Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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    Mayoral candidates field questions

    10 hopefuls offer views on hunger, OPD, rent control, education, and more

    By Robert Hinton

    Mayoral candidates gathered at Oakland City Hall on Oct. 5 to field questions from voters about issues important to the future of the city. The forum was sponsored by the League of Women Voters, and all 10 candidates took part in the discussion.

    ‘Oakland has a $1.3 billion budget, Thirty-four percent goes toward the police department.’ —MARCHON TATMON, MAYORAL CANDIDATE

    Candidates answered questions concerning Oakland Unified School District funding, hunger, proposition 10, and community policing.

    OUSD has been in fiscal crisis. Social and civic science classes, which relate to public service and understanding how government works, have been cut.

    Candidate Saied Karamooz said he would allocate $25 million to education if elected.

    “We are talking about vocational skills, arts and music, sports, after school programs and summer school programs,” he said.

    Another candidate, Marchon Tatmon, also approached the issue from a financial standpoint.

    “Oakland has a $1.3 billion budget,” he said. “Thirty-four percent goes toward the police department, 33 percent is undefined, non-departmental expenses, which is a third of the budget.”

    One in five Alameda county residents use the resources at the Alameda County Food Bank. The candidates were asked how they would help to end hunger in Oakland.

    Nancy Sidebotham attributed the issue to a lack of job opportunities in Oakland.

    “We need businesses here,” she said. “The businesses that are coming to Oakland are bringing their own people. They’re not hiring from Oakland. Bring businesses here, manufacturing business, that are going to hire here so that we have the means for people to be able to buy the food for themselves.”

    The unemployment rate in Oakland, according to Google, is 3.3 percent as of March 2018.

    “I will make it a priority to hire locally to ensure that people have adequate safe housing, that we are providing for our students,” candidate Pamela Price said. “I like to give credit to the Black Panther Party, which started the food program which has become the basis for programs that have been used across the country.”

    Many of the people facing hunger are veterans, seniors or children, candidate Cedric Troupe said.

    ‘Police have to be accountable to this community and respect this community’ —PAMELA PRICE, MAYORAL CANDIDATE

    “There is a lot of mismanagement,” he said. “We had a $2 million grant from the administration that wasn’t utilized for that need.”

    Cat Brooks cited the need for a mantra that citizens and public officials can use to aspire to in order to combat hunger.

    “We first have to start with a value statement for the city of Oakland,” she said, “meaning no one sleeps outside, no one goes hungry, no one doesn’t have access to health care. These things are basic human rights. Once we agree as a city these are our values then we can begin to start working towards meeting those goals.”

    One proposition on the ballot for the Nov. 6 midterm elections is Proposition 10, which addresses the need for rent control in Oakland. Candidates were asked if they support Prop. 10 and what changes they would make to Oakland’s existing rent control and eviction control laws.

    “I don’t believe in rent control,” said candidate Peter Liu. “Put homeless people before me, and I can show them how to make thirty thousand dollars a month. They won’t even care what the rent is.”

    Jesse Smith took a hard line in his support of rent control and illustrated how Oakland can fix the housing crisis.

    “I support the use of Eminent Domain of unused buildings,” he said. Eminent Domain provides owners of private property just compensation if governments take possession of property to address issues in a locality.

    “We have surrendered everything to the free market,” Smith said. “What we need is more moderate ways of going about this. I support extremely strong rent control. I also believe it must be illegal to evict a senior or disabled person.”

    Current Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf emphasized the need for a regional housing policy.

    “I am working strongly to create some regional protections,” she said. “If Oakland has rent control and has just cause eviction, but half of the Bay Area doesn’t — those people are getting evicted and they are creating part of the housing instability as well.

    Another concern addressed was that the Oakland Police Department has been under federal oversight for 14 years while incidents of police brutality and misdeeds are a mounting concern.

    “Police have to be accountable to this community and respect this community,” Pamela Price said, “so we don’t have to pay millions because people are getting shot and killed and run over by rampant, rogue police officers.”

    Ken Houston went to the Citizens Police Academy in order to gain insight on how to fix Oakland’s police force.

    “I learned from spending hours with the police officers,” he said. “Cadets need to actually be a part of the program and live in the community that they’re going to be serving.

    “The police department is as strong as the chief of police,” he added. “As mayor I would definitely get a new chief of police.”

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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