Rules for running for Mayor of Oakland – Rules #1 & #2

29 Oct

I know I announced a few weeks ago that I was taking a break from blogging, but I expected to be back in the full swing of things this week. Little did I know how difficult it was to start blogging once you’ve stopped! I have a couple posts I’m working on, but they involve research and I’m just not up to that this week so those will have to wait until next week.

For now, I thought I’d start a new series – rules for running for Mayor of Oakland. Before you ask what I know about running for Mayor, I’ll admit that I’ve never run for Mayor and never even coordinated a mayoral campaign. I actually thought I didn’t know too much about running a mayoral race and that everything I knew must be common knowledge among those who are involved in Oakland politics (or really politics at all). But one of the two announced candidates has proven that this knowledge apparently isn’t as widespread as I had thought.

So I thought I’d offer these rules as a guide to this election and a guide to anyone who’s considering running for Mayor of Oakland.

Rule #1: Do not announce your candidacy at 1 am on a Saturday morning

So you know when a public official or agency announces something at 5pm on a Friday? It’s usually because they hope it gets buried in the Saturday news when nobody’s paying attention. Friday evenings are the time to announce sex scandals, controversial bill signings, and money mismanagement.

But Friday nights, much less Saturday mornings, are not the time to announce a candidacy.

Imagine how surprised I was then, when I woke up on Saturday morning to an email sent from Jean Quan at 12:42 am that all but announced that she was running for Mayor. Even for those of my friends who did bother to open the email on Saturday morning, most didn’t really read it or click through. It was a near total waste of an announcement.

Maybe Quan has some genius strategy that I don’t understand. Maybe she was trying to hide her candidacy from Don Perata or other potential candidates. But if you ever decide to run for Mayor, don’t follow her lead – announce in the actual morning (not the middle of the night) on a weekday for the best results.

Rule #2: Buy your own domain name

There are lots of times when it’s ok not to buy your own domain name. Like if you’re a blogger for example. Or if you’re a local group that’s just getting off the ground. Or if you’re running for Mayor symbolically, to have a platform from which to criticize the current state of the City (by the way, does anyone have any idea what happened to Paulette Hogan?).

But if you’re running a serious campaign for any elected position – school board, AC Transit board, City Council, whatever – take 5 minutes and $15 and buy a domain name, please!

It’s totally fine to build a website, especially a start up website, on blogging software. Actually, I think that’s what most local candidates do now and it makes it much easier to maintain the site down the road. But it is not ok for that blog page to be found at or

Unfortunately, nobody mentioned this to Jean Quan. Not only is her site located at, but it appears that she has not purchased, even though it’s available.

That’s all the rules for now, but check back next week for some more.


4 Responses to “Rules for running for Mayor of Oakland – Rules #1 & #2”

  1. das88 October 29, 2009 at 4:01 pm #

    Rule #3? Don’t take money from the Prison Guards’ Union

    Paulette Hogan For Mayor seems less and less symbolic.

  2. Rices October 29, 2009 at 4:12 pm #

    I don’t know much about this candidate and decided to read her e-mail forwarded to me by a friend. I think you could add a rule: Run spellcheck and proofread. I’m usually not a stickler for these things, but the typos were distracting and not convincing. She hasn’t necessarily lost my vote, but shaky introduction.

  3. Naomi Schiff October 29, 2009 at 6:39 pm #

    Rule #4: If you have already been a successful state senator, and have plenty of influence with someone who is running for governor and might consider appointing you to some cute position, then consider stepping aside so others can run for mayor of Oakland. Sometimes retirement is a good thing, and can spare a city yet another recycled termed-out politico from Sacto.

  4. ralph October 30, 2009 at 1:40 pm #

    Rule #5, show some leadership – in a city that is bleeding do not bendover to a bunch of ne’er-do-well kids and give the exec directors millions of dollars to squander on ineffective programs – show some fiscal responsibility,

    Rule #6, follow arnie vinnick’s lead don’t question the will of voters; i think the electorate is intelligent enough to use IRV (even if they don’t understand Measure OO)

    Rule #7, have a vision beyond at least I am not that other guy

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