Rebecca Kaplan (born September 17, 1970) is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. She currently serves as City Councilmember At-Large for Oakland, California. She ran for Oakland mayor in 2010 and placed third. She is a dyke-identified bisexual, and has been identified as a lesbian in the press.
1 Career in elected office
1.1 Oakland City Councilmember At-Large
1.1.1 Budget-balancing measures,
1.1.2 Vacant building registration,
1.2 Election history,
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.
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. The measure, which dramatically increased taxes on these businesses, was strongly supported by the businesses themselves. Kaplan received national media attention from this initiative, appearing on PBS's NewsHour and Fox Business Network to discuss it. The measure passed overwhelmingly in a special election. Three other ballot measures, also campaigned for by Kaplan, were passed in a successful effort to balance the year's budget.
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. 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 fine regime. Kaplan re-wrote the measure with a simpler scope, and was able to pass it by a wide margin of support.
In November 2008, Kaplan won her current post in a run-off election against BART executive Kerry Hamill by a margin of 62% to 37%, with Kaplan receiving a total of 82,531 votes to Hamill's 50,387. She succeeded Henry Chang, Jr., against whom Kaplan had campaigned unsuccessfully in 2000.
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. In this post, she represented 1.5 million residents of western Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
In 2000 Kaplan ran for Oakland city council registered with the Green Party, an affiliation held until she switched to the Democratic Party in 2008.
In April 2010 Kaplan formed a campaign committee to explore running for Oakland mayor. In the November election Kaplan placed third in ranked choice balloting after winner Jean Quan and runner-up Don Perata.