Anti-racism requires more than statements. That’s why we’re asking the membership of East Bay for Everyone to take action. The Oakland City Council will consider two items with critical implications to police violence and pandemic induced-austerity. We call for OPD to be defunded. Budgets should be allocated to services that strengthen the City of Oakland.

Measure Q: Save Homelessness Services Dollars from OPD

Oakland is facing a large budget deficit due to COVID-19’s impact on the economy. Nearly all departments are facing steep cuts or frozen hiring — except the police. In addition, finance staff have proposed using Measure Q homelessness services dollars to pay the salaries of three police officers. Staff says these officers will be part of a homeless outreach task force. East Bay for Everyone believes that social workers and other trained specialists are our best homeless outreach personnel, not police. 

At a time of impending fiscal austerity, budget cuts must come directly from OPD. OPD’s annual overtime expenditure alone is equivalent to the city paving budget. Systemic issues with how we prioritize budgeting in Oakland must be addressed and not punted off to the next measure. Advocates worked hard to pass Measure Q for Oakland parks and homelessness services in March with 68% of the vote. The budget proposal to hire police officers using Measure Q funds is a cynical attempt at budgeting and a betrayal of Oaklanders who voted for Measure Q.

Council President Rebecca Kaplan and Councilmember Nikki Bas have already stated they oppose this reallocation. Three more votes can stop this ill-conceived proposal. Please email and call your councilmember and remind them that a budget is a moral document and Measure Q dollars should serve unhoused people and not cops.

The next hearing for this proposal will be at the June 16, 2020 City Council meeting, which starts at 1:30pm. Look out for links to the Zoom public comment via our Slack space and the EB4E Twitter account.

Ban Tear Gas in the City of Oakland 

On multiple days OPD has escalated peaceful protests by firing tear gas into protestors. According to the CDC, exposure to tear gas causes irritation to the eyes, lungs, mouth, and skin.  In our current pandemic crisis, this could exacerbate the casualties that our community has experienced.  Oakland should ban tear gas as Berkeley did in 2015. But in a health emergency, it’s even more critical that tear gas is not used.

Council President Kaplan and Councilmembers Bas and Thao have proposed legislation to ban tear gas. We also call on the Alameda County Department of Public Health to update the COVID-19 health orders to ban the use of tear gas for the remainder of the health emergency.

Please use the contact information below to ask that the City Council unanimously ban the use of tear gas on Oakland streets permanently, and ensure measure Q funds do not go to OPD!

Dan Kalb (D1: North Oakland); (510) 238-7001

Lynette Gibson McElhenhey (D3: West Oakland/Downtown); (510) 238-7003

Sheng Thao (D4 – Montclair, Lower Hills); (510) 238-7004

Noel Gallo (D5 – Fruitvale, Glen View); (510) 238-7005

Loren Taylor (D6 – Maxwell Park, Eastmont); (510) 238-7006

Larry Reid (D7 – Deep East, Coliseum)

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