Bryan Parker

OAKLAND | MAYOR | Bryan Parker’s demeanor is typically business-like. He wears nice suits and often shows polite empathy. But there was a more agitated Bryan Parker on display last Thursday night at the first major Oakland mayoral forum.

The packed house at Temple Sinai was forewarned. During his opening statement Parker alluded to the possibility he might be a lot more animated than usual. The reason for the outrage exuded by Parker may have been due to the subject matter. Thursday’s forum was dedicated solely to public safety. On a personal level, Parker’s sister was murdered by an assailant in 1998.

“I’ve got a city of people like my sister,” Parker said after the nearly three-hour forum. “I see them every day on my walks and it’s not getting any better.” The perception of rising crime in Oakland is seen as Mayor Jean Quan’s Achilles Heel and nearly every other challenger’s strategy is to use it to trip her up this fall.

But, when asked about the stark change in tone, Parker added he had coffee with an Oakland resident last week, who he says, was robbed by four people last month, with one pointing a gun at her head. “She can’t sleep. She says she can’t return to work,” he said. “People are getting robbed everyday and people are dying, if we’re not urgent about that, if people don’t see we share the pain, we will continue to have no confidence in the city.”