california local news

Oakland mayor recall speeds ahead as residents gather calling for ouster

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

With lightning speed just three weeks into signature gathering, the effort to oust Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao appears to be gathering steam. Using a shuttered business for their stage, recallers say they are succeeding.

Saturday afternoon saw yet another rally to recall Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao in what was once restaurant Le Cheval, closed in part due to street crime.

“She didn’t inherit all these problems. She caused a number of problems,” said retired Alameda Superior Court Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte, who heads the recall petition.  

A recall is possible due to Oakland’s ongoing bouts with brash criminal activity, missing a deadline to secure $15 million in state funding to combat retail crime, the recent spate of Hegenberger business closures and the continuing failure to appoint a permanent police chief. 

“People who say give her more time. More time to do what? She has ruined our city,” said the retired Judge.

“Look at the potholes. Look at homelessness. Look at the jobs. Look at the businesses that are leaving Oakland, and I’m mad as double ‘H-E hockey sticks’,” said Victory Baptist Church Pastor Marty Jenkins.

Those wanting to dump the mayor must get at least ten percent of Oakland’s registered voters to sign a recall petition, 25,000 of them by July, and it looks like they’ll beat the deadline by months. 

“Twelve-thousand five-hundred people plus who have signed already to recall Mayor Sheng Thao,” said recall organizer Seneca Scott.

A rainbow of recallers said Thao will be gone if the recall gets on the November ballot and passes. 

“We are not getting the services we deserve throughout, and the crime is spreading,” said Edward Escobar of Citizens Unite. 

“We know that the voters made a mistake by voting for Sheng Thao. But, you can see with the signatures we have collected they are willing to correct their mistake,” said recall proponent Francisco Acosta. 

“She either resigns or gets recalled because she’s not doing her job, and we see the consequences for her failure every day,” said Tuan Ngo of Asians Unite.

As messy as it can sometimes be, this too is democracy: the right of the people to petition their government for what they want and what they do not want.

No ranked vote, just a straight-up vote: yes or no. 

In a statement to KTVU about the gathering, Thao said, “My focus is fighting for a safer, more affordable and more prosperous Oakland. I ask Oaklanders to help me achieve that vision with hope and collaboration and push aside fear and division. Let’s bring our community together to fight for the city we love.”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.