OAKLAND -- A judge has tentatively sided with the city in a lawsuit that alleged misuse of funds from the Measure Y public safety parcel tax.
Oakland resident and attorney Marleen Sacks first sued the city over Measure Y in 2008. She won a judgment that was overturned on appeal. She sued again, saying that the city illegally collected Measure Y parcel taxes during a time when the police department had been shrunk to levels below what Measure Y requires. She also said the community policing program of Problem Solving Officers was abused, that the city isn't doing enough to maintain police staffing levels and that contracts were given out with no bidding process.
"I gave the judge unrefuted evidence that PSOs were assigned away from their beats for months at a time," Sacks said. "The city did not deny this happened. They said they inadvertently charged Measure Y about $85,000 for an officer not doing any Measure Y duties."
Judge Frank Roesch last week issued a tentative denial of Sacks' lawsuit, saying the city has fixed the problems where they existed.
"I can't even begin to express my disappointment," Sacks said. "The way I read this decision is the city can violate the law whenever it wants and there's no stopping them."
City Attorney John Russo did not immediately return a phone call Monday asking for comment.
Roesch is expected to make a final ruling after the city and Sacks complete their filings in the case.
Contact Sean Maher at 510-208-6430.