Deanna Santana, who came to the City of Oakland in 1995 and worked in what was then called the City Manager's Office and is now called the City Administrator's Office under the Oakland / Jerry Brown version of the strong-mayor system, was unanimously approved as Oakland's new City Administrator, replacing Interim City Administrator P. Lamont Ewell.
Ms. Santana started in the City Manager's Office when Craig Kocian was held the title, then remained as Kocian left for Colorado, and gave way toward then-Interim City Manager / Economic Development Director Kofi Bonner. When Robert Bobb was hired as City Manager in 1997, and Bonner returned to his role as head of the Community and Economic Development Agency that year, Santana remained in the City Manager's Office, but had the primary assignment of the Police Department.
In 1999, Deanna left for San Jose and has remained at the City Manager's Office as Deputy City Manager for 12 years. Her most recent assignment that gained media attention was as San Jose's point-person for the 2010 Census, and as the main policy formation contact regarding medical marijuana, including the development of a tax collection structure and a ballot initiative called "Measure U."
It passed in November with 73 percent of the vote, and San Jose collected its first revenue from it, $291,000, in May.
That may very well be why the Oakland City Council approved Santana: her experience with medical marijuana policy - in addition to her past experience in Oakland.
But I digress.
Ms. Santana earned her B.A. from Cal (Berkeley) in 1992, and Master of City Planning from MIT in 1995.
How do I know all of this? I was Economic Adviser to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris from 1995 to 1999, and we share 22 Linkedin connections in total (I have over 2,600 of them). Deanna and I never had reason to cross the same work paths, but she was known for driving a cool Acura, as I recall. Denna was very quiet at work - got the job done.
But Deanna also was always "low profile," operating, as Mayor Elihu Harris would put in, "just below the radar," and not known for a desire to be in the public eye - so something had to change for her to come back to Oakland.
And I would speculate that in Oakland she saw the perfect place for an opportunity to advance and yet not really get out of what she perceives as a comfort zone. That's another way of saying she knows Oakland and its problems and can dive right in and get to work.
Deanna, who's social media platform has been largely thin - no website, twitter page, or other markings except her Linkedin and Facebook pages - will experience a massive shock to her online profile an hour after she's introduced to the press Wednesday at 10:30 am at Oakland City Hall, Hearing Room 4.
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