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Frustrated Oakland City Councilwoman Won't Run For Re-Election

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- An Oakland city councilwoman fed up with the antics and corruption at city hall told KPIX 5 Thursday she has had enough and won't run for re-election.

Annie Campbell Washington didn't mince words when describing the dysfunction on the Oakland City Council.

"Today I am announcing I will not be running for re-election in November," said Campbell Washington.

It took just one term in office for the Oakland Vice Mayor and city council member to throw her hands up in exasperation.

"Given some of the antics and corruption that exist with some members of the city council, it is just not possible to get as much done as I would like to get done on the Oakland City Council," explained Campbell-Washington.

When asked about what she meant about antics or dysfunction, Campbell Washington replied, "For example, one thing that has been incredibly frustrating is just the tone, the tenor of the Oakland city council meetings. The fact that they can be pretty toxic."

Campbell Washington said that toxicity was on full display at a recent committee meeting.

She wouldn't mention anyone by name, but at the meeting, Councilmember Desley Brooks lashed out at the council over a jobs training measure she has been pushing.

"We expect you to do better!" Brooks was heard saying in video of the meeting. "The people are not going to allow any longer for you to do nothing. You are now put on notice that we expect more of you."

Brooks has been a lightning rod on the council. Last year, the city was forced to pay more than $3 million in damages after she was accused of physically attacking former Black Panther Elaine Brown.

More recently, Brooks was accused of verbally and physically abusing a former aide. She has refused to answer questions about the accusations.

Campbell Washington said the tension in the council these days is making it difficult to get the work of the people done.

"It is true that those meetings, the fact that they are so toxic, it does weigh on you," said Campbell Washington. "It frustrates you and you feel like I just can't get done what I want to get done."

Campbell Washington has managed to get some things done during her tenure.

She got the city's soda tax passed and has championed Oakland Promise, an organization which helps children save for college.

She says in her waning months of her time in office, she will focus on local legislation that impacts children. And she'll also be looking to the future.

"I really want to encourage people to run for office," said Campbell Washington. "There are people who are honest and full of integrity. That's what I hope for. Unfortunately that is not the current makeup of the Oakland city council; not all of the members."

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