Oakland mayor welcomes old friend to Lakefest
By Ken Epstein
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s office demanded a retraction from the Oakland Post, saying the paper was wrong to label Schaaf as a supporter of permanently closing half of Oakland’s public schools.
“She never held that position,” Justin Berton, the mayor’s spokesman, said in an email to The Post. “As you know, knowingly posting false information is not only unethical, it is potentially liable to prosecution,” he wrote.
Berton was responding to a sentence in a Post article last week that read, “Schaaf, a longtime charter school supporter, has spoken out loudly in the media in favor of closing half of public schools. from the city.
The Post’s comments on the mayor’s position were based on a February 4, 2022 interview with KQED. At the time, the school district had just announced that it was closing 15 schools this year and next and planned to close more in the coming years.
The city council took a strong stance against school closures and not Mayor Schaaf.
In the KQED interview, Schaaf supported the plan to close 15 schools as an “opportunity” and even went further.
“This is not only a painful but necessary budget cut,” she said. “I really feel for the parents, the students, the teachers. We have been through so much trauma and they have every right to feel suspicious and fearful about this decision. But I think it’s different this time.
“When you look at districts like Stockton, Fremont, San Jose, they serve about the same number of students, approximately (33,000). But they do at nearly half of the campuses, between 41 and 48 campuses in those three districts, while Oakland has EIGHTY CAMPUS (emphasis by Schaaf).
“This is an opportunity to do better for our students, our educators, our families, and I trust this leader to deliver on that promise in a way that has never happened before.”
To review Mayor Schaaf’s remarks, access the original interview at https://archive.org/details/KQED_20220205_030000_KQED_Newsroom/start/360/end/420