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Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao Introduces Immediate Police Hiring Plan to Address OPD Vacancies, Crime Surge, 911 Response Time 

“Being a city leader means breaking through the discourse and finding solutions that are effective and holistic,” said Thao. “While important violence prevention programs like Ceasefire and Town Nights continue to focus on the important community-building that is necessary, it is important that the city improve its 911 response times and ensure nobody is waiting hours for help. Equally, it is important that OPD is supported and staffed at the levels that the Council has already authorized and funded.”

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Sheng Thao. Twitter photo.
Sheng Thao. Twitter photo.

By Council Press Office

Calling Oakland’s efforts to fill its 60 vacant police officers’ positions, “an unacceptable failure,” City Council President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao introduced on Wednesday a new hiring incentive program for the Oakland Police Department (OPD) that will focus on immediately filling officer vacancies.

The program will provide significant cash incentives for experienced police officers and Oakland residents to join OPD. This will improve OPD’s 911 response time, provide the ability to increase the numbers of visible patrol officers, and allow for the expansion of the Ceasefire program. (Ceasefire is a data-driven violence-reduction strategy coordinating law enforcement, social services, and the community, according to the City of Oakland web site.)

Thao’s legislation calls for partnership with an outside hiring agency to conduct a nationwide search for “strongly qualified and experienced lateral police officers,” who are officers that have already gone through police training and are currently serving their respective police departments.

“No one is coming to save us; we’re going to have to save ourselves. That means being aggressive, creative, and disruptive as we look to do things differently at City Hall, because the results are in and what we are doing isn’t working.

“I am introducing a plan to help the City Administration speed up recruitment as well as help save the city dollars and time when filling key vacancies,” explained Thao, “My plan will make Oakland more competitive in its work to hire seasoned, quality officers from across the nation.” This legislation is supported by a broad community coalition from Oakland.

This effort, in combination with Thao’s work in September to secure additional police training academies and provide the overtime OPD is using for walking beats in business corridors during the holidays, reaffirms her commitment to ensuring business corridors are safe, that small businesses can thrive in Oakland and that residents can be assured that crimes will be investigated and police more visible.

Additionally, Thao’s proposal will not take away any of the historical investments Thao and five other councilmembers approved for violence prevention programs.

“Being a city leader means breaking through the discourse and finding solutions that are effective and holistic,” said Thao. “While important violence prevention programs like Ceasefire and Town Nights continue to focus on the important community-building that is necessary, it is important that the city improve its 911 response times and ensure nobody is waiting hours for help. Equally, it is important that OPD is supported and staffed at the levels that the Council has already authorized and funded.”

Daniel Swafford, executive director of the Laurel Business Association and Montclair Business Improvement District said, “I want to thank Councilmember Sheng Thao for her work prioritizing small businesses, our neighborhood commercial districts, and the public safety and health of our communities. Councilmember Thao has brought real, tangible resources to small businesses and their neighborhoods and this legislation is another example of her ability to listen to concerns and provide solutions. I hope the rest of the City Council will vote for this resolution and that the City Administration will push implementation forward.”

The City Council passed a budget in June and the Administration, which reports to the mayor, is responsible to implement it. Currently, the city has hired and deployed fewer officers than the 737 approved by the City Council in June. Thao’s plan to rapidly fill the vacancies will help ensure the public is provided with the resources that have been approved and funded.

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Arts and Culture

Third Annual Town Up Tuesday Lifts Oakland’s Community, Culture and Joy

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging. It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.
The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria. Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

By Kyung Jin Lee

Urban Peace Movement announced Town Up Tuesday, a free community music and social awareness festival dedicated to the people of Oakland to celebrate Bay Area culture and create safety by fostering connection and belonging.

It will be on Tuesday, May 21, at Edoff Memorial Bandstand at Lake Merritt from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The event will feature local Bay Area legends and rising stars home-grown talent that will include 10 performers: 1100 Himself, The Conscious Daughters, Michael Sneed, Trunk Boiz, 3LISE, The Animaniakz and Ms. Bria.

Too $hort is a special guest and there will also be a surprise legendary Oakland artist. The two DJs are Emelle & Dahge, and the two hosts are Dnas and Mystic.

Past performers have included: Kamaiyah, Yukmouth, Stunnaman02, Symba, Lil Kayla, Grand Nationxl, Jane Handcock, and D Smoke, among others.

“Oakland is a historically Black city and one of the most diverse and progressive in the country — a city rich with culture,” said Nicole Lee, executive director of the Urban Peace Movement.

“At a time when we are being scapegoated for political gain and negative narratives of Oakland permeate the press, we’re uplifting who we truly are and all the things that make this region so special.”

About Urban Peace Movement: Urban Peace Movement (UPM) is a racial justice organization working to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of Black and Brown communities in Oakland. https://urbanpeacemovement.org/ @urbanpeace510

Kyung Jin Lee is the media representative for the Urban Peace Movement.

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Bay Area

California Makes Strides in Fight Against Fentanyl

California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force has seized over 7,000 pounds of fentanyl including 3.4 million pills since the state launched a multi-agency operation in January 2024. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s progress on May 7, National Fentanyl Awareness Day. The Governor said he deployed the state’s highway patrol and National Guard personnel last year as part of a public safety operation in partnership with local government officials and law enforcement.

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In the past five years, California has invested $1.1 billion in operations and initiatives to fight crime, support local law enforcement, and improve public safety. The Newsom administration has implemented a comprehensive approach as part of the governor’s Master Plan to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

By California Black Media

California National Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force has seized over 7,000 pounds of fentanyl including 3.4 million pills since the state launched a multi-agency operation in January 2024.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s progress on May 7, National Fentanyl Awareness Day.

The Governor said he deployed the state’s highway patrol and National Guard personnel last year as part of a public safety operation in partnership with local government officials and law enforcement.

“As we recognize the serious dangers of illegal fentanyl, California is continuing to tackle this issue head-on. Our efforts are getting this poison off our streets and out of our communities as we continue to support people struggling with substance use.” Newsom said.

CalGuard Major General Matthew Beevers said that the state’s unprecedented investment in the Counterdrug Task Force has immobilized operations and revenue channels of transnational criminal organizations.

“The CalGuard is committed to supporting our state, federal, local and tribal law enforcement partners to eliminate the scourge of fentanyl,” Beevers said.

In the past five years, California has invested $1.1 billion in operations and initiatives to fight crime, support local law enforcement, and improve public safety. The Newsom administration has implemented a comprehensive approach as part of the governor’s Master Plan to tackle the fentanyl and opioid crisis.

The Newsom administration has expanded efforts to improve public safety across the state where operations occurred in cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Bakersfield.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed acknowledged that joint operation was a step in the right direction toward curbing illegal activity and improving public safety.

“Our coordinated work to shut down drug markets in San Francisco is making a difference, but we have more work to do,” Breed said.

“Together we are sending a message at all levels of government that anyone selling fentanyl in this city will be arrested and prosecuted,” she said.

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Alameda County

Community Rally Demands Supervisors Merge Recall with Regular Elections

A group of community-based organizations rallied prior to the May 14 Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ vote to persuade the Board to vote to merge the recall election of District Attorney Pamela Price with the regularly scheduled election calendar in November. The groups urged the county to use the funds for healthcare and homelessness relief rather than a special election.

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Special to The Post
Special to The Post

By Post Staff

A group of community-based organizations rallied prior to the May 14 Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ vote to persuade the Board to vote to merge the recall election of District Attorney Pamela Price with the regularly scheduled election calendar in November.

The groups urged the county to use the funds for healthcare and homelessness relief rather than a special election.

Stewart Chen, a member of the Oakland Chinatown Improvement Council, told the Post that he and many members of the community-based participants supported the decision made by the Supervisors.

Chen said, “The voters voting in a special election in September will likely vote the same way in the November election. An extra two months won’t change people’s minds, but it will result in significant savings for the county. During times of financial uncertainty, especially when the county healthcare system is facing a huge deficit, it is unnecessary to waste taxpayers’ money on a special election that can easily wait two months.”

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