Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao's supporters rally in response to recall effort

Days after those behind the effort to recall Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao sent their letter of intent to remove her from office, her supporters rallied on the steps of City Hall. 

They said Thao has only been in office for a year and needs more time to make change.

One supporter said the mayor is held to a different standard than her predecessor.  

On Tuesday evening, Thao's supporters chanted, "Stop using our pain for political gain."

Community groups and individuals spoke out against the recently launched recall effort.

They described the attempt to remove Thao from office as an attack on the progressive movement. 

They blamed Oakland's problems on the previous mayor. 

"The Thao administration has been working very hard in building the momentum against what previous administration like the Libby Schaaf administration left the government in a state of shambles," said Saabir Lockett, executive director of Pathways 2 Peace.  

"This mayor is giving us access to do something different," said Shedric Henry, who was formerly incarcerated and now runs a nonprofit and a company.  

He said the mayor is using different strategies to fight crime.


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"We employ our community. We are out here watching the cars for bipping. We make sure people get escorts when they need to be out here to stay safe."

"We can't blame the present mayor for every aspect of problems that exist in the city," said civil rights attorney Walter Riley.  

But a recall organizer says the mayor should be held accountable and Thao's critics say supporters are engaging in deflection and not looking for solutions.

"It's been misstep after misstep, unforced error after unforced error," said Seneca Scott, who ran for mayor but finished well behind Thao. 

Scott described himself as a publicist for the recall effort.  

He said Thao's missteps include: the firing of former police chief Leronne Armstrong, the city missing the deadline for filing for grant money to fight retail theft, and her handling of the ransomware attack.

"She's on thin ice. It's a very bad strategy to attack the messenger," Scott said. 

Scott said the mayor has failed to keep her word.

"It was Mayor Sheng Thao who said if we don't have a police chief by the end of the year, I'm going to call a state of emergency. Do we have a police chief? No. Did you call a state of emergency? No."

Thao released a written statement which said in part,"I have a chance to fight for a safer, more affordable, and more prosperous Oakland. I ask all Oaklanders to help me achieve that vision with hope and collaboration and push aside fear and division."

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU,  Instagram @AmberKTVU  or Twitter @AmberKTVU.