Oakland mayoral longshots urge change

Three of the 15 candidates in the Oakland mayoral race came together at a news conference outside city hall Thursday to say that voters should choose one of them because they’re all outsiders who can change the status quo.

Former healthcare and tech executive and Port of Oakland commissioner Bryan Parker said:

“We believe City Hall is broken and isn’t working for the city of Oakland.”

Parker said the three candidates who are considered by most to be the front-runners in the race, City Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Libby Schaaf and Mayor Jean Quan, “have had their chance but they have failed.” Parker said, “Change can only come from the outside.”

City Auditor Courtney Ruby said:

“I’ve seen the underbelly of city hall and it’s not pretty. Oakland needs new leadership.”

SF State professor and political commentator Joe Tuman, who finished fourth in the 2010 mayoral election, said:

“Changing city hall comes from the outside.”

Tuman said, “We’re all outsiders” and Quan, Kaplan and Schaaf have had “ample opportunity to make changes” to make Oakland better but haven’t done so.

Tuman asked:

“What has their experience brought us?”

He answered his own question by alleging that Oakland still has a high crime rate and is a difficult place to do business. The three candidates said they aren’t running as a coalition in the election, which features a ranked-choice system in which voters can choose three people, but said voters should strongly consider all of them.

Parker said:

“We’re saying that people should vote for an outsider and all three of us fit that definition so people have three choices.”

Ruby said:

“People should hold city hall accountable and make us their first, second and third options. We’re teaming up.” Tuman said, “We’re three very good people.”

Ruby admitted some Oakland voters may not consider her to be a true outsider because she’s been auditor for eight years, but she claimed, “I’m the insider who’s the outsider” because she’s conducted audits that have exposed problems with the way the city has been run.

Ruby said:

“I’m not part of the problem.”

Parker said that when Quan appointed him to the Port of Oakland commission:

“It gave me a look at how broken our city is.”

Tuman said that although most polls have shown that Kaplan, Schaaf and Quan are clearly ahead of the other candidates in the election, a new poll by KPIX television shows that he’s a close fourth in the race and Parker is a close fifth.

Tuman said, “It’s an open race.” Parker said, “It’s a statistical dead heat.”