Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Oakland City Attorney hopefuls square off in first candidate forum

Nearly six months into the electoral process, the two final candidates for Oakland’s City Attorney race debated tonight in front of nearly 100 potential voters and business leaders in an open forum at the Waterfront Hotel, located in Jack London Square.  The debate was co-produced by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee and the League of Women Voters.
Moderated by Helen Hutchinson of the Oakland League of Women Voters, the debate included questions from panelists Matthew Artz of the Oakland Tribune and the Bay Area Newspaper Group, and Jill Broadhurst, Director of Community Affairs and Advocacy for the East Bay Rental Housing Association.
Current City Attorney Barbara Parker shared meaningful exchanges with City Councilmember Jane Brunner in the debate, the first of six debates featuring candidates for Oakland public office. The second in the series will be held tomorrow night, Wednesday, August 22, with candidates for City Council District Three squaring off at Z Café, 2735 Broadway, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The office of the City Attorney (OCA) is “bureaucratic” and “way too slow” said Brunner, “I am an activist attorney” and “will bring change.” Parker, who has had the job for a year, said her judgment and experience will stand her in good stead in the position.

While Brunner insisted that Oakland City Attorney must “understand politics in a political world,” Parker said that there is “no place for politics in the city attorney’s office.” Despite a case of laryngitis her voice was strong and did not waver. Brunner cited her 25 years of experience as an attorney in Oakland and emphasized her commitment to eliminating elder abuse and workers rights.  
The candidates covered a wide range of topics in the conversation, and many of the detailed comments can be found on Twitter using the hashtag #oakdebates.

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