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Oakland residents blast city snafu over application for anti-crime funds

Oaklanders slam city's grant application snafu
Oaklanders slam city's grant application snafu 03:52

OAKLAND -- Critics of Oakland's leadership expressed outrage and disbelief after the city flubbed an opportunity to cash in on a grant worth millions.

At the community garden in West Oakland, Seneca Scott started a grassroots movement to make the town safer. He founded Neighbors Together Oakland. When he heard that Oakland missed out on millions of dollars to combat retail theft, he was extremely disappointed.

"Everyone else turned their homework in on time but, when it gets to Oakland, the excuse is, metaphorically, the dog ate our homework," Scot said.

RELATED ARTICLE: Oakland officials missed deadline for grant funds to combat organized retail theft

The state split up more than $242 million to cities and counties as part of the Organized Retail Theft Prevention Grant.

"It's not joking matter. We are in a very dangerous and precarious time for Oakland neighbors and business. Public safety is far and away the number one issue and to miss something that would bring millions of dollars at a time where we have a budget deficit of over $300 million? This is an inexcusable missed opportunity," Scott added.

UPDATE: NAACP joins chorus of criticism over Oakland's failure to apply for retail theft grant

The city of Oakland missed the July 7 deadline saying the Economic and Workforce Development Department failed to submit documents in time.

KPIX received a statement from the city administrator's office that read in part:

"In early June the City's Economic & Workforce Development Department (EWDD) staff identified the Governor's Real Public Safety Plan grant opportunity and collaborated with OPD and community partners to put together an application. OPD and the community partners timely provided their material. Unfortunately EWDD did not timely complete the submission. 

"Obviously this outcome is unacceptable. The City and department are reviewing everything that happened to ensure it does not happen again and will take appropriate action." 

This news comes as many business owners like Ravi Kakkar have been left frustrated by the increase in crime. His 7-Eleven store was hit three times in less than a month.

"It's a humble request to the city of Oakland, Oakland council members, Oakland city mayor, please do something, please take a stronger action," Kakkar said.

Other business owners like Dottie Moore, the co-owner of Everett and Jones BBQ is trying to remain hopeful that  funding might come from other sources.

"Business is down because of the crime but all roads lead to staying optimistic. Don't allow what's going on in Oakland to run us away from the place that we love," Moore said.

But Scott is running out of patience. He says city leaders and not just the Economic and Workforce Development Department need to be held accountable .

"They're not focused, they're not focused. They don't listen and they don't care and I'm really getting upset and I think most of us are getting really upset," Scott said.

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