David Glover, the Unelected Mayor of Oakland Will Always Be with Us

Robert Gnaizda

By Robert Gnaizda Many leaders from the corporate world, government and the community always knew that David Glover was far more than just another community leader. Based upon my almost 30 years of working with David, from protests to development of complex policies to frank meetings with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Wells Fargo CEO Dick Kovacevich, I believe that David was the best mayor Oakland ever had. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, being an unelected leader is far more difficult than being an elected leader. That is, there is a referendum on your leadership every day. Governor Brown may or may not have been a good mayor for Oakland, but we all know that David would have been a great mayor. David was a national ambassador for the causes he deeply believed in. He expressed his passion softly, but with great eloquence. Deep down, every corporate leader knew that it was far better to work with than to oppose David. Many of us remember the many causes David took on when Greenlining Coalition was just an informal relationship of great leaders of many races and ethnic backgrounds who voluntarily took on causes. This included integrating the banks and requiring corporate responsible from Fortune 500 corporations. Along with Paul Cobb, he gave the Greenlining Institute its name and its mission- a mission that was both respected and feared throughout corporate America. Cobb also said, “David wanted to integrate the money, too.” And, it was David Glover, perhaps more than any other leader, who helped transform the Greenlining Coalition into the highly successful Greenlining Institute. As a founding board member, no board member contributed more over the last twenty years than David to Greenlining. And none, and I stress none, continued the commitment to minority empowerment and minority engagement in every aspect of American life more than David Glover. There are many politicians who had an impact on Oakland and California, but no politician, including Jerry Brown, made as much of a difference to Oakland and all California communities than David Glover. David’s life and achievements are unlikely to be duplicated in our lifetime. Robert Gnaizda is the co-founder of the Greenlining Coalition with OCCUR.
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