For more than a decade, ABC Security has been the poster child for pay-to-play politics and cronyism that has plagued Oakland City Hall. The private security contractor had repeatedly received mediocre reviews for its work, and yet it held firmly onto to its $2-million-a-year contract. It was no coincidence that its owner, Ana Chretien, is one of the most generous campaign donors in Oakland, and is close friends with influential city leaders, particularly Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente.
However, when the Oakland City Council voted last week to finally end ABC’s security contract at City Hall, it represented yet another changing of the political guard in Oakland, following the election last November of Mayor Jean Quan over ex-state Senator Don Perata. Chretien also is friends with Perata and was one of his most faithful campaign donors over the years, and it’s a safe bet that ABC Security would still have its city contract if Perata were mayor instead of Quan.