Oakland Tribune Outtakes

Notes from Oakland, Berkeley and in between

Let me diverge…

By awoodall
Friday, October 19th, 2007 at 12:37 pm in Uncategorized.

It’s not all fun and games for The Night Owl…like when I saw Chip Johnson’s column in the Chron today about the ( badly run, badly conducted and badly functioning)  committee that is supposed to be watching over our Measure Y money. That’s money that comes out of Oakland residents’ pockets, in a roundabout way, for hiring more cops and supporting anti-violence programs.

In addition to covering the nightlife of Oakland, I cover crime that happens after hours. So I hear  Oaklanders talk a lot about feeling like crime ratcheted out of control in the past year or two. I decided to look at what the reality is and what the city’s response has been to the citizens’ complaints and violent crime.  In other words, what have you done for me lately?

It was a frustrating endeavor, in part because officials tried to BS me a lot, or wanted to play up what they were planning to do. Sorry, I was asking what had been done already in the past year. The facts please, not plans.

The mayor’s office wears what is equivalent to a verbal chastity belt. Or, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Or, how about this: what you don’t tell, won’t hurt us. So just keep quiet.

Measure Y money figured into the story because it was paying for people to get things done. The jury still is out on whether the money is translating into results. In part, reducing crime is a long-term process. It never ends.  But on the face of it, the facts speak for themselves.

Who is watching over the watchdogs? As Chip said in the column, the members are discouraged from doing their job because it’s too dangerous to go into neighborhoods they — via Measure Y money — are supposed to be making safer. If they don’t feel safe enough to hold night meetings in rough districts, how do residents feel? 

So, I guess that answers the question about what the city has done about crime. 

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