Judge: Oakland Illegally Spent Public Safety Funds

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A judge has ruled that the city of Oakland illegally used funds raised through a public-safety ballot measure meant to bolster the number of "problem-solving" community officers in the department.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch agreed with
Oakland resident Marleen Sacks, who sued the city over the way it
is using the funds, raised after voters approved Measure Y in 2004.

The measure raises parcel taxes and parking rates to increase police, fire and crime-prevention spending. It calls for an additional 63 police officers, including 57 "problem-solving officers."

The judge says the funds were instead used to train new officers who were not assigned to community officer positions, and instead used to fill vacant patrol jobs.

A spokesman for City Attorney John Russo says his office intends to appeal the decision. The city has argued that voters were better served by using the funds to bolster the chronically understaffed

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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