|The San Francisco Chronicle has showed very little attention to Oakland’s mayoral race. Nevertheless, other local media outlets appear similarly confused over which candidate it should endorse this fall.|
OAKLAND | MAYOR | Six Bay Area news outlets, six different endorsements for Oakland’s next mayor. The confusion among editorial boards might not be that odd. In fact, they may be taking a cue from Oakland voters. Is the problem too many good candidates or too few campaigns that are differentiating themselves from the pack? Nonetheless, picking a mayoral candidate for endorsement is not like a Fantasy Football draft, you’re allowed to pick the same quarterback.
The San Francisco Chronicle tabbed Bryan Parker. The Bay Area News Group went with Joe Tuman. Before it folded last week, the San Francisco Bay Guardian picked Rebecca Kaplan. The East Bay Express chose Libby Schaaf with Mayor Jean Quan a close second. The Bay Area Reporter went further and backed Quan all the way, while the Oakland Post took Dan Siegel.
Here’s a sampling of each paper’s rationale for their choice:
EAST BAY EXPRESS FOR SCHAAF “She’s extremely smart, has an admirable work ethic, is dedicated to open and transparent government, and has the charisma and communication skills to bring together differing factions in the city in order to find solutions to Oakland’s numerous problems.” NOTE: I participated in the Express’ endorsement interviews and putting aside political ideology, Schaaf was indeed impressive. But, then again, the others interviewed for the endorsement were very good, too.
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE FOR PARKER “Our choice in this field is Bryan Parker, a business executive and port commissioner who possesses a nice blend of economic acumen, interpersonal skills, and appreciation of the causes and effects of what all top challengers list as a No. 1 priority: crime. He rightly cited a “crisis in leadership” at City Hall and pledged to “show up with my lunch bucket” to instill a “complete culture change” in the bureaucracy.”
BAY AREA NEWS GROUP FOR TUMAN “Tuman is the standout, speaking directly about how the city must start responsibly meeting its financial obligations. The city’s pension and retiree health plans are underfunded by $2.4 billion. If Oakland leaders make contractual promises to city employees, they must set aside sufficient money to fund them, he says.”
SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN FOR KAPLAN “Unlike in San Francisco, where it’s sometimes tough for our progressive-minded editorial team to get excited about most candidates running for local office, we’ve got legitimately high hopes for both of our picks for the Oakland mayor’s race… Rebecca Kaplan…offer[s] compelling visions for a diverse and dynamic Oakland at a time when the city is in need of strong leadership. Kaplan, a LGBT candidate who gets around the city by bicycle and has a keen interest in sustainability, has a decade of public service involvement, including holding the at-large seat on the Oakland City Council.”
OAKLAND POST FOR SIEGEL “There is no shortage of candidates running to be Oakland’s next mayor. That is because Oakland is hungry for change. We believe that the candidate best suited for the job is Dan Siegel…If we want real change–and we do–a fighter with a successful history in navigating Oakland institutions, someone with deep roots and a long track record of doing good things for our city, then Dan Siegel is our first choice. Siegel has been involved in Bay Area social justice movements for over 40 years. A civil rights attorney and activist, who risked his life for our rights, Siegel is the only candidate with a proven track record of fighting for civil and human rights.”
BAY AREA REPORTER FOR QUAN “The rap on Quan is that she’s been ineffective, but a look at her record shows that on balance Oakland is headed in the right direction. The city’s restaurant and nightlife scenes are bustling; housing projects are in progress, and new residents are moving to the city, due in part to the high cost of living in San Francisco. Quan has been successful in securing federal funds for new police officers and money to redevelop the Oakland Army Base…Optimism, of course, won’t put the city back on track. But Quan, who’s seen four balanced budgets passed and has presided over a city that is often overlooked, is the best person to continue that trajectory.”