|Staff for Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente don Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s iconic vest last week.|
Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s vests are nearly iconic in Oakland, if not for anything, but its ubiquity. Some people rock the vest look and some don’t. Kaplan makes it look fashionable and casual. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, on the other hand, evokes images of Boss Tweed cracking some heads down at Tammany Hall. It’s style and not everyone is always on board. Remember, acid washed jeans?
The Stonewall Democratic Club, however, think Kaplan’s challenger for the tumultuous at-large Oakland City Council race, District 5 Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, crossed over the line when two of his staff posed for a campaign email wearing Kaplan’s favorite article of clothing.
While stating, “An attack on one person is an attack on all of us,” the East Bay LBGT group, denounced De La Fuente’s use of staff dressed in a “butch” manner of style. “Words and images like those used in De La Fuente’s emails to supporters is hurtful to the intended target,” said Brendalynn Goodall, chair of the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club, “but also sends the wrong message to our impressionable youth that mocking someone’s sexual orientation or how they look is Ok. This is nothing more than bullying in the guise of political messaging.”
The odd email jokingly sent on Halloween asserting Kaplan was helping out De La Fuente’s campaign with phone banking arrived the same day, a local activist filed a complaint with the Oakland Ethics Commission claiming De La Fuente’s council staff improperly used city resources to organize an event in front of City Hall to announce his candidacy for Kaplan’s at-large seat.
Emails given to The Citizen appear to clearly show De La Fuente’s council staff used city emails and taxpayers dollars to organize the event.
Kaplan and De La Fuente have been furiously locking horns over the past six weeks with each knocking each other on the issue of crime in Oakland. More specifically, De La Fuente’s repeated assertion he is tough on crime, even as Kaplan continues the refrain that her opponent was the council’s biggest supporters in 2010 for a large round of police layoffs.