District 4 Race: So Early, So Important

Oakland’s District 4 council seat is getting vacated by mayoral candidate Jean Quan – and that move has attracted a flurry of early candidates.  A group of District 4 neighborhood leaders plan to interview all comers this weekend, and endorse a candidate thereafter.

With that vetting underway, Today in Montclair wanted to introduce as many candidates as possible.  Remember that candidate filings don’t even take place until August (!) for the November election.  It’s a little unfair to push for positions this early, but the outcomes matters to everyone.

Over the past couple weeks, your faithful blogger has begun reaching many aspirants by e-mail, phone or in person – and they are a truly impressive line-up.  My goal has been to create a very level playing field, and I sent these questions to gauge their differences:

  1. Why are you running for District 4?
  2. Why should people vote for you?
  3. What do you hope to change for District 4 residents?
  4. How would you balance needs of different neighborhoods?
  5. How would you balance needs of District 4 and all Oakland?
  6. What will be different when you are seated versus Jean Quan?
  7. How does District 4 connect with other districts now?
  8. How would District 4 connect if you’re in the council seat?
  9. What are your top three priorities, after becoming council rep?
  10. What have you accomplished, one year after becoming council rep?
  11. What else would you like to share with Montclarions and other readers?

At first, the ideal plan was to collect all Q&As and publish them simultaneously.  Falling short of time as well as this ideal, six candidates were reached and have responded admirably.  You may read Q&As from Scott Jackson, Clinton Killian and Libby Schaaf, along with an introduction from Melanie Shelby.

In coming days and weeks, Jill Broadhurst (added May 3rd), Melanie Shelby and Daniel Swafford have assured this blogger that they plan to share more information and responses.  There are several more candidates who are starting to declare their intentions as well.

Welcome to the almost-election season! At Today in Montclair, we hope to provide an interest-free zone where candidates communicate directly – and where materials will be shared and linked from other places.  We’re hearing that national anthem finishing up, and turn to the first game now.

4 thoughts on “District 4 Race: So Early, So Important

  1. While I think that these candidate responses are invaluable, I believe that you missed the most important question that all candidates need to address. Namely, what are their suggestions for dealing with Oakland’s budget crisis, and for bringing Oakland’s budget back into long range balance. While I know that they will not have any direct control over the current budget discussions, there is every reason to believe that the city council will be dealing with a very similar set of problems one year from now.

  2. Yes, budgeting is the “front and center” issue. In the near future, I’ll need to do another round on specific issues which compare their views.

  3. Budget is the #1 issue right now in Oakland. How many special sessions has the cc had on this issue this year? At least 3 that I can recall.

  4. I just want to echo the sentiments posted here on the matter of candidates addressing the serious fiscal crisis that Oakland is in. From what I’ve read posted here by the candidates, all I see is the same old tired political rhetoric that we hear cycle after cycle. Really, enough already. I don’t care about promises to “fix streets” or “improve schools”, etc. We simply expect that from anyone elected into office. Without addressing the fiscal issues facing Oakland, not a single promise these candidates utter can be fulfilled. So, let’s cut to the chase and demand answers from these candidates of how, exactly, they would address the issue, work with the other council members and create a working budget without asking for yet another parcel tax while threatening to cut services.

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