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Six up for Oakland Council

Incumbent council-member faces tough re-election bid

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Six candidates will vie for Oakland District 3 Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney's position this fall. Five seek to replace retiring District 7 Councilmember Larry Reid, and restaurateur Derreck Johnson challenges at-large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan's reelection. In addition, the Oakland school board is in for a makeover with a large field of candidates in four open seats.

McElhaney's West Oakland District 3 is sure to be affected by the important issues this election season—police accountability, defunding the Oakland Police Department, the recession, Covid-19 and the fate of the Oakland Athletics waterfront ballpark. And Oakland's use of ranked-choice voting could adversely impact McElhaney's bid for re-election.

Five challengers hope to unseat the two-term councilmember. Her main opponent appears to be Carroll Fife, director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and long-time advocate for affordable housing in Oakland and accountability for OPD.

Small-business owner Seneca Scott, Meron Semedar, Alexus Taylor and longshoreman Faye Taylor round out the field of candidates.

For the first time since 1992 the Nov. 3 East Oakland ballot will not include Councilmember Reid, who announced his retirement last year. However, his daughter, Treva Reid, is a frontrunner in the race that includes Bob Jackson of the Full Acts Gospel Church and Marchon Tatmon, a mayoral candidate two years ago. Marcie Hodge and Aaron Clay round out the five-person race.

For more than a decade, Kaplan has run for public office, for re-election to the city council and for mayor. But Kaplan sat out the 2018 election and now faces a strong bid from Johnson, the owner of Jack London Square's Home of Chicken and Waffles. Johnson's $116,000 in mid-year fundraising topped Kaplan's by a large margin.

In addition, Johnson received an endorsement from Sen. Kamala Harris the day before she was tapped to be Joe Biden's running mate.

Perennial city council and mayor candidate Nancy Sidebotham is the third candidate in the at-large race.

North Oakland District 1 Councilmember Dan Kalb also faces a well-funded challenger in Steph Dominguez Walton in November. Walton reported $93,000 in cash reserves through the most recent June 30 campaign finance reporting period. Over the past six months, Walton raised $77,000, as opposed to Kalb's $58,000. The third candidate in the race is electrical engineer Tri Ngo.

Councilmember Noel Gallo, the fourth incumbent councilmember on the ballot, will face Richard S. Raya and Zoe Lopez-Meraz in the Fruitvale–San Antonio District 5.

In the city attorney's race, Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker seeks her third full term in office. Her lone opponent is Deputy City Attorney Eli Ferran.

This November provides the Oakland Unified School District Board of Education with yet another chance at renewal. Four of the seven seats on the board are guaranteed to be new members. Current Board Directors Jody London (District 1), Jumoke Hinton Hodge (District 3), Roseann Torres (District 5) and James Harris (District 7) will not return next year.

Here is the list of school-board candidates this fall:

District 1: Austin Dannhaus, Sam Davis and Stacy Thomas.

District 3: Maiya Edgerly, Cherrise Gash, Mark Hurty, Maximo Santana and Van Cedric Williams.

District 5: Leroy Gaines, Michael Hutchinson, Sheila Pope-Lawrence and Jorge Lerma.

District 7: Kristina Molina, Ben Tapscott, Bronche Taylor, Clifford Thompson and Victor Valerio.

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