Amid growing sex scandal, Oakland police oversight measure moves forward

Oakland Councilmember Abel Guillen voted against
moving the police oversight measure to the full
council but later urged for a equitable compromise.

OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL | In the wake of a sweeping police misconduct and sex scandal, a ballot measure that would create an independent citizen police oversight commission is headed to the Oakland City Council for discussion in early July. If approved the measure would be placed on the November general election ballot.

The Oakland City Council Public Safety Committee moved the potential ballot measure to the full council Tuesday evening despite strong opposition from the Oakland Police Officers Association and other several other labor unions.

The measure’s future appeared in doubt after some councilmembers appeared to be stymieing its path last month toward approval in time for the November ballot. However, news reports detailing widespread police misconduct with a 17-year-old sex worker in Oakland and coverup, which apparently led to the firing of Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent, has changed the political will within the City Council.

Opposition to the measure by councilmembers, including Abel Guillen and Anne Campbell Washington was withdrawn after the damning East Bay Express report last Friday. Guillen and Campbell Washington on Tuesday attempted a long list of amendments to the proposed ballot measure language offered by Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Noel Gallo, including reinstatement of non-binding arbitration for police officers. Kalb did not accept the specific amendment despite pushback from union leaders.

“The proposal eliminates due process rights available for generations,” said Barry Donelan, president of the Oakland Police Officers Association. “It’s completely uncalled for.” Donelan and a representative from the Teamsters added some councilmembers had reneged on promises to the union to maintain non-binding arbitration protections, “You don’t have to weaken union to have strong police oversight,” said Zac Unger, president of the Oakland Firefighters’ union.

Public opinion, however, has significantly shifted towards greater police oversight in just the past five days as the police sex scandal has ballooned to include as nearly two dozen officers within numerous local law enforcement jurisdictions. “Overwhelmingly the huge majority of police are good people doing a difficult job,” said Kalb. “We also know all too well in recent days, misconduct happens. It needs to be dealt with high standards.”

A growing number of Oakland residents had been clamoring for the right to vote on the proposed oversight measure in the fall. Gallo said he was heartened by the fact the proposed measure is being driven by citizens. “At the end of the day it is their call,” he said, and labeled the measure as “not anti-police, not anti-union. It’s about making progress in the city.”

Councilmember Desley Brooks was harsher in her criticism, even alleging Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf knew early on about the alleged misconduct. “The administration is unable to look out for the residents of this city,” Brooks added. She also suggested hearing rumors about police misconduct and rebuffed when asking questions about it, but also said much of what is now know about about the scandal has only been furnished by news reports. “We are learning about stuff in the media just like the rest of us.”

11 thoughts on “Amid growing sex scandal, Oakland police oversight measure moves forward

  1. By MW:

    According to this evening's TV news, some members of Richmond's Fire Department also may have had sex with Celeste Guap, and although previous reports only mentioned members of certain Bay area police departments and sheriffs' offices.

    However, I thought it was illegal for members of fire departments to have sex, and particularly while on duty, since I was under the impression that the only thing firefighters were allowed to do, and especially while on duty, was get drunk, and in fact so extremely drunk that they became totally incoherent and completely incapable of driving safely.

    And in regard to the standards, or at least supposed standards of the Oakland Police Dept, Mayor Libby Schaaf said she was running a police department and not a frat house. However while I am sure that some police departments act far more as frat houses than as legitimate law enforcement agencies, however a lot of fire departments, and especially in the Bay area, do not function as frat houses, but instead as EXTREMELY DRUNKEN frat houses, although keep this a secret and do not tell anybody, since we would not want the general public to start thinking about Bay area firefighters' original response to the small fire that eventually grew into the huge Oakland Hills fire that killed twenty-five people and destroyed over two thousand homes, and especially since there is no statute of limitations on murder.


  2. By MW:

    In my above post I misspelled (or actually mistyped, since, and although I do know how to spell, I am a horrible typist, and also need to buy a pair of reading glasses) the name of prominent San Francisco attorney Bill Coblentz. In other words, his name ended with a “Z,” and not an s.

    But he was so extremely prominent that Wikipedia not only has an article on him, but when he died not just his hometown SF Chronicle had a lengthy article on his life, but so did the NY Times.


  3. By MW:

    As far as the scandal involving Celeste, and in which evidently members of various Bay area police departments were having improper relationships with her, it is very likely that similar things had been going on for at least years, and perhaps even decades, between various other prostitutes and members of local police departments, AND PERHAPS EVEN AS STANDARD PROCEDURE, and with many police officers very likely taking for granted that was a standard perk and fringe benefit that automatically came with the job (if William “Bill” Coblents, and who for many years was one of the Bay area's very most connected lawyers and politicians, was still alive, he could further enlighten us on that), and very likely the only thing unusual about Celeste was that she went public, and rather than keeping the whole thing quiet.

    Or maybe some police officers' “girlfriends” previous to Celeste started to talk, or at least there was fear they might talk, so therefore it was arranged for them to be silenced by having them murdered, although quite likely the murders were arranged to look like “suicides,” or deaths from “natural causes” (and such as by use of hard to detect poisons), or “accidents.”

    In fact, some years ago a guy by the name of Hugue de la Plaza was murdered, and although San Francisco's authorities pretended it was a “suicide,” and evidently Hugue had a very active social life, and which most likely included liaisons with some police officers' wives, so most likely a lot of people wanted him removed.

    And the Bay area, and including its big boys, is very big on arranging the murders of whistleblowers and those who talk, and although the murders are usually made to look like “suicides,” or deaths from “natural causes,” or “accidents.”

    Also some years ago a SF police officer by the name of Lester Garnier was murdered, and very likely by other police officers, and at the time Garnier was looking into things that if fully investigated: one, probably could have sent a lot of the big boys to prison; and two, would have exposed SF, and which pretends to be a city almost totally free of corruption and organized crime, as an even much more extreme cesspool of sleaze and corruption than even such notorious places as Chicago, NYC, and New Orleans.

    But we can have all of this “investigated” by Alameda County DA Nancy O'Malley, since I am confident any “investigation” her office does will be to the same “standards” as past “investigations” that were done by the alcoholics, useless jokers, stooges, robots, political hacks, and puppets on a string in the AC DA's office.


  4. By MW:

    According to an article I read this morning on-line, David Downing, and who is the very
    latest person to be the chief, or acting chief, of the OPD (and assuming he is not fired and replaced in the minute or two it will take me to finish typing this post), has been accused or having in the past made a racially insensitive comment.

    However I think it is irrelevant whether or not his history includes any sins, since regardless it is far past time to replace him simply because no one should stay in the same job forever, and instead we should periodically shake things up and bring in new blood, and he has been the acting chief for a big whole few days now, so therefore it is way past time to let someone else take a turn.


  5. By MW:

    According to an item I heard a short time ago on the TV news, a guy by the name of David Downing is now Oakland's acting police chief. Of course the way Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf has been going of late, it is quite possible that Downing will be fired in the few minutes or less it will take me to finish typing this item.

    However if Downing does not live in Oakland, and if he has also been told that he needs to buy or rent a residence within the Oakland city limits if he wants to remain as police chief, I would suggest he not tie up any significant money by renting even a motel room in Oakland in a building that rents by the day, or even by the hour, but that instead he should look for a motel room that can be rented by the minute, or preferably even by the microsecond, since Libby might fire him before he can carry even one small suitcase up to his motel room.

    Libby has made Oakland the ultimate democracy, in other words everybody gets to be police chief.


  6. By MW:

    It is now early Sunday evening, in other words the two day weekend is fairly close to completely over, and yet Libby Schaaf has not hired and fired any police chiefs lately. So what is wrong with that lazy woman!!!

    While a lot of people have Monday thru Friday nine to five forty hours per week jobs, and have no responsibility whatsoever once they are off the clock, however as Oakland's mayor Schaaf is never really off the clock, and even if it is the weekend, so therefore she should be hiring and firing police chiefs just as rapidly on Saturdays and Sundays as she does Monday thru Friday.

    Please Libby, get moving. First you fired your new wonderful police chief after he was only on the job for five days, and then your next wonderful new police chief you fired after only two days on the job, so I figured soon you could be hiring them and firing them after only two or five minutes on the job.

    It was actually truly comical. For instance, at seven or eight o'clock in the evening I would read an article in that day's East Bay Times or San Francisco Chronicle (but the newspaper had been printed at about 4AM) praising Oakland's latest new wonderful police chief, however I had one, two, or three hours earlier been informed by the TV news or the Internet that the guy had already been fired.

    And just in case l am offered the job of Oakland police chief, if I am required to live in the city as a condition of employment, I will not only refuse to buy or rent a house in Oakland prior to taking the job, but I wouldn't even rent a motel room that rents by the day, or even by the hour. Instead, I would look for a motel that rents rooms by the minute.


  7. By MW:

    What is wrong with Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf!!! But regardless, obviously she has now gotten extremely lazy. In other words a person could have gone to bed shortly before midnight last night and awakened at 6AM this morning, and in that whole six plus hours some of us ordinary members of the general public were asleep, Schaaf, and whose job is to be on duty twenty four hours a day and all seven days a week, did not hire and fire even one single police chief during those six plus hours.

    In fact, we should refuse to give her a paycheck this month, since obviously she is getting extremely lazy and is now totally neglecting her duties.

    In other words next time I go to sleep for even only a few hours, I want to be able to have absolute confidence that during the few hours I was asleep that Schaaf will have hired and fired at least a few dozen police chiefs, and preferably at least one every five minutes.


  8. Give Guillen a break. It's tough for a progressive out there. On the one hand, he wants to support police reform. On the other hand, he's gotta be a boot licker with the public safety unions to get votes.


  9. By MW:

    The items that have recently become public related to Celeste are generally ONLY being seen as a symptom of low standards among certain members of a few East Bay police departments.

    However that is as narrow and ridiculous a picture of the problem and the entire situation as if the entry on FDR in a book of biographies on historical figures merely and only mentioned that FDR was a former federal employee or that the biographical entry on Harry Truman merely mentioned that he had been an artillery officer during World War One.

    In other words, corruption and illegal backroom fixes in exchange for under the table bribes is standard procedure in the East Bay, and not merely in police departments, but in government in general – AND IN FACT IN THE ENTIRE BAY AREA – so therefore any investigation related to the assertions of Celeste should not merely look at only a few East Bay police departments, but instead at the entire cesspool of corruption, bribery, and sleaze that composes virtually all of Bay area government.


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