Sheng Thao critics submit signatures for recall petition

Critics of Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said Wednesday that they submitted signatures to put a recall election on the November ballot.

Oakland United to Recall Sheng Thao (OUST) said they collected more than 40,000 signatures, surpassing the required 24,644 needed to qualify for a recall petition.

The city clerk needs to validate and certify the signatures before the petition goes to the city council, which will decide when to hold the election.

Among Thao's opponents is retired Alameda County Judge Brenda Harbin-Forte.

"Sheng Thao must go because she's an incompetent mayor. She is dishonest. She doesn't know what she's doing, and Oaklanders deserve better," Harbin-Forte said.

OUST said it submitted the signatures seven weeks before the deadline.

Harbin-Forte listed several reasons Thao needs to be removed from office. She said Thao is partly to blame for Oakland losing out on millions after missing the deadline to apply for an organized retail theft grant. She also criticized Thao for firing former Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong and losing the Oakland Athletics.

"She's selling off our assets. She's selling off all our interest in the Oakland Coliseum. That is an act of desperation," Harbin-Forte said.

Critics said the mayor has failed to crack down on crime. However, new police statistics show nearly all types of reported crime are down in the city for the first five months of the year.
So far, Oakland has seen a 20% drop in homicides, a 60% reduction in car break-ins, and a 44% dip in commercial burglaries compared to the same period in 2023.

Seneca Scott of OUST said the crime data is misleading.

"Anyone who's trying to suggest that crime is down in the middle of the year, right before the summer when we know that crime statistically jumps, is politicizing stats," Scott said.

In a statement, Thao said she has been committed to Oakland.
"Every day I fight to create a better, safer Oakland. Regardless of the naysayers or negativity, I will continue that fight because the progress we are making makes it all worth it," she said.

The timing of a recall remains uncertain. This recall election could coincide with that of Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price.

Many supporters of the Thao recall campaign also backed the recall effort against Price.