While walking to the area where the California Delegation sat at the Democratic National Convention, this blogger spotted Oakland Mayor Jean Quan sitting next to and talking with Oakland City Council District Five Candidate Mario Juarez. Mr. Juarez and Mayor Quan were kind enough to invite the opportunity to make this video.
All of this happened as Newark Mayor Corey Booker was giving one heck of a speech, rousing the Democrats in the room who didn’t expect him to give such a great stemwinder, and causing the place to erupt in cheers – Mayor Booker had all on their feet. Well, everyone except a handful of people – Mayor Quan was one of them.
But for good reason.
Jean Quan was concentrating on a long, detailed Facebook-page-based response to a concern leveled by a constituent. Fearing she would lose her well-considered text because the wi-fi was being taxed under the weight of thousands of smartphones firing off Twitter tweets all at once, pushing Booker’s name to top trend status.
Quan was unmoved; she had this wild focus that I was personally impressed with, but I do see how it gets her into trouble. For example, some might interpret that as Jean not being into what Mayor Booker was saying, but that wasn’t the case – she was focused on what people were saying back in Oakland, as expressed by social media.
When we talked Mayor Quan praised President Obama and the White House for having an office dedicated to the needs of big city mayors. “When you need something from The White House they’re very responsive. They call back,” she said. “The money for the Port of Oakland, the special ATF actions we’ve had to take. All of that came from special meetings the White House set up.”
Mayor Quan said she came to the DNC 2012 on her own dime after attending the historic 2008 DNC because it was just that. This time she said she wanted to play a role in helping to move the Obama agenda forward because “We have a lot to lose at this election.”
Quan is specifically concerned that should Romney win in November, the hard fought Affordable Care at that she says is so great for women will be taken away.
Regarding next Oakland City Council session and finding money to replace Redevelopment, she didn’t seem to hold out hope: “I’ve seen some of the really big (California) leaders and they didn’t seem to have any plans,” she said. “The State of California broke it, and they thought they were going to save affordable housing. They’re slowing down project by project. I’m waiting for (State Controller) John Chaing to audit, I asked him to audit, the Oakland Army Base Project.” She said she asked him to go through it because the City of Oakland is ready to construct it. “But can you imagine that?,” she said. “Around the state, we’re waiting for the Controller to approve our Redevelopment projects. It’s horrible.”
What Quan reported harms the ability of a city to effectively sell bond issues because the developer and the city have to wait for the State to get through the review list of projects. And the Army base is not a classic Redevelopment project using property tax dollars, yet it’s on the State Of California’s “Review before approval list,” according to Mayor Quan.
The Mayor said she was working hard over the summer on police issues and have carved the list of issues of concern from “55” to “now we’re down to five issues, from fifty-five,” she said.
Yes, we got through all of that in the middle of a noisy convention.