OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – Accusations have been flying about Oakland City Council’s toxic culture.
The vice mayor says it is so bad that she’s not running for re-election.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf says it’s all because of one city councilwoman: Desley Brooks.
KPIX 5 tried to track Brooks down on Tuesday night, but she didn’t show up for the city council meeting.
Brooks was not in attendance for the first council meeting since Mayor Schaaf spoke about her last week.
“I think Oakland would be tremendously served by having that individual replaced on the city council,” said Mayor Schaaf on Friday.
Oakland’s mayor and vice mayor are making it clear that they would like to see Brooks voted out of the city council and are throwing their support behind her opponents.
On Tuesday, the mayor backed up her statement by endorsing Loren Taylor.
“I’m deeply honored. I respect Mayor Schaaf,” Taylor said.
Taylor has never held public office, but is an entrepreneur and 100 Black Men of the Bay Area board member.
He says under Brooks, East Oakland has failed to thrive.
Taylor said neighbors have lost faith in city leadership to get things done.
He isn’t the only candidate who believes Brooks’ legal woes and combative reputation have made her vulnerable.
Natasha Middleton is also running for Oakland City Council.
“The one thing that is representative of a term limit is called an election and that’s why I’m running,” Middleton said.
Middleton, a policy expert and an analyst at the Alameda County Probation Department, got a big endorsement Tuesday too, from Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington.
Middleton’s campaign slogan: “Let’s fight the problems – not each other.”
She said, “The people of Oakland want to get their problems solved and they grow tired of seeing so much strife.”
But for all of Brooks’ troubles, she is still seen as East Oakland’s most vocal advocate.
In her 16 years on the council, she has successfully cast herself as the voice of East Oakland, especially its black population.
A big hurdle for anyone who runs against her.
“Many people in District 6 feel that if Desley Brooks is not their city council person, they will lose their voice. They will lose advocacy. I am here to be that advocate, just as strong and actually deliver results. Advocacy without results are just words,” said candidate Loren Taylor.
“I hope those voters consider me as one of their choices,” said candidate Natasha Middleton.