All of the candidates hoping to represent the district encompassing Chinatown, Grand Lake, Trestle Glen and San Antonio believe public safety is a prime concern for the city, but few proffered a distinct law and order flavor within their positions. Abel Guillen, the former 18th Assembly District runner up two years ago and current trustee for the Peralta Community College District touted a recent partnership with the Oakland Police Department and its colleges and called for a larger force that is “reflective of Oakland and its citizens.” Former KPIX-TV anchor Dana King said the city needs to improve its look and feel by cleaning up illegal dumping and graffiti. The current police force, she added, can only do enforcement at its current strength and few additional services for the community. She advocated for 900 officers, but admits doing so will take several years. Kevin Blackburn, a former small business owner who now works for the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, believes economic development will help curb violence in Oakland. More tax revenue will allow the city to hire more cops, he added. “Oakland is open to business and we’re closed to crime,” said Blackburn.
“We should have Nordstrom-type service at City Hall and what we have is Kmart service,” said Blackburn. He added the problem is not how many city employees, but what they are actually doing while on the clock. Said Blackburn: “I think what we need at City Hall is a cultural shift and a change in the attitude of how city workers do their job.”