Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Another reason to reject Jerry Brown in California

Facing a huge budget shortfall, the city of Oakland has issued a list of crimes for which they will not send out a policeman.
Here's a partial list:

* burglary
* theft
* embezzlement
* grand theft
* grand theft:dog
* identity theft
* false information to peace officer
* required to register as sex or arson offender
* dump waste or offensive matter
* discard appliance with lock
* loud music
* possess forged notes
* pass fictitious check
* obtain money by false voucher
* fraudulent use of access cards
* stolen license plate
* embezzlement by an employee (over $ 400)
* extortion
* attempted extortion
* false personification of other
* injure telephone/ power line
* interfere with power line
* unauthorized cable tv connection
* vandalism
* administer/expose poison to another's
Apparently, they ran out of money before they could proofread that last one. Isn't administering poison an attempt at murder? So they're not going to come out for robbery, theft, or attempted murder? They've just laid off 80 officers.
The Oakland City Council voted June 25 to eliminate the positions to help close the city's $32.5 million funding gap. According to the city of Oakland, each of the 776 police officers currently employed at OPD costs around $188,000 per year. Most of the officers who will be affected by the layoffs were on the streets of Oakland when Johannes Mehserle's involuntary manslaughter conviction caused riots last Thursday.

The sticking point in negotiations appears to be job security. The city council asked OPD officers to pay nine percent of their salary toward their pensions, which would save the city about $7.8 million toward a multi-million dollar deficit. The police union agreed, as long as the city could promise no layoffs for three years. No dice, says city council president Jane Brunner.

"We wish we could offer them a three-year no layoff protection we just can't financially. It would be irresponsible of us," Brunner said. The city agreed to a one-year moratorium on layoffs, but it is not enough for the union.

The problem is money. In the last five years, the police budget -- along with the fire department budget -- have amount[ed] to 75 percent of the general fund. After years of largely sparing those departments the budget ax, now it appears there are few other places to cut.
Note that the unions, even when they are willing to make some concessions, are still the block to preserving jobs for their fellow policemen. As James Lileks writes,
Every private-sector company has slashed payrolls and done the same or more with less. Not the police union: unless they are guaranteed three years employment, they will simply redefine their job downward.

One suspects that they put the power of the union above the health and safety of the citizens, but that would be more of that reflexive union-bashing conservatives love to engage in.

One more note: if a police officer suffers any of those crimes while off-duty, think he’ll pick up the phone, or wait until tomorrow to report it online?

And who was mayor of Oakland up until a few years ago and didn't do anything to address this looming crisis? That's right, the Democratic candidate for governor this year, Jerry Brown.

This will sure entice people to move to Oakland. Soon all that will be left will be the criminals and the public employees.