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Oakland City Hall and central plaza in 1917. Built of framed steel with unreinforced masonry infill at a cost of US$2 million in 1914. The structure was the tallest building in the city until the

Oakland has a mayor-council government. The mayor is elected at-large for a four-year term. The Oakland City Council has eight council members representing seven districts in Oakland with one member elected at-large and others from single-member districts; council members serve staggered four-year terms. The mayor appoints a city administrator, subject to the confirmation by the City Council, who is the city's chief administrative officer. Other city officers include: city attorney (elected), city auditor (elected), and city clerk (appointed by city administrator).[158] Oakland's mayor is limited to two terms. There are no term limits for the city council. Council member Larry Reid, also serving as vice-mayor, was elected to a fifth term in November 2012.[159]

Oakland City Hall was evacuated after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake until US$80M seismic retrofit and hazard abatement work was complete in 1995.[160] City offices had to be housed in leased space and other locations.

Jean Quan was elected mayor in November 2010, beating Don Perata and Rebecca Kaplan in the city's first ranked choice balloting.[161] This new system is intended to increase voters' ability to choose preferred candidates, as they can combine ranked votes when several candidates are competing.

Oakland is also part of Alameda County, for which the Government of Alameda County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution, California law, and the Charter of the County of Alameda.[162] The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. The County government is primarily composed of the elected five-member Board of Supervisors, other elected offices including the Sheriff/Coroner, the District Attorney, Assessor, Auditor-Controller/County Clerk/Recorder, and Treasurer/Tax Collector, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the County Administrator.

In the California State Legislature, Oakland is in the 9th Senate District, represented by Democrat Nancy Skinner,[8] and is split between the 15th and 18

Oakland City Hall was evacuated after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake until US$80M seismic retrofit and hazard abatement work was complete in 1995.[160] City offices had to be housed in leased space and other locations.

Jean Quan was elected mayor in November 2010, beating Don Perata and Rebecca Kaplan in the city's first ranked choice balloting.[161] This new system is intended to increase voters' ability to choose preferred candidates, as they can combine ranked votes when several candidates are competing.

Oakland is also part of Alameda County, for which the Government of Alameda County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution, California law, and the Charter of the County of Alameda.[162] The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. The County government is primarily composed of the elected five-member Board of Supervisors, other elected offices including the Sheriff/Coroner, the District Attorney, Assessor, Auditor-Controller/County Clerk/Recorder, and Treasurer/Tax Collector, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the County Administrator.

In the California State Legislature, Oakland is in the 9th Senate District, represented by Democrat Nancy Skinner,[8] and is split between the 15th and 18th Assembly districts, represented by Buffy Wicks and Rob Bonta, respectively.[9] In the United States House of Representatives, Oakland is in California's 13th congressional district, represented by Democrat Barbara Lee.[10]

Oakland was a Republican Party bastion from the 1860s to the 1950s, with positions expressed by the Republican-oriented Oakland Tribune newspaper. At the time, the GOP was more moderate than it has become in the 21st century, and some members belonged to a progressive tradition across the Northern Tier of states. In the 1960s, the majority of voters began to favor liberal policies and the Democratic Party.[163][164] Oakland has the second highest percentage of registered Democrats of any of the incorporated cities in Alameda County, with Berkeley coming in first.

The last Republican presidential candidate to receive at least one-third of vote in Oakland was Richard Nixon in 1972. Since then, the Republican percentage of the vote has declined in each successive election.

According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Oakland has 245,111 registered voters. Of those, 159,771 (65.2%) are registered Democrats, 9,544 (3.9%) are registered Republicans, and 65,416 (26.7%) have declined to state a political party.[165] Oakland is widely regarded as being one of the most liberal major cities in the nation. The Cook Partisan Voting Index of Congressional District 13, which includes Oakland and Berkeley, is D+4