OP-ED: An Opportunity for Bridge Building with Libby Schaaf

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When Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf gave the Post/El Mundo News Group an exclusive interview Thursday pledging to involve and “include robust community participation” around jobs and minority participation in development projects, especially in East Oakland, I remembered when she and I rode together across the Bay Bridge in a vintage car during the September 2013 dedication ceremony.

The good news is, she, like many others talked about respecting all sectors of Oakland, but her voice was heard and responded to by many more.

I look forward to riding with her again on another celebration of bridge-building listening tours throughout the city, starting in East Oakland with Councilmember Larry Reid and others later.

The Post/El Mundo will help her identify bridge-building ideas from the faith-based and community-based groups.

I will ask all the candidates we endorsed to join with us to put their multi-various platforms on the mayor’s table and sit with her to work on some solutions. Since 14 others spent plenty to become mayor on the premise that they had some answers and solutions, I now ask them to promise to roll up their sleeves and work to get those suggestions included.

The issues of jobs, schools, public safety, hiring Oakland residents, airport business corridor, coliseum, army base, blight and a more responsive city staff are too many for the losing candidates to be content to just become spectators.

We will publish a special monthly report on how East Oakland is faring. We will also publish ideas for change and budget savings. And we will publish a special Metro Post edition that will speak to bridge-building issues that affect the hills and the flatland residents.

Bruce Beasley, one of Oakland’s leading artists, urged me to endorse Libby, not only because of her support for the arts but also for her interest in helping to solve the housing affordability crisis.

He said, “Remember, she has the heart and know-how to build bridges to all of Oakland’s communities. Political bridge building is an art form.”

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