The latest Oakland news is that the Oakland City Council elections went to Rebecca Kaplan for At Large, Dan Kalb for District One, Lynette McElhaney for District Three, Noel Gallo for District Five, Larry Reid for District Seven, and Barbara Parker, who’s the new old city attorney.
Considering my video guess of how this was going to go down (made by Councilmember-elect McElhaney):
I did pretty well in my overall survey. I have to congratulate Dan Kalb’s hard strategy of regularly scheduled and social media noticed events, but I also wonder to what extent Dan’s being robbed gave him visibility that propelled him to victory?
In District Three, Lynette McElhaney was the beneficiary of a hard ground-based effort and a kind of cancelling out of two gay candidates, Sean Sullivan and Alex Miller-Cole. I know that reads as insensitive, but it’s not intended to be. It’s a simple reciting of a possible outcome many have pointed to over this year.
I backed Sean as the first-choice candidate as this was his second “go” at the office in four years. Mr. Sullivan raised the most money, and had all kinds of store signs and mailers sent out over the course of the campaign. The trouble is Sean failed to make a deal with another candidate and make sure that person got second choice votes. For example, if Sean was able to make an agreement with Nyesha DeWitt, another candidate, that may have taken votes away from Lynette. But then who knew Lynette was going to emerge as a power player?
Basically, some are going to call this an upset. But the fact is, as I’ve said before, many of the voters in the District Three area were undecided and not really engaged in the local races. The collective lack of interest opened the door for a person to emerge who was not well known, but was good at selling themselves – enter Lynette.
Certainly long-time West Oaklander and former Port of Oakland Commissioner Margaret Gordon didn’t know – Lynette was barely on her radar screen. Margaret, who I met with for a long-ass video interview, backed Miller-Cole and De Witt. She refused to support Sean.
The other District Three candidates were more concentrated in race-based social circles, whereas Lynette McElhaney’s racial reach was broader and more inclusive. Lynette actively reached out to people as she walked around. Here’s a case in point:
Here’s my interview with McElhaney: