The Top Five Things Oakland Could Be Spending Money on Instead of OPD's Legal Costs



In this week's paper, intrepid reporters Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston bring us a story about just how much money the City of Oakland spends sorting out OPD's legal costs. It's a fascinating piece and you should totally read the whole thing, but basically — spoiler alert! — it turns out that last year, the city (i.e., taxpayers) threw down a cool $13.1 mil for settlements, lawyers' fees, and various other costs related to people suing the OPD for damages (and, N.B., that that number's set to increase in the wake of several high-profile brutality cases). We all know that's a lot of money, but it's the kind of a lot of money that exists on a plane somewhere above what's comprehensible for normal, non-billionaire humans. So, in the interest of context, I found five things that would cost Oakland less than getting sued all the time:

- 133 (and a half) cops for a year, being paid at $98,088, or the highest entry-level salary (for those of you keeping score at home, that would increase the size of the force by about 20 percent)

- 332 certificated K12 teachers for a year, being paid at $39,456.20, or the base entry-level salary for someone with just a B.A.

- A $179-dollar check for every person living in poverty in Oakland

- Two years' worth of operating costs for all eighteen violence prevention programs currently funded by Measure Y

- A Bakesale Betty fried chicken sandwich, plus a slice of pie and a soda, for every man, woman, and child in Oakland ... twice

Fried chicken and coleslaw: Better than court fees
  • Flickr user _e.t
  • Fried chicken and coleslaw: More delicious than court fees