highlights
The Oakland Police Department released its long awaited Quarterly Crime Report for the Second Quarter.
AREA ONE (Downtown Oakland, West Oakland)
Street-Level robberies are down by 21%, but “robbery crews” still tend to operate around the West Oakland BART station, the downtown Broadway corridor, Jack London Square, and Chinatown.
Although Auto Burglaries are down by 22% in Chinatown, numerous vehicles that were victim to auto burglaries left valuable items in plain sight for people to steal.
Oakland Police has provided city of Oakland Community Ambassadors with resources to notify residents on how to prevent auto break-ins.
AREA TWO (North Oakland, Uptown)
Firearm assaults are down by 57% and are decreasing quarterly.
Oakland Police is continuing to work with community groups to identify strategies to prevent firearm violence.
Oakland Police has instituted a strategy to follow-up on all shootings, regardless of the offense or injury.
The Oakland Police will also continue to use ShotSpotter technology to help located possible acts on gun violence.
Robberies continuing along major thoroughfares (Broadway, Telegraph Avenue and Grand Avenue).
Bags, purses, and electronics carried by pedestrians walking are often targeted.
Laptop thefts and robberies from coffee shops continue to happen.
AREA THREE (Fruitvale, Central Oakland)
Robbery problems continue to plague this area.
Most robberies tend to occur between 5:00 pm and Midnight on Thursday and Saturdays.
Most of the robberies appear to be committed by several juvenile teams using stolen vehicles.
The majority of these juvenile teams are not from Oakland, and tend to be on probation.
The majority of the victims appear to be Asian, Latino, and Caucasian individuals who were preoccupied while walking on the street or exiting from vehicles.
The majority of robbery items tend to be cell phones, backpacks, money, Tablets, Designer bags, and Gold Chains.
Regarding commercial robberies, the majority of entry was by smashing a window, security cameras and alarm systems did not deter individuals from committing these crimes.
The typical loss for a commercial burglary was a cash register with money in it.
The peak times for commercial burglaries were weekdays from midnight to 5:00am
AREA FOUR (East Oakland, Mills, Leona)
The number of homicides in the second quarter remained flat.
Some shootings are often group or gang related.
Oakland Police will continue to send out custom notifications to at-risk individuals.
Rapes are down 50% with nearly all the incidents involving suspects known to the victim.
Like Area Three, the majority of robbery victims tend to be individuals walking or getting in or out of a vehicle.
Burglaries, was whole in Area 4 are by 35%.
The Oakland Police Department will continue to use community outreach to educate the community about the risk of neighborhood crime.
The Oakland Police will continue to use foot patrols to help deter criminal actions.
AREA FIVE (East Oakland, Knowland Park)
The Oakland Police working with the city public works department to identify blight issues.
The Oakland Police Department will partner with Ceasefire and federal partners to help identify violent offenders.
Oakland Police Department will use enforcement and treatment to help with drug activity on International Blvd.
Like other areas, the majority of robberies happen between 5:00 pm and Midnight.
BART Looking To Pay $250,000 to Fund Public Restrooms in San Francisco
BART staff requested that the BART Board of Directors authorize the District to continue to fund and operate 2 public restrooms (nicknamed “Pit Stops”) located in the downtown San Francisco area and in the Mission Street area.
Partnering with the San Francisco Department of Public Works, BART helps to fund these “Pit Stops” to help with blight and the proliferation of human excrement in the downtown San Francisco area.
In its $250,000 request, staff was also requesting that the Board allow them to fund an additional two new Pit Stops to be located at the Embarcadero BART stations.
The City of Oakland Looking To Spend $45,000 To Protect Firefighters From CO2 Poisoning
Oakland-The city of Oakland proposed to spend $15,000 a year, over the next three years, to outfit all Oakland Fire Department emergency response vehicles with special exhaust system to capture carbon monoxide while fire vehicles are idling while parked in their fire houses.
According to the proposal from the city of Oakland Public Works Agency, the city of Oakland would contract with a third party vendor to replace the diesel exhaust systems on over 47 fire vehicles throughout the city.
If approved, the current proposal would allow for a non-bid extension of the contract without the need for City Council approval.
The proposal is currently in committee with its expected approval to the City Council for a full vote.
The Cost To Rebuild The Beloved Rainbow Recreation Center Grows
The city of Oakland Public Works Agency is currently seeking and additional $500,000 in public money to complete the restoration on the world famous Rainbow Recreational Center in East Oakland.
Currently, the city is spending around $10.1 million to rebuild the recreational center-with the project currently ahead of schedule and 80% complete.
According to representatives from the city of Oakland Public Works Agency, the additional monies are needed to deal with changing State laws concerning art in public places; paying the contractor to finish utility work instead of paying Pacific Gas and Electric (who currently does not have the resources to complete the require tasks in a timely manner); and a change in the expected cost of material for the project.
The proposal is expected to pass without incident when introduced to the full City Council.
City of Oakland Expecting To Spend $1,000,000 For On-Call Geo-Engineering Services
The city of Oakland is proposing to spend $1,000,000 to pay eight geo-engineering firms to provide “emergency” geo-engineering work for the city during emergency situations. A broad interpretation would mean that most of the work would be for emergency roadway restoration and design.
At this point, there seems to be no protest from the City Council or the Public.
City Of Oakland Going After Property Owners (Renters Beware)
The city of Oakland is proposing that owners of all soft-storied properties with more than 5-units be required by law to retrofit their property from an earthquake.
The city of Oakland states that with the high likelihood of a major earthquake, homeowners would be protected in the long run since the cost to repair damaged properties after a major earthquake could be massive.
Therefore, homeowners would have one-year to provide the city of Oakland with evidence that their property was exempt from the seismic retrofit program, or within 4-6 years obtain a retrofit analysis and complete the mandated retrofit on their property.
Property owners would also have the opportunity to request a financial hardship extension from the city of Oakland.
The city of Oakland stated that tenants who are displaced during a seismic retrofit would receive re-location assistance from city agencies.
The current proposal is still being debated in the Community and Economic Development Committee.
Oakland Police Commission Gets Into An Administrative “Fistfight” With The Oakland Police Department
This is a little complicated, but we will do our best to explain the situation, as we understand it.
In September 2018, the newly formed Oakland Police Commission (voted into existence by the voters of Oakland) introduced newly modified language to amend Oakland Police Department General Order R-02; the policy governing the search of individuals on parole.
Under the current law, if an OPD officer encountered an individual who was on parole, OPD had the right to search the individual with no cause; if the individual refused, they were subject to arrest.
The Oakland Police Commission modified the internal language so that an OPD officer would have to have reasonable cause to search an individual they believed was on parole. Needless to say, the Oakland Police Department did not like the new changes and submitted their own “amended” policy concerning the search of individuals on parole.
Under its “revised” policy, OPD admitted that there were problems with the current parole search policy, but pointed out that the current policy was created after careful consideration from numerous scholars and outside organizations.
Although OPD recognized the work by the Oakland Police Commission, OPD pointed to the fact that their current policy helped remove over 80 firearms off the streets of Oakland as measurement of the success of the current policy.
To date, it would appear that city staff is recommending that the Oakland City Council adopt the resolution provided by the Oakland Police Department.
City of Oakland Changing Rules to Hire More Cops to Fix Its Image Problem
The Oakland City Council voted to approve a City Council resolution to remedy the under-representation of women, minorities, and Oakland residents in the Oakland Police force.
The City of Oakland admitted that recent scandals with the department showed that the current hiring process for new police officers was inadequate and created a police force with “problematic attitudes, including disrespect for the Oakland community, alcohol problems, and sexual misconduct.” (City of Oakland Proposed Resolution, May 31, 2018)
Therefore, by increasing the number of under-represented groups in the police force, the City of Oakland hopes that the increase of these under-represented groups in the department would augment the level of trust and communication between the police force and the community.
Therefore, Oakland has set the goal that 50% of its new hires must have some connection or prior history with the City of Oakland.
The City is also proposing to modify its rules in regards to how it currently hires officers, including:
New police applicants will no longer be barred from applying it they had used marijuana prior; and
Certain personal debt will not be used as a basis for disqualification for new applicants.
The City of Oakland is also proposing to raise the minimum age for applicants, create a subsidized home ownership program for new officers so they can live in Oakland, and ask applying officers if they have ever engaged in sexual conduct with a minor.
The proposed resolution is expected to be passed by the City Council sometime this year.