In September, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce paid for a research firm to do an annual survey of 500 Oakland residents who were likely to vote in November 2014, asking them their views about the city. The data–which was released today— offers a fascinating view of how Oaklanders–from across the city–are feeling right now.
Some of the high notes:

  • 75% of the respondents do not feel favorable toward Oakland Mayor Jean Quan –and 75% give her a negative job rating
  • 75 % of the respondents also said that they did not feel the city was heading in the right direction
  • 50% feel less safe than they did a year ago
  • Only 20% would re-elect Quan today

Voters in District 6–Desley Brooks’ district in East Oakland–were the most pessimistic in the survey, with 64% saying the city was on the wrong track and 59% saying they felt less safe than they had a year ago.

The issues Oaklanders prioritize–education, safety and economic development–remain constant:

  • 80% of the respondents felt Oakland public education needed more funding
  • 75% prioritize police support, with economic creation and job services following (69%)
  • 75% of the respondents said that City Council was doing a poor job
  • 53% agree that affordable housing has to be part of housing development in Oakland
  • 69% say the crime is the worst thing about living in the city

Mayor Quan  responded with a prepared statement to negative comments about her role and said she is determined to make the city safer . She also stressed that she has worked to secure grants, outside law enforcement experts and funding for more police officers. “We have made significant progress, and the momentum has shifted,” she said. “But we must do more and we must do it faster.”


About The Author

Susan Mernit is editor & publisher of Oakland Local ( a news & community hub for Oakland, CA. A former VP at AOL & Netscape, & former! Yahoo Senior Director, Mernit was consulting program manager for The Knight News Challenge, 2008-09; was a 2012 Stanford Carlos McClatchy Fellow; and is a board adviser to The Center for Health Reporting at USC, Annenberg School of Journalism. She has consulted with many non-profit organizations on strategy, product development and social media/engagement, including, TechSoup Global, Public Radio International and the Institute for Policy Studies/Economic Hardship Reporting Project, led by Barbara Ehrenreich.

6 Responses

  1. michelle t

    At least its’ better than Congress’s 10% approval.

    Should have a poll on the entire city council. After all, they collectively make decisions including letting Brooks break City Charter in an egregious way.

  2. A

    Mayor Quan’s statement is laughable at best. I’d like her and the City Council to define “determined” and the mayor to specifically define “significant progress” because I don’t think it means what she or the city council means.

    Oakland’s robbery rate is thee highest in the nation now. Granted, murders are less than last year, but that’s nothing to toot your horn about since robberies and burglaries are up significantly.

    I might want to also add that that city hall has caught yet again with misappropriations of funds. It’s sickening to think that amount of fraud, waste, and abuse goes on there but yet they always seem to ask for more money or else they’ll cut off a public service. We already have one of the highest sales tax rate and property tax rate. I ask my fellow Oaklanders, What are we getting in return?

  3. michelle t


    City Administrator, Santana Asked for the audit on Worker’s Compensation after noticing discrepencies in the accounts.

    Present sales tax rate and property tax rate are set by the State, not the city. Property tax are mostly used for school. Schools in Oakland are not govern by the city council or the Mayor.

    Oakland crime rate has always been high for decades, nothing new here. That’s why your rent or mortgage is much lower than S.F.
    At my NCPC meeting last night, crimes in my beat is actually down. y/y and month/month.

    By the way, google for your Oakland crime news.

    If you read Tribute and SFChronicle exclusively, you will get the wrong view due to biased editorials. In recent months, there’s been a lot of guns, gangs and drug bust by OPD and FBI. There’s already 3 suspects for the little girl who was killed in the Diamond District. The paramedic who was killed on Keller St., suspect was captured within a week due to residents cooperations.
    Last I heard, Ceasefire has also made progress.

  4. A


    Big deal if the City Administrator asked for the audit (which is their job BTW). The big question is what’s going to happen? Is anyone going to get let go? What about the person in charge of the department? Anything going to happen to him/her?

    Sales tax is dictated by the state but each city can increase the rate above the state limit. Oakland’s is higher than San Francisco and San Jose (e.g. large cities).

    Property tax is dictated by the county but again, the city can increase it. Below is the break down of the property rate (which is from property tax bill). Who has the largest rate? It’s not the schools.

    COUNTYWIDE TAX – 1.0000 %
    CITY OF OAKLAND 1 – 0.2077 %
    SCHOOL UNIFIED – 0.1384 %
    SCHOOL COMM COLL – 0.0434 %
    EBMUD SPEC DIST 1 – 0.0068 %

    Oakland’s property tax rate is: 1.4057%. San Francisco’s is 1.1691% ( San Jose’s is 1.2980% ( Again, who is paying more and getting less?

    As for crime, since Oakland has always had a crime problem we shouldn’t demand from our leaders (loose term) or expect them to solve that problem? Really? Crime by statistics/facts are UP. You can argue all you want about media coverage, but statistics show robberies/burglaries are so high that we’re #1 in the NATION!! People have hired private security to protect them. OPD doesn’t even come out timely or even at all for crimes other than murder. OPD clearance rate of solved crimes is in the low 20% and lower for some. Does that seem like “Significant Progress”?

    As for Operation Ceasefire:

    Michelle, it’s obvious from your postings that you’re tied to City Hall and that we shouldn’t hold them accountable for anything. As a non-city hall resident, I and all those people who answered the survey disagree. Hopefully my first post went through….

  5. Len Raphael

    Michelle is correct that the ad valorem (percentage of prop 13 assessed value) real property tax is set by state law for most CA locales. But certain pre prop 13 advolorem taxes were grandfathered. In our case, Oakland was maybe the first citiy in the country to borrow money on the bond market to get “pension holidays” back in the 70’s or 80’s. It lost big time in the stock market with that money, and repeated the performance.Last year, it borrowed again

    The difference between our rate and the state rate is supposed to go to pay off those bonds and the related infamous Goldman Rate Swaps.

    When real estate valuations dropped, the rate was raised to keep a steady flow of money for those ancient and not so ancient obligations.

  6. Gilgamesh

    “We have made significant progress, and the momentum has shifted,” she said. “But we must do more and we must do it faster.” Only in Jean Quan’s head has there been “significant” progress, or, for that matter, ANY kind of progress in the most important area of safety on the streets of Oakland.


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