Oakland Mayor Quan: Husband As Driver / Bodyguard Violates City Charter

Posted on May 11 2013 - 7:03am by Zennie Abraham

Floyd Huen

Floyd Huen

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has a terrible habit of operating the Office Of The Mayor Of Oakland as if it’s Mayberry RFD: a small town where she drives herself around, or has her husband Dr. Floyd Huen do it. All of that would be fine for a town of 5,000 people, but Oakland is not that; it’s a city of 400,000 and within it contain some people who don’t always conduct themselves with the Mayor’s best interests in mind. Under such circumstances, a mayor needs a driver / bodyguard, and her husband can’t be that person.

That much was clear last Friday night at Art Murmur, as the video to start this blog post shows. According to videos by an organization called WeCopwatch, and that this blogger is not affiliated with, Floyd Huen can be seen in an active verbal argument with one of the video-bloggers. As the vlogger follows Mayor Quan and Dr. Huen to their car, one can hear the man first saying that Dr. Huen was drinking, then asking if he was getting behind the wheel after having been drinking.

The argument isn’t whether or not Dr. Huen had looked like he had a few – the point of my blog post is that he should not have been in that position, and it was Mayor Quan’s poor judgment that caused the good doctor to be in it, as much as it was his own terrible decision making.

This isn’t the first time Dr. Huen has been in the position of driver / bodyguard for his wife, Mayor Quan. I personally recall Dr. Huen in a similar capacity during the Temescal Street Festival last year. Dr. Huen was with his wife, and drove her to the next event after the street fair; I was her last press interview before they left.

In fact, a number of city officials have talked about this habit with me, and one said that getting Mayor Quan to stop doing this and have a more professional approach “is a challenge.”

Well, it’s something she’s got to do, first, because she’s currently operating in violation of the Oakland City Charter, and second, because a woman named Nyco Hackett has said on video that Dr. Huen was “in her face” after she went up to ask Mayor Quan what she thought of a young black man being arrested during Art Murmur.

Quan Violates City Charter’s Anti-nepotism Section

Section 907. Nepotism. The Mayor or City Council shall not appoint as an employee or officer, to receive any compensation from the City, any person who is a relative by blood or marriage within the third degree of the Mayor or anyone or more of the members of the Council, nor shall the City Administrator or any other appointing authority appoint to any such position any relative of his or of the Mayor or any member of the Council within such degree of kinship.

When Dr. Huen acts as Mayor Quan’s driver, then bodyguard / antagonist, he’s acting as the Mayor’s representative, even if she does not officially have him on her payroll. And the very minute Dr. Huen uses even $1 from Mayor Quan to get, say, a cup of coffee for her while at Art Murmur, she’s in the act of compensating him if he is in the process of being her driver as well. Thus, the Oakland City Charter violation.

The only way to avoid how bad this looks is to keep Dr. Huen from behind the wheel. Mayor Quan needs an official driver and protector – he can’t be it, and not just for that reason.

Dr. Huen is not the focus of Ms. Hackett’s “he said, she said,” and regardless of who you believe, the bottom line is he should not have been in a situation such that any encounter like that could happen.

From what Ms. Hackett says in the video, her own daughter had to come and step between the two of them and break up what could have been a more terrible encounter for Mayor Quan and Dr. Huen. Ms. Hackett said that she thought Dr. Huen had been drinking, even though she says he denied it when she asked him.

Mayor Quan Must Keep Dr. Huen Out Of The Driver’s Seat

The bottom line is this looks real bad for Mayor Quan, and for our City Of Oakland – and that includes me. We all bear some level of responsibility for this, especially those who are closest to Jean and claim to be her friends. Also, Oakland’s Administrator, City Attorney, and even Courtney Ruby, the Oakland City Auditor (and rumored candidate to run for Mayor in 2014) are to blame for allowing this to happen. Friends don’t let friends who are mayors make huge mistakes while in office.

Moreover, I known Dr. Huen’s acted as Jean’s driver going all the way back to when she was Oakland District Four councilmember, and making surprise appearances as places like the “Save The Parkway” Community Meeting. But this is a different level than that – she’s the Mayor of Oakland now. And even then, Floyd should not have been her driver, but he was.

I like Jean Quan, even if I don’t like what she occasionally says about me when I’m not around (hey, Oakland is a small town). On a personal level, the Mayor’s engaging and interesting to talk to. I particularly recall one night at Awaken Cafe during Art Murmur last summer when she and I talked about almost everything under the Oakland sun. Jean Quan’s a good person. She’s also Oakland’s first Asian and female Mayor, and it’s for those reasons, in addition for my love for the political protocol in Oakland, that I am asking for Mayor Quan to change.

Please just get an Oakland police officer to be your driver / bodyguard, and not your husband. He can ride along, but have him stay out of confrontations with people on the street.

Stay tuned.

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About the Author

Zennie Abraham is the founder of Zennie62Media which consists of http://www.zennie62blog.com and a multimedia blog news aggregator and video network, and 78-blog network, with social media and content development services and consulting. Zennie is a pioneer video blogger, YouTube Partner, social media practitioner, game developer, and pundit. Note: news aggregator content does not reflect the personal views of Mr. Abraham. Visit http://www.youtube.com/user/zennie62 and http://www.tout.com/u/zennie62 - follow on Twitter @zennie62

  • http://twitter.com/egratto Genie Gratto

    I fully agreed with you, Zennie, until you got to the part where you suggest assigning an OPD officer to be Jean Quan’s driver. Are we not all clear at this point that the OPD needs all resources on the street (and, apparently, that includes stepping in as chief when there are every-other-day resignations)? And by street, I don’t mean driving the mayor’s car? She should have an official driver/bodyguard, and that should not be her husband, but in this city, deploying a police officer to do that job is ludicrous and even less cognizant of public safety than, well, Jean Quan seems to be!

  • http://coastliveoak.wordpress.com/ Quercki

    Two videos play when this page loads. You ought to know better as an “expert” in social media.

  • http://zennie62blog.com/ Zennie Abraham

    Comment removed.

  • http://zennie62blog.com/ Zennie Abraham

    Ok. The person doesn’t have to be OPD, that’s not the point, really. But it should be someone who is able to, and has experience at, being a bodyguard.

  • LynetteGM

    Zennie, this is a stretch! Mayor Dellums was accused of wasting taxpayer money on prima Donna services when he employed a driver. Mayor Quan often drives herself to meetings and is most often accompanied by a staffer for the others. To suggest that she and her husband not attend community events together ever is plain foolishness.

    Dr. Huen is a respected physician. And while I sincerely hope he is not driving under the influence, what I saw on the video is a Chinese man who wad offended by being called a white gentrifyer.

    I was curious to learn the race/ethnicity and social-housing status of the vlogger, who did not sound like an Oakland native. THE “us vs. them” lacked credibility, seeing as how Mayor Quan IS an Oakland native, and throughout her public career not seen as a conservative with ties to gentrification.

    I was curious to know the race/ethnicity and social housing status of the vlogger. They didn’t sound like an Oakland

  • http://zennie62blog.com/ Zennie Abraham

    Thanks Oakland Councilmember Gibson-McElhaney (District 3,

    First, Happy Mother’s Day,

    Second, your take is a total misread. You have to see the forest and not the trees.

    The issue is one of protocol. Just because this is the 21st Century doesn’t mean we have to allow unprofessional behavior. Moreover, it’s wrong, and really surprising on your part, to take up defense here. Watch each video on this – there are three – and while the WeCopwatch people have a separate point regarding race, that’s not mine.

    My point is that Dr. Huen should not have been in that situation.

    You mention Mayor Dellums.

    Simple fact is that no one had a real issue with Dellums having protection. That’s what’s been done for decades in Oakland and for good reason. We don’t want our elected officials to be attacked while on official duty, and the Mayor is the one who’s the most likely to be harmed.

    As for Dr. Huen going to events, he can sit in the back seat of the car.

    I’ll see if the WeCopwatch people will respond to your questions.


  • John Seal

    Are we a small town or a city? Your article claims both.

    This is a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. I’m no fan of the Mayor, but she should be allowed to save the city a few pennies if she can. I’m sure Dr. Yuen can afford to buy his own coffee at Art Murmur – hence, no controversy and no Charter violation.

  • http://zennie62blog.com/ Zennie Abraham

    Huh? That comment was more along the objective of disagreeing with a point, without knowing the story. It’s not about DR. Huen buying anything at Art Murmur, but about him driving the Mayor around town. Please know the story!

  • http://zennie62blog.com/ Zennie Abraham

    All you have to do is read the blog post, and watch the video. That’s all.

  • Nyko Hackett

    Yes, I’m Nyko Hackett, the woman interviewed by Oakland Cop Watch Vloggers. I did have the experience which was discussed in my video interview.

    First, I would like to ask the councilwoman Lynette, exactly what DOES an Oakland native “sound” like? I don’t understand what this has to do with the validity of the questions asked in their initial interview of Dr. Huen.

    Second, do I want to see a Mayor escorted by an OPD officer? No. I think that would send the wrong message to those that would like to potentially approach her. I personally liked the fact that she was so accessible to me, so that I could walk up and have a conversation with her.

    I just never expected that conversation to take the turn that it did. Mayor Quan’s failure to answer ANY of my questions, besides a VERY smug, “He had a gun”, was extremely disappointing to say the least. The fact that her husband was preparing to assault me in front of numerous witnesses was an entirely different disappointment altogether.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1219293433 Kevin Lee Thomason

    I can be her driver. People seriously do not mess with me!!! ;-)