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November 8, 2016 — California General Election

City of OaklandCandidate for City CouncilAt Large

Photo of Bruce Quan

Bruce Quan

Civil Rights Attorney
27,342 votes (17%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • To fund and implement proven affordable housing solutions for mid and low-income families and transitional housing for homeless populations.
  • To support and expand violent crime prevention programs such as the Ceasefire Program. To bring together the community, the police and city government to repair and redefine community/police relations.
  • Repair the community's faith in city government to provide world class services on an equitable basis.



Profession:Civil Rights Attorney-Retired
Law Professor, Peking Law School, Beijing, China, (2004–2013)
Adjunct Professor,Executive Director Berkeley Law/Peking Law Exchange, UC Hastings College of Law (2004–2013)
Attorney, Law offices of Bruce Quan (1979–2004)


1971 - 1975 University of California, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1964 - 1971 University of California, Berkeley. BA, BA, JD, Zoology, Sociology, and Asian American Studies, Law (1975)


I believe in the greatness of Oakland.  

We celebrate diversity. We take pride in being social justice leaders. And we keep it real.

This city has shaped my life and given me so many opportunities.  Now, it is my turn to give back.  I want to see Oakland stand on the cutting edge, offering innovative solutions to protect our residents and deliver the basic services that we all deserve.

Oakland can serve as a model for other cities to emulate. 

But to get there, we will need to make real change happen.  And that is why I have decided to run for City Council--to shake up a broken system in order to deliver results that will get Oakland moving forward.

This is my pledge to you.

The reason I feel so passionately about our city is simple: Oakland's history traces the roots of my family tree.


Oakland Is Family.

In 1906, after the Great San Francisco Earthquake, my great-grandfather played a major role in the rebuilding of San Francisco and was one of the many co-founders of our current Chinatown in Oakland. My father was a fifty-five year member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 595. And I am the product of the Oakland public school system. I attended Lakeview Elementary, Westlake Middle School, and segregated Montera Middle School and Skyline High School.

The city of Oakland has given my family so much. It has inspired us with its sense of community and provided us with opportunity to achieve the American dream.

And I have a vision to make Oakland a safer, cleaner, more just city that treats everyone with respect.

I want to see Oakland return to its status as a mecca of art life.  It was not that long ago that our city flourished with a vibrant, diverse arts scene—attracting legends like the Fabulous Ballads, Etta James, and Claude Clark Sr. Today, Oakland still stands as one of the most diverse cities in the United States. However, Oakland’s mainstream reputation does not reflect its rich history or the social justice movements that make it the unique city we call home. 


Putting Community First.

Since I was a young organizer at U.C. Berkeley--where I earned undergraduate degrees in Zoology, Sociology, and Asian American Studies, and a law degree from the Berkeley Law School--I believed in the power of the collective. I served as one of the chief negotiators leading to the founding of the Ethnic Studies Department at U.C. Berkeley. As student body president and spokesperson for the nine campus student body presidents council (SBPC), I championed environmental justice, initiated childcare for single mothers, advocated for the diversification of academia, and promoted increased funding for student outreach programs in minority and low income communities in the Bay Area. I never hesitated to lean into uncomfortable situations and step forward into leadership and decision making roles to challenge to systemic inequalities.

My commitment to diversity, political accountability, and inclusion did not stop there. As an attorney, I worked as the Assistant General Counsel for the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Jose where I had a chance to enact regional policies that helped improve the daily lives of thousands of Californians.

I am also proud to have to have served as interim City Attorney for the City of Alameda, a position whose duties made me responsible for all legal matters involving the municipality.

My work to further civil rights has been the fulcrum of my life's work.  As general counsel of the Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA), a national civil rights group based in Washington, I took on national cases of violence against communities of color. This work motivated me to co-found a law firm Katz, Quan, and Kors with its respective members to defend the civil liberties of the HIV positive and LGBT community members. From the late nineties until the time of my retirement, I served on the board of multiple committees that advanced fair international governance and trade agreements. Throughout those years, I traveled between Beijing and California, teaching as a visiting Associate Professor at Peking University Law School and as an Adjunct Professor at U.C. Hastings College of Law.


Coming Full Circle.

Now, with all the life lessons and rich family history that Oakland has offered me, it is my turn to give back to the city that I love.

I am excited to be working on a number of projects in the city to bring thousands of jobs and affordable housing to Oakland residents. As your neighbor, I volunteer with the Chinese Coalition as well as Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) to address issues of housing displacement, youth civic leadership, and criminal justice for minorities.

My Friday nights are spent with Ceasefire “Stop Gun Violence” in East Oakland. And I currently serve as a council member for the 200 Project, an organization comprised of two hundred multi-sectoral community leaders who advocate for a state-wide housing program that addresses the local barriers to homeownership for minorities and families of color.

I can do more.  And I want to bring a reform-minded agenda to City Hall that makes use of my experience, background and skills to build multi-sectoral coalitions.  

We need to bring about change in Oakland and transform the city to one of unity and empowerment. With the power of your vote, we can rebuild Oakland’s broken systems around affordable housing, public safety, and equitable workforce development. We can create better solutions that improve the quality of life for all and make Oakland a livable city for everyone.

I am asking for your support - ideological, fiscal, networking, campaigning - but most importantly - your vote. I welcome you to join me on this exciting journey. Please vote for me in the November 8, 2016 election as your at-large city council representative.

Rooted in Oakland,


Who gave money to this candidate?

To see who is funding campaigns in Oakland, visit Open Disclosure Oakland.

Videos (1)

LWVO Videos — October 23, 2016 League of Women Voters Oakland

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