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I Believe ...

Oakland needs new leadership

Linda Sibley headshot_edited.jpg
Shaun Fulton
Founder of the Oakland Residents Facebook Group
Thursday, April 11, 2024
Oakland needs new leadership
Oakland Commission, from left: Mayor Shane Taylor, Vice Mayor Mike Satterfield, Commissioner Joseph McMullen, Commissioner Rick Polland.

On Tuesday, the Oakland Town Commission appointed former Commissioner Sal Ramos to the commission seat he vacated to run unsuccessfully for mayor against Shane Taylor, who was elected with 65 percent of the vote and a mandate for change. Three commissioners — Mike Satterfield, Joseph McMullen and Rick Polland — opted to choose Ramos over 11 other residents who had applied to be considered for the seat. The following column is reprinted with permission from Shaun Fulton, founder and administrator of the Oakland Residents Facebook Group. 

In a display of flagrant disregard for the democratic will of its constituents, the Oakland Commission has made a decision that reeks of cronyism and a blatant dismissal of public desire for change. In what can only be described as a tone-deaf maneuver, the commission has reappointed Sal Ramos, a recently unsuccessful mayoral candidate, to his former position, blatantly ignoring the electorate's call for progress and renewal.

The decision to reinstate Ramos to the commission, following his resignation to run for mayor, is not just a step backward; it's a leap into the past, undermining the essence of democratic choice and progress that the voters of Oakland clearly yearned for in the last election. This act of political recycling sends a clear message: the aspirations and demands for fresh leadership from the majority of voting residents are secondary to the comfort of maintaining the status quo.

Despite a pool of qualified and eager applicants ready to bring new ideas and energy to the commission, the choice to revert to a familiar face is a testament to a concerning trend of insularity and resistance to change. The decision, seemingly made in a vacuum of camaraderie among the commissioners, reeks of a preordained outcome, where the will of the people is trampled under the weight of personal alliances and outdated loyalty.

This scenario is a glaring affront to democracy, a spit in the face of the majority who voted for transformation and advancement. The action taken by the commission not only undermines the integrity of our local governance but also insults the intelligence and aspirations of Oakland's residents. The reappointment of Ramos is emblematic of a broader issue: a governing body that appears more invested in preserving its internal dynamics than in fostering the well-being and progress of the community it serves.

Commissioner [Joseph] McMullen, who was my only hope, and would stand as a beacon of integrity and change, has sadly aligned with his colleagues in this disappointing charade, casting aside a golden opportunity to echo the public's demand for fresh leadership. This decision not only jeopardizes the trust between the commission and the community but also ignites a fervent call to action among the disillusioned populace.

The move to recall and replace the commissioners is a direct consequence of their actions, a grassroots effort to cleanse the system of its current stagnation and inject new life into Oakland's leadership. The people of Oakland deserve representatives who reflect their aspirations, who are attuned to the evolving dynamics of the city, and who are committed to steering the community towards a future defined by progress and inclusivity, not regression and exclusion.

In essence, this entire episode serves as a stark reminder of the critical need for vigilance and active participation in our local governance. It underscores the importance of holding our elected officials accountable and ensuring that they represent the will and welfare of the people they are sworn to serve. The fight for a new Oakland Commission is not just about rectifying a single misguided appointment; it's about reclaiming the democratic ethos of our city and setting a course toward a more responsive, progressive, and inclusive future.

To add your signature to the petitions to have the entire commission removed, contact Anne Fulton at

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