City Council Honors Ray Leon

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Ronnie Turner, Iris Merriouns, Gay Plair Cobb, Paul Cobb, Richard Illgen, Larry Gallegos, Lorne Leon and Dawn Leon (Ray Leon's son and granddaughter), Father Jayson Landeza, Larry Reid, Letitia Bolling, Sadie Leon (Ray Leon's mother), Ray Leon, Councilmember Lynette McElhaney Gibson, City Clerk LaTonda Simmons Susan Sanchez, Pat Mossburg

Ray Leon, a popular staffer at Oakland City Hall, is retiring after more than 28 years of service to Oakland residents.

A longtime aide to District 7 Councilmember Larry Reid, Leon was honored at this week’s City Council meeting. Leon’s family, including his mother, son and granddaughter, friends and colleagues joined in the ceremony at the beginning of the council meeting. Speaking at the council meeting, he gave special thanks to some past council members who he works over the years and in particular Councilmember Desley Brooks.

He also thanked former Councilmembers Ignacio de la Fuente, Jane Brunner, Nancy Nadel, Dick Spees, Libby Schaaf, Henry Chang, Pat Kernighan, Abel Guillén, Annie Campbell, Moses Mayne, Danny Wan, Jean Quan and John Russo.

Raised in Oakland, Raynard “Ray” Leon was born in 1956 and raised in Oakland, attending Longfellow Grammar School, Sacred Heart on “Grove Street,” Saint Mary’s High School in Berkeley and Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics.

He began his career working in real estate and took a job with Bramalea Pacific Developers, where he was involved in creating the City Center Plaza in Oakland. He started working for the City of Oakland in 1991 as a Housing Counselor Manager at the Office of Community Development, co-authoring the First-Time Homebuyers Program, which assisted hundreds of homeowners in maintaining their homes through counseling services.

After managing the Rent Arbitration Division and Housing Development for the city, he went to work for San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown in the Mayor’s Office of Housing. After three years, he returned to the City of Oakland, taking a position in the office of Councilmember Reid.

As an aide for Reid, Leon worked on many projects, including the Small Business Symposium, which attracted  more than 700 small business owners; the Google and Friends Golf Tournament, which raised over $150,000 for 6 Junior Golf Programs; and assisted in a number of development projects such as Coliseum Connections, Palm Villas, Foothill Square and Lions Creek.

He also served on the board  of the Police Activities League (PAL) and other advisory  boards, including the Oakland Economic Development Corporation.

Leon will retire in July.

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