Going back to their days together on the
Oakland City Council, there has never been
much love lost between Desley Brooks and
OAKLAND CITY COUNCIL
Two years ago, Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks railed against Mayor Libby Schaaf‘s apparent bureaucratic error that potentially risked the loss of $2 million in grants for job training programs primarily accessed by minorities. With Schaaf in attendance for the April 2016 Community and Economic Development Committee meeting, Brooks, with a loathsome tone, said, “I would love to see the day Libby Schaaf puts her white privilege aside.”
The cutting remark by Brooks, however, was nothing new. Not only does Brooks routinely attack her colleagues and other city officials, but she has often directed biting remarks toward Schaaf going back to her stint together on the City Council.
But with Brooks appearing vulnerable for re-election this fall amid fallout from a more than $3 million judgment against Oakland taxpayers following a court ruling that she pushed and injured Black Panther icon Elaine Brown in a downtown restaurant, Schaaf struck back Friday, referring to Brooks as the “Donald Trump of Oakland” and describing the District 6 representative as “toxic” and prone to “divisive personal attacks and unethical behavior.”
Friday’s press release was intended to thank Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington following her announcement that she would not seek re-election this fall, instead, veered into a diatribe against Brooks.
In the wake of Schaaf successful war of words with President Trump in defense of immigrants, the statement is clearly the work of a very confident elected official.
Describing Oakland City Council meetings as a “theater of abuse,” Schaaf said, “On many Tuesday night’s, Annie ‘went high’ when her colleague ‘went low.’… If we truly want to elevate the level of civility and discourse in our city–and navigate our best collective future–we need representatives on our City Council who act with the integrity that befits a publicly elected official.”
But Schaaf went further with her criticisms of Brooks in an interview with KPIX television. Schaaf again attempted to link Brooks to Trump, and added, “I think it is important to call out the individual who is most responsible for creating dysfunction, drama, and abuse.”
Although these are easily the most aggressive comments Schaaf has ever made against her rival Brooks, she has moved against her more passively in the past. During Brooks’ 2014 re-election campaign–one in which she was also thought to be vulnerable–Schaaf backed the candidacy of one of her aides, Shereda Nosakhare, who is now her chief of staff. After Ranked-Choice Voting tabulations, Brooks beat Nosakhare by just four points.
With scandal swirling around Brooks, five candidates have already pulled papers for her seat. Among them Loren Taylor and Natasha Middleton, who is a former aide to Schaaf.