For the fictional character of the same name, see Rebecca Kaplan (The Young and the Restless).

Rebecca Dawn Kaplan (born September 17, 1970)[citation needed] is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. She currently serves as City Councilmember At-Large for Oakland, California[2][3] and finished second in the race for Oakland mayor in the November, 2014 election.[4] She previously ran for Oakland mayor in 2010 and placed third.[5] She is a bisexual,[6] and has been identified as a lesbian in the press.[7]

Career in elected office

Oakland City Councilmember At-Large

Kaplan's contributions to Oakland policy making have included a focus on budget balancing measures, legislation which eased the permit process for new restaurants, creating a new public transit line downtown, and re-working and passing a law which mandates registration of abandoned and vacant buildings.[citation needed]

Budget-balancing measures

In 2009, Oakland's budget shortfall ran into the tens of millions, and as a solution, Kaplan proposed Measure F, which raised taxes on medical cannabis businesses.[citation needed] The measure, which dramatically increased taxes on these businesses, was strongly supported by the businesses themselves.[citation needed] Kaplan received national media attention from this initiative, appearing on PBS's NewsHour and Fox Business Network to discuss it.[citation needed] The measure passed overwhelmingly in a special election.[citation needed] Three other ballot measures, also campaigned for by Kaplan, were passed in a successful effort to balance the year's budget.[citation needed]

Vacant building registration

Also in 2009, Kaplan re-designed a failed City Council measure which would require owners of certain vacant properties to register their buildings with the city.[citation needed] Oakland's vacancy problem had led to rampant use of empty buildings for illegal activities, and earlier in the year, Councilmember Desley Brooks had attempted to pass similar legislation, which had been voted down due to unclear language and an overly aggressive[citation needed] fine regime. Kaplan re-wrote the measure with a simpler scope, and was able to pass it by a wide margin of support.[citation needed]

Election history

In November 2008, Kaplan won her current post in a run-off election against BART executive Kerry Hamill[1] by a margin of 62% to 37%, with Kaplan receiving a total of 82,531 votes to Hamill's 50,387.[citation needed] She succeeded Henry Chang, Jr., against whom Kaplan had campaigned unsuccessfully in 2000.[2]

Kaplan previously served as the Member At-Large on the Alameda - Contra Costa Transit Board of Directors, elected unopposed in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.[2] In this post, she represented 1.5 million residents[2] of western Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

In 2000 Kaplan ran for Oakland city council registered with the Green Party,[8] an affiliation held until she switched to the Democratic Party in 2008.[9]

In April 2010 Kaplan formed a campaign committee to explore running for Oakland mayor.[10][11] In the November election Kaplan placed third in ranked choice balloting after winner Jean Quan and runner-up Don Perata.[5]

Kaplan ran again for Oakland mayor in 2014, coming in second in the ranked choice ballot to councilwoman Libby Schaaf.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Heredia, Christopher (October 14, 2008). "Oakland runoff: old guard vs. outsider". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 12, 2010. Oakland school board member Kerry Hamill faces AC Transit board member Rebecca Kaplan ... to replace incumbent Councilman Henry Chang Jr., who served 14 years in the citywide seat. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Bajko, Matthew S. (February 28, 2008). "Bi woman runs for Oakland city council". Bay Area Reporter. Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  3. ^ Johnson, Chip (January 22, 2010). "Tactics against big Prop. 8 backer go too far". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved February 12, 2010. Rebecca Kaplan, the at-large member of the City Council, and a lesbian... 
  4. ^ Melena Ryzik (2014-07-30). "A Long Slate of Mayoral Candidates Hints at a Rapidly Changing Oakland". New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b Gammon, Robert (2010-11-10). "Breaking News: Jean Quan Wins Mayor'S Race". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  6. ^ Naomi Tucker, Liz Highleyman, & Rebecca Kaplan. Bisexual Politics, Queries, Theories & Visions. New York: Haworth, 1995, p. xvii
  7. ^ Elinson, Zusha (2010-10-09). "Lesbian Candidate for Oakland Mayor Gains Surprise Allies". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ "Why We Run". 2000-02-01. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  9. ^ "Rebecca Kaplan on switching parties". Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  10. ^ "Oakland Councilmember Kaplan forms mayoral campaign committee". 2010-04-13. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 
  11. ^ Rebecca Kaplan: Why Did She Enter the Race for Mayor of Oakland? Exclusive, in-depth interview. (Interview). Archived from the original on April 27, 2010. 
  12. ^

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