Adventures in Oakland Politics: Marcie Hodge!

Darn..no t-shirt!

2 Points for good manners!

This weekend I went to a Marcie Hodge meet and greet at her aunt’s house in Upper Rockridge.

After trudging up a street called Ocean View (foresight not really kicking in) on a warm Saturday afternoon, once I got to the destination all I saw was a standard Marcie Hodge lawn sign. No indication that an important informational was going to occur.

Glad for the opportunity to breathe and wipe copious amounts of sweat off my brow, I paused to text a friend to see what I should do. This was a really NICE neighborhood, which would probably not look kindly on a sweaty Black person knocking on doors.

When out comes Marcie Hodge in comfortable jeans and sneakers to shake my hand and direct me inside!! 🙂 (+1)

Her aunt directed me to refreshments while the three of us engaged in idle chatter until other neighbors and guests arrived. There was only 4 other people, which made it hard for me to blend in with the furniture.

Hodge immediately went into her speech. She decided to run for Mayor of Oakland because she knows that the city can do better than it has been. As mayor her focus would be on Jobs, Education, Crime and promoting the Health Initiative.

1. Jobs: In order to attract jobs, she would focus on the Port of Oakland- which she considers a missed opportunity for economic development. She would work to continue the dredging that is currently underway and look to appoint a someone who specializes in International Business to attract foreign companies to do business along the port.

2. Crime and Safety: Her solution to increasing safety in Oakland is to place precincts in different areas of the city- those that need it most. She would also encourage officers to work the streets and participate in community policing programs. She is very disappointed in the laying off of young officers and would work to negotiate with the Police to get them to contribute to their pensions.

3. Education: This one she was a little vague on. However, she mentioned that as mayor there is little influence that her office could exert. She would like to re-establish a Job Center in Oakland that would help to increase students skills.

4. Health Initiative: Here she was a little vague as well. She said she would do what she could to support Obama’s Health Care plan to make sure that residents have adequate health care. Although her website asserts that she would promote healthy eating and active living.

Of course, as a health advocate I could not let a vague answer pass. I had to get concrete ideas!!! So I asked her a specific question.

I mentioned that there was a study that indicates that a person who lives in West Oakland is expected to live 15 years less than a person who lives in the Oakland Hills. (At the time I said 7..but I was going off of memory so sue me –you can find the study by downloading the “Unnatural Causes of Death” pdf summary from the Alameda County Health Department.

I said that this was mainly due to the different built environments that contributes to the resident’s health: walkable neighborhoods, relative safety of the two environments, and access to healthy foods. I mentioned that the closest grocery store in West Oakland is in Emeryville (Pak N Save) or in Downtown Oakland (Smart and Final).

So I asked her: What would you do to bring more grocery stores to areas like West Oakland or East Oakland that so desperately need them?

Crime, she says! We must do something about the crime in the neighborhood so that major grocery chains can feel it is safe enough to establish stores. She would also encourage neighborhood schools to build local gardens with sustainable produce to share with the community. She would also reach out to alternative food stores..it doesn’t have to be Safeway, it could be Food Co.!

She would also do more to support local clinics and see about having the same sort of health care system as cities such as San Francisco which has it’s own health insurance plan for residents.

[Update: Googling West Oakland and Grocery stores will result in articles about the City Council voting to use eminent domain to get grocery stores to West Oakland: Here]

After this other questions were asked in which I tuned out. During this period I reflected that these were the most concrete answers that I have heard from Hodge. Her performance at the debates were non-memorable at best. There was even a not too friendly article about her purpose in this campaign from the East Bay Express.

I wanted to ask her about it, but decided not to make her uncomfortable in her aunt’s home. Overall I was satisfied with her performance. And I was hungry.

[Update: On Oct. 6th Marcie responded to the East Bay Express article! Click above and read the comment section. :)]

After taking a few strawberries, I took my leave and started my journey on foot towards home. While floating down Broadway and gossiping on the phone with my great-cousin Richard, guess who pulls a U-turn and asks me if I want a ride? Marcie Hodge, that’s who! (+1)

I politely decline professing the need for exercise.

Such a nice young lady! I don’t know if this will help her become Mayor, but I wish her the best of luck. 🙂

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