Dan Siegel, long-time Oakland civil rights attorney, partner in the Oakland law firm Siegel & Yee, and long-time friend, and former legal adviser, to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, is running for Mayor of Oakland.
Siegel joins an already very strong list of people running for Mayor of Oakland in 2014: Bryan Parker, Joe Tuman, Oakland Councilmember Libby Schaaf, Patrick McCullough, and the incumbent Mayor Quan. And as an update, Siegel says he’s willing to consider a the assistance of any of the other candidates who would say that he’s their second choice in Oakland’s Rank Choice Voting system election.
This blogger just got off the phone with Siegel, who explained that the impetus for his decision to run for Mayor of Oakland was the recent poll commissioned by the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, and which reported that Quan was very unpopular with those polled. It should be noted that was the same poll that fueled Libby Schaaf’s decision to run, so the Oakland Chamber of Commerce poll did a lot of damage to Mayor Quan’s political future.
(Interestingly, another poll, just released by the Oakland Jobs and Housing Coalition reports that Quan is the leading preferred candidate, but I’ve not seen the raw data from that exercise. And it should be noted that a source within Oakland City Hall tipped me off that the poll was politically engineered. For example, certain politicos knew that Oakland At Large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan was going to be presented as a candidate for Mayor in the poll before it was executed.)
Dan Siegel says his platform will be public safety and jobs. “The development proposals in the works are good,” he said, “but they need to be evaluated for the kind of jobs they produce.” Siegel pointedly expressed concern about people of color losing jobs in Oakland.
The decision to run for Mayor is a high point in Siegel’s long career of using the law to fight the good fight. It goes back to his days as a student activist at the Boalt Hall School of Law at U.C. Berkeley (1970) and when he got involved in the fight to maintain People’s Park, a battle that was called “Bloody Thursday.” It continues to recent years and his opposition to the City of Oakland’s Gang Injunction Program. I didn’t agree with Dan’s position then, but I did agree with his intent.
As long as I’ve known Dan he’s always expressed concern for labor and the poor in Oakland – for the plight of the common Oaklander. So, it’s no surprise that he called on “less a committee than a group of individuals” who pushed him to run, and are helping him. Siegel named long-time Oakland criminal defense lawyer Walter Riley, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice head (and former neighbor of mine) George Galvis, former Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport, and Paul and Gay Cobb as those who comprised his main support base. But one friend, going back to 1968, is not a supporter and will, undoubtedly, find this bit of news troubling, and that’s Mayor Quan.
(Quan has to wonder if there’s another former appointee who’s planning to run for Mayor of Oakland against her now that there’s two: Siegel and Bryan Parker. Remember that Mr. Parker is Quan’s appointee to the Board of Commissioners of The Port Of Oakland.)
If you pay some attention to Oakland Politics, or at least enough to associate Quan with her nemesis Occupy Oakland, then you certainly remember that Siegel was Quan’s legal advisor at that time in October of 2011, and that he quit one month later in protest over her handling of the Occupy Oakland protests. Here’s my five-minute talk with Siegel, where he expressed his dislike for the now-famous Quan-directed Oakland and Bay Area Law Enforcement raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment:
And for those of you who didn’t see what happened, or forgot, here’s a video reminder of that raid, which includes the scene where Marine Iraq War Veteran Scott Olsen was just shot in the face with a rubber bullet, courtesy of the law enforcement brigade that was active at the time:
The resulting police brutality lawsuits cost the City of Oakland $1 million.
So here comes Dan Siegel today, gearing up to run against his friend Mayor Quan, and in the process bring back to center stage focus the one giant blemish on her term as Mayor that Jean Quan hoped everyone had forgotten.