Chris Young, who this blogger has known since the 2008 Obama For America campaign, threw his hat into the ring for the nine candidate (so far) 2018 Oakland City Council District 4 Race. His determination, out of the gate, earned him the endorsement of the incumbent District 4 Representative Annie Campbell Washington.
Before we go further, let me take you back to Election 2008, and my talk with Chris Young:
Councilmember Campbell Washington took the time to send out this letter explaining that she was backing Chris Young, and why:
As a public servant in Oakland for the past 18 years, serving the last 5 years as your District 4 School Board Member and then District 4 City Councilmember, I felt compelled to spend a considerable amount of time with the candidates running for the District 4 City Council seat.
Frankly, I am thrilled that my decision not to seek re-election has resulted in a tremendous wealth of incredible candidates. The fact that nine people have already filed to run in this race, shows just how important it is for these seats to be vacated more regularly — to allow the democratic process to really work and to give other qualified individuals the opportunity to serve our great City.
Choosing who to vote for in the District 4 City Council race is a decision with serious consequences for all of us living, doing business, raising our families and contributing in this City we love.
I embarked on the endorsement process with an open heart and open mind, determined to find an individual who exhibits the qualities I feel are most important to serve in this role:
1)- Someone with the strength, fortitude and intelligence to lead in City Council meetings at the dais — to forge policy and make tough decisions that affect our daily lives.
2)- Someone who is above reproach ethically and morally — who brings new blood, new ideas and is not part of the existing culture inside Oakland City Hall.
3)- Someone who has the heart and deep commitment to public service who will listen to and solve problems for the residents in every District 4 neighborhood — as well as neighborhoods beyond District 4.
Chris Young is the leader we need for District 4 City Council.
Chris and his family have lived in Oakland for over 15 years, and in District 4 for the past seven years. He will deliver that “parent perspective” to Oakland City Council which I believe is so critical to make strong decisions on behalf of our young people.
Chris has deep experience working in the federal, state and local levels of government outside of Oakland that will allow him to hit the ground running with a fresh perspective. He was one of the first staffers hired for the campaign to elect President Barack Obama. He then went on to work in the Department of Justice under President Obama and brings a passion for criminal justice reform to his work.
Chris’ demonstrated commitment to ethical, moral, and transparent leadership is just what we need in City Hall. Here in Oakland, Chris served on our Public Ethics Commission. And as General Counsel for GoFundMe, Chris uses his legal training to create good in our world. He will bring this same focus and perspective to the work of City Council.
I am excited for you to meet Chris, hear his passion to serve in Oakland and feel his deep commitment to making Oakland a place for everyone to live and thrive. Chris has already knocked on hundreds of doors in District 4 and will be attending a house party in your neighborhood soon. I encourage you to make time to meet him and get involved.
Shaping up to be an interesting race. I still think Joe Tanios has the inside track to win District 4 because he’s a long time City of Oakland employee and knows the pulse of the workers. But he’s got to get out and land endorsements. Same is true for Sheng Thao, who has been an effective Chief of Staff for Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.
And I have to wonder why Annie didn’t endorse Alliance for Community Development
Executive Director Nayeli Maxson, who worked for her between January 2015 and September 2016 as Policy Analyst and Community Liason according to her Linkedin page. Moreover Miaxson has scored a list of endorsements, including my friend Commissioner of the San Francisco School Board Matt Haney, Sue Piper, who’s the President of the Oakland Firesafe Council and a former District 4 staffer, herself, Robbie Neely, Executive Director, Piedmont Pines Neighborhood Association, and many more people listed on her cool website https://nayeliforoakland.com. In all, Maxson’s forming a murderer’s row of backers who are the core of those who are politically involved in Annie’s Oakland City Council District Four.
All things considered Annie not backing her former employee Ms. Maxson, is shaping up to be a story in itself. Chris gets the win, but it now looks like Annie’s battling her own constituency. Could it be that Annie’s making a statement regarding race and Montclair? Campbell Washington picked a largely unknown candidate in Chris Young over Ms. Maxson – she has the backing of a group of people in Montclair who happen to be white are comprise some of the “most likely voters” in the area. And I’m not at all implying that race is the only reason they’re behind her, at all. They are backing her because Maxson has built great relationships. But Annie not backing Nayeli Maxson opens up a ton of questions, and you and I know it.
Now that Annie’s backed Chris, will they now give him a look in this ranked choice election? An African American running for that seat in Oakland is about as rare as, well, a black person writing a column for The Montclarion. (Oh, and by the way, race always matters, possively or negatively – that’s life. We’re all different, and if you’re upset about my mention of race after BBQ Becky, Jogger Joe, and Permit Patty, you have some explaining to do.)
Overall it’s a crowded field and this is the full list of candidates to date and in no particular order:
Overall, Chris Young’s off to a great start. This gives him a name recognition he lacked before. Let’s see how this changes the race in District 4. Does Annie have coattails?
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media