The Oakland City Council is conducting its mid-cycle budget review today, and community groups are calling for that budget to go less to the police and more to social services that support black communities.
One of the main drivers of this push is the group Anti Police-Terror Project or APTP. The group highlights the fact that OPD currently accounts for nearly half of the city’s general fund spending and wants to see that number cut by $150 million, or about 50 percent.
The group wants to see that money go instead to a proposal they’re calling The Black New Deal. The plan would provide services to help address the disproportionate impacts of COVID on black communities by providing things like free reusable facemasks, hand sanitizer, and more testing. But the plan also calls for investing in services that go beyond the COVID pandemic, like keeping Oakland public schools open and investing more in black-owned businesses. The plan is supported by Desley Brooks and Alicia Garza, among other local activists.
Also on the agenda today, the City Council will be discussing an immediate end to the use of tear gas during the pandemic and whether to fund more helicopter maintenance for the Oakland Police Department.