The idea for the formation of a Police Commission was part of the charter proposals from early on. A subcommittee was formed and worked diligently to draft a full-blown proposed Police Commission. It was to be modeled after a similar commission in Berkeley. Scores of citizens showed up to voice the need for such a commission at several commission meetings and letters of support for such a move were received by the commission as well. This was one of the most debated of the items that eventually made it into the charter amendment that you will be voting on November 6.
While the original idea was to fully create a Police Commission, it became clear that the devil would be in the details and it would take much more time than what the commission had (the commission had to complete their work within the one year time period). So it was decided to just add three words to Section 802 of the charter. If passed it will read (new words in italics) "The Council shall by ordinance create a Planning Commission, a Police Commission, and any other necessary board or commission, with appropriate guidelines.
This means that it will be up to the city council to create a Police Commission and to set the duties and powers of that commission.
WHY? One of the other things that was constantly being pushed from the city was that a Police Commission such as the one in Berkeley was just too expensive and that there were no funds to create it. By doing it the way that we did, the city can determine how much, if any, funds are to be allocated. It has been noted that we already have a Community Life Commission. The way that the charter amendment is worded, it would be a simple matter to change the name of the Community Life Commission to the Police Commission and then determine if there are any changes to be made to the duties of the commission (all within the purview of the city council). This could be done with no additional costs unless the council determined that they were needed.
City Council District BordersWhile we didn't forsee what happened this year, where the council could not come to agreement on equalizing the districts, we did note that there was very little guidance for the criteria that the council should use for determining how to redistrict. We added 5 criteria which including community identity, compactness and continuity, recognition of natural and man-made features, administrative units, and population growth.
These items bring it within similar criteria used for state redistricting.