‘Sh*tshow’: Residents Say Dem City Is In ‘Chaos’ Amid Crime Wave, ‘Fiscal Crisis’

‘Sh*tshow’: Residents Say Dem City Is In ‘Chaos’ Amid Crime Wave, ‘Fiscal Crisis’
Sheng Thao

By Wallace White

Residents of Oakland, California, sounded off on the state of the city as Mayor Sheng Thao faces a recall election in November amid high crime, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The mayor’s home was recently raided by FBI anti-corruption investigators.

Thao and Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price have been targets of criticism from Oakland residents, alleging a mishandling of crime, homelessness and economic issues, according to the Chronicle. As a recall election looms in November for Thao and Price, it is becoming evident that many voters in Oakland do not trust the current administration to fix the city’s problems.

“Oakland is in a crisis,” former Oakland Mayor Elihu Harrisa told the Chronicle. “Many of these problems are not new. They continue to evolve. They require ideas and renewed commitment to a plan of execution. The city must get beyond finger-pointing and the blame game as soon as possible.”

JJ Jenkins, a bar owner in Oakland, recalled the Juneteenth shooting in the city that forced his business to close early. He says moments like this have become a part of life in Oakland.

“It’s chaos,” Jenkins told the Chronicle. “Every time I think the pendulum has swung, something like [the] Juneteenth [shooting] happens. And I don’t think it’s done yet. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.” (RELATED: REPORT: FBI Raids Democratic Oakland Mayor’s Home)

Another resident, a local reverend, called the city a “shitshow,” according to the Chronicle.

Thao was elected in 2022 with 50.3% of the vote, running on a left-wing platform that included promises of police reform,and ending “environmental racism.” Price was elected to the DA office in 2022.

“There is a day of reckoning coming this summer for the city,” pastor Ken Chambers told the Chronicle. “I’ve been in Oakland 58 years. I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s a multitask, problematic, complicated situation.

Crime has become a central issue of the recall, as Thao fired former Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong over an alleged mishandling of investigations into a hit-and-run with a police car and a weapons discharge by an officer. When Oakland lacked a police chief for nearly a year, a city-wide crime report in December 2023 showed motor vehicle theft was up 44%, robbery up 38%, violent crime up 21% and overall crime up 17%.

Moreover, prison populations plummeted after Price became district attorney, falling to levels not seen since 2003, according to the Chronicle in November 2023. Voters sought to remove Price after she allowed a black man who deliberately set Asian students on fire to be released without doing any prison time, and after Price sought to allow serial killers to avoid spending life in prison, by refusing to seek life without parole. Price allowed a man who poisoned a colleague to get nothing more than probation, even though the poisoning caused the victim to suffer a heart attack, ongoing pain and suffering, and $460,000 in damages.

“To say that this is the worst compilation of troubling challenging situations that I’ve seen is an understatement,” former mayoral candidate and opponent of Thao Loren Taylor told the Chronicle. “A fiscal crisis, hundreds of millions of dollars, compounded with a public safety crisis that has folks fearful of moving around the city, and businesses leaving town, combined with homelessness crisis that continues to expand despite things getting better in neighboring cities. … This storm of events is the opposite of what Oakland needs right now when we’re trying to rebound as a city, post-pandemic.”

The economy has also struggled to recover since COVID-19, with office vacancies reaching an all-time high of 30.2% in late 2023, according to the Chronicle in March. A $500 million investment in downtown in 2019 was cut short when the investor, Starwood Capital Group, returned the towers to their lender Deutsche Bank with the buildings expected to be sold, per the Chronicle.

Homelessness, which 36% of voters in 2022 said in a survey was a top priority, rose 9% over the last two years, according to an Alameda county survey.

Thao’s office did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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