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Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao delivers her first State of the City address

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – Oakland’s mayor recommitted herself to tackling the city’s ever-increasing crime problem on Tuesday. During her State of the City address, Mayor Sheng Thao said nothing is more important to her than the safety of Oakland’s residents.   

“Everyone in Oakland wants to be safe,” she said. “Wherever you live, whoever you are, you have a right to feel safe in the City of Oakland… I am committed to holding myself and the city departments accountable for taking necessary action. Oakland was one national model for reducing gun violence, achieving a 50% decrease between 2012 and 2019. We will identify what works during that period and make the necessary adjustments based upon the challenges that we have now.”

The mayor says there are now more cops on the street than at any time in the last two years, and more are coming. Also ahead are new 911 dispatchers, a new dispatch system, more community ambassadors, security cameras, 300 new license plate reader cameras, and cameras to enforce speed limits and strengthen Operation Ceasefire.

“I believe community safety integrates law enforcement, violence prevention, and technology to make Oakland safer for our children, for our families, for our businesses and visitors alike,” Thao said. 

The mayor has been in office for 10 months and says it’s been humbling. She also took responsibility for the millions of dollars in crime-fighting grant money the city missed out on by not getting its application in on time.

“I own that the buck stops with me,” she said. “Let me tell you what we are doing moving forward. We are fast-tracking the hiring of a grant coordinator. We are bringing in additional grant management expertise.”

During a separate news conference prior to her speech, Thao’s opponents criticized her for Oakland’s problems.

“Mayor Sheng Thao is the most incompetent mayor I have seen in 53 years since my family moved to Oakland,” said Brenda Harbin-Forte, a former judge and police commissioner. 

It’s unlikely anything the mayor said Tuesday will change the minds of some opponents, but she’s still hopeful she can bring Oakland together.

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