Oakland, CA: Live From The Fox - Today's a special day in the City of Oakland, because Jean Quan, formerly District 4 Councilmember, then the (to some) surprising new Mayor-Elect of Oakland after beating front-runner Don Perata thanks to Ranked Choice Voting, today becomes Mayor of Oakland.
Quan started the day with a walk from Chinatown through Oakland, and ending at the Fox Theater, where we are for the inauguration ceremonies. She held an inpromptu "thank you" chat with supporters and onlookers in front of the Fox, and was joined by Assemblyman Sandre Swanson.
Sandre, a protege of former Congressman and now outgoing Mayor Ron Dellums, issued what in retrospect, was the first sign that Dellums wasn't going to run for reelection: he announced his support for Quan. Moreover, Sandre's support for Jean never wavered. Now, today, he looks like a proud papa, grinning from ear-to-ear.
Libby Schaaf, Pat Kernighan, and Courtney Ruby Take Office
Today's also the day my long-time friend Libby Schaaf, who I said should run for Mayor, ran for City Council, and won in a landslide. She's now the new councilmember for District 4 (Oakland Hills - Montclair), replacing Quan.
With all this, Libby's still new to Oaklanders. I had to get the Fox Theater usher to let her in without a ticket, explaining Libby was one of his new representatives and she was about to be sworn in. That problem won't last for long. Libby's going to make a big name for herself.
Pat Kernighan, the incumbent District 2 Councilmember (Chinatown - Lake Merritt) also won big over her challenger Jen Pae. For a while, it looked like Jen might upset Pat, but Councilmember Kernighan's vast set of long-established relationships formed a base that was hard to overcome.
Courtney Ruby, the incumbent City Auditor, also won over a chalenge from Michael Killian. Moreover, Killian's focus on auditing issues at CEDA, the Community and Economic Development Agency of Oakland, may have caused her to release her study on CEDA loans and fiscal reporting. One that Oakland City Administrator Dan Lindheim took offense to.
Right now, Oakland School Board member Chris Dobbins is doing his best Sarah Palin impersonation, even to the point of bring up his entire family, "from Wasila, Alaska," he said.
And now we have Sanjiv Handa,long time journalist and City Council "whip, if you will, giving a speech to the Council. He is starting a new precendent. There are 100s and 1,000s of PTA's that are doing the things the city used to do, he says. Who ever is elected can revisit the basic purpose of government interaction: every aspect of public business must be discussed on public. He also wants an extension of time for speakers.
Handa was making good points, but is now putting the crowd on edge with some hissing, as he recounts his version of what now Governor Jerry Brown did to Oakland's School system while he was mayor. That's not something Gary Yee cares about; today, he's the new President of The Board of The Oakland Unified School District. He says that the Oakland School Districtis on the right path and is on a mission to graduate every student. Yee also says we have a long way to go.
Fox Theater Attendance OK
With all of this, you'd think the Fox Theater would be filled to the brim, but no. Even in the lower level area, there are empty seats.
Stay turned for Part Two.
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