I hosted a meet-and-greet recently for first-time candidate Lynette McElhaney, who was newly elected to the City of Oakland City Council from District 3 in November 2012. I live in District 3. It is the heart of Oakland, it encompasses downtown, the Port of Oakland, Old Oakland, Jack London Square, and Lake Merritt. She took office this January amidst great opportunity and tremendous challenges facing the City of Oakland.
In a crowded field of candidates, some with large campaign bank accounts and others with the blessings of the political establishment, Lynette won a hard-fought campaign. She stood out for many reasons but the most important one is that she was the most experienced candidate, having spent years working in community development, most recently and still, as the executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of the East Bay, a NeighborWorks America affiliate headquartered in Richmond, California.