Most Courageous City Official

Deanna Santana

City administrators and city managers tend to be a timid lot. Few dare to challenge the conduct of a mayor or city councilmember. But Deanna Santana appears to be anything but timid. Just months after being appointed city administrator by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Santana launched a probe into the questionable activities of then-Vice Mayor Desley Brooks. Santana found evidence that Brooks may have violated the city's separation-of-powers law when she spearheaded the opening of a swanky new teen center in her district, at taxpayers' expense. Brooks, who has a reputation for being a hard-nosed politician, didn't like being questioned, but Santana refused to back down, and revealed evidence that Brooks had tried to cover her tracks. Eventually, a majority of the city council, led by Ignacio De La Fuente, Jane Brunner, and Larry Reid, swept the entire matter under the rug, but not before the no-nonsense Santana showed that she's keeping close tabs on Oakland's public officials.

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