Mayoral candidate: Bryan Parker
on May 21, 2014
Bryan Parker embraces being an outsider. Although Jean Quan appointed him to the Port Commission in 2012, most know him as a former healthcare and tech executive. He sees his lack of political experience as an advantage in his run to become Oakland’s next mayor.
Parker pointed to his record of business leadership, saying that as vice president, general manager of real estate and internal growth at healthcare company DaVita Inc., he grew his division’s budget from $400 million to $800 million in four years. “The city of Oakland needs to grow,” he added. “It has to grow responsibly, smartly, and inclusively.”
Part of growing is embracing technology and getting connected to venture capital dollars, he added. Parker, who raised campaign funds through an online crowdsourcing platform and recently hosted the Vator Splash tech competition, said he believes the city can welcome the tech industry.
“What we’re afraid of are rising prices in the absence of equally or higher rising wages, which pushes people out because they can’t afford the necessities of life,” said Parker who served as the chair of Oakland’s Workforce Investment Board. “Let’s focus on developing more highly-paid jobs. Let’s not turn a whole industry away.”
If elected, Parker said he would work to make sure computer science is taught in elementary schools and that training programs and coding workshops would be available at the high school and community college levels. He said he’d also pay close attention to improving Oakland schools overall.
“We have to get at the systemic root of poverty and hopeless[ness], which is, in my mind, an uneven quality of education,” said Parker, a UC Berkeley alumnus who went on to law school at NYU.
Parker, whose sister was murdered in 1998, also plans to focus on public safety. He said he wants to put 800 police officers on the street.
“I think that we have had the reputation of a few officers taint[ing] the many. We have great men and women in our city, police officers who put their lives on the line every single day,” said Parker, noting that many are uncomfortable with the idea of a larger police presence and that he plans to include diversity and sensitivity training with the expansion.
He is also calling for community policing, a technique Richmond Police Department has used to decrease crime. This means more officers walking through neighborhoods, out on bike patrol, and connecting with residents.
For effective community policing, Parker said, “You need to engage the community and that needs to be through meaningful relationships, through partnerships and making sure that the community feels that they are heard, valued and that they are going to be treated with respect,” Parker said.
Ultimately, Parker said he’s the right candidate to tackle issues that Oakland has had for years and help the city progress. The town needs a businessman, not someone consumed with politics, he said.
“The career politicians have had their chance,” said Parker. “I have seen the inner workings of the city enough to know that we need a different skill set.”
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