Gov. Jerry Brown's gift of California Highway Patrol officers for Oakland came wrapped in some unkind words for city officials.
The governor, in an interview with KTVU-TV this week, questioned whether police Chief Howard Jordan, Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana had the "strategic focus" needed to get crime under control.
"At the end of the day, the problem is not in the middle or the rank-and-file," Brown said. "It's at the top. They need to be there 24/7 because we are in a real state of challenge in Oakland."
Asked to respond to the governor during a news conference Friday, Quan said she was unaware of the critique and proceeded to laud the police response to Thursday's Occupy Oakland demonstration.
Santana noted that the city this year has dedicated funds for new academies, officer trainings and outside consultants and cut $28 million from its budget without touching the police department.
"I think if you look at the last year," she said, "the way the mayor, the chief and I have teamed together, there is nothing in the record that shows that we have not prioritized public safety for the city."
Hayward dumping law targets landowners
The City Council agreed to toughen Hayward's illegal dumping ordinance Tuesday, making property owners responsible for clearing trash left on the public right of way next to their parcel.
Those who do not remove the trash within 72 hours can be fined $1,020 for a first offense and $1,920 for three violations within a year.
Illegal dumping has shot up in the past few years, with the volume of garbage doubling since 2009, said Matt McGrath, director of maintenance services for the city. He said the ordinance is intended to go after bank-owned abandoned properties and habitual dumpers.
City Manager Fran David told the council that the ordinance would be enforced judiciously, with the city going after major and repeat offenders.
But Councilman Greg Jones, who was the lone dissenting vote on the ordinance, expressed concern that the city is shifting responsibility to private property owners. While he acknowledged that there is a problem, "I know in my neighborhood, folks dump stuff frequently on the city streets.
"I will now be expected to remove it myself or pay someone else to remove it from the public right of way in front of my house, or wait for the fine and have the city clean it up," he said Thursday. "Does this make any sense?"
The ordinance is scheduled to return to the council for final approval Nov. 13.
San Leandro bans polystyrene containers
San Leandro's ban on polystyrene takeout containers goes into effect Thursday.
The containers will be banned at restaurants, city facilities and city-sponsored events. The law affects about 200 food vendors.
Polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, "has been identified as an environmental pollutant because it is nonbiodegradable, nonrecyclable and not reusable," said Mayor Stephen Cassidy.
Businesses violating the ban could be subject to fines from $150 to $600.
The ordinance was approved by the City Council in fall 2011. San Leandro joins several Bay Area cities that ban polystyrene takeout containers, including Hayward, Fremont and Oakland.