Quan vs. Kaplan: Experience over “Eye-Candy”

October 28, 2010

The first time I saw a photo of Rebecca Kaplan on her mayoral campaign website, I got a little swoon-y. I am definitely a sucker for a strong-looking woman in a vest. I started posting a steady stream of links to Facebook, most with such well-crafted titles as “Sexy Dyke For Mayor.” I was in love with not just her vests, but also her platforms — i.e., making Oakland neighborhoods more livable and increasing quality of public transit.

However, that was only my initial reaction — me being the susceptible young lesbian I am. When I started researching more about the candidates and their platforms, I realized that Jean Quan is actually my choice for mayor of Oakland.

Quan, like Kaplan, serves on the Oakland City council. However, Quan has been involved in Oakland politics since 1989, when Kaplan was just nineteen years old.

While Quan was at UC Berkeley in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, she became active in the Vietnam War protest movement and the civil rights movement.

Quan was also deeply involved in starting the ethnic studies department there — the first ethnic studies department in the nation. She has shown further commitment to enriching education, as she has worked to maintain art and music programs in public schools as a member of the Oakland Unified School District board since 1989.

Jean Quan is the first Asian American woman to be elected to the Oakland City Council. She represents District 4, which mainly consists of the Laurel and Dimond districts. During her time on city council she worked to revitalize those neighborhoods under her leadership: the revived state seen in the Laurel shopping district just outside of Mills’ gates exists largely due to her efforts. The Dimond district now consists of similarly revamped business and housing because of Jean Quan’s initiative to support local businesses.

She has served as President Pro Tempore of the City Council and Vice Mayor — basically, she’s had experience running
the city.

Some other highlights from her extensive list of experiences include: Chair of the Chabot Space Science Center of which she was a founding member, City representative to the California League of Ca-lifornia Cities, and member of the Environmental Policy Council.

Oakland needs Quan’s experience in rebuilding and reclaiming itself, and her leadership and voice are indispensable. As the first Asian American woman mayor she will give a voice to underserved and underrepresented communities.

Sure, Rebecca Kaplan is a great leader, I agree with most of her platforms, AND she’s dead sexy — but as I said before, she has had limited experience in local politics. Her time as mayor will come. Quan has already proven herself in regards to drive and experience.

As a longtime Oakland resident, I can tell she loves Oakland as much as I do and will work to improve my favorite city to make it safer, more vibrant, and even more beautiful.

Quan vs. Kaplan: Experience over “Eye-Candy” was published on October 28, 2010 in Column, Letters to the Editor, Opinions

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  • Brian Williams

    You note, “However, Quan has been involved in Oakland politics since 1989, when Kaplan was just nine years old.”

    You’re off by about ten years. I might add that Kaplan has been active in local politics since 2002.

  • http://www.victoryandassociates.net Conan Neutron

    Quan has proven herself alright, to be absolutely inept.
    She has a great resume, but she hasn’t really done anything that spectacular. What she has done is almost bankrupt the city, supported the layoffs of cops and had a complete tin ear to the arts world.

    I urge you to take another look at Rebecca Kaplan’s platform. She has real pragmatic ideas and solutions that go a lot deeper than identity politics. There are some great videos too.

    I am not a Jean Quan fan, Rebecca Kaplan all the way, although the nice thing about ranked choice is that you can have more than one candidate on your ballot. Hopefully Rebecca can at least be your 2nd place vote?

  • Max Allstadt

    Full disclosure, I’m a Kaplan supporter, volunteer, donor.

    I’m going to point out a couple of important details:

    1. Being President Pro Tempore of the City Council just means she filled in while the actual City Council President was away. Basically, it means Quan chaired a council meeting at some point. It doesn’t mean she ran the city.

    2. Similarly, “Vice Mayor” is a rotating title that gets passed around from councilmember to councilmember. Last year, Ignacio De La Fuente was Vice Mayor. Larry Reid and Pat Kernighan have also been Vice Mayor. There’s no additional responsibility with the post. It’s mainly ceremonial. If the Mayor happens to get hit by a truck, the Vice Mayor becomes Acting Mayor until a special election happens. Again, it has nothing to do with actually running anything. At the risk of sounding snarky, Ms. Quan overuses this ceremonial title as a campaign tactic to make herself seem higher ranking than she actually is.

    Ms. Quan has an unfortunate tendency to inflate her resume. The Oakland tribune endorsed Rebecca Kaplan as their first choice for Mayor. So did the SF Guardian. Quan sent a mailer claiming the endorsement of both papers. Quan did have the third choice endorsement of the Trib and the second choice endorsement of the Guardian, but she omitted “3rd” and “2nd” from her mail piece, deceiving voters into possibly thinking she had unqualified endorsements. The tribune even published an editorial decrying this deception.

    Lastly, you really understate Kaplan’s experience and background. She was a civil rights attorney, an aide in the State legislature, the campaign manager for Wilson Riles’ mayoral run against Jerry Brown, and she’s held elected office for over 8 years.

    Kaplan also has represented many more constituents that Jean Quan has. Quan has only held district seats. Kaplan has only held at-large seats. That means Kaplan currently represents the entire city of Oakland. Over 130,000 people voted in her last election and she received over 80,000 of the votes. Previously on the AC Transit Board in the At-large seat, Kaplan represented all of Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

    Quan’s largest election victory had her winning a total of 12,000 votes, and representing only Oakland’s District 4.

    I’ve been closely involved in Oakland politics for about 2 years now, and Rebecca Kaplan really is special. She’s honest and totally without malice, which is SO uncommon in a politician. The reason I back her as vocally as I do is mainly because of her ability to work with all the factions within Oakland politics, which is also rare. Please give her a second look, and read the Oakland Tribune’s endorsement of her. It’s quite unequivocal. It really is time for a generational shift in leadership in this town, and Kaplan is the only one capable of making that happen.

  • http://www.jeanquanforoakland.org/ Lailan Huen

    Full Disclosure: I’m Jean’s daughter.

    If you’re worried about the generation gap, check out our website. http://www.jeanquanforoakland.org/

    My Mom’s been looking out for kids in this city for a long time. Rebecca’s program and experience doesn’t come close.

    My Mom’s Vice Mayor because the other Council members chose her…but that’s really a distraction. Look at the legislation and other work she has authored: reducing class sizes, raising millions in bonds to make schools safe, leading the campaign to keep libraries open, the compromise on funding after school programs, writing a balanced safety measure with both beat cops and violence prevention programs, and even the first marijuana dispensary ordinance.

    Yes, she never ran citywide before, but she’s been in every school and neighborhood over the years fighting for people. Our family has walked almost two thirds of the city’s neighborhoods and held over 200 house/neighborhood meetings. No one in this race knows the city better or works harder. That’s why both the polls and our numbers show Perata is still the one to beat and my Mom has probably tied or passed him in this last week despite being outspent 10:1

    My Mom has kept her pledge to ask her voters to put Kaplan #2 to stop Perata because she cares about Oakland. Rebecca has not publicly pledged the same. It’s really disappointing and unfair for Kaplan supporters to treat Jean in the same category as Perata.

  • http://thecampanil.com Nicole Vermeer

    Thanks for your comments, and Lailan for your input regarding your mother.

    Brian Williams- I read that it says 19, not 9, in the article, so it is correct in its assumption that Kaplan was 19 when Quan was first involved in local politics.

  • Max Allstadt

    I think my Mom is great too!