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PUEBLO: Santana Hinders Reform of Police Complaint Intake

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“The mayor is (also) culpable,” said Grinage.
By KenA. Epstein

 

Deanna Santana

Deanna Santana

There is growing frustration between local advocates of police accountability and City Administrator Deanna Santana, who they say is foot-dragging and purposely confusing the issues involved in implementing a City Council decision to turn over intake of complaints against police to civilians.
Approved by the City Council, the handover of the intake of complaints from police to civilians was supposed to begin in January. But Santana said she could not make the transfer until October, citing insufficient staff, need to confer with the Oakland Police Officers Association (OPOA) and other issues.
Santana further angered community activists this week at a City Council committee meeting when she raised new complications and modifications of the civilian intake plan, which they say are contrary to what the council has told her to do.
“Ms. Santana uses as many words as possible as to be confusing as humanly possible. This is a deliberate strategy, but it isn’t going over well, and it won’t work,” said Rashidah Grinage, executive director of PUEBLO, which has been working for years to increase police accountability to the community.

Rashidah Grinage

Rashidah Grinage

Santana said at Tuesday’s Community and Economic Development (CED) committee that one of the issues was the need to develop a form for civilian intake workers to use that was in line with the form currently used by OPD’s Internal Affairs.
“The Civilian Police Review Board (CPRB) and Internal Affairs have used the same form for 10 years,” said Grinage. “She says she needs time to develop the same form, but the form already exists and is on the city’s website to download.
“The fact that she can make such startlingly inaccurate statements is shocking.”
Defending herself Tuesday a Special Public Safety committee meeting Santana said, “I feel compelled to represent myself professionally and to ensure the accuracy of the record.”
She said the process of implementing the civilianization of complaint intake was slowed down because the federal compliance director who oversees the police department was supposed to begin in January but was not appointed until March.
“We did receive his approval of no objections as of April 30,” she said.
Further, Santana said at the Public Safety Committee meeting that, based on her talks with the compliance director, it would take about 18 months to hire and train civilian intake workers, who would be trained in-house by Internal Affairs staff.
In addition, she said, after training they might be housed at Internal Affairs. The positions will be “based initially in OPD,” and eventually it will be decided “where these positions will transfer or whether they will stay in the (police department),” Santana said.
“We strongly object to the training of intake workers by Internal Affairs,” said Grinage in an interview with the Post. “Why would the city hire people to be trained by people who have been proven deficient? The whole idea is to improve the intake process.”
“And why would you house civilian intake workers at Internal Affairs? That’s not what the council voted for.
There are a numbers of reports that when residents tried to file complaints with Internal Affairs in the past, they were actively discouraged – contacted and pressured to withdraw their complaints.
The problem, said Grinage, is that Santana is protecting the OPOA. “They are fearful of losing control of the complaint process.”
“They’re trying to avoid losing the ability to discourage people who file complaints,” she said. “God knows how many complaints will be filed if they lose control of the process – all this is designed to keep control of the process.”
Grinage added that Mayor Jean Quan has to accept responsibility for Santana’s actions.
“The mayor is culpable here,” she said. “The mayor knows full well what’s going on and has refused to do anything about it. She is the supervisor of the city administrator, and she’s complicit, either intentionally or otherwise.”

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City Government

Policy Pathways Honors Former Mayor Elihu Harris and Six Youth Leaders

The recipients of the 2021 Youth Public Service Award are students from Virginia high schools.

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Policy Pathways Logo courtesy of Organization's Facebook

Policy Pathways has announced former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris as its 2021 Policy Leadership Award recipient, along with six youth who will receive 2021 Youth Public Service Awards.

The award winners will be recognized Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, at the Policy Pathways Third Annual Fall Celebration from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. The event will take place online and is open to the public.

Elihu Harris

Kayla Patrick

The keynote speaker will be Kayla Patrick, senior data  and policy analyst at the Education Trust. She has conducted several major reports on policy and data analysis on the education of girls, particularly those of color. She has been featured in The New York Times, MSNBC, and 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s education platform.

She will be receiving the Excellence in Public Policy and Administration Award.

Elihu Harris’s career in public service has spanned five decades. He is a former California assemblyman, executive director of the National Bar Association, mayor of Oakland, and chancellor of Peralta Community College District. Today, he is a private attorney and owner of the Harris Funeral Home in Berkeley.

Dr. Lenneal Henderson, visiting instructor at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, and board member and fellow of numerous humanitarian and cultural institutions, will introduce Harris.

The recipients of the 2021 Youth Public Service Award are students from Virginia high schools.

University students being honored include Virginia students who have proven themselves to be leaders in public service in academics, community involvement and vision of the future.

“During our Third Annual Fall Celebration, we celebrate the accomplishments of policy leaders and public servants who have inspired us through their work, courage, dedication, and sheer will to overcome the barriers they faced that could have easily derailed their dreams,” said Policy Pathways President and CEO, Dr. D. Pulane Lucas.

The Fall Celebration supports the operations and programs of Policy Pathways. To purchase tickets and sponsorships, go to https://policypathways.org/event/fall-celebration/. Contributions are tax-deductible. For more information about the event, contact info@policypathways.org or call (866)-465-6671.

Policy Pathways, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Richmond, Va., providing education, training, and leadership development to high school students, recent high school graduates, and community college and undergraduates students who desire to become leaders in the fields of public policy, public administration, and public service.

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Business

City Must Pay Contractors, Businesses, Non-Profits Promptly

By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

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Sheng Thao

I have introduced legislation to restore the City of Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance and it will be heard at 1:30 p.m. by the City Council on October 19 because local contractors and local businesses need to be compensated in a timely manner for work they do on behalf of the City.

It’s unacceptable that the city is using the COVID-19 pandemic to delay payment to these local non-profit organizations.  By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-Interim City Administrator, Steven Falk issued an Emergency Order suspending parts of the City’s codes to give the City the flexibility to navigate the uncertain times.  Few would have guessed then that the world would still be navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic nearly 18 months later. One of the ordinances suspended by the Emergency Order was the Prompt Payment Ordinance.

Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance requires the City to compensate local businesses and contractors executing City grants or contracts within 20 days of receiving an invoice.  This allows local organizations providing services on behalf of the City of Oakland to be compensated in a timely manner and builds trust between these organizations and the city.  Local contractors and businesses provide a diverse set of services to the City, covering areas ranging from trash removal and paving to public safety.

Almost 18 months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance is still suspended.  Even as City staff have adjusted to working remotely and the City has adjusted to operating during the pandemic, there is no requirement that the City compensate its contractors or local businesses in a timely manner.

Oaklanders can comment at the meeting by joining the Zoom meeting via this link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88527652491 or calling 1-669-900-6833 and using the Meeting ID 885 2765 2491 and raising their hand during the public comment period at the beginning of the Council meeting.

 

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Business

A’s Owner John Fisher Port Proposal No Good for Oakland

Billionaire John Fisher, owner of the A’s, has things to do before he can take over Oakland’s public port property to build malls and housing for the rich. 

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Howard Terminal on Port of Oakland Map

OPINION

Billionaire John Fisher, owner of the A’s, has things to do before he can take over Oakland’s public port property to build malls and housing for the rich. 

It is such a bad idea and the costs to the public are so ridiculous that logically it shouldn’t happen.  But this right-wing, Trump-supporting Republican has a boatload of money and a few corporation-oriented politicians to help him push it through.  

So, Oaklanders need to be active, or he might get it. Here are two of the things we need to act on: 

  1. Fisher won’t spend his own money.  So, he wants Alameda County to give up spending on things like the COVID-19 pandemic, so we residents can pay for his project with taxpayer money.  The vote on this will come up to the Board of Supervisors on October 26.  If you’d prefer that the County fund health care, housing and other resident necessities, ask them to vote “No.” Call your supervisor at 510-208-4949 and/or attend the meeting.
  2. The Oakland City Council will make the ultimate decision about Fisher’s project and there are a zillion reasons they should say “No.”  Among them: a) Fisher’s project requires that thousands of people run across the tracks of a busy railroad, which killed a number of people even before there were big crowds needing to get to their condos or a stadium.   b) And  Fisher’s project would wreck Oakland’s Port.  The “Seaport Compatibility Measures” necessary to keep the Port alive would cost hundreds of millions of dollars which would not be needed if it were not for Fisher’s project.  So, Fisher, not taxpayers, should pay for them. c)  And then there are all the other ways it will hurt the waterfront, the environment, and Port workers.

You can get contact information to reach your Council member here – https://www.oaklandca.gov/officials

Personally, any public official who votes for Fisher’s project will never get my vote again.   Call me hard-headed, but the harm to  Oakland as a working-class, multi-racial city, the harm to the ILWU (the union of Port workers, perhaps the most progressive union in America)  and the opposition of the people of East Oakland are enough to make my hard head think that’s what solidarity requires.

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