By Maya Mirsky
Crime and development were the issues of the day at a community meeting with Mayor Ron Dellums, held today at Peralta Elementary in North Oakland. The meeting was hosted by Jane Brunner, councilwoman for the district.
Both issues are hot topics in this ethnically mixed, mostly middle-income neighborhood.
More than fifty speakers from the audience of over 200 addressed Dellums, who began with the announcement of upcoming projects and reports, and an evocation of Oakland as a model city.
But some residents felt less optimistic.
“Oakland is a model city for crime,” said Charles Pine, from the Oakland Residents for Peaceful Neighborhoods, a group that advocates for more police.
“I think that’s disrespectful to this city,” Dellums said, adding that crime is rising across the nation. He also said he is willing to discuss having more police, but said that budget and other concerns must be dealt with realistically.
The Oakland Police Department is currently 72 officers short of its target goal of 803.
Development and zoning were also brought repeatedly to the mayor’s attention. Residents were particularly concerned with zoning proposed for Telegraph Avenue and the planned 12-story tower at Children’s Hospital.
In his introduction, the mayor spoke about new zoning, but kept his comments to generalities.
“On my watch, we’re going to zone Oakland,” the mayor said.
The mayor also addressed a campaign in partnership with PG&E to increase street lighting in certain districts of Oakland and mentioned a report due out in the next few weeks on the development of the Oakland Army Base, saying that he wanted a minimum of 10,000 jobs to be created.