Oakland community activist Ken Houston is
the third candidate to declare an intention to
challenge Mayor Libby Schaaf’s re-election.
Three years ago, Ken Houston was a candidate in the sprawling 15-person campaign for Oakland Mayor. He finished 10th with .50 percent of the vote, or 514 votes. But what was more notable was that the contractor turned community activist rarely participated in the campaign process.
At candidates forums he was often missing with a folded paper nameplate representing his existence in the race. Oddly, though, many times Houston was actually at the forum, but watching from afar with everyone else in the audience. His two-person campaign team comprised of two attractive women seemed more like Houston’s own personal harem than a get-out-the-vote team.
But over the last few years, Houston, the self-proclaimed “Son of Oakland” and the “People’s Mayor” has gained a propensity to for getting himself on local newscasts, particularly KRON, and highlighting illegal dumping on the streets of Oakland through videos posted on social media
The push culminated Tuesday night with Houston announcing a second run for Oakland mayor with a video on that begins with the candidate picking up glass from a broken windshield to illustrate his point that Mayor Libby Schaaf hasn’t done enough to keep Oakland streets clean and safe. Earlier in the day, Houston teased the 8 p.m. announcement on social media.
Houston joins a race that includes Schaaf, former Oakland Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente, and Saied Karamooz, a member of the Oakland Privacy Commission and 2014 mayoral candidate.