In a small press conference Thursday, Oakland Councilmember and City Council President Jane Brunner and Oakland City Administrator Dan Lindheim sat down to talk about the election and the status of Oakland Police staffing. Well, it was really all about Oakland Police staffing, and not so much about the ranked choice voting election.
Oakland Mayor-Elect Don Perata (which we can say because his 11 point first vote lead coupled with the first and second choices yet to be counted puts him closest to the needed 50 percent majority), said at his election party that his first action as Mayor of Oakland will be to reinstate the 80 police officer positions eliminated to trim Oakland's huge budget deficit. Here's the video containing Perata's comments at the 4:28 mark:
Don Perata's proposed action was met with some hesitation from new Oakland District 4 (Montclair - Oakland Hills) Councilmember Libby Schaaf, who said that she wasn't willing to rubber stamp Perata's intentions without knowing where the money to do it was going to come from. Here's the video with her comments:
Council President Brunner Agrees
In today's press conference, Council President Brunner echoed Schaaf's view. Brunner said "You know there's no money in the General Fund. I have had conversations with Perata about where else you could look for money in this system. It's probably the other funds. It's Redevelopment. Somebody's going to have to come up with something really creative. I don't know if he has a detailed plan at this point, but I don't think you can find $14 million out of $28 million. You may be able to find a few million. But we're all going to sit down right away."
Brunner said she wants to be careful not to call Perata the "Mayor" just yet because they're still counting votes.
Redevelopment Code And The Police
I pointed out that Section 33678 Subdivision (b) (C) of the California Health and Safety Code...
This:"(C) None of the funds are used for the purpose of paying for employee or contractual services of any local governmental agency unless these services are directly related to the purpose of Sections 33020 and 33021 and the powers established in this part."
Allows for the use of tax increment revenue for the provision of police services, but only if the redevelopment plan specifically points to its use. That means a redevelopment plan which doens't have such a provision must be rewritten. Lindheim said that using funds would not require rewriting of the plan, but here's where he's wrong. It does and the code really calls for this, just to keep yourself legally safe from attack.
I didn't attack him on the issue, because I wasn't there to do that, the quotes on the Perata statements were top priority. Plus, I can use this form to point out that if the City of Oakland's using tax increment revenue in a way that's legally unsafe, and it does seem so, it should stop doing so.