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Nadel Victory (*) Upsets Some In District Three

I have to admit I've seen this too many times before, including myself. Someone's upset that Nancy Nadel won District Three. (Or at least as of this writing -- hence the (*) -- it looks like she did. She had 51.7 percent of the vote, BUT there are still thousands of absentee ballots to be counted. If Nancy falls below 50 percent, then Sean Sullivan gets to challenge her again for a November do-over. But here's the next BUT: absentee ballots tend to follow the Election Day voting trend, so I continue...)

In the past, it was Clinton Killian, who ran against her and lost in the 90s. Then Hector Reyna. Someone once tried to get me to run against her, but even though I thought Nancy was neglecting the area of Grand Avenue between Mac Arthur and Harrison, I know that I've never wanted to run for office and have always enjoyed the role of King / Queen Maker.

Knock it off with the "Oh Brother" comment, will ya?

Look. I can't remember a time when everyone in this District has actually liked the same elected official. But the problem is that the people who generally line up against Nancy are always relatively new to the neighborhood and mostly pay zero attention to West Oakland, or if they do, don't have the track record of concern or work that Nancy has.

Like it or not, Nadel's right. It's about race. It's about paying attention not only to a part of Oakland that has not seen the light of economic day since World War II, but to a people there who have been forgotten or trying to avoid "The Riders". It's a place that's needed a champion and has come out to support that person and like it or not, Nancy's been that high-level elected official.

Note, high-level elected official. Not head of a non-profit. Or not even a school board member, another important elected official but not a councilperson. Not to take away anthing from Sean Sullivan and Greg Hodge, but Nancy's in the position of highest visibility and you know what, she hasn't had a major mistep that would kill her run.

What to do? What should VSmoothe or The Jack London News do? Simple. Establish a list of goals and objectives that are important to the community and see if Nadel delivers on them. Keep a running tally.

No one has done this. Plus, it's hard to argue with the overall transformation of what was once a sleepy District of Oakland. There's more to do and more new people who aren't -- yet -- angry enough to vote or for those who are, have identified Nancy as their champion. Plus, Nancy can walk around town and claim that the change was due to something she did, and if you don't have the information to counter her, you lose.

It's not like the past. People are really too busy -- way too busy -- working to pay a lot of attention to what's happening. That's sad, but it's true. The Oakland Tribune, once the leader in covering news in the District, has given way to bloggers, and has only part of the budget (adjusted for inflation) that it once had. These are troubling times for the media. Everything and everyone is separate and apart, and there's no center of power or information anymore.

Jane Wins To My Surprise!


I really thought Councilmember Jane Brunner would lose big time to Patrick McCullough but she didn't and for a set of reasons not dissimilar to those that apply for Nancy. But with a twist: Jane's not the warm, fuzzy person she used to be. Sorry, but she's not. Time has made her a bit less liked by some than in the past, when she was an admirable and smart and personable Oakland official. But she gets the job done. But having written that, in that case, District One had and has a real champion -- "Patty Mic."

If Patrick McCullough can find a visible outlet for his work, he could make another challenge, and win. He deserves it, but he's got to fight as hard to beat Nancy as he did to get the gangs out of his neighborhood.

And that's the point -- staying power. I can't remember one person who emerged as a consistent challenger to Nancy. We've had a lot of one-shot wonders: they run once then they fade into the background. Nancy runs again and again and again. She's the only consistent face. Plus, she's really improved personally -- by miles. Hey, politics is about people.

So, what do people do when they have all this swirl of information flying around and no catastrophic occurence to focus on? They pick the incumbent. That was Nancy.

Welcome to Oakland, 2008.
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