Mayor Quan walks the streets of Oakland

January 7, 2011 5:38:36 PM PST
To mark the end of her first week as mayor, Jean Quan walked the sidewalks of the Dimond District, unveiling a new set of colorful mosaics embedded in the sidewalk. Quan commissioned the mosaics to complement the "Fruitvale Alive! Streetscape" project along Fruitvale Avenue. Each of the five mosaics has a separate design celebrating something about the district.

On Saturday, Quan will walk a much different neighborhood called "Beat 33X" by Oakland police. She will take a personal tour of one of Oakland's most violent neighborhoods. The area is bordered by International and San Leandro Boulevards, and stretches from 81st to 98th Avenue.

On Tuesday, just one day after Quan took office, six people were shot in a gang-related gun battle. One of those was an innocent bystander, a man watching TV in his own home. Quan says she's not discouraged by the violent start to her tenure as mayor. "I watch the statistics and have been every week for eight years," said Quan. "You have weeks that are high and weeks that are low."

While Quan visited the Dimond District, in a downtown courtroom lawyers battled over the latest gang injunction sought by Oakland City Attorney John Russo. At a hearing, Russo's attorneys argued that the attorneys representing several gang members listed on the injunction have a conflict of interest because they work for the same law firm as City Councilperson Jane Brunner. It's an issue is Judge Robert Freedman who said he wanted to study further. The civil rights lawyers defending the gang members want the injunction thrown out entirely. "I think it's an issue of civil rights and it's also an issue of priorities," said attorney Michael Siegel. "Should the city of Oakland spend millions of dollars on attorneys when the research shows they are not effective in deterring crime?"

"If you read the injunction, individuals are not authorized and frankly do not have a constitutional right to be assaulting individuals, to be shooting individuals or to be harassing the youth, the elderly or people they deem to be rivals." said Rocio Fierro, representing the Oakland City Attorney.

Quan says she wants to study the gang injunctions further. "I'm not against injunctions, but I am worried about them being overly-broad," said Quan. "That's why I'm having a meeting with the police chief and some of the community people to look at who's been named." Before that, she'll walk beat 33X.