Last night, at a well-attended kickoff party for what was to be Libby Schaaf's run for Oakland City Council District 4 seat currently held by Councilmember Jean Quan, Libby Schaaf shocked and surprised almost everyone in the room save her campaign assistants, when she announced that she was running for Mayor of Oakland.
Libby stood on a make-shift pedestal and said "I really gave this a lot of thought as I'm concerned about the state of education in Oakland, and I consulted with my wonderful husband; I'm running for Mayor of Oakland." Oakland Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (District 5 - Fruitvale), for whom Libby gives credit for her political growth, reacted with his mouth agape, then spontaneous applause. Asked for a reaction after her speech, De La Fuente said "I'm speechless. That's all I can say."
The new of Oakland's new candidate throws a curve into a race that had become staid and predictable. Libby Schaaf takes on Mayor Ron Dellums, Don Perata, Councilmember Jean Quan, and Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor of Oakland. With her vast network of friends, Oakland roots, and supporters and involvement with the City of Oakland, Libby Schaaf will take votes away from all of the candidates, from the incumbent Mayor Ron Dellums to At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who reportedly went on a East Coast trip to secure backers for her own planned run for Mayor.
The Legendary At-Large Councilmember-emeritus Henry Chang was present and smiling from ear-to-ear, saying "Only in Oakland. Libby could win."
After her speech, the room, filled with many Oaklanders who've been involved in helping to make a better city of Oakland, was buzzing. When asked what the next steps were, Libby said "I have to sit down with my advisors, and my new staff member Lirpa Sloof and we'll roll out our vision and plans for Oaklanders to see and get behind."
Mayor Libby Schaaf. It has a nice ring. I can't wait to see what Lirpa Sloof comes up with.