Oakland Civil rights attorney and political activist Dan Siegel is the latest challenger to jump into this year’s mayoral race.
Siegel, who is planning to launch his campaign next week, was formerly an adviser to Mayor Jean Quan before breaking with her over her handling of the Occupy movement and other issues.
He served two terms on the Oakland school board and ran for mayor in 2006 before dropping out to back Ron Dellums.
Already in the race are Libby Schaaf, District 4 City Councilmember, Port of Oakland Commissioner Bryan Parker and San Francisco State professor and news commentator Joe Tuman.
A recent poll indicates that Mayor Quan, who has earned a reputation as a tireless campaigner and maintains a strong base among neighborhood groups, holds a 10-point lead on her nearest challenger.
However, the poll does not indicate clear sailing for the mayor. She has alienated a number of her supporters, some of the candidates remain relatively unknown, electioneering has not yet begun and Election Day is 10 months away.
The survey conducted by David Binder Research showed Quan with 32 percent of first-place votes, Tuman with 22 percent, Schaaf with 16 percent and Parker with 10 percent.
Yet if Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan were to join the race, she would win 26 percent of the vote, compared to 20 percent for Quan, according to the poll.
In addition, the mayor has earned high negatives – 54 percent of respondents disapproved of her performance.
Siegel has released a statement saying he “is critical of Oakland’s current leadership and believes that it is out of step with the views of the majority of people in the city.”
On public safety, he argued that Oakland needs a police force that protects people’s safety, property and also their constitutional rights.
“Crime prevention through youth programs, neighborhood patrols, and community building programs are more effective than gang injunctions, curfews, and stop and frisk campaigns,” he said. “The police must focus on the most serious crimes.”
On education, he said that city must do something to improve public schools “before the Oakland school district disappears completely.”
“We need a partnership that provides pre-school programs for all three and four year-olds and after school programs for all students,” he said.
Taking a strong position on economic development, Siege supports a $15 minimum hourly wage for fast food workers and changing Oakland’s policies “to prioritize development that actually benefits the city’s residents.”
“ Half of the new jobs created, 10,000 by current estimates, must actually go to real Oakland residents,” he said. “Half of the new housing units created must be reserved for low- and moderate-I ncome residents who must not be forced to leave Oakland.”