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Oakland mayor-elect Sheng Thao wants to unify city, address safety, homelessness

Oakland mayor-elect Sheng Thao outlines her main goals in office
Oakland mayor-elect Sheng Thao outlines her main goals in office 01:43

OAKLAND – New mayor-elect of Oakland Sheng Thao said she will be a "mayor for all of Oakland because we need that now" more than ever. 

She made the comments Wednesday morning at a news briefing in front of Oakland City Hall at 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza. 

The Alameda County registrar of voters announced earlier this week that the final remaining ballots would not be sufficient to change the outcome of the hotly contested race.

Oakland mayor-elect Sheng Thao
Oakland mayor-elect Sheng Thao. CBS

Challenger Loren Taylor conceded the race Tuesday morning after being edged out in the vote count.

Thao's top priorities are safety, homelessness and cleaning up city streets. She also aims to bring unity between the mayor's office and the Oakland City Council. 

"I really believe that a safer Oakland is possible," Thao said to a crowd of about 30. "That a more affordable Oakland is possible. That a more just Oakland is possible and more than ever a more unified Oakland is possible."

She said, "We have to come together to work together to solve our problems together. This is not a one-man effort, a one-woman effort. This is all of us. We love Oakland." 

Thao said she loves the city's diversity and plans to fight for it.

"I will deliver on making sure Oakland comes first," Thao said.

"She has earned her right," said Iris Merriouns, who was at the briefing and was the chief of staff for 24 years for former city council President Larry Reid. 

Merriouns said she thinks Thao can do the job she wants to do because of her experience. She was Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan's chief of staff. Kaplan represents all of Oakland as an at-large city councilmember, so Thao has experience serving residents citywide. 

Also, Thao was most recently the city council member for district four. 

"She has moved through the ranks," Merriouns said of Thao. 

Even more so, Thao was a homeless person 15 years ago, sleeping in her car with her infant son. She could not afford an apartment and had escaped domestic violence. 

Thao wants to implement a public safety plan that she outlined as she was running for mayor. 

That plan means doubling down on violence prevention programs, addressing the root causes of crime by creating more jobs and opportunities for residents and filling vacancies in the Oakland Police Department, she said. 

Thao wants to see diverse, experienced and homegrown police officers. 

It means providing support for victims and redoubling the effort to get guns off the streets, she said. 

She said she will work with California Attorney General Rob Bonta, new Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price and Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong to do the work correctly and immediately. 

Thao also wants to make Oakland the most proactive city for housing and homelessness and make sure the city supports its small businesses. 

Thao wants to attract more retail business, more tourism and more entertainment. 

Former Mayor Jean Quan was at the briefing and said Thao really touches people from all over the city. 

That means she may have a chance to unify it, Quan said.

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