ONN – Sabrina Landreth, Who Failed At Fiscal Innovation, To Quit As Oakland City Administrator
Sabrina Landreth, the current Oakland City Adminstrator, is planning to quit her job March of 2020. For all that the once former Oakland Assistant City Administrator brought to Oakland in the form of a stable CAO, she failed to bring much needed fiscal and organizational innovation, let alone a thick skin, to a seat held by legendary figures.
From David Self to Craig Kocian, Robert Bobb and Kofi Bonner, and the towering intellectual presence that was and is Henry Gardner, Oakland has been blessed with city managers and city administrators unafraid to create new financing or managerial or organizational approaches. From Oakland pioneering the sale-leaseback under Gardner, to Bonner reforming the Community and Economic Development Agency around what he called “area teams”, to David Self leading the charge to keep the Raiders in Oakland, and then Craig Kocian leading the effort to get the NFL team back from Los Angeles, and Robert Bobb steering the development of the Uptown Entertainment District, our city has had enough top-flight civic managers to write a great textbook.
Unfortunately, Sabrina Landreth didn’t get the textbook and her boss, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, should have given it to her. What Oakland has experienced over Ms. Landreth’s time has been little more than the common standard process of budget cuts without any really creative way to raise money to solve problems that past administrations handled with ease. Under her 4.5 years, Oakland’s homeless problem has only worsened, and while legislation that could and can help, like SB 628 which authorizes the creation of Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts that can be used to pay for new low income housing, went untried – even though this blogger constantly advocated for its use..
No. Rather than really try and build a much-needed problem-solving policy think-and-do-tank, Sabrina Landreth let the well-deserved but, yes, too-harsh-criticisms of her staff’s performance get to her. What Ms. Landreth fails to understand is that many parts of Oakland are turning into sad subregions with conditions that rival poor third world nations, and right down the street from pockets of incredible wealth, and the overall idea that as long as we have ultra rich people around us, everything’s going to be just fine.
Well, it’s not, and it hasn’t been for a while. And because of that, Sabrina Landreth, you have to understand that a lot of people are suffering, and they look to you to do something about it.
Thanks for the 4.5 uneventful years, Sabrina Landreth. Well, then we did lose the Raiders and the Warriors, so I guess something happened, right?
Best of luck to you in your next position.
Post script: This is not the first time I have been critical of an Oakland Chief Administrative Officer. The last time was Dan Lindheim, who was then-Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums CAO, and along with the late Walter Cohen:
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