Oakland has sworn in Howard Jordan to head its police department, replacing Chief Anthony Batts who announced his departure just two days earlier. We discuss public safety in Oakland, including this week’s special election to decide whether Oakland will adopt a parcel tax to extend funding for police programs.

Sean Maher, reporter for the Oakland Tribune
Matthai Kuruvila, staff writer for The San Francisco Chronicle
Jean Quan, mayor of Oakland
Howard Jordan, Oakland's interim police chief

  • Livegreenoak

    The Bay Citizen reported that at the same time Chief Batts was defending the Fruitvale Gang Injunction in front of the City Council, the Mayor’s husband Floyd brought one of the gang members in for a personal meeting with the Mayor. They were accompanied by Michael Siegel, a lawyer for the gang member who’s suing the City and son of the Mayor’s legal advisor.

    The Mayor admitted to the Bay Citizen it’s true but said neither Floyd nor Mr. Siegel told her the man was a gang member until it came out in conversation. This explanation is questionable given that Floyd just finished hearing the man speak in City Council and that his lawyer was present. But who treats their Police Chief this way both on policy and meetings?

    PS. Is Floyd now a paid advisor on City Staff? What about Mr. Siegel? How many other unpaid staff members are there in the Mayor’s Office making policy that we should know about?

  • Bob

    A Matier & Ross column reports “Batts was particularly upset that the mayor ordered him not to speak before the City Council when it recently took up the antigang injunctions and curfews for teens that he had requested.”  Is this true?  Is it legal to order “him not to speak before the City Council”?Read more:

    • Guest567

      I find it pretty surprising the reporters didn’t know if this was legal.  

      I don’t believe the Mayor can order Staff not to answer City Council questions, any more than than the President can order Federal Employees not to answer Congressional inquiries. (That is called a “cover up”).

      The City Council sets policies in the City of Oakland.  Neither the Staff nor the Mayor can impede on that legal obligation.  If they can, if the Mayor can order staff to do “anything”, I’d sure like to know from your reporters what that is and how it works…

  • Christine Thompson Lee

    Will someone address the fact that the city of Oakland dropped its city manager form of government when Jerry Brown came to town? Before that there could be more consistency and stability with the administration of programs adopted by a police chief, let alone some relief from politics disturbing a police chief’s duties. 

    • Karen Ivy

      Christine, I would LOVE to get rid of the strong mayor form of government, it has caused nothing but trouble.

  • Guest567

    Forum had David Kennedy on recently who, like many Oakland politicians on all sides, advocates for programs supporting wrap-around services.  What Kennedy & the Mayor’s opponents argue for is both these programs AND Police enforcement.  But the Mayor and her Council supporter Desley Brooks advocate for is ONLY social programs.  

    This just doesn’t match up with what any other major City either Kennedy or NYC/LAPD Chief Bill Bratton has done.  Run the #’s!  Ask Chief Jordan to go down the list and compare!

    BTW, NOTHING in the new Property Tax guarantees it will be spent on Officers.  

  • Karen Ivy

    I’m a resident of north Oakland, which is not part of the “100 blocks.”  The general feeling up here is that, because OPD is SO shorthanded, this focus on the “hot spots” will mean that if we aren’t in the “100 blocks,” we just won’t get much police coverage at all.  We don’t have shootings up here (thank God!), but we have burglaries and auto thefts all the time; people here are so discouraged that they don’t even report the crimes, which gives everyone a false impression that there’s no crime here.  From the point of view of the local crooks, north Oakland is “where the money is,” and boy do they come here. For some reason in the last month people started reporting thefts and burglaries online, and our crime incidents went from 31 to 66 in one month.

    None of this should be read as any complaint about the performance of the few officers we do have.  They are talented, hardworking professionals, and they really care, but there aren’t enough of them.

    The mayor’s insistence that we can solve all of this with social
    programs and we don’t need police is shortsighted and foolish. 

  • Marta

    I admire the job that the Oakland police do. I wish you had asked the new chief but please have your guests address the effect on funding of Oakland police from the police not contributing enough to their own pensions. I spoke with an Oakland policeman and he said “We work hard and we shouldn’t have to contribute.”. Many jobs could have been saved if they has agreed to contribute. Lots of people do.

  • Destrohead

    As a recent victim of of a hold up and a resident of Oakland, I feel that crimes would be solved better if all the East bay Police Dept. worked more together. Liiving in the east bay I might go from El Cerrito to Hayward to Berkeley and back to Oakland, I’m pretty sure the criminals roam throughout all these areas as well. 

  • laurie

    The majority of councilmembers in Oakland don’t live in the flat lands where the violence is occurring.  The Mayor lives in the Oakland hills and the rest in the best Oakland neighgorhoods.   If they or their family had to navigate through  neighborhoods like  International Ave and 63rd Avenue to get home late at night you bet they would have consensus or an urgency to implement a gang injunction and curfew.  The only person living in the flatlands is Ignacio De La Fuente.  His good friend Chuy Campos was killed that’s why he’s yelling the loudest.  His is concern is genuine.    

  • R.Sanders

    Why has my property tax risen by $200 and we stillive in an unprotected city by not having enough police and firefighters


  • wizardofx

    The Mayor is power hungry, delusional and needs to be voted OUT.  An understaffed, underfunded police force NEEDS to have the ability to implement methods such as curfews. City Council members apparently don’t live on my block (not in hot spot) which is on the Berkely line where bad elements are on almost every corner. Oakland needs to put on their big boy pants and realize that cops need to do their job. Every time a cop draws their gun here there’s public outcry. Get OUT of their way of police. They’re here to keep you safe.

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