Douglas Andrews / December 1, 2021

A Liberal Mayor Gets Mugged by Reality

Her city beset by violence, Oakland’s Libby Schaff denounces the “defund the cops” madness.

We can stick a fork in it. The “Defund the Police” movement is dead in America.

Democrat politicians have mostly been running away from it ever since they realized it was bad politically. Many have even denied that the idea was theirs all along, instead trying to shift the blame to Republicans.

Defenestrating the defund movement when it proved politically poisonous was the wrong reason, of course, but the will to stay in power is all that seems to govern these people. It’s deep down in their lizard brain, their amygdala. Still, it’s hard to know how many lives would’ve been saved if a few more mayors in big cities and leftist enclaves had only had the guts to denounce this madness from the start.

To her credit, Oakland’s Libby Schaff was never really down with the Defund movement. She’s a proud progressive, to be sure, and we disagree with just about everything she does. But some ideas are so bad that they can’t be entertained, even by hard-left politicians. For Schaff, defunding the police was one such bad idea. She’d been resisting her hard-left city council’s anti-cop campaign almost from its inception, which came with the George Floyd riots and the Black Lives Matter movement. Schaff even cast the tiebreaking vote last year to slash roughly $150 million from the police department’s budget.

For that vote, for her efforts to make Oakland’s notoriously mean streets a bit less mean, her home was vandalized with splatters of red paint and messages such as “Wake Up Libby,” “Take Responsibility Now,” and “Black Blood On Your Hands” on the sidewalk and garage door.

Clearly, these vandals don’t understand the inverse relationship between law enforcement and lawlessness.

That effort to intimidate the mayor doesn’t appear to have worked, though. As the Washington Examiner reports, “Schaaf announced Monday that she wants to reverse planned cuts to the city’s police department and even hire additional officers following its 127th homicide this year.”

Said Schaff: “Oakland needs more police. We have been impacted by staffing reductions. COVID interrupted our recruitment and training processes, and the defund rhetoric is challenging our ability to attract and retain recruits. And we know that that is not unique to Oakland.”

The defund rhetoric is challenging our ability to attract and retain recruits.

You don’t say.

Schaff also said, “There is nothing progressive about unbridled gun violence,” and she did so in reference to police violence. But no one believes that. No one believes that police violence is what’s plaguing our nation’s big cities. Criminal-friendly leftist policies are what’s plaguing our cities.

As for the straw that broke the Defund movement’s back, that may have been the death of Kevin Nishita, a beloved retired cop who was working as a security guard for a TV news crew when he was cold-bloodedly gunned down last week by thieves trying to steal their equipment. Perhaps it was one too many murders for Schaff.

More than 80 years ago, upon seeing that her childhood home in Oakland had been torn down, author and poet Gertrude Stein remarked, “There is no there there.” Some have misconstrued the quote to be a backhanded comparison to neighboring San Francisco, but it wasn’t that. Nancy Pelosi’s city, in fact, has plenty of its own problems, from rampant drug addiction and homelessness to shoplifting free-for-alls and a soaring murder rate. No wonder Pelosi recently bought a mansion in red-state Florida.

These days in Oakland, there still isn’t much there there, but perhaps better days are ahead for the city now that its mayor has been forced fully around to the right way of thinking about law and order.

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