Lynette Gibson McElhaney, the incumbent, two-term, Oakland City Council District Three Councilmember has managed to draw six challengers as of this writing: Jesse Alexander, Carroll Fife, Brandi Haskins, Noel Pico, Meron Semedar, and Faye Taylor. Of course, the last time Councilmember McElhaney was in this position, it was 2016.
In 2016, a field that once had two candidates ballooned to seven, but then when the signatures of the challengers were checked, six of the seven miraculously dropped out, leaving just Lynette and Noni Session, whom I interviewed at the now closed Perch Coffeehouse:
And who’s made it known on Facebook that, for 2020, she’s backing Carroll Fife, the Regional Director, Oakland – San Francisco for the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, in the race.
And if you’re wondering, that’s the same Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment that harassed Phil Tagami a few weeks ago with money from the Chan Zuckerberg Institute.
All of that spells what a friend of mine used to saw whenever election controversy was nigh: AWWWW SHIT!. And that’s because Carroll Fife managed to score $10,000 in campaign donations in just 24 hours before the deadline.
But, sadly, it adds up to a splintering of black female political power at a time when it seems African Americans should be pulling together, not apart. But Oakland’s not been that kind of town since the 1990s, and black women have routinely tried to take each other out in election races in Oakland. Get your popcorn ready.
Carroll Fife One Of Three More To Enter The Oakland City Council District 3 2020 Field.
Last time I vlogged about this race, Jesse Alexander, Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Noel Pico, and Faye Taylor were the competitors. But now, we have the afforementioned Carroll Fife and Brandi Haskins and Meron Semedar.
Brandi Haskins, aside from being the Support Engineer at Mapbox, has a campaign website called People Of Oakland at PeopleOfOakland.org. There, she writes:
No Oakland resident should live in fear of the police.
No Oakland worker should be struggling to afford basic needs while working full time.
No Oakland student should have the quality of their education determined by economic geography.
No Oakland family should be forced to live on the street.
Meron Semedar, in contrast with Haskins, has no campaign website, but he does have a YouTube channel in his name that cries to be upgraded and used.
Why So Many Challengers To Lynette Gibson McElhaney Now?
Ok, so you’re wondering why so many people willing to take on Lynette Gibson McElhaney now, whereas it looked like she was going to sail in to a third term while recovering from the murder of her son last year? (Sorry, but that bit of sad news has to be added here because, unlike what some told her to do, and not me, Councilmember Gibson McElhaney elected to press on, rather than retire from public service.)
That was the case, but then two things happened: Moms 4 Housing and The Pandemic.
Moms 4 Housing was the group behind the historic episode which saw a group of black mothers take over a vacant but owned house in West Oakland, draw a crowd of supporters from Oakland’s white middle class, then eventually be evicted from it, and with some very hard feelings along the way. Misty Cross, the leader of Moms 4 Housing, drew national attention to the problem of hyper-high housing prices in Oakland, and a number of African American Oakland women were behind her, including Cat Brooks and Carroll Fife. Absent from that list was Lynette Gibson McElhaney.
After her release from jail, Misty Cross told the media “Now we’re outside, we can make more noise. For all of those who don’t stand by us, these representatives who we voted into office, I think the next action will be there.” She specifically called out Lynette. In fact, so did the Moms 4 Housing supporters at a January 13th rally:
Crowd now chanting “Where’s Lynette?”
Lynette Gibson McElhaney is the Oakland city councilmember who represents West Oakland and has been quiet on the @moms4housing story.
— Molly Solomon (@solomonout) January 14, 2020
But the main question is will all of this translate into votes that do topple Lynette Gibson McElhaney? I will be candid and say that all of this looks weird. We have an election year that’s twisted by the Pandemic, and now the constant social earthquakes the late George Floyd is causing from heaven. I will tell you that on Nextdoor, a ton of Adams Point dwellers who are active voters did not side with the Moms 4 Housing group. That same group is also mostly white, some black, some Latino, Asian, and everything else and middle class and upper class. I can see that group pushing for the incumbent.
And in the interest of full disclosure, I did donate to Lynette’s campaign. It was $25 at this point, just in case anyone wants to know.
But, me aside, I encourage you to get to know all of the candidates, and I’ll do my best to help by working to give everyone a platform.
I will come back to this, but for now I really want you to take care of your heath, and help others. We need to do that because this COVID-19 deal is getting worse. Also, drink Ginger and Green Tea with lemon and quercetin and tumeric, daily, if you can. Stay away from drinking. Eat lots of veggies and drink a lot of water – and remember your daily asprin.
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