Quan planning to hit ground running in Oakland

In this Nov. 8, 2010 file photo Oakland Councilwoman Jean Quan smiles during a news conference in front of Oakland City Hall in Oakland, Calif. Quan has been elected as Oakland's next mayor following a days-long process of redistributing votes under a new ranked-choice system that allowed voters to list their first, second and third-place candidates. Alameda County elections officials said Wednesday that the 61-year-old Quan received slightly over 50 percent of the votes, compared to 49 percent for former state senator Don Perata. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

January 2, 2011 5:28:03 PM PST
Preparations were underway Sunday for the inauguration of Oakland's first female and first Asian mayor. Jean Quan will be sworn in Monday and then the real challenges begin.

On Sunday, Quan talked about getting off the ground and running right after she is sworn in at the Fox Theater. One of the first orders of business will be to meet with just about every member of the Oakland Police Department to talk about the violence in the city.

Quan will begin her day in Oakland's bustling Chinatown inside her family's building making an inauguration day ceremonial offering. She will be the first woman and first Asian to ever lead the city. Her supporters hope she is the person who can bring much needed change.

"We all have high hopes and we believe that she will make these changes, and especially, we are hoping that she can work with everyone," said President of the Oakland Chinese Chamber of Commerce Carl Chan.

This election season Quan, managed to pull off one of the biggest upsets in Bay Area politics. More Oakland residents chose former state Senator Don Perata as their first pick for mayor, but the city's new ranked choice voting system pushed Quan from the city council into the mayor's office.

"This is an amazing event and of course for my family, it's been a long two years, and for literally 1,000 volunteers," Quan told ABC7.

If the campaign trail was hard fought, from here on out, the road for Quan will be even tougher. Oakland is among the most violent cities in the country. The first murder of the new year came just ten minutes into the start of 2011.

Anti-violence activists like Todd Walker say Quan, a former neighborhood activist herself, will not be able to do it alone. She will need to risk political capital and push bureaucrats at city hall to make changes.

"You're not going to settle nothing sitting in your office. They need to get out on the streets like Jean did. Jean gets out there and does our work. She need to get them off they butts and get out here and do some work too," Walker said.

Whether Quan will be able to work with the police union, which did not support her run for mayor, remains to be seen. Both sides hope to reach a compromise that could bring back the 80 officers laid off last year. One thing though is certain. Quan inherits a more than $40 million budget deficit and fixing Oakland's many problems will not happen overnight.

"The question is is she going to have the political will to actually make some of those decisions right away," said Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente. "She doesn't have the luxury or the excuse that Jerry Brown or Ron Dellums had, that they didn't know the city. Jean Quan does."

Quan will be meeting with Oakland police officers on Tuesday morning when she plans to attend their early morning lineup. She says she also plans to make an announcement about her appointments to city positions and promises there will be some surprises there.

First, she needs to be sworn in, and that will happen Monday at the Fox Theater at 11 a.m.