Yesterday I received an email from Oakland City Councilmember Jean Quan (District 4 - Oakland Hills, Montclair) regarding her decision to run for Mayor of Oakland. Here's the text from that email:
You are receiving this because you are a subscriber to my newsletter. A few times a year I send out separate political blasts. You may know by now, I have launched a run for Mayor for November 2010. We've formed an Exploratory Committee and have met with hundreds of Oakland residents in house parties and other events to hear what they want the next Mayor to do and to share my vision and passion for the Oakland we love.
My family has lived in Oakland for over a 100 years; I've raised my family here and love this city. For more than 20 years I've fought for Oakland, working with people at the grassroots to rebuild our schools, save our libraries and the arts, protect our environment, revitalize our business districts, and to make our neighborhoods safer. I've worked with Oaklanders in every neighborhood and have taken on tough, complex issues. As Mayor working with you, block by block, school by school, neighborhood by neighborhood...I know together we can realize Oakland's great promise.
Councilmember Jean Quan
I will stand-up for Oakland with undivided loyalty. I am not looking for a resting spot because I am termed out of office. I am not looking for a spring board for another office. I want the job of Mayor. I will be a full-time, accessible, hands-on Mayor who will make sure that City programs are working on the street. I'll hold town hall meetings in every district and continue my weekly newsletter so you'll know what is happening.
I hope you will consider attending or hosting a house party and joining our campaign as a supporter, volunteer or donor. It will be an opportunity to meet many of the wonderful neighborhood activists who are joining us around the city to make Oakland a city that works for all of us.
I have a busy schedule of house meetings, community outreach and fundraisers. Right now our focus is on two important milestones:
- Raising the first $100,000 of the $380,000 maximum under Oakland Campaign Limits.
- Recruiting the first 250 volunteers.
Now Councilmember Quan's newsletters generally contain positive Oakland news, or information about events or concern for some issue. But when it came to writing her first message to explain why she wants to be Mayor of Oakland, she included no issue of concern that was driving her desire, save for her.
That's right. Councilmember Quan's mayor's race message used the word "I" eleven times! By contrast, Former State Senator Don Perata, who's also running for Mayor, explains that his motivation for the decision on the death of four Oakland police officers this year and his contention that Oakland lacks leadership.
Say what you will about the popular Perata, at least Don's always started a reason for being beyond himself. No, this isn't an endorsement...yet.
So the question I have for Councilmember Quan is simple: is the push to run for Mayor really about her ego? Look, everyone in politics has a large ego so if she says "yes" I give her massive points for the guts to admit it.
But if she says "no" then the other question is "What does she stand for?" There's nothing in the message to address that question. It's not enough to listen to the needs of Oaklanders because if Quan doesn't actually have each one as a priority then she's not engaging in what really motivates her.
While I disagree with Councilmember Nancy Nadel (District 3 - West Oakland, Downtown) on some decisions as well as her overall style, I know where she's coming from and what drives her. She's concerned about the poor and minority and elderly in West Oakland and how to make sure they're not pushed out due to a wave of gentrification. She's concerned about environmental pollution from development.
While she's not the best candidate for Mayor, I can see and feel what drives her.
I can't see and feel anything from Jean Quan. I'm not being mean, just honest. And also picking up on a new theme that the City of Oakland does not care about Oaklanders, it cares about itself.
It's doing everything it can to survive and at the literal expense of the people its suppose to serve. Hey, I just talked to another friend of mine who got their car towed and talked to someone on BART today who also lost their car the same way.
This is not Oakland caring about Oaklanders. Councilmember Quan's message seems to reflect that self-centered ethic.
We need mayoral candidates driven to help Oaklanders, not themselves. I hope I'm wrong about Councilmember Quan; but if I am she's got to explain that email message as soon as possible.