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Tech investor backing recall effort against Oakland mayor

Ron Conway, founder and managing partner of SV Angel
Joi Ito
Flickr / Creative Commons
Ron Conway, founder and managing partner of SV Angel

Oaklandside reports that Ron Conway, the so called “godfather of Silicon Valley” has been identified as one of the major funders of the recall campaign.

Conway, whose SV Angelventure capital firm has owned major stakes in Google, Meta and Twitter, was listed on the recall campaign’s official website, although it did not detail how much he has contributed.

The investor has reportedly spent millions of dollars backing politicians, political organizations and political causes for several years. Conway was an advisor to San Francisco’s late Mayor Ed Lee, but also backed the successful 2022 recall campaign against the city’s progressive District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Brenda Harbin-Forte, a former judge and member of Oakland’s embattled police commission, is the principal spokesperson for the recall group. She has been critical of Thao’s job performance. She was removed from the commission by Thao last June.

Among the issues cited by the campaign has been the city’s recent surges in violent and property crimes, capital flight, persistent homelessness, as well as Thao’s decision last year to fire Oakland Police chief Leronne Armstrong – which involved an investigation of disciplinary action against a longtime sergeant.

Supporters of the 38-year-old Thao, who took office 14 months ago, argue that Oakland has been plagued by crime and homelessness for years. They say she has been trying hard to improve public safety.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.