OAKLAND (CBS SF) — She didn’t try the chicken and waffles, but Hillary Clinton spent her morning at a soul food restaurant in Oakland, learning about how the resurgent city is facing its challenges.
I managed to be the only Bay Area broadcaster inside the Home of Chicken and Waffles for Secretary Clinton’s visit, as the Democratic presidential frontrunner met with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland schools superintendent Antwan Wilson, other local leaders, and a small group of invited members of the community.
Clinton also spent time talking with the restaurant’s staff, most of whom are ex-convicts.
Clinton, who revealed that she lived and worked in Oakland in 1971, said the city could “show the way” for other American cities struggling to reduce crime and poverty, improve the schools, and keep housing affordable.
Impressed by some of Oakland’s innovative programs, Clinton said ,if elected president, she would share them with other cities; while getting in a dig at the presumptive GOP nominee.
“We can use the White House as a bully pulpit,” she said. “We don’t want a bully in the White House, but we can use the bully pulpit to talk about issues and…begin to cut across all the barriers.”
Clinton said she worries about the impact of gentrification on the people who give Oakland its character. “How do we help to support the existing neighborhoods? And have enough affordable housing?” adding that she didn’t realize just how bad the housing crisis is here.
Restaurant owner Derreck Johnson was impressed by Clinton’s compassion and empathy, saying “She can relate to the everyday working class individual, bottom line. She was real. She was sincere.”
Clinton left without speaking with reporters, or the crowd gathered outside the restaurant in Jack London Square. She’s expected to return to the Bay Area for more campaign events before the June 7 California primary.