I am responding to a recent editorial slamming Oakland Mayor Jean Quan that was not only contemptuous, but factually wrong.
It faulted Quan for being "missing in action." No one who has paid attention to her accomplishments could possibly arrive at this conclusion.
With regard to the port of Oakland, which the editorial labels "the economic driver of the East Bay," Quan has not only appointed a more effective governing commission, but she also lured the former director of the very successful Long Beach port to run Oakland's.
More important, she saved the $ 200 million-plus in transportation grants from the state from expiring and drove the effort to develop the Army base in a way that also benefits the port with a greatly expanded rail hub.
The editorial also faults Quan for her "wasteful travel," ignoring the important fact that a recent trip to China secured a $1.5 billion commitment from Chinese investors to get the stalled Brooklyn Basin development restarted.
Trips to Washington, D.C., moreover, succeeded in securing federal grants that paid for additional police officers. In fact, Oakland has received more funds of this type than any other American city. Wasteful travel indeed.
The editorial's claim that Quan has not addressed Oakland's crime problem is also erroneous. Her commitment to community policing and driving down violent crime is energetic and long-term. She committed to Ceasefire immediately upon becoming mayor and championed the Wasserman/Bratton reorganization of OPD that is beginning to show results with most crimes trending downward. She has also spearheaded the drive to run back-to-back police academies to increase the staffing of the Oakland Police Department.
Whether preparing budgets that guided Oakland through the economic crisis without shutting down whole city departments or depleting Oakland's rainy day reserve funds, or leading the drive to keep the A's and Raiders in Oakland, Quan has been busy on a variety of fronts dealing with complex problems effectively.
To suggest that she is a do-nothing, passive mayor is to ignore her constant, multi-tasking engagement and noteworthy accomplishments. She has been the Energizer Bunny mayor from her first day in office. Last summer, 1,300 youth had jobs and internships because of her determined efforts, and Quan is the force behind the comprehensive program of youth mentoring to foster success of Oakland youth at risk.
As mayor, Jerry Brown played it safe with just three major initiatives: 10,000 new residents downtown; the School of the Arts; and the Military Academy. He did not have to deal with an economic crisis, a court takeover of the Police Department, or the loss of redevelopment and state claw-back of its funds.
In fact, Brown did not handle public safety, the retaining of Oakland's sports teams, or fostering youth success very well. Quan has been engaged and successful in all of these areas with trends pointing to better outcomes.
Instead of just three, she has tackled a multitude of important initiatives and handled them effectively.
She is the best mayor in my memory. We are fortunate to have her talents, dedication, and energy working for us.
Don Link is an Oakland resident.