Bummed out by rising crime, Oakland residents are turning their thumbs down on their city's prospects, according to a new opinion poll.
Sixty-five percent say the town is headed in the wrong direction, compared to only 22 percent with the opposite feeling, and 12 percent who can't decide, Survey USA reported.
The findings contrast with San Francisco, where 59 percent think the city is on the right track, and San Jose, where 54 percent share that optimism.
The poll was commissioned by KPIX-TV in San Francisco, and you can get complete results on its website. Survey takers sampled 500 adults in each town, mostly over the telephone but some through electronic questionnaires. The margin of error was +/4.5%.
Residents gave their mayors ratings that corresponded to their outlooks on their cities.
In San Jose, for example, 55 percent approved of Mayor Chuck Reed. Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco got a 61 percent approval rating. But Oakland's Jean Quan scored only a 23 percent approval.
The disapproval of Quan cut across ideology, education and income, though the poorer and less educated residents of Oakland liked her best.
Reed got the best rating from political conservatives, three quarters of whom liked his work. Lee's ratings were fairly even across demographics.
Residents of the three cities worried about different issues. In Oakland, 71 percent feared crime, dwarfing the next biggest concern, jobs/economy, which got only a 10 percent share there.
Oakland is hosting a series of public meetings about public safety and will have one Wednesday, March 6, 6-9 p.m. in the City Council chambers, Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland.
Another will take place Saturday, March 9, 10 a.m. -1 p.m. (in Police District 3) at West Oakland Middle School, 991 14th Street, Oakland.
Oakland and San Jose have both struggled with rising crime rates. Oakland had 126 murders in 2012, up from 90 in 2010. Burglaries have also increased sharply.
San Francisco and San Jose both have lower murder rates, but San Jose saw an increase in burglary and murder from 2010 to 2011, the most recent years for which the city has published statistics on its website.
Quan made crime a focus of her State of the City address on Feb. 27.
She said the city's economy is improving, but it could take a "boom" to afford the goal of hiring 200 more police officers over the next five years.
What do such number portend for Quan's reelection prospects?
The Oakland Tribune offered this insight:
For Quan, the polling results wasn't as bad as the 78 percent negative rating she had shortly after the Occupy Oakland fiasco in late 2011. But it does show an overall deterioration of support since last spring when a poll conducted by Oakland-based political consultant Larry Tramutola found that 41 percent of voters viewed the mayor favorably and 51 percent viewed her unfavorably. ...
If there's a bright side for Quan, it's that Oakland has few big name political figures, and no prominent public figure has stepped forward to challenge her in 2014. Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who has won two citywide elections, said last year that she won't challenge Quan for mayor.
In San Jose, 34 percent of those surveyed were also most worried about crime, while 17 percent focused on the cost of owning a home.
In San Francisco, though, housing issues came first, with 28 percent listing the cost of a home as their biggest worry, while 18 percent were preoccupied by the related issue of homelessness.
In a bonus question for San Francisco, the poll takers found that 59 percent of citizens there favor building an arena for the Golden State Warriors at Piers 30-32. They didn't ask Oaklanders how they felt about losing their basketball team to the city across the bay.