Dana King took to what’s left of traditional media to announce she’s running for Pat Kernighan’s about-to-be-vacant District Two seat on the Oakland City Council. But it takes a blogger to fill in the fine points.
It was Joe Tuman who talked Dana King into running for Pat’s seat, and the reason I know this is Tuman and talked about who would file to replace Pat Kernighan. I mentioned the man who’s now King’s current challenger, Sokhom Mao, and Joe said to me that there’s another person.
When I pressed him to tell me who that was, Joe said that he would let me know when the time was appropriate. Well, I obviously never got that phone call, so when the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Matier And Ross (and hey, Phil Matier and Andy Ross are good friends who I may wind up hiring one day) ran the story today, I figured, ‘screw this,’ and so here’s the real story.
I have met Dana King twice. The first time was when she was married to Linden King, who was at that point a linebacker for the Los Angeles / Oakland Raiders, and she was an anchor for KPIX TV Channel Five in San Francisco.
But the second time I met Ms. King was last August, and on the day that good ol Joe Tuman was announcing he was running for Mayor of Oakland the second time around (he did the first time in 2010). Dana was there in front of Oakland City Hall (and with a small group of people that included Gene Hazzard, who, along with another candidate for Oakland Mayor Nancy Sidebotham, tried to get Jean Quan removed from office via the recall process, but didn’t), and all to show their support for Joe.
This was an obviously different Dana King: no longer a TV personality and not wanting to be thought of as one, and no longer wanting to be associated with or reminded of her now former husband Linden King. I’d lost touch with Linden years ago, and was never in contact with Dana, so I didn’t know they split up. When she reacted in a recoiled fashion to my use of his name, and explained that was in the past and in more ways than one, I left the matter alone.
The new Dana King’s an artist, and has a cool collection of work you can see at her website here. And some folks who are old enough to remember Dana when she was doing the news will remember that her hair was black. But in 2011, she made the decision to stop coloring it, and just let the gray show. Because her hair was short, some thought she had a health problem, but she said she was fine.
The new Dana King also has some catching up to do if she wants to be considered an Oakland politico worthy of more than being known by her name and past KPIX association. Dana told Matier and Ross that she’s been involved in her neighborhood, but let’s be honest, no one knows her for anything other than her TV past, and that was years ago. Oakland’s population has changed a lot in five years. The fact is, if I walk down the street and asked five people if they knew who Dana King was, three of the five would say no.
Still, that’s not bad. Hell, it’s better than for me!
Dana has a Twitter account @danaking60, but the last tweet she issued was November 6, 2013. At that, she clocked in at a rate of about a tweet every month and a half.
She’s not been a fixture at Oakland City Council meetings, and is not coming from the same place of service that Aimee Allison did when she ran for the seat. Here’s Allison in a video–blog interview she did with me when she ran against Pat K:
Months later, Joe and I were talking about District Two and Pat’s retiring from her seat, and that’s when he said that he was taking a friend of his around and was showing her how the Oakland City Council works. Now, I’m putting two-plus-two together, and it’s coming up four. It was Dana King.
So think about that one, folks. Joe Tuman and Dana King were to win their respective seats, we’d suddenly have “The Tuman Bloc” as about 22 percent of the Oakland City Council (plus the Mayor) would be Joe’s people – well, ok, he and Dana, but still.