OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — Some people in East Oakland said City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan used their community as a prop for political advancement, but did nothing to help them. Now, they’re taking action to make sure she won’t be their next mayor.

Kaplan used piles of trash at an East Oakland intersection to make her big announcement to run for mayor on June 5th, the same corner where a dead dog was left on the street for a week.

The councilmember said she is running because Mayor Jean Quan failed to provide the most basic services.

Now, some angry neighbors are calling her a hypocrite because she left the trash there and walked away after making her announcement.

“If you run away from it, how are people going to expect you to do a good job once you get elected,” said Oakland voter Curtis Gaines.

“To make your candidacy announcement, that’s got to be important to you, right? So if it’s that important to you, why isn’t it that important to you to clean it up?” said Oakland resident and community organizer Ken Houston.

After waiting five days, Houston and neighbors cleaned it up for themselves. “That’s disrespectful,” he said.

Houston was so angry, that he filed paperwork Wednesday to run for mayor and challenge Kaplan.

He said he is fed up with politicians who continue to neglect East Oakland. “Action speaks louder than words,” Houston said.

Kaplan said it’s not her fault, and instead blames Mayor Jean Quan saying public works is not effective under the mayor’s leadership.

“We did exactly what the administration tells the public to do, which is to call public works and report it in.” Kaplan told KPIX 5.

“Don’t take a picture, pick up some gloves, don’t pick up a phone. Represent our community and be there for us.  Don’t just say what you’re gonna do,” Houston said.

Houston was once a Kaplan supporter and voted to re-elect her to the City Council.


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