Opinion: Re-elect Desley Brooks to City Council

Desley Brooks
By Dan Siegel | Oakland Justice Coalition

Desley Brooks deserves another term on the Oakland City Council because she has been a strong, creative advocate for the residents of District 6 and all the people of Oakland.

The only thing toxic about Desley Brooks is the campaign being waged against her by Mayor Schaaf and her allies determined to turn Oakland into Walnut Creek West.

At a time when the City Council majority is afraid to have lunch without the Mayor’s approval, Council Member Brooks has successfully fought for programs that benefit working people in Oakland and attract positive national attention.

In response to the rapid decline in the City’s African American population from almost half to barely a quarter of Oakland’s people, she worked to create the new Department of Race and Equity to ensure that people of color share in the City’s growing prosperity. She created the Cannabis Equity Program to create opportunities for Oakland residents to share in the profits from the exploding marijuana industry.

Desley worked to spur the revitalization of the Seminary Point business district and fought for $13.7 million to renovate the Rainbow Recreation Center.

She has worked hard to bring benefits and services to low income residents, including monthly food distributions and placing washers and dryers in area schools. She was the first to bring a farmers’ market to East Oakland.

Councilmember Brooks takes seriously the problems that are driving lower- and moderate-income people from Oakland.

She is leading efforts to increase affordable housing, including supporting the expansion of the Oakland Community Land Trust to create housing that will be permanently affordable.

She has been a leader in supporting the statewide effort to repeal the Costa-Hawkins law so that cities are free to establish their own rent control programs.

Desley was an early supporter of Oakland’s Living Wage Ordinance and is now focusing on creating good jobs for Oakland residents by increasing the availability of job training programs.  She supports efforts to create a People’s Budget for the City.

Mayor Schaaf has apparently decided that there is no room for disagreement among Oakland’s elected officials and that anyone who challenges her must be purged from City government.  She and other critics of Councilmember Brooks focus on her style and personality, but public service is not a popularity contest.

Voters who study her record and productivity will conclude that no-one on the City Council can match her record of advocacy and accomplishments for working Oaklanders, especially low- and moderate-income people.

Desley Brooks deserves another term on the City Council.

Dan Siegel is a civil rights attorney and co-chair of the Oakland Justice Coalition. He and his family have lived in District 6 since 1977.



  1. Umm, and what about her assault on an elderly woman that cost Oakland taxpayers $3m+? If she is elected again, how do we safeguard ourselves from the risk of a repeat episode?

  2. Judge says Oakland Councilwoman Desley Brooks lied under oath ‘many times’

    Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks repeatedly lied under oath and “exhibited no true remorse for her callous behavior” during a trial over whether she assaulted former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown in a restaurant in 2015, an Alameda County Superior Court judge said.

    But Judge Paul Herbert, in his ruling Thursday, said the jury that had ordered the city to pay Brown some $3.75 million “allowed their feelings of anger and disbelief towards Ms. Brooks to unduly influence their determination of the damage amounts.” He called the figure “excessive.”

    Herbert’s order was in response to a motion from Brooks and the city requesting a new trial. He denied that motion on the condition that Brown accept a substantially smaller award: $1.2 million.

    The punitive damages that Brooks herself had been ordered to pay — $550,000 — would also be lowered to $75,000 if Brown accepts the revised judgment rather than take her chances at a second trial.

  3. I have to strongly disagree; Councilmember Brooks has done irreparable harm, by her actions. As the writer above stated, let’s keep in my that she cost the city of Oakland, millions of dollars, assaults a senior citizen, lied in the court of law; under oath. I cannot think of any set of circumstances in which she should be re-elected . The people of districts 6 serves much better representation

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