OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — While more than three quarters of Oakland residents said there is not enough police, they are also wary about raising parcel taxes to pay for more officers, according to a new KPIX 5 / SurveyUSA poll released Wednesday.
In the survey of 850 adults, 77 percent of respondents said there are not enough officers. Eight percent surveyed said there are just the right numbers of officers, while 11 percent said the police presence is more than enough.
But ask voters if they are willing to pay an extra $98 a year for more police and anti-violence programs, and the tune changes. “Anti-violence programs, sure,” said Juliana Gerber of Oakland.
When it comes to more cops on the street, Gerber said, “I don’t know. I think a lot of people don’t trust police in the first place.”
Only 41 percent in the KPIX 5 poll said they would support paying the extra $98 a year in parcel taxes for public safety.
Residents were also asked if tax dollars they paid for police protection was being well spent. Seventy-seven percent said current public safety money which promised more officers, was not being spent well.
“We paid the extra and they got laid off – and we are still paying the extra,” said James Shefik of Oakland.
Councilmember Noel Gallo said, “There’s a lack of trust – in the previous efforts we said we were going to do all of these things and we didn’t even come close.”
Councilmember Libby Schaaf said, “We have got to create more confidence.”
Asking for more money and losing could wind up costing Oakland they tax they already have, and the 60 officers it helps pay for.
“It’s hard for me to get into the exact numbers, but it would be enough that it would make a big difference,” said Councilmember Pat Kernighan.
Instead of rolling the dice, Oakland will ask voters to reapprove the existing parcel tax, which city polling showed 77 percent support. Among those surveyed by KPIX 5, 66 percent support keeping the current tax.
“That is great news as far as I’m concerned,” Kernighan said.