During the last mayoral election I had very strong doubts about Jean Quan’s ability to run the city. Because of that she was my third choice in the ranked balloting, thinking her the lesser of the remaining evils. I think her performance so far, and especially after the past 36 hours, puts even that latter consideration into doubt.
Quan has been a very good organizer at the neighborhood level where she needed to convince people to work together toward her, and their, goals. As the New York Times article points out, she can have an impact in a limited, localized area when she actively puts her organizing skills to work. However, that is not something she can do for the city as a whole, nor are the efforts self-sustaining once her attention shifts away.
As mayor she seems unwilling or unable to function in a position which gives her actual power. Rather than following the suggestion of her previous police chief Anthony Batts and supporting teen curfews and gang injunctions, actions that are strongly supported by Ignacio De La Fuente and Larry Reid, council members from two of the hardest-hit districts, she chose to kick the ideas back to committee for more study. Quan expressed doubts that the polices would work. Of course, they would not have made the mayhem any worse and could have been rescinded if shown to be ineffective. Meanwhile, the Fruitvale district and East Oakland continue to burn.
When I think of the amount of real policing and crime fighting that the expense of yesterday’s actions could have paid for, it confirms to me that she is unsuited to the job of being mayor of Oakland. At this point, recalling her is a very real and much needed action.