OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Mayor Libby Schaaf wants to be the first two-term mayor of Oakland since Jerry Brown. On Tuesday, KPIX 5 talked to her about the results of an exclusive Survey USA poll on what worries voters the most.
The past six months haven’t been easy for Schaaf.
Under her watch, two major fatal fires have put the spotlight on some of the city of Oakland’s big problems: homelessness and affordable housing.
In our KPIX 5 poll, we asked 500 Oakland residents the biggest problem their city faces.
Crime and home affordability were the top two issues, but 14 percent said homelessness. That’s up 9 points since our last poll a year and a half ago.
KPIX 5 reporter Jackie Ward showed the mayor a video shot Tuesday morning that showed a homeless encampment at 6th and Castro and asked for her reaction.
“You don’t even have to show me the video. I mean, you can show it to me if you want, but I know that intersection,” said Schaaf. “It is a very problematic intersection.”
The mayor continued: “There are a lot of things that are sad about it. We need to think of the housing conditions of those people who are living on the sidewalks. That is not acceptable.”
Homelessness is also a responsibility for the county. Mayor Schaaf said the city of Oakland has a task force that is in partnership with Alameda County to provide services to Oakland’s most vulnerable citizens.
But housing is the city’s issue, which means getting those people off the street and into a safe, affordable home is her responsibility, not that of Alameda County.
“The city works very hard to transition people and they have to do it voluntarily into our transitional housing center that’s set up in a navigation center style,” said Schaaf.
When Ward pointed out that San Francisco is not perfect, but it is a city and a county, Schaaf replied, “Yes, they’re very fortunate in that they’re able to meld and blend their resources as well as their operations. That is a luxury Oakland doesn’t have.”
Mayor Schaaf said there need to be more safe options that are affordable.
But she also needs to take care of tenants who are already living in poor conditions.
With the bond money that passed last fall, her plan is to buy existing homes, fix them, and bring permanent, affordable housing protection to those who already live there.
“No one should ever have to choose between safety and housing security. Everyone deserves both,” said Schaaf.