We’re pleased to introduce District 4 candidate Scott Jackson. He provided responses to questions Today in Montclair posed in April 2010, below.
Q. Why are you running for District 4?
Oakland is a wonderful city but it is broken. I am running for City Council to try to fix it. Living in District 4 for the past 9 years has given me an understanding of the District’s needs and my experience has a Deputy District Attorney has given me a perspective on Oakland’s needs as a whole. Too many of our politicians and city leaders are representing their own interests and not the interests of the people they are elected to represent. I am running to represent the people of District 4 and our interests. Our district deserves a leader who will work hard to deliver basic city services like keeping us safe, fixing our streets, and creating and maintaining a vibrant economy.
Q. Why should people vote for you?
First, as a Deputy District Attorney, I have prosecuted all types of crimes in Oakland. I understand crime and how to address the public safety concerns of District 4 residents.
Second, as a resident of District 4 for the past 9 years, I too am frustrated by the lack of basic city services. I will fight hard to deliver those services.
Finally, as a former teacher and a parent who is raising 3 children in District 4, I understand what families are going through in our District. The District needs someone to fight hard for our families so that we don’t lose them to other cities/towns.
Q. What do you hope to change for District 4 residents?
I would like to change Oakland’s response to our District needs. I would like more patrols on our streets, an increase in CORE funding, and fixing our broken streets.
Q. How would you balance needs of different neighborhoods?
As I talk to people from all over the District, our needs are not that much different. First, everyone is concerned (and rightfully so) about public safety right now. The key will be to focus on the “hot spots” and continue to pursue other criminal activity from there. Second, the news of earthquakes around the globe has everyone in our District concerned about our preparedness when the Hayward Fault has a dramatic shift. Our goal as a District has to be preparedness and responsiveness. Third, everyone in our District seems to have a pothole they want fixed, a tree they want removed, a street lamp fixed, or a blight they want addressed. Oakland must provide these services.
Finally, our District has some wonderful businesses that we must support. Our girls have participated in Kids N Dance in the Laurel; we shop for food at Farmer Joe’s in the Dimond; we shop for toys at Toyhouse in Montclair; and we get our dry cleaning done in Lincoln Square. Our District has it all – not to mention all of the excellent restaurants in our District. We must support these businesses as they support local jobs and provide for revenue that the City so desperately needs.
Q. How would you balance needs of District 4 and all Oakland?
I think we connect over issues. For example, vocational schools/training. I have talked to people all over Oakland, and I see these young people who come into our courtrooms everyday, and there is no doubt that many of these kids could benefit from vocational training. If we teach these kids a skill that they could carry with them for the rest of their lives, get them into a union or start them on the path of starting their own business, Oakland would benefit greatly. How does this connect with District 4? If people are working, they are not robbing. And maybe these kids will not enter our homes with the intent to steal, but with the intent to fix our pipes or install solar paneling.
Q. What will be different when you are seated versus Jean Quan?
First of all, let me say that Jean is to be commended for her dedicated service to the District and the City.
I think the major difference between Jean and I will be my ability to connect with young families in our District and with Oakland as a whole. As a parent of 3, currently raising school aged children in the District, I understand what families are going through. I understand that there are people in our District living paycheck to paycheck who are concerned about their children’s education, their jobs, and their mortgages. The expense and sacrifice of living in the District is causing many families a lot of stress. Many of our District residents are not asking for much from the City, just the basics – keeping us safe, fixing our streets, making sure we are prepared for the “Big One,” and supporting local retail. I believe that I can provide a voice for these families.
I think another difference will be putting different face on District 4. As an African-American, I believe that other Oaklanders will see District 4 in a new light. I believe that I will be able to connect District 4 with the rest of Oakland in a way that Jean could not. This could help District 4 increase its influence in the City.
Q. How does District 4 connect with other districts now?
It doesn’t. For example, look at the increase in parking fees fiasco. If you read the papers during that period, District 4 residents were portrayed as a bunch of rich folks who did not want to pay our fair share – even though the vast majority of Oaklanders opposed the increases. Our District residents care about the welfare of this City and the People of Oakland as much as anyone else in this City.
Q. How would District 4 connect if you’re in the council seat?
As I mentioned above, I believe that I can connect with the all of People of Oakland. In my capacity as Deputy District Attorney, I have been fortunate to meet and speak with people from all over Oakland, and we are not much different. We all want Oakland to work again, and we want Oakland to reach its full potential. When I am on the Council, the People of Oakland will know that we stand behind them in our common pursuit of safe streets and economic vitality.
Q. What are your top three priorities, after becoming council rep?
First, getting more cops on the streets of District 4. I believe my experience and relationships in law enforcement will get the ear of the police brass and help us get the police resources we need.
Second, extending and increasing funding for CORE. We are going to take the brunt of the impact of the impending earthquake and we must be prepared.
Third, fixing our streets. From potholes, to street lights, to blight, our streets have become a quality of life issue that needs to be addressed.
Q. What have you accomplished, one year after becoming council rep?
All of the above. We need to stop aiming low and start aiming high. Moreover, Oakland needs to do a better job attracting and encouraging business growth. There are lots of empty stores even in wealthy areas of Oakland. I will encourage and support small business development in District 4.
Q. What else would you like to share with Montclarions and other readers?
I am originally from Chicago and went to Williams College in Massachusetts. After two years of teaching (U.S. and Civil Rights History) I went to law school at George Washington in Washington, DC. I was offered a job with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and my wife and I moved to Oakland in 1997 after we graduated from law school. We moved to District 4 in 2001 after our first child was born. We live in the Crestmont area with our 3 kids and my 77 year-old mother-in law- who helps with the kids. She has given me a great perspective of the needs of the Seniors in our District.
I coach for Montclair Soccer Club, NOLL/SOLL baseball, Oakland Girls Softball League; and I even did a stint with Skyline Lacrosse! I am committed to the youth our district and will be a strong advocate for the needs of residents of District 4.
June 1st Update: At the Piedmont Pines Neighborhood Association’s gathering for candidates, we learned that Scott Jackson won’t be throwing his hat in the District 4 ring.