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Oakland Measure BB, Proposed Revision of 2004's Measure Y (November 2010)

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City of Oakland Measure BB, a proposed Revision of Oakland's 2004 Measure Y, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot for voters in the City of Oakland in Alameda County. It was approved.[1]

Measure BB revised Oakland Parking Lot and Parcel Tax, Measure Y (November 2004) by suspending until 2015 a requirement in Measure Y that the city maintain at least 739 police officers in order to receive funds from Measure Y.

In 2004, Oakland voters approved Measure Y. It provided that Measure Y taxes may not be collected if “the appropriation for staffing of sworn uniformed police officers is at a level lower than the amount necessary to maintain the number of uniformed officers employed by the City for the fiscal year 2003-2004 (739).” In July, 2010, the City laid off 80 police officers, and appropriated a budget for less than 739 officers. Therefore, the City was legally precluded from collecting Measure Y taxes.

Half of Measure Y funds were for violence prevention and fire services; half for community policing services.

Measure BB allowed all of Measure Y's funding to stay in place, even if the city has fewer than the number of sworn, uniformed police officers originally defined in Measure Y as the minimum required number to justify the Measure Y funding.

Election results

Measure BB
Approveda Yes 73,006 70.77%
These final, certified results are from the Alameda County elections office.

Impact of Measure BB

Measure BB allowed the City of Oakland to fund programs using Measure Y funds that are not allowed under the current language of Measure Y.

Overall tax burden

Measure BB was not itself a tax. Rather, it allowed the City of Oakland to continue to assess the Measure Y tax from 2004 even when it has fewer than 739 police officers.

According to Chip Johnson, a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, "...if voters approve every tax measure sought by the city and the Oakland Unified School District this November, the average Oakland resident would have to pay an extra $627 a year. That would nearly double the local tax bill to about $1,400 a year."[2]

Tax measures on the Oakland ballot were Measure X, Measure L, Measure V and Measure W. Oakland voters will also be impacted by Measure F.[3]

Text of measure

The question on the ballot:

Measure BB: To restore community police officer positions and protect and enhance vital public safety services in the City of Oakland, shall the City, at no additional cost to taxpayers, amend the Violence Prevention and Public Safety Act of 2004 (Measure Y) to suspend the requirement that the City appropriate non-Measure Y funding each year to staff the police department at fiscal year 2003-2004 levels?[4]


According to Measure BB supporters:

  • Measure BB supported violence prevention programs and the return of community police officers.
  • The attention to prevention and community policing from Measure Y has resulted in real reductions in crime. Crime rates have gone down consecutively for three years.[5]
  • Over 35 Oakland organizations, unions and elected officials supported Measure BB. The list included: the League of Women Voters, East Bay Express, SF Bay Guardian, East Bay Young Democrats, Oakland Community Organizations, Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Former State Senator Don Perata and Councilmember Jean Quan.[6]
  • Measure Y Violence Prevention Programs provided close to 65,000 hours of individual services to over 4,000 at-risk youth in one year.[7]
  • According to an outside evaluator, Measure Y Violence Prevention programs served the most at-risk youth in Oakland, reduced the chances they will commit crimes and returned them to school at rates higher than non-Measure Y participants.[8]
  • Five years ago, Oakland had $490 million in General Fund revenues. In 2010 year, Oakland had just over $400 million. Given that Police and Fire account for ¾ of the General Fund, with the magnitude of the revenue collapse, the city cannot afford to fund the 739 officers outside of Measure Y.


Opponents of Measure BB argued that one of the main purposes of Measure Y was to expand the size of the police force to an authorized strength of 803 officers. Without the staffing requirements, this main purpose would not be satisfied, as the City would be permitted to continue collecting over $20 million a year, and allow the force to drop to an indeterminate number. Opponents also cite the numerous past violations of Measure Y, the City’s previous failure to actually fill the 63 promised Measure Y positions, and what they see as the overall fiscal mismanagement by City government.

The editorial board of the Oakland Tribune recommended a "no" vote on Measure BB, saying, "Measure BB is not a new tax but a modification of Measure Y. Voters initially approved Measure Y with assurances that the city would maintain a minimum police staffing level. Taxpayers have paid more than $100 million for the so-called public safety tax, yet the size of the police force has dropped nearly 10 percent. This would abolish Measure Y minimum-staffing requirements altogether yet allow the city to continue collecting some $20 million a year in Measure Y taxes. We recommend a no vote."[9]

Sacks lawsuits

None of the Measure BB provisions affected the Sacks lawsuit.

The Sacks lawsuit was about whether it was appropriate for the city to spend Measure Y dollars training new police officers, which the judge ruled to be permissible. The problem according to the judge was the newly trained officers did not immediately end up going to fill Measure Y positions. Instead the City filled the Measure Y positions with experienced officers and the rookie officers went on patrol as per OPD policy. The net effect was the exact same number of Measure Y officers paid with Measure Y funds.

See also

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