OAKLAND (KCBS)— A crowded field of 10 candidates shared the microphone Wednesday night in the latest Oakland mayoral debate at City Hall with many of the nine challengers taking direct aim at Mayor Jean Quan.
Unlike past debates this faceoff was not dominated by public safety. The candidates sparred on a range of topics including gentrification. Attorney Dan Siegel called on developers to do more for affordable housing.
“People say how wonderful Oakland is because it’s diverse and gritty, but at the same time we are being gentrified out of our diversity,” he said.
Port of Oakland Commissioner Bryan Parker, whose campaign website boasts a “progressive vision” for the city, said he would focus on early education, training and ensuring that everyone has access to living-wage jobs.
Quan— the incumbent, defended her record on affordable housing.
“We’ve built 1,700 new housing units or remolded them and that’s not a small amount,” she said.
The theme of reform resonated with most candidates including City Auditor Courtney Ruby, who said Oakland is poised for success, but hedged on that topic.
“But we have something holding us back. And that is the mess that we call Oakland city government that needs to be fixed.”
City Councilwoman Libby Schaaf touched on public safety and said part of the solution isn’t simply putting more police on the streets.
“It’s better policing. It’s community policing and it’s also investing in the successful intervention and prevention programs that we know work,” she said.
At one point Quan criticized the debate format saying the questions seemed hostile and that only one side was being presented. “Many things in Oakland are complex,” she said.
According to the mayor, the city is financially stronger under her watch and the police department is more diverse than ever.