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Five Candidates Compete to Represent Council District 2



The five candidates who are running for Oakland City Council, District 2 represent a powerful mix of experiences and strengths that reflect the talents and character of the people who live in the city.


Among those seeking the office are Dana King, a sculptor and former television news anchor with mega name recognition: Abel Guillen, a sitting member of the community college board of trustees; and Sokhom Mao, a former foster youth who grew up to become a community leader who has done the hard work in the trenches to make the Oakland Police Department more accountability to the community.

Also running are Andrew Park, a doctor of ministry and manager of UC Berkeley’s physical education program, who operates a youth-focused nonprofit organization; and Kevin Blackburn, an assistant vice president at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.

Dana King

Dana King

District 2’s current representative is Patricia Kernighan, 64, who is retiring after nine years on the council.

Dana King moved to Oakland after leaving KPIX-TV in 2012. When she is not working on her sculptures, she teaches journalism at Dominican University in San Rafael and volunteers at the Alameda County Probation Department.

King, who lives in the San Antonio district, says her district’s top concerns are public safety and the quality of life issues that are related to it. Solutions must focus not only on hiring more police but also on more lighting, getting rid of illegal dumping, graffiti and the blight that undermines the morale of people in the community.

These are the issues that “make people unsafe in their communities, make people feel that nobody cares on about their communities,” she said.

Gentrification is a word that frightens people, especially in light of the way it is unfolding in San Francisco, she said, but people should understand that “gentrification is development.

“It’s important to embrace and help to drive it and shape it. We can get involved and try to drive that engine ourselves,” she said.

King is in favor of a collaborative approach to governing that brings people together to create solutions.

I’m looking forward to bringing people to the table who have a vested interest in this city,” she said.

Abel Guillen, 38, is in his second term as a member of the Peralta Community College Board of

Abel Guillen

Abel Guillen

Trustees. Two years ago, he ran for state Assembly, narrowly losing to Rob Bonta. In the current race, he is supported by Bonta and former Assemblyman Sandré Swanson.

The only candidate to serve in an elected position, Guillen emphasizes that he has the financial background and experience as a legislator that the Oakland City Council needs.

Like most everyone else running for office in Oakland, he considers public safety a top priority. In addition to hiring and putting more police on the street, the city should make greater efforts to hire local residents to work for OPD, he said.

“We have a great administration of justice program at Merritt College,” said Guillen, who calls the program an excellent pathway for young people who might want to go into law enforcement.

Planning for future development, the city can take steps to control gentrification, “so we don’t end up like San Francisco,” he said. “We can put policies in place to protect tenants, to make sure we have an increased housing stock so that we can accommodate growth.

Andrew Park

Andrew Park

“We need to make sure we grow but that we include all of Oakland’s residents in that equation.”

Andrew Park has been has been part of the community since his parents emigrated from South Korea when he was four years old.

“As co-chair for my local Neigh Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and a board member of many community-based organizations, I helped organize community projects and events that empowered youth, brought neighbors together and enhanced public safety,” he said.

“I am running for Oakland City Council because our beautiful city is full of potential—both realized and unrealized—and the people of Oakland are ready for a safer, stronger Oakland across the board,” said Park, who manages the Physical Education Program at UC-Berkeley, with a $1.8 million annual budget.

He currently run TRYBE, a community-based non-profit whose mission is to heal and improve the lives of Oakland’s urban youth and families.

Oakland native Sokhom Mao, 27, a graduate of Oakland High School, was a former foster

Sokhom Mao

Sokhom Mao

youth whose life experiences taught him the impact public policy has on children and other community members.

“I’ve overcome numerous adversities and challenges which have influenced my understanding of politics and the affects government choices have on its constituents,” he said.

For the past 10 years, he has worked on policies to improve the lives of foster youth and families. He was worked for last three years with the city’s Police Review Board.

“I’ve worked tirelessly to improve police services to the City of Oakland where I helped with the hiring of civilian staff so more police officers can spend more time patrolling the streets to keep our neighborhood safe,” he said.

Photo from Zennie62

Kevin Blackburn. Photo from Zennie62

Kevin Blackburn is assistant vice president for Legislative & Regulatory Affairs at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. At present, he does not have a website, but he is interviewed on YouTube at


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East Oakland Community Clean-up

The office of Councilmember Treva Reid invites you to…



Oakland Clean Up Flyer

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Bay Area

New Assemblymember Mia Bonta to Caucus With 3 Legislative Groups

The 18th Assembly District includes a large portion of the city of Oakland and the cities of Alameda and San Leandro. Bonta was elected in a special election on August 31, defeating fellow Democrat Janani Ramachandra.



Assemblymember Mia Bonta, (third from left), with (left to right) Senator Steve Bradford, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurman, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, assemblymembers Isaac Bryan Reggie Jones-Sawyer, and Kevin McCarty.

Soon after Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) was sworn in last week to represent California’s 18th Assembly District — which covers parts of East Bay — she signed on as a member of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus (CLWC), the California Latino Legislative Caucus (CLLC), and the California Black Legislative Caucus (CLBC).

Bonta is the 11th member of the Black Caucus and the only lawmaker representing a district in the Bay Area. In the Latino Caucus, she is the 30th member, and out of 120 lawmakers in both houses of the state Legislature, she is the 39th woman.

“Special congratulations to our newest member @MiaBonta, who was sworn into the Assembly this morning! #AD18 has chosen a fantastically fearless representative, and I look forward to working with you Assemblymember Bonta! #CALeg,” wrote Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D- San Diego).

Mialisa “Mia” Tania Bonta, who is Puerto Rican of African descent, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1993 and a Master of Education (Ed.M.) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1996. Bonta also received a J.D. from Yale University Law School in 1999.

Her work experience includes over 20 years working with nonprofits, including serving as CEO of Oakland Promise, a college and career prep program for Alameda County high school students.  She was also president of the Alameda Unified School District Board from 2018 to 2021.

“Congratulations to @MiaBonta on her election to the Assembly, which not only made her the first Afro Latina in the Legislature, but also raised the number of women in the Legislature to an all-time high,” California Lt. Gov., Eleni Kounalakis stated on Twitter.

The 18th Assembly District includes a large portion of the city of Oakland and the cities of Alameda and San Leandro. Bonta was elected in a special election on August 31, defeating fellow Democrat Janani Ramachandra.

“I am deeply honored to represent the 18th Assembly District. Our district has a long history of bold, progressive, leadership and I plan to continue this work in our diverse district,” Bonta tweeted September 7. “I’m ready to fight for bold solutions to issues like homelessness, housing affordability, climate change, and criminal justice reform for AD-18 and all Californians. I am ready to get to work.”

Bonta steps in to replace her husband, Rob Bonta, who vacated the AD 18th seat in April after Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed him California Attorney General, replacing Xavier Becerra, who is now United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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City Government

The Next First 100 Days

Building a Healthier Future for Oakland



Symbol of democracy this picture show a child and his mom voting for french presidential elections. Photo Courtesy of Arnaud Jaegers via Unsplash

In 2022, the voters of Oakland will have an opportunity to elect the next Mayor for our city.  The Mayor of Oakland is the head of the executive branch, in charge of implementing actions and laws that have been passed by City Council and community.

The Mayor also selects and hires the City Administrator, appoints members of key Boards and Commissions, and sets the direction for the Administrative branch of government, thus having a major impact on what actions get taken.

In recent years, the City Council has adopted numerous laws and funded positions and projects – many of which have not been implemented, such as providing gun tracing and cracking down on illegal guns, civilianizing special events, providing pro-active illegal dumping remediation, a public lands policy to prioritize affordable housing, direction to provide healthier alternative locations to respond to homelessness, and many more.

In order to ensure that we build a safer and healthier future for Oakland, is it vitally important to ensure that we elect leadership for the executive branch with the dedication and commitment to take the actions needed to fulfill the needs of our communities.

With serious struggles facing our communities, it is vital that the next mayor take immediate action in their first 100 days – and so, I am undertaking to provide proposals regarding what the next mayor can, and should, do in their first 100 days in office.

These efforts will need to include recruitment and retention for the workforce; effective relationships with County government and neighboring cities to solve common problems; working with stakeholders including to expand equitable economic development and housing for all income levels; presenting and passing proposals at Council and bringing in and properly stewarding the finances needed.

Even within the first 100 days, a mayor can accomplish a great deal – including taking action to implement vitally needed services that already have Council authorization, and thus, can be brought about more quickly.

This is the first installment, a listing of some of the first items that the next mayor can, and should, do to build a healthier Oakland, and which should be factors in our decision-making in the year ahead.

  1. Ensure implementation of the directive to prioritize stopping the flow of illegal guns and stopping gun violence, including implementing gun tracing, tracking and shutting down sources of illegal guns, and providing immediate response to shooting notifications.
  2. Remove blight and illegal dumping, implement pro-active removal of blight rather than waiting for complaints, incorporate blight removal throughout city efforts (rewards program, summer jobs program, etc), to clear up backlog and establish a new normal that it is not OK to dump in Oakland.
  3. Provide healthier alternatives for homeless solutions, including safe parking/managed RV sites, and sanitation/dump sites, to reduce public health risks, including by partnering with the County and others.
  4. Implement previously approved Council direction to switch to the use of civilians (rather than sworn police) to manage parades and special events.  Help ensure community and cultural events can go forward without excess costs undermining them, strengthen the arts and economy and equity of event permitting system, and ensure that expensive police resources are directed where they are needed, rather than wasted on watching parades.
  5. Implement previously approved public lands policy to ensure using public lands for public needs, with a priority for affordable housing.
  6. Make it easier for local residents and small businesses to grow, build, and expand by providing coherent and simplified permitting, and by implementing the Council-funded direction to provide evening and weekend hours and easy online access to allow people to do projects like adding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and make other renovations and construction projects more timely.
  7. Work with stakeholders and community to advance effective and equitable revitalization of the large public properties at and around the Oakland Coliseum, including with housing for all income levels, jobs and business development, sports and entertainment, convention and hotels and more.
  8. Work to speed up vacancies in needed city staff positions, and improve recruitment and retention, and local hiring, to help provide vitally needed services, including for cleanup, parks upkeep, gun tracing, and other community needs.
  9. Fire prevention and climate resiliency.  Our region is facing growing dangers from climate change and fire risk, and we must take action to reduce and remedy risk and protect our communities with a more resilient future, including by planning for and starting fire prevention and brush remediation activities earlier in the year, improving brush removal on public land as well as private, fully staffing the fire department, and improving public infrastructure to protect cleaner air and reduce risks.
  10. Job training and pathways.  Some industries face challenges finding enough prepared workers while many in our community also need access to quality jobs. Support and connect job training programs and quality job policies with growing sectors, and ensure that Oaklanders are prepared for vital openings in needed jobs while allowing our community to thrive.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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