Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf delivered her first State of the City address on October 28th, outlining the four key issues she aims to address: improving community safety, providing equitable jobs and housing, creating a sustainable infrastructure, and ensuring responsive, trustworthy government.
“Our challenge today is to welcome growth in Oakland with actions that ensure it promotes equity,” said Schaaf during her evening address, saying she remains confident that Oakland’s current economic boom can lift up communities, increase city safety, and provide stronger educational programs. “Our strong roots connect us to our identity and past, our strengths and our values,” concluded Schaaf. “We will grow from our roots. We are Oakland.”
On policing, Schaaf reiterated her promise of increasing Oakland’s police department to 800 officers by the year 2017, but still spoke strongly against police brutality.
“There is still so much to do to rebuild trust, and to heal the harms that our department has caused, particularly in communities of color,” said Schaaf. “Overly aggressive policing tactics, and over incarceration do not make Oakland safer.”
Oakland North asked local residents what they think are the most important issues facing Oakland, and people spoke with us in downtown, Temescal and Grand Lake neighborhoods.
The rising cost of housing was the most frequently voiced issue, followed closely by concerns about education, and police misconduct. People generally said they approve of Schaaf’s position to increase the number of affordable houses being built, and to dramatically raise Oakland’s education standards. But on the issues of incoming tech companies, and increasing the police force, some locals worry about the mayor’s agenda.
Click the audio player at the top of this article to hear what Oakland residents have to say about the state of the city.