The city of Oakland is divided into seven council districts and then there is the eighth seat, at-large, which represents the entire city. Out lesbian Rebecca Kaplan won this seat in a landside four years ago and deserves a second term. Kaplan’s path to re-election became complicated this summer when longtime District 5 Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente decided to run against her rather than seek re-election to his Fruitvale area seat. It’s been speculated that De La Fuente entered the at-large race in an effort to bolster his chances at running for mayor in two years.
Kaplan is the city’s most popular political leader and has managed to accomplish several initiatives since taking office. Perhaps most importantly, she voted against the police layoffs a couple years ago, although she was on the short end of that vote. She supports Operation Ceasefire…an innovative crime prevention program that works with offenders and offers them help. She supports creative and successful programs to help with ex-felon re-entry, which are necessary for the city where a majority of crimes are committed by ex-offenders, who are often released from prison with no resources to make positive changes in their lives.
Kaplan helped secure funding for the free Broadway shuttle bus service that provides residents and visitors alike with transportation to work, shopping, or dining in the city’s well-known restaurants. The formation of business improvement districts has led to safety ambassadors for downtown and Uptown, a program Kaplan would like to see expanded.
Another issue Kaplan has addressed is blight and she has tried to make reporting easier for residents.
Regarding job development Kaplan supports the Army Base redevelopment, the Coliseum City project, and the $7.7 billion countywide transportation plan that would bring thousands of good-paying union jobs to Oakland.
By Sean Maher
Two huge recycling businesses in West Oakland are hoping for a move to the Army base, which would let them expand their businesses, cut down on the cost of transporting their goods to the Port and alleviate tensions with some of their current residential neighbors, officials said this week.
California Waste Solutions and CASS Inc., which employ about 300 people combined, have been doing strong business and need newer, bigger facilities, California Waste Solutions spokeswoman Treva Reid said.
Additionally, both companies do a large chunk of their business with overseas customers, Reid said, and moving closer to the Port would cut down on trucking, relieving their current neighborhoods of the industrial road traffic and reducing carbon emissions in a part of town already struggling with air quality.
Councilmembers Nancy Nadel (West Oakland) and Rebecca Kaplan (At Large) support the project and hope to persuade their colleagues in a March 1 closed session to enter talks to sell 20 acres of land near the Army base’s north gateway to the two companies.
New pot lawyers
The City Council is still looking for a legal way to license and regulate the people who grow medicinal marijuana, and met in closed session for the first time Tuesday with its new attorneys.
Public law specialists from the Meyers Nave firm — which is representing the city in the proposed Fruitvale gang injunctions and helped BART investigate police officers involved in the Oscar Grant shooting — have taken over for City Attorney John Russo, who recused himself from the matter earlier this month.
Meyers Nave is now working on finding solutions to the significant legal hurdles the Council will face in regulating what Councilmember Desley Brooks and others call a public safety hazard. The source of the medicinal pot remains an unregulated factor, which has led to fires and robberies at illegal house grows, Brooks argued. And while many dispensaries already lab test the product they sell, Brooks and other council members want the safety of the drugs regulated by the city.
The result was a plan to license industrial-size farms, but that plan was halted by threats from both the local district attorney and the U.S. Attorney.
Meyers Nave is now exploring the issue and will report back to the council in about a month, Kaplan said Tuesday.
Russo’s future uncertain
Rumors spread this week that Russo is considering stepping down from his elected office as early as April, despite his current term going until 2012.
That, coupled with his high-profile press announcements in recent months, has some news outlets speculating he may run for another office.
Russo told the Tribune flatly: He is not considering a run for any elected office in 2012, except perhaps for re-election as Oakland’s city attorney.
Asked about the resignation rumors, though, his language is less concrete. Spokesman Alex Katz would only say that Russo “has no immediate plans to resign.”
Russo has clashed several times with Mayor Jean Quan and several council members, and said he has not personally attended a closed session with the Council in two years, “because they’re rude and they don’t read the reports we give them.”
Russo most recently clashed with the mayor over her taking on as a legal adviser attorney Dan Siegel, an outspoken opponent of Russo’s gang injunctions.
Asked her opinion, Quan — who’s expressed distrust for and frustration with Russo several times — said, “I think we should relook at whether we want to have an elected city attorney, period.”
OAKLAND, CA April 13, 2010 – City Councilmember At Large Rebecca Kaplan announced today that she has filed necessary paper work to form an exploratory committee for the Oakland mayor’s race in the November 2010 election.
“With this economic and political environment, our community is in need of a bold new vision and leadership,” said Kaplan. “I’m looking at the magnitude of what we need to do to strengthen the local economy, attract jobs and make doing business in Oakland easier, and know it will take dedicated effort.”
Through the exploratory committee Kaplan is looking not only to identify key issues but also to invite input and involve supporters. She plans to address critical concerns including the need for more economic revitalization, local hire policies, and livable communities. Her goal is to “continue to build an Oakland we can all be proud of.” Filing an exploratory committee allows fundraising to begin as well.
Kaplan will be hosting a reception and fundraiser party on Wednesday May 12, 2010 at the historic Cathedral Building in Uptown Oakland located at 1615 Broadway Ave., from 5:30 – 7:00pm. [EVENT LINK]
“I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and tackle the issues that face Oakland at this important crossroads for our city’s future.” Kaplan, who was elected to Oakland’s city-wide Council seat with 62% of the vote, is the first openly-lesbian elected official in Oakland. Helping to modernize city hall by improving its efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness will be part of Kaplan’s top priorities, along with economic revitalization and public safety.
Full text in PDF format at: Kaplan2010ExploratoryPress
San Francisco Chronicle. Chip Johnson
Friday, March 12, 2010
At 39, Kaplan is the youngest member of the Oakland City Council – and its most educated, with a bigger upside than all her colleagues.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated with honors from Stanford Law School.
Since her 2008 victory over Kerry Hamill, a former Oakland School Board member and a onetime Perata aide, Kaplan has quickly established herself on the council.
She has proposed expanding the city’s medical marijuana ordinance to include local growers, backed a new football-only stadium for the Niners and Raiders, and promoted the idea of attracting a WNBA team to the city.
On the administrative side, she’s called for the city to create an online system to receive business taxes and building permits.
“That’s something that could be changed fairly quickly and would go a long way to streamline the process. The savings could be used to hire more 911 operators for the city’s overburdened emergency system, she said.
And on the occasions when Kaplan has bucked the council majority, she has been right.
The OakBook: March, 08 2010
Some sweltering day last spring, Rebecca Kaplan was sitting in a Public Works Committee meeting in a City Hall hearing room. The temperature in the room was reaching unbearable levels, so Kaplan got up and opened a window….
Staff members said they knew the windows opened, but didn’t think they were “authorized” to open them. Oakland City Hall is the kind of place where opening a window can be revolutionary.
Extended Q&A about economic development and more, online at:
Willie’s World: San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Keep your eye on Oakland’s newest City Council member, Rebecca Kaplan.
She’s the only council member who ran citywide, and from the looks of the color-coded map she brought along to our lunch at Pican, she did quite well in just about every district when she won her at-large seat in November 2008.
That kind of showing, coupled with that kind of attention to the election results, makes me think that if Ron Dellums doesn’t run for re-election, Kaplan just might make a move herself. She could be the left’s version of Scott Brown.
….There’s also ample evidence that Kaplan will siphon votes from Johnson’s favored candidate in the race.
For example, OakPAC, the influential political arm of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, endorsed Kaplan over Perata former aide Kerry Hamill in the 2008 council at-large race. And OakPAC chair Michael Colbruno, vice president of Clear Channel Outdoor, is a Kaplan supporter. Both are active members of the Bay Area’s gay and lesbian community. If Kaplan stays out of the race, Perata would be the odds on favorite to receive OakPAC’s sought-after endorsement.
In addition, Kaplan has received past support from and is popular among smart-growth developers and advocates. The former longtime member of the AC Transit board of directors is a strong believer and backer of transit-oriented development.http://www.eastbayexpress.com/92510/archives/2010/03/12/kaplan-wont-only-take-votes-from-quan
Oakland City Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan told the Oakland Tribune late last week that she’s “seriously” considering running for mayor this year, the Trib reports. …. Her entry in the race would shake up the mayoral campaign, and would make her the third viable candidate, after ex-state Senator Don Perata and Councilwoman Jean Quan.
Although Kaplan’s relative inexperience may be seen as a drawback in some circles, she likely will get a boost by this year’s new voting format — ranked choice voting. The popular, energetic councilwoman is well-liked by many city residents and is sure to receive numerous second place votes in the November Election. In fact, she could end being the defacto second choice for both Perata and Quan supporters.
Many news cycles ago (on Monday), the big City Hall story was Councilmember Jane Brunner’s selection as City Council president — a position Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale) had held since its inception 10 years ago.
Now there’s talk that the council presidency should rotate on a regular basis, so as to preclude someone from holding the position for so long.
One of the strongest voices for such a change is the newly sworn-in Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan (at-large).
“I personally believe that the council presidency is not about any one person,” she said, “but that it should be a regularly rotating position, and that person’s role would be to make sure to utilize the best skills of everyone on the council.”
Kaplan is a former AC Transit board member. The transit board rotates the presidency every two years.
“That’s what AC Transit does,” she said. “What Oakland does, we don’t know yet.”
Others are a bit more guarded than Kaplan.
Brunner said that she is thinking the idea over, though she doesn’t want the selection of a council president to be automatic.
Her point: The board’s president should have the support of his or her colleagues — not just be the next person waiting in line.
De La Fuente gave a somewhat cryptic comment on the matter, but it wasn’t too hard to see which way he’s leaning.
“I believe in a system that allows the recognition of leadership and people that provide that,” he said. “That’s as far as I’m going to go. “… I’m very sure it will be an item that will be discussed, and I will take a position then.”
San Francisco Chronicle
Friday, January 9, 2009
Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker, newly elected Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan and Dellums deplored Wednesday night’s violence, saying it was unfair that minority-owned businesses were vandalized because of an incident their owners had nothing to do with.
“That’s no better than George Bush bombing Iraq to get back at al Qaeda,” Kaplan said.
The unrest resulted in arrests for a variety of offenses, including vandalism, arson, inciting a riot, gun possession and assault on a police officer, said Officer Jeff Thomason, an Oakland police spokesman.
The Oakland Tribune, November 5th, 2008
Kaplan wins at-large seat on Oakland City Council
Hamill conceded defeat shortly after early returns were posted. “I congratulate the council member-elect,” Hamill said. “She led a brilliant campaign.” Kaplan finished with 62 percent of the vote compared to Hamill’s 37. The Kaplan-Hamill contest was the only Oakland council election on Tuesday’s ballot. (Click Here for full story)
The Oakland Tribune, Nov. 6th, 2008 Chang Commends Kaplan
“OAKLAND — Outgoing Councilmember Henry Chang on Wednesday congratulated Rebecca Kaplan on winning the election to take his position as the council’s only citywide representative.”
For full story, CLICK HERE.
|Councilmember , At Large – Oakland
Vote for One (1) Only
|Total Precincts: 262||Precincts Reported: 262||Percent Reported: 100.00|
|Contest||# of Votes||% of Total|
These results and more available online at:
The Oakland Tribune November 1st, 2008
Column by Byron Williams: Kaplan says that fixing Oakland is all about leadership
TO FULLY APPRECIATE the excitement candidate for the Oakland City Council-at large Rebecca Kaplan has created, sit down with her for approximately an hour. As we sat outside an Oakland café, a virtual composite of the city’s diversity stopped by impromptu to wish Kaplan well on her quest.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I sent interview requests to Kaplan’s campaign and her challenger, school board member Kerry Hamill. Only Kaplan responded to my inquiry.
When I asked Kaplan why she decided to run for the council seat vacated by Henry Chang, who decided not to seek re-election, she said, “I’ve spent so much time thinking about what we could be doing better, seeing what we could be doing better, thinking about ways Oakland really could have healthier, safer and more prosperous life here, and I have to get involved in making it happen because otherwise I’d be at home yelling at the television.”
Kaplan, who is currently a member of the AC Transit board, cites the economy, public safety and the health of Oakland’s neighborhoods as priority issues. But, for Kaplan, the local economy is the key.
“The economy undermines everything else. We talk about public safety and the response is, ‘we don’t have the money to do that’ and so the problems in Oakland’s financial situation are not separate from any of the other specific issues, whether someone is worried about how do we get more police or how do we get more after-school programs if our budget continues to go down every year we can’t solve any of the other problems,” Kaplan said.
I pressed Kaplan to explain why Oakland is unique from other urban areas when the problems of the economy, public safety and safe neighborhoods are the same challenges that every urban city confronts.
“Almost every city in America has the same problems, what’s unique about Oakland is the solutions. We have more potential here to solve those problems than anywhere else in the country,” she said.
Kaplan views improving Oakland’s low retail, sales tax retention, promoting local shopping and local business as key to any economic improvement. Kaplan, by her own admission, is not the first to identify these measures for revitalizing Oakland. But the intangible that stuck out in our interview was Kaplan’s belief in her leadership abilities to get things done, even with a City Council that has a long history of divergent viewpoints.
“When we look at the issues that are facing Oakland nobody has a factional solution,” she said. Kaplan feels with the right leadership all of the factions that currently exist on the council would be happy to support an idea that moves the city forward.
Kaplan has done her homework. She is well-versed on many of the key issues facing Oakland, along with ideas to address them. In terms of public safety, Kaplan cited some of the successful community policing programs in Atlanta that Oakland could replicate.
Moreover, Kaplan distinguished between what is within the city’s means to solve and what is beyond its jurisdiction that makes achieving the goals articulated during the campaign, especially at the local level, a somewhat insurmountable task.
But Kaplan also made it clear that she was prepared, if elected, to take an active role in lobbying for additional resources from the state. She referred to her experience on the AC Transit board, where she balanced budgets and lobbied Sacramento, as adequate training ground to assume the City Council seat that represents all of Oakland.
Kaplan is endorsed by the Central Labor Council and several unions. She is also endorsed by OakPAC, the political arm of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, the Oakland Builders Alliance and the East Bay Small Business Council PAC.
The Democratic Party, Sierra Club, California Nurses Association and several local pastors, including the Rev. J. Alfred Smith, Sr. of the Allen Temple Baptist Church, also have endorsed her candidacy.
Perhaps the most impressive endorsements came from the myriad individuals who randomly approached her during our interview to offer their support and encouragement.
Byron Williams is an Oakland pastor and columnist for the Bay Area News Group-East Bay. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at (510) 408-6417.
Rebecca Kaplan for council
Oakland City Council, District-At-Large, Rebecca Kaplan.
“We endorsed Rebecca Kaplan, an AC Transit board member, when she ran against Kerry Hamill in the June primaries to fill longtime councilman Harry Chang’s seat. We happily do so again. Kaplan placed first in the field of five candidates with 40 percent of the vote compared to 21 percent for Hamill, a former staff member for state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata.
It’s not often in Oakland that one can actually get excited about any of the candidates running. The city desperately needs inspired, creative new leadership to help shake up the dysfunctional city leadership.
We believe that the energetic Kaplan, who would become the first openly gay woman to serve on the council, is just that person.”
“Frank Rose, a community volunteer and one-time aide to outgoing at-large Councilmember Henry Chang, threw his weight behind AC Transit board member Rebecca Kaplan, saying he was impressed with her stances on public safety, senior citizen issues and youth programs, among other issues, and that she performed well in recent debates.” (The Oakland Tribune, Friday October 10th, 2008)
Frank Rose has extensive public service experience in Oakland, including: Chair of the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council for Beat 34, Community Police Advisory Board, and as Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Aging under Mayor Jerry Brown. He currently serves on the California Senior Leaders Alliance (CSLA) Steering Committee and on Oakland’s Central City East Project Area Commmittee.
Rebecca Kaplan is interviewed by Zennie Abraham, about the campaign, plans for Oakland, and more!
On November 4th, 2008, voters throughout the city of Oakland will choose a new “at-large” councilmember. This city-wide policy leadership position can be an essential voice for Oakland – strengthening our connections with other levels of government.
Now, Oakland’s representative in the California State Assembly, Sandre Swanson, has endorsed Rebecca Kaplan. Swanson stated:
“We are fortunate to have a candidate with the experience and commitment that Rebecca Kaplan has. We can be confident that she will work diligently to promote quality education for our children, create sustainable jobs, and find real solutions to building safe neighborhoods for our city. She has a proven track record of success, and will work tirelessly on behalf of the citizens of Oakland. As a member of the California State Assembly, I am honored to support Kaplan’s candidacy for Oakland City Council Member At-Large.”
“OakPAC believes Rebecca Kaplan will help unite the various interests in Oakland and be balanced in her approach to crafting policy,” said Carlos Plazola, vice chair of the committee. “We were impressed with her enthusiasm and ideas, and are confident she will support economic growth and the needed reforms in Oakland.”
Oakland Business Review. August 2008.
(Full article can be found online in large PDF file at LINK, on page 5)
|Total Precincts: 258||Precincts Reported: 258||Percent Reported: 100.00|
|Contest||# of Votes||% of Total|
Full Results online at: http://www.acgov.org/rov/current_election/index.htm
For a Map of election results, see (download PDF): JuneResultsMap
By Kelly Rayburn
As Kaplan learns she holds a large early lead in the city council election, she is congratulated by Tony West, a local attorney and top official in the Obama campaign MORE
Oakland Tribune Editorial
“Kaplan is an innovative, energetic newcomer to city politics. She brings with her the experience of having already served in an at-large capacity on the AC Transit board. She has fresh ideas about how the at-large council member can be an advocate for the city with state agencies that give funds to municipalities. Kaplan also helped establish all-night bus service to cover BART routes after midnight and brought solar power to AC Transit.
We believe Kaplan, an attorney, is the best choice for the at-large-seat and her presence on the council would be a much-needed breath of fresh air.” MORE
… on ballot June 3rd
Reb Kaplan writing at Daily Kos MORE
GUARDIAN NEWS STAFF
Rebecca Kaplan is exactly what the Oakland City Council needs: an energetic progressive with the practical skills to get things done.
As an AC Transit Board member, she pushed for free bus passes for low income youths — and defying all odds, managed to get all-night transit service from San Francisco to the East Bay. MORE
Or view Rebecca’s interview with Phil Tagami full-sized on YouTube
By Kelly Rayburn, STAFF WRITER
In the at-large contest, Kaplan said the party’s endorsement was an “incredible vote of confidence” for her campaign, which is stressing public safety, economic opportunity and healthier neighborhoods.
She said she was a Democrat until 1996, when she joined the Green Party. She said she’s considered switching back for years, and began to think more seriously about it after presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s rally in downtown Oakland last year. She made the switch in March.
“I think that when you look at the core values of Democratic voters in Oakland, I am absolutely the best person to represent them,” she said. MORE
Posted by Tim Redmond
Rebecca Kaplan, who is one of my favorite politicians, is running for Oakland City Council — and she has a great idea how to solve one of the city’s most pressing problems.
See, Oakland can’t hire enough cops. That means a voter-approved community-policing plan, which requires foot patrols in all the districts, is way behind schedule; there just aren’t enough officers to walk the beats. The OPD has more than a hundred job openings, and not enough applicants. And among those who apply, a lot don’t make it through the police academy. MORE
By Rebecca Kaplan
So many mainstream media commentators seem outraged, shocked and frankly confused about how to understand the sermons of Reverend Jeremiah Wright. They feel they must denounce them, or distance themselves or call them hostile. I wonder to whom they are comparing him. Do they feel his approach is “unappropriate” compared to other powerful spiritual leaders? What would Isaiah do, or say, in this situation? MORE
Field swells to five with Kerry Hamill, Frank Rose joining fray
By Kelly Rayburn, STAFF WRITER
OAKLAND — Two more candidates jumped in the race to replace long-time City Councilmember Henry Chang Jr. this week, completing a crowded field of candidates for the June 3 election.
Joining the race for the council’s only at-large seat are Kerry Hamill, a member of the Oakland school board and former Don Perata chief of staff, and Frank Rose, a community volunteer and one-time aide to Chang.
Also seeking election to the at-large seat are Charles Pine, co-founder of Oakland Residents for Peaceful Neighborhoods; Rebecca Kaplan, an AC Transit board member; and Clinton Killian, an Oakland attorney. MORE
by Matthew S. Bajko
History could be made this June in Alameda County as five LGBT candidates are vying in races for two Oakland City Council seats, a judicial post, a county central committee slot, and a state Assembly seat.
It is believed to be the largest slate of openly gay candidates to appear on a ballot in an East Bay city. And with three of the June 3 primary contests involving open seats, the candidates in those races have a fighting chance of being elected. MORE