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Alameda County, CA June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter Full Biography for Shirley Gee

Candidate for
Councilmember; City of Oakland; District 2

This information is provided by the candidate


Shirley Gee ran for public office in May 2005 and with a modest amount of 'clean money' ($13,000) came in third out of a field of nine candidates; proving that citizens can and should run for public office and CAN BE competitive. A significant achievement when one considers that almost $200,000 was spent by the first 2 candidates.

A long time resident of Oakland (since 1952) , Shirley Gee grew up with her family in Oakland attending both Cleveland and Lincoln Elementary Schools, Westlake and then McChesney Jr. High Schools and graduating 5th out of 700+ student from Oakland High School. Lacking the financial resources to go to college, she took a full time job with the Atomic Energy Commission and bit by bit worked her way through college.

She ultimately graduated with honors from St. Mary's Colleges with a Bachelors in Business Management. She is the daughter of Mr. And Mrs. Suey Wing Gee, immigrants from mainland China. Her father is a veteran of World World II and her mother immigrated to the United States post-World War II with her husband. Ms. Gee is also the sibling of Ruby Louie, Patricia Seto, and Dennis Gee; all of whom have been her strongest supporters in her community service in Oakland. Her extended family of aunt's and uncles, and cousins are all in the City of Oakland. Her roots in Oakland run wide and deep.

Throughout her life, she has been very active in the community on a volunteer basis. Acting as an interpreter for her immediate family and then extending this service to her local community, she has consistently been interested in assuring that communities are adequately represented in the political arena and have equal assess to the resources available within the City of Oakland. Most of her work has been geared towards woman issues, children, senior citizens, and the most vulnerable in our society.

Shirley Gee has been in the civil rights field for well over three decades specializing in Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EEO/AA). Professionally, she worked for the Atomic Energy Commission (now known as the Department of Energy) for ten years leaving in 1976 as an EEO Compliance Officer to become a University Officer for Stanford University working in the labor relations and human resource field and specializing in EEO and AA.

During her career at Stanford, she established and administered the State-Certified Apprentice Program to bring diversity into the trades including such trades as auto mechanic, welder, plumber, electrician, HVAC Mechanics, utilities mechanic, maintenance mechanic, painter, and carpentry. She administered one of the first nationally recognized Summer Science Programs dedicated to the diversity of science focusing on minority and women undergraduates. She currently administers the Graduate in Engineering for Minorities program, a 25 year old graduate fellowship program dedicated to underrepresented minorities in the field of engineering.

She also successfully administer two technical programs for SLAC; namely the Vacuum Technology Technician Program for the hard-core unemployed and mothers with dependent child and the Electronics Technician Program for seasonal, migrant farm workers and their children. Both programs resulted in 100% graduation and placement in long-term, career positions for its graduates in the Silicon Valley.

She has expertise in the federal compliance field with a strong background in federal management directives and their application to prime contractors. She is also very well versed in the civil rights field and all regulations and laws associated with this field and has an extensive background in pre-litigation investigations in the field of EEO and AA.

One of her most prized achievements has been the coordination of three Nobel Laureates, Dr. Burton Richter, Dr. Martin Perl, and Dr. Richard Taylor, to speak to Oakland's Cleveland school's 6th grade classes from Oakland's Cleveland Elementary School during a tour of SLAC. The memorialized taping continues to circulate throughout the Oakland Unified School District system and used to help inspire students to science.

In Oakland, she is most noted for being the chief architect in the 1989-1993 reapportionment process and providing leadership to secure an electoral district in Oakland for both Asian Americans and Hispanics in cooperation with African Americans.

The reapportionment process is the foundation upon which political empowerment is based and occurs only once every ten years. Her sustained efforts during the three year period preceding the reapportionment process enabled her to build a coalition and consensus among all respectively communities to develop an electoral map which would be mutually beneficial to all concerns. Her relationships with members of this original coalition remain strong and continue to sustain her efforts today.

As the principle strategist for moving her community's agenda through the choppy political waters, she was pivotal in increasing the visibility of Oakland Asian American; consolidating the Asian American community into one electoral district; and making them a plurality within that district.

Having assisted her community in setting political roots within Oakland's political infrastructure, she continues to educate her community with respect to the political process and to work on multi-cultural projects which would address and serve the general community's needs and strengthen their ties to one another. Her strong administrative background and skills in the field of conflict management and resolution has served her well in her role as a negotiator, facilitator, and mediator on issues affecting diverse communities.

Her strong advocacy for assuring all communities have equal access to the benefits and privileges associated with American citizenry (e.g. access to the political arena and its processes) has led her to work on issues and projects associated with strengthening democracy and maintaining a "balance of power" within political structures.

She is a past Board of Director with the League of Women Voters of Oakland and Chaired the Ad Hoc Task Force - Charter Amendment Initiative (in favor of Special Elections over Political Appointments) and was the author of the "Concerns and Benefits Associated with Special Elections" paper submitted by the League of Women Voters to Oakland's City Council in support of special elections over political appointments. She has and remains a strong supporter for transparency in government and responsive governance.

Always with a strong interest in youth development, she served on the Mayor's Task Force on Campus Safety. Co-Chairing the Campus Safety Committee with Deputy Chief of Police, Mike Meyers, she worked on the issue of safety on the Oakland school campuses trying to assure Oakland's children would have a safe, non-violent educational environment. It was from her work on this committee that gave birth to the "dragon boat project", designed to provide youth with an alternative sport and to strengthen the ties between multi-cultural communities.

In the interest of community safety and diversity, Shirley Gee has served on the Oakland Police Department's Oral Boards since 1996 and on the Oakland Fire Department's Oral Board since 1998 in the selection of both police officers and firefighters. This experience has given her an appreciation for both the responsibilities and challenges confronting our law enforcement personnel and firefighters and an understanding of what qualifications are required in a police officer and a firefighter in order for them to be of service to the community.

Concerned with those less fortunate and mindful of those more fortunate, Shirley Gee served as a Board Member with Oakland Potluck, a 15+ year organization, which rescues food from corporate dinners and functions to elegant catered affairs in the Oakland Hills and delivers it to local food kitchens so it can be served to those in need.

Her most challenging journey, perhaps was the one that took her through the judicial and legal system. Consistent with her determination for social justice, she transformed a traumatic, personal episode involving her family into a public policy issue to the benefit of airline travelers throughout the nation.

In the precedent setting case, that was briefed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, Ms. Gee tackled the issue of civil rights while traveling on an aircraft. In Gee vs. Southwest Airlines, involving hate crimes on air crafts, she successfully reinstated air travelers' right to sue airlines and changed the way airlines handled on-board conflicts; particularly as they pertained to ethnic minorities. She continues to work on getting the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended in 1991, to cover airline travel and to educate the public that your "civil rights" are left behind on the ground once a plane takes to the sky.

An artist by hobby, she is also active in the art and craft community and has served as a past Board of Director with Oakland Asian Cultural Center and was a member of the Artship Foundation's Strategic Alliance Committee and is advisory to Tea Party, an art magazine dedicated to literary art. She has worked closely with the art community and has provided them a forum to display their art form in her non-profit project.

Consistent with her interest and work in multi-culturalism and youth development, Ms. Gee was also the President and Founder of the International Dragon Boat Association (IDBA), fondly known as, "the dragon boat project". IDBA was the producer of the annual California International Dragon Boat Festival at Jack London Square in Oakland. The festival was an internationally based project with a specific mission of multi-cultural education and youth development using one of the fastest growing water sports (i.e., dragon boating) in the world to engage the broader community.

It was the only community-based, interactive events in the region to bring communities of interest and "disinterest" together once a year for a weekend of renewal, acquaintance and camaraderie. The Youth Dragon Boat Program was established as an alternative sports program and made available first to the Oakland Unified School District and then to other school districts in the region. A Dragon Boat Program is able to handled upwards of 160 seatings a day, 5 days a week or upwards of 800 seatings or youth a week. At its maximum capacity, this youth program is capable of accommodating up to 1600 youth a month.

Poised to becoming an Olympian sport with a following of 48+ countries, she brought this exciting international sport to the local community. Under her steadfast leadership, the International Dragon Boat Association competed for the privilege of hosting the World Championship and she succeeded in qualifying the Oakland/San Francisco Estuary as a potential host site for a United States-hosted World Championship with the International Dragon Boat Federation, the controlling international body for dragon boating. Oakland is the only west coast site currently identified as having met these stringent requirements and poised to be a "contender" in the future as a host site for a world class event.

Ms. Gee has worked diligently on the dragon boat project, not only because of its international and multi-dimensional appeal to all people in all walks of like, but because she long recognized that many of our local youth will never have the means to travel nationally or internationally. This project was her attempt to "bring the world to them".

Due to Ms. Gee's "hands-on" guidance of the project, the annual dragon boat festival has grown exponentially in the last six years going from 250+ racers and 8,000 spectators over the weekend to 1000+ racers and 50,000 spectators. It has enhanced the economic development of the region and made the City of Oakland and Jack London Square a destination site for regional, national and international tourists.

Ms. Gee also has a strong background in business having been an owner of a real estate brokerage and two retail florists. As part of her enterprising nature, she was a principle in a restaurant and a $16M condominium development project in Palo Alto and has expertise in the commercial, real estate development and building industry. She is an honorary member of the Oakland Development Council, a local construction and development group, committed to improving the construction development process within Oakland. This background has enabled her to provided consultation services on organizational and financial matters to small businesses as well as to community service organizations. Additionally, she is often called upon by non-English speaking friends, relatives, and senior citizens to provide translation services on matters too complex for them to handle in the business arena.

In recognition of her sustained commitment to excellence, integrity and public service to the City of Oakland, Ms. Gee was selected to be the recipient of the 2002 Oakland "Citizen of the Year" award by the New Oakland Committee, which is made up of labor, business and the community service organizers and leaders from the multi-ethnic communities throughout the City. This is a prestigious annual award given to one Oakland citizen out of 400,000 citizens every year in recognition of exemplary long-term volunteer and public service resulting in the betterment of the City and community at large.

When she is not managing her career at Stanford University/SLAC and doing volunteer, charity work for her community, she is the mother of two youth, ages 17 and 19 years old. Among all of her commitments and obligations, she considers single parenting one of her most rewarding and challenging.

Her sons, Ryan and Sean have been doing public service work right along with her since they were 8 and 10 and have made the ultimate sacrifice by sharing their mother with the local community. Ryan, a witty high school senior and good looking kid (per Ryan) is an accomplished chess player and computer wizard. Sean, a good student and accomplished athlete is a college student in Santa Cruz. Her sons are and have been her inspiration for all the work she does with youth.


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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 13, 2006 10:01
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