Public Comment

Press Release: Oakland Council to Make Deeper Cuts to Vital City Services While Maintaining Enormous Funding Level for Largely Outside Agitator Police Force--Initial Occupy Research Survey Results Show that Occupy Served The People.

From Sarah Thomason and Yvonne Yen Liu, Occupy Oakland Research Working Group
Tuesday January 31, 2012 - 04:47:00 PM

As the Oakland City Council prepares to approve more layoffs and make even deeper cuts to already less-than minimal City services, Occupy Research released initial survey results that show the Occupy Movement provided food, healthcare, and other social services to Oakland residents in three months.

“Oakland is spending millions to prevent Occupy from providing vital services to Oakland residents when they need it most. These funds should be used to prevent further cuts to schools and social services, instead of being wasted on the violent repression of activists and community members who are trying to fill in the gaps where local government has failed.” said Sarah Thomason, member of Occupy Oakland Research Working Group and graduate student at University of California, Berkeley.

Over the past four years, Oakland has slashed $97 million from its General Purpose Fund, and $34.2 from other sources, cutting transitional kindergarten and adult education programs, reducing library services by one day each week, eliminating the senior shuttle and elderly nutrition programs, among other cuts, and laying off 277 City workers.

Initial survey results from Occupy Research show that: 

  • Three quarters of the respondents obtained food through Occupy Oakland
  • Almost half of Oakland’s Occupiers are Oakland residents
  • 95% of Occupy Oakland participants are from the Bay Area
  • Occupy Oakland’s medics have provided basic healthcare for almost a quarter of those surveyed
  • Occupy Oakland provides literacy programs, film-screenings, book discussion groups, and offers access to dozens of free workshops.

Meanwhile, the City continues to spend $155 million each year, 40% of the City’s general purpose fund, on Oakland’s true outside agitators, the Oakland Police Department. Most of this spending has no positive impact on the city’s local economy because 93% of Oakland’s police officers lived outside of the city.

As of January 23, 2012, the City spent an additional $3 million or $50,000 a week to have 100 officers--20% of the city’s total patrol force--on hand at Oscar Grant Plaza.

According to an email obtained by KTVU from Oakland Police Chief Jordan to Mayor Quan’s office, the crime rate in Oakland fell 19% in the last week of October when the Occupy movement was violently evicted from Oscar Grant Plaza and organizers abused by the police, including Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen. “Not sure how you want to share this good news,” wrote Jordan. “It may be counter to our statement that the Occupy movement is negatively impacting crime in Oakland.”

“Instead of spending millions to police the people, the city should be paying attention to the real outside agitators: the Oakland Police Department. Only 7% of OPD live in our city and yet they abuse our residents when we try to care for our community. It is the police and the interests of the 1% that the city officials should be concerned about,” said Yvonne Yen Liu, a policy researcher at a nonprofit think tank and a member of the Occupy Oakland Research Working Group. 

The Occupy Oakland Research Working Group is an independent research committee of volunteers dedicated to the self-determination of local communities. 

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this email only reflect those of the authors and are not official view of Occupy Oakland or the GA unless specifically indicated.