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Oakland News: Ken Houston Pissed, Off To City Hall To File For Mayor’s Race

For this Oakland News, a message to Rebecca Kaplan, to start things off…

This Oakland News is rich, though not as long as the last one, so buckle up. Kenneth Houston, or Ken Houston as he’s known, the popular and active Turner Construction Community Outreach Vice President (who came to the Oakland City Council meeting on the Courtney Rudy report in 2013 and dropped a bombshell about being used as black face to front for a white contractor), just got off of a good phone conversation with me.

UPDATE: I learned that the top five candidates to date – Mayor Quan, Councilmember Libby Schaaf, Bryan Parker, and Joe Tuman – have all raised well over $200,000 each, and Parker himself should be closer to $270,000 by now. Courtney Ruby has reportedly raised $75,000.

There are some things I can report, and a few I can’t give details about, so here goes.

Oh, and before you ask, here’s a video featuring Ken, from last year:

First, Ken Houston’s now off to Oakland City Hall to file for the Oakland Mayor’s Race. Why? Well, remember when I said that Rebecca Kaplan’s high-note of entering the race had a half-life? Well, that’s coming to pass.

It was something Rebecca did, and very recently, that spurred Houston to run, in addition to his perception that “Not one of the people who are running for Mayor has done anything,” and yes that’s a direct, on the record, quote from him.

What Rebecca did that pissed Ken off was announce she was running for Mayor on the corner of International Boulevard and 92nd Street on June 6th, and in so doing, left, what Houston claims, was a mess of trash that he had to clean up.

Ken Houston has been a big activist for the end of the problem of dumping in Oakland, and particularly in East Oakland.

Second, Ken has the feeling that Rebecca came into what is his neighborhood “where I grew up” and yet, doesn’t know the ‘hood, and friends of his were asking what was going on and why was she there. Then Ken quite frankly burned my ear off, expressing a level of anger I’ve not felt since my last conversation with Nancy Sidebotham.

Nancy Sidebotham is the Oakland Tax Accountant who’s running for Mayor, as well, and, with Councilmember Kaplan, is one of two lesbians running for Mayor, which is a first for this city. (And hammers home the obvious question ‘Is there a gay man running for Mayor of Oakland,’ and the answer is, as of this writing, no.) At any rate, in talking about Rebecca’s run for Mayor of Oakland, Nancy started to remind me of a few scenes from Young Frankenstein.

You know? Where every time Frau Blucher’s name was mentioned, this horse would yell in the background? Like this:

Ok, well Frau Blucher’s Rebecca Kaplan and the horse could be either Nancy or Ken, and who knows who else. What Nancy and Ken share is an almost unbriddled anger with Kaplan’s decision to run for office for the fourth time since 2008. And Ken likes Rebecca a lot, as do I, so this is more of a wake-up call for her.

But Ken feels that Kaplan, and also Mayor’s Race Candidate Bryan Parker (who I am supporting along with Councilmember Libby Schaaf and Joe Tuman, and in that 1, 2, 3 order) are not “doing anything” – in the case of Bryan, Ken says that he spends a lot of time selling him when they talk. Ken doesn’t want to be sold; he wants to work.

In Bryan’s case, and this is a bit of an aside for a moment, some African American friends think that Parker doesn’t reach out to them at all. And here I’m talking about a group of people who are between the ages of 40 and up, and involved in Oakland in different ways that are all political. What they want Bryan to do is lean on them for advise and then act on it – and that could be on any issue. They just want to know he is listening to them, and calls them to hear what they have to say, and not for them to hear his latest version of his “I’m selling you steak knifes” speech.

But, that written, Ken said he was off to City Hall to put in his application and after just learning today that the filing fee was $300 and he needed 100 signatures. The final filing date for nominations for an office is way off, still – the official nomination period is between July 14th and August 8th. But in the case of the Auditor’s Office, where there is no name, that date is pushed back to August 15th.

And now we see Courtney Ruby’s strategy: by not filing her name, she buys time for herself to continue her unsuccessful campaign for Mayor of Oakland, and pray that is catches fire – fat chance. She’s just not hitting the right note, and I don’t think she’s ever going to do that in this race. Courtney’s better off running for Oakland City Auditor again – she should just go and do that.

As I say here:

Oakland Elections Nomination Information

The City of Oakland’s website has clear information on what to do if you want to run for office. The open positions for 2014 are Mayor, Oakland City Council District Two, Oakland City Council District Four, Oakland City Council District Six, Oakland School Board in Districts Two, Four, and Six, and Oakland City Auditor.

The City says:

Nomination Period: Monday, July 14, 2014 – Friday, August 8, 2014, and the fee is $300. You can file electronically, but I recommend you don’t do so – file at Oakland City Hall at 300 Frank Ogawa Plaza in person.

If you’re running for Mayor of Oakland, you have to get between 50 and 100 signatures from of Oaklanders from anywhere in Oakland. But if you’re running for City Council, you need 50 and 100 signatures from Oaklanders in your district. If you think about it, it’s harder to get those numbers in one area than it is city wide, which explains (to a degree) why so many people are running for Mayor of Oakland.

The other reason is, as Ken put it, “I’m a no-body” – but he’s not at all. Ken Houston’s an involved citizen. The problem is we have a lot of candidates who feel that no one listens to them and that’s a total slap on the current leadership and a reflection of how our hyper-media times impact how people behave in politics at the local level.

Politics is show business for ugly people, and not that I’m calling anyone in Oakland that, but the fact is, we have a lot of people, more than ever before, running because they feel they’ve been treated with disrespect.

That’s a byproduct of failed Oakland leadership, and even among all of the current people running for Mayor. The race will go to the one candidate who can make enough people feel they they are for them, and, thus, work for them, and not against them.

For City Council and School Board races, I don’t get the same feedback, and that’s going to make for great representatives for the districts. The people running tend to have other motivations than respect.

But ego is the driver in all cases – there’s nothing wrong with that as I have a giant ego, but everyone has to understand that it’s important to make others feel important in Oakland.

This town tends to have a crab-barrel mentality, where others want to pull down someone they see as “too big” – it’s a stupid way that wreck’s Oakland as a place where an entreneur can make a difference, but it’s here, loud and clear, and is impacting the election is a way that I’ve never seen before.

Celebrating 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act, June 18th, Beebe Memorial, Oakland

The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 turns 50 this year, and Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson’s hosting an event at Beebe Memorial Cathedral, 3900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA, US, from 6 PM to 8 PM.

The 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1964 the Civil Rights Act is a celebration featuring Bay Area civil rights attorney Howard Moore, Jr., and featuring Dr. Clayborne Carson, Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, and civil and human rights activist Angela Davis.

It’s produced by Black Elected Officials & Faith Based Leaders of the East Bay.

Black Elected Officials & Faith Based Leaders of the East Bay is a non-profit organization Supervisor Carson founded almost 15 years ago to build on the legacy of the Movement that waged and won the struggle to pass the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1964 the Civil Rights Act is free and open to the public, and provide an opportunity for our whole community to reflect on the road to passage of the Act, the gains and setbacks of the last 50 years and the ongoing struggle.

You can get free tickets here at Eventbrite: FREE TICKETS

Stay tuned.

Zennie Abraham
Zennie Abraham | Zennie Abraham or "Zennie62" is the founder of Zennie62Media which consists of zennie62blog.com and a multimedia blog news aggregator and video network, and 78-blog network, with social media and content development services and consulting. Zennie is a pioneer video blogger, YouTube Partner, social media practitioner, game developer, and pundit. Note: news aggregator content does not reflect the personal views of Mr. Abraham.

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