OAKLAND -- The Oakland City Council looks to be in for a changing of the guard this year, possibly even in the Fruitvale District.
With council members Jane Brunner and Nancy Nadel not seeking re-election after 16 years in office and Council member Ignacio De La Fuente uncommitted to seeking a sixth term, aspiring politicians aren't wasting time throwing their hats into the ring for the November election.
There already are seven likely candidates in North Oakland and Rockridge seeking to replace Brunner, who is running for city attorney, and six candidates in West Oakland and Downtown running to replace Nadel, who is leaving politics to devote more attention to her chocolate business.
But the most intriguing race could be in District 5, which includes the Fruitvale District.
Real estate broker Mario Juarez, who nearly forced De La Fuente into a runoff election four years ago, says he's running again. But it's unclear just how many Fruitvale district political stalwarts he'll be facing.
While De La Fuente says it's too early to say if he'll seek re-election, longtime school board member Noel Gallo said he is planning to run for the seat with De La Fuente's backing.
"I am operating with his encouragement, endorsement and support," said Gallo, who was first elected to the school board in 1992 -- the same year De La Fuente started on the City Council.
De La Fuente, who didn't return phone calls about Gallo's
Gallo was surprised to hear that De La Fuente hadn't ruled out running for re-election but said he will stay in the race even if De La Fuente seeks to keep his council seat.
No matter what De La Fuente decides, the November election will be the first in a decade to usher in at least two new City Council members. "It's going to be interesting to see where the direction of the city goes with the changing of the guard," Councilmember Larry Reid said.
Reid said he will run for a fifth term representing parts of East Oakland this year, and Rebecca Kaplan said she plans to run for a second term as the council's at-large representative. No one has yet filed papers to contest them.
Here are the candidates to replace Nadel in District 3:
Here are the candidates to replace Brunner in District 1:
Also considering running are Richard Raya, policy director with the good government organization California Forward and Theresa Nelson, a nonprofit consultant, who served a decade on the city's Parks and Recreation advisory Commission.
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.