Monday, August 27, 2012

Inside Info for Tonight's District 1 City Council Debate

Candidates for Oakland District 1/North Oakland City Council Seat will Debate Tonight in Rockridge

After filing the papers indicating their intention to run earlier this month, the seven leading candidates for Oakland’s District 1 City Council Seat will debate tonight in an open forum at the College Avenue Presbyterian Church (CAPC), located in Rockridge.  The debate, produced by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee starts at 6:30pm and is free to attend. Doors open at 6pm, and questions will be solicited from the audience.

The boundaries of District 1 encompass the vast North Oakland area, including the Rockridge and Temescal neighborhoods and portions of Piedmont Avenue. The District is sometimes characterized on the council as more affluent and politically connected to the city power structure than other Oakland council districts.

The role of the Oakland City Council is to be an elected governing body representing the City of Oakland. There are seven council districts in Oakland, and one at-large member for a total of eight seats. If needed, the Mayor serves as the tie breaking vote. Since 1998, Oakland has had a strong mayor form of government. The mayor is elected for a four-year term and council members serve staggered four-year terms. Oakland's Mayor is subject to a tenure limited to two terms. There are no term limits for the city council members.

The job of council member for District 1 has been most recently held by Jane Brunner, for nearly 16 full years (4 consecutive terms). Ms. Brunner is stepping down at this end of this term (Dec ember 2012) to concentrate on her campaign for City Attorney for Oakland.  By many accounts, Ms. Brunner has been a reliable and dedicated council member, and she is widely viewed as a policy and “big picture thinker” in the areas of labor relations and community development, citing the development of the Oakland Army Base as one of her  many accomplishments. Most recently, Councilmember Brunner has chaired the influential Community and Economic Development Agency (CEDA) committee of the council. She has been a Rockridge neighborhood resident of Oakland for 35+ years.

Many political consultants consider this year unique for the Oakland City Council in that it will have at least three new council members after the November election, a turnover unseen for 16 years. The existing council is characterized as having “fractious dynamics” and even some seated council members themselves are excited for a chance to change the tone of the conversation.

This debate will likely cover (but won’t be limited to) several critical issues concerning the Northern part Oakland, including the pending Safeway store development, gang injunctions, schools and property values. What do you think are the biggest issues facing District 1 in the next four years? Please attend and submit a question for the candidates. Or let us know your comments by following the event on Twitter tonight @oaklandchamber and using the tag #oakdebates.

Candidate Backgrounds (Alphabetical by First Name)

Amy Lemley lives in North Oakland with her husband and two daughters. In 1998, she co-founded First Place for Youth in Oakland, which provides affordable housing to hundreds of youth and young adults. Ms. Lemley holds degrees from the University of Chicago and UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and has served on the Measure Y Oversight Committee.


Craig Brandt has been a District 1 resident for 28 years.  Mr. Brandt is a trial lawyer in private practice and a Board Member and Secretary for the International Center for Integrative Medicine, a 501(c)(3). He holds a masters in Community Planning from Antioch University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration also from Antioch University.

Dan Kalb has been the California Policy Director at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Chapter Director of the Sierra Club. Mr. Kalb also co-led the Isaiah Project, and currently serves on the Youth Leadership and Community Safety Strategic Planning Task Force for the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth. Mr. Kalb holds a B.S. in Conservation of Natural Resources from UC Berkeley and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of San Francisco.

Don Link joined the Shattuck Corridor Neighborhood Watch in 1991, and chaired Oakland’s Community Policing Advisory Board from 1999 to 2008. Mr. Link is an electrical contractor specializing in energy efficiency for his company, Controlled Energy.  He holds degrees from UC Santa Barbara (AB) and UC Berkeley (CPh).

Don Macleay owns and manages a computer networking business in Oakland; East Bay Computer Services, Inc. Prior to that, Mr. Macleay has spent over 24 years doing industrial work, 19 of them as a general machinist/millwright and as a member of the machinist union (IAM) and IAM shop steward.  Mr. Macleay got a GED in California and went on to graduate from Laney and then San Francisco State (Phi Beta Kappa).

Leonard (Len) Raphael is the co-owner of Car World in Temescal and has been a staff auditor and tax accountant for Price Waterhouse and Deloitte.  Mr. Raphael has been the Treasurer Temple Beth Abraham and on the board of directors of the Oakland Food Pantry.

Richard Raya lives in North Oakland with his wife and four sons. Mr. Raya is currently the policy director for California Forward. He sits on the Board of Directors for two Oakland-based organizations, Youth Radio and TransForm, and has previously been the budget director for the Alameda County Public Health Department, an analyst for the Alameda County Administrator, and an auditor for the City of San Jose. Mr. Raya holds two degrees from UC Berkeley, where he earned a B.A. in English and a Master’s in Public Policy.


Chamber Support
The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (OMCC) public policy committee does not endorse political candidates, but there is a separate political action committee OakPAC that does.  For more information on OakPAC, please contact Paul Junge, OakPAC Executive Director at 

Full Debate Schedule
Tonight’s District 1 debate is the third of six debates in this series. The full schedule is posted below; all debates are FREE and begin at 6:30pm.  All are welcome and encouraged to attend.


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