Opinion: Oakland’s Failure to Apply for State Crime Prevention Grants Is Devastating Blow to Citizens

Opinion: Oakland’s Failure to Apply for State Crime Prevention Grants Is Devastating Blow to Citizens

Oakland NAACP Branch President Cynthia Adams (Facebook)

We are shocked, perplexed, and furious that the City of Oakland forfeited millions of dollars in crime prevention funding by missing a state grant deadline. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Board of State Community Corrections approved awards for dozens of cities and counties – divvying up $267 million that Gov. Gavin Newsom touted as the largest ever single investment to combat retail theft.

San Francisco received $17.3 million from the state, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office received $2 million, the San Jose Police Department secured $8.5 million, and 52 other California cities and counties received money.

Oakland got nothing!

According to the Chronicle, the Interim Director of Oakland’s Economic Development and Workforce Department worked with City Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas and unnamed community organizations on a grant application but did not submit a complete application in time.

This is a devastating blow to citizens and small businesses who have been clamoring for crime prevention measures which could have been funded by the millions of dollars in grants offered by the state. This money could have been used for extra police patrols, squad cars, and automated license plate readers to track down suspected perpetrators of crimes.

We have demanded that the city declare a public safety emergency and focus its attention on securing resources from the state and others to combat mushrooming crime in Oakland. A major purpose of such an emergency declaration is to cause everybody in government to focus their time and attention on solving our public safety crisis.

The mayor responded that our demands were nothing more than political posturing. This debacle is clear evidence to the contrary. Our elected officials and government staff dropped the ball because they were not focused. And they must be held accountable!

We are tired of hearing excuses from the city government. How is it that San Francisco, the Alameda County DA’s Office, the San Jose Police Department, and 52 other California cities and counties can submit timely grants that award them millions of dollars, but Oakland cannot get the job done? This is especially troublesome when Oakland has the most dangerous and rapidly rising crime statistics in the entire Bay Area.

This was an epic failure. We desperately needed these grant funds, but we got nothing. As Carl Chan told the Chronicle, political promises mean little when the city fails to deliver, nor do excuses and empty promises that it won’t happen again.

Oakland residents are getting murdered, carjacked, and attacked in vicious strong-armed robberies. People are afraid to walk the streets, shop or go to restaurants. We need strong, effective leadership. Shame on all who failed to get desperately needed funding when all they had to do was submit the application on time.

About the Authors

Cynthia Adams is President of the Oakland Branch of the NAACP.

Carl Chan is Oakland’s Chinatown Community Leader.

Bishop Bob Jackson is the Senior Pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church

President Cynthia Adams can be reached at (510) 219-3840.
Bishop Bob Jackson can be reached at (510) 567-1300.