Mayoral candidate: Libby Schaaf
on May 21, 2014
Libby Schaaf, a District 4 councilmember who announced her run for mayor last year, is hoping her policies on transparent government, safety, education and Oakland’s economy will win her City Hall’s top office in November.
Schaaf, 48, has been involved in Oakland’s local government since 1999, when she worked as chief of staff for then-council president Ignacio de la Fuente. The former lawyer later served as top aide to Mayor Jerry Brown, and then as an executive for the Port of Oakland. Her knowledge of policy and her parental concern for Oakland’s school system led her to run for City Council, and she was elected to represent District 4 in 2010.
During her tenure as a councilmember, Schaaf nominated Oakland to be a Code for America city, resulting in the new RecordTrac software that was released last fall. She has consistently voiced reservations on the controversial Domain Awareness Center, insisting on more data before progressing with the surveillance hub.
Her run for mayor places heavy reliance on her safety plan, which seeks to integrate the community into policing efforts and improve the 911 system.
“Oaklanders need to reject the idea that crime is some sort of urban tax we must pay for living here,” Schaaf said. “There is no reason Oakland can’t realize the same dramatic improvements in safety that other cities have enjoyed – places like L.A., where violent crime has decreased by 81% since its peak in 1991. We know that effective community policing has driven these safety gains.”
“Community policing” is Schaaf’s strategy, which means increasing the use of unarmed civilian staff, and building deeper relationships between officers and the community. The goal is to create trust that will lead to intelligence to stop crime before it happens, and to work on long-term problem solving in crime “hot spots,” instead of fixing problems as they come.
“I will never stop working to address the root causes of crime – particularly lack of economic opportunity and school success – as well as support Oakland’s many proven violence prevention programs,” Schaaf said. “But rebuilding an effective, community policing force is also one of Oakland’s most critical needs.”
Schaaf is proposing to raise the city’s minimum wage and increase support for local businesses to improve Oakland’s economy, according to her campaign website. She also hopes to raise funds to bulk up the city’s pothole budget, which stands at $4 million to $6 million a year.
Her education platform rests on ensuring students are gaining practical skills to move into the job market, emphasizing creating partnerships that will grow local business. Schaaf’s campaign website said she’ll make it an Oakland priority to increase graduation rates in city high schools with successful dropout intervention and truancy prevention strategies.
She is also building a reputation for sparring with current incumbent Jean Quan’s off-the-cuff statements. She recently published a letter to Quan on sfgate.com countering Quan’s claim that when she first became mayor, the city had the lowest police funding. Oakland’s police department has been a sore subject in the city for years, and the nation has taken notice; a year ago, the FBI’s annual crime report listed Oakland at the top of a list of cities with the most robberies per capita.
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