When Don Perata held a community meeting at Montclair Presbyterian Church on Monday, we wondered what issues our neighbors would raise to this mayoral candidate. Bar none, the biggest concerns revolved around the effectiveness of City Hall.
One Montclarion observed that the city government seemed bloated and employeers weren’t doing their jobs. Another neighbor pointed to ethical, legal and honesty problems from the highest level down. Yet another chimed in about the problems that were revealed by the city auditor, and the need to provide her with more funding.
There’s plenty of skepticism about mayors lately, at least from the people who turned out this Monday evening. One neighbor declared, “the last two mayors wanted to do parts of the job. We’ve all suffered from that!”
After getting thanked by an attendee for running, Perata replied that “most people think I’m crazy.” He expects to adhere to the strong mayor form of government, making department heads more accountable and then backing them. Crime, jobs and solvency are on the top of his priorities list. “I’m not afraid of tough decisions,” he explained.
The mayoral role is imbued with our hopes and dreams (!) about Oakland. The role is unbelievably challenging, and it makes me wonder what makes candidates Don Perata, Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan truly tick. We’ll take a couple bleacher seats and watch them visiting the neighborhoods during the months ahead.