Oakland is in serious financial trouble, ill-prepared despite years of economic growth in the city to weather the serious challenges of the coronavirus downturn.
With voting about to begin for a majority of the City Council seats, it’s disheartening that few of the candidates recognize the depth of the problem.
Most are concerned, understandably, about restructuring the police department, helping the homeless and providing affordable housing. They may differ on how to get there, but almost all the candidates are clear that they must somehow.
But there’s a disconnect between their progressive agenda and the need to stabilize city finances so they can afford to pay for it. For most in this labor-controlled city, the notion of trimming city staff is off the table. And serious plans for addressing the city’s mounting retirement debt? Forget it.
So, our recommendations are generally candidates who would, when the tough decisions come, demonstrate more recognition of the fiscal reality.
Voters should back Derreck Johnson for the citywide at-large seat, Steph Dominguez Walton in District 1, Lynette Gibson McElhaney in District 3, Noel Gallo in District 5 and Treva Reid in District 7.