Opinion: Reflection on Tuesday’s City Council Meeting

Current members of Oakland Council through the end of 2018.

By Cathy Leonard

It is clear that these councilpersons, with the exception of Councilperson-at-Large Rebecca Kaplan, do not respect us as voters or even as people.

Oaklanders are suffering like never before, and these councilpersons and our mayor turn a blind eye and deaf ears and continue to maintain policies that are harming and killing us. And the disrespect shown towards Oaklanders, to our faces, is outrageous.

The Council meeting ended around 2 a.m. as this council attempted to ram through 34 agenda items before new councilpersons are seated in January.

A number of items on the Consent Calendar dealt with the Oakland Police Department, who in 15 years has failed to complete the Negotiated Settlement Agreement. In fact, the federal judge added back in 3 items they said were completed but in fact were misrepresented to the court.

The council voted to approve a settlement for a 14-year-old female child who an officer punched in the face as if she were a man. He denied that, stating that he slapped her with an open hand. He’s still on payroll.

So, too, was the officer, who, against written policy, plowed through a red light and into a motorcyclist whose leg had to be amputated. It cost the city $12 million.

Yet, our Council voted to give officers a raise.

And yet housing the unhoused never came up.

Never came up. But someone from the audience mentioned that last week the mayor evicted a sober and clean camp of 13 women and their children on a rainy day with nowhere to go. Mayor Schaff is “tough” on Oakland alright. But the Council said nothing.

In 2020, Oaklanders have got to finish cleaning house.

Two of our new councilpersons were present and stayed the entire time. I did not see smiles on their faces.

Our community will continue expand our outreach work. Many of us are outraged and will work hard to break the cycle of disrespect and the harming and killing of Oaklanders by our mayor and councilpersons.

We are energized.

I repeat, in 2020 Oaklanders have got to finish cleaning the council’s house and the mayor’s house in 2022.

Cathy Leonard is a founder of Oakland Neighborhoods for Equity.