And yes, I interviewed her then…
Aimee ran against Pat in 2008 and lost. But when you look at the candidates for the seat in 2014, they’re more like Aimee than Pat. Pat was engaged with District Two’s white and high-end Asian community, and Oakland’s developer community, but less so it’s people of color or poorer residents.
What Pat has understood is that you have to deliver jobs and not ideology to District Two – that’s why she won, and won big. Pat can walk around and actively point to her accomplishments – like Trader Joe’s on Lakeshore.
By contrast, and to reiterate, all of the 2014 D2 candidates are more like Aimee than Pat, and perhaps it gives a window into why Pat’s not backed anyone yet.
As of this writing, there are six candidates (though one is expected to drop out soon): Michael Colbruno, Abel Guillen, Dana King, Sokhom Mao, Andrew Park, and Kevin Blackburn. Right now, I am pleased to report that I’ve interviewed four of the six candidates on video, and those long talks are presented below.
As for the candidates not presented, Michael Colbruno and Abel Guillen, it’s not for lack of effort on my part. In Abel’s case, I’ve tried twice. The first time was just over a month ago, and I was under the impression he and I were to meet at Lakeshore Cafe at 1 PM that Friday. But, at the last minute that day, he cancelled out.
In Michael’s case, it has been a classic matter of putting our schedules together, which we planned to do at the Port of Oakland two weeks ago. But it must be said that I fully expect Michael to talk about Abel, and not himself, in his video with me. That’s because Michael, the Port of Oakland Board Commissioner, had said he would step out of the race if Abel came in.
While that’s what he’s doing, I have to candidly say that no one cares. Michael and Abel must realize that this Oakland electorate is, for all practical purposes, brand new. Many people have lived in Oakland just about two years, and don’t know any of the politics around here. It’s an open book. A new day.
Whatever Abel’s reasons for his fits and starts behavior, which I chalk up to very bad advise from folks he and I both know, it was easier to meet his competitors for video interviews. It’s not behavior I’m used to from Abel – it’s too calculated and surprising, given that Abel ran before for the Assembly District 18 race against Rob Bonta, who won – but it’s Guillen’s campaign and I don’t manage him.
I can only say to my friend that his competitors are hungry to win, and so far, they’re eating his lunch in all phases of the race. Abel got a late start and his Peralta Commmunity College Board Trustee position is of little importance to many in District Two; he’s got to act like he wants it, and stop the games.
Andrew Park, Dana King, and Sokhom Mao – those are the front-runners in the race. I say that because all three have solid track records of service to their communities within District Two. Mr. Park has a giant entourage of people who contacted me about him before I met him. Considering that, I have to place him as the current front-runner. Andrew has a boots-on-ground army. Dana King is the energetic and captivating former anchor of KPIX who started an artist colony in the San Antonio area.
Sokhom Mao is an impressive man with a heart-touching story: the product of foster family upbringing, and who’s father was in and out of jail, Mr. Mao rose above that, and he’s just 26. Mao was the first to run for the seat, having held a press conference and filed papers last December.
Then, there’s the late-comer, Kevin Blackburn. Mr. Blackburn is a very popular and well-known 47-year-veteran resident of District Two. He’s also an Assistant Vice President with the Federal Home Loan Bank. Kevin spends much of his time between the Bay Area and Washington DC for his job. His strength is in his political connections on that level; Park and Mao and King have strength at the grass roots. Mao and Park, for example, have been heavily involved in security and redevelopment issues in District Two. King has her colony, and volunteers at the juvenile detention center.
From an endorsement perspective to this point, as I wrote above, District Two Councilmember and President Pat Kernighan has not yet come out and given her support to anyone as of this writing. Yet, she did back Anne Campbell Washington for the District Four seat. Oakland Developer Phil Tagami is helping to raise money for Dana King and Kevin Blackburn. Phil once said he’d add one more person – let’s see if he does.
If you’re wondering why you didn’t learn about these gentlemen, Park, Mao, and Blackburn, it’s because of the very elitist and hap-hazzard way the local mainstream media covers the election. Dana King draws coverage from the Oakland Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the East Bay Express because she was on KPIX – that’s the only reason, truth be told.
Meanwhile, Sokhom Mao and Andrew Park have gotten zero press from them to this point. It’s criminal – it’s like the Tribune, Chronicle, and East Bay Express are trying to tell you to vote for someone they’ve heard of, not who will be effective. The fact is, their collective readership is down to levels comparable to my own. But hubris is a bitch, huh? Mark my words, someone from that media group will find a way to discredit Park or Mao, or both, if only to mask the fact that they were too lazy to contact them; I wasn’t.
Another reason to visit Zennie62Blog / Oakland .
Without any further ado, here are the candidate videos. I’ll add more from Abel and Michael, when I get them, if I get them, but I’ll keep trying to get them:
Dana King, Part Two:
In closing, I will make follow-up videos as the race season progresses. I must also add that, in general, questions about number of cops or the Raiders don’t get at how a candidate will be as a manager of the city. That’s why the last Oakland Mayor’s Race debate was so ineffective at helping voters decide.
I’ve worked for two mayors of Oakland, Elihu Harris and Jerry Brown, and seen the City from the perspective of an intern, consultant, Mayor’s aide, economic development specialist, and Super Bowl Bid Boss. The way the media covers the Oakland Council race just shows how little it knows about city management.
Time for a change.