OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — It’s the biggest eyesore on the block: an abandoned bank in Oakland’s Temescal District. Taggers have made it their canvas.
“I wanted to lead by example, not just put words but some actions where those words are as well,” said Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Parker.
Parker, a fundraising frontrunner in the mayor’s race, said he is turning it into campaign headquarters.
“If we could use this building as a case study and say we could take something from looking like this, clean it up, keep it clean, that would add into the overall safety of the neighborhood,” he said.
Last week, Parker and his campaign manager caught girls spray painting the building across the street. Instead of calling police, he convinced the girls to paint over their own graffiti.
While a local businessman said the campaign headquarters would provide a deterrent for tagging and graffiti for the next few months, others are concerned that graffiti would come back when the building becomes vacant again.
Parker insists this is just the beginning of a larger plan to revitalize Oakland.
Among other things, Parker said he wants to keep working with youth programs that he is passionate about, such as the one called Oakland Youth First.
“They’re training young colored people, 11 to 13 year old boys and girls, to be the next pilot,” he said.
When asked about his choice of words, Parker said, “I should’ve said ‘people of color’ rather than colored people…I was speaking rapidly. Sometimes we try to get out lots of thoughts at one time and so I’ve clarified what I mean and I mean communities of color.”