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Dan Siegel Announces for Mayor of Oakland – Will Challenge Mayor Quan from the Left
by Jonathan Nack
Wednesday Jan 15th, 2014 4:58 AM
Dan Siegel at the press conference announcing his candidacy for Mayor of Oakland.
Oscar Grant Plaza, Broadway & 14th Street, Oakland, CA
January 9, 2014

Photo: Jonathan Nack
Dan Siegel Announces for Mayor of Oakland – Mayor Quan's Former Legal Advisor to Challenge Her from the Left

by Jonathan Nack
January 15, 2014

OAKLAND – A split in the support base of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan emerged out into the open on Thursday, January 9, when Dan Siegel announced he will run against his former ally in the mayoral election this coming November. Siegel had been a strong ally political ally of Mayor Quan for decades before he had a very public falling out with Quan during the height of police repression of Occupy Oakland in 2011.

Siegel was Mayor Quan's Legal Advisor, but publicly announced his resignation over the unleashing of police repression, brutality, and mass arrests to end Occupy Oakland's encampment in front of City Hall. At the time, Siegel said that rather than authorizing the police attack on Occupy Oakland, the Mayor should have instructed the Oakland Police to protect and defend the protester's right to peacefully assemble and protest.

The significance of the split between Siegel and Quan was underscored by the choice of venue for Siegel's kickoff press conference, which was at the corner of Broadway and 14th Street, a corner of what the Siegel's campaign referred to as “Oscar Grant Plaza” (the name given it by Occupy Oakland activists) and not its official name of Frank Ogawa Plaza. Many a protest rally has been held at, and march has begun from, this location.

The presence of many key progressives that formerly backed Mayor Quan among the more than one hundred supporters gathered for Siegel's press conference further underscored the split off of a significant portion of Mayor Quan's previous support base.

Walter Riley, a noted civil rights attorney and activist, who is a widely respected figure in Oakland's progressive/left and Black communities, was the MC of the press conference. His presence as Co-Chair of Siegel's campaign, along with Anne Weills, who is also a highly respected activist and attorney as well as being married to Siegel, constitute the core of a formidable political brain trust and campaign leadership.

A social justice agenda echoed throughout the comments by speakers. “Working families are sick and tired of a mayor who can't make a decision,” said Olga Miranda, President of Service Employees International Union, Local 87. “Our children, our families, and our housing are all on hold right now. Do you know how frustrating that is,” asked Miranda.

“How many times have workers been shafted in Oakland? How many times do we have kids who are not even finishing high school to go to work at Burger King... Our children are being criminalized, not educated, criminalized,” exclaimed Miranda.

George Galvis, a founder of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, emphasized the need for inclusiveness in Oakland. “Housing is out of control. Gentrification forces from San Francisco and Silicon Valley are spilling into Oakland. We need someone who is willing to take risks, who's willing to stick their neck out. Someone who is committed to all Oaklanders and not just some.”

Gus Newport, the former Mayor of Berkeley and an iconic figure not only to Bay Area progressives and leftist, but also to many African Americans, endorsed Siegel's credentials as a fighter. “Dan has been on the front lines of fighting for human rights and social justice for as long as I've known him,” said Newport, who has known Siegel for decades.

“Oakland is full of people who are struggling for justice everyday at a grassroots level,” said activist Kat Brooks. “Oakland's elected leaders have repeatedly demonstrated that they are disconnected from those of us on the ground. The reason I support Dan Siegel is because I believe he can be a connecter to represent our interests and is committed to working with us, the most impacted, to find solutions and to make sure our voices are front and center,” explained Brooks. She concluded by exclaiming, “All Power to the All the People!”

It was a refrain echoed by a number of the speakers and repeatedly chanted in response by the enthusiastic crowd.

The Reverend Dr. Harold Mayberry, of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, introduced Siegel. “Dan understands that if you live in Oakland, you should be able to stay in Oakland and not be driven out because you can't afford to live in Oakland,” said Rev. Mayberry.

Dan Siegel has been politically active in the Bay Area for a very long time. He's been here since he was a radical at U.C. Berkeley during the tumultuous decade in the Sixties . He began his speech by saying that someone had advised him to, “not mention anything about the Sixties, and my response to that was: do you mean, the 1960s, or my age,” quipped Siegel.

Siegel is an accomplished and confident public speaker, a litigation attorney by trade, he is capable of delivering a terrific speech combining gravitas with down to earth explanations of issues and their solutions, along with wit and humor. His charismatic oratory skills far outclass those of Mayor Quan and all of the other candidates currently in the field.

He did not disappoint his supporters last Thursday. Siegel's speech was a tour de force of powerful progressive and social justice themes, and he took less than 14 minutes give it.

He began by acknowledging some his supporters who were present including: J. C. Eaglesmith, whom Siegel described as, “a champion in the fight against racism and genocide against native peoples in California”; Dennis Green, the former Head Coach of Stanford University's football team, as well as the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals; Ignacio Chapela , whom Siegel called, “a worldwide champion in the fight against GMO's;” his supporters from the Occupy the Farm movement; and his supporters from the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

The theme of Siegel's speech was safety. “We need people to be safe from the despair and hopelessness that comes from poverty and long term unemployment. We need our children to be safe not only from street violence, but from the failure that comes from attending schools that do not prepare them to live productive and healthy lives as members of our society.”

“We need safety for our tenants from unjust evictions and from the gentrification that is pushing people, particularly in our African American and Latino communities, down Highway 880 and down Highway 580.”

“We need safety for our city workers facing attacks on their wages, healthcare, and pensions; and not just city workers, but other public workers as well. I was astonished to read about the attacks on public workers. People say they make too much, because they make an income of sixty or seventy thousand dollars, which is barely a livable wage here in the Bay Area. Instead of complaining about what our public workers make, we should insist that everyone make that sort of income.”

“We need safety for women to be free from rape and sexual exploitation. We need safety for our immigrant communities to be safe from attacks by the INS on their homes and their work places. We need safety for our LGBT community from violence and homophobia.”

“We need safety for our young men of color to be free from racial profiling, gang injunctions, stop and frisk campaigns, youth curfews, and police violence.”

“We need safety for our people from malnutrition and from diabetes and the other diseases that come about from a diet that's rich in Big Macs and Cokes.”

“And we need safety for all of us from government spying, whether that's from the NSA or our own homegrown DAC [Domain Awareness Center]. And I have said before, that if we are successful in this campaign, the DAC closes the next day.“

Siegel said his reform agenda remains a work in progress and invited people to join in helping to shape it. He did lay out some significant initial proposals though.

If elected, will meet with the Superintendent of Schools once a week. He'll work to create quality preschool programs for every three and four year old child in Oakland. He'll work to create after school programs for every middle school student, by keeping schools open in the evenings and on the weekends as places where children can study, have after school recreation, and for adult education classes. Siegel wants to make schools into community centers where people can come together, get to know their neighbors, and be able to, “take action together to help create safety.”

Siegel will also promote neighborhood gardens and distribution of healthy food at reasonable prices throughout the city to increase what he called “food security”.

Siegel will seek an immediate increase of the minimum wage in Oakland to $15 an hour.

He wants to require housing developers to make their projects include half their units for moderate and low income residents, and for all developers to employ more Oakland residents as workers.

Siegel will seek to encourage the development of worker cooperatives as an alternative form of employment.

Lastly, but far from his least important proposal, Siegel said he will demand that the Oakland police department protect people's lives, property, and constitutional rights. He'll push for the implementation of the approved community policing plan he was involved in drafting in 1996, which Siegel said has never been implemented. He also stated bluntly that he'd appoint a Police Chief who will give clear orders that all police abuse must stop and that those officers who don't comply can, in Siegel's words, “go look for work elsewhere.”

A video of the entire press conference by David Id is available at:

For further in depth coverage:
Dan Siegel Announces “Radical” Agenda If Elected Mayor of Oakland, 1/9/14
by David Id, January 13, 2014

To contact Dan Siegel's campaign for mayor: , 499 14th Street, Suite 300
Oakland, CA 94612, (510) 839-1200,
§Dan Siegel addresses crowd at press conference
by Jonathan Nack Wednesday Jan 15th, 2014 4:58 AM
Photo: David Id
Press conference announcing his candidacy for Mayor of Oakland. Oscar Grant Plaza, Broadway & 14th Street, Oakland, CA
January 9, 2014
§Walter Riley, Esq., Co-Chair of the campaign
by Jonathan Nack Wednesday Jan 15th, 2014 4:58 AM
Photo: Jonathan Nack
Press conference announcing his candidacy for Mayor of Oakland. Oscar Grant Plaza, Broadway & 14th Street, Oakland, CA
January 9, 2014
§Gus Newport, former Mayor of Berkeley
by Jonathan Nack Wednesday Jan 15th, 2014 4:58 AM
Photo: Jonathan Nack
Press conference announcing his candidacy for Mayor of Oakland. Oscar Grant Plaza, Broadway & 14th Street, Oakland, CA
January 9, 2014
§Anne Weills and Dan Siegel
by Jonathan Nack Wednesday Jan 15th, 2014 4:58 AM
Photo from Siegel for Oakland campaign
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