OP-ED: Fred Blackwell, “(Finally), A City Administrator Committed to Oakland”


Deanna Santana, our former city manager, did the right thing and promptly resigned after calls to end her new job tour on the city’s dime. The mayor moved quickly, appointed Oakland native Fred Blackwell as acting city manager and will submit his name for the permanent position.

What a concept, an Oakland city administrator committed to the city of Oakland. And stop all the handwringing and crocodile tears about our quickly departed city administrator.

Despite her so-called reputation, she turned out to be nothing more than a paper tiger: talking tough on minor issues, but rope a doping critical ones like crime and jobs.

No mention of basic big issues like police reform, comprehensive crime reduction, government reform. No comprehensive and detailed analysis, no solutions, just fluff and detention hall reform.

< p>Oakland must stop accepting people who claim they did a good job, but have no substantive results. As my granddaddy used to say, “I hear you talking, but I don’t see you doing.”

It is time Oakland’s well-paid leadership is committed to solutions. Not just pick minor issues and proclaim victory.

Enough of these are paper tigers.

Speaking of paper tigers, our auditor enters the mayor’s race on the same platform. Despite her claims of tough audits, the majority have been minor league knit picking. Have you seen a performance audit of the largest budget money grabbers: police services and economic development?

Here’s a suggestion: audit the departments/programs that cost us hundreds of million of dollars. Show efficient delivery of public safety.

Show Oakland whether we got a good honest return, honestly built, and measure benefits. Hold off bragging rights of great rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Oakland deserves decisive leadership in the Mayor’s chair.

Speaking of decisive leadership, kudos to our former mayor and present governor on his reelection announcement. Gov. Brown made the tough innovative decisions in Oakland, and now he is doing it in Sacramento. His second term should be an even larger game changer.

The City Council made a poor decision to deny cameras and microphones to combat crime. Despite fears, this technology will make Oakland safer and fill the gaps not covered by police and hampered by fear of criminal retaliation.

Used by businesses and other cities, it is a false claim that they are ineffective and invade privacy. Newsflash: the Supreme Court ruled over 50 years ago you do not have an expectation of privacy for behavior that is in plain public view.

This is the exact technology use Oakland should be rushing forward, not screaming backward to the 18th century.

Absolutely, Oakland would be safer with video cameras and gunshot microphones throughout the city. Expand it to video cameras in every police and fire vehicle and officer.

Remember, no Rodney King without a video camera present. Limited to the port will make cargo safer while Oakland residents die. What a head scratching decision. I urge the city Council to reconsider their vote.

Councilwoman Libby Schaaf kicked out her mayor campaign to an overflow, enthusiastic crowd on Grand Avenue. She took on typical run and hide issues such as police reform and crime, offering solutions like reducing police costs by using civilians.

However, she had the courage to call for this crime fighting technology. Let’s find out other mayoral candidates position.

Clinton Killian
Clinton Killian

Clinton Killian is an attorney at Oakland downtown Oakland law firm Fried & Williams LLP and former public official. He can be reached at [email protected]




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