Runoff likely for open Oakland council seat


###Live Caption:Rebecca Kaplan, candidate for the at-large seat, Oakland City Council, June 3, 2008 state primary###Caption History:Rebecca Kaplan, candidate for the at-large seat, Oakland City Council, June 3, 2008 state primary###Notes:###Special Instructions:
###Live Caption:Rebecca Kaplan, candidate for the at-large seat, Oakland City Council, June 3, 2008 state primary###Caption History:Rebecca Kaplan, candidate for the at-large seat, Oakland City Council, June 3, 2008 state primary###Notes:###Special Instructions:Rebecca Kaplan

Early election night returns Tuesday indicated a probable November runoff for the at-large seat on the Oakland City Council, while incumbents in four other council races appeared to be defeating their opponents.

Talk of spiraling violence in Oakland dominated each campaign as candidates touted their plans for improving public safety.

For the at-large race, AC Transit director Rebecca Kaplan, who led with 37 percent of the vote, could face off in November against school board member Kerry Hamill, who had 23 percent, or attorney Clinton Killian, who had 20 percent of the vote, with 10 percent of precincts reporting.

Frank Rose, a community advocate, and anti-crime activist Charles Pine followed with 12 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will be held in the November general election.

Kaplan, 37, ran on a platform of attracting retail, housing and job-producing businesses to Broadway's Auto Row when car dealerships move from there to the Oakland Army Base as city and business leaders have planned.

Hamill, 51, said she would immediately seek to redirect city funds to programs for youth and push for the hiring of more police officers and improved tracking of crimes.

A resident of the Temescal district, Kaplan said she would like to see the city assign officers on foot in every neighborhood as a means of economic revitalization.

The race for the at-large seat turned into a free-for-all when Councilman Henry Chang Jr., appointed to the citywide seat in 1994, announced in March that he was not seeking re-election.

In 2000, Chang narrowly beat Kaplan, who is making her second run.

Meanwhile, council President Ignacio De La Fuente appeared to be fending off his lead challenger, Realtor Mario Juarez, in the race for the District Five seat (Fruitvale, Glenview and San Antonio neighborhoods).

De La Fuente led with 53 percent to Juarez's 31 percent, with 9 percent of precincts counted. Neighborhood activists Beverly Blythe and David Wofford trailed with 9 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

De La Fuente and Juarez battled over who would get a better handle on crime. Juarez's past dealings as a contractor for the city heated up the race, while Juarez made an issue of De La Fuente's son's conviction last year on rape charges.

In November, Juarez, who owns his own real estate company and previously owned a debt-collection firm, settled a lawsuit with the city over its claims that he defrauded Oakland out of money he was supposed to collect from some of the city's debtors.

Backed by some of the same supporters who drafted Mayor Ron Dellums to run two years ago against De La Fuente and four other candidates, Juarez said he believes De La Fuente was behind the city's lawsuit - something that De La Fuente and City Attorney John Russo deny. He said he settled with the city to avoid further legal costs.

De La Fuente, who had the backing of the Oakland Police Officers Association, touted his accomplishments during four terms on the council, including ushering in the Fruitvale Transit Village and helping make International Boulevard a thriving place for business.

Juarez campaigned on a platform of getting more parolees into job training and jobs, hiring more Oakland youth as police cadets and better enforcing the city's curfew law.

In North Oakland, incumbent Councilwoman Jane Brunner was handily winning over anti-crime activist Patrick McCullough.

Brunner, who is seeking her fourth term for the District One seat, led with 74 percent to McCullough's 25 percent, with 4 percent of precincts counted.

The two jousted over the city's high crime rate, with McCullough criticizing Brunner for being slow to address violence and Brunner saying she had the experience necessary to bring about solutions to the city's low police staffing, influx of parolees and truancy problems.

In West Oakland and downtown, incumbent Nancy Nadel was ahead of two challengers, youth homeless shelter director Sean Sullivan and school board member Greg Hodge.

Nadel led with 54 percent to Sullivan's 27 percent and Hodge's 18 percent, with 12 percent of precincts counted.

During the campaign, Nadel pointed to accomplishments during her 12 years representing District Three that she says will bring about positive change - new market-rate and affordable housing complexes sprouting up throughout the district, a burgeoning artists community and the neatly landscaped Mandela Parkway, a former industrial strip that she says has the potential to lure well-paid, less-polluting jobs.

In East Oakland, incumbent Larry Reid was solidly ahead of challenger Clifford Gilmore, a nonprofit director.

Reid, seeking his fourth term in District Seven, led with 63 percent to Gilmore's 37 percent with only mail-in ballots counted.

Again, crime dominated Reid and Gilmore's platforms, with Reid saying he planned to continue efforts to bring more market-rate units and retail to the district as a way to alleviate poverty and crime, and Gilmore criticizing Reid for failing to adequately address the root causes of crime or bring economic revitalization to the district.