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OUSD District 7 race not over yet: Spearman files legal challenge

Staff PhotojournalistStaff Photojournalist

As promised, Alice Spearman’s attorney has filed a motion to declare James Harris, the candidate who beat her on Election Day, ineligible for the seat.

“I’m going to do what I said I was going to do,” Spearman told me last week.

The motion, filed Tuesday, essentially makes the same case as the pre-election challenge: Harris might be an Oakland resident, living in City Council District 7, but his neighborhood is part of the San Leandro Unified School District.

Harris votes for City Council District 7, but for a San Leandro school board representative. He wasn’t able to vote in his own race.

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Your candidates for Oakland school board: an almost final list

THURSDAY UPDATE: The city’s list of qualified candidates is here. Cindi Reiss, a District 5 hopeful, said this morning that she planned to contest the clerk’s office determination that she didn’t have enough valid signatures, as she submitted three additional pages yesterday. As of now, the only two qualified candidates for that seat are Mike Hutchinson and Roseann Torres.

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The Oakland school board races are still shaping up to be lively, though some of the candidates appear to have dropped out or failed to gather enough valid signatures to qualify. The deadline for District 5 was today, which explains why there are no candidates listed for that race in the city’s qualified candidate’s list, updated as of yesterday.

In District 1 you have incumbent Jody London and challenger Thearse Pecot, an OUSD grandmother who sued the district over the closure of Santa Fe and other elementary schools.

District 3 has three candidates now: incumbent Jumoke Hinton Hodge and challengers Richard Fuentes, an aide to Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, and Benjamin Lang, who had flown completely under my radar. I haven’t found a campaign site for him, but will add a link when I do. Sheilagh Polk, who — along with Hinton Hodge — was endorsed by GO Public Schools’ governing board, apparently didn’t file. Vicente Cruz, the Green Party candidate who’d also planned to run, fell a few signatures short of qualifying. (But he tells me he plans to give it another try before long. “Look for me soon,” he said.)

The District 5 deadline was today, rather than last Friday, as it’s a no-incumbent race. So far, I’ve seen Mike Hutchinson‘s and Cindi Reiss‘s names on the city’s site, though the city has yet to come out with its updated list of qualified candidates, and I believe Roseann Torres was also planning to file.

In District 7, there are just two candidates: incumbent Alice Spearman and challenger James Harris.

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Candidates — and endorsements — in Oakland school board races

Great Oakland Public Schools, a school reform-minded coalition of families and school employees supported by the Rogers Family Foundation and other groups, has become increasingly involved in Oakland school district policy since its founding a few years ago. Now, for the first time, its board of directors has endorsed school board candidates in the November election, through this process.

GO Public Schools announced today that it had endorsed two of the four candidates for District 3 (West Oakland): incumbent Jumoke Hinton Hodge and challenger Sheilagh Polk. The organization is also backing one of its founding members, James Harris, who is challenging incumbent Alice Spearman for the District 7 seat (East Oakland-Elmhurst).

Under the ranked-choice voting system, voters will rank up to three candidates in November.

As you can see, the District 3 and 7 races have no shortage of candidates so far. It appears to be a different story for District 1 (North Oakland) and District 5 (East Oakland-Fruitvale). Continue Reading