Over the past several days Oakland has been awash in positive news. First, came the news that the Brooklyn Basin housing development just south of Jack London Square would be fast-tracked and would include four hundred units of affordable housing. And then came the unveiling of a proposed new ballpark for the A’s at Howard Terminal on the city’s waterfront.
But Oakland mayoral candidate Joe Tuman, who is challenging Mayor Jean Quan next year, is attempting to snap everyone back to reality.
However, Tuman quickly moved to turn his misfortune into a vehicle for fundraising before the crucial December 31 deadline for campaign contributions this year. In an email to supporters, Thursday, he offered testimonials from followers of his Facebook page who chimed in with their own stories of having their car windows broken in Oakland.
“Obviously car break-ins pale in comparison to the epidemic of violence and murder that is plaguing our city. Car break-ins are usually about theft and broken windows,” Tuman’s email said. “But sometimes, a broken window is more than just a broken window.”
The narrative of a city crippled by crime fits neatly with Tuman’s intention to make his campaign next year entirely about public safety and beefing up the city’s police force. Last July, when Tuman announced his candidacy in front of Oakland City Hall, he said, “I want to be clear that my campaign for mayor of this city will really focus on the real issue — the dominant issue, the narrative of this city — and that is public safety, or, more accurately, the absence of public safety,”
Tuman, however, isn’t the only Oakland mayoral candidate vowing to come down hard on crime. Fellow candidates Councilmember Libby Schaaf and Port of Oakland Commissioner Bryan Parker also say they plan on making crime the campaign’s top issue. Oakland voters, as a result, may be forced to discern nuanced policy differences between each candidate’s public safety proposals.
Still, the visceral story of a candidate having his car window broken in downtown Oakland gives Tuman an excellent way to differentiate his message. In fact, a candidate being the victim of crime while on the campaign trail in Oakland recently became a sign of good things to come. Last year, council candidate Dan Kalb was robbed of his smartphone following a campaign event in Oakland. Kalb then won his race. For Tuman, when God gives you lemons, use them to raise campaign contributions.