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Ballot Box Scramble To Save Oakland Police Jobs

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An Oakland Police patrol car. (CBS)

An Oakland Police patrol car. (CBS)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) - Waning support for a hefty parcel tax meant to fund dozens of police jobs has the Oakland Police Officers’ Association campaigning for two alternative ballot measures.

Measure X, the $360 parcel tax on the ballot, would restore the 80 positions eliminated from the Oakland Police Department over the summer and prevent another 100 layoffs expected in January.

“We’re going to lose a lot of officers potentially,” said Oakland Police Officers’ Association President Dom Arotzarena. “When we lose officers and we’re not safe, then how are the citizens going to be safe.”

But with polls showing Measure X losing by a fairly wide margin, the union is throwing its support behind Measure W and Measure BB.

Measure W is a phone tax that would generate $8 million a year to be put towards public safety. Measure BB would lift the restrictions from minimal staffing levels and pave the way for the return of 63 community police officers to the force.

But neither would restore the jobs that were lost during the summer; only Measure X would do that.

Because of this, supporters of the parcel tax, like Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid, said they are not giving up hope.

“We’re saying a lot of prayers, keeping our fingers crossed and hope that voters will read the ballot initiative and give it some consideration,” he said.

Reid represents East Oakland and said many of his constituents still support Measure X, even though they don’t want to pay the parcel tax.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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