Oakland mayor facing ouster attempts to pin downfall on ‘right-wingers’ following FBI raid

Tens of thousands of Americans at wits’ end in the crime-ridden city of Oakland enjoyed a breakthrough on June 18: They gathered far more than the required number of verified signatures to put Democratic Mayor Sheng Thao’s recall to a vote in November.

Just days after learning that she might soon be held to account for the rampant crime and local collapse she has reigned over, Thao’s house was
raided by the FBI. According to ABC News, the FBI — whose agents ultimately left the home carrying boxes — were joined on the scene by elements of the Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Postal Service.

It remains unclear why Thao’s house was targeted, but it has been
suggested in mainstream reports that Thao is under investigation for public corruption. The California Globe noted that another home raided in the area last week belonged to the owner of California Waste Solutions, which the Oakland Public Ethics Commission indicated in 2020 had illegally laundered campaign contributions to then-councilwoman Thao and several of her peers.

Rather than express humility or address the concerns of prospective recall voters, Thao used a
press conference Monday to displace blame.

Thao
noted that after 15 people were shot at a “Juneteenth” celebration, “our city woke up to the news that the FBI had raided the home that I share with my partner and our family,” intimating the latter had a comparable gravity.

Vowing to be “100% transparent” but unwilling to take questions, Thao alleged, “I have done nothing wrong.”

“I can tell you with confidence that this investigation is not about me. I have not been charged with a crime and I am confident that I will not be charged with the crime because I am innocent,” claimed Thao. “The timing of all of this is troubling and we should all be concerned.”

Thao expressed anger that other officials weren’t similarly being raided and suggested that she would have been treated differently if she were
wealthier than she already is or if she came from money.

The current mayor also
suggested that despite lacking a foothold in Oakland, “There are a lot of radical right-wing forces” who have somehow managed to “build the rules to protect and preserve their power and maintain dominance over the rest of us.”

The empowered rule maker further suggested that the desire by at least 40,000 residents in the city of roughly 430,550 to have her kicked out of office is a “waste of time.”

“I’m not going down like that,” said Thao, managing to work up a tear.

Oakland United to Recall Sheng Thao held its own press conference shortly after Thao’s, poking holes in the mayor’s characterizations and rhetoric,
reported CBS News.

Seneca Scott, an organizer with the group, said, “We knew exactly what she would do: take no questions from the public after disappearing for several days, blame everyone, [and] scapegoat over 41,000 neighbors who signed her petition.”

The Recall Thao campaign notes on its website that “Thao’s incompetence and dishonesty accelerated Oakland’s decline, causing longstanding businesses to close and generational families to leave.”

Last year, the Athletics
followed the Raiders and Golden State Warriors out of Oakland. Various businesses have fled the city or hired small armies of private security to deal with the crime.

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