Noel Gallo, Juvenile Curfews And The Politics Of Personal Experience

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL//CURFEWS | A younger Noel Gallo once walked the late night streets of Oakland. “Growing up in the city of Oakland as a teenager, I knew what the curfews was because I was one individual picked up by law enforcement and questioned what was I doing on a Thursday night on Fruitvale Avenue at 12 midnight.” Police back then gave him a choice: we’ll call your parents or take you home?

The connection between life then for Gallo growing up in Oakland’s Fruitvale District and the Latino-infused area he now represents has often been a proxy for a very paternal view of fixing the problems that plague his neighborhood. In only his first year on the City Council, Gallo has literally and figuratively, worked to cleanse the Fruitvale District of grime and graffiti, searched for ways to stop young women from prostituting themselves along the International Boulevard corridor and strived to change the downward direction of youths.

This week Gallo and other members of the council propose enacting stronger fines for those who illegal dump garbage on city streets. On Thursday, Gallo also scheduled a proposed mechanism for censuring council members for Oct. 17 in the aftermath of a contentious hearing last July to reprimand Councilmember Desley Brooks for violating the City Charter. His old school ways may irk some in Oakland, along with a default setting for bending rules and relegations, but his clear desire for law and order is exactly what many Oaklanders say they desire.

An ordinance to enact a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily juvenile curfew that features punishment ranging from community service, fines or even incarceration, is likely to be the next battle in cleaning up Oakland. On Thursday, Gallo requested his controversial proposal be scheduled for introduction Nov. 12. Gallo told the City Council Rules and Legislation Committee, he needs more time to fine-tune the proposal, along with allowing the city attorney’s office to weigh-in on some portions of the ordinance and locating areas and circumstances outside the proposed curfew rules. “By then we will have the police chief, the city administrator, the attorneys, all engaged in what a curfew should look like and be all about here in the city of Oakland,” he said.

The juvenile curfew ordinance is similar to a proposal by former Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente, of which Gallo replaced last year, and current Councilmember Larry Reid. Gallo told the committee a copy of the prior curfew ordinance will be attached to the latest version when it eventually appears before the Public Safety Committee.

The De La Fuente/Reid plan, however, met resistance from the previous council and elicited stiff public condemnation. Opponents deny juvenile curfews actually improve public safety, while unwittingly offering a target for police to harass young black and Latino males. In the past, Gallo has also supported gang injunctions in the Fruitvale area, which critics have opposed under a similar argument to juvenile curfews. Nevertheless, Gallo often views the city’s problems within the prism of his own personal experiences.

It wasn’t just the cops, however, who set Gallo straight. It was his parents, he says, who ultimately stopped his late night gallivanting. After being questioned by police as a teenager for loitering, he finally got the message. “I experienced that not only one time, but several times,” Gallo says before adding the kicker, “So I got it after the third time due to my mom’s discipline and direction.”

Categories: blacks, fruitvale, gang injunctions, graffiti, Ignacio De La Fuente, Larry Reid, latinos, Oakland, Oakland City Council, Oakland committees, Oakland PD, public safety committee, youth curfews

12 replies

  1. Love letter to Gallo by Tavares.


  2. A major, if not THE major, problem with Oakland journalism is the absolute lack of critical thinking. There's entirely too much pussyfooting around the glaring stupidity and incompetence of our elected officials. And this is, in turn, the prime reason these incompetent asses are reelected again and again.


  3. One of Oakland's problems is a serious sense of denial that the city will not be a nice or safe place to live unless hard and extreme choices are made. In their politics and their policies. Ad campaigns and photo ops have reached their limit. Action is needed. Cleaning up the streets of trash every week may be symbolic, but its a hell of a symbol when you feel neglected by your city and unsafe. Anyone with a child and a street covered in trash knows that I mean..Someone is asleep at the wheel. It is bad out here and its not getting any better, But at least you can live on a clean Oakland street. They are getting more and more rare, We need to get out the tired and corrupt people at City Hall(Starting with Brooks). You may have forgotten what a public servant looks like, by confusing them with politicians. As I hear gun shots outside…


  4. Hopeful says “Action is needed. Cleaning up the streets of trash every week may be symbolic, but its a hell of a symbol when you feel neglected by your city and unsafe. Anyone with a child and a street covered in trash knows that I mean”

    So tell me Hopeful, how much time or effort do you put in each week keeping just your one block clean?

    Sure, you can't pick up a huge pile, but what about the papers, cans, and small trash on your street. You know, 5 or 6 houses in either direction to the next corner. And that same distance across the street.
    About 20 or so houses in total on your one single block.

    Is that group of 20 houses on your street clean? Takes about 10 minutes each week to walk that block picking up all the small trash. If there is a large dump or furniture, the city will come if you call. Those large piles don't happen every week on most blocks.
    But the small continuous trash droppings do happen daily and weekly. Takes a short time for YOU to make that one block clean.

    So Hopeful, how often do you pick up the street on your own block?

    Or is a $100,000 a year (Total comp) city employee supposed to come to your block every week and remove those papers, cans and plastic bags?

    Appreciate a answer.


  5. I shouldn't have to, that's what the city government is for. Moreover, i don't want another community forum or “walk' through a tough part of town. Do your job, I have one already and another when considering my baby. And if you can't do the job then let someone else do it. I wish my citycouncil person would do what Gallo does, I'd help for sure but that's charity to a city government in crisis. I'm not pretending to have all the answers and I'm not “political” I'm being honest in a city where honesty to oneself is rare. Oakland needs help. Our communities need help and i feel like no one is in charge. Quan has disappointed me and basket cases like Brooks show that corruption in Oakland is pervasive and its the areas that need it the most that are suffering. We could be great.


  6. Hopeful, you say “We could be great”

    No Hopeful, Oakland will never be great as long as it has to depend on people like you.

    I ask Hopeful if she could spend 10 minutes a week on her short block, perhaps 5 houses in either direction on both sides of the street. Just carrying a small bag and picking up a few wrappers, cans, and the typical stuff that others drop.
    TEN MINUTES or less a week would keep the liter to a minimum on a typical block.

    But NO, Hopeful says the won't do that.
    She says the following..

    “I shouldn't have to, that's what the city government is for.”

    That's right, Hopeful wants Oakland which is in dire fiscal shape to hire a $100,000 a year (with benefits) employee to come and pick up those pieces of litter on her short block.

    Hopeful, you have the wrong name. Because there is no hope for your neighborhood as long as it is filled with people like you. People who aren't willing to make the smallest effort to improve their own street.
    They want “city government” to do it all for them.

    Hopeful and people like her are as much a part of Oakland's problems as are the thugs who roam the streets.

    Let the government do it all, that is Hopeful's solution for Oakland. That and moaning and complaining about everything.

    What clearer picture do we need to understand the problem?
    Hopeful, poster child for a city in need of real citizens who care.


  7. Noel Gallo lives in my district and I voted for him. I appreciate him trying to change things. I don't see a problem with the curfew because I don't think it is safe outside for teens to be out at night. I didn't agree with him voting for the consulting from Bratton because the city would not implement any of the suggestions and it would be a waste of money. To this day nothing has been said about what came of the consulting and it was done in February (that was not talked about in this article but he does try to vote for a lot of crime improving ordinances). Noel Gallo has people out most weekends cleaning up, they even provide food in the morning for volunteers. Residents need to be active in the conversation and participate in Oakland. The reason for our high crime, outside of the small and over stretched police force is the lack of willing people to come forward. I have many conversations with my sister about how silence does not protect you if you witness a crime. You become a silent accomplice to the crime and sit around worrying about whether you will become a future victim to the perpetrator. Oakland can be a great city but we have to take it back from the flourishing criminals and lazy mayor.


  8. Don't attack Hopeful. She sounds like a hard working Oakland mother who is looking for her city government to lead by example and not the other way around. You would think you would be able to recognize a person in need of help when you see it. Or maybe you are just as out of touch as the politicians that are letting us down, or even one of them. You pick up trash on your own street with a baby strapped to your chest and patrol the streets at night. Makes a great campaign slogan. Oakland – do it yourself. You're sick and should be ashamed! That is no way to answer legitimate concerns. You can report illegal dumping Hopeful at 615-5566 and msg Gallo's office, maybe they will consider a clean up in your area.


  9. Not Alone, there you go again like so many.

    “You can report illegal dumping Hopeful at 615-5566 and msg Gallo's office, maybe they will consider a clean up in your area”

    Yes, a few pieces of paper in your gutter or on your sidewalk.
    By all means, don't take the time to pick them up.
    NO, report those candy wrappers and soft drink cans to the city. Call the city and demand that a crew come over to pick up those pieces of litter.
    There is nothing you can do for a can or wrapper as long as it is more than 6 inches from your property.
    The litter is no longer under your jurisdiction and control.

    Up to the city to go from block to block in a organized “clean-up” using city workers who cost the city $100,000 a year each when you include benefits and pension.

    And good God, how could one even ask a month with a child to bend over and pick up anything.
    I'm sure she can't even do such a strenuous activity in her own house or yard.

    CALL the city… demand they do everything.
    Demand the teachers do all teaching. Parents have no obligation to read or help the children learn.
    Citizens have no obligation to help the police.
    We pay our taxes and everything should be done by the city.

    The powerful litter looks at our weak citizens and laughs, knowing full well they are incapable of even bending over and picking up a single piece of paper outside their house.

    Litterbugs and their litter rule the day.

    Citizens are helpless.
    They not only expect the city to pick up large piles and heavy objects, but they must also pick up every single wrapper and can on the street.
    Sure, they can pick up the large items, but most of the trash is little stuff that so many citizens complain about but never bend over for even 5 minutes to remove.

    You will be living in a messy city for the next 100 years with such a helpless attitude.

    Clearly the litterbugs don't care and clearly the city will never have crews capable of picking up all the small items.

    Thus you will continue to live in filth forever.

    You are the problem. Until you see that, you will have litter everywhere.


  10. Out of touch – Right, let's wait for people to stop littering and pick up their trash because THAT will keep trash off the street for the next 100 years…. Clean the streets and the people might just keep them that way. They need to be shown that their electeds care and that they are worth it. Apparently you don't think so. Get your ass out there and create some capital. Or should we choose between mattresses etc in the streets and cops on the streets. If you can't do it – move over!


  11. Anyone under the age of 90 can go out in front of their own house and perhaps the houses next to them, even a couple across the street and pick up that small area if its only candy wrappers, cans, a few bottles, and some bags.

    Not now, not ever will the city have enough employees to pick up the day to day litter.
    Of course if there is a major dump, or a heavy object, that is what the city crews are for. But they can't and won't ever spend half an hour walking up and down your street picking up minor litter that unthinking people leave day to day.

    NO, unless neighbors pick up that wrapper or can, it will sit their on your street for weeks, even months, with YOU having to look at it every day for all those months.
    How much easier is it to just pick it up in a couple minutes of effort.

    The neighbors are responsible for the neighborhood remaining full of that litter, not the city, not even the idiot who dropped it there.
    What, you expect him to change his ways? You'll be waiting decades for that. Meanwhile your street is full of litter.

    Your choice. No member of the city council is gonna beg you to take some care of the 4 or 5 houses next to yours.
    To think someone else is gonna do it is dreaming. The kind of dreaming that lets a single piece of litter sit there and stare at you day after day, months on end.

    All power to that 2 ounce piece of litter. The humans are too weak to even pick it up.

    Waiting for the politicians to organize a clean up day.
    What a joke.

    Just like Jean Quan, who every spring shows up in East Oakland to clean up the median strip on Bancroft Ave from about 80th to 90th Avenue. It stays clean for a few days.
    Then the other 51 weeks of the year, its filled with trash.

    That's the clean up you'll get from politicians in your own neighborhood street. Clean for one week a year.
    If that's acceptable to you, call them up.


  12. People, you can't and shouldn't depend on government to take care of you. It costs too much and fewer and fewer people are forced to pay for services that don't work or only benefit a few.


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