Kernighan was appointed council president earlier this year. Her departure leaves an opening for two new council members to be elected next year. District 4 Councilmember Libby Schaaf is vacating her seat next fall to run for mayor.
The open seat will assuredly attract a slew of prospective candidates. Thus far, Sokham Mao, a member of the Oakland Citizens Police Review Board, is the only declared candidate.
Over the past year, Kernighan, 64, has attracted her share of vitriol from Oakland's notoriously boisterous denizens of the council chambers. As the shouting and catcalls rained down upon the council, Kernighan, as president, often appeared unnerved by her role in quelling the constant eruptions.
The rancor not only emanated from the audience, but her own council colleagues, primarily, Larry Reid and Desley Brooks, who went so far to characterize her attempt last June to censure Brooks as racist.
Most political observers noted the election last year of three new council members represented a clear mandate from voters they wished for change at City Hall. With Kernighan and Schaaf's departure, five of the eight-member council will be relative newcomers starting in 2015.