There’s no shortage of candidates for Mayor of Oakland to consider on Nov. 4, and Oakland businessman Saied Karamooz is making sure his candidacy counts.
< p>For one, he is the only candidate that has fully financed his campaign from personal funds. Having worked as a senior executive with Accenture creating thousands of jobs and invested in business here in Oakland, Karamooz says there are three factors on his platform that set him apart from his opposing candidates.
First, if elected mayor, Karamooz will maintain a high level of transparency with the participatory budgeting process. Oakland residents would remain aware of how city funds are spent and be able to influence where that money goes.
Additionally, Karamooz would introduce a new strategy of enforcing accountability of city staff by the citizens of Oakland. Each week five citizens would be chosen to shadow the mayor to observe daily executive duties and bring an innovative perspective to the issues that the mayor faces.
“No secret meetings, no secret promises, no secret handshakes,” said Karamooz. He says this new strategy would ensure a level of transparency, accountability, and self-policing for City Hall, “a complete mind shift.”
“You can’t run away when there’s a bright light and all the walls are made of glass,” he added.
Karamooz also views housing in the city as a high priority. With the recent vote this week by City Council approving an ordinance to protect tenants against landlord harassment, he feels that it’s too little, too late.
He says appointing a full-time chief housing officer to ensure that there are no unfair evictions and to enforce building safety and health codes would be effective.
“Once you’re evicted, you cannot be un-evicted,” he said. “Its people’s livelihood…as it stands, [the ordinance] has no teeth but it’s a starting point.”
Karamooz feels that increasing the supply of market-rate homes in the city is one way to alleviate the housing issue.
In addressing the need for jobs for Oakland residents, Karamooz said, “What we need is a skilled workforce.”
“There should be provisions in city contracts for developers to commit to job training and apprenticeship programs. The focus should be on preparing people with skills so there will be high demand for their services,” he said.
On Wednesday, Karamooz announced his support for Dan Siegel.
“Whether or not I earn the votes of our citizens, I urge all Oaklanders to consider Dan Siegel as one of their three choices,” he said. “Mr. Siegel has a proven track record of commitment to social, economic and racial justice for all – not a select few.”