A white stone roof with a clock tower on top.
Oakland City Hall. Credit: Darwin BondGraham.

Oakland’s 2024 election is over a year from now, but candidates have already started to emerge in several important races. As of this week, candidates have filed papers or declared their intention to run for City Attorney and two City Council seats.

Up for grabs next year are the District 1, 3, 5, 7, and At-Large City Council seats and City Attorney. (Four school board seats are also in play and we’ll cover those in another post.)

The Oaklandside has compiled a brief round-up of these early announcements, and we’ll provide much more coverage as the campaign season kicks into full gear next year. Do you know of a candidate or something else we left out? Let us know and we’ll update this post.

A chief assistant city attorney steps forward to take outgoing City Attorney Barbara Parker’s place

On Tuesday, Chief Assistant City Attorney Ryan Richardson declared his candidacy for Oakland City Attorney. Barbara Parker, who has held the elected office for 12 years, announced last week that she won’t seek another term. She has endorsed Richardson.

The City Attorney is responsible for representing Oakland, its employees, and elected officials in all legal matters. That includes providing counsel to officials on local laws and defending the city against lawsuits. The office also has an affirmative litigation unit that files suits on behalf of residents to enforce laws around safe housing, wage theft, and environmental justice.

“Shoring up and growing our affirmative litigation team is one of my top four priorities,” Richardson told The Oaklandside.

Richardson, who joined the office in 2014, said he also wants to prioritize public safety, government transparency, workers’ rights, housing justice, and environmental equity. He also wants to save the city money by proactively addressing problems that can cost the city in legal fees, such as broken sidewalks and cybersecurity breaches.

Prior to working for the city, Richardson ran his own law firm where he helped people start small businesses and represented employees in workplace harassment and discrimination litigation. He also worked as an associate at Jones Day, an international law firm.

So far, no one else that The Oaklandside is aware of has filed papers or announced they’re running for City Attorney.

Head of the firefighters union announces run for City Council District 1

Zac Unger, the president of Oakland’s firefighters union IAFF Local 55, recently confirmed that he plans on running for the District 1 City Council seat, which covers most of North Oakland. 

Dan Kalb, who has held the seat since 2012, announced in March that he’s running for the District 7 state Senate seat currently occupied by Nancy Skinner.

“I’m a lifelong Oakland resident and I’ve dedicated my life to keeping the city safe,” Unger said, calling himself as a pragmatic coalition builder and problem solver. “I have a proven track record of coming up with creative solutions to Oakland’s problems.”

As president of Local 55, Unger was a vocal supporter of Kalb during the district’s last election in 2020, citing his pro-labor positions and efforts to reduce fire hazards in the hills. The union gave Kalb the maximum campaign donation allowable, $1,700.

Len Raphael, a certified public accountant, filed his papers in September to run in the District 1 City Council race. Raphael previously ran for City Council in 2012 and the City Auditor seat in 2014. He is currently list as a member of the board of directors for the Coalition for Police Accountability, an influential activist group that helped draft the ballot measure that created the Oakland Police Commission.

Raphael has been a vocal critic of the mayor and city council for what he believes is an insufficient response to the uptick in crime in Oakland. He also supports the campaign to recall District Attorney Pamela Price.

One potential challenger emerges in West Oakland

Warren Logan, a transportation policy expert and consultant, plans to challenge Carroll Fife for the City Council District 3 seat, which encompasses West Oakland. Fife has represented the district since 2021 and hasn’t filed her paperwork to run for reelection, but she told The Oaklandside in July that she has unfinished business to handle as a councilmember.

Logan, who filed his campaign paperwork last Friday, said he has been interested in running for City Council for some time but cautioned that this is a preliminary step.

“My work and passion has always been directed towards helping our community, and I am presently contemplating the best ways I can do that,” Logan said. “At present, I’m just in the process of exploring what that looks like.”

Logan currently works as a principal advisor for Progress Public Affairs, a public affairs and lobbying firm that works with companies, nonprofit organizations, and public agencies. He previously was a partner at another lobbying firm called Lighthouse Public Affairs. He also has experience in government: Between 2019 and 2021 Logan served in Mayor Libby Schaaf’s administration as the policy director of mobility and interagency relations. He also worked for nearly three years as a senior transportation planner for the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. He holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley.

Fife told The Oaklandside last month that she’s working to address homelessness, affordable housing, and public safety in her district, among other issues. Prior to becoming a councilmember Fife was the executive director of ACCE Oakland, a housing affordability advocacy group.

Treva Reid has filed papers to retain her D7 City Council seat, while two hopefuls are interested in the At-Large seat

East Oakland Councilmember Treva Reid has created a committee to campaign for reelection in District 7. Nearing the end of her first term, Reid previously worked as a public affairs representative for PG&E and California Waste Solutions, Oakland’s recycling company. She also worked as a field representative for Assemblymember Nancy Skinner from 2012 to 2014.

Two candidates have filed paperwork expressing an interest in running for the At-large City Council seat, which is currently held by Rebecca Kaplan

Tyron Jordan is a paralegal and Army veteran who ran for mayor in 2022, and for a seat on the Oakland school board in 2020. According to his website, Jordan would “aggressively focus” on reducing all types of crime while also emphasizing graffiti cleanup and park maintenance.

Selika Thomas was born and raised in East Oakland, according to her campaign website. She’s running because she understands the problems many Oaklanders face, including “car break-ins, abandoned cars, piles of trash, car chase, and homeless people living on her street,” and according to her biography on her website she’s been personally impacted by gun violence, having lost several family members.

Eli Wolfe reports on City Hall for The Oaklandside. He was previously a senior reporter for San José Spotlight, where he had a beat covering Santa Clara County’s government and transportation. He also worked as an investigative reporter for the Pasadena-based newsroom FairWarning, where he covered labor, consumer protection and transportation issues. He started his journalism career as a freelancer based out of Berkeley. Eli’s stories have appeared in The Atlantic, NBCNews.com, Salon, the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. Eli graduated from UC Santa Cruz and grew up in San Francisco.