There are ten candidates vying to be the Mayor of Oakland on the November ballot, and two of them have been arrested on gun charges for incidents that happened in 2021.
The City of Oakland will elect a new mayor in the upcoming November 8 election. Current mayor Libby Schaaf will be termed out, having served her two full terms. A conventional-wisdom, Cliffs Notes summary of the race, if you haven’t been paying attention, would break this into a likely showdown between current city councilmembers Treva Reid, Loren Taylor, Sheng Thao, and former councilmember Ignacio de la Fuente, with however the chips fall in ranked-choice voting likely to determining the winner.
But there are a half-dozen other candidates in the race, many of them, well, somewhat fringier. And scrutiny still applies even to candidates who aren’t in the top tier. The Oaklandside performed a little due diligence on the Oakland mayoral candidate slate last week, and found that two mayoral candidates were arrested on gun charges, both for separate incidents that took place in 2021.
Let’s meet both of these candidates.
Oakland mayoral candidate Seneca Scott was arrested last year and is currently facing charges for brandishing a firearm.— The Oaklandside (@Oaklandside) September 9, 2022
Scott said today it was in response to someone threatening him with a knife.https://t.co/04uTBnHGqD
Seneca Scott is a former union organizer who came in fourth place in the 2020 District 3 City Council seat won by Carroll Fife. His Twitter account offers photoshops of himself into Game of Thrones memes and Golden State Warriors memes, and he is also a co-founder of an entertainment group and a community garden. This community garden is where the 2021 gun incident took place.
In the words of Oaklandside, “Just after 10 p.m. on Oct. 30, 2021, Oakland police officers were flagged down by a man at the corner of Peralta and 8th streets in West Oakland. The man told the officers that he and another person had been 'confronted' on the sidewalk by a third person, Scott, who had brandished a handgun at them, according to a police report.”
“The officers made contact with Scott and noticed the handle of a firearm sticking out of his vest pocket. The officers arrested him for carrying a concealed gun and exhibiting the weapon in a threatening manner.”
🧵ALERT 🧵!! Peace Oakland - Please read the REAL story about my recent gun charges for using my legal fiream to protect my community garden from thieves. READ THIS UNTIL THE END, and RETWEET as well. 1/12— Seneca Scott - Candidate for Oakland Mayor (@Seneca4Mayor) September 13, 2022
Scott accounts for himself in the Twitter thread above, and also in a 357-word statement to Oaklandside. “Early evening on October 30, 2021, just hours after one of my immediate neighbors was shot in the face in his home while holding his infant, and still processing those emotions, I had received a report that two men were inside our community garden attempting to steal our water heater,” he said. “I went to the garden and cautiously approached them.
“When I demanded they return our property, one of them brandished a large knife at me. In response to this threat, I revealed a firearm. At that very moment an OPD officer happened to be driving by. The officer was flagged down, and the man who pulled the knife fled the scene with our stolen property before the officers could stop him. Consequently I received two misdemeanor gun charges.”
Scott has other drama in the form of the events company he co-founded, OakHella, who have since distanced themselves from him over what they feel was a transphobic campaign promotion. “One of our co-founders has strayed from [our] vision in their pursuit of political office,” their statement says. “We have intentionally remained as neutral as possible in the Oakland Mayoral race, but when we are openly associated with Transphobia, we have to make it clear that WE DO NOT SHARE THOSE SENTIMENTS.”
There are also gun charges associated with candidate Peter Liu, whom you may remember for his anti-gay, anti-bicycle 2014 mayoral campaign that drew the mockery of Jimmy Kimmel, and won him all of 246 votes. And yes, he is dressed up like Bane from The Dark Knight Rises in the above photo.
Again, per Oaklandside: “According to a sheriff’s report, Liu called 911 and complained that there were trespassers on property he said he owned. When the deputies arrived, two people on the property said Liu had pointed the gun at them and an infant child in a stroller. The deputies arrested Liu and booked him into jail.”
The DA did not file charges against Liu for the incident.
He tells Oaklandside that “A bunch of squatters broke into a commercial building I own in San Lorenzo, not the commercial building I own in Oakland. This was night time, I held multiple squatters at gunpoint, called 911.” He adds that “To make story short, a few days later, my wife got multiple squatters arrested with evidence of the deed, I was release [sic] from Santa Rita jail with no charges. The Alameda County Sheriff still owes me an apology.”
Perennial Oakland political candidate Peter Liu called Jews “evil” and “corrupt” in an email sent to dozens of Bay Area journalists, Jewish contacts and other mayoral candidates.@EmmaAudreyGoss reports:https://t.co/zTvbiHxyKh— J. The Jewish News of Northern California (@jewishsf) September 7, 2022
Liu is also understandably facing some blowback over a recent email complaining about his exclusion from a candidate forum at Temple Sinai. Per the Jewish News of Northern California, Liu complained in an email to reporters that “These shitty Jews are once against [sic] trying to disrespect the voters of Oakland in rigging the election process by promoting a few candidates they’ve handpicked to be in front of Jews controlled media.”
And in an only-in-Oakland conclusion to their due diligence of the candidates, Oaklandside reports that they “ran a search of court records related to all current candidates for Oakland mayor. We did not find any criminal cases involving any other candidates running for mayor this year.”
Related: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Holds Town Hall on Gun Violence [SFist]
Images: (Left) @Seneca4Mayor via Twitter, (Right) Peter Yuan Liu via Facebook