Spring is here, and Oakland is alive with signs of change.
The Oakland Visitor and Convention Bureau is no more, having been replaced by Visit Oakland, a new nonprofit group formed to encourage tourism and promote Oakland.
Led by a new Board of Directors and CEO Alison Best, the group kicked off a new campaign at the Paramount Theater dedicated to show the bright side of Oakland. Visit the new website http://visitoakland.org/
The Oak to 9th housing development is going strong. Rechristened as the Brooklyn Basin project led by developer Signature Properties, work has begun to build the infrastructure, including toxic cleanup, roads, sewers, and electrical lighting in the area.
The 64-acre project will create 3,100-units of housing, 200,000-square-feet of commercial space and 30-acres of parks. The goal is to transform what has been an abandoned industrial site into a vibrant, dense community larger than Jack London Square.
Kudos to Signature Property for toughing through 13 years of planning, public hearings, lawsuits, real estate meltdowns, opposition, and just plain NIMBY attitudes to get this project built.
Former mayor and current Gov. Jerry Brown is riding an unprecedented 70 percent approval rating. With the new open primary system, he is just waiting to face whatever losing Republican finishes second. We will have to wait to see whether ill it be another exclusionary rightwing Republican, or if there be an attempt to redefine the party with a more moderate candidate.
The Oakland mayor’s race is heating up with crime and the police at the forefront. Mayor Jean Quan was caught in another “misspoken” moment by claiming there were more police than actually existed.
Candidate Joe Tuman immediately pounced on her exaggerated statement and pointed out the truth.
Only candidate Libby Schaaf has addressed the real elephant in the room, police reform. Whether you increase the number police by 20, 30 or 100, it will not solve our crime problem. More money alone is not the solution.
Reform of police management and spending is what is needed. It is mind stunning to think that in the $250 million plus spent yearly for Oakland police cannot be managed better and cost savings found.
The Alameda County Democratic Central Committee, dominated by “labor,” is under investigation by the Fair Political Practices Commission for its incomplete election expenditures reports. The normally talkative committee chair has declined comment.
Once again, the party that claims to promote transparency is hiding behind a veil of silence and avoidance. Maybe those “labor” Democrats should hire a “business” Democrat lawyer and CPA to help them play by the political rules.
Lost in the political shuffle are all the important council races, with open seats in District 2 and District 4. Only District 6 has an incumbent running. Like a repeat of the 2012 election, council races will be open and competitive.
District 2 has 6 current candidates: Kevin S Blackburn, Michael Colbruno, Dana King, Sokhom Mao, Andrew Y. Park and Abel Guillen.
District 4: Jill Broadhurst, Nicolas Heidorn, Craig Sinclair and Anne Campbell Washington.
District 6 incumbent Deslie Brooks faces 2 challengers Michael V. Johnson and Shereda, F. Nosakhare.
Clinton Killian is an attorney at downtown Oakland law firm Fried & Williams LLP and is a former public official. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.