Mayor Jean Quan heaped praise on the city's interim police Chief Sean Whent during a mayoral debate Thursday and said she and departing City Administrator Fred Blackwell planned to hire a permanent chief "within the month."

On Friday, however, the mayor's spokesman, Sean Maher, wrote that the selection would actually come during the first or second week of May.

The city announced last week that its twice-postponed chief search had resumed with the hiring of a new recruiting firm that would seek additional candidates this month and produce a permanent chief by June.

At Thursday's debate, however, Quan said she and the police department's federal monitor, Robert Warshaw, "both believe that the sooner we have a permanent chief," the sooner Oakland can finally complete a court-mandated police reform program.

Whent is a favorite of Warshaw's and it appeared Thursday that he also has Quan's support. The mayor said that Whent, while unpopular with the police union, has gotten more "kudos" from the federal monitor than previous chiefs and has "done a remarkably good job" in trying to satisfy the decade-old reform program.

One lawman who didn't get kudos from Quan during the debate at Temple Sinai was former Oakland police Chief Anthony Batts, who resigned during Quan's first year in office. Asked how she bungled the math behind her 100 Blocks crime-fighting plan, Quan replied, "I learned one thing: Never take a data point from a chief without checking it yourself. Chief Batts actually used that figure many times. I just repeated it."


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Batts, who is now Baltimore's police commissioner, could not be reached for comment Friday. The 100 Blocks plan was mothballed two years ago after the Urban Strategies Council showed that Oakland's 100 most violent blocks did not come close to accounting for 90 percent of murders and homicides that Quan had repeatedly said.

Brooks challenged by Councilwoman's aide

Council members Desley Brooks and Libby Schaaf square off regularly inside council chamber -- and now it appears the battleground will extend to the campaign trail.

Schaaf's policy analyst and community liaison, Shereda Nosakhare, filed papers this week to run against Brooks, who is seeking her fourth term representing a district that covers more than one-third of East Oakland.

Nosakhare, an Oakland native with a master's degree in public policy from the University of Michigan, referenced Brooks' propensity to mix it up with her colleagues when asked why she was entering the race.

"I think that the city cannot move forward until the City Council can work together on behalf of all residents," she said.

Nosakhare, 31, is expected to be one of the better-funded challengers Brooks has faced. She already has hired political consultant Doug Linney, who has run the campaigns of several council incumbents, including Schaaf's, and is running Joe Tuman's mayoral campaign.

Nosakhare said her boss did not ask her to run against Brooks and that she would not act as a campaign proxy for Schaaf's mayoral bid this year.

Recent polls have shown that Brooks is one of the more vulnerable incumbents on the council but still fairly popular in the district she has represented since 2002.

Brooks said in an email that she has been endorsed by the city's largest labor union, SEIU Local 1021. She declined to speculate about whether Schaaf was trying to unseat her.

Also in the race is Michael Johnson, an associate pastor at the 2,500-member Beebe Memorial Cathedral in North Oakland.

Berkeley police seeks feedback on beats

Berkeley is paying a consulting group $38,000 to analyze its 20-year-old police beat structure to make sure the right number of police are where they need to be to keep up with current population and crime trends.

Matrix Consulting Group will analyze crime trends in the city's 18 beats, City Manager Christine Daniel said in a memo to the City Council late last month.

Some residents have already received a confidential Internet survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TJJHDBS, which asks respondents to rate how well the police department is doing in terms of response times, how safe they feel in the city and how they feel about the officers' professionalism. The survey is available until April 11.

The city manager is asking all eight City Council members to hold a community meeting and invite Matrix and police representatives to talk about the restructuring of the police beats.

In addition to making recommendations about the police beats, the consulting firm is tasked with evaluating citizen perception of the police department over the last three years including complaints and "evaluate the differences between employee perceptions and community expectations."