Pat Kernighan, current Oakland Councilmember and President Of The Oakland City Council, has issued a note to her constituents that she’s not seeking re-election in 2014. Here’s the email she sent out just two hours ago:
I am writing to let you know that I have decided not to run for re-election next November as the District 2 Councilmember. When my current term ends on December 31, 2014, I will have been a Councilmember for nine and a half years. Serving on the City Council has been an extraordinary experience and one that I have found very fulfilling. I am proud of what I already have achieved in this role and am gratified to have been able to advocate for the needs of thousands of residents. I am thankful for the partnerships with so many people in the community that has made our progress possible.
I will be retiring for purely personal reasons. I want to have time to travel, spend time with my husband and family, especially my little granddaughter, and do all the other ordinary activities that I have had little time for while a Councilmember.
I am excited that things are looking up for Oakland. We are poised for many good things and there is a younger generation of Oaklanders wanting to lead and contribute.
It has been an honor to represent you on the City Council. I will continue to work hard throughout the next year to make positive change in our city and to lead the City Council in my role as President of the Council.
With warm regards and gratitude for your continuing support,
Oakland City Council President
And Councilmember for District 2
I will miss seeing Councilmember Pat Kernighan, and her decision to not seek re-election also ends a long career in Oakland politics, that goes back to when she worked as an aide to then-Oakland Councilmember John Russo. I believe that started in 1997.
In honor of Pat, here’s a selection of videos that feature her in some way at Zennie62 on YouTube, over the years:
What will be Pat Kernighan’s legacy in Oakland? I think it will be the commercial development of District Two, and particularly the addition of Walgreens and Trader Joes, and then her crowning achievement, the 12th Street Bridge and Realignment Project. Jobs and progress: Pat will be remembered for that in Oakland.
She even tried doggedly to save the original Parkway Theater.
Why Is She Really Leaving?
I do believe Pat wants more time, plus she’s earned enough of a retirement package to allow her to make such a move. But beyond that, consider that a 2014 reelection run would make her potentially vulnerable to an election loss due to the almost unpredictable nature of Rank Choice Voting. That written, she’s well-liked by the people in District Two.
But I do remember something that Pat said to me when she ran for re-election in 2010: she hates campaigning. 2014 would present another round of doing the process of campaigning that she just plain loathes.
I also think the battles with Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks (District Six) brought out a side of her into the public eye that perhaps she did not know existed. Pat exhibited a kind of pettiness that was never evident in her political behavior before, at least not so openly.
Now, who will run for her seat?
Maybe Amy Allison, who ran against her in 2006, should consider it. Here’s Amy, then: