Nancy sidebotham questionnaire responses
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Nancy sidebotham questionnaire responses
Nancy S. Sidebotham
1. Please state your position on the following November ballot
measures along with a brief (No more than a 30
word) statement supporting your position.
Measure Z: Public Safety (Parcel tax for police, fire and violence prevention
I am an opponent of Measure Z. Having a set number for officers and
money coming out of the general fund to cover any possible shortages is a
Measure CC: Public Ethics (Restructuring of Public Ethics
Commission and mandatory funding for its staff)
I am an opponent because it needs to be strengthened; the language is
weak and it still gives too much control to the Administrator and politicians.
Measure DD: Redistricting (Citizens’ redistricting commission for City
No real position on this measure; can be subject to abuse.
2. As of May 31st, OPD had 649 sworn police personnel, and
projected it would have 681 by July and 716 by December 2014. 63
of these officers are funded by Measure Y which expires at the end of this
year; 35 by Federal grants, which, if not renewed, will expire next
year. If the voters elect you in November, how many police will Oakland
the end of 2018?
If you plan to either maintain current levels or increase them, describe
how you will fund police (a) if Measure Z succeeds and if it
fails; (b) if current grants for police are renewed or replaced and if
they are not.
This question has to be carefully considered because of the way it is
crafted. The question should not just focus on the numbers, but should also
consider OPD leadership and officer morale. OPD ideally should have 1100
but let's start with 900. OPD officers should be able to protect and serve its
citizens and do it without input from individuals who have no law
enforcement experience. It's the input from non experienced individuals
that has caused the department to be ran inefficiently and created low staff
morale. OPD has superb officers and their skills are not being used that
would benefit citizens. If there was a strategic plan in place to find the most
effective way to use officers, the opportunity to move from under federal
oversight would occur quicker.
3. OPD’s difficulty in achieving the authorized sworn staffing level
appears to be exacerbated by high attrition and low morale, as shown
by the department’s internal polling (http://tiny.cc/OPDPoliceSurvey)
and it’s loss of officers only months after they complete
their training. How will you solve OPD’s attrition and morale
Improving officer morale is not solely the responsibility of the
Mayor. Officers need to be given the opportunity to perform the job they
were sworn to do, receive support from the citizens they serve and
eliminate the oversight of the federal monitors. Officers are being
reprimanded for minor infractions that can be changed through improved
training not days off. The mandatory OT also needs to be eliminated. This
is having an impact on personal lives and hampers them from effectively
doing their job.
4. OPD has been under Federal Court supervision for close to twelve
years. While Oaklanders have repeatedly been told that the end is in
sight, in late July, Judge Henderson stated that Oakland’s disciplinary
processes have violated Court orders, and that continuing the same
"undermine any confidence in the sustainability of the reforms that have
been and continue to be achieved." Then, on August 14, the Judge
the City’s recent inability to sustain through arbitration an officer
termination in connection with response to the Occupy Oakland protests.
http://tiny.cc/ArbOrder). The Court opined that Oakland could not be in
with two NSA tasks if internal investigations were inadequate and
not consistently imposed.” Many people believe the Monitor has repeatedly
imposed requirements on Oakland that far exceed the literal requirements
NSA, and that as a result of the Monitor’s shifting standards, Oakland may
never be able to extricate itself from Court supervision. As Mayor, to
what extent would you be prepared to oppose continued and changing
from the Monitor, and what is your plan to end the era of Court
Judge Henderson has to carefully weigh information presented to him by
the monitors. While several residents are obtaining their information from
the media, careful consideration should be used in regards to why the
arbitrator opted to make the decision he did. The facts are not entirely
known. Personnel matters are generally as a rule confidential and personal
in nature. There are a lot of emotions and thoughts involved with the NSA
agreement but if elected officials and others would allow Judge Henderson
to complete his task despite some of the unpopular decisions he has made,
OPD could move out from under the NSA quicker.
5. According to the Public Works Department, Oakland is on an 85-year
repaving schedule, meaning a street that is repaved today won’t be
repaved again for
85 years. Further, according to Public Works, maintaining the existing
condition on Oakland’s streets would require an estimated $28 million
annually, while the amount allocated annually has been less than $6
recent years. Sixty percent of the City’s curb ramps are non-compliant or
non-existent. The total needed to rehabilitate Oakland streets is over $435
How do you plan to reverse the ongoing deterioration of our streets and
sidewalks? If you are elected, when will Oaklanders see a difference?
Ramps are done today on an application or complaint driven scenario.
Again the decision to improve deteriorating streets does not rest solely on
the Mayor. This requires ongoing communication with the Public Works
Director who should be able to assess streets that require immediate
attention. If there is a process in place to repave the streets every 85 years,
it is time to review the current system and change it. Most things that are
considered broken should involve everyone impacted. Individuals
overseeing Oakland's key agencies need to be less reactive to the
situations based on what is printed in the media, be more fiscally
responsible and have strategic plans in place to address infrastructure
problems. Top management also needs to determine what's a key priority
in the City. A deteriorating infrastructure is a public safety
issue. Developers should also contribute funds to upgrading streets,
improve lighting and provide open space.
6. The extent to which the City faces
unfunded liabilities and what should be done about them has been a
contentious issue in
recent years. As recently as last December, the City
Administrator projected that for the three fiscal years
beginning July 1, 2015, Oakland faces all-funds budget structural shortfalls
totaling $795 million if it addresses its deferred capital expenses and
liabilities, and $342 million if it does not (Source: December
12, 2013 Update to Five-Year Financial Forecast, Attachment
D, http://tiny.cc/5yrupdate.) Do you believe
Oakland faces a financial shortfall, and if so,
how will you address it if elected in November?
Oakland faces a financial shortfall due to bad investments, poor spending
decisions and questionable deals. A lot of individuals perceive pensions as
unfunded liabilities, but so is the Raider's deal, needed capital
improvements, infrastructure and more. Employees helped the City for (3)
years while it dug itself out of a financial hole and then rewarded faithful
employees by issuing pink slips and laying off 800 workers. The City
cannot continue to hold itself up financially through bond measures.
Council members need to get a better grasp of the budget so the right fiscal
decisions can be made. Catering to special interest groups is not fiscally
responsible and only makes Oakland look like a "cash cow." The City and
labor unions need to work together to develop a plan to make Oakland a
fiscally strong City.
7. Operation Ceasefire has been described
as the centerpiece of Oakland’s violent crime reduction effort. We
that funding for its manager has been dependent on grant funding and that
is an insufficient number of case managers to maximize Ceasefire’s
Do you plan to expand Operation Ceasefire? In what respect? Where
specifically do you intend to allocate resources and staffing?
Ceasefire is a good program and effective in other cities (Boston, New
Orleans) but not well thought out in Oakland. It seems Oakland rushed to
put forth a program in order to reduce the problem of violent crimes. There
is not a strong commitment from all the needed agencies and the funding
source is a challenge for a City that relies too heavily on one source, Real
Estate Transfer Tax. The politics also need to be removed because
criminals will not take this program seriously until that occurs.
8. What is your understanding of the relative responsibilities of
the Mayor and City Administrator as established in the Charter? What are
duties of each? What is the Council’s responsibility in this regard?
What the Charter states and what is actually being done are
2 different things. The mayor is the figure head of the City (similar to the
answers to the residents and hires and fires department
heads with consent and vote of the Council. The mayor is supposed
to have (4) town hall meetings a year. The City Administrator, under the
direction of the Mayor,
runs the City and directs department heads. Council is the
legislative branch and is supposed to direct all concerns to
the City Administrators office.
9. If the voters elect you in November, will Oaklanders see
changes in the following from City Government? If so, what changes and
Leadership: Yes the micro managing of department Heads
will be eliminated. Hire individuals in management positions that have
the required credentials to perform their jobs.
Management: That is the purview of the City Administrator who has
oversight of department heads.
Strategic Planning: There have been enough plans written with little to no
results and money wasted that could have funded more viable
projects. Review previous plans never implemented and stop reinventing
the wheel. Answers to a lot of Oakland's problems are already in existence,
they are just ignored.;
City Hall will be open to the public; transparency is the key.
10. In 2012-2013, Oakland contracted with Strategic Policy Partners
(Robert Wasserman et al) to present a comprehensive public safety plan.
Strategic Policy Partners made a large number of recommendations,
which have been implemented and some of which have not. (The reports
here: http://tiny.cc/SPPReport, http://tiny.cc/Bratton1, http://tiny.cc/SPPBes
t) If the voters elect you in November, please state whether Oakland will
implement the following recommendations
(We are looking for a “yes” or “no” answer as to each recommendation,
narrative not exceeding 25 words for each recommendation):
Yes, I would hire a Chief respected by the Rank
and File and let the Chief follow up on recommendations
Call for Service Reduction strategy. That will be up to the
Chief. Expand the investigation capacity in each of the City’s 5
police districts so that each district has an investigative sergeant, 3
investigators, and 3 to 5 police officers.
YES if the numbers substantiate the deployment.
Increase sworn police personnel to a ratio of 2 officers for every 1,000 in
the population (i.e., 800).
YES hopefully more with proper leadership!
Expansion of the Ceasefire initiative.
YES if there is assurance all the required resources are part of the
Redesign the Community Policing program so the entire police department,
not just PSOs, are focused on building community relationships. This was
derailed under the previous command structure (pre Batts).
YES, this is how it should be. Measurement of the state of community /
relations. I love statistics.
NO to moving restorative justice practices into the
community to address neighborhood disorder and minor
YES. We definitely need social workers to replace
parents! Schools might then have the ability to teach and
teachers can stop being glorified babysitters.
NO to appointing a Director of Community Improvement who will
be responsible for coordinating collaborative action by
city agencies, community groups and state and federal partners to
address both quality of life issues and crime. What is currently in place
works well if the City
will allow it to operate in a manner that was effective many years ago. The
staff is well trained and effective in the work they perform. The continuous
interference gives the perception collaboration does not work. The
perception is incorrect.
NO We already have that with the CPAB
Security Ambassadors into the crime reduction strategic
plan and requiring advanced training to those who patrol the downtown
They are active and have the ability to intervene in minor situations that
impact public security. The question that should be asked is, who is going
to pay for this? If we are
asking individuals to volunteer then by all means full speed ahead!
YES if there are volunteers!
11. In early 2010, Oakland’s Finance and Management Committee
received a presentation from staff and visiting personnel from the City of
concerning CitiStat, a leadership strategy a mayor can employ to
mobilize city agencies to produce specific results. (More information is at
http://tiny.cc/q00ojx). CitiStat involves use of a round-the-clock 311
reporting system for any request for city services other than policing. It
data in a manner similar to ComStat. High level city management uses the
311-generated data and benchmarks and regular meetings to hold
accountable, judge successes and failure, reveal what agencies are doing
not doing to achieve benchmarks and provide the best possible services to
residents. Explain your familiarity with CitiStat and whether you believe
a program can and should be implemented in Oakland. If you do not
believe it should be implemented in the near future, explain why. If you
think it should, explain what you will do to implement it and when this will
Oakland does not need to go outside itself for programs such as
Citistat. This is another program that requires funding. Where would the
funding come from? What works on the east coast does not necessarily
work on the west coast. The funding streams are different as well as the
laws. It would be more logical to look at cities closer to Oakland and study
them more thoroughly. Oakland has the expertise on hand that is
consistently overlooked because individuals in upper management do not
trust or believe in their staff. Before bringing programs into a City that has
challenges with its revenue stream, survey the staff and ask their opinion.
The knowledge that city staff has is unbelievable;however it continues to
remain untapped. So whether I know or don’t know what this program is,
we need to fix what is broken in Oakland. This can be done by talking to
staff in the field performing the work.
12. Oakland has room to improve its policies in the areas of crime
reduction, budget processes, street maintenance, and economic
What cities can Oakland learn from, and adopt or emulate policies from
respect to these subjects? What policies from other cities would benefit
NONE. Oakland in the past was the city to emulate. That is no longer the
case, Funding is needed and the City already has employees who are loyal
to Oakland and good at their jobs.
13. Do you support the following policies and, briefly, why or why
A. Creation by Charter amendment of a Rainy day fund as
recommended by MOBN.
A rainy day fund would not work well for a City that is not fiscally sound and
suffers from infrastructure and capital improvement problems. Look at
ways to improve and maintain the revenue stream. A rainy day fund should
be revisited when the City is more financially stable.
B. Annual polling of city residents on their satisfaction with city services?
With 800 employees laid off in the last (3) years, the polling will probably
show dissatisfaction with City services. The focus should be on what can
citizens do to assist in making City services more effective; Limited staffing
means limited services.
C. Conducting a police resource deployment study to determine the
officers actually need by OPD and how they should be deployed?
No more studies should be conducted regarding the number of officers
needed. The focus should be on the process for paying for more officers
and how to use current officers in a more effective manner. Until the money
issue is resolved, a deployment study is a waste of time and money.
D. Will you support the preparation of a comprehensive public safety
Only if it encompasses all of public safety and not just fire and police. It
should also include key stakeholders which does not include politicians or
individuals reaping financial benefits from the City..
Nancy S. Sidebotham
Candidate for Mayor, 11/04/14
Beat 29X NCPC Chair