Oakland's Measure X failing, while Measure BB headed for success
Oakland -- With 100 percent of precincts reporting, voters have rejected Oakland's Measure X, a $360 parcel tax to help fund public safety, while Measure BB. which would revise a previous measure and restore 63 problem-solving officers, has been successful.
"No" on Measure X had just under 72 percent of the vote. The measure was designed to bring in about $54 million to help close a gaping budget deficit that has led to drastic cuts in many city services and prevent additional police layoffs, but would have cost each single-family homeowner a $360 parcel tax for the next four years -- not a popular idea in the current economy.
In contrast, 70 percent of the voters supported Measure BB, also related to public safety in Oakland. BB is not a new tax, but revises an existing tax approved by voters in 2004. Back then, voters approved Measure Y, which required the city to maintain 739 officers in order to collect about $20 million in funding for the police and fire departments and violence prevention programs. Some of that funding was used to pay for 63 problem-solving officers, or PSOs, a supplement to regular police patrols with officers attending community meetings and working closely with neighborhood residents to promote public safety.
The problem recently has been that the money couldn't be collected because the number of sworn officers employed by the department fell far below the 739 after 80 officers were laid off in July and more than a dozen more have either retired or gone out on disability leave.
According to Measure BB, the 739-officer requirement will be eliminated, allowing the city to resume collecting the $20 million and likely restore the PSO positions.
Critics have charged that the ballot measures are both short-term fixes, which don't address the possibility of a similar budget crisis in the future.