Jean Quan poses with a biker club in a photo
featured last week in her email newsletter.
OAKLAND | ELECTION16 | The question of whether former Oakland mayor Jean Quan is really serious about running for Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s at-large seat received more fuel for the fire earlier this month after she disseminated a highly detailed online newsletter prescribing how the city should fix its perennial affordable housing crisis.
The existence of the monthly newsletter, which calls Quan its “editor,” already had many Oakland political observers wondering whether the former mayor was eyeing a return to politics after editions continued to be posted after the November 2014 mayoral election, which ended in Quan being voted out of office.
But the October edition emailed on Oct. 30 ramped up speculation after it revealed an inordinate amount of policy detail. Titled, “Affordable Housing: The fight for Oakland’s Future,” Quan writes, “There is growing concern that the city is moving too slow” on finding solutions for the housing crisis. Included is a link to an East Bay Express editorial expressing the same thought. Quan also raised the possibility of passing a $200 million regional housing bond that she says will create 2,000 new affordable housing units.
If Quan runs, in what would be a bruising 2016 campaign against Kaplan, it appears she believes the housing crisis is the linchpin to her candidacy. For instance, the level of detail in Quan’s plan also extends to three specific overall strategies and a plan for both immediate and short term actions for the City Council to act upon. Most telling of all is how the opening narrative to the newsletter sounds very much like a candidate and end exactly like a stump speech. “We can and must do better. We must do it together,” she writes.
The November edition of Quan’s newsletter, released on Thanksgiving features two photos of Quan that any politico will clearly recognize as campaign-style photo ops. One shows Quan posing at an annual Thanksgiving BBQ with members of the East Oakland Goodfellas Motorcycle Club and another, in honor of Plaid Friday, is a photo with an Oakland small business owner.
Meanwhile, Quan isn’t the only one creating a suitable framework to run on in 2016. Kaplan’s own actions over the past two months show she is not taking lightly Quan’s overtures for the at-large seat. Kaplan has taken a megaphone recently to showing just how much she is doing to combat another perennial scourge to Oaklander’s quality of life, gun violence. An initiative backed by Kaplan culminated last week in a $1 million city budget expenditure to fund special gun investigations.