A community news source for residents of the HarriOak neighborhood in Oakland, CA.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

City Council Election June 3, 2008: Our Candidates

There will be four candidates running for city council in our district, which is District 3. They are Nancy Nadel, our current councilwoman, Greg Hodge a member of the school board, and Sean Sullivan, the development director of Covenant House.

So far Sean Sullivan and Nancy Nadel are the only candidates with findable Web pages. (Note to candidates, please post your links!)

Sullivan has a brief write up in NovoMetro. Sullivan describes himself as a "a lifelong advocate for youth and those who have faced discrimination." He has a great do-gooder background, as do the other candidates.

We also believe in standing up for the poor and disenfranchised, but in order to do that, we need a representative who is willing to act on practical, community-focused issues as well. This has been a big problem with Nadel, who among other things, was resistant to moving a recent homeless encampment from a community near Home Depot that has been struggling mightily to turn itself around. (Nadel did, however, provide the Westlake Middle School with money for a much needed traffic light.)

The HarriOak News would like to know how candidates stand on the following:

1) Crime. The Mayor has finally begun working on this with his plan to hire more officers. The council needs to make sure there is follow through. We need a working fingerprint lab immediately.

2) Dumping in the flatlands. Transitional housing gets dumped in the flatlands, including District 3, because officials waive regulations that prevent it. Anyone who wants to represent our district needs to promise they will make sure that drug rehab, homeless shelters and transitional housing for felons are spread equally throughout Oakland and not heavily concentrated in areas that have lacked a political voice.

3) Slumlords. A tiny number of the buildings in Oakland account for a huge percentage of crime, housing both victims and perpetrators. These building includes subsidized housing and slum housing. (To see how this works in HarriOak, check out the HarriOak Crime Blog or the Harpo email group, which has records for calls for service from slum properties like 401 and 407 Fairmount. The records will make your hair stand on end.)

3) Lack of entry-level home ownership opportunities. In the past, the city has tried to solve this by granting huge subsidies to a handful of people. We suspect the people who benefited the most were the ones connected to the city's disgusting patronage machine. It was an unfair and completely ineffective system that made a lot of people extremely angry. It ensured that 60 percent of Oakland residents remained tenants. This is desperately out of whack with the rest of the Bay Area and needs to be fixed. One step is to lift the moratorium on converting condos in places like Adams Point and HarriOak, where existing apartment complexes are frequently substandard.

4) Traffic. Lack of enforcement of speeding rules on heavily trafficked byways like Harrison Street and Oakland Avenue has made living and driving through our neighborhoods unnecessarily hazardous. There are lots of solutions that have been implemented in other cities, including automated license-plate readers. Installing these should be a priority for any council member who wants to represent the district.

5) The hidden budget crisis. Candidates need to address the fact that the contracts the city has signed with its employees guaranteeing retirement and other benefits will bankrupt Oakland in the near future. What's our plan?

The HarriOak News will be working with some other neighborhood groups to hold a candidate forum. In the meantime, Sean Sullivan, who attended a recent Adams Point Action Council meeting is having a campaign kickoff March 15, 2008 at 12:00 PM 815 Broadway.


dto510 said...

Thank you for this well-considered list of the issues facing your neighborhood, and indeed all of Oakland. I am looking forward to the D3 and at-large candidates explaining how they will work to solve them.

Anonymous said...

You have two councilmembers, one for your district and the at-large representative. I am your Peaceful Neighborhoods candidate for the at-large seat. See http://www.PineForOakland.org

Charles Pine

Manuela said...

Nancy Nadel has been ineffectieve on the council and has not delivered for her district.

I am impressed by Sean Sullivan. He sounds like a progressive who has learned how to get things done.

Nancy could never work with people well enough to accomplish anything.