'Where is Sheng Thao?': Oaklanders rally, question mayor's whereabouts as city budget looms

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Monday, June 24, 2024
Oaklanders rally, question mayor's whereabouts as city budget looms
A rally was held outside of Oakland City Hall Sunday night, demanding that Mayor Sheng Thao speak. Some said the city budget needs to be approved.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It has now been several days since the home of Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao was raided by the FBI and since a mass shooting near Lake Merritt. Mayor Sheng Thao has yet to speak publicly.

A rally was held outside of Oakland City Hall Sunday night, demanding that the mayor speak. Some said the city budget needs to be approved and changes still need to be made.

"Where is Sheng Thao? Where's Sheng Thao?" chanted a group of people outside of Oakland City Hall Sunday night.

Those voices, which were directed at Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, appeared to be getting louder. The mayor has not spoken publicly since the FBI raided her home last Thursday in what sources say is a public corruption investigation. She also hasn't spoken since at least 15 people were shot near Lake Merritt last Wednesday.

RELATED: 'Don't hide': Oakland residents call on Mayor Sheng Thao to explain FBI raid at her home

"She's supposed to be our leader. We don't even know where she at. She didn't even come and apologize for what's going on in our city. These people got shot, and she didn't even say, 'I hope y'all come and get better,'" said community member Gregory Nash.

Two dozen or so people who met outside of Oakland City Hall Sunday night have previously been vocal in their support to recall Mayor Sheng Thao. In fact, last week the Alameda County Registrar of Voters confirmed that there are now enough signatures, more than 40,000, to allow the measure on the ballot.

Those here though, say the concern at this exact moment is not the recall, but the city budget that will soon need to be passed.

"This budget right now, if they passed, it would bankrupt the whole city," said Seneca Scott who is one of the lead organizers of the Thao recall.

RELATED: Calls grow for Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao to resign following launch of FBI investigation

We reached out to Mayor Sheng Thao's office to get her take on that but got no response. Officials do confirm that public safety jobs will take a hit.

"After 15 people were shot at Lake Merritt this week, Sheng Thao and Nikki Bass want to cut 172 personnel out of our public safety. The City of Oakland cannot take that," said Chris Moore.

That number comes from a data-based site called Oakland Report. The Oakland Police Officer Association president confirms that the new budget will freeze and eliminate 34 police officer positions, dropping the total number of officers in Oakland to 678. The POA president says 91 officer positions have been frozen and eliminated in Oakland in the last year alone.

"We expect her to be here when there are 15 people getting shot and stabbed a few days ago, and the mayor is absent," said Tuan Ngo who is founder of Asians Unite.

"Our city is destroyed. I'm 63 years old you guys. I'm not ever gonna give up on my city," Nash said.

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