OAKLAND -- Fliers depicting a swastika on Libby Schaaf's forehead were plastered throughout Montclair this weekend in an attack against the City Council member of Jewish descent in the district she represents and was raised in.

The fliers purport to be from opponents of the city's plan to build a controversial surveillance center, though no one has stepped forward to take responsibility for them. Glued to lampposts along Mountain Boulevard in the busy shopping district, not far from Sunday's farmers market, the posters read: "Stop Schaaf. Stop the DAC (domain awareness center)."

"As a person of Jewish heritage I found this particularly hurtful. As an Oaklander I found it shameful," said Schaaf, an Oakland native who is running for mayor in this November's election.

Oakland Councilmember Libby Schaaf.
Oakland Councilmember Libby Schaaf.

Police said they are investigating the incident, which was first reported at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. By noon, many of the fliers were partially torn down, and on some, the swastikas were covered with black marker. It was not immediately clear if police were investigating the case as a possible hate crime.

This past September, similar fliers popped up in the Fruitvale district with a swastika emblazoned on Councilman Noel Gallo's forehead after he proposed a curfew for the city's youth.


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The surveillance center, a joint project between the city and Port of Oakland funded through federal grants, will establish a data hub where authorities can monitor feeds through street cameras, gunshot sensors and other surveillance tools. Proponents have said the center will help police detectives solve crimes, but opponents have raised privacy issues, saying the center could allow police to create files on citizens. An online petition opposing the center had gathered 4,299 signatures as of Sunday afternoon, about 700 signatures short of its goal.

Later this month, the Public Safety Committee, a subcommittee of the City Council, will consider a recommendation on a $1.6 million contract to pay Schneider Electric Inc. to complete the surveillance center later this year.

Schaaf has expressed concerns about the center and supported initiatives aimed at preventing privacy abuses. But she has voted with council majorities to proceed with the project. The councilwoman found irony in the message of the flier.

"I have throughout the project expressed serious concern," Schaaf said. "So I am surprised that I have been targeted with this particular issue."

Staff writers Harry Harris and Matthew Artz contributed to this report. David DeBolt covers breaking news. Contact him in Richmond at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.