Recall organizers call on Oakland mayor to resign after measure garners enough signatures for ballot

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Thursday, June 20, 2024
Organizers of effort to recall Oakland mayor call on her to resign
Organizers of the effort to recall Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao say they have enough valid signatures to place her ouster on a ballot and are calling on her to resign.

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Organizers of the effort to recall Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao say they have enough valid signatures to place her ouster on a ballot and are calling on her to resign.

Oakland United to Recall Sheng Thao leaders said they received a notice from the city Tuesday that a sampling of the 40,595 signatures they turned in shows enough are valid to place the recall on a ballot.

RELATED: Recall Oakland mayor organizers collect enough signatures to move forward

At a news conference Wednesday morning on the steps of Oakland City Hall, recall supporters reiterated their reasons for wanting her removed from office and said Thao should resign since the number of signatures on the petition exceeds the number of votes she received -- 39,909 -- in the first round of the ranked-choice election that she won in November 2022.

Thao won with 50.3 percent of the vote after nine rounds of counting, outlasting her nearest opponent, Loren Taylor, who ended up with 49.7 percent.

"My message to the mayor is this, the people have spoken, more people signed these petitions than voted for you as the first choice," OUST president Brenda Harbin-Forte said. "Do the right thing by Oaklanders, please, Mayor Sheng Thao, resign now."

RELATED: Supporters of Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao gather to protest recall effort against her

Supporters say the recall is justified for a litany of reasons, including the city's financial struggles, the way Thao fired former police chief LeRonne Armstrong, the Oakland A's departure to Sacramento, and her administration's mishandling of a state crime grant application that cost the city $15 million in lost funding.

They also say Thao is trying to close a $177 million budget gap this year by, in part, using the proceeds from the sale of the city's 50 percent stake in the Oakland Coliseum and diverting funds from past ballot initiatives that are supposed to be earmarked for specific purposes -- neither of which addresses the city's structural financial problems.

"She is not balancing the budget, she is stealing from the public," said Chris Moore, who is also a leader in the effort to recall Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price.

RELATED: Oakland community leaders frustrated after city misses out on millions to fight retail crime

OUST members also cite crime as a motivation for removing Thao, although Oakland Police Department year-to-date data shows crime is down 34 percent compared to last year.

A spokesperson for Thao didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

OUST says the Oakland City Council is now required to set an election date, a discussion of which the group said is scheduled for a July 2 meeting.

"That should be just a matter of an administrative decision and action to be made, and we expect the City Council to respect the will of the more than 40,000 people who signed those petitions, so our next step is to get in mode for the election," Harbin-Forte said.

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