City Grants Used to Campaign Against More Police
"People United for a Better Oakland, a frequent critic of the Oakland Police Department, printed 'No on FF' handbills and allowed two employees to spend more than 10 percent of their work hours advocating the defeat of Measure FF, according to an investigation by the city of Oakland's Public Ethics Commission," reports the Oakland Tribune (July 12, 2005).
Measure FF was a November 2002 ballot measure for 100 additional police officers.
PUEBLO lived off our tax money. Through the Office of Funding for Children and Youth, the City of Oakland gave PUEBLO $368,024 in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 fiscal years. (http://www.ofcy.org/00-01.html#PUBO and http://www.ofcy.org/01-02.html)
PUEBLO staff also embezzled at least $185,000 of the money for jewelry, travel, and other personal pleasures, according to an audit that is being followed up by a criminal investigation.
Link to Measure Y money
To get City grants, PUEBLO formed close ties with councilmembers and high City officials. Those ties continue today.
As the City rushed to get Measure Y money out to grantees this Spring, it worked with PUEBLO. On January 1, the city council illegally started the collection of Measure Y parking taxes. An April 12 implementation report on Measure Y lists the "Key Informants" with whom city staff worked. PUEBLO is on the list as part of the "Measure Y coalition" (Appendix B). (http://188.8.131.52/attachments/10370.pdf)
Why would city staff consult with an anti-police group on Measure Y? Why would city staff cooperate with an organization that misused public funds?
Perhaps staff take their lead from the city council. Not one councilmember has denounced the crimes of PUEBLO staff and the corruption of public debate in our city. Not one councilmember has called for legislative hearings to clean up the in-bred, back-scratching, politicized process of making grants to private agencies.
Oakland has half a police department – and a taxpayer-financed political machine dedicated to keeping it that way.
PUEBLO Shown Campaigning
Against Peaceful Neighborhoods
In 2002 Measure FF asked Oakland voters, "Shall all new revenues received from Ballot Measures GG, HH, and II be spent on violence prevention programs?" These latter proposals were tax increases, mainly on hotel rooms. Measure FF itself primarily called for adding 100 police.
The anti-police group PUEBLO asked organizations to join its campaign against Measure FF, sending a letter that began:
PUEBLO said "adding police will not contribute to improving safety." Instead, the group peddled the tired line that the answer is services, jobs, and education. No matter how hard a city tries – and a City government can only do so much in these areas – there will always be street thugs who want to disrupt our lives with boom cars, sideshows, and shootouts. If any city needs a fully staffed police force, it is Oakland.
Instead, PUEBLO told lies about Measure FF. It conducted a phone calling campaign to voters. Callers were given a script that said:
PUEBLO said 100 officers would cost $68 million. That's $680,000 per officer – almost four times the actual cost even at today's levels. We could have the 400 additional police we need with about that much money.
Worse, PUEBLO, which intervened in the voting on Measure FF, was built up and operated largely on City funds. Taxpayers were paying PUEBLO to tell them that they did not need more police!
To this day not one councilmember has investigated this scandal. PUEBLO continues, never having repudiated its anti-police campaign, never having reorganized its nonprofit entity, still opposed to a police force of at least 1,100 officers.
One thing, however, has changed. The rhetoric of claiming that we can get peaceful neighborhoods with social programs is much less accepted today. There is a growing demand for a fully staffed police force of at least 1,100 officers. Meanwhile, PUEBLO is still living down not only its outrageous misuse of public funds but also the embezzlement of at least $185,000 by top managers who spent it on jewelry, travel to Thailand, and other personal pleasures.
Embezzlers oppose adequate police force
– June 10, 2007