Did we really just lose 80 cops after years of clamoring for a bigger police force? Do we really have to report a burglary online now? Sadly, yes and yes. Unlike San Jose, which at just about the same time talks were collapsing here in Oakland, struck a deal that postponed for a year laying off at least 70 cops in that city, Oakland City Hall and the cops’ union failed to find common ground. Hopes for getting the cashiered cops back in uniform hinge on a parcel tax in November. City Councilwoman Pat Kernighan writes that five separate polls show that such a measure would fail to garner the needed two-thirds to pass.
If this alarming state of affairs is leaving you a bit baffled, then you might want to consider attending a public safety forum for the mayoral candidates at the Lakeshore Baptist Church Thursday evening. You won’t be surprised to learn that all of the candidates are making public safety key planks in their respective platforms. The question is this: If elected, how would they maintain a functioning police department with budget deficits projected to be $48 million next year, $54 million the following, and $60 million the year after that. What else should we be asking the would-be mayors?