The Next Oakland Mayor?

The Next Oakland Mayor?
Even though the Oakland elections are scheduled for November 2014, the Mayor’s race is off and running with 3 possible candidates slated to oppose incumbent Jean Quan.
In Quan’s stunning victory over statewide politico Don Perata, she received 26% of the vote, but through the magic of ranked choice voting, her appeal to the 2nd and 3rd place voters helped her win 51% of the ballots.
Now, the polls show Quan with a 21% approval rating. The Oakland Tribune recently ran an editorial urging her not to run for re-election.
Joe Tuman, a political science professor at San Francisco State and a 2010 opponent, is running again. He is refining his first campaign as a professor to a vibrant alternative to Quan. He has hired Doug Linney to expand his campaign from Montclair chat rooms to appeal to all of Oakland.
Bryan Parker, an experienced businessman and Oakland Port Commissioner appointed by Quan, was educated at UC Berkeley and NYU law school. He also has a MBA degree. He’s a senior vice president on a leave of absence, from DaVita Co. Even though this is his first campaign, he is showing the intelligence and energy to win.
A new entry, Libby Schaff, the councilmember from Quan’s former District 4, is coyly nibbling at the bit to enter the race. She can become a game-changer, because she has an established base and high name recognition. Since her election, she has proven to be diligent, hard-working and unafraid to take on big issues.
Mayor Quan, known for her hard work, is distributing brochures touting her successes. She will highlight developments at the port and the Coliseum. Though her fits and starts regarding fighting crime have been underwhelming, she says she is working hard with the court appointed receiver to reform the Oakland Police Department.
The mayoral candidates have studied how Quan won with only a quarter of the 1st choice votes. If they broaden their appeal beyond their base to pick up 2nd and third-place votes, they, too, can vault over 50%.
Even though labor unions will continue to leave big footprints in elections, candidates can no longer simply “give in” to labor’s contract demands. They must also balance them with neighborhood needs, property owners concerns over rising taxes and more efficient government. When candidates court the police union with promises of more money and officers, they also must consider neighborhoods’ concerns for police services, crime and police reform.
When you vote three times for mayor, make each candidate earn your vote.
Clinton Killian is an attorney at Oakland downtown Oakland law firm Fried & Williams LLP and former public official. He can be reached at [email protected].


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