Oakland City Council Campaigns Ready to Go Live


Ending months of rumors about possible contenders, the Oakland City Clerk this week published the list of candidates who have filed to run in November for positions on the Oakland City Council. 


Five City Council seats will be on the ballot: councilmember-at-large, District 1, District 3, District 5 and District 7.


Incumbent Councilmember-at-Large Rebecca Kaplan will face four opponents, the most contenders of any of the city races.


Kaplan has served on the council since 2008. She previously served as an elected director on the AC Transit Board and worked as a housing rights attorney in Oakland.


Kaplan recently has been in the public spotlight for championing measures for renters’ protection and a civilian police commission, which will both be on the ballot in November.


One of Kaplan’s opponents is Peggy Moore – until this month the senior special adviser to Libby Schaaf – who is politically well connected.


Moore, who resigned from her position in the Mayor’s Office on Aug. 12, was campaign manager for Mayor Schaaf, has served as Hillary Clinton’s California primary campaign director and previously ran for District 2 representative on the City Council.


Also running against Kaplan are Matt Hummel, businessman, attorney Bruce Quan and tax specialist Nancy Sidebotham.


Hummel is chair of the city’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission and attended Holy Names University.


Quan, a retired law professor, says he sees himself as a problem solver dedicated to efficiency and cutting waste.


East Oakland resident Sidebotham has previously run for City Council half a dozen times. She has lived in Oakland for more than 50 years and served on the Community Policing Advisory Board, Neighborhood Watch and Shop Oakland boards.


District 1 incumbent Dan Kalb will face Kevin Corbett.


Kalb has worked as a policy analyst, environmental, public interest and social justice advocate, policy director and community service volunteer. He has a B.A. degree in Conservation of Natural Resources from UC Berkeley and a master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.


Corbett, an Oakland native, is a probate attorney, businessperson and community volunteer. He is a former member of the city’s Community & Economic Development Advisory Committee.


City Council President Lynette Gibson McElhaney, who represents District 3, will face Oakland native and community activist Noni Session.


McElhaney is executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of the East Bay and studied political science at UC Berkeley.


Session is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural anthropology at Cornell University. She grew up in West Oakland and attended McClymonds High School.


District 5 representative Noel Gallo is running against Viola Gonzales, who previously served on the Oakland Board of Education as an appointee of then-Mayor Jerry Brown.


Gallo grew up in the Fruitvale District of Oakland and is a former school board member. He has been outspokenly in support of holding police accountable to the community and renters’ protections. He organizes and participates in weekly anti-blight trash cleanups in his district.


Gonzales was until June 30 the chief executive officer of Anew America, which helps immigrants and refugees start small and micro-business. According to Gonzales’ website, she is supported by Mayor Schaaf, former Councilmember Ignacio de la Fuente and former Mayor Elihu Harris.


Longtime District 7 Councilmember Larry Reid will be in a race against two opponents: Nehanda Imana, a community activist and leader in Communities for a Better Environment (CBE); and Marcie Hodge, previously a member of the Peralta Community College District Board.


Reid, now in his fifth term, was elected by the council this year to serve as vice mayor. He has successfully worked to bring retail development centers, market rate housing projects and premier auto dealership developments to his district.


Hodge ran against Desley Brooks for City Council in 2006 and also ran for mayor in 2010. According to media reports at the time, she had the backing of Senator Don Perata and Councilmember de la Fuente.


Imana works as an environmental activist. In addition to serving as an East Oakland community organizer, she is an adjunct teacher for African American and Environmental Studies at Merritt College. She created the first Environmental Racism/Justice course at the Peralta Community College District.


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