Residents “feel worse, not better”: SF State Prof Announces Bid To Unseat Oakland Mayor

College professor and political commentator Joe Tuman, who finished fourth in the 2010 Oakland mayoral race, announced today that he will run against Mayor Jean Quan in the 2014 election.

Speaking at a news conference outside Oakland City Hall after he filed papers to formally enter the race, Tuman said his campaign will focus on public safety, which he said is “the real issue” that the city faces.

Tuman, who received only 12 percent of the vote in the 10-candidate race in 2010, said Oakland residents should ask themselves if they feel safer than they do in 2011, when Quan took office.

Answering that question himself, Tuman said he believes most of the city’s residents “feel worse, not better.”

He said, “What we need in this city is to recalibrate a new normal so that hearing gunshots and sirens at 3 a.m. is unusual and we don’t have the worst robbery rate in the Bay Area if not California.”

Tuman, who is department chair and professor of communication studies at San Francisco State University and has been a political analyst for KPIX television and KCBS radio, said he has “great respect” for Quan for her hard work and integrity but he doesn’t think she’s done a good job in fighting crime.

Tuman said if he’s elected mayor he would work to hire up to 350 more police officers over three or four years by increasing the number of police training academies the city holds every year.

He said he would pay for hiring more police officers by asking voters to approve a parcel tax and by possibly selling city assets, including the Oakland Coliseum complex.

Public safety is the biggest issue in Oakland because “it’s the most basic obligation of government,” Tuman said.

He said running against Quan “is not personal” but he’s opposing her because he wants to “arrest a city in free fall” and he believes her public safety results “are not adequate.”

Tuman said he doesn’t want any of Oakland’s three professional sports teams to leave the city but he also doesn’t want to spend public money to keep them.

Handicapping Oakland’s chances of keeping the teams, Tuman said the Warriors “may be leaving us, unfortunately” because they’ve announced plans to move to San Francisco but he thinks there’s a good chance that the A’s and Raiders will stay.

He said, “The Raiders are the most likely to stay because their image is connected to being in Oakland, which is a tough blue-collar town.”

Turning to Oakland’s economy, Tuman said he agrees with Quan that it’s improving but he thinks that’s mainly because the state’s economy is improving, not because of anything the city is doing to boost its economy.

“I think it’s telling that unemployment in Oakland is higher than other cities and the economic recovery rate is better in other cities such as Emeryville and Berkeley,” Tuman said.

Quan has already set up a “Re-Elect Oakland Mayor Jean Quan 2014” website but has not formally announced her candidacy for re-election.

Sean Maher, a spokesman for Quan, said she is “focused on being the Mayor” for the time being, which has been “a lot of work lately.”

Asked what he learned from the 2010 campaign, Tuman said, “I learned that running for office is a lot harder than talking about it and it’s important to start early,” noting that the election isn’t until November 2014.

Tuman said his campaign will be professionally managed and he plans to raise $396,000, which is the spending limit for the mayor’s race.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!