Sunday, April 29, 2012

Is It Time To Declare Martial Law In Oakland?

By Any Definition

National Guard Troops
By Wikipedia's definition, "Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis- (usually) only temporary-when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively (e.g. maintain order and security, and provide essential services) when there are riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law becomes widespread."

100 Blocks of Community Terrorism

Oakland's "100 Blocks of Community Terror", my definition-not Oakland's, certainly could fall within the framework of Martial Law, even though according to the Supreme Court, "...the term Martial Law carries no precise meaning", (Duncan V. Kahanamoku, 327 U.S. 304, 66 S. Ct 606, 90 L.Ed. 688 [1946]).   Daily and nightly shootings, including the murder of innocent children, protests that have drained essential police services that may have already contributed to the death of one Berkeley man, and the continued so-called "Day of Action" propagated by Occupy Oakland that has on more than one occasion diverted scarce resources from high crime areas within the city, certainly indicates to me that the civilian government (Mayor Quan and the City Council) have "failed to function effectively" including "maintaining order and security for it's citizens".

Mayor Quan's answer

Mayor Quan and Oakland Chief Jordan
So why resort to such a bold move as to declare Martial Law?  Well, certainly throwing money and resources at the problem have not worked including Mayor Quan's '100-Block Community Initiative to Reduce Violence' which has been a colossal failure to this point.  So, just how much money are we talking about?  Well, that is not clear but one thing you can count on, the City doesn't have the money to sustain anything long-term at this point.  Below is the context of her plan:

  • Rehiring of 32 officers as a result of pension reform.
  • 25 new officer positions made possible through a federal grant.  These positions will be used to station officers on middle school campuses in the 100-block zone.
  • Creation of Crime Reduction Teams (CRT's).
  • Prioritize blight abatement, litter and graffiti clean-up.
  • Recruit for jobs by creating economic opportunity.
  • Improve the quality of life in neighborhoods.
  • Adopting New York City's "CompStat" a program to identify "Hotspots" utilizing collected data. (Already in progress)
  • Holding service providers and police staff more accountable.
  • Continued support for the 'Gang Reduction & Youth Development Model" ( LA GRYD) started in 2011.  This includes comprehensive family support and involvement.
  • Starting this spring, a youth outreach program called 'Oakland Ceasefire' adopted from the Chicago Ceasefire program will begin.
  • The 'Harlem Children Zone' which is a "wraparound family services" program covering children from birth to high school.
  • Adoption of San Jose's 'Internal Communications & Meaningful Community Engagement' program. 

Oh, there is more?

Of course, according to Mayor Quan, "...reducing violence takes more than police"; apparently much more:

  • Measure Y-funded Oakland Street Outreach workers will be required to spend 80% of their time connecting with young people and their families, creating cease-fires between rival gangs, and even sending them to hospitals where shooting victims have been transported in an effort to reduce retaliatory events.
  • Public works has prioritized new lighting, blight, graffiti, and street projects within the zone.
  • Double the 'National Night Out' block parties held.
  • The Parks & Recreation department will prioritize activities, leadership, and summer job recruitment for neighborhoods in the zone.
  • Increase support for economic development, including small business development to help retail and job opportunities. 

Wait! She is not finished yet.

As you might have suspected, the Mayor wants all of you to know that even the combined coordination of the police and all our City departments cannot reduce violent crime.  No indeed, in addition we need to:

  • Change the neighborhood dynamics by developing positive relationships among neighbors and partnerships between citizens and the City.
  • Implementing programs after 'Code 33' heralded as an open forum for discussion between the community and police.
  • Recruit more Oakland and urban residents into our police department.
  • Adapt a universal preschool program.
  • Continue to support 'Late Night Live', a program providing late night programming in the parks.
  • Promote and support a 'Citywide Truancy Program'. 

Not enough resources?

According to the Mayor, multiple agencies are already flooding the 100 Block of East and West Oakland in hopes of stemming the tide of violence:

  • Oakland P.D
  • Bart Police
  • California Highway Patrol
  • Oakland Unified School District Police
  • Alameda County Sheriff's Office
  • Alameda County District Attorney's Office
  • Various Federal Law Enforcement Agencies
  • State Parole
  • Private Security Firms

Martial Law-What does it mean and who can declare it?

Generally, a declaration of Marshal Law includes curfews, temporary suspension of civil law, civil rights, habeas corpus, and the imposition of military justice upon civilians.  In reality, it is a war with an actual war zone with oversight by a military commander.  "In the U.S., Martial Law can only be ordered by the President of the United States as commander-in-chief of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.  The duration of the warfare or emergency must be limited and cannot result in long-term denial of constitutional rights, such as habeas corpus, the right to a trial, and to free press."
(Copyright 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T Hill)  All rights reserved.

Notice that the National Guard is not listed above.  This is because, although the President could take command of the National Guard when it involves a national emergency such as war, generally they are under the command of the governor in the state they represent.  However, since only the President can declare Marshal Law, governors can declare "States of Emergencies" that activate their National Guard Units during emergencies such as floods, earthquakes, riots, and other widespread civil disobedience including those circumstances given in the beginning of this post.  This was done during Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. 

To sum it all up

Something must be done to temporarily limit the civil rights of these gangsters and get the guns off the streets of Oakland long enough to implement some of these programs the Mayor is asking for.  Take away the shield that these malcontents hide under and Oakland just may be able to turn the city into a decent place to live again.  However, no matter how much money, how much time, or how many resources you throw at these evil SOB's, you will never turn things around until you declare war on them and eliminate them from society. 

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