Mayor Schaaf delivers her final Oakland State of the City address

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf delivered her final state of the city speech, not at city hall, but in the Fruitvale District, where she said she began her political service in 1999.

"What an honor it's been to be your mayor for eight...and I'll be honest, eight long years," said Schaaf.

Schaaf said her team's successes have been built on community partnerships over her two terms.

She spoke at the new Casa Arabella housing development on the site of a former BART parking lot and gave a key to the city to the namesake, community leader Arabella Martinez.

"The biggest lesson that Arabella taught me was the power of partnerships," said Schaaf.

The mayor said building partnerships has been a key part of her goal as mayor.

Schaaf said she recognizes the problems Oakland still faces.

"Crime, homelessness, and the rising cost of living," she listed for the audience of nearly one hundred community members.

She says she has confidence Oakland's ceasefire strategy will help reduce crime, but did not address police staffing shortages.
On homelessness, Schaaf said her administration built strong new programs and services.

"In the last five years, we have quadrupled Oakland's homeless shelter capacity. And we've added more dignified options. THe cabin community model," said Schaaf.

She said the city has made great gains in affordable housing during her two terms. 

"In the last eight years we've created almost 20,000 new homes in Oakland," said Schaaf. 

The mayor also pointed to public-private partnerships such as Oakland Promise and the Generation Fund to provide scholarships to low-income students. 

When asked about criticism that Oakland lost two professional sports teams, the Raiders and the Warriors during her tenure, Schaaf responded that she would rather people remember her as the mayor who kept the Oakland A's baseball in the city. The mayor said she never wanted to jeopardize Oakland's finances by staking public money on private sports teams that she says would reap profits but not necessarily provide big revenue for the city. 

She also said she was proud of the Oakland Innovation Fund, which has helped move new pilot programs.

"Today nearly all of those partnerships have moved to permanent policy," said Schaaf, pointing to one woman Tiffany Lacsado, who has moved into a home and started new business making leis, thanks to several new programs.

"I'm just one story, but there are many stories in Oakland that are similar to ours," said Lacsado, "Every single one of the programs that we had been a part of were all pilots… all of these programs were new innovations." 

Lacsado says she feels that Oakland and its mayor listened and responded to people's needs. 

"It needs to be the role of governing in the 21st century, where government has the capacity and capability to fix things and to create visions and programs," said Lacsado.

In the end, Schaaf greeted people in Spanish as well with a final farewell. 

"Oakland, we love you. It's been the honor of a lifetime to serve you as your mayor," said Schaaf. 

Schaaf's term ends January 2.