Friday, January 31, 2014

Inside Oakland panel discusses future of Measure Y

This year is a big one for public safety in Oakland. Measure Y, the Violence Prevention & Public Safety Act, which was overwhelmingly passed in 2004, expires at the end of the year. Unless renewed, the city’s already resource-constrained police, fire, and social services budgets face further cuts.
Funding for Measure Y comes from a $97.62 parcel tax and 8.5 percent surcharge on commercial parking lots. Around $19 million is generated annually, with $4 million going to fire prevention, a particularly important issue given the severe drought we are facing. 60 percent of the remaining, or about $9 million, goes to hiring at least 63 Problem Solving Officers for the Oakland Police Department.
The remaining 40 percent, or about $5 million, goes to violence prevention and intervention programs that are targeting the hottest crime spots in the city with research-tested policies that are yielding tangible results.
At the Inside Oakland event on Jan. 24, a panel of representatives from the city of Oakland, Oakland Police Department, a local nonprofit organization, and a small business owner and blogger discussed the benefits of Measure Y, how it has been improved over time, and what further enhancements are needed.

Panelists Included:

Anne Marks, Executive Director of Youth ALIVE!- Click here to see her presentation


Len Raphael, CPA 

Sara Bedford, Interim Director, City of Oakland Human Services- Click here to see presentation


Interim Assistant Chief Paul Figueroa, OPD

“This is an ethical approach to addressing violent crime – and it’s working,” explained  Paul Figueroa, who as an officer in the 90s was involved in drug busts that contributed to around 30,000 arrests annually in Oakland. He noted that last year the number of arrests was around 8,000 while overall violent crime is down.

Yet the fate of Measure Y is unclear. The city administrator’s office has engaged a consultant to look at polling, conduct outreach and education around the measure, and determine what can and should be taken to the voters in November. This review and evaluation will take place over the next six months.
The Chamber plans to be front and center in helping foster a constructive dialogue around this vital issue for Oakland. Please keep on the lookout for future events, and check out the presentations from the Inside Oakland event on the Chamber’s website,

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