by Will Harper
In spite of all histrionics about the role of money in the election, a spokesman for Oakland City Council candidate Aimee Allison says the race between Allison and Councilowman Pat Kernighan in the end came down to other factors. "The issue was turnout, plain and simple. We didn't run up enough votes in the flatlands in spite of a massive effort, and we think any analysis of the race would show that," Allison flack Ben Wyskida said in a post-election statement. "The vote totals were very similar to last time. Without the provisionals, Aimee actually has EXACTLY the same vote total. Trader Joe's ... the mailers ... the endorsements ... we don't believe swung this thing. We think that a more competitive Governor's race (or if this had been a presidential year) would have changed things dramatically in the flats. Even though Aimee is a Green, we were dragged down some in our base by a pretty lackluster Democratic ticket at the top."
What could have helped Allison was the support of Sir Mayor-elect Ron Dellums, who chose to remain neutral even though some in his entourage (like Local 790 political director Andre Spearman and Supervisor Keith Carson) backed Allison. Our guess is that he did so because he figured Kernighan would win, so why make an enemy out of her? In the meantime, he bought no one's loyalty. Meanwhile, City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, who lost his bid for mayor to Dellums in the June election, helped Kernighan raise money in order to keep her on his side.
Allison and her supporters ran a peculiar campaign for a left-wing Green Party candidate. They attacked Kernighan's record on crime, which didn't play to Allison's strengths. Since she's a Green, Allison didn't run on a law-and-order platform, but a touchy-feely hugs-for-felons platform i.e. lots of social programs to address the root causes of crime. Problem is that voters don't dial 911 so they can talk to a youth outreach counselor.
Post-script: A couple of interesting things to note from Kernighan's election night party at Sushi Zone in Chinatown. Upon hearing that Kernighan was beating Allison by 14 points midway through the night, Councilwoman Jane Brunner cheered, "She's getting slaughtered! Yeah!" And Councilgal Desley Brooks, who didn't endorse anyone in the race, showed up near the end of the soiree after 11 pm. However, Brooks tells us that she also stopped by Allison's party as well.
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