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Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao (Photo: https://www.oaklandca.gov/officials/sheng-thao)

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao Faces Growing Calls To Resign Following Recall Election Approval, FBI Raid

Support for Thao plummets following tumultuous week

By Evan Symon, June 21, 2024 12:39 pm

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao faced a growing number of calls for resignation late Thursday and Friday following a tumultuous week where both a recall election was approved by county voting officials and her home was raided by the FBI over a major corruption case.

For Mayor Thao, the spiral down began on Tuesday when the Alameda County Registrar of Voters announced that enough signatures have been approved to officially put the recall vote against Thao on the ballot, with Thao becoming the first Mayor in Oakland history to ever face a recall election. A growing number of concerns, including rising crime, public safety issues, the firing of Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong’s firing, Thao’s failure to failure to keep the Oakland Athletics in Oakland and her missing the deadline to apply for a $15 million state crime grant all snowballed into a massive recall signature drive against her.

Headed by the Oakland United to Recall Sheng Thao (OUST) group, the recall campaign collected well over 40,000 of the needed 25,000 signatures a month ahead of the collection deadline. On Tuesday, the County registrar of voters approved the recall petition with 40,590 of the 41,530 signatures being approved, setting a new record in the County for least number of signatures rejected for a ballot initiative by percentage. The recall election is to receive a date soon, with the recall likely to be a part of the November 2024 general election ballot.

Many Democratic groups and lawmakers distanced themselves from Thao on Wednesday following the recall election announcement. However, while the recall signature announcement had been expected, what followed on Thursday was not. Early on Thursday morning, FBI agents raided 4 locations in and around Oakland, including Mayor Thao’s home in the Lincoln Highlands neighborhood. The FBI was there for four hours, coming out with many boxes before leaving after 10 A.M.

While no official word on why the raid was conducted has yet to come from either the FBI or Thao, it is known that the subjects of the other three raids, California Waste Solutions and it’s executive officers David and Andy Duong, have been the subjects of an ongoing investigation into alleged illegal campaign contributions. Some of those contributions had been allegedly laundered with several Oakland City Council members receiving them a few years ago, including then City Councilwoman Thao.

The combination of the recall election approval and the FBI raid proved to be the breaking points for many lawmakers and groups on Thursday and Friday, with many calling for Thao’s immediate resignation.

Oakland City Council candidate Mindy Pechenuk noted late on Thursday that “I am the first Candidate to Second the Motion of the Recall Thao Campaign. Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao Must Resign Immediately Due to FBI Raid and Overwhelming Support for Recall. Sheng Thao in the interests of the citizens of Oakland, you cannot fulfill your responsibilities to the citizens and respond to this investigation simultaneously. Furthermore, I have personally sent an email directly to the Mayor asking her to “come clean” as to what is involved in this investigation.”

In another statement, Oakland NAACP President Cynthia Adams said that “The city has a cloud hanging over it today. While the public should refrain from a rush to judgment, the leadership of the NAACP and its members are calling on Mayor Sheng Thao to resign immediately and spare the city the cost of a recall. Oaklanders deserve a mayor who is not distracted, fully committed, and able to lead the city. Clearly, Mayor Thao cannot focus on the needs of the residents of Oakland while she addresses the major challenges posed by the FBI raid and investigation.

“The city is also facing a massive budget deficit including the freezing of positions and loss of critical city services. Businesses are closing every day, and this incident only contributes to the decline in the city’s reputation and makes it harder to attract new businesses to Oakland. The mayor should resign and give the city an opportunity to heal and move forward. We are asking everyone to please keep those impacted by violent crime and the safety of all the residents of Oakland in their prayers.”

More problems for Thao

In an interview with the Globe on Friday, Alameda County pollster Elena Sierra explained that “Thao was already dislike by Republicans and a significant segment of Democrats. Everything that happened this week only eroded support from Democrats.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of anger from Oakland citizens for everything Thao has done or has been a part of. But you know what the most common word has been since last night? We used a word cloud in finding the most often used words to describe her, and that top word has been “disappointment.” Not anger, not enraged, although those were there too. But disappointment. That’s why these resignation calls are happening. Thao has been a part of so many negative things against the city that many living in the city are too tired to be angry anymore.

“I would agree that things are not looking too good for Thao right now. We need to know, officially, what the raids were about to pass full judgement. And we need to hear back from Thao, who is probably going through hell right now. But, as of today on late Friday morning, her political future is not in a good place.”

More on the recall election of Thao and the FBI raids are due to come out soon.

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Evan Symon
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4 thoughts on “Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao Faces Growing Calls To Resign Following Recall Election Approval, FBI Raid

  1. Thanks Evan. Good article. We need to Clean Up Oakland City Hall. Mayor Sheng Thao should step down immediately, the lives of our Oaklanders are what is most important. There is much to be said about cleaning up Oakland City Hall, for now I want to focus on the budget and bankrupcy of our city. The council and Mayor needs to stop asking what to cut, cut , cut. What we need is a program of growth for our business community and industry. If we stopped funding the NGO’s and green projects, and put that money into the expansion of our productive community and industry we would begin to turn around the problem. Secondly we need to shut down the off shore money markets that are the home for the drug cartels and their friends, as well as the center of the human trafficking. This goes along with supporting our police. There are solutions for every problem facing Oakland, California and our nation. This is why I am running for Oakland City Council at Large. Join my campaign-let us make Oakland Safe and Productive Again.

  2. Even is Thoa is ousted, far left Oaklanders will just elect another corrupt leftist politician. We still stuck with Newsom, aren’t we? Democrats never learn.

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