People laughed when ABC7 told people on the streets of Oakland that the city is in the finals for a nationwide award for its efforts to fight crime and violence.
The award is given by the national league of cities. Oakland was nominated for its Measure Y programs implemented with taxpayer money since voters passed it in 2004.
"Oakland deserves this award because Measure Y is an awesome thing," said Arnold Perkins, Mayor's Public Safety Advisor.
The measure funds police officers and pays for violence prevention programs. Its success was being lauded at a public safety meeting in Oakland Thursday night.
"If you look at the average citizen in Oakland, they have not experienced crime, it's a smaller group of people," said Perkins.
Still, with the crime rate in Oakland showing no signs of slowing, a lot of people are in that smaller group.
"I feel like, 'What is it going to take? For more people to have to lay down and die or lose their life for somebody to wake up and realize that we need some help?'" said Martaina Hardaway, Youth Uprising.
We spoke with the chair of the Citizen's Oversight Committee on Y, who says it will eventually help.
"Can this be a national model, though, without and tangible results?" asked ABC7's Anne Makovec.
"I think that it's a promising practice and that it has the potential to be a national best practice," said Maya Dillard-Smith, from the Citizen's Oversight Committee On Measure Y.
Tangible results are just a small part of this award. Some of the criteria are public-private partnership, management of city resources, and the ability of replicate the project in other cities.
"I think they ought to reevaluate how they select cities for those kinds of awards," said an Oakland resident.
The NLC says, "Oakland has demonstrated its ability to offer outstanding programs for its citizens, in order to transform the community and its challenges."
"If what you are looking at in terms of an evaluation in both the process and the outcome, I'm pretty pleased with our process thus far," said Dillard-Smith.
And there is another bright side.
"Any publicity that's good publicity for Oakland is always good," said an Oakland resident.