By Walter Riley and Anne Weills
Many of the mayoral candidates are contributing to widespread apathy about the upcoming election by refusing to say anything important about the issues facing Oakland.
Mayor Jean Quan’s stance seems limited to statements like, “Crime is down, development is up, and I haven’t done as bad a job as some people say.”
Councilmembers Rebecca Kaplan and Libby Schaaf say they can do better, but give few specifics.
Joe Tuman claims that hiring 200 more cops will solve Oakland’s problems but does not explain why – nor convince us how – Oakland can afford more police.
Parker argues that his experience as a hedge fund banker and executive for a (lawsuit plagued) kidney dialysis company will help get city government running efficiently. And Parker denies that profiling by the police has anything to do with race.
Oakland has real problems that demand real answers. Only civil rights attorney Dan Siegel offers the leadership Oakland needs.
Only a concerted effort to reduce poverty and unemployment will make Oakland safe and prosperous. Siegel supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and has specific plans to train people for well-paying 21st Century jobs.
Oakland’s schools require serious attention. Siegel proposes universal pre-school to prepare our three and four-year-olds for kindergarten, and comprehensive afterschool programs to help students make up their educational deficits.
Crime rises with the poverty rate. Unless we fix our schools, Oakland will remain a city of high poverty and crime.
No other candidate offers a crime reduction program. Our city’s crime rates ebb and flow with no real understanding of why. And despite claims that Cease Fire is the reason why we have had only 62 murders so far, crime trend experts agree that no person and no program can take credit for the flux in crime rates.
Siegel is the only candidate to present a detailed plan that almost doubles the number of officers assigned to neighborhood patrol and investigation without increasing the total police budget. And the only campaign to demand zero tolerance for police misconduct.
The latest Chamber of Commerce poll shows that voters give the mayor and City Council negative job ratings. The incumbents have failed to govern and don’t deserve another chance.
Oakland’s voters are unhappy with their current leaders and deserve a Mayor with the vision and ability to make our City work for everyone.
Dan Siegel will be that Mayor.