Mayor Invites Community to Make a Difference

Dennis Evanosky &nbsp&nbsp The City of Alameda is reviewing the way its police department responds to complaints, including those aimed at people just trying to survive.

Mayor Invites Community to Make a Difference

We’re making changes in Alameda and we’re involving the community. Incidents of racial injustice came to light across the country, including the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and too many other Black people before them at the hands of police.

After the arrest of a Black Alameda resident who was dancing in the street, there were community demonstrations and calls for changing the way police services are delivered in Alameda. The citation, issued for “resisting arrest,” has been dismissed.

The City Council approved and adopted the city’s operating and capital budget for fiscal year 2020-21 on June 16. We agreed to revisit this budget in October, after the City Council and the community had an opportunity to discuss and examine new ways to provide public safety.

During the budget discussion, Vice Mayor John Knox White and Councilmember Malia Vella introduced a list of five topic areas they suggested the Council and community should consider when contemplating future budget revisions and policy changes. The topics are:

n Unbundling services currently delivered by the police department
n Review of police department policies and practices
n Police department accountability and oversight
n Review of laws that criminalize survival
n Systemic and community racism/anti-racism

On June 29, the City Council unanimously agreed to pursue a community-led process to inform the Council on these five topic areas. Councilmember Vella and I were chosen to work with the City Manager to develop a plan to initiate this process.

On July 21, we reported our proposal for a framework that allows the Council to listen to the community, especially Black residents who, since the previously referenced arrest, have spoken out about negative experiences they have had with police. We are asking, not assuming, what our community wants.

Some say the City Council should move faster to identify solutions, but the issues before us are far-reaching and longstanding; they require thoughtful consideration, community involvement and constructive action. I believe that if we first listen to community members, especially members of our Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) community, we will achieve meaningful, substantive and lasting change.

Community-based committees will consist of individuals who live or work in Alameda, but are not elected or public officials, and can meet for three to five hours a month (likely over Zoom) for up to eight months. Committees will study and then report their findings and recommendations on the five topic areas to the City Manager Eric Levitt, who will present them, unfiltered, to the City Council.

If you would like to participate in one of these committees, please indicate your interest to Levitt by next Wednesday, Aug. 12, at

This is your community and your voice. Please let us hear from you. Be part of the solution. Be sure to wear your mask. Masks are the most effective method of slowing the spread of COVID-19. When we take personal responsibility to protect each other from COVID-19:

n Wear masks that cover our noses and mouths whenever we leave home
n Stay 6 feet away from anyone who doesn’t live in our households
n Wash our hands frequently.

Please exercise caution when you socialize. Recent increases in COVID-19 cases in Alameda County resulted from parties and social gatherings. These included family get-togethers with participants beyond immediate family members.

Let’s work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 so children can go back to school, businesses can reopen and people can return to work. We’re all in this together.

Be safe. Be smart. Be Alameda Strong.

Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is the Mayor of Alameda. She can be reached at (510) 747-4745 or