Joe Tuman, Courtney Ruby, and Bryan Parker stand outside of City Hall for a press conference. Photo by Nigel Manuel

‘Outsider’ mayoral candidates call for change

on October 27, 2014

Mayoral candidates Bryan Parker, Courtney Ruby and Joe Tuman gathered outside City Hall Thursday to deliver a joint message, less than a fortnight from November’s election day: Out with the old, and in with the new.

“City Hall is broken, and not working for all of Oakland,” Parker said. “The mayor, Rebecca and Libby”—he was referring to city council members and fellow mayoral candidates Rebecca Kaplan and Libby Schaaf -–“ have had more than 20 combined years to get something done. They’ve had their chance to make change, and they failed.”

In last-name alphabetic order, all three candidates made independent statements and answered questions on the podium they set up on the City Hall building outer steps – in keeping with the theme of their news conference. All three described public safety as one of the most pressing issues haunting the city of Oakland, as well as its reputation and business prospects.

“Public safety is not an issue in this race, it’s the issue,” said Tuman. “It is a cancer that effects every other challenge in this city.” Tuman said while he pulled on his coat collar with his thumb and index finger, almost in disgust, as if his collar was filthy. “It is the stain and the scent you can’t wash out of your clothes,” he said.

Parker addressed public safety by evoking personal tragedy. “As some of you know, I’m a person that lost my sister to murder, so I’m acutely in tune with what many of our residents go through,” he said. “You hear from City Hall that we measure ourselves as getting more safe by going from 133 murders down to a hundred. I can tell you as somebody who lost a family member, every one of those lives count.”

The three candidates have called themselves the “outsiders of city hall,” and openly criticized the “insider candidates,” mostly Mayor Jean Quan on her management of the city, as well as Kaplan and Schaaf. “It is time for a change that Oakland deserves, the leadership that is outside City Hall to create the change we need,”
said Ruby, who is currently Oakland’s city auditor “We cannot afford missteps like we have in the past, like the current waste contract,” she said, alluding to recent conflicts over Oakland’s recycling and waste pickup services. “We need leaders who take the lead responsibly, getting results and not offering excuses.”

When asked by a reporter if the three candidates are a ranked- choice coalition, Ruby said, “In the mist of the confusion of rank choice voting, we’re trying to simplify it here today by saying the three of us are really great choice to deliver the potential of Oakland.”

Tuman argued that each of the three “outsiders” would bring to the office “a different skill set,” as he put it. “For Bryan it’s working in the private sector, for Courtney it is the vision and experience of an auditor,” Tuman said. “And from my perspective, it’s somebody whose managed in a union environment, actually
managed people, also somebody who has lived here and someone whose done his homework on the math and details on public interest and business.”

Photo by Basil D Soufi
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