Oakland: De La Fuente Trying to Unseat Kaplan For Councilmember At-Large

by Caitlin Esch

After 20 years representing Oakland’s District 5, City Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente is giving up his position to run for Councilmember At-Large. De La Fuente is hoping to unseat popular incumbent Rebecca Kaplan.

De La Fuente is known for his tough-on-crime attitude. But in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, bookkeeper Jose Dorado says support for De La Fuente among many merchants is eroding as crime in the neighborhood continues to soar.

“The kinds of efforts that Mr. De La Fuente has put forth to deal with that has not been anywhere near even adequate in our opinion,” said Dorado.

“I absolutely understand their frustration,” De La Fuente said. “The reality—it is true: crime going up, our inability to deal with that, absolutely has increased. That’s the reason why I have tried so hard to give the police the tools to do their job.”

De La Fuente strongly supports gang injunctions and youth curfews. But At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan criticizes him for voting to cut police staffing to balance the budget.

“If he keeps cutting the police force, it’s not gonna work to just say, well this smaller number of cops should do more other things.”

Kaplan voted against the layoffs and says OPD doesn’t have the resources to enforce curfews.

  • kasz

    The Oakland Tribune conducted a lengthy interview with all four candidates and posted it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcSlp7cbvmw. Among the other things that you will learn is that Oakland has $2.2 billion in unfunded liabilities (and that figure is growing) and there’s no realistic plan to tackle that. Yikes. It is worth a watch if you are trying to decide how to vote and want to (try to) understand the financial crisis that Oakland is facing. Similar videos are available for the other Council seats.