By Tasion Kwamilele, Oakland Post

Ending weeks of speculation, District 4 Councilwoman Libby Schaaf officially filed as a candidate for the 2014 Mayoral race Tuesday morning at the City Clerk’s office.

“I’ve lived in this city my whole life, I’ve worked in Oakland my whole life,” said Schaaf. “I’m very excited to take an optimistic can-do message to the voters of Oakland.”

Schaaf says she will now focus on establishing her committee, and her campaign platform will rollout at the beginning of the new year.

Schaaf would not go into detail about her overall program but emphasized the importance of safety for Oakland residents. She says her leadership will mean “a relentless focus and belief that Oakland can be safe.”

She also said a key part of her campaign will to pushing a Hire Oakland policy.

When asked if she thought Mayor Jean Quan was getting the job done, she said she did not think so. Oakland deserves “competent leadership,” she said.

“I think Oakland can do better. I think that citizens should be able to get their basic services delivered,” Schaaf added.

Schaaf joins a growing field of candidates. In addition to Quan, attorney and port Commissioner Bryan Parker and political commentator Joe Tuman have already entered the mayoral race.

Cross posted from The Oakland Post

14 Responses

  1. R2D2II

    “Schaaf would not go into detail about her overall program.”

    Those who think Schaaf may have something new to offer to Oakland should go to her website and peruse the backlog of her email newsletters to her constituents.

    It’s the same old thing from Schaaf that we’ve had from Quan. Fuzzy promises, no new ideas, no ability to deliver.

  2. Oakie

    I have no idea if I will want to support Libby, but I do think this moment is a great opportunity to point out how Ranked Choice Voting makes sense (even though I am fully aware of reasons to hate it).

    At this point, any time I hear Quan’s voice or see images of her, my body feels like throwing up. It is exactly the reaction I remember having toward George W Bush. Thankfully, that has subsided.

    So, although I don’t know the sequence I will vote, but you can be sure I’ll vote for Shaaf, Tuman and Parker in some order on election day, with the clear hope the winner will be anyone but Quan.

    Therein lies the strength of RCV.

  3. Tim

    Hard to see how Quan’s RCV strategy that worked last time will work for her now. She might get 15% of the first place votes and left off the ballot of everyone else.

  4. A

    I agree with R2, the city needs new ideas and new people to make a change. The same old, same old, hasn’t worked in a long………time.

  5. OaklandNative

    I think the elected officials should just effectively run the city. The community needs to come up with the new ideas.

    The problem with Oakland politicians is that they focus too much on “new ideas” and “change” and not enough on just running the city.

  6. R2D2II

    “I think the elected officials should just effectively run the city. The community needs to come up with the new ideas.”

    All the ideas, every one of them with any real value, that come by means of the City Council, do indeed come from the community. It usually takes many years before the Council listens and hears and pays attention and then many years more before there is any action. And of course whichever Council member proposes something “new” claims full credit for the idea.

    Effectively performing as a policy maker or a legislator means paying attention to the community and hearing what the community is saying IN PRESENT TIME. Not at some time in the future when a good opportunity has long passed and problems are progressively more entrenched. Effective performance means writing policies which can be implemented, which have measurable outcomes, which are part of an integrated plan for progress in Oakland. Unfortunately our policy makers don’t know how to create functional legislation. Does the phrase “Measure Y” ring a familiar note? $150 million down the drain and nothing to show for it, courtesy of Council members/staffers Quan and Schaaf.

  7. OaklandNative

    It seems like we spend too much time on “good ideas” than good old-fashioned common sense. “Good ideas” are debated. Common-sense is just executed.

  8. Len Raphael

    One positive side effect from Libby Schaaf’s entering the race is that it removes the recurrent theme of some of the Mayor’s supporters that criticism of Mayor Quan is misogynistic (dislike of women). Whenever I’d come across that charge, I’d ask for examples but never get any.

  9. livegreen

    What kind of new ideas do you want?

    We need basic, good, efficiently delivered Public Services delivered in the budget we have.

    This is not something you’ll hear from the anti-government right, or the pro- union left (the Mayor and most of the City Council). But it isn’t exactly new.

    Both Libby Schaaf and Joe Tuman have recognized these issues and have a better ability to deliver on them.

    For these reasons I agree with Oakie’s choices (Parker being a distant 3rd).

  10. R2D2II

    “Both Libby Schaaf and Joe Tuman have recognized these issues and have a better ability to deliver on them.”

    We don’t know whether Tuman can walk the walk. We do know that Schaaf cannot–her 15 years in city hall provide plenty of proof.

  11. livegreen

    That’s true. We have to ask them hard questions.

    It’s pretty obvious they both get it about public safety though. They’ve been advocating more safety.

    The question is will they BUDGET badly needed public services they preach?


    Will they listen to the unions and prioritize pay increases over services, restoration of services only after?

    Both Tuman & Schaaf have a better chance at doing it than the other candidates.

  12. R2D2II

    “It’s pretty obvious they both get it about public safety though. They’ve been advocating more safety.”

    If you are saying they both get it in the sense that they admit that what we are doing about public safety isn’t good enough, fine.

    Big difference in what they understand and advocate.

    Tuman has made clear statements about needing to rethink our whole approach to funding (thus prioritizing) resources required for public safety. He has talked about the necessity of a comprehensive public safety plan. He has attended (I’ve been there) meetings of community groups with long-term commitments to ethical police reform. He has said clearly that he cannot understand how the city of Oakland can tolerate the high level of violence visited upon some of the most deprived of us.

    Schaaf has said nothing so incisive. She has beat the drum about funding an extra police academy. Look through her District 4 email newsletters (archived on her site)–she has said in the past year that “crime isn’t so bad in our District.” Yep, District 4 has plenty of shootings, muggings and home invasions. She made a big show of sponsoring a series of lectures on crime at Holy Names last year. Nothing has come of this effort except for PR. She promotes the hiring of private security patrols for her better-heeled clientele. That’s not public safety reform in my book.

    Don’t forget Schaaf’s responsibility for conjuring up Measure Y along with Quan. When several community groups approached Schaaf a couple of years ago about making marginal changes to Measure Y funded social services in the hopes of getting some tangible performance improvements, she turned a deaf ear. Schaaf just doesn’t get out and about to hear about what’s really going on in her district.

    I think Schaaf is well-intended, but just not a holistic or critical thinker. She doesn’t get it about Oakland’s fundamental governmental dysfunction. She thinks a little improvement here, a little there is all we need.

    Tuman sees that we need some fundamental changes in the way we do things.

  13. Len Raphael

    As crucial as reducing crime, especially violent crime, is to both improve the lives of residents as well as to attract the employers we need to pay the taxes so we can afford to improve services, it is creepy to hear all the candidates all say public safety is their number one item on their platform.

    In part its feels phony because it’s such a 180 degree change for at least Jean Quan from the last election and even from last year. Crime has been awful here for many years. (I don’t recall what Joe Tuman’s platform was in that election.)

    In part it feels like a bad way to pick a mayor because isn’t supposed to be a police chief but a chief executive who as one part of their job appoints a chief and staff, sets priorities, recommends policies meant to protect residents.

    It also seems to be a convenient way for the candidates to avoid telling us how they’d improve the much more difficult problems of an under performing local economy, an under performing school system, and an approaching comet of underfunded fiscal obligations.

    If for whatever reason or statistical variation, crime drops for a year as it looks like it has for homicides, is that sufficient reason to re-elect Mayor Quan?

  14. R2D2II

    “It is creepy to hear all the candidates all say public safety is their number one item on their platform.”

    Not creepy. Many people have been working for several years to make elite Oakland (the Hills and City Hall) aware of the long-term problems of violent crime and the consequences for our overall economy, the high cost of running the city, the huge opportunity costs of Oakland remaining largely marginal to the greater Bay Area economy and the failure of socialization and success in school of so many of our traumatized-by-violence youngsters.

    Our homicides have been high for a generation, 40 years. In quite recent years for a number of reasons our elites recently have felt more vulnerable to both property crimes and violent crimes even though there may be no hard evidence that elites are more heavily-affected by crime than in the past. The increased awareness may be due to more media coverage, more attention to the Police Chief revolving door, the several reorganizations of the Police Department and the remarkable incompetence on the part of Quan in trying to communicate her (lack of) ideas on the topic.

    Keep in mind that Tuman and Schaaf are new as electeds/potential electeds. Running for Quan’s old job, Schaaf said little or nothing about crime. Since running last time, Tuman has spent some considerable time trying to understand what is going on with crime in Oakland. I think he is deeply troubled in a very personal way about the unfairness of Oakland’s inability to protect its most vulnerable.

    Hopefully some of us who know better will be effective in our attempt to make clear to the public that annual variations in crime stats are virtually meaningless. On the other hand, given the atrocious state of journalism in Oakland, it’s very hard to present useful facts in the face of so much stupid BS which dominates the public consciousness.


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