Who’s Pamela Harris, The Candidate For Oakland City Council District Four 2018?

Pamela Harris? Oakland City Council? Who’s Pamela Harris?

UPDATE: Pamela Harris Gets Nancy Skinner Endorsement for Oakland City Council District Four Seat.

Well, Pamela Harris is one of the nine names of people who have thrown their hat into the ring for the seat that’s to be vacated by the incumbent Oakland City Councilmember Annie Campbell Washington. Here are the nine names:

Joseph Simmons
Jonathan Selsley
Charlie Michelson
Joseph Tanios
Nayeli Maxson
Pamela Harris
Ahmad Anderson
Chris Young
Sheng Thao

Of them, Chris Young, my friend of Obama 2008 Campaign days, received the endorsement of Councilmember Campbell Washington. But, former Campbell Washington employee Nayeli Maxson has racked up what I called a “murderer’s row” of endorsements from District 4 dwellers who have been very politically involved over the years. Take Bruce Nye, the trial lawyer and mediator, and founder of the Oakland citizen action group “Make Oakland Better Now!” Or how about Nicholas Vigilante, Secretary, Montclair Neighborhood Council. Or what about Michael Tigges, Founding Member of Block by Block Organizing Network, Chairperson of Montclair Neighborhood Council, and District 4 resident?

I could go on, but you get the idea.

By conrast, Chris’ endorsement page shows that he has, well, just Annie, so far.

And then there’s my friend Joseph Tanios, who is well-known by everyone, but just getting traction with his campaign in the form of this website: But no endorsements for Joseph yet (Love ya, Joe!).

And here comes another friend Sheng Thao, who’s Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan’s Chief of Staff. Like Pamela and Nayeli, Sheng has a cool website and the endorsement of her boss, Councilmember Kaplan, as well as a list of politicos: Noel Gallo, Oakland District Five Councilmember, Rich Tran, Mayor of Milpitas, Benny Lee, San Leandro Councilmember, Ken Chew, Former Mayor of the Town of Moraga, Stewart Chen, Former City of Alameda Councilmember, Kathy Chao Rothberg, Former Mayor of San Pablo. And Sheng has the backing of many Oakland community members who aren’t in District 4.

So, who is Pamela Harris and why the hell am I blogging about her? Because she’s running for D-4 and because someone named Carter Lavin sent this email to me:

On behalf of the Pam Harris for Oakland City Council, District 4 campaign, I would like to invite you to our Campaign Kickoff Party on Saturday June 30th from 2pm to 5pm at Blu Moon Lounge at 3009 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland. The Kickoff Party will be a meet and greet with friends, family, & neighbors and have a brief program talking about how we can all ensure Oakland fulfills its progressive promise

Come for the whole party or stop in for a bit — Doors are open from 2pm to 5pm and the program will begin at 3:10pm.

We’ll have refreshments throughout. I look forward to seeing you there!

Please feel free to get in touch before hand for more information and you can check out our website at

Kind regards,

So, I thought anyone who was considerate enough to contact me about their candidate deserved to have that person they’re backing mentioned: that’s Pamela Harris.

Here’s what Ms. Harris’ neat website reads about her:

“PAM HARRIS currently serves as an Assembly District 18 Delegate in the California Democratic Party, and is a former board member of the East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club. Her community organizing and service have earned her the Mildred Parish Massey Legacy Award from Congresswoman Barbara Lee, a Social Justice Champion Award from California Assemblymember Rob Bonta, and a Reel Sisters of the African Diaspora Prize, among other honors.
For 25 years, Pam has worked in the nonprofit, documentary film, and philanthropy sectors. She’s devoted her career to issues such as youth development, violence prevention, health care reform, LGBTQ rights, racial and socioeconomic inclusion, and fiscal management for nonprofits.
A former Fulbright Fellow to Uruguay, Pam holds a B.A. from Vassar College and a Masters in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in a multigenerational, bilingual home with her two children, her mother, and her wife, Carolina De Robertis, a novelist and San Francisco State University professor.”

As for endorsements, her page called “ endorsements” came up with no names as of this writing, but I expect that to change.

In closing, I have to say Nayeli Maxton is off to the best start of anyone not named Chris Young in the Oakland City Council District Four Race for 2018. And that said, she’s beating Chris and Sheng where it counts: at the political heart of District 4. Pam’s got some work to do to catch her – let the games begin!

Stay tuned. And this note: I’m going to blog and vlog about everyone on the list of candidates, but if you’re running, and don’t see anything about you, reach out. Ping me. You have to let people know you want to be known if you’re running to represent anyone in Oakland.

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