Laurel neighborhood gateway arch in East Oakland. Credit: Amir Aziz

Oakland City Council President Pro Tem Sheng Thao is running for mayor in the November election, leaving the District 4 seat she’s held since 2019 up for grabs. (Three former District 4 council members have gone on to become mayor: William J. McCracken [1933-1941], Jean Quan [2010-2014], and current Mayor Libby Schaaf.)

District 4 encompasses much of the Oakland Hills and includes the neighborhoods of Panoramic Hill, Glen Highlands, Dimond, Oakmore, Lincoln Highlands, Glenview, Laurel, Redwood Heights, Montclair, Crestmont, and Allendale, among others. Glenview was previously in District 5 but shifted after the city adopted a new district map this year. 

Only two candidates qualified to run for the D4 council seat this year, and we’ll be publishing in-depth profiles of both as we get closer to the Nov. 8 election. But for now, you can see who’s running. The candidates are presented in alphabetical order below.

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

Nenna Joiner

Nenna Joiner is a small business owner in Oakland and Berkeley. Credit: Courtesy of the candidate

Nenna Joiner has resided in Oakland for the past 27 years and is the owner of Feelmore, the city’s only Black-owned sex shop, which opened in downtown Oakland in 2011.

In addition to their experience running a small business, Joiner has been active in Oakland civic life as a past member of the Measure Y Violence Prevention board and the City of Oakland’s Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board (a historical preservation board with strong ties to the Planning Commission). Joiner has also served on the Loan Administration Board in Berkeley and as an LGBTQ advisory board member for the Democratic National Committee.

Janani Ramachandran

Janani Ramachandran is a social justice attorney. Credit: Courtesy of the candidate

Last year, Janani Ramachandran ran a competitive race for the state Assembly’s 18th District against eventual winner Mia Bonta. Ramachandran is a social justice attorney and a former Oakland Public Ethics Commission member.

In addition, she serves on the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs. Ramachandran, who identifies as LGBTQ and is the daughter of immigrants from South India, represented immigrant workers in wage theft and discrimination cases as an attorney. She also worked as a health clinic case manager with immigrant and teen mothers experiencing domestic violence and homelessness. She now works representing tenants facing evictions.

A previous version of this article incorrectly listed School, Peralta Creek, Patten, Bartlett, Reservoir Hills, Meadowbrook, Oak Tree, Jefferson, and Harrington as being neighborhoods in District 4. They are no longer, under the city’s newly adopted district map. Residents of these districts are encouraged to locate their new district here.

Azucena Rasilla is an East Oakland native, a bilingual journalist reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.