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Quan vs. Kaplan: Experience over “Eye-Candy”

The first time I saw a photo of Rebecca Kaplan on her mayoral campaign website, I got a little swoon-y. I am definitely a sucker for a strong-looking woman in a vest. I started posting a steady stream of links to Facebook, most with such well-crafted titles as “Sexy Dyke For Mayor.” I was in love with not just her vests, but also her platforms — i.e., making Oakland neighborhoods more livable and increasing quality of public transit.

However, that was only my initial reaction — me being the susceptible young lesbian I am. When I started researching more about the candidates and their platforms, I realized that Jean Quan is actually my choice for mayor of Oakland.

Quan, like Kaplan, serves on the Oakland City council. However, Quan has been involved in Oakland politics since 1989, when Kaplan was just nineteen years old.

While Quan was at UC Berkeley in the late 1960’s and early 70’s, she became active in the Vietnam War protest movement and the civil rights movement.

Quan was also deeply involved in starting the ethnic studies department there — the first ethnic studies department in the nation. She has shown further commitment to enriching education, as she has worked to maintain art and music programs in public schools as a member of the Oakland Unified School District board since 1989.

Jean Quan is the first Asian American woman to be elected to the Oakland City Council. She represents District 4, which mainly consists of the Laurel and Dimond districts. During her time on city council she worked to revitalize those neighborhoods under her leadership: the revived state seen in the Laurel shopping district just outside of Mills’ gates exists largely due to her efforts. The Dimond district now consists of similarly revamped business and housing because of Jean Quan’s initiative to support local businesses.

She has served as President Pro Tempore of the City Council and Vice Mayor — basically, she’s had experience running
the city.

Some other highlights from her extensive list of experiences include: Chair of the Chabot Space Science Center of which she was a founding member, City representative to the California League of Ca-lifornia Cities, and member of the Environmental Policy Council.

Oakland needs Quan’s experience in rebuilding and reclaiming itself, and her leadership and voice are indispensable. As the first Asian American woman mayor she will give a voice to underserved and underrepresented communities.

Sure, Rebecca Kaplan is a great leader, I agree with most of her platforms, AND she’s dead sexy — but as I said before, she has had limited experience in local politics. Her time as mayor will come. Quan has already proven herself in regards to drive and experience.

As a longtime Oakland resident, I can tell she loves Oakland as much as I do and will work to improve my favorite city to make it safer, more vibrant, and even more beautiful.