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Retired judge leads recall effort to oust Oakland mayor who 'ruined our city,' citing rampant crime and shuttered businesses
Retired Alameda Superior Court Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte (Image Source: KTVU video screenshot)

Retired judge leads recall effort to oust Oakland mayor who 'ruined our city,' citing rampant crime and shuttered businesses

A retired Oakland, California, judge told KTVU on Saturday that the mayor, Sheng Thao (D), has "ruined our city."

Alameda Superior Court Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte is spearheading a recall effort to oust Thao over claims the mayor has "caused a number of problems."

"She didn't inherit all these problems," Harbin-Forte told KTVU. "People who say give her more time. More time to do what? She has ruined our city."

Thao removed Harbin-Forte from the Oakland Police Commission last year. The retired judge called her removal a "badge of honor."

Victory Baptist Church Pastor Marty Jenkins expressed his frustration with the mayor during a recall rally over the weekend.

"Look at the potholes. Look at homelessness. Look at the jobs. Look at the businesses that are leaving Oakland," he stated.

Edward Escobar of Citizens Unite told the rally attendees, "We are not getting the services we deserve throughout, and the crime is spreading."

Tuan Ngo of Asians Unite remarked, "She either resigns or gets recalled because she's not doing her job, and we see the consequences for her failure every day."

The recall effort must collect at least 25,000 signatures from registered voters by July to get on the ballot. According to Seneca Scott, the recall's organizer, the campaign should reach the minimum number of signatures months before the deadline.

"Twelve-thousand five-hundred people plus who have signed already to recall Mayor Sheng Thao," Scott said. The recall petition is only three weeks into the signature gathering.

Taco Bell recently announced that it would no longer offer indoor dining at its Oakland locations, citing an uptick in crime. Scott responded to the news in a recent post on X, writing, "Oakland is ground zero for 'progressive' policies that intentionally fail the working class. It's all part of their sick, twisted plan. Oakland neighbors have awaken [sic] and we are now fighting against these bad actors."

The area's crime wave has also pushed many other businesses to announce closures, including Denny's, In-N-Out, Black Bear Diner, Subway, and Starbucks. Some business owners recently declared that they would refuse to pay taxes if the city continues to ignore the uptick in criminal activity.

Thao told KTVU, "My focus is fighting for a safer, more affordable and more prosperous Oakland. I ask Oaklanders to help me achieve that vision with hope and collaboration and push aside fear and division. Let's bring our community together to fight for the city we love."

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price, known for her progressive, soft-on-crime policies, is also facing a recall effort launched by fed-up Oakland residents. The campaign submitted signatures for verification earlier this month.

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