To those who brag about Oakland's property values rising under Jerry Brown, here's proof that the rise has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the Bay Area market -- crime in Oakland. What Jerry should be able to reduce, he's not done and even cut the police budget.
Oakland crime rate not helping Brown in attorney general bid
Opponent jumps on spike in homicides
By Kim Curtis
March 6, 2006
OAKLAND – More than 20 homicides in just over two months: This is not what Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown needs as he campaigns for the state's top law enforcement job.
The dramatic spike comes just three months before the primary election, and Brown's challenger for the Democratic nomination for attorney general is already accusing the former governor and presidential candidate of being “asleep at the switch.”
Oakland police say the number of killings so far this year is nearly triple last year's rate.
“He will be held responsible for that,” said Elizabeth Garrett, a law professor at the University of Southern California. “It doesn't surprise me that he's acting quickly to appear to take charge of the situation.” Though, she said, it may be too late to affect the outcome of the June 6 primary.
Brown has created a new crime suppression unit, with 115 police officers reassigned from other areas, that will target problem areas.
“We are going to move them around the city like a chessboard, so they're deployed more strategically,” said Capt. David Kozicki, who's in charge of the new unit.
For example, 16 officers are investigating three homicides that occurred Thursday rather than the 10 who would have investigated prior to the change, he said.
“It's being flexible,” Kozicki said. “Criminals adapt and we need to show that we're going to adapt right with them.”
But Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who's running against Brown, calls that approach too reactive and has sent out of series of blistering news releases expressing his displeasure and Brown's ineptitude.
“(Brown's) been asleep at the switch,” said Delgadillo, who points to his hardscrabble youth on the east side of Los Angeles as his crime-fighting experience. “I wouldn't have allowed this to happen. I believe very firmly that one needs to be proactive.”
Delgadillo, who attended Harvard, earned a law degree from Columbia Law School and was elected city attorney in 2001, said he's implemented measures that fight crime at its roots. He pointed to a truancy reduction program; a neighborhood prosecutor program, designed to put more criminals behind bars; and gang injunctions, which attempt to limit gang activity in certain areas.
Brown called Delgadillo's attacks “cheap political rhetoric from a guy who sits behind a desk and has no idea how to fight crime effectively.”
Both men want to challenge state Sen. Chuck Poochigian of Fresno, who's seeking the GOP nomination.
“I would bet the television ads are being made,” said Mike Spence, president of the California Republican Assembly, a conservative grass-roots organization, adding Oakland's increasing homicides will be a big liability for Brown.
As governor, Brown vetoed the death penalty bill – which the Legislature then overrode – and he appointed Supreme Court Judge Rose Bird, who was voted out in 1986 for her anti-death penalty rulings.
He now says he'd have no problems enforcing death penalty laws.
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