Voters in District 2 will choose between two candidates to represent them on the City Council in November. Credit: Amir Aziz

With only two candidates, the City Council’s District 2 race is less crowded than some of the other contests on the November ballot.

Incumbent Nikki Fortunato Bas and financial planner Harold Lowe are vying to represent the district partially surrounding Lake Merritt, including Chinatown and the Eastlake, San Antonio, and Grand Lake neighborhoods. Not sure if you live in D2? The city has an interactive map

As the Nov. 8 election approaches, we’ll be interviewing all the candidates and publishing in-depth profiles. But with the deadline to qualify for the ballot behind us, we’re kicking off election season with short introductions to the names you’ll encounter in the voting booth—presented here in alphabetical order.

If you have any questions you want us to ask these candidates, let us know, and check out the rest of our ongoing elections coverage.

Nikki Fortunato Bas

President of the Oakland City Council, Bas is running for a second term. She grew up in Virginia and has lived in Oakland’s D2, currently in the Grand Lake neighborhood, for 25 years.

Before she was elected to council in 2018, Bas was the executive director of the Partnership for Working Families, now called Power Switch Action, and the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), where she focused on workers’ rights and job development. She got her start in social justice work organizing garment workers in Oakland Chinatown. Bas has a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia.

As a councilmember, some of Bas’ work in District 2 has included establishing a tiny-home transitional housing program on a contested city-owned lot, and pursuing a Lake Merritt vendor pilot program that led to new rules around use of the lake area. She also co-chaired the Reimagining Public Safety Taskforce, and played a key role in crafting the last city budget. On her campaign website, Bas lists affordable housing and a “holistic approach” to public safety as her top two priorities. 

Harold Lowe

A financial planner with Frontier Wealth Strategies, Lowe is a fourth-generation Oakland resident who currently lives in Eastlake. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in African American studies, and he has a master’s degree in public administration from Cal State East Bay.

Lowe has served on the boards of several local organizations including, currently, Oakland Rotary and the Oakland Lacrosse Club. He also chairs the independent citizens oversight committee for Measure G, Oakland Unified School District’s parcel tax supporting teachers, small class sizes, libraries, and more. Lowe attended Oakland public schools himself.

In 2010, Lowe ran for Alameda County Board of Supervisors in the District 3 race. Wilma Chan reclaimed her board seat in that election, and Lowe came in third with 7% of the vote. He does not yet have a website for the upcoming election.

Correction: This article previously incorrectly referred to Power Switch Action, Bas’ former employer, as PowerShift.

Natalie Orenstein covers housing and homelessness for The Oaklandside. She was previously on staff at Berkeleyside, where her extensive reporting on the legacy of school desegregation received recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists NorCal and the Education Writers Association. Natalie’s reporting has also appeared in The J Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere, and she’s written about public policy for a number of research institutes and think tanks. Natalie lives in Oakland, grew up in Berkeley, and has only left her beloved East Bay once, to attend Pomona College.