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Perata Calls For Defunding Oakland's Citizens' Police Review Board And Oakland Ethics Commission As Cost-Cutting Measures
April 21, 2010
Anybody But Perata Website
Former State Senator Don Perata called this week for the abolishing of Oakland's Citizens' Police Review Board and Oakland Ethics Commission as a way to help balance Oakland's ailing city budget.
Perata, who is an announced candidate for mayor of Oakland in next November's election, made the call during a campaign appearance this week at the Youth Uprising organization in East Oakland.
Saying that "we're going to have to do without some things" in order to balance Oakland's city budget but that "we need to have the stones to do it," Perata said that Oakland citizens "don't need a police review board watching over the police" because the city already has several judges monitoring police activity in the city, including United States District Judge Thelton Henderson. "You're not going to get anything past him," Perata added.
Perata Oakland mayoral campaign has been endorsed by the Oakland Police Officers Association police union.
At the Youth Uprising meeting, also denied that his campaign was being "heavily funded" by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), the politically influental state prison guards union. Responding to a question from the audience if his campaign was being "heavily funded" by the state prison guards union Perata answered "no. As far as I know, I haven't received a dime from them."
While Perata was correct in saying that his mayoral campaign has received no money from the prison guards' union, he was not telling the truth when he said he has not received "a dime from them." As reported in several local newspapers this year and last, Perata has received at least $260,000 as a consultant for the CCPOA in the year since he left office as State Senator. ("Perata Picks Up Pretty Penny From Prison Guards Union" San Francisco Chronicle, February 21, 2010; "Perata Has Been Working For The Prison Guards Union" East Bay Express 92510 Blog September 18, 2009; "Perata Still Making Bank From The Prison Guards Union" Oakland Tribune, September 29, 2009)
Meanwhile, in implying that the Oakland police monitoring done by Oakland's Citizens' Police Reivew Board duplicates the Oakland police monitoring done by Judge Henderson, Perata was mixing two distinctly types of monitoring, which complement rather than duplicate each other.
Judge Henderson's oversight of the Oakland Police Department comes from Oakland's 2003 Negotiated Settlement Agreement in which the city settled a class action lawsuit based on claims of a pattern of illegal practices by the Oakland Police Department. Henderson's role is to monitor and enforce the progress being made by the City of Oakland in carrying out an approved plan to eliminate those police practices.
The city's Citizens' Police Review Board, on the other hand, hears and rules on citizen complaints against the actions of individual officers.
The Independent Monitoring Team set up by Judge Henderson to monitor Oakland police activities and compliance with the Negotiated Settlement Agreement does not hold hearings on individual citizen complaints against Oakland Police officers, and relies upon the Citizens' Police Review Board hearings and findings in presenting regular reports to Judge Henderson.
Perata said that the Ethics Commission should be disbanded because its function was to approve pay raises for the City Council and the mayor. However, the commission also hears and rules on citizen complaints about city officials and activities. Recently, following a complaint that the Oakland Police Officers Association police union used a city-sponsored event at its union heaqdquarters to announce the union's endorsement of Perata, the Ethics Commission asked the police union to refund the city money because the endorsement at the city-sponsored meeting "may have created a public perception of impropriety over the use of public funds." The OPOA police union is refusing to reimburse the city.
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