George Endorses Libby Schaaf for Mayor of Oakland!
Even though I am in political exile in Maryland, my friends often ask me who to vote for in Oakland. (I grew up in Oakland, lived there a long time, and have worked on political campaigns there. My thoughts on our city are here.)
Here are my endorsements for mayor, in Ranked Choice Order.
1) Libby Schaaf
Libby Schaaf is by far the most qualified, best experienced, and most capable candidate in the field. She worked for Jerry Brown, she’s currently councilor for District 4, and she has a lifetime of diligent work in Oakland in various non-profit, for-profit, and volunteer settings.
I’ve read her plans to improve public safety in Oakland, and I can say that it is superlative. She’s put a lot of thought into it, she’s done her homework, she’s asking all the right questions. I have some expertise in this field: my academic research focuses (in part) on post-conflict policing, reforms to police systems, and the reintegration of former combatants into society. Gang-related crime is part of this picture.
Libby has a well-thought out, deeply researched, achievable plan to reduce crime and improve our community in Oakland. That alone is a huge achievement. Her other ideas and policies you can find on her website.
She’s my top choice. After Libby, there are a handful of capable candidates, none of whom I know personally, or know much about.
2) Bryan Parker has managed to pull together a good coalition, and is endorsed by people I trust. He doesn’t have any experience in elected office.
3) Courtney Ruby always struck me as a diligent public servant who wasn’t afraid to rattle some cages and speak truth to power at City Hall.
4) Joe Tuman has a lot of support in the hills, and he seems like a genuine, nice guy. He’s also an academic, which is a plus in my book.
5-13) The rest of the field. Thank ranked choice voting for encouraging as many people to run as possible, then preventing a run off race in which the last two battle it out, and where a ton of info would be revealed to the voters.
14) Jean Quan. I’ve said enough about Jean Quan and Oakland on this blog before.
15) Rebecca Kaplan. After graduating Stanford Law in 1998, Rebecca Kaplan almost immediately starting running for office as a Green Party champion. In 2000 she ran for city council and lost. Then she worked as a public transit advocate for short period, then won election to the AC Transit Board, where she was embroiled in a pay-for-play scandal about buying new buses. Then she won election to city council with almost no record. Then she ran for mayor with almost no record. Then she ran for city council again with almost no record. Then she ran for mayor again with almost no record. She’s been running for office almost non-stop for 14 years.
I don’t begrudge someone for having deep pockets and being able to run for office again and again and again.
What I do mind is an elected official who has done nothing with that privilege. Kaplan has accomplished virtually nothing except get herself elected and reelected and reelected. That’s not just my opinion, but the conventional wisdom in Oakland among people who pay attention to this stuff. Unfortunately, she’s the front-runner. But please don’t put her in any of your three choices.
Tallyrand said of the Bourbon Restoration: “They learned nothing, but remembered everything.” Except he said it in French.
We’ve had two failed mayors in a row. I really hope Oakland voters have learned something, are willing to get over the past, and are ready to move our city forward.