Political Fight Over Police Layoffs

Wednesday, June 30, 2010
By Paul Martin

KCBS.com

OAKLAND, Calif. (KCBS) — Outside police unions are sending out mailers to Oakland residents, urging them to oppose the police layoffs planned for the city.
There’s a letter from the San Francisco Police Officers Association and a glossy mailer, both paid for by the “Coalition for a Safer California.”

That group’s funding comes primarily from the San Francisco and San Jose police unions, the state prison guards and other donors with financial connections to Don Perata, who is running for Oakland Mayor against Councilmember Jean Quan.

Perata said he has nothing to do with the mailers, which single out Quan and urge voters to tell her not to lay off police.

He said this coalition, and its donors, are acting on their own.

“It does not surprise me that business interests are making contributions to a committee that is trying to get the council to see the light and make the right decision,” said Perata.

But Quan doesn’t buy that for a second.

“I think Don’s questioning how stupid we are. I think you just have to go look at who gave the donations,” Quan said. “More than half the funds come from the California prison guards union.”

And that union has Senator Perata as a well-paid campaign consultant.

Quan said the intensifying political battle is a distraction from the budget debate. Perata said Quan has to take responsibility for the council’s failure to act sooner to prevent layoffs.

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