OAKLAND -- A trio of policing ideas rushed to the City Council Tuesday night in the name of swiftly tackling Oakland's horrific violence problem were instead given six hours of public discussion and then delayed.
The proposals for a renewed anti-loitering ordinance, a school-hours and nighttime youth curfew and an expansion of gang injunction efforts into West and deep East Oakland were brought to the council by members Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale) and Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland).
De La Fuente and Reid pushed for all three proposals to go straight to the full City Council, bypassing the usual policy route, which would have first taken them through deliberation and tweaking at the city's public safety committee, made up of half the council. Both De La Fuente and Reid said they were calling for immediate action instead, outraged as they were by the summer killings of 3-year-old Carlos Nava and 39-year-old Jose Esparza, who was mugged and shot in front of his 6-year-old son.
About 135 community members arrived to speak on the issues, most of them part of the Stop the Injunctions Coalition, which has grown since the city announced an injunction targeting accused gang members in the Fruitvale district almost exactly a year ago.
Opponents of the measures ranged wildly in their attitudes.
"Those of you proposing this, I believe you are truly sincere as we are in wanting to live in a safe community,""said PUEBLO Director Rashidah Grinage. "You keep talking about tools in the toolbox. But you don't use a hammer to do brain surgery. We agree that you need tools, and we'll work with you to find tools that are effective." Another public speaker, who would only give his name as Shane M., threatened the council with a repeat of the recent riots in London.
"You can pass this all tonight, and you don't have to answer to us here. But you'll have to answer to us in the streets,""he said.
By and large the proposals''opponents fell somewhere in the middle, vehemently demanding more jobs and resources for the poor and accusing police of racial profiling and other injustices.
The ideas did have several supporters, who were often booed and hissed at by the anti-injunction crowd.
After several hours of public comment, the council members and Mayor Jean Quan did what they had appeared ready to do before the discussion: they voted to undo the proposals,'bypassing the Public Safety Committee, sending them back for further discussion and analysis.
They did, however, agree to a new contract with ShotSpotter, a company offering the city technology that will help police track the location and direction, and in some cases even the caliber, of gunshots in high crime neighborhoods.
Contact Sean Maher at 510-208-6430.