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.