Oakland didn’t have to look far for a solution to its police predicament. San Jose faced losing 70 police officers due to budget problems at the start of the month, says the San Francisco Chronicle. The police officers union in that city accepted a one-year stopgap measure in which officers agreed to a 4 percent pay cut, a half-percent increase in health care contributions and a 5.25 percent increase to pension payments. The compromise was made in a year in which San Jose is reducing costs to close a $118.4 million budget shortfall. While far from satisfactory for either side, it bought both sides precious time in an uncertain economy and most importantly allowed San Jose to retain 70 police officers who would have otherwise been laid off.
Oakland failed to negotiate a compromise, and residents and businesses are left with 80 fewer police officers on the streets of a city with one of the highest rates of violent crime in the nation. The failure to reach a compromise can be linked to two things, said Oakland Police Officers Association President Dom Arotzarena: previous concessions made by police officers in last year’s budget talks and a lingering resentment from officers who believe the Oakland City Council has used them as a public scapegoat for its budget failures.