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Oakland Mayor's Race 2010 - Dr. Terrance Candell interview

In many ways, Dr. Terrance Candell is a lot like fellow Oaklander Urban Farmer Novella Carpenter, the author of Farm City. Both are energetic, intelligent, engaging, passionate, caring, and committed to Oakland. Both also have facilities they started from scratch: Novella her urban farm and for Dr. Candell, Candell's College Preparatory Academy. The main difference, other than he being black and male, and she being white and female, is that Dr. Candell's running for Mayor of Oakland.

Dr. Terrance Candell PhD
This blogger visited Dr. Candell at Candell's College Preparatory Academy in East Oakland, right across the street from Eastmont Mall and at 2544 73rd Street. What was great about the talk, as evidenced by the video, was to what high degree Dr. Candell cares about his students and already is the Mayor of East Oakland. In our talk, he hugs his students and even got all over one who dared to jaywalk across 73rd street. He wants to transfer that level of caring to the job of Mayor of Oakland.

Dr. Candell started the Academy because he "got tired of seeing students from Oakland not going to college." So, in 2000, he sold his Trans Am that was black "with louvers" and started the Academy. Dr. Candell understands Oakland's education problem perhaps more than the other mayoral candidates because he worked in the Oakland Unified School District for 15 years, in addition to running his Academy. "When I was in the District, my students got the highest scores every year," Dr. Candell said.

There's no question that Dr. Candell is an excellent educator, but can that translate to Mayor? Dr. Candell not only thinks so, but asserts that he's the most qualified candidate for Mayor of Oakland, having "ran multi-million dollar budgets for companies and have my own companies."

Dr. Candell's focus is on solving Oakland's lack of focus on it's children, and he points to his concern by explaining how his school is set up as a kind of alternative approach. "You give them one-to-one attention and not set up small schools that do the same (wrong) thing...Children are supposed to be engaged," he charges.

Dr. Candell talks about what he calls, "The Candell Method": a way of direct student / teacher exchange. In our talk, my impression was that his approach to being Mayor would come directly out of how he runs Candell's College Preparatory Academy, and that's not a bad thing.

Fortress Oakland

One of Dr. Terrance Candell's main points is that Oakland is constantly disrespected by outsiders, and also by itself. Rather than tax or charge Oaklanders, Dr. Candell wants to set up a network of toll booths at the Oakland borders, where possible, to collect a tax for entering Oakland. He also wants a payroll tax: "If they turn around and take our money outside our community, it's basically like rapping our community. You're sucking the lifeblood out of our, and turn around and say "Uh..You...Uh" in dissing Oakland. He wants "one percent per paycheck into our General Fund."

In that, Dr. Candell reminds this blogger of New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. At TechCrunch Distrupt, I asked Mayor Bloomberg why he wasn't offering tax incentives for the very tech companies he was trying to attract. Bloomberg's response was classic: "This is New York, you pay for services," he said. In other words, to maintain a high quality of municipal service, someone has to pay for it. Dr. Candell thinks that someone should be people who come to Oakland, and not Oaklanders. Moreover, he says that he's talked to 60,000 Oaklanders and "they all feel the same way."

Dr. Candell wants to save the Oakland Police Budget

Terrance says he doesn't want to cut the Oakland Police budget, unlike many of his competitors in the Oakland Mayor's Race. He accuses the Oakland City Council of "a lack of imagination" in not finding a solution that would save the 80 police positions eventually cut.

Oakland: Better Customer Service

Dr. Candell also spent time talking about Oakland's morale problem and pledging to have a "nicer" city geared toward customer service. In short, the impression that's hard not to come away with is of a hands-on Mayor who will walk and talk to the city's employees and passionately get behind them. That's not at this point, an endorsement, but an explanation. That message does not come through in the Oakland Mayoral Forums. There, Dr. Candell's more excitable delivery masks his real message of change and renders him something of an entertainer. Still, it's early in the campaign.

On Oakland Sports: The Oakland Warriors

It may comes as no surprise that Dr. Candell wants, and this space agrees totally with, the idea that the Golden State Warriors should be called The Oakland Warriors. "The Warriors don't seem to be very proud to be from Oakland, and I am." But with that, he thinks it's important to make "concessions to keep the Warriors." Frankly, the one act to do so isn't a concession, but a lawsuit to prevent them from moving.

Dr. Candell's website

Dr. Candell's website for his run for Mayor of Oakland is at http://www.candellformayor.com. He also has an active YouTube channel, currently the best one of the candidates at http://www.youtube.com/user/TheFriendsofCandell. He also has a Facebook page called "Oakland Mayor Terrance Candell". But where he falls short is that he's not on Twitter, nor does he have a blog.

But stay tuned.
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