By Walter Riley
Oakland civil rights attorney
In this City Council race, we have an opportunity to elect Richard Raya, a candidate for City Council in
District 1, who is progressive like us, but also represents everything our generation has fought for.
The son of farm workers, Raya overcame all odds to go to UC Berkeley, graduate with a Masters Degree
and become an expert at making local government work.
I believe Raya’s life experience, his 15-year career of success in local government and his vision for
Oakland, makes him the most compelling candidate to represent District 1.
He holds our values and he has actually experienced poverty, racial discrimination, homelessness and
the other ills that we progressives seek to cure. Raya would also be the first person of color to represent
North Oakland in my lifetime—and perhaps ever.
Raya embodies all that I have worked for in my fight for civil rights. He has successfully mediated
between the same groups we need to bring together in Oakland—helping community, labor, and
business join forces in 2006 to pass a $20 billion school bond. He is also the only candidate in District 1
with experience balancing a large government budget: As budget director of the Alameda County Public
Health Department, he oversaw a $120 million budget and 600 employees and found ways to save $6
million every year in tough economic times, allowing the county to maintain vital health services.
Raya’s campaign motto says he “Loves this town.” I believe it. His vision for a safer, more prosperous
city is one all of us can rally around. His support for CeaseFire—a proven violence reduction strategy
that has worked in cities from Baltimore to Los Angeles—reflects a deep understanding of how a
community can join hands to face our challenges together.
Raya’s experience shows what our progressive community is capable of. Our hard-won efforts over the
years have helped put him in a position to succeed: Now is the time to stand behind leaders like Richard
Raya as they move ahead to lead our city.