Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 5, 2020

You say you want a resolution

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

Okay folks, this one took me a bit of time but I wanted to compare the two resolutions about Racism as a Public Health Crisis/Emergency.  Just to rewind a bit: Jim Oddie and John Knox White had floated a resolution which would declare racism as a public health emergency.  That seemed to not sit well with a few members of the City Council who felt it may be encroaching on the work of the Council subcommittee tasked with figuring out the re-imaginging of public safety in Alameda.  It doesn’t but whatever.

So the Referral came back and instead of a resolution declaring racism a public health emergency instead a watered down racism as a public health crisis was passed with a majority and not unanimous. Some folks have been saying this new resolution is better, I say it is not.  

Rather than simply saying it’s not better, I did a comparison of both resolutions.  Again this took a while because, honestly, the language in the Crisis resolution is so vague and fuzzy that it was hard to understand who it was addressing some of the times.  The most interesting thing is, what was presented that night was that the Crisis resolution centered BIPOC voices more, but — if you read through it — it’s not stated anywhere.  Seriously, the resolved portions does not make a point to say that this process should center BIPOC voices, it’s simply not an issue that’s addressed anywhere.

But the main concern is that while the Emergency ordinance does treat this issue as an emergency by setting dates certain the Crisis ordinance only commits to having  discussions starting in October 2020, that could be the end of October 2020 for all we know.  

But with that said, the resolved portion comparison of the two resolutions around Racism and what the City of Alameda intends to do about it:

Emergency

Crisis

Analysis

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of the City of Alameda declares that racism is a public health emergency and a crisis affecting our entire City; and

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of the City of Alameda declares that racism is a public health crisis affecting our entire society; and:

The Emergency resolution creates urgency around this topic by declaring racism BOTH a public health emergency and crisis. The Crisis resolution removes that urgency and creates a more global emphasis on “society” as opposed to the city of Alameda.

The Alameda City Council commits to promote equity and justice through all policies and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.

The Alameda City Council commits to promote equity and justice through all policies and enhance educational efforts aimed at understanding, addressing and dismantling racism and how it affects delivery of human and social services, economic development and public safety.

Same

The Alameda City Council directs the City Manager to identify a long-term and on-going anti-racism training program for all City staff, including the City Council, to begin within two months to address staff and community concerns about organizational and community relations issues related to racism in Alameda. The Council further directs the City Manager to work with Human Resources staff to ensure that bargaining unit contracts accommodate these trainings as a part of staff’s professional and organizational development work; and

Incorporates into the organizational workplan educational efforts to address and dismantle racism, expand members’ understanding racism, and how racism affects individual and population health and provide tools to assist members to engage actively and authentically with communities of color.

I struggled with the language in the Crisis resolution because it was so vague.  It was unclear who “members” referred to so I made the large assumption that it included people associated with the City of Alameda government.   The Emergency ordinance sets out clear deliverables and a set of expectations on how the City of Alameda government should be trained and educated on these issues.  The Crisis resolution may eventually get to the same place that the Emergency resolution already set out, but it’s going to be a journey to get there.

That the Alameda City Council commits to do its part to ensure that the City of Alameda is diverse, inclusive, equitable and just, by taking actions to:

  

A. Transform Alameda City government to provide all Alamedans, especially people who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), with physical and mental health care, affordable and fair housing opportunities, education, affordable quality child care, transportation services, job opportunities, physical safety, and financial means; and

 

The Crisis resolution does not explicitly enumerate the ways in which government has systemically failed BIPOC and provide a resolution to acknowledge and address this.

B. Center the voices of BIPOC in changing our systems; and

 

The interesting thing about the Crisis resolution is that there is no where that it explicitly says to center BIPOC voices.  It’s assumed that is the intent given the overarching topic, but it’s not called out as a specific resolution.

C. Build partnerships with other levels of government, businesses, nonprofits and community organizations needed to become an equitable and just community,

Works to build alliances and partnerships with other organizations that are confronting racism and encourages other local, state and national entities to recognize racism as a public health crisis.

This is pretty much the same thing.

The Alameda City Council commits the City to work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented government, to identify specific activities to further enhance diversity, equity and inclusion and to ensure anti-racism principles are integrated across all City government policies and services; and

Works to create an equity and justice oriented City, with the Council, its Boards and Commissions, and the community led workgroups evaluating existing practices and procedures and identifying specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate anti-racism principles across leadership, staffing and contracting.

While these two resolutions are essentially asking for the same outcome, the process is different. The Emergency resolution appeared to expect City staff to start implementation.  The Crisis resolution expects a workgroup to decide what the implementation should be.

The Alameda City Council directs the City staff to develop an annual report, by March 2021, in time for the upcoming budget process, and update it as ongoing assessment of all City policies and procedures to ensure racial justice and equity are core elements of city government. This report will include identifying changes necessary to achieve the goals of this resolution through the development, measurement and regular reporting of metrics for monitoring the progress of all Alamedans, and more specifically Alameda’s BIPOC community members, in areas of health, housing, education, transportation, jobs, public safety, income and wealth that are transparent and inclusive and include reporting data by race/ethnicity, gender and vulnerable neighborhoods and other components, such as age and status as a renter, of the City’s Social Vulnerability Index in the Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (CARP); and

The City Council pledges to return in October 2020 prior to the next quarterly budget review to begin the process to develop, adopt and implement a comprehensive strategic plan informed in part by the community led workgroups.

The main difference is the Emergency resolution anticipated completion of this work by March 2021.  The Crisis resolution only has a “pledge” that a possible strategic plan might be brought and started in October 2020. 

The Crisis resolution anticipates that the work will be carried out by uncompensated Alamedans who are tasked with overhauling centuries worth of systemic racism and racist systems.

The Emergency resolution outlined clear expectations and metrics so that Alameda can measure how successful its efforts are.

The Alameda City Council commits to identifying up to 42% of the City Police Department budget to reallocate towards programs that support public health, wellness and resilience and can respond to emergency calls for which the Police are not necessary as identified by Alameda’s Chief of Police. The Council also commits to reviewing the budget again based on the recommendations of the community-led steering committee and based on the outside audit described below. These cuts will be proportional to the 42% reduction in services that the Department has historically responded to and identified to shift to other departments. The City Council directs the City Manager to begin an outside audit of the activities of the Alameda Police Department, to be made publicly available, including the time spent on activities overseen by the Department in the last 12 months, the time and staffing provided for these activities and City policies that may need to be changed in order to meet the goals and objectives outlined by the community-led steering committee on safety and security for all Alamedans. Additionally, the budget reallocation will explore the following areas: 

Commits to conduct an assessment of internal policy and procedures to ensure racial equity is a core element of the City of Alameda and explore alternative service delivery for calls for vulnerable members of the community, guided by community-led workgroups assembled by the City Manager other relevant parties, communicates results of assessment, and determines appropriate interval for reassessment.

The two resolutions work toward the same goals by using community-led workgroups. 

However the Emergency resolution commits to a baseline percentage of cuts based on historic calls for service.

A. A workplan by July 31, 2020 for a top-to-bottom change in the community service culture in the Alameda Police Department that reestablishes community member safety and well-being as the City’s primary goal and commits the entire department to long-term, ongoing anti-racism training and outcomes to ensure the training is changing behavior.

 

No detailed commitments or promised deliverables to the community by a date certain in the Crisis resolution.   With the Emergency resolution we would already have a workplan for review for initial changes within APD.

B. The identification, development and implementation of a crisis intervention and management program to divert calls for emergency services away from the police and towards crisis intervention programs that are well-suited to handle mental health emergencies.

 

No guidance to steering committee as to what topics and issues have been stated by the community as important in the lead up to the creation of the Crisis resolution.  The Emergency resolution has synthesized information already shared to provide some level of guidance.

C. The identification, development and implementation of a homeless intervention and support program.

 

Same as above.

D. A restructuring of the City’s Traffic Safety Enforcement Division to focus on a short-term strategy of targeting street safety-related behaviors: red-light running, stop sign running, speeding, illegal and unsafe turns, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and cellphone violations. A long-term strategy of seeking State Law changes to allow for unarmed, non-sworn community traffic safety personnel to focus on red-light running, speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians as already exist in other parts of the State and country and have been found to reduce the disparate enforcement impacts on communities of color while making real strides in street safety.

 

Same as above.

The Alameda City Council directs the City Manager to identify a staff position and work program for Public Health, Wellness, and Resilience to oversee work to progress as an equity and justice-oriented government responsible for ensuring community health and wellness; and

Advocates for relevant policies that improve health in communities of color, and supports local, state, and federal initiatives that advance social justice, while also encouraging individual member advocacy to dismantle systemic racism.

While these two resolutions are essentially asking for the same outcome, the process is different. The Emergency resolution has committed to creating a City of Alameda staff position to help facilitate this work.

 The Crisis resolution may come up with the same conclusion (staff needed at City level) but expects a workgroup to decide what the implementation should be.

The Alameda City Council directs the City Manager to develop a use of force continuum including tactical communications and conduct a process for non-police review of all instances involving physical contact and use of force as well as a monthly random audit of Alameda Police Department’s bodycam footage for traffic stops and non-use of force arrests.

 

No short term solutions enumerated in the Crisis resolution.  The Emergency resolution identified short term issues that could be addressed immediately to help provide data points in the long term to help inform the work of the steering committee and workgroups.

The Alameda City Council directs the City Manager to develop, implement, and make public, machine-readable data and a statistically valid monthly report that tracks arrests, citations, and traffic stops on a monthly, quarterly, annual and three-year rolling average to identify disparities in enforcement.

 

Same as above.

The Alameda City Council directs the City Manager and City Attorney to develop contract requirements for all community partners, grantees, vendors and contractors who receive funding from the City of Alameda to provide their staff with racial equity and anti-racism training.

Works to create an equity and justice oriented City, with the Council, its Boards and Commissions, and the community led workgroups evaluating existing practices and procedures and identifying specific activities to increase diversity and to incorporate anti-racism principles across leadership, staffing and contracting.

While these two resolutions are essentially asking for the same outcome, the process is different. The Emergency resolution appeared to expect City staff to start implementation.  The Crisis resolution expects a workgroup to decide what the implementation should be.

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