Oakland Councilwoman Schaaf running for mayor

Photo of Will Kane

Oakland Councilwoman Libby Schaaf on Monday became the first elected official to officially join the race to challenge Mayor Jean Quan for the city's top job in next year's election.

Schaaf, who filed intent-to-run papers with the Oakland city clerk on Monday, has represented the Montclair, Maxwell Park and Dimond Heights areas since 2010.

"I think that Oaklanders deserve to have the police come when they call, that the city can be safe and that Oakland is looking for some competent, strong leadership," Schaaf said moments after filing her paperwork in City Hall. "I have been very frustrated with the level of services and speed of progress in this city and as a lifelong resident, as a mom and as the daughter of parents that live here, I believe that Oakland can do better."

Schaaf declined to detail any plans for Oakland except to say that she would bring "a relentless focus and a belief that Oakland can be safe."

Schaaf will join a field of five other mayoral candidates: Quan, San Francisco State Professor Joe Tuman, businessman Bryan Parker, attorney Patrick McCullough and attorney Dan Siegel, according to city records. The papers allow candidates to begin public campaigning and fundraising.

An Oakland Chamber of Commerce poll in October found that 18 percent of 500 likely Oakland voters said they were likely to re-elect Quan and that nearly 2 in 3 viewed the mayor unfavorably.

In a statement, Quan said she was "focused squarely on my priorities as mayor."

"My administration is hard at work rebuilding our police force, strengthening our community policing and creating jobs for residents," Quan continued. "We have been turning the tide, funding back-to-back police academies and bringing billions of dollars in grants, investments and commitments to (development) projects."

Siegel, a former friend and ally of Quan's, said he was considering running for mayor because he didn't think Quan will be re-elected. Siegel said he has not filed paperwork with the clerk's office and didn't know why city documents showed he was running for office.

"The people who have thrown their hats into the ring, so to speak, are not only to the right of Mayor Quan, but far to the right of the average voter of the city of Oakland," Siegel said. "It is really a question of leadership and ability."

Tuman said he considers Schaaf a friend but thinks only an outsider can fix the city.

"I would also caution people to remember that real change for City Hall doesn't come from inside City Hall, it comes from outside City Hall, and that is what my campaign is all about," Tuman said.

Will Kane is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: wkane@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @WillKane