Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has sent clear message to the vandals who defaced her home with "Defund The Police" graffiti.
Although she has voiced support for the BLM movement, she cast the deciding vote against defunding her police department.
From Bay Area CBS affiliate, KPIX5:
In a late night vote Tuesday, the Oakland City Council were deadlocked on whether to slash millions from the police budget with Mayor Libby Schaaf casting the deciding vote, hours after vandals sent her a message loud and clear.
The City Council meeting began at 1:30 Tuesday afternoon and the vote was taken just before 11 p.m. Council members agreed police reform is a must, but there was major disagreement over slashing roughly $150 million from the police department’s budget.
Related: Oakland Police Investigating Vandalism Attack On Mayor Libby Schaaf’s Home
The issue of police funding in Oakland has been growing increasingly contentious. In fact, there is heated disagreement over how much money the city council’s June 23 budget agreement actually cut from the Oakland Police Department.
Some will say that number is a bit more than $2 million while others argue the figure is $14 million. Amid that level of disagreement, two Oakland City Council members were pushing for a budget amendment that would bring more cuts.
“There will be a reduction in OPD spending by about $11.5 million,” said former mayoral candidate and co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project Cat Brooks, before Tuesday night’s vote. “It’s the most significant reduction in spending that we’ve ever seen in Oakland history.”
“We’re talking about taking dollars away from things police do not need to do,” Brooks said earlier. “Police do not bother to respond to mental health. They do not need to respond to traffic stops. They do not need to respond to interpersonal violence, they do not need to respond to issues of substance-abuse treatment.”
Tuesday’s vote was the latest push for defunding Oakland Police, but this time with a more concerted pushback.
“We had another murder again last night, three murders over the weekend making it four since just Friday,” said Oakland Police Officers Association President Barry Donelan. “A more than 20 percent increase in murders and shootings combined.”
“You know, adding resources to things like mental health and homelessness are all positive,” Donelan said. “But the idea of taking it from the police department that is already strapped, dealing with those issues in public safety as it is, just seems foolhardy.”
Quite to the displeasure of some more "progressive" minded citizens:
It is unclear what may have prompted her to vote no.
It may be linked to mounting Federal pressure and the threat of intervention by the Trump administration.
Or it may be in defiance of the people who defaced her home just hours before the vote.
From NBC Bay Area:
About a dozen people wearing masks drove up to the mayor's home, started yelling and lit off fireworks around 2 a.m., neighbors said.
"There was a real thick layer of smoke and a lot of noise," neighbor Desiree Alexander said.
Police are investigating the incident.
Justin Berton, a spokesperson for Schaaf, provided the following statement:
“An attack at the home of a publicly elected official does not advance democracy. Around 2 a.m. vandals shot projectiles at the Mayor’s home, set off fireworks, and graffitied her home with paint. This attack, designed to intimidate the Mayor and strike fear into her family, will not stop her from advocating for the policies she believes are in the best long-term interests of her beloved hometown. Like all Oaklanders, she supports passionate protest but does not support tactics meant to harm and terrorize others.”
The messages spray painted on Schaaf's home call for her to "DEFUND OPD! CANCEL RENT! HOMES FOR ALL!" Other messages include "TAKE RESPONSIBILITY" and "WAKE UP LIBBY."
Even if Mayor Libby Schaaf only acted against the Defund The Police movement because they targeted her, it is encouraging to see one liberal mayor show some spine against the mob.
Godspeed to her in the days ahead, as I imagine revenge will be on the minds of those who tried to intimidate her.