Who'll Replace Jane Brunner? 

Oakland's District 1 race has attracted a spate of newcomers.

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If you're a regular reader of the Express, you've likely seen the name Len Raphael before — that's because he's a frequent commenter on our site, and his opinions often appear in our letters section. He's by far the most conservative candidate of the bunch (he calls himself "George Orwellian"), but he's arguably one of the most informed of city issues. Like Brandt, Raphael, who's a CPA, has put concrete proposals on the table, but some of them are even more drastic and unpopular than his rivals'. Among his ideas: reduce the pay of councilmembers and the mayor by 30 percent; declare a health and fiscal emergency in the city; repeal binding arbitration for police and fire in order to give the boot to bad cops (which, however, would also make the city vulnerable to even more costly lawsuits); reduce police and fire pay; get rid of anti-violence programs that are ineffective (including, possibly, Measure Y, even if it would mean the loss of millions of dollars); double the number of police; and monitor and manage OPD more strictly. He's also one of the few candidates who welcomes federal receivership of OPD.

Raphael's motto is to "shake up city hall," and there's no doubt that he would do so if given the chance. (He was the treasurer of the failed Committee to Recall Mayor Quan Now campaign.) He's highly critical of the other candidates' proposals and believes they don't go far enough.

Given the sense of urgency he feels about the city's present circumstances, particularly about the city's high crime rate, Raphael has garnered more supporters than you'd think. "I think people should march on City Hall with torches and pitchforks," he said.

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