Oakland, CA – Since the so-called Oakland “Strong Mayor” form of local government was enacted in 2000, removing the Mayor as a voting member the Oakland City Council, we need to look at what the job of Mayor of Oakland has come to mean.
No longer part of the ‘policy making’ role of the Council, it seems to me that the Mayor of Oakland’s chief responsibilities lie in fiscal stewardship and managerial oversight. The City Administrator who supervises every department reports directly to the Mayor and, in light of some of the most damaging events in Oakland’s recent history, is responsible for a lack of oversight and accountability.
Most notably, the Ghost Ship fire revealed major lapses in both the fire and police departments’ inspection and reporting policies. And we must look at the fact that the Oakland Police Department continues to be overseen and monitored by a Federal judge after 15 years of failing to comply with reforms that OPD agreed to in 2003.
The Mayor of Oakland needs to bear down on her City Administrator to ensure that all departments demonstrate professional standards and to minimize financial exposure so that precious resources can be utilized for the pressing needs of the unsheltered and other under-funded services.
Rashidah Grinage, Oakland District 4 resident