Oakland, California, is reportedly headed toward a change in the political climate as residents are fed up with mounting issues such as housing costs, homelessness, and crime.

“The opposition to progressives like [Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao] has been mounting, abetted by the budget crisis, frustration with crime and fallout from the FBI raid,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Oakland United to Recall Sheng Thao (OUST) submitted its petition in June to have the mayor recalled. Officials in Alameda County confirmed they had met the threshold of 25,000 voter signatures, qualifying the measure for the November ballot.

Steven Tavares, a local politics writer for the East Bay Insiders newsletter, said that the progressive push since 2011 is dying down.

“It was basically carte blanche for progressives,” Tavares said about the Occupy movement that occurred in San Francisco in 2011. “But we’re now leaving that golden era.” 

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Soon after the recall campaign to oust her from office qualified for the November ballot, the FBI raided her home. Subsequently, Thao’s attorney abruptly quit, and her chief spokesperson resigned soon after. 

Fox News Digital previously reported that backers of the recall say public safety and economic vitality have worsened under the politically progressive mayor, and that she should not have fired Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong.

Thao has not yet been charged with any crime.

In an interview with the Chronicle, Oakland mayor-hopeful Loren Taylor wants to replace Thao as a more centrist appeal to voters. Taylor lost to Thao in a mayoral election in 2022. However, while the recall effort is underway, Taylor believes he is the answer. 

Homeless encampments line the streets in Oakland, California

“To say that this is the worst compilation of troubling challenging situations that I’ve seen is an understatement,” Taylor told the Chronicle. “A fiscal crisis, hundreds of millions of dollars, compounded with a public safety crisis that has folks fearful of moving around the city, and businesses leaving town, combined with homelessness crisis that continues to expand despite things getting better in neighboring cities… This storm of events is the opposite of what Oakland needs right now when we’re trying to rebound as a city, post-pandemic.”

After interviewing several community members, the Chronicle reported that many share dissatisfaction with the city’s current condition and want a change.

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“It’s chaos,” said J.J. Jenkins, a bartender at Smitty’s. “Every time I think the pendulum has swung, something like Juneteenth (shooting) happens. And I don’t think it’s done yet. It’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Jenkins raised concern over the surge in violence in the city, having had to close his bar early on June 19 after a shooting. 

“There is a day of reckoning coming this summer for the city,” West Oakland Pastor Dr. Ken Chambers told the Chronicle. 

In addition to being a pastor, Chambers runs homeless services at his West Side Missionary Baptist church. The Chronicle reported further that Chambers added that crime, homelessness, human trafficking and prostitution struck the city of Oakland’s International Boulevard.

“I’ve been in Oakland 58 years. I’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s a multitask, problematic, complicated situation.”

One resident, Ayodele Nzinga, said that Oakland’s problems point to a national issue as opposed to a failure of local governance.

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“I’m not into the doom loop theory,” said Nzinga, a poet and founder of the Lower Bottom Playaz theater group. 

“Oakland has its issues. As do other major cities here in the Bay Area. But this is not indicative of local weather — this is national.”

Oakland has attempted to clear some homeless encampments throughout the city. City officials shut down over 500 homeless encampments in the past three years. Back in May, the city closed 537 homeless camps with approximately 1,500 remaining, according to a city report

However, this crackdown has caused blowback from some residents. 

Homeless advocates at the time complained about the treatment of the homeless population and how the city has yet to fix the problem.

Fox News’ Bradford Betz and The Associated Press Contributed to this report.



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