By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Oakland mayor loses re-election
Placeholder Image

OAKLAND (AP) — Oakland voters elected Councilwoman Libby Schaaf as the city’s new mayor, ousting Mayor Jean Quan after a turbulent tenure marked by constant turnover among city officials and criticism of her handling of Occupy Oakland protests.

Quan and Schaaf appeared together in a joint news conference at City Hall on Thursday, a day after Quan conceded.

The four-year incumbent finished third in a 15-candidate field, according to preliminary results from Oakland’s unique instant-runoff election where voters rank their top three choices.

Schaaf finished 34 percentage points ahead of Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan.

“It’s as overwhelming a victory as I have seen,” said Corey Cook, a University of San Francisco political scientist and Oakland political observer. “Undecided voters broke decisively toward Libby Schaaf.”

Schaaf’s campaign won a big boost with late endorsements from U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer and Gov. Jerry Brown, himself a former Oakland mayor. She made public safety a top issue in the city with some of California’s highest crime rates.

Quan entered her re-election campaign with a tarnished image. Her first major test as mayor with escalating Occupy Oakland protests in 2011 drew fire from progressives who thought she was too heavy-handed and business groups that thought she acted too slowly.

Quan also had to backtrack when she made claims that crime in the city was concentrated in a 100-block area and that a Dubai prince was investing in a new Raiders stadium development project.

The former progressive activist has said much of the criticism was unfair and ignored strides the city made under her tenure.

“(Schaaf) inherits a city where crime is down, unemployment is down, city finances are strong, police reforms are near completion, and the economic renaissance is well under way,” Quan said in a concession statement.

Elsewhere, the outcome of the San Jose mayor’s race was unclear, with the fate of public pension cuts in the balance. City Councilman Sam Liccardo declared victory, but county Supervisor Dave Cortese has refused to concede with a third of ballots still uncounted, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Liccardo has vowed to defend voter-approved pension cuts challenged in court by unions, while Cortese says the cuts have sent police officers fleeing from a short-staffed department.

Sacramento voters rejected a measure that would have increased Mayor Kevin Johnson’s power.

Johnson pushed for the city to adopt a “strong mayor” form of government giving the top elected official more oversight in running the city, but an opposition group prevailed after calling it a power grab.