Riles Agrees to Fall on Sword 

Someone needed to take on Jerry Brown, and Wilson Riles stepped up.

Page 3 of 3

As Quan departs to run for the City Council, two candidates have stepped forward to claim her seat on the school board. Gary Yee has been an elementary school teacher, principal of Hillcrest Elementary, and currently chairs the education department at Holy Names, while Susanne Lea is a longtime volunteer and chair of the Oakland Coalition of Congregations' Education Task Force. It's tempting to dub this the technocrat vs. the parent activist, but the fact is that both are solid candidates who bring skills and experience to the table. Meanwhile, incumbent school board member Bruce Kariya faces a strong challenge from David Kakishiba, the executive director of the East Bay Asian Youth Center and leader of the Kids First initiative in 1996. Kariya enjoys the support of superintendent Dennis Chaconas and Don Perata, while Brown is backing his opponent, possibly as payback for Kariya's pointed criticism of the mayor's board appointees. In fact, some observers wonder why Brown didn't find someone to challenge board member Dan Siegel, who is running unopposed. It's no secret that Siegel is Brown's most persistent critic, and as long as he gets a walk in this election, he can dedicate himself to the Riles campaign full time. Perhaps Brown is still smarting from the 2000 election, when he embarrassingly backed council gadfly Hugh Bassette's utter failure of a campaign to unseat councilmember Nancy Nadel.

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