Oakland voters will have to sort through one of the most crowded mayoral fields in recent memory when they go to the polls in November. Fifteen candidates have qualified to run for the city's top job, according to a report released Thursday by City Clerk LaTonda Simmons.

The field is significantly larger than the 10 candidates who ran in 2010, but not quite as large as anticipated.

More than 20 people had pulled papers to challenge Mayor Jean Quan, but several aspiring candidates never followed through and several others filed paperwork that lacked the required 50 valid signatures, Simmons said.

The field includes seven candidates who are running well-financed, professionally managed campaigns: Quan, Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Libby Schaaf, City Auditor Courtney Ruby, former school board member Dan Siegel, Port Commissioner Bryan Parker and San Francisco State Professor Joe Tuman.

West Oakland farm rebuilds after attack

A community farm wrecked by vandals on Aug. 1 is launching a volunteer effort to rebuild that will happen every Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 34th and Peralta streets in Oakland.


Advertisement

Vandals destroyed the gate to City Slicker Farms' urban garden at Union Plaza Park, tore up plants and trellises, ripped out the irrigation system and caused other damage that volunteers are now beginning to repair. For more information on how to help, visit www.cityslickerfarms.org/ rebuild-union.

History of blocking boats in Bay Area

This weekend, it's "Block the Boat for Gaza." Forty years ago this summer, it was "Stop the Esmeralda."

When pro-Palestinian activists on Saturday morning try to block a container ship with Israeli government ties from docking at the Port of Oakland, they'll be following a tradition of interrupting the international shipping trade in San Francisco Bay to make a point.

Back in June 1974, about 300 pickets gathered at the Alameda Naval Air Station to protest the arrival of the Chilean tall ship Esmeralda. They considered the ship a symbol of the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, who took over the country in a bloody coup.

"The noisy but peaceful demonstrators watched from a distance as the handsome four-master pulled into its pier for a goodwill stopover," The Associated Press reported at the time. "The protesters claim the ship was used as a floating prison for opponents of the fascist regime which overthrew the (Salvador) Allende government last year."

The anti-Pinochet activists didn't try to block the boat, but they did take a novel approach. A self-described prostitute union, COYOTE, announced it would support the movement by refusing favors to Esmeralda sailors.