Lai-Bitker says she won’t seek new supe term
Stunned staffers, who announced the news on Tuesday evening, learned Monday that Lai-Bitker would not seek another term in November. They said she informed her board colleagues Tuesday afternoon at a board retreat.
“It’s been a real privilege, but it’s time to move on and allow someone else the opportunity to serve. I look forward to working with my successor to fully implement the many programs that I have started over the years,” Lai-Bitker was quoted as saying in a press release announcing her decision not to run.
Lai-Bitker did not announce her reasons for choosing not to seek another term, and she did not announce plans to seek another office. Lai-Bitker did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.
Lai-Bitker worked from 1995 to 2000 as an assistant to then-Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan before being selected by the board to fill Chan’s seat when she went to the state Assembly. Voters elected to keep Lai-Bitker on the board in 2002, and again in 2006. Prior to that, she worked for a decade as a social worker and clinical supervisor.
During her time in office, she focused her efforts on improving social services and health access.
Lai-Bitker’s district includes San Leandro, Alameda, San Lorenzo, Ashland, Hillcrest Knolls and the Fruitvale, San Antonio, Chinatown portions of Chinatown portions of Oakland. She has served as board president since January 2009.
In other political news, City Councilman Frank Matarrese announced Tuesday that he plans to run for mayor, making him the third person to officially enter the race.
“I have decided to run for Mayor after serving nearly eight years on the City Council not because ‘It’s my turn’ or because I have any sense of entitlement to the office, but rather because I want to bring the best of what I have to offer to lead our city through the uncertain and challenging times times ahead,” Matarrese was quoted as saying in a press release.
Matarrese said he plans to conduct a listening campaign to find out what issues Alamedans want their mayor to focus on.
State Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, is endorsing Matarrese, a press release sent out by his campaign said. It also quoted Mayor Beverly Johnson as saying Matarrese would make a good mayor, though she told a reporter Tuesday night that she has not formally endorsed him.
Matarrese, an Oakland native, has been on the City Council since 2002. He co-chaired the successful Measure O library bond campaign and has served on the city’s Economic Development Commission and Planning Commission. He worked for 25 years in the biotechnology industry before starting his own consulting firm in 2004.
City Councilwoman Marie Gilmore has also announced plans to run for mayor, as has former City Councilman Hadi Monsef.