Virtual House Parties

In a typical campaign I would be reaching out to friends, family, and other supporters and asking if you would host a house party in your home where I could meet extended circles of friends and acquaintances. The goal would be to broaden support and enlist more voices in our campaign for quality schools in Oakland. But these are not normal times, so I’m not running a typical campaign. But there is still a way to connect. Several of my friends and supporters have hosted virtual house parties via ZOOM, and I am hoping that I can encourage anyone who is interested to join in the fun. It’s pretty easy.

Reach out to me at mark@markforoakland.com and we can choose a time that works for both of us. All you have to do is invite your friends and send them a link to a ZOOM meeting that I will set up for us. It seems to work well with 8-12 participants. Let me know if you are interested, and we can put it on the calendar!

Endorsement Update!

I’m proud to announce that our campaign for quality education got a big boost from some new endorsements. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is endorsing, as is GO Public Schools. These two endorsements are coupled with key endorsements from current School Board directors Jumoke Hinton and Gary Yee. See all endorsements here. And if you are willing to add your name to the endorsement list, let me know!

And I would be remiss if I didn’t note some endorsements if my own.

  • I am enthusiastically supporting California Prop. 15, the Schools and Communities First initiative that closes the corporate loopholes that were put in place with Prop 13 in the 1970s. Prop 15 restores some of the funding to schools by asking corporations to pay their fair share of property taxes.
  • I am endorsing Oakland Measure Y. This provides needed funds to update our school facilities, and for District 3 in particular, funds are designated for our high school, McClymonds.
  • I’m also endorsing my friend Maiya Edgerly who, like me is running for the District 3 seat on the school board. In a ranked choice voting environment it’s important that you make a first second and third choice on your ballot. I hope you’ll mark me as your first choice, and choose Maiya for your second choice. And for your third choice I recommend Maximo Santana.
  • If you vote in other Oakland districts, I endorse Leroy Gaines in District 5, Dr. Clifford Thompson and Bronché Taylor in District 7 , and Austin Dannhaus in District 1.

Every Oakland voter will receive a ballot in the mail for this election. I encourage you to fill out your ballot and mail it back as soon as you receive it. This year, more than ever, every vote needs to be counted!

It’s Official!

Last week I turned in my nomination signatures and was officially placed on the ballot for the November 3 election. I want to thank all of you who have helped me get to this milestone, either through your generous donations or by giving your time and talents to helping me shape my campaign’s goals. We are now just 77 days away from the election and the opportunity to make choices that will determine the future of the children of Oakland.*

A vote for me is a vote that will put a director on the school board who:

  • will advocate fiercely for the right of each child learn to read by the 3rd grade and receive literacy support at every grade level, assuring that our children are prepared and able to choose a future path that leads to college or a meaningful career.
  • will lead in the development of policies that bridge the digital divide, acknowledging that access to technology is a fundamental right — that no child should be denied the tools that will help them become full participants in the 21st century society.
  • has the experience and passion to address the challenges of a district budget that has for far too long denied many children in this city access to a high quality public school.

The challenges we face as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic call for an innovative response. In confronting this crisis, I see an opportunity to break down the old inequities that disenfranchised so many of our children. As we move forward with plans to implement distance and hybrid learning models, we can begin to support our teachers across the city with opportunity for meaningful collaboration. Teachers from every school at every grade level will be empowered to share strategies and support each other and their students, coupling great teaching with the added power of technology. No longer bound by the limitations of physical space, we can provide teachers with the tools and professional development to support students in new and innovative ways. And with the resources that we receive to confront the pandemic we can support families, and free them from the difficult choice between earning a living and supporting their children with home learning.

Please, help me share this message. Tell your friends, share on your social media! And please reach out with your hopes and dreams for what we can do in service of the children of Oakland.


* There are, of course, other important reasons to vote on November 3. As you may know, the opportunity to choose a school board member is near the bottom of the ballot. While I believe that choosing a school board member is extremely important, I also recognize that there are important choices at the top of the ballot, choices that are critical to the preservation of our democracy. Please exercise your voice!

Every Oakland voter will receive a ballot in the mail this fall. Be sure to keep an eye out for your ballot and vote early to assure your vote is counted.