Today marks the end of a long and exciting Oakland Mayor's Race. This blogger has talked extensively on and off camera with all 10 of the candidates, created over 300 minutes of video interviews, and read a lot of information on all of them. Former State Senator Don Perata who will be the best choice for Mayor. The simple reason is, for all of the issues lobbed at him, Perata is a leader who gets things done.
That written, political newcomer Joe Tuman is the second choice, followed by At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. This was tough, because for a long time, Perata's run for Mayor was a surprise in that a higher office seemed the more logical direction - like Senator. But Perata, for some years now, has expressed desire to be Mayor of Oakland, got an early start, kept his focus, and never looked away. Perata followed the advise then-Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris gave to me more than once: make sure they're always talking about you. And everyone has. Meanwhile, Perata has been above the fray, talking about the need to support Oakland's police and bring leadership back to the Mayor's Office.
In Oakland, Perata has a lot of chits to cash in. When I left the City of Oakland after The Super Bowl, it was Perata who's support for me never wavered. Perata, from the time I was a columnist for The Montclarion to my work for Oakland, has never once turned his back on me. And that's true for a lot of people.
What swayed my vote to Perata was that others like some at the Welstone Democratic Club, were talking about Perata helping "big developers like Phil Tagami" as if that's a bad thing. First, Phil, who's a friend, is not a "big developer" but a hard worker. Second, I knew Phil when he was working in real estate and struggling to make it. Phil's an Oaklander who worked his way up, while some of the same people who are now in the Welstone Club were working for Oakland City Council people, and in some cases sleeping with them.
I'm sick and tired of Oaklanders pulling other Oaklanders who've made it down. It was the comments from those who were doing this, that was the final issue for me. Before that point, I'd considered Rebecca for a long time, and still feel she would do a good job as Mayor. But Rebecca doesn't have quite the gravitas that Perata has. Indeed, Joe Tuman has more. Moreover, Joe really get that people are upset with the Oakland Parking Problem. He will work to stop predatory parking, and I don't think Rebecca will do that.
Tuman is a surprise. A 29-year Oaklander who really has groomed himself into "Citizen Joe," a man who can lead Oakland. I've had hours of conversations with Joe and continue to be impressed with his grasp, not just of the issues, but of the structure and culture of Oakland leadership - that's rare.
Finally, I give a special tip of the hat to Green Party Candidate Don Macleay. As I wrote last week, Don's campaign effort has grown and matured and he's developed a "man of the people" brand, that had he started a year ago, could have pushed him into the Mayor's Office. Don's a good man who's an Oakland treasure.
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