It turns out Oakland's well-publicized crowd control policy reforms won't be in place during Tuesday's Occupy Oakland protests after all.
On Monday, Mayor Jean Quan and police Chief Howard Jordan convened reporters to announce the reforms, which included using small teams of officers to root out troublemakers from crowds of protesters.
But the announcement concerned civil rights attorneys who had negotiated the department's current crowd control policy. That policy, enshrined in a federal court order, was negotiated after a 2003 protest at the Port of Oakland that included police firing less-than-lethal munitions at protesters.
The attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild maintained that Oakland was required to meet with them before making any changes to the policies and raised concerns that the city's plan to align its policies with state standards would actually give the department more leeway to use the less-than-lethal munitions.
In emails to the civil rights attorneys this week, Supervising Deputy City Attorney Rocio Fierro wrote that the new measures are "being postponed until after the May Day events."
Oakland: Rough going for term-limits plan
Getting the City Council to put a term-limits initiative on the November ballot is proving more difficult than expected. On Thursday, the council's four-member Rules Committee couldn't muster enough votes to send the item to the council for a vote. Council members Larry Reid and Desley Brooks opposed the measure to limit council members and the city attorneys to no more than three terms in office.
Councilwoman Jane Brunner, the initiative's sponsor, shouldn't have trouble eventually getting the proposal to the full council -- she only needs the support of one other council member to get it on the agenda -- but passing the bill is no sure bet.
With Reed and Brooks already in the opposition camp and Councilwoman Nancy Nadel a longtime opponent of term limits, Brunner will likely need the support of Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who has so far declined to weigh in on the term-limits plan. If the vote ended in a 4-4 tie, Mayor Jean Quan, an opponent of term limits for council members, would be expected to break it in favor of the opposition camp.
Oakland: Recall poll
What do Van Jones and Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente have in common? Their names both popped up as potential candidates for mayor in a recent poll conducted on the effort to recall Mayor Jean Quan.
De La Fuente has already said he'll run if recall supporters get enough signatures to trigger a recall election in November. A spokesman for Jones said the green entrepreneur and former Obama administration official "is not considering running for mayor."
Other potential candidates queried in the poll included Kaplan and former mayoral candidate Joe Tuman. Tuman also has said he will run if there is a recall election.
Judging from the pollster's questions, one recipient speculated that the poll was probably commissioned by Quan supporters. But Pamela Drake, a member of the committee to defeat the recall, said she didn't know if it had commissioned any polling.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011 or email@example.com, Rob Dennis at 510-353-7010 or firstname.lastname@example.org and Eric Kurhi at 510-293-2473 or email@example.com.