OAKLAND -- Deb Silberberg came to Fern Street Friday morning to honor a slain neighbor and glean information on what city and police leaders plan to do following the slaying of a 66-year-old animal rescue crusader who was shot dead while driving her Subaru Outback in the Fairfax district Wednesday afternoon.
But at the end of the news conference, Silberberg was angry and frustrated with a lack of answers and information about the killing of Judy Salamon and city crime-fighting plans, in general.
"We walk the walk and talk the talk. We take care of Oakland, and they are not taking care of us. I want more police officers. I would like to see that my tax dollars don't go in the Dumpster for Occupy Oakland," said Silberberg, a homeowner in the Melrose district who is considering leaving Oakland because of continued, and often random, violence.
She's not alone. An urgent private patrol information session is slated for Saturday at 10 a.m. at Maxwell Park and a meet-your-neighbors community dog walk was planned for Friday night.
Friday morning's event was organized by Maxwell Park district City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf and Councilman Noel Gallo, chair of the public safety committee. Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland police brass did not attend because they were planning for possible Occupy Oakland protests downtown Friday.
"Where are the police, where's the mayor?" people yelled as Gallo spoke about reporting suspicious activity to police and keeping an eye out for one another.
Salamon was working as a dog walker Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. and was driving with a dog in her car when she was killed. The dog was not injured. Police have not confirmed reports that she was hit by a stray bullet in a gun battle. The homicide was the 56th of the year in Oakland, and remains unsolved.
Quan spokesman Sean Maher said he and another mayor's office representative attended the Friday gather in place of the mayor.
"The mayor wanted to hear what the community had to say and that is why she sent (two representatives), despite the late notice we got about the (news conference),'' said Maher, adding that Occupy Oakland organizers put out notice that there could be a "city shut down" in honor of Trayvon Martin anywhere from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday. "We want to make sure we don't have any have any of the vandalism we had after the (George) Zimmerman verdict."
Gallo, however, said it's at least partially up to the people to take charge.
"We can no longer hide behind those bars and windows, we have to take action," Gallo said. "What I'm asking is for neighbors to come forth, get mad, take action and take ownership of your neighborhood."
That, is exactly what Salamon did -- for people and animals.
"She was really a tireless and persistent advocate for animal welfare," said Joel Denney, who had known her since she moved to the neighborhood 20 years ago. "She was also a tireless advocate for justice."
Outside of her love for animals, Salamon was a dancer, and an lover of literature, and had competed all but her dissertation toward a Ph.D in comparative literature from the University of Toronto, said her friend Eric Sahlin.
She came to the Bay Area from Canada about 30 years ago as the wife of a UC Berkeley professor, but the two later divorced, Sahlin said.
Salamon had no children, and her only close relative, an older sister in Southern California was grieving Friday and declined an interview.
But plenty of people remembered Salamon fondly.
Denney said when she cared for his cats she would nap with the critters on her if she felt they were upset or missing their owner.
"That's the kind of person she was, she just went extra step after step. Always taking it upon herself," Denney said.
One of the last things she was doing was trying to find homes for two litters of bunnies, he said.
But while remembering his friend, he said he feared the cycle of violence isn't going to end anytime soon. "What we have here is a sociopath culture going on here," Denney said. "I don't know how you break that."
Both Solomon and Alaysha Carradine, an 8-year-old aspiring model, were killed in the past week in Schaaf's council district in East Oakland. But random killings -- those not directly tied to drugs or gangs or both -- happen all over Oakland.
In April, Quinn Boyer, a Dublin man and San Jose paramedic, was shot and killed not far from his father's multimillion home on Skyline Boulevard. Five boys, two just 14, were later arrested on suspicion of carjacking, murder and robbery in the daytime killing and admitted their involvement, police said.
Alaysha was shot and killed after she answered a doorbell at a friend's apartment on Wilson Avenue in the Dimond district, where she was spending the night with her best friend. The bullets pierced the apartment's metal gate and Alaysha's 7-year-old friend was wounded, as were her friend's 4-year-old brother and 64-year-old grandmother. No one has been arrested.
On June 12, Aya Nakano was an hour away from his 23rd birthday when he was shot and killed at 11 p.m. by a driver who rear-ended Nakano's Jeep Cherokee in North Oakland, and then shot him point blank when Nakano stepped out to discuss the crash. The case remains unsolved.
Asked for specifics about crime-fighting plans, Schaaf said that during the past six months, the council has allocated funding for 36 civilian positions for the crime lab, investigations and field support for officers, as well as roughly 75 more officers during the next two years. Also, ranks swelled for the first time in years with 30 new officers out of field training.
"My district has suffered two heartbreaking losses," said Schaaf, referring to the killings of Alaysha and Salamon.
We stand here today, united, and with the beautiful neighbors in this neighborhood to say to you 'enough is enough' and that Oakland is not going to live like this anymore," Schaaf said. "We deserve a safe city, we demand a safe city."