Now that the City of Oakland has approved a petition to recall Mayor Libby Schaaf, activists are hitting the streets to talk with residents and to collect signatures for their campaign.
“If we care about people’s rights to stay in their homes, to not be gunned down in the streets at the hands of law enforcement, and if we care about Oakland, then we’ve got to get Libby out,” said Cat Brooks, co-founder and organizer with the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP).
On Sunday, members of APTP held a brief training and information session for their supporters, who say much of the city’s culture and safety are “in danger at the hands of Libby Schaaf.”
The group spearheading the campaign lists a number of injustices in the mayor’s record including police corruption and brutality, loss of youth jobs and attempted closures of neighborhood job centers, and heightened intercommunal violence.
Referring to a recent sex crime scandal involving Oakland and other Bay Area police departments, Brooks said, “We have been engaging (Schaaf) around a bunch of issues, and the straw that broke the camel’s back wasn’t just the rape scandal with Jasmine. But we found her response to (the scandal) to be egregious.”
The group also criticizes Schaaf’s handling of Oakland’s housing crisis, saying that under her leadership there has been “increased displacement in the name of development.”
“To say her response to the housing crisis is ‘inadequate’ would be an understatement,” said Brooks. “Someone who cares about Black and Brown people would have made that a priority.”
In order to get the recall election – which, if the campaign is successful, would likely take place next February – the group must collect 33,000 signatures by January of 2017.
Schaaf, meanwhile, has told voters that a recall election would not be easy on taxpayers’ wallets.
“While we do not believe the vast majority of Oaklanders want to spend more than $3 million on an election designed to defund the police, Mayor Schaaf frmly respects the democratic process and the right of citizens to criticize their elected leaders,” Erica Derryck, spokesperson for Schaaf, replied to the Post.
Brooks and others advocating for the mayor’s removal, however, said that cost should not deter voters who are unhappy with the mayor from signing the petition.
“Oakland is paying millions in settlement cases, not to mention all of the victims of violent crimes. $3 million for a one-time shot to get some competent leadership is a worthwhile investment in our town,” said Brooks.