Libby Schaaf knows how to make being mayor of one of California’s most troubled cities look like fun.
When the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship last year, Oakland’s top elected official rode in the victory parade with hometown music legend M.C. Hammer atop a fire-breathing car shaped like a snail, her gonzo chariot for city celebrations.
But although the car represents an image of Oakland that Schaaf has promoted — creative, exuberant and more than a little offbeat — recent months have brought a cascade of reminders of this Bay Area city’s deep-rooted problems.
“There is hardly a day that goes by as mayor of...