Occupy Oakland: Deputy Mayor Quits Hours After Quan's Senior Legal Adviser

 @ashleyportero
on November 15 2011 4:56 PM

Only hours after Dan Siegel, Oakland Mayor's Jean Quan's former chief legal advisor, resigned from his post on Monday in reaction to the mayor's handling of the Occupy Oakland protests, Quan lost another member of her team: Deputy Mayor Sharon Cornu.

Cornu, a 15-year Oakland resident who held her position as Deputy Mayor for less than a year, did not clearly state her reason for resigning, simply telling The San Francisco Chronicle that she felt she was not effective in the role.

This is a very difficult situation, Cornu said. The phrase between a rock and a hard place doesn't start to explain it. Anybody who's looking for a rainbow ending on it is mistaken.

Cornu made sure to praise Quan's handling of the Occupy Oakland protests, which have featured some of the largest demonstrations in the entire Occupy movement. Moreover, the Oakland demonstrations have highlighted the role of law enforcement -- particularly, police brutality -- in the protest movement.

Oct. 25 Police Raid

On Oct. 25, Oakland police raided the protesters' headquarters outside of City Hall to evict them from the premises, leading to more than 100 arrests and multiple injuries after police used tear gas and rubber bullets against them. Although the protesters were allowed to return, they were evicted again on Monday after businesses and city council members reportedly complained that crime and drug use connected to the protesters were negatively impacting area businesses.

Siegel, a civil rights attorney who attended the University of California at Berkeley with Quan, resigned as a result of the decision. Siegel announced his resignation on Twitter, writing that he stood with Occupy Oakland and not the 1% and its government facilitators.

An unnamed colleague told The San Francisco Chronicle that Cornu's resignation may have been connected to a long-standing dispute between Cornu and Quan about how to run their office. Quan's staff has reportedly disregarded Cornu's authority in recent weeks and left her out of key policy decisions.

In the last couple weeks, there have been some instances where Sharon and others have worked on something and planned it out and a longtime staffer just decides to do something different, the colleague said. There's no accountability for that. She can't operate under those conditions.

Cornu worked as labor organizer and activist for years until Quan appointed her as senior policy advisor for intergovernmental relations in January. She became deputy mayor in April.

Sources inside Oakland City Hall told The Bay Citizen that Cornu initially opposed the first raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment on Oct. 25, indicating the decision to instigate the second raid may have led her to quit her post. However, Cornu has continued to stand behind Quan on the record, saying in a statement that she remains a very strong support of Mayor Quan.

In a statement, Quan indicated there are more changes ahead for Oakland.

I will [be] restructuring my administration and making additional personnel announcements in the coming days, she wrote.

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