A health care executive and pastor with limited political experience is challenging Councilmember Desley Brooks for her East Oakland seat in next year's City Council election.

Michael Johnson, 51, said he can help end infighting on the council and boost efforts to fight crime, foster development and repair streets.

"This is not really about Desley," he said. "It's about getting the results that Oakland is looking for."

Johnson, who has a wife and son, is managing director of contracts and pricing for Abbott Laboratories. He also is associate pastor of the 2,500-member Beebe Memorial Cathedral in North Oakland. Johnson finished a distant third in a 2000 school board race, which was his only prior run for public office.

Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks
Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks (Ray Chavez/Staff file)

Brooks, a three-term incumbent, did not respond to an email Friday.

Oakland to civilianize complaint intake

Oakland is moving ahead with hiring civilians to take internal affairs complaints against police, freeing up eight officers on desk duty to patrol city streets. However, it's still unclear whether the workers will report to police leaders in the Internal Affairs Division or civilians in the Citizens' Police Review Board.

With conflicting proposals scheduled to be considered at a Tuesday City Council committee meeting and apparently inconsistent direction from Oakland's court-appointed police overseer, City Administrator Deanna Santana wants to postpone the debate and discuss the issue at a closed-door meeting of the full council on Sept. 17.

Rashidah Grinage, who heads the community group PUEBLO, which has fought to move the jobs outside the police department, criticized any attempted delay.

"What is to be gained from going to closed session other than screening out the public?" she said.

Police officers and critics both have a stake in which department houses the complaint intake employees. Rank-and-file officers think the review board is anti-cop and does poor work that could set back court-mandated police reforms. Critics say internal affairs has long been broken and that civilians taking complaints about police officers shouldn't also be taking orders from them.

The City Council made clear in 2011 that the employees were to work at the review board when they allocated $1.4 million to make the hires. But by the time the city administration was ready to act this year, Oakland had a powerful court-appointed police overseer, Thomas Frazier, whose opinion on the matter appears to be shifting.

In July, Santana read council members an email from Frazier stating that he saw a "substantial problem" having intake employees under the review board's jurisdiction.

But in an August letter to Grinage, Frazier confirmed to her that he had "no wish to impede or obstruct the City Council policy decision that the personnel who will intake complaints will reside in the Citizens' Police Review Board."

Fremont to install car-charging stations

City officials will use a federal grant to pay for installing two electric charging stations and adding a pair of electric cars to Fremont's fleet of vehicles, officials said.

The City Council unanimously voted this week to purchase the electric vehicles and charging stations with a sum of $52,000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Fremont was one 10 Bay Area government agencies to receive a federal grant seeking to promote local governments' use of electric vehicles.

City officials expect to purchase the electric cars by early next year.

One electric car-charging station will be installed next to Building A in City Hall's south parking lot at 3300 Capitol Ave. The second charging station will be in the parking lot behind Fremont's Development Services Center at 39550 Liberty St.

The electric stations will be used for city vehicles only, and will not be open to the public, officials said.

Alameda County wins best website award

Beating out Hawaii's Maui County for first place, Alameda County won a national award this week for best county government website.

The county's online portal, www.acgov.org, is "clean, logical and simplified" and "a good example of how a significant amount of information can be presented cleanly and intuitively," reported Government Technology magazine.

Also impressing judges from the magazine's affiliated Center for Digital Government were the county's new mobile apps allowing residents to look up voter and real estate information on their phones.

Oakland makes plans for redistricting

The city has scheduled a new round of meetings to get public input on the effort to redraw City Council districts to reflect population changes shown in the 2010 Census. The council must adopt new district boundaries before the end of the year.

There are two meetings scheduled for Saturday: one from 10 a.m. to noon at Frick Middle School, 2845 64th Ave. and the other from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Main Library, 125 14th St. Another meeting is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Claremont Middle School, 5750 College Ave.

Oakland City Hall closed Monday

Most city services will be closed Monday, in observance of California Admission Day, which commemorates the Golden State's entry into the union on Sept. 9, 1850. Libraries, senior centers and Head Start programs will all be closed Monday and no street sweeping will occur. However, parking enforcement will remain in effect.