OAKLAND//2014 ELECTION | Last July, I walked up to an opponent of the Plan Bay Area transportation strategy approved by the various mayors, council members from around the region later that night and showed him a photo I had just snapped of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan in a state of dreamland. “Oh,” the activist deadpanned, “it’s not an official meeting until Jean Quan falls asleep.”
According to numerous people I’ve spoken with recently, Quan’s propensity for dozing off in public is nearing ubiquity and may become a huge problem of optics for her re-election campaign. After all, any political consultant without much talent could compose an effective campaign mailer accusing Quan of being asleep at the wheel as violent crime continues to be a problem and the town’s beloved sports team seek addresses elsewhere. Leadership, Quan’s detractors and opponents for her seat, say has been missing from her first term in office. What says checking out like literally falling asleep on the public stage?
One source this week speculated she just may be working both ends of the candle too hard or maybe the trips to Snoozeville are a medical condition. To which I replied, whether the problem is medical in nature or not, her campaign team better make it so in the same fashion a pot smoker must search for a doctor who will conveniently prescribe medical cannabis for an itchy ear lobe.
This subject will become a big issue in the next year. Mark it down. All the campaigns are poised to seize upon the Quan sleepy meme. Bring up the subject and the response is typically a weird mixture of quiet disgust and growing glee at the enormous opening Quan is leaving for her opponents to exploit.
Rabid Oakland City Council audience members have longed mocked Quan for appearing like she was sleeping while at the dais. However, most times it appeared she was simply resting her eyes. As many of us well know, those meetings can be long and tedious. But, she was clearly in deep sleep at the Oakland Convention Center last July for the approval of Plan Bay Area--a night, it should be noted that ended over three years of regional discussions over the future of high-density housing and transportation in the area for the next 30 years!
Worst of all, forget going night-night at highfalutin meetings of government bureaucracy, but there are claims Quan fell asleep recently at a funeral for a toddler recently killed in Oakland. Whereas Quan's inability to fight the Sandman sounds ludicrous and almost humorous, checking out during the services of a murdered baby is infinitely worse than not even showing up in the first place.