Oakland mayor to deliver State of the City address

Mayor Jean Quan will focus on bringing more people to Oakland when she delivers her third State of the City address Thursday night.
March 6, 2014 5:49:31 PM PST
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has big plans. She wants to bring 10,000 new residents to her city and build a lot of housing, because the housing market there is so hot.

When Mayor Quan delivers the big speech Thursday night, she'll be talking about that plan and emphasizing the positives. But as you know, she has a lot of critics. The question is -- will they be looking at the positives or negatives?

If you wanted to find the woman under fire in Oakland, check out the mayor's office, the little one where Jean Quan spends most of her time. Thursday's major item is the State of the City speech.

"Oakland always has been picked on over the years," Mayor Quan said. "But the reality is the facts show Oakland is on the rise."

The facts, as she likes to read them, counters one of the mayor's critics, Councilmember Noel Gallo.

"I think she has to be responsible," he said.

On Thursday night, Mayor Quan will announce a plan to build 10,000 new housing units in the city.

"Well when there are mixed income units the way we build them, as opposed to some other cities, you keep your workforce, the people who actually work in the city in the city so they can afford to live here," she said.

Still Oakland faces a quagmire of problems, beginning with crime and an understaffed police force.

"If you want to evaluate it by how murders we have, today we have 21 plus," Gallo said. "Last year we had 16 and we don't talk about the number of shootings and robberies and so forth."

Mayor Quan's biggest hurdle may be the matter of perceptions.

Freedman: "Are you misunderstood?"
Quan: "Depends by who."

Just this week, City Manager Deanna Santana either quit in a huff or was fired, depending on who tells the story.

Two police chiefs have quit. The mayor has yet to hire a permanent replacement.

In short, Mayor Jean Quan faces a tough audience Thursday night.

"If you want to be the mayor of a big city, you have to understand that anything that happens will be laid at your feet whether or not you had a role in it," she said. "But you have to be up to take it on."

No one will argue with that.

To watch the State of the City address online, click here.


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