Oakland’s Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf sat down with KQED’s Scott Shafer for both KQED Forum and KQED Newsroom today.

One hot topic of conversation everywhere nowadays: affordable housing, or the lack thereof. Shafer asked Schaaf how she would prevent Oakland from becoming the next San Francisco in terms of people getting priced out of the city. Schaaf said she wanted to grow Oakland’s economy and welcome new residents, “but absolutely not at the expense of our existing residents, nor selling our soul.”


“That secret DNA that makes Oakland Oakland. Its diversity, its artists, and its blue collar and working class neighborhoods and jobs.”

Schaaf said Oakland has an advantage over San Francisco in keeping housing prices down because it’s twice the size with half the population. She also said she would not wait before it’s too late to expand the housing supply.

“The … mistake that San Francisco made is we are going to be much more aggressive about building new housing so that we can relieve that pressure on our existing housing stock. We have got to stabilize housing prices, and then we’ve got to use some creative policies that allow affordability to be created where people are already living as opposed to such focus on building new affordable buildings.”

Public Safety

Schaaf said her No. 1 priority as mayor will be public safety. “It’s the most basic service that people deserve. Oaklanders need to feel confident that a cop will come when they call.”

Shafer asked her why public safety has been such a hard problem to solve.

“Public safety has been a struggle for Oakland my whole life … We now have examples of other cities that have become incredibly safe. Los Angeles is a great example for me — 81 percent reduction in crime. That’s what I want for Oakland.”

Schaaf said she is a backer of community policing and better use of crime data. “And also recognizing that policing is not the totality of the public safety equation. We have got to invest in successful intervention and prevention programs. I’m a supporter of the Ceasefire approach. And we have to address those root causes of crime — that’s jobs, better wages, and particularly, for me, better educational outcomes for all of Oakland’s children.”

Keeping Oakland’s Sports Teams

Earlier, on Forum, Schaaf said she had reached out to the Oakland Raiders, hours before San Antonio city officials were expected to try to lure the team to Texas. She said a top executive with the team assured her that “Mark Davis’ previous comments continue to hold true,” that the Raiders’ first priority remains “staying in Oakland.”

Schaaf also said while keeping both the A’s and the Raiders in town is one of her priorities, she “draws a line in the sand” at using public funds to build a stadium. The Raiders’ lease at the Coliseum expires this year.


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor of KQED’s health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED’s daily news blog, News Fix. A veteran blogger, he previously worked for Yahoo! in various news writing and editing roles. He was also the editor of EconomyBeat.org, which documented user-generated content about the financial crisis and recession. Jon is also a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S. He has written about film for his own blog and studied film at Boston University. He has an MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College.


Amanda Stupi

Amanda Stupi is Forum's engagement producer.

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