Oakland City Council will decide Tuesday whether 
to accept a $578,000 Homeland Security grant.

Oakland City Council Preview
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, third floor
Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 7 p.m.
Twitter hashtag: #oakmtg

HOMELAND SECURITY GRANT Any time grant funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security appears on an Oakland City Council agenda, you can expect privacy advocates have a keen eye on the proceedings. In this case, the council will decide whether to accept a $578,527 federal grant to improve its existing the video security system at the Emergency Operations Center with up to 30 surveillance cameras.

However, the issue of whether to purchase a Forward Looking Infrared Thermal Imaging Camera System (FLIR) will have to wait, according to the proposed resolution. Funding for the expenditures comes from the Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program. (Item 12)

Acceptance of the grant was delayed by the council last month when City Council Public Safety Committee requested additional information on Oakland’s existing policy on the use of thermal imaging cameras by law enforcement.  The camera, according to a previous staff report, would provide law enforcement with live aerial imaging of police and fire situations and patrol of the Port of Oakland. A supplemental staff report reiterated the camera’s potential uses and added, data and video retention from its use would not exceed three years. 

Mounted to a helicopter, the FLIR assembles a rough aerial picture of activity on the ground by primarily detecting heat, for instance, emitted from people. The use of FLIR is common for security of the U.S. border. but its constitutionality was questioned by the U.S. Supreme Court for surveillance, without a court order, of private property. Oakland police said the technology has long been used in Oakland without opposition and never used to peer through walls of private citizens.

The cost breakdown includes $263,773 for purchase of the EOC building video security system and $314,754 for the FLIR camera. The grant, however, requires $192,842 matching grant from the Oakland Police Department and Fire Department. 

THIS & THAT Oakland’s next city administrator will earn $275,000 a year and start work on July 1. The contract’s length is four years, according to the resolution confirming her appointment by Mayor Libby Schaaf…An ad-hoc Working Group on Police Recruitment comes before the council, although, according to a committee last week, its main function may include an online survey…Brooklyn Basin, Oakland’s billion dollar waterfront development moves forward with three items on the agenda… 

Mayor Schaaf will appoint to the Community Police Advisory Board, Ravinder Singh, Colleen Brown and reappoint Jay Ashford, Don Link and John Garvey…Six anti-graffiti grants totaling $60,000 will be approved for Councilmember Abel Guillen’s District 2…A $4.3 million city contract will be granted to Pacific Trenchless, Inc. to rehab sewers around Mountain Boulevard and Joaquin Miller Road…DeFremery Park Rec Center will get a $640,000 upgrade, but the project is set to be a no-bid contract…An update on the city’s zero waste garbage contract with Waste Management and California Waste Solutions will be offered Tuesday night…

A second reading of the Coliseum Area Specific Plan and EIR is on the consent calendar for final approval…Oakland weighs-in on the two-year labor battle between the United Farm Workers of America and San Joaquin County fruit producer Gerawan Farming. A resolution is on Tuesday’s agenda calling for Gerawan to recognize workers’ rights and settle the labor dispute that is also pending in Fresno’s Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals….Resolutions sponsored by Councilmembers Larry Reid and Rebecca Kaplan oppose so-called “religious freedom” legislation in Indiana and Arkansas. Critics say the bills discriminate against members of the LGBT community…

POMP & CIRCUMSTANCE . April 19-26 will be proclaimed “Oakland Veg Week,” while April 20-26 is “Sexually Exploited Minors Awareness Week.” The City Council will also recognize retiring OPD Capt. Ricardo Orozco for 28 years on the force and adopt a resolution honoring Saundra Andrews for her 20 years working in Rep. Barbara Lee’s office. In celebration of Arbor Day, the city will hold and tree planting ceremony on Friday, April 24 at Parker Elementary School on Ney Avenue.