How and why we made this guide

What this is

This guide is an in-depth look at candidates running for mayor. Our goal is to present as many facts as we can about the folks running and the policies they are trying to push so you can easily digest it, make your own choices, and vote. Although we obviously have opinions, there are no endorsements on candidates because we don’t all agree on who would be best in every race.

What we want

While we don’t agree on everything, we do agree on three major principles:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • The City of Oakland should be transparent, honest, and accountable to the public
  • The City should adopt a budget that prioritizes tenants rights, more affordable housing, public schools, defunding the police, and moving toward transformative justice more generally

We used these principles to evaluate candidates and past guides’ ballot measures. If you think we’ve missed something big or done something wrong, even if we agree with you we are too darn exhausted to address it quickly.

How we did our research

We made a deliberate decision not to reach out to candidates because we know that what politicians will say when filling out a questionnaire in an election year is often very different from what they’ll do in office. Instead, we read between the lines of official campaign websites and social media accounts. We listened in to as many hours of government meetings as we could to pick up patterns. We read campaign finance documents, old news articles, and ancient tweets. We then share our unvarnished opinion of what we’ve learned with you.

Why we did it in 2020

Watching Oakland City Council meetings made us realize that what we were reading in the papers about Oakland politics was drastically different from what is actually happening. Understanding Oakland politics is a big task that’s impossible to do in the weeks between the day ballots drop and the polls close, and we wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to hear what candidates and elected officials are really doing. Before voting, we committed to investigating for ourselves what each candidate stood for and how they were likely to vote on issues we all really care about, like policing, housing, and high-profile public land sales. We wanted to share our work with other Oakland voters because we think a better-informed democracy is a better democracy.

Why we did it AGAIN, just barely, in 2022

We’re exhausted from both the pandemic and politics, differently exhausted than we were this time two years ago, or even one year ago. We were even thinking of just redirecting this URL to the official city voting webpage. Instead, we decided to bring you the most minimally viable voter guide, subjecting us and our households to many hours of cursing this decision.

What got our butts off our collective couches to create a minimalist publication? One mayoral candidate stood out against the pool of 10 candidates as the only one against reproductive health, having spent pre-politics weekends in front of abortion clinics to talk pregnant people out of abortions. As Oakland residents who strongly believe healthcare includes reproductive care, it’s important to us that you know this too.

This year’s election will be November 8 2022. Please vote.

Who we are:

The #oakmtg (Appreciation) club is a group of friends and neighbors across Oakland who came together after the murder of George Floyd to try to make changes in policing at the city level, and we have been hooked on city politics since. Some of us have been involved in understanding Oakland’s political landscape for the better part of a decade; some of us are significantly newer to the area. We have our own favorites, and we don’t all agree on who will be best for Oakland.