Oakland mayor under fire over state of yard

September 22, 2011 7:10:41 PM PDT
There's new pressure on Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, but it's not over the state of the city. Instead, the pressure is over the condition of her house. An Oakland contractor accuses Quan of getting a free pass on city codes when it comes to maintaining her property.

The condition of Quan's home is probably not what you'd expect from the chief executive of a major city.

Overgrown? Yes.

Other issues? She knows about them.

"A lot of people know that I don't go home much," Quan said.

But when you live a public life, expect very public pressure -- the kind of pressure that comes from a homeowner like Ken Pratt, who showed several photographs at Wednesday evening's Oakland city council meeting. Pratt charges Quan's home with violation codes and demands equitable enforcement.

"The problem is, the mayor think that she is above everyone else," Pratt said. "That she doesn't have to comply."

Pratt admits voting against Quan in the previous election, and his home probably won't be appearing in Better Homes & Gardens magazine anytime soon.

"At least you can see my house from the street," Pratt said.

"I've not gotten a written blight complaint against me, or I would have fixed it," Quan says.

Finding a neighbor who has complained about Quan's yard is a challenge. Pratt doesn't qualify as he lives several miles away, but Ken Fuller, who lives two doors away from Quan, would. Fuller says local complaints about Quan's yard is news to him.

When asked if he thought Quan's home was bad, Fuller said no and pointed to a rental home not too far away that he thought was worse. The City of Oakland hasn't cited that home either.

When asked about the other home, Pratt stood firm.

"Well, I have not been made aware of that house," Pratt said. "Maybe I should go and take a look at that one."

If the mayor lived there, it would be perfect.