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Congratulations To John Russo As He Wins Third Term As City Attorney

The as yet unwritten and not covered story of this election and of Oakland politics is the steady and sure success of Oakland's first elected City Attorney John Russo. Russo just won his third term as Oakland City Attorney unopposed.

John was my friend long before he became either councilmember or the city's lawyer, so I have watched and witnessed the principaled moves that got him to his current level of success. Moreover, the simple fact that I have been and still am his friend speaks volumes for his loyalty to those he's known for a long time, even as he rises in political circles. It also means that we haven't done anything to really piss off each other over 17 years.

Wow, that long?

Russo's had few misteps, the only one being his decision to challenge Sandre Swanson for the California Assembly seat Swanson has filled well and just successfully retained. Otherwise, John's success has been remarkable.

But where John could have failed while if office, he succeeded there, too. He established the Neighborhood Law Corps, where young lawyers work to reach out and listen to the needs and concerns of people in Oakland's poorest areas. Russo ended the decades of costly legal animosity between Oakland and its sports teams. And he's created a staff of good and capable lawyers where the quality of that part of the organization was questioned in the past.

Russo -- if he continues to remain in his position -- can wield considerable power in Oakland, perhaps more than the Mayor, regardless of who that is. Fortunately, Russo does not use power in a clumsy fashion, and is well aware of how what he does looks politically, and there's nothing wrong with that at all.
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