The Anti Police-Terror Project Demands Action Amid Financial Crisis in Oakland

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By Estelle Masse

OAKLAND, CA – After the COVID-19 crisis and the completion of budget adjustments, theAnti Police-Terror Project (APTP), in a recently released statement, charged Oakland’s financial stability remains in crisis while the police budget continues to grow.

Deputy Director of APTP, James Burch, argued, “The city’s decision to sell its share of the Oakland Coliseum for $105 million, though temporarily preventing more severe cuts, only scratches the surface of our deep-rooted financial issues.”

Instead, APTP’s Burch insists “long-term budgetary concerns, especially with our unfunded pension liabilities over $2 billion” will not be solved by a “one-time cash injection” such as this one.

The APTP explains Oakland’s $155 million general fund deficit, which was addressed by the mayor and city council’s $55 million cuts in general funds.

These cuts froze many non-police positions while the police staffing level at the Measure Z-mandated minimum remained unchanged and, according to APTP, did not address the issue of unsustainable police spending.

Cat Brooks, executive director and co-founder of APTP, maintains Oakland’s “financial woes are a direct result of prioritizing the police budget over critical public services. The continued increase in police funding” and focus on “one-time cash injections” is short-sighted.

APTP’s Brooks said these adjustments do not address the “underlying economic issues” and place “our city’s future in jeopardy.”

APTP explained the sale of the Coliseum is not a sustainable financial strategy even if it prevented immediate disaster, and Oakland must manage its expenditures more effectively for future budget cycles where there won’t be assets as large as the Coliseum to offload.

The issue of excessive police spending, while ignoring necessary changes, will critically affect the services in the city, as several departments are already operating with significantly high vacancy rates, APTP reports.

This freeze will mean more positions remain vacant and more services will be reduced while, according to APTP, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) receives its sixth consecutive 3.5 percent raise in a trend that will continue in the next two years with more than 100 officers earning an estimated $300,000 in pay in 2024.

The APTP has advocated the city reallocate police funds since 2016, which APTP said is the only way to financially save the city.

One example the APTP describes is how the city plans to spend $5 million on 77 new OPD vehicles, which exceeds all funding for major transportation projects and is more than the entire Alameda County-Oakland Community Action Partnership budget under Human Services.

Reinstating the idea that reducing police spending and reallocating resources to other essential services is necessary to improve Oakland’s long-term financial health, APTP is urging the city to reconsider its priorities.

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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