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Oakland Councilman De La Fuente 'Depressed' by Census Results

Oakland City Hall
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Oakland City Hall
The East Bay city's outmigration of residents over the last decade is a bad sign, he says

Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente told The Bay Citizen yesterday that he's "depressed and disappointed" by new Census figures, which show Oakland lost over 8,700 residents during the past decade.

Oakland was one of only two of the state's 20 largest cities to lose population, the census found.

"It's interesting. You're actually the first person to bring this to me," he said in a telephone interview.

De Le Fuente has long been a proponent of new development projects - including former Mayor Jerry Brown's "10K Plan" to build 10,000 new units of market rate housing in downtown Oakland, as well as transit-oriented development like the Fruitvale Village housing complex at the Fruitvale BART station.

But even though thousands of housing units have been built, and many young professionals have moved in, their arrival could not off-set the loss of 33,000 African Americans who moved out of Oakland between 2000 and 2010.

During that time, the percent of Oakland residents who were under 18 also dropped -- from 25 percent to 21 percent.

"We're losing the people who want to have a better home, and have good schools for their children, and have that kind of support of their families," De La Fuente said.

De La Fuente blamed former mayor Ron Dellums for the population drop, saying he failed to zero in on policies that "recognize problems with public safety and attack them."

"We go out of our way to do other things that do not provide basic core services, like provide safe neighborhoods for families and a good education for children," he said.

De La Fuente is now in his fifth term on the Oakland City Council, having first won election in 1992.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that De La Fuente was in his 10th term on the city council. He is in his fifth term.

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