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Oakland Activists Kick Off Campaign to Recall Mayor Libby Schaaf

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Activists kicked off a campaign this week to recall Mayor Libby Schaaf, criticizing the mayor for an explosive series of scandals in the police department and concerns over her lack of willingness to counter the dramatic decrease of economic and racial diversity in the city. 

 

To qualify for the ballot, a recall petition must gather over 20,000 signatures, 10 percent of Oakland’s 231,820 registered voters, within 160 days.

 

According to Cat Brooks, a spokesperson for the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), which is circulating the petition, many Oaklanders are unhappy with the mayor’s strong support for developers and landlords.

 

“The level of discontent is high. The people in the hills are happy, the developers are happy,” but the poor and minority populations of the city “are sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Brooks said in an interview on ABC7 News.

 

“This is about how we are tired of being murdered on the streets of Oakland,” said Brooks. “We are tired of being pushed out onto the streets of Oakland, and if she can’t stand up and do something for us, then she has got to go.”

 

Another member of APTP, Leigh Davenport-deBoer, said she suspects the Oakland Police Department sex abuse scandal “is the tip of the iceberg of what we know about at the Oakland Police Department.”

 

In response to the recall announcement, Schaaf told the media she respects the democratic process and the right of her constituents to question her effectiveness, according to news reports.

 

“I welcome the opportunity to have my record examined and what I’ve accomplished in Oakland in the past year and a half,” Schaaf said.

 

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City Government

SUSD’s Dept. of Public Safety Achieves Compliance with State DOJ’s Five-Year Stipulated Judgment

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) has ended monitoring of the Stockton Unified School District (District) and its Department of Public Safety (Department), concluding the five-year term of the stipulated judgment that addressed system-wide violations of the civil and constitutional rights of Black and Latino students and students with disabilities.

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California Attorney General Rob Bonta. Official photo, SUSD Police Chief Mayra Franco. Official photo, Pastor Trena Turner of Stockton’s Victory In Praise Church. Victory in Praise Church photo.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta. Official photo, SUSD Police Chief Mayra Franco. Official photo, Pastor Trena Turner of Stockton’s Victory In Praise Church. Victory in Praise Church photo.

Special to the Post

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) has ended monitoring of the Stockton Unified School District (District) and its Department of Public Safety (Department), concluding the five-year term of the stipulated judgment that addressed system-wide violations of the civil and constitutional rights of Black and Latino students and students with disabilities.

The District has also committed to implementing a plan to further reduce disproportionalities in law enforcement referrals through school year 2026-2027, which will institutionalize the revised policies and practices and continue the progress made under the judgment.

“Over the past five years, the California Department of Justice and the Stockton Unified School District worked together to successfully implement the corrective actions set out in the stipulated judgment to protect the rights of students in schools,” Bonta said on April 11. 

“Today we can celebrate that the agreement has helped the District take important steps to address concerns regarding interactions between police officers and students and to promote an equitable and positive learning environment.

“This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our educators, staff, students, and Department of Public Safety, said SUSD Supt. Dr. Michelle Rodriguez. “We reaffirm our commitment to continue the important changes and policies and remain steadfast in our mission to improve services and support for all students, ensuring that each child has the opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally.”

“The Department is proud of the work that was completed surrounding the DOJ Agreement which has not only made us a better Department but has placed us at the forefront of progressive policing,” said SUSD Police Chief Mayra Franco.

“The consent decree was phase one. Now we must build on this momentum to cement the progress that has been made, and fix policdes and practices that continue to hurt SUSD students and families,” said Jasmine Dellafosse, Director of Organizing and Community Engagement at End Poverty in CA.

“The requisite collaboration that took place with community members and the Stockton Unified School District was an admirable beginning,” said Pastor Trena Turner, Victory In Praise Church. “Continued efforts of transparency and inclusion that outlasts the monitoring period, will be of paramount importance to further strengthen the district and ultimately improve the lived experience of our students.”

In 2019, a DOJ investigation concluded that the District’s policies and practices with respect to law enforcement referrals discriminated against Black and Latino students and students with disabilities. The investigation also found unconstitutional search and seizure practices.

DOJ and the District entered into a stipulated judgment that required significant reforms and a five-year monitoring period. As part of the stipulated judgment, which concluded on Feb. 19, the District:

  • Established clear policies and procedures limiting when school administrators refer students to law enforcement.
  • Created a formal diversion program in lieu of citations and arrests to address minor school-based offenses.
  • Revised policies and procedures relating to treatment of students with disabilities in order to prevent discrimination, including the hiring of a trained Disability Coordinator.
  • Created clear processes for school site administrators to refer students with mental health needs to support services rather than a referral to law enforcement.
  • Instituted mandatory annual training of all officers and staff regarding civil and constitutional rights, disability and special education laws, and elimination of bias.
  • Reformed use of force policies, procedures, and practices, including implementing a comprehensive review process.
  • Updated search and seizure policies.
  • Used data to track and analyze all arrests and referrals to law enforcement from schools; and
  • Established the Community Advisory Group, which collaborated with the District to provide input and review updated policies.

Overall, the judgment led to markedly improved outcomes for students. Total arrests of students dropped significantly; in school year 2018-2019, there were 155 arrests, compared to nine arrests during school year 2022-2023. Calls for service to the Department decreased by 54% and unwarranted calls for service decreased by 52%.

Under the disproportionality plan, the Community Advisory Group and Transformative Justice subcommittee, consisting of community organizations and other stakeholders, will continue to meet regularly to improve and reduce disparities in law enforcement referrals and receive and analyze disaggregated and anonymized District data on use of force, law enforcement contacts, citations, arrests, and calls for assistance.

The media office of California State Attorney General Rob Bonta is the source of this report.

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Alameda County

Alameda District Attorney Pamela Price Is Considering Legal Action If Recall Makes It to Ballot

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters announced Monday that they had certified the required number of signatures to trigger a recall election against Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price. Recall supporters submitted 123,374 signatures before the March 5 deadline, although only needing 73,195 valid signatures to trigger a special election. After the Registrar of Voters (ROV) was unable to verify the needed amount through a random sampling, they proceeded to manually count the signatures, which resulted in 74,757 signatures verified.

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Save Alameda For Everyone (SAFE), one of the two primary recall groups, celebrated their success in a press release Monday afternoon, stating they were “thrilled” for reaching this milestone towards ensuring “accountability and transparency in the District Attorney’s office.”
Save Alameda For Everyone (SAFE), one of the two primary recall groups, celebrated their success in a press release Monday afternoon, stating they were “thrilled” for reaching this milestone towards ensuring “accountability and transparency in the District Attorney’s office.”

By Magaly Muñoz

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters announced Monday that they had certified the required number of signatures to trigger a recall election against Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price.

Recall supporters submitted 123,374 signatures before the March 5 deadline, although only needing 73,195 valid signatures to trigger a special election. After the Registrar of Voters (ROV) was unable to verify the needed amount through a random sampling, they proceeded to manually count the signatures, which resulted in 74,757 signatures verified.

Save Alameda For Everyone (SAFE), one of the two primary recall groups, celebrated their success in a press release Monday afternoon, stating they were “thrilled” for reaching this milestone towards ensuring “accountability and transparency in the District Attorney’s office.”

“We are confident that this grassroots movement will pave the way for positive change and a brighter future for all residents and businesses in Alameda County,” Carl Chan, SAFE’s Principal Officer, said in the statement.

Brenda Grisham, the other primary officer of SAFE, told the Post that they’re excited that the efforts of the volunteers and all involved with the campaign are paying off

“Our effort is just about public safety. Our main focus is keeping the citizens of Alameda County safe,” Grisham said.

SAFE initiated its efforts only seven months into Price’s administration, a point that Grisham made when discussing how long Price had to prove herself in the District Attorney role.

She claimed that Price had six months to meet with families of victims and prosecute perpetrators of those crimes to the fullest extent of the law, but instead chose to do the opposite and not protect the people in the community as crime and concerns for public safety continue to rise.

SAFE is calling on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to schedule a special election no later than 125 days after their meeting later this month.

But despite the celebration from the recall proponents, Price’s legal team says that the DA is “not happy” with the Registrar of Voters.

Jim Sutton, legal counsel for Price, told the Post that they deem the recall process to be illegal by not following the clear guidance of the county charter to recall local officials.

The county charter states that the ROV has 10 days to verify signatures, which ultimately took nearly six weeks after the random sampling method failed. Additionally, the Board of Supervisors has to appropriate money to the ROV to hire staff in order to make the 10-day deadline, which Sutton claims they did not.

ROV officials did not respond for comment, as staff were instructed to tell the media to refer to the latest update until new information was released.

Sutton talked to the Alameda County Counsel office about the deadline, but claims they gave a “very convoluted” explanation for why they don’t have to comply with the 10 days.

Sutton added that many of the circulators of the recall petition were from outside of the county, incentivized by the high payout per signature. He says that this action also violates county charter as circulators need to be residents of Alameda County.

The county charter requires a “qualified elector” to circulate the petition, but also states that the United States Supreme Court has previously ruled that this requirement is an “unconstitutional limitation on protected expressive activity.” The charter says because of this ruling, it will follow the state requirements, which only stipulates that a person must be 18 years or older to circulate a petition.

According to Sutton, Price will be asking the Board of Supervisors to not put the election on the ballot based on these alleged illegalities.

When asked if her team will be pursuing legal action should the Board approve the special election, Sutton said, “if the board does schedule the election, [Price] will consider all of her legal options.”

Members on the Board of Supervisors did not respond for comment at the time of publication.

The Board of Supervisors will meet on April 30 to consider the approval of the certificate of sufficiency for the signatures and the date of the special election.

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Activism

In Crowded Race, Jovanka Beckles Wins Spot in November Runoff for State Senate

AC Transit Board Director Jovanka Beckles came in second place in the six-way primary race for state Senate District 7 seat to represent Oakland and Berkeley, placing her in the runoff race in November against Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín to replace Sen. Nancy Skinner, who termed out. Beckles, writing on social media, emphasized that she had won with community support though the leading candidate was way ahead in campaign spending.

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Jovanka Beckles will face Jesse Arreguín in November in State Senate District 7 runoff election. File photo of Arreguin, Beckles photo by Ken Epstein.
Jovanka Beckles will face Jesse Arreguín in November in State Senate District 7 runoff election. File photo of Arreguin, Beckles photo by Ken Epstein.

By Ken Epstein

AC Transit Board Director Jovanka Beckles came in second place in the six-way primary race for state Senate District 7 seat to represent Oakland and Berkeley, placing her in the runoff race in November against Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín to replace Sen. Nancy Skinner, who termed out.

Beckles, writing on social media, emphasized that she had won with community support though the leading candidate was way ahead in campaign spending.

“Despite being vastly under-fundraised, we have emerged victorious in the State Senate primary! This victory is not just about me. It’s a victory for our working class, our poor, our disenfranchised Black and Brown communities, our Palestinian siblings fighting for liberation.”

In the March 5 primary, Arreguín came in first with 32.81% of the vote, while Beckles received 17.48%. Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb was third with 14.89%, while Kathryn Lybarger followed with14.46%. Sandré Swanson received13.36%, and Jeanne Solnordal captured 7%.

Born in Panama, Beckles immigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was 9. She attended Florida A&M University on a full-ride basketball scholarship, majoring in psychology as an undergraduate and later earned an MBA.

She worked for decades in public health as a mental health clinician, serving impoverished and marginalized children and families in Contra Costa County.

In a speech at a recent victory celebration, she emphasized her progressive record of working for her East Bay constituents.

“I’m here today because of you, your belief in me, a Black, Latinx, immigrant, gay woman,” she said. “We did something historic. Grassroots candidates don’t (often) beat millions of dollars.”

“When I get to Sacramento, I will continue delivering results for you,” she said, pledging to continue working on tenant protections such as supporting the ballot measure to remove a ban on rent control in California.

Beckles plans to propose expanded legal protections for seniors and disabled tenants; create educational opportunities to make public school and university education fair and available for all students; provide transfers for AC Transit and make public transportation affordable for seniors and people with disabilities; and enhance environmental protections.

She also supports a Gaza cease-fire.

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