OAKLAND | Once Oakland Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf finally got it going, there was really no stopping her campaign. In terms of sports analogies, campaigns are often labeled horse races, but in this case, it is apt. Her team huddled away Schaaf in a crowded field and jockeyed her to the front down around the final stretch. In the end, the rest of the field was either severely unqualified to run in such a stakes or simply spent.
Schaaf’s dominating victory also overshadowed the fact that the lead horse, Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, simply ran out of gas. Over the last six weeks or so of the campaign, it appeared to many Kaplan was hoping to run out the clock on what numerous polls suggested was impending victory. The campaign did little to attract attention to solidify those polls.
In the meantime, Schaaf did the opposite. Her campaign was easily the most aggressive down the stretch. Did Gov. Jerry Brown’s endorsement in early October really turn the tide? I doubt it was solely Brown’s imprimatur, but the attention it shined on Schaaf at precisely the moment people were actually starting to pay close attention to the race.
Noticeably, while Schaaf moved forward with another endorsement from Sen. Barbara Boxer, Kaplan was turning up aging B-list pop stars from early 1990s and Mayor Jean Quan was offering members of the Black Hole from Raiders home games. The latter, in fact, was the moment when it became clear Quan was toast.
PERATA STILL DOESN’T UNDERSTAND RCV Why Don Perata bothered to endorse Bryan Parker so late in the game, or at all, still seems bizarre. In the end, Parker finished sixth place with less than eight percent of the vote. Was Perata not privy to polling that showed Parker running about the same position as the results on Nov. 4? Perata’s endorsement did nothing for Parker and even one member of his campaign admitted the former state senator’s reputation in Oakland was filled with negatives. In addition, the coalition of Parker, Joe Tuman and Courtney Ruby also did little to change the overall campaign calculus. The triumvirate together won over 23 percent of the first place votes. That’s six percent less than Schaaf gained, all by herself. Like Perata’s endorsement, this meeting of the minds came far too late in the game to have any impact. In hindsight, the campaign’s should have banded together by the end of September at the earliest.
DESLEY'S NEW SPARRING PARTNER? The changeover on the Oakland City Council continued this election cycle. The council swapped out Oakland-style moderates in Council President Pat Kernighan and Schaaf with progressives Abel Guillen in District 2 and Anne Campbell Washington in District 4. Coupled those two with progressive stalwarts Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Desley Brooks, who won re-election last week, and this council now has an even more leftist lean than before. But, this begs the question, who on the council will the irascible Brooks fight with now? The council’s reputation for raucous meetings is often cited by voters as a huge negative. However, with three new members in 2012 coming on board, this year has been noticeably quiet in terms of fireworks. Its most moderate member is now Councilmember Noel Gallo, but she and Brooks seem to get along, but its hard to guess how certain personalities react to each other regardless of ideology. When I interviewed Brooks as she drove around her East Oakland district, she seemed unsure about my opinion her and Guillen would work well together. If all else fails, Brooks can just return to hammering the new mayor. In addition, Brooks’ election results left a lot to be desired especially for a 12-year incumbent who took a beating over her behavior at council meetings. When the initial returns showed Brooks sitting in the low-40 percent range, she had to be sweating bullets over the potential for ranked choice voting to aid one of her opponents. It didn’t, but Brooks only defeated Shereda Nosakhare by less than five points after RCV tabulations.
|Kaplan's Plan B could be council president.|