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Friday, August 02, 2002
      ( 1:29 AM ) Jackie  

City of Oakland Politics

It's been a busy week here in Oakland. Tuesday was the last meeting of the City Council before they take a recess.

Mayor Jerry Brown woke up one morning and decided that the number of murders in Oakland constituted an Emergency. Undaunted by such niceties as the local Sunshine Ordinance and the state Brown Act (that's a different Brown BTW), he placed an item on the city council agenda to add 100 police officers as a "crime prevention" measure. He prevailed on the council do this through a provision of the city ordinance allowing items to be placed on the agenda without the required notice in certain emergency situtations (section E of 2.20.070, "Agenda requirements--Regular meetings"). So the ordinance was made available on Friday for the Tuesday meeting.

Essentially he built himself a pulpit on the backs of murdered citizens of Oakland using the most recent murders as a way of obtaining press time.. They, the council -- we haven't heard from the murdered citizens-- were not happy with this process. However, after stating their issues, all but one courageous person voted in favor of the Ordinance. To be more precise, the ordinances place several items on the November ballot as propositions. One raises money through various taxations. The other assigns 96% of this money to funding for additional police officers and 4% to various intervention programs.

Councilmember Nancy Nadel spoke with intelligence and passion and voted her conscience. Thank you, Nancy!

There were perhaps three hundered citizens attending the meeting, which was pretty amazing since it went on the agenda on Monday! PUEBLO was of course well represented, both in numbers and in eloquence. Many members of PUEBLO have lost family members both to the streets and to the policel. Let's Get Free, a Youth Group spoke out powerfully, held signs, and showed their opposition to the measures with signs. One young man reminded of why we were there by asking for a moment of silence for those who have been murdered and their families.

Well, I'll be taking a break for local politics while I head off to Congolese Dance and Drum Camp for the next nine days. This is a packing nightmare as I'm bringing my large tent and all its many accoutrements and two large drums. I want to play my new-ish drum, the standup Ashiko,but an injury on my foot stops me from standing up very long. So I'll also bring my Conga and drum throne to play sitting. And bell, shakere, etc. and so on.....

I'm mostly packed--all but clothes-- and will pack the car in the am and get out of dodge by 10. Such is my plan! Sasha is not happy. But she will be when the housesitter comes tomorrow. The housesitter is much nicer than I am.

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Words and photos from Jackie in Oakland, CA. More I cannot tell you ... I won't know what it is until I do it.

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