Supporters aiming to recall Oakland mayor announce progress in signature gathering

Members of the group Oakland United to Recall Sheng Thao hold a press conference in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, May 24, 2024 to announce that they are nearing their goal of gathering enough signatures to place a recall on the November 2024 ballot. (Kiley Russell/Bay City News)

Supporters of the effort to recall Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said they have collected more than 30,000 signatures on their way to getting the question placed on the November ballot.

Representatives from the group Oakland United to Recall Sheng Thao said Friday they need 25,000 valid signatures from Oakland voters and have until July 22 to turn their petition in to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.

“This recall is happening,” said Brenda Harbin-Forte, the group’s president and a former member of the Oakland Police Commission who Thao removed from the commission last year. “It is going to be on the November ballot and voters in Oakland will be able to let the mayor know that we are not pleased with her leadership.”

Harbin-Forte said they will turn in the petition when they’ve collected 40,000 signatures and at that point will ask Thao to resign, given that she earned 39,909 votes in the first round of a ranked-choice contest in November 2022.

“That is our plan, to see if she has the courage to just go ahead and step aside and let us begin the healing process that Oakland so desperately needs,” she said.

Thao ultimately prevailed over nine other candidates with 57,206 votes in the final round, outlasting the second-highest-vote-getter Loren Taylor, who had 56,529. Recall organizer Seneca Scott was among the other candidates.

FILE PHOTO: Oakland, Calif., Mayor Sheng Thao speaks at the launch of the professional baseball team, the Oakland Ballers (Oakland B’s), at a press conference behind the Laney College baseball field in Oakland on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023. (Ray Saint Germain/Bay City News)

Recall supporters say they want Thao gone for a number of reasons, including the city’s crime rates, its financial struggles, the way she fired former police chief LeRonne Armstrong and her administration’s mishandling of a state crime grant application that cost the city $15 million in lost funding.

The group says if Thao is ultimately removed from office, the City Council president will take the administration’s helm until an election is held to find a new mayor, which should take place within 120 days of the signatures being certified.

And while the group said it’s not fielding a candidate to replace Thao, they say they’d rather see anyone else take the job.

“We’re looking for someone that’s willing to take responsibility for the state of things as they truly are, and to dig into real problem solving for the city,” said Tanya Boyce of the political advocacy nonprofit Foundational Oakland Unites, which also wants to end ranked-choice voting.

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

The post Supporters aiming to recall Oakland mayor announce progress in signature gathering appeared first on Local News Matters.

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