Oakland At-Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan is expected to announce she is running for Mayor of Oakland this week, if not within the next two weeks, according to three conversations this author had with sources: two with the Oakland tax consultant and candidate for mayor herself Nancy Sidebotham, and another with a well-known former Oakland elected official who did not wish to go on the record, but would only say they “think that may be, but she goes back and forth, so I’m not sure.”
But Nancy Sidebotham is sure and agreed to go on the record with me: “I was told this within the last 24 hours, but I can’t say from who. I know that she held one meeting with supposed backers some time ago, but whatever happened, she changed her mind within the past 24 hours.”
The Oakland At-Large Councilmember did not return calls or texts from this author seeking confirmation of this news as of this writing. But Kaplan certainly has made a series of high-profile actions of late that, in an election season, would cause some political observers to think she was going for incumbent Mayor Schaaf’s seat. Each one of those actions was connected with the Oakland Lake Merritt BBQ Incident.
If you need a quick recap, Dr. Jennifer Schulte spent two hours first harassing, then calling the Oakland Police Department, on Kenzie Smith and his wife and friends, and only for using a charcoal grill for a cookout next to Lake Merritt. Thanks to the YouTube video made by his wife Michelle Snider, the world got a visual taste of the kind of every day racism African Americans face in America.
Kaplan’s reponse was to eschew quiet calls for politicians not to say anything, and issue a statement, then repeat those words at the May 15th Oakland City Council meeting, and then, just four days ago, issue a press release calling for Kenzie Smith to be on the Oakland Parks And Recreation Advisory Commission, calling for change and writing that Mr. Smith should be part of discussions on how to cause them to happen.
But the question is, can Kaplan take this new series of calls for change and ride the wave to win the 2018 Oakland Mayoral Election? In the follow-up to this post, we’ll take a look at the question “Can Rebecca Kaplan win? Is what would be her third time running for the seat she has long coveted, indeed, the charm? Rebecca’s running against what is, right now, a field of 11 other candidates: Cat Brooks, Shelton Duncan, Ken Houston, Saied Karamooz, Kristina Molina, the afforementioned Sidebotham, Jesse A. J. Smith, Marchon Tatmom, Cedric Troupe, and Randolph Wilkins, and the incumbent Mayor Schaaf. How will she do?