A Case of Newspaper Endorsement Confusion in the Oakland Mayor’s Race

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.”

Categories: BANG, Bay Area Reporter, Bryan Parker, East Bay Express, endorsements, Jean Quan, Joe Tuman, Libby Schaaf, Oakland, oakland mayor, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle

6 replies

  1. Bay Area Reporter's endorsement editorial, explaining the endorsement:



  2. None of this matters. Liu is going to win. He is explosive on twitter. He says he is the only conservative in the race with Asian backing along with few democrats.




  3. Bay Area Reporter— What a pack of fools.

    They say “Quan, who's seen four balanced budgets passed”

    Oh sure, but have you seen the mess in the streets and infrastructure.
    The streets are deteriorating at such a rapid pace I can see it from week to week on my bike.
    Quan came to my door about 4 months ago to promote a public safety meeting.
    So she tells me about the “balanced budgets” and I ask her about huge and growing holes in my local streets. Hole so large it isn't safe to bike.
    I asked her how she would view a family's “balanced budget” if they never sent the kids to the dentist and never patched the roof year after year after year.
    She sheepishly told me she had plans for that in her next term.
    Then she tried to leave so quickly she (seriously) almost fell down my front steps.

    She has balanced the budget by driving up tens of millions in deferred maintenance. Her balanced budgets are only such for naive fools who think you can go years, decades without attending to the streets.
    I have lived in this neighborhood for decades and the streets, cracks, holes, dirt, are so bad that it is detracting and subtracting tens of thousands of dollars from home values.

    Her so called balanced budgets are a fool's idea.
    Bay Area Reporter types… don't seem to care about neighborhoods and how they will look in the years after Qaun leaves office.

    Quan is leaving a mess that will take 20 years to recover from.
    What ignorant fools at Bay Area Reporter.
    Obviously not home owners who would care about such matters.
    Probably twenty something newbies who don't even intend to live here long term.


  4. Am I missing something: has EBCitizen made its own endorsements? Otherwise, your editorial voice seems a bit passive in comparison, whatever you think of the other pubs' opinions. – Rik


  5. No, just noting none of these publications pick the same person which would seem improbable just based on math–seven excellent candidates and six papers–you would think someone would get two endorsements. Just providing a sampling of each.


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