Schaaf denounces Brooks’ proposal to train Blacks and Latinos for city-funded construction projects
Resorting to name calling, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has turned to the local media to attack District 6 City Councilmember Desley Brooks for verbally attacking the mayor and fellow councilmembers.
Though she called Brooks the “Donald Trump of Oakland,” Mayor Schaaf is herself known in the city for having a vindictive attitude, that you are for her or against her.
Brooks, who is frequently at odds with the mayor and her allies on the council on policy issues, has often supported members of the public who feel angry and frustrated at city inaction on many issues: gentrification and displacement, homelessness, lack of city support for job training, accountability for police violence, OPD complicity with the ICE deportation raids and failure to promote equity in the choice of vendors and contractors.
Councilmember Brooks has also challenged the city administration for dragging its feet or refusing to implement city council decisions.
The mayor’s City Council ally, Annie Campbell Washington, alleges Brooks is the reason she has chosen not to run for reelection – but she has taken another job. She has been working since January as an assistant dean at the Goldman School, according to the SF Chronicle.
Mayor Schaaf in her KPIX Channel 5 interview came out strongly against Brooks’ proposal to use city funds to support well-known local nonprofits to train Oakland residents – particularly Blacks and Latinos – for jobs on city-funded construction projects.
In her proposal, Brooks suggested four different possible funding sources to ramp up the pre-apprenticeship training programs, including Cypress Mandela Training Center and Men of Valor Academy.
“To raise the hopes of residents that something like this can get done when the actual basis of the proposal is not possible under existing law is deceptive to residents,” Schaaf said in the television interview. “And it is harmful to our democracy.”
However, the City Attorney has not issued an opinion on the legality of the proposal, and it is unknown where the mayor received her legal advice.
The mayor has long opposed using city funding for existing federally supported job programs in East and West Oakland and has diverted one-third of federal workforce development funds to support the city bureaucracy.
Mayor Schaaf is seen by many residents as a politician who governs as a corporate Democrat in opposition to the three more progressive members of the council – Brooks, Rebecca Kaplan and Noel Gallo.
The mayor backed candidates against all three in past elections. Schaaf recently was involved in Oakland’s loss of representation on the board of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District because she did not support Kaplan’s continued presence on the Board, even though Kaplan’s tenure on the board had brought millions of dollars into the city to eliminate airborne toxic wastes.
Mayor Schaaf and OPD Chief Anne Kirkpatrick were furious at Brooks late last year when she joined many members of the community to challenge the use of OPD officers to support an ICE raid in August.
After Chief Kirkpatrick complained to the City Council president, a motion was introduced that could have led to Brooks being removed as chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee. However, the motion failed, falling one vote short of the necessary five votes, after a Council meeting at which many residents spoke in support of Brooks’ aggressive approach to the city’s problems.