Y’all remember Tuesday’s Horrific Joke of the Day? Nadel and Kaplan wanted to declare Oakland an International City of Peace!
For those who didn’t attend the City Council meeting, here’s a quick recap via Dave:
Justice 4 Alan Blueford showed up tonight to the first Oakland City Council meeting in 8 weeks because of the council’s summer vacation (eh, the city basically runs itself anyway, right?). Tearfully, the family begged that after 4 months, they finally be given the police report. Asked where the report was, City Administrator Deanna Santana replied “we’re in the process of getting it.” When that incensed the crowd more, a phone call was made, and an announcement was made that Chief Howard Jordan was coming with the report.
So where’s the report you ask? Nobody knows….
After 2 hours of screaming and arguing, the council returned and announced the first item on the agenda would be a declaration to make Oakland a (I shit you not) International City of Peace. The room exploded. Larry Reid cancelled the meeting and said they’d try to have a meeting again in 2 weeks.
We’ll be back.
photo credits: Krissana Issara
Do they have some other definition of “peace” that I don’t know about?!
Wikipedia defines peace as “a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict and the freedom from fear of violence. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the establishment of equality, and a working political order that serves the true interests of all.”
That night, wavering between laughter and tears, I found Cynthia Morse’ words spoke so well to much of what I’d found myself wanting to scream at City Council. The meeting was cancelled before she was allowed to speak, but here’s her “unheard advice to the Council on the grotesque resolution to declare Oakland a ‘city of peace’“:
You are about to vote on a resolution declaring Oakland, Califoria, a city of peace. The city you are responsible for is full of overt violence and the violence of poverty and opportunity denied. Peace cannot exist in the violence of all kinds that permeates this city.Violence of resident upon resident is far overshadowed by brutalization of communities of color that the Oakland Police Department practices. Young men, especially, are stripped in the street, beaten, shot at, and murdered. We’ve just heard from the family of one of these young men, by no means the first. Experience tells us he won’t be the last. Demonstrators protesting conditions of police violence and the violence of poverty are teargassed, beaten, and shot in Oakland streets. The Oakland police go on military maneuvers here in the county led by the most violent of foreign armies. Instead of protection, many Oakland residents are subjected to contempt, fear, and injury from their police force.The violence of poverty is tied to the physical violence of Oakland streets. Social services are cut by this city government, city workers are laid off. Organizations that provide opportunities to youth are shut down. Low-income neighborhoods are bought by developers who will build housing the people living there can’t afford. Their children’s schools are closed, their libraries stand empty, and the city deploys its police officers to protect what it calls “property rights.” The violence done to individuals and families by hunger, homelessness, unemployment, and neglect has not been alleviated by city leaders, but increased.
At the same time this city council chooses to pay the punitive damages of OPD officers–many of whom earn six-figure salaries–who are found guilty of violating the civil rights and safety of citizens whom it is their job to protect. Upwards of $58 million in taxpayer funds has been spent this way in the last ten years, with no legal requirement to do so. The undisciplined, violent Oakland Police Department was ordered nine years ago to reform itself and for the past six years the City of Oakland has paid the federal court $3.2 million every year because neither the department nor the city has the will to bring OPD up to U.S. policing standards. Every one of those $77 million was wasted without a backward glance, by the representatives of Oakland’s citizens.
This is a violent city. For most of its residents, there is no peace. For this Council to present and support this resolution, naming Oakland a “city of peace” is an injury added to many others. And it shows that this City Council feels no responsibility for the lack of peace in Oakland. Show some respect and understanding of your fellow citizens and decline to pass this hypocritical resolution.
It’s no surprise that this obscenely timed and inappropriate resolution had folks up in arms. As they began to announce the resolution, they were met with roaring shouts. “No justice, No peace!”
I’m still outraged by the City Council’s behavior, but seeing the community’s response embodies so much of what I love about Oakland. You can count on us to be back!