Another choice for Oakland Mayor?

Based on the comments on last week’s post about your choices for Oakland Mayor, it seems like a lot of you are pretty unhappy with your options. I can’t say I blame you.

So I’m sure that many of you will be happy to know that as of today, you officially might have another choice. At-large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, who has been getting a lot of attention as a possible contender, announced this morning that she is forming an exploratory committee for a Mayoral campaign.

From the Trib:

First-term Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan has formed a committee that will allow her to begin fundraising for a possible mayoral campaign, Kaplan announced this morning.

Kaplan has not said definitively whether she will run for the post, but statements in a news release gave strong indications she is likely to do so.

“I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and tackle the issues that face Oakland at this important crossroads for our city’s future,” Kaplan said.

I’ll reserve my thoughts for a future post, but I figured the news is something you guys might want to talk about. So here’s a space to do that.

Here’s the full press release:

OAKLAND, CA April 13, 2010 — City Councilmember At Large Rebecca Kaplan announced today that she has filed necessary paper work to form an exploratory committee for the Oakland mayor’s race in the November 2010 election.

“With this economic and political environment, our community is in need of a bold new vision and leadership,” said Kaplan. “I’m looking at the magnitude of what we need to do to strengthen the local economy, attract jobs and make doing business in Oakland easier, and know it will take dedicated effort.”

Through the exploratory committee Kaplan is looking not only to identify key issues but also to invite input and involve supporters. She plans to address critical concerns including the need for more economic revitalization, local hire policies, and livable communities. Her goal is to “continue to build an Oakland we can all be proud of.” Filing an exploratory committee allows fundraising to begin as well.

Kaplan will be hosting a reception and fundraiser party on Wednesday May 12, 2010 at the historic Cathedral Building in Uptown Oakland located at 1615 Broadway Ave., from 5:30 — 7:00pm.

“I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and tackle the issues that face Oakland at this important crossroads for our city’s future.” Kaplan, who was elected to Oakland’s city-wide Council seat with 62% of the vote, is the first openly-lesbian elected official in Oakland. Helping to modernize city hall by improving its efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness will be part of Kaplan’s top priorities, along with economic revitalization and public safety.

“We need to make it possible to do business more effectively, including providing forms, fees and permits online.’’ Kaplan said. “We need to make creating jobs and doing business in Oakland easier.” Updating our zoning to attract economic opportunity will be part of the groundwork it takes to make the city more serviceable, she added.

Former director for the AC Transit Board, Kaplan, 39, has established herself as a thoughtful policymaker acting for real-world solutions, from updating zoning to landing funds to launch a new free transit shuttle for Oakland’s central corridor. Kaplan’s work experience includes providing financial education and legal referrals to residents facing foreclosure, serving as a State Assembly legislative aide, passing a new vacant/blighted property ordinance, and worked to strengthen the city budget with innovative funding strategies.

Kaplan grew up attending Orthodox Jewish day school, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s degree, and earned a law degree from Stanford University.

If nothing else, the election just got a lot more interesting.

130 thoughts on “Another choice for Oakland Mayor?

  1. Jessica

    This is fantastic news! I was leaning towards sitting this election out entirely if my choices were between a tool of the prison guard’s union who ran the state into the ground or a tool of the city employee’s union who ran the city and the school district into the ground. We need fresh blood in City Hall. Run, Rebecca, run!

  2. VivekB

    What Jessica said. I’ve heard of others talk about some shortcomings (sorry Rebecca, i know you read this page, but you’ve probably seen them too). However, the current options suck donkey butt, and i’d rather have an unknown than someone who’s proven to be a dimwit with small minded ideas.

  3. lakerunner

    Rebecca has done an excellent job as Councilmember in 1 year. She has done exceptionally well as a AC Transit Boardmember. Her zeal and enthusiasm for the job is superb and is what Oakland needs. I am just a little bit concerned on the Public Safety issues, especially since in a 24 hr period we had 4 homicides. Oakland has a gang problem and even though we are trying to follow LA’s Gang injunction it is now tied up in the courts from the ACLU, who do not patrol our streets or have to zip up the victims in a bodybags. Oakland, such as many cities across the nation is facing an extreme challenge in addressing the problems of street violence. California is very close to the Mexican border and word has it that the cartels are actually sending paramilitary assassins to target law enforcement to enforce their billion dollar industry. I am not suggesting that Oakland has the same problems as Laredo, Texas, however on the public safety issue, I am concerned that the Councilmember at large may or may not be prepared to take on challenges by making the hard decisions in fighting crime and doing whatever it takes to keep Oakland citizens safe even if it may offend some of her progressive friends that may support her in the mayoral race or dealing with a dangerous drug gang or even a more sophisticated drug cartel such as the Juarez cartel or Los Zetas, that Homeland Security even deemed a threat. Quite frankly, we need Giulani style of cleaning up the city rather than the status quo of lip service and not fulfilling the executive duties as Mayor of this City. I have full confidence in her as a legislator but Iam skeptical to some degree in her bid for Mayor, because of the numerous public safety challenges we have or the possibility of new ones that are more complex or even more lethal in the near future? An after school program just won’t do anymore. Rhetoric to appease both progressives and centrists in our City will not cut it. We need better public safety , no excuses!

  4. Ralph

    Lakerunner, I inivite you to ask her your questions. I, too, would love to have a mayor who is Giuliani tough on crime

    Like you I support Chief Batts and his anti-gang measures. I also favor Councilmember Reid’s curfew. I know there are some on council who who do not support the curfew but they are okay with the prostitution sweeps which are not designed to criminalize teens as they are to get the girls the help and support that they need. Curfew does the same thing.

    I am not going to hold the mayor accountable for murder. I’ve lived in cities where the absolute number of murders is 2 and 3x that of Oakland for roughly the same population and trying to bring the murder rate down is tricky task.

    Ms Kaplan might be the person we need. We just need to ask.

  5. Dax

    Chances of who will win in November.

    Perata 58%
    Quan 29%
    Kaplan 13%

    Chances that person will effect significant change in Oakland.

    Kaplan 16%
    Perata 12%
    Quan 3%

    Chances that JaMarcus Russell will lead a turn around for the Raiders, resulting in a Superbowl appearance.

    0.21%

    So, in conclusion, the prospects for significant change from our mayoral candidates are better than the prospects for change from our highest paid QB.

  6. Max Allstadt

    Dax,

    Polling suggests your odds are off on who can win.

    Also, Kaplan won her current seat with 84,000 votes. That’s twice what Dellums got for Mayor. It’s also the highest number of votes that any citywide candidate has earned in the history of this city. It’s also more votes than all 7 district
    council members won combined in their last election.

    There was even a rumor that Don Perata’s opposition to IRV was fueled in part by the fact that a poll showed Rebecca winning in an IRV election.

    In short, she’s a very credible contender in this race.

  7. lakerunner

    Ralph,

    Agreed, we all need to ask the hard questions to all of the candidates. Rebecca’s enthusiasm is wonderful for Oakland and she is an asset to our leadership on the Council. We do need to hold Mayors accountable because before every inauguration they take an oath to protect us, that has to be their primary focus in maintaining the protection of the City’s citizens. I would want a leader we could hold to account and is a person of action not mere words. A Mayor that will use every asset in his/ her power to make sure citizens are safe and if need be goto federal/state agencies to actively support OPD in investigations and cracking down on crime. That is precisely why I am a bit skeptical of Kaplan because this job requires an extensive “hands on” approach and very tough decisions will have to be made even if there are political ramifications by making the right decisions in regards to keeping us safe. We had “absentee” Mayors in the past and it has not worked. Oakland is tired of this and we need real change not change that makes us feel good. Ralph, thank you for your insight and encouragement to ask the “tough” questions, but also to hold them in account for their answers and make sure they fulfill those promises on the issues of public safety.

  8. Ralph

    Dax, priceless.

    I am admittedly somewhat skeptical of 2008 election number. And if the current dude runs, I suspect that will shift the black vote. Yea, I said it; there is a black bloc.

    And unfortunately, I think most elected officials prefer to do the easy rather than the necessary, but with each election cycle I am reborn with the hope that one politician will step up and tell us what we need to hear instead of what we want to hear. (of course for this group that is one in the same) Keep hope alive.

    Tonight go meet DP. Next month go chat it up with RK.

  9. Andy K

    Lakerunner-

    Are you just skeptical of Rebecca Kaplan? If so, is there some specific position that she has taken or supported that makes you skeptical?

    I for one am skeptical of Don and Jean’s stance on crime and public safety. Don promoted the failed gun buy back a few years ago in the City, that turned into a huge fiasco with many gun dealers cashing in. I think he would like to be tough on crime, however, I don’t think he will be willing to do much hard work – he is another politician looking for a job at the end of his career.

    Jean’s record is atrocious on this matter – her measure Y comments and execution are all the facts you need to look at. Also, lines like “They have crime in San Ramon too” tell you a lot about how serious she takes public safety.

    I am excited that Rebecca has joined the race. Like others that have posted here, I was not looking forward to this election. I was very impressed with her leadership on the OAC issue. She also seems to get at the nuts and bolts of other matters that are before the city. I can’t wait to find out more about her positions on various issues.

  10. Ken Lupoff

    Rebecca Kaplan’s work on the city council has been impressive. She is the only candidate running who can lead us and is not freighted down with the baggage of past budget abuses (Quan-OUSD) (Perata-CA).

    She is thoughtful, charismatic and highly intelligent.

    I fully support her bid for mayor and will do all I can to help her.

    Ken Lupoff
    Chair NCPC-21Y, 2002-2005
    Founding Member, Safety First

  11. Chris Kidd

    It does worry me that an “exploratory committee” is all that we’re getting. I’d like more of a commitment from council member Kaplan, but my view of the coming election is definitely brighter today than it was yesterday.

  12. Dimonder

    I saw Ms. Kaplan speak about public safety not long ago at OCO and was thoroughly impressed. I have seen her speak on other subjects at a number of events and have always left thinking very highly of her. I have not seen Mr. Perata in person as of now, so I will reserve final judgment until that point. I will say that I have only negative inclinations about him based on what I have read-prison guards, FBI, corruption. Ms. Quan is of course a joke. OUSD is to this day struggling to recover from the damage she did, and she seems determined to see the city meet the same fate. Time will tell and debates will be attended. Questions will be asked. Positions will be fleshed out. Opinions may change. But strong early money is on Ms. Kaplan for my vote.

  13. Almer Mabalot

    I am turning 18 in July 2. Am I eligible to register to vote? If so, where and how?

    Also I have confidence in Rebecca Kaplan. Our city needs more leaders like her, OPD Chief Anthony Batts, and many others.

  14. We Fight Blight

    While I appreciate the fresh perspective Rebecca Kaplan has brought to the City Council, I have to reserve judgment on her viability as a mayoral candidate until I more fully understand her approach on the two major issues facing Oakland: (1) the fiscal crisis; and (2) crime.

    Yeah crime is down, but it is still the most significant factor affecting Oakland’s ability to attract capital, new residents and businesses. With this type of PR on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjP2RpajUjc it is no wonder Oakland has a bad rep. Can Rebecca really be “tough” on crime given her progressive credentials? Not sure. Certainly she has some of the right ideas in supporting the OPD and she seems committed to making it easier to address blight.

    On the fiscal crisis, this requires some tough decisions that don’t just involve asking the community for more taxes. In my mind it requires an even leaner and more efficient local government and the repeal of voter mandated funding for certain programs. According to some Councilmembers, one of the major structural impediments to balancing our budget and funding core services, such as public safety, are the voter approved mandates for kids and for libraries. They essentially take money right off the table and leave little discretion in the remaining funds. Shouldn’t we bring these mandates back to the voters asking they be repealed so that the Mayor and City Council can fund core priorities such as public safety. Is Rebecca willing to grab onto that political third rail? Is any candidate? The current City Council seems okay to ask for more money and rather than ask the community to repeal these voter approved mandates.

  15. dto510

    Almer, you can register to vote after the June election (June 8). You can find voter registration forms at most civic buildings and post offices. I think the deadline to register to vote for the November election is in early October.

  16. POP

    I generally like Rebecca, can someone please tell me her accomplishments thus far as a Councilmember?

  17. oakie

    “She plans to address critical concerns including the need for more economic revitalization, local hire policies, and livable communities. Her goal is to ‘continue to build an Oakland we can all be proud of.’ ”

    Hm. I thought having a murder rate twice that of Iraq’s was our largest problem. Guess I was mistaken. I’m guessing that’s not really what she means by making Oakland “livable.” Carry on, as usual.

  18. Almer Mabalot

    DTO510, so I can vote in the mayoral race, correct? When is that by the way?

    –I think that in order for Oakland to get more police officers and ultimately fight crime is by first, fixing the city’s financial problems. Especially the budget deficit, which is why we need more incoming revenue. The city cannot spend more on Oakland Police if there isn’t any money to spend. I also agree that a lot of these mandates take a lot of needed money from other services that is very important to Oakland.

  19. Livegreen

    I want to hear more about the specifics of her plans (as with all the others). It’s early and there’s still time for that. In the meantime it’s positive that she puts economic revitilization at the top of her list. As obvious as it might seem I haven’t heard any of the others yet make this a central part of their campaigns.

  20. Carlos Plazola

    E, it is really unfortunate that in a blog called “A BETTER Oakland”, you’re going to passively support a negative hit blog like the one you have allowed to surface about Perata in your “News” section.

    I like Rebecca. I like Don. I like Jean. And none of them should be smeared in this campaign. I hope we all respect this city enough to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

    I’d appreciate your removing it.

    Carlos

  21. Mike Spencer

    I want a candidate more or less clear of East Bay fiascoes going back 5, 10 to 20 years. The great aspect of Kaplan’s candidacy is she has been an at-large councilmember with no known baggage. Seems like a smart, capable, thoughtful candidate to me. She’s not beholden to anyone/any nterest and would seem to be the most logical and energetic choice. Don, Jean, Ignacio, Nancy, Ron and Jerry etc it’s time to pass the torch.

  22. East Lake Biker

    This will be my first mayoral election since moving here. Can’t wait to see the feathers fly. Bring it on RK!

    BTW, when is the filing date for the Nov. election? August?

  23. Max Allstadt

    Carlos,

    I don’t think pointing to an attack blog is tacit support of it. A lot of people linked to the nasty anti-ignacio and anti-Mario Juarez stuff that was online in the 2008 election. It’s more rubbernecking than anything.

    I like Rebeca and Don too. It’s still fun to see how people talk trash about each other. For instance, note that I left a name out of the first sentence in this paragraph. Am I passive aggressive or what!? Bad me!

  24. Carlos Plazola

    Max, i’ve come to the conclusion that it is unhealthy for us as a community to engage in this kind of “rubbernecking” . But this is just my opinion and I can always opt out of this blog if it continues to evolve into a pseudo campaign arm rather than the data source it originated as.

  25. Ken Lupoff

    I agree with Carlos about that particular anti-Perata website. It’s content is completely juvenile and doesn’t add anything to the debate about who is best qualified to be mayor.

  26. V Smoothe Post author

    Chill out, Carlos. When I come across blogs or articles related to the topics I cover and that I think will be of interest to my readers, I link to them, whether I agree with them or not. The fact is, a lot of people don’t like Don Perata, and some of them are going to write about it. Pretending that point of view doesn’t exist would be inappropriate, and unfair to my readers. It’s the type of behavior one would expect from a “pseudo campaign arm.” Besides, I thought the potholder thing was funny.

  27. Max Allstadt

    David, ask V about my Limo.

    As for the notdon site being juvenile, it is. But all campaign attack sites and mailers are somewhat juvenile. I expect it to get worse as the race progresses. I prefer to watch bloodsports rather than pretending it isn’t happening.

  28. Robert

    I have to go with Carlos on this one. Although by complaining about it, he has given it even more visibility.

    Linking to the web site does drive traffic to the site, and thereby gives wider audience to the site. Also, it does suggest that V herself does give some level of credence to the ideas on the site. I also think that the defense that she links to news of interest is rather disingenuous. As of this writing, all the other links in the news section appear to be to actual news. But, V is clearly partisan and supports Kaplan. If she wishes to sully her reputation by linking to a site like this, that is her problem.

  29. annoyed

    Giulani tough on crime? A mayor connected to corruption? Remember his pal who is now serving prison time, Bernie Kerik?

    Giulani took credit for work done by the former NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton who went to LA to be the police chief. The reason Bratton left NYC was because Giuliani thought the Commissioner was getting too much credit for the redcution in crime.Bratton was the architect for the crime reduction in NYC, not Giuliani. The subway clean-up, took place before Giuliani. Giuliani is slime. I wouldn’t vote for Giuliani for dog catcher.

    http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/bernard_b_kerik/index.html

    And no one complained about the link to a psycho RK blog because there is no fudiciary interest on the part of many to an RK win as mayor. Why would they complain? Just sayin’. Thanks for letting me know about the Perata blog, Carlos. Missed the link but your comments put me in touch with it.

  30. livegreen

    William Bratton is responsible for NYC’s success against crime: True. Good law & order Democrat, meaning he also cares about the people. Just what Oakland needs, and so far it seems we have that with Chief Batts.

  31. lakerunner

    Andy K

    Yes, the gun buy back program was not very successful. I believe if the City elects Don Perata, what comes with that vote, would be a lot of connections throughout the State that he could tap for resources as well as experience. He said he would not be an “absentee” Mayor and will go the extra mile when it comes to troubled areas, by actually going to these problem areas and talking with residents face to face. Its a bold statement and I believe if the majority of Oaklanders elect him, we should hold him into account. In regards to the budget shortfalls during the early 2000′s, Don Perata was able to lead the negotiations with the Governor and because of his experience he landed concessions and go legislators from more conservative areas in California to agree to the budget. It was only when he was termed out is when we had this massive budget shortfall. Before that , it was because of him that Gov. Scharzenegger(who took the credit) was featured on Time Magazine with Mayor Bloomberg titled “Who needs the Feds!”

    Jean has experience on the Oakland School Board and has served as on the City Council for quite some time. If Oakland was to elect her for Mayor, we would probably get more focus on quality of life issues with regards to public safety and more promotion for a green economy. Being Councilmember she probably heard all the horror stories when it comes to crime and may have insight on ongoing criminal investigations that the OPD needs to keep confidential.

    Rebecca Kaplan is gifted,young and full of energy. I am sure she has done a great job supporting the AC Transit Police when she served as a Board Member. But, being a junior Councilmember and making a bid for Mayor after a year on Council is why I stated I am a bit skeptical.

    It is easy to vote or create amendments but it is a much more difficult task to make executive decisions. Quite frankly, it was an embarassment last year during the Oakland Riots when the Mayor tried to avoid the problems rather than urging calm and saying “We will prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

    Annoyed,

    That is debatable. Mayor Dinkins was a dismal failure for NYC. He let crack cocaine get out of control and the city was in ruin. Mayor Giulani actually started with the basics first such as quality of life issues litter, spray paint and pan handling. He helped transform Times Square into a more family friendly tourist attraction rather than an attraction for strip shows and adult video stores. He cracked down on the Latin Kings who were instituting their street justice as well as the United Blood Nation who were slicing ordinary New Yorkers with razor blades as a form of gang initiation hence the term ” a buck fifty= 150 stitches” These were dangerous super gangs that spanned from other cities.

    Most importantly, Mayor Giulani, led New York in its most perilous times after 9/11 and managed to keep cool knowing he lost a few friends when al Qaeda hit us on 9/11. As controversial as his leadership may have been, I believe the results of his leadership speak for themselves, especially since New York’s crime rate is getting lower and lower for a city of that size.

    That is what Oakland needs. Disaster could strike. It could be a large earthquake or a major fire in the Oakland Hills. We need a Mayor who will not be afraid to take charge and make the necessary decisions to get the job done.

  32. lakerunner

    (Sorry I ran out of time to re-edit)

    Andy K

    Yes, the gun buy back program was not very successful. I believe if the City elects Don Perata, what comes with that vote, would be a lot of connections throughout the State that he could tap for resources as well as experience. He said he would not be an “absentee” Mayor and will go the extra mile when it comes to troubled areas, by actually going to these neighborhoods and talking with residents face to face then gathering data to come up with solutions. This is a bold statement and I believe if the majority of Oaklanders elect him, we should hold him to his words. In regards to the budget shortfalls during the early 2000′s, Don Perata was able to lead the negotiations with the Governor and because of his experience he landed concessions and got legislators from more conservative areas in California to agree with him on the budget and managed to get Governor Schwarzenegger to sign off on the budget. That is true political grit, getting Republicans or conservative Democrats to agree to progressive policies on the State budget. It was only when he was termed out is when we had this massive budget shortfall. Before that , it was because of him that Gov. Scharzenegger(who took the credit) was featured on Time Magazine with Mayor Bloomberg titled “Who needs the Feds!”

    Jean has experience on the Oakland School Board and has served as on the City Council for quite some time. If Oakland was to elect her for Mayor, we would probably get more focus on quality of life issues with regards to public safety and more promotion for a green economy. Being Councilmember she probably heard all the horror stories when it comes to crime and may have insight on ongoing criminal investigations that the OPD needs to keep confidential.

    Rebecca Kaplan is gifted,young and full of energy. I am sure she has done a great job supporting the AC Transit Police when she served as a Board Member. But, being a junior Councilmember and making a bid for Mayor after a year on Council is why I stated I am a bit skeptical. She may be the next Joan of Arc of the 21st Century and that is why Oakland is so glad to have her. But, I just need more reassurance because of her short time on the Council to move forward with that yes vote for her or this new whole confusing vote process was it 3,2, 1 or was it 1,2,3 ?j/k :)

    It is easy to vote or create amendments but it is a much more difficult task to make executive decisions. Quite frankly, it was an embarassment last year during the Oakland Riots to see the Mayor scurry away from Oaklanders and the press rather than going public immediately and urging restraint but having the stones to enforce law and order and telling rioters you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    Annoyed,

    Your statement is debatable. Mayor Dinkins was a dismal failure for NYC. He let crack cocaine get out of control and the city was in ruin. Mayor Giulani actually started with the basics first such as quality of life issues litter, spray paint and pan handling. He helped transform Times Square into a more family friendly tourist attraction rather than an attraction for strip shows and adult video stores. He cracked down on the Latin Kings who were instituting their street justice as well as the United Blood Nation who were slicing ordinary New Yorkers with razor blades as a form of gang initiation hence the term ” a buck fifty= 150 stitches” These were dangerous super gangs that spanned from other cities. He managed to dismantle and seriously hurt their operations in NYC.

    Most importantly, Mayor Giulani, led New York in its most perilous times after 9/11 and managed to keep cool knowing he lost a few friends when al Qaeda hit us on 9/11. As controversial as his leadership may have been, I believe the results of his leadership speaks for itself, especially since New York’s crime rate is getting lower and lower for a city of that size.

    That is what Oakland needs. Gangsters are shooting police cars at hq. Furhtermore, a natural disaster could strike. It could be a large earthquake or a major fire in the Oakland Hills. We need a Mayor who will not be afraid to take charge and make the necessary decisions to get the job done.

  33. livegreen

    Lakerunner, I don’t think Dinkins was a very good Mayor, but to blame him for the crack epidemic is totally wrong. Crack was out of hand in the 70′s in NYC. By the time Dinkins followed Koch into the Mayor’s office, crack was not nearly as important (& heroin was a bigger issue at the time).

    Giulani, coming out of the DA’s office, was knowledgeable & a supporter about broken windows theory but that doesn’t mean he was it’s main implementor. He was the political enabler (no doubt about it & vital to make things happen in a city ruled by liberal politicians) but he was not in charge of the outcome or even the policy strategies regarding the gangs, Compstat, etc. That was all Jack Maple & Bill Bratton.

    And finally, leading up to 9/11 Giulani was very very unpopular. It was only 9/11 that rescued his political career. And he did show his leadership skills during that time.

    The point is, we don’t need and will never get a Giulani for Mayor here. However we do need a William Bratton. Batts looks like he’s from the same mold. I hope he is…

  34. peter

    crack was “invented” right here in Oakland in the 80′s (or, as many sources suggest, developed by the CIA right here). Not in the 70′s—and if you think it screwed up NY, you should have seen Oakland in 1988! No one was ready for it, no one knew what to do, and if you go around any city in 2010, still no one has the answer!

  35. Ralph

    LG, I think your timeline is a bit off. Crack became a problem in the 80′s. I’ve heard that Giuliani is responsible for NYC improvement. I heard that Giuliani is taking credit for programs that Dinkins initiated, and Bratton is really the beneficiary of programs first started by Kelly. the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. But that is neither here nor there. I do think we need to be tougher on some quality of life crimes. And we need a mayor and police chief who will be aggressive in addressing these issues. We got half the package. We just need to find the other half.

    Admittedly, it does not take a genius to figure out gun buybacks are not a good idea, but before city council accepted the funds from the senator, they could have have stood up and said, “In the great history of gun buy back programs none have been particularly successful, so why are we doing this?”

    Am I the only one who was expecting RK to be young, gifted and black?

  36. annoyed

    Lakerunner: You really don’t know what you are talking about. Talking points, you sound like a Giuliani operative. Do some research online with mainstream media sources. NYC firefighters hate Giuliani because of his 9-11 “leadership”. Yes, he showed some “leadership” only because our president showed none and anyone would look good compared to Shrub. Giuliani has capitalized on 9-11 every day to become a very rich man. Giuliani is a punchline for every comedian who brings up 9-11. He is such a prince that he refused to release his financials and his client list when he ran for president.. He is a lying, egomaniac with no moral compass when it comes to self promotion. He will eventually fall. It’s not a matter of if, just when.

    http://blog.washingtonpost.com/44/2007/12/09/giuliani_wont_release_client_n.html

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,272201,00.html

    Crack decimated whole sections of nearly every major urban city in this country. What would be your point? And the fact is, most people didn’t care because they felt removed from the crack wars and didn’t see it as their problem. It’s kind of like the general attitude about crime today, even in Oakland. I don’t know if Dinkins “refused” to deal with crack but I know how overwhelming the crack epidemic was in Oakland.

    Bratton cleaned up crime in NYC and he did the same damn thing in LA. It was Bratton, son, not Giuliani.

    I’m not sure what Dinkins had to do with this discussion anyway. If you want to talk NYC history, let’s talk about Mayors Ed Koch and Abe Beame who presided over NYC when the city nearly went bankrupt and became essentially a toilet for a number of years. Ed Koch eventually started the city on the road to recovery. Rudy Giuliani is a slick hustler with good timing. He selected a brilliant man for Police Commissioner then felt he had to compete with him for attention and credit for crime reduction. Giuliani is a very small, petty, man.

    By the way, FAUX News is not a source of info for me but I thought their take on Giuliani was enlightening since you would expect them to be sympathetic to a fellow GOP nut job.

  37. annoyed

    By the way, it was Giuliani who insisted, after the first bombing of the Twin Towers, to centralize emergency communicaitons in the Towers. He is an utter fool.

  38. livegreen

    Crack was invented in the 70′s, came into full force in the early/mid 80′s (i stand corrected on that point, which was based on a misinterpretation from NY friends who told me how bad the 70′s were) and Dinkins was Mayor in 1990. The timeline for blaming Dinkins for crack still doesn’t line up.

    But this isn’t the central point. I would add that besides Bratton being responsible for cleaning up NYC, he was also much more diplomatic than Giuliani and went out of his way to meet with minority leaders and to improve NYPD. He did the same in L.A., notably firing the Officers responsible for the botched crack-down on Latino demonstrators. He was a gifted diplomat for crime & safety, and reaching out to all communities.

  39. Al

    …and don’t forget about the toy makers getting into the act. Remember “Rock Lords?” little humanoid transformers. “Pet Rocks.” and lastly one needs no familiarization with terms like “rock-hoes.”

    Oh no; this was just the beginning. The assault on the minds of our youth has been completely underestimated. Imagine, play with your “Rock lords,” while the drug dealers make mommy into a “rock-whore.”

    That was a certain reality many inner-city children have had to deal with, and it runs the gammit of race and class.

    If you turn the clock back and look at the heros invented by television and hollywood while jobs left Oakland during the 80′s, it’s hard to imagine these new genres of music and utterly disgusting cartoons were just spontaneously hatched.

  40. Ralph

    And just when did the blog become a better new york. As interesting as the history of reform in New York is, it doesn’t really make for a better oakland. I am sure if you want to discuss who should get credit for cleaning up the mean streets of New York there are blogs for that.

    Want to make Oakland better get tough on crime, either lock up some corner boys or give them an education option out. You either attend class and do weekly check-ins with your education officer or spend some time in lock-up. And if they aren’t at grade level, they need to attend education detention until they are at least proficient.

  41. Patrick M. Mitchell

    LOL seriously? I bet that’s news to our actual Vice Mayor, Ignacio de la Fuente, as well as to all the other Councilmembers who elected him to that position.

  42. Max Allstadt

    The Vice Mayor position rotates. Quan currently holds the title, but it’s utterly meaningless except if Dellums gets hit by a meteor.

    Quan is technically not breaking any rules by using that title, but of course the only reason she’s using it is that it makes her look more important than she actually is.

  43. ComeOnNow

    Carlos,

    You must be kidding.

    Your finger prints were all over the chalk line mailer in the d3 race and the mario juarez hit pieces & website in the d5 race and with no irony you demand that this site censor other sites that negatively portray candidates for office.

    Come On Now.

  44. Dustin

    If Ignacio is not the vice-mayor, why does it his website say “Office of the Vice Mayor”?

  45. Ralph

    Dustin, there probably wasn’t enough cheese for the hamsters, so they had to let the hamsters go. Of course, if the city managed the cheese better and weren’t so inclined to give it to every non-profit, then maybe, just maybe…

  46. Livegreen

    The News Link about Unions seeking control over Cities and the Bankruptcy process (to limit affects on union contracts) is amazing. I heard about this a few months ago and assumed representatives would side with their citizens to at least maintain the option. But nope the Assembly passed it? And Darrel Steinburg is finding a way to get it through the Senate?

    I’d really like to know how Andre Swanson voted on this.

    We really need a moderate party in CA…

  47. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Good God the thought of Jean Quan being the Mayor scares me 100000000X more than a potential meteor strike. And, a meteor strike would be less costly.

  48. Ken

    ralph, you being optimistic every election tells me that there is a reason elections are rigged every four years instead of every 2 or 10. just long enough to forget.

    humans are adaptable. we forget how good the 1970s were for us on average.

    i think nazi camp victims, cultures with massive genocide of populace and or intelligentsia (ie abo readers) have massive society-wide memory loss. tv helps.

    anyway, … not really saying much here.

    jq has no life.

  49. Dax

    Don Perata called me tonight. Well, it was on my machine when I got home, but I’m sure he personally made the call and just missed me.

    Anyway, he invites me to a meeting to discuss issues. The meeting will be held at 8711 MacArthur on Tuesday from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

    Safeway was the original tenant of that building, but they left in the mid sixties.
    Is there a store within 2 miles of there where a family can buy vegetables?

    Perhaps Don has some ideas about that.

    I know there is a dialysis center at 10700 MacArthur for those who have lost their kidney function via diabetes. I’m told it costs about $70,000 per year to keep a person on dialysis.

    I wonder how many vegetables you could buy for $70,000 a year and how many diabetes cases could be prevented if good veggies were easy and cheap to obtain?

    Oh yeah, at 10800 there is a Church’s Chicken, but from the San Leandro border to the Laurel District, I don’t think there are any veggies on MacArthur Blvd.

    I guess there just isn’t much money in veggies, while there is big money in the absence of veggies.

    Am I missing some secret MacArthur produce store? Some place between the Laurel District and Estudillo Ave. in San Leandro.
    What is that distance? About 6 miles…
    Government subsidizes the high fructose corn syrup and later the $70,000 dialysis needed for the diabetes related kidney failure, but not a subsidized veggie to be found for 6 miles.
    You know, you could buy $2.00 worth of veggies every single day for 96 years for one years cost of dialysis.

    I’m not sure if Don Perata is a healthy eater. I know his predecessor as Senate Pro-Tem, Bill Lockyer was once known as a man who never ate any vegetables at all.

    Just curious, are there any good vegetable stores on E 14th (International Blvd) between High Street, and downtown San Leandro?

    I seem to remember hearing about one around 90th or so, but I’ve never been there. Google says Cervantes Produce 9331International Blvd.
    Anyone been there? A good store?

  50. Ralph

    My renewed hope is quickly dying. Dax, if DP has any ideas you are not going to hear them at his event. The only thing I do know is he is against a curfew. Someone needs to explain to me why every white politician is against a curfew while every black male I know supports a curfew.

  51. Max Allstadt

    Ralph,

    The black community activists I know, including men, do not support a curfew. I think Chief Batts’ very narrowly tailored version of a curfew might have some promise, but if the community as a whole cannot be convinced, it will only exacerbate the divide between cops and citizens. Batt’s stated goal is to bridge that divide, which is why I think he isn’t pushing as hard for a curfew as when he originally pitched the idea.

  52. Brad

    Max,

    At the community meeting I went to recently Batts really pushed the “curfew” hard. He did though try to re-define it, saying it wasn’t a curfew but actually a “anti-loitering ordinance.”

    I tend to agree with Ralph, though, that it’s Oakland’s surplus of limousine liberals – of all races – that oppose the curfews more.

  53. Ralph

    I generally do not expect women to support the curfew. And granted the black men I refer to do not number in the many (L Reid, and the various black men of varying ages who show up at various events to voice their support for a curfew), but my general belief is we are going about the curfew in the wrong way.

    First, I am the last person who will say that the city should be acting as a parent. But when a child is roaming the street at 3am absolutely nothing good can come from this activity. We conduct prostitution sweeps to help underage girls but we are content to let minor boys roam the street. I know some don’t like prostitution sweeps because we arrest the young ladies but that is only half of the equation. Once we have identified them, we are able to help them.

    Second, I spent 5 hours on Tuesday night examining many curfew policies, rereading Reids proposal and came to one conclusion – these policies are not well received because they are perceived as race based and use sticks when they should be using carrots. (I will come back to this later after I listen to the Feb 09 PS meeting again)

    This city and its residents spend a significant amount of time trying to address black male drop-out and unemployment rate, but we are ignoring root causes. In some cases, our programs consist of teaching these young men how to present themselves and to show up on time for an interview. But if this only gets you a job earning minimum wage, the poverty cycle will continue. If we really want to make a difference we need to make a commitment to bust the cycle.

  54. Mike d'Ocla

    Ralph: “If we really want to make a difference we need to make a commitment to bust the cycle.”

    Your “cycle” in turn rests upon the economic inequality which has been increasing so drastically in the U.S. arguably since the 1970s but certainly since the 1990s.

    A good introduction to this topic is Tony Judt’s “Ill Fares the Land” in the current edition of the New York Review of Books (not to be confused with the New York Times Book Review which is a vastly different critter). You can read the article on the website. It’s short. Just a quick look at the graphs at the end of the article will make Judt’s point clear (it’s nothing new to economically-literate progressives, but Judt writes very incisively).

  55. Dax

    ========================================================
    Ralph: “If we really want to make a difference we need to make a commitment to bust the cycle.”

    Your “cycle” in turn rests upon the economic inequality which has been increasing so drastically in the U.S. arguably since the 1970s but certainly since the 1990s.
    ==========================================================

    True, but there are other major elements in what has happened since 1990 to the job prospects of young African American males in the city of Oakland. Data suggests that graduation rates in that group are well below 50%, but they were also very low 20 to 40 years ago. However now it is different.

    Decades ago there were avenues and outlets for young men in that situation.
    Not great ones, but real alternatives where a path to work was available.
    Some of the issues surrounding this bleak situation are simply not discussed.
    They are off the table, almost forbidden.

    Travel the city. Go to warehouses, small factories, small retailers, restaurants, and construction sites.
    Someone traveling all over the city might be reminded of those sayings…
    “who are you gonna believe, me (the political leaders), or your eyes?”.

    In vast categories, there has been a wholesale substitution of labor while nary a peep was let out. Due in part to the booming economy of the 90′s, the change wasn’t as pronounced.

    Its hard to imagine such a dramatic shift taking place in any other area of the economy, yet be nearly ignored by local media.
    Striking, simply striking.

  56. Ralph

    Max,
    If you have a chance can you share some of the hesitations that people have voiced. My own research indicates that the criminalization, the racial profiling, and lack of effectiveness to achieve stated goals are the three biggest reasons why people seem to be against a curfew. I suspect that the government as parent is another but I have not heard it voiced. Do you have any additional insights from your gang of activists?

  57. Max Allstadt

    Brad,

    I went to some of those community meetings too. At that time, a few
    months back, he was definitely pushing
    the idea hard. But I haven’t heard much about it recently.

    Ralph,

    The concerns I heard were entirely about profiling, and about the likelihood that enforcement of a curfew would be uneven, and centered in the flats.

    Any perception of unfairness potentially undermines the policy. And that perception is based on a lot of history. It’s an unfortunate catch 22. You can’t prove you’re fair without a chance to try something everybody presumes
    is unfair.

  58. Ralph

    Max,
    Thanks. I think those concerns ar e consistent with what I have heard. I have listened to the 2/09 PSC meeting on this issue a couple of times and I think the youth and parents had a poor understanding of the curfew. At the same time, I don’t think Officer Tracy’s closing remarks did a lot to change that perception.

    I think it would be helpful to have parents, youth, interested community members come together to discuss these issues. At some point we need to take a leap of faith. (I face this same problem with attempting to make change is the education system. Union leaders are suspicious of change and are reluctant to make changes that will undoubtedly change long standing union practices and help students.)

    Not sure where you stand on this issue, I would love to discuss over a beer. Nothing bothers me more than watching a youth lose the opportunity to become something because we did not address issues that potentially limit their opportunities.

  59. len raphael

    Ralph, what carrot were you thinking of?

    Max, yeah, a curfew would fall heavily on poor kids of color in the poor sections of the flats, because that’s home to the vast majority of oakland kids.

    The perfect storm of factors creating massive unemployment situation for oakland poor blacks looks darn near insolvable in the forseeable future by anything within the power of muni government and local educational resources.

    even so we have to try because maybe we’ll come up with something that works.
    Then we have to decide how much to spend on trying.

    We’ll find a cure for cancer first.

  60. Livegreen

    I agree that perception underminds the policy, but what happens if there are more unsupervised kids in the flats than on the slopes or in the hills? (I’m not saying there are, I’m just saying what if)? It would make sense to study the numbers.

    The other important factor is the age of the kids hanging out. They probably have a better handle on that. So if most kids start hanging out around 14-15 on up they could get some grants to keep some Rec Centers open late with a Police presence. Kids wherever they are (flats, slope, hills) can only hang out inside or at a Rec Center where they can b kept safe…

  61. Livegreen

    Len, The other reason it’s hard to find a solution for jobs is liberals say that everyone should go to college. And since everyone has the potential to go to college they decided that should b everybody’s goal and the only goal…

  62. James Robinson

    I don’t think anyone, particularly “liberals” say that everyone should go to college. However, it has been proven that, in general, people with college educations make more money in the long run than people who don’t have college educations. As our economy becomes more information oriented (look at biotech, for instance), education will only become more important. In a nutshell, capitalism generally favors the educated and that will only increase.

    Here are some numbers so we can stop blaming “liberals:”

    http://www.rasmussen.edu/articles/higher-education.asp

  63. Ralph

    Len, first, brace yourself what follows may shock you.

    We need to reward students for attending school, doing well in school, and performing well. (As much as Livegreen loves OUSD, I have my doubts that OUSD does a good job educating students. Thus, I will want to have some outside verification that students are performing.) We also need to expose the high achieving students to a world beyong Oakland. We also need to find a way to expose these youth to professional jobs. Additionally, we should enroll professional businesses as participant sponsors. We need to match the students with a mentor. To eliminate the only associate with law enforcement as the initial pick-up, the youth should be engaged in OPD athletic league.

    But we need to first get to the root cause of why the youth are on the street and address the youth needs. I suspect we are going to need social workers, psychologists, and home health care aides. We may even need to do drug interventions for familiy members. If necessary we provide a community safe house where children can get a night sleep.

    How do we pay for this, M2O.

  64. James Robinson

    I don’t think anyone has suggested that EVERYONE should go to college. However, we need to recognize that, in general, people who have college educations make more money in the long run than those who don’t. As we become a more information-based society that deals in intangibles, education will become even more important. In other words, it isn’t “liberals” who decided people need to go to college, CAPITALISM decided that people need to go to college — with exceptions, of course. Here are some numbers that could illustrate my point:

    http://www.rasmussen.edu/articles/higher-education.asp

    Maybe it is time to face the possibility that the average Oakland African-American male is on the edge of obsolescence. For example, today’s Wall Street Journal has an article on how tech companies are making a strong comeback from the recession and that many are hiring. Are these companies hiring high-school dropouts? Nope. And on April 14, the San Francisco Business Journal announced that the “Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory boosted the Bay Area economy by 5,600 jobs and $690 million last year, according to a study it published this week.” Are those jobs for dropouts? Nope. If anyone, especially minorities, wants to survive in the Bay Area, they need to at least try to go to college. That’s not being liberal, that’s being real. And that’s why Oakland needs to make sure kids stay in school and don’t roam the streets. You can call it a curfew, truancy, or patty cake for all I care. It just needs to be done.

  65. James Robinson

    I don’t think anyone has suggested that EVERYONE should go to college. However, we need to recognize that, in general, people who have college educations make more money in the long run than those who don’t. As we become a more information-based society that deals in intangibles, education will become even more important. In other words, it isn’t “liberals” who decided people need to go to college, CAPITALISM decided that people need to go to college — with exceptions, of course.

    Maybe it is time to face the possibility that the average Oakland African-American male is on the edge of obsolescence. For example, today’s Wall Street Journal has an article on how tech companies are making a strong comeback from the recession and that many are hiring. Are these companies hiring high-school dropouts? Nope. And on April 14, the San Francisco Business Journal announced that the “Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory boosted the Bay Area economy by 5,600 jobs and $690 million last year, according to a study it published this week.” Are those jobs for dropouts? Nope. If anyone, especially minorities, wants to survive in the Bay Area, they need to at least try to go to college. That’s not being liberal, that’s being real. And that’s why Oakland needs to make sure kids stay in school and don’t roam the streets. You can call it a curfew, truancy, or patty cake for all I care. It just needs to be done.

  66. James Robinson

    Ralph, are you sure we want to delve into why youth are on the streets? It might piss some people off. What if we discover that part of the problem is cultural? What if we discover that there is a subset of the African-American community that simply does not value education? Maybe the subset has been left behind thanks to integration and is now a permanent underclass while the rest of the black community swims increasingly in the mainstream of the country.

    Besides, haven’t we had social workers flooding the black community ever since LBJ’s war on poverty back in the 1960s? Haven’t we reached a point in Oakland where we need to divert more funding to reinforcing our police department or encouraging business development? Maybe it is time to draw more DINKs into Oakland who can pay some taxes around here instead of trying to save the descendants of the folks we were trying to save for decades.

  67. len raphael

    JR, agree with you that liberal govt policies didn’t create the permanent underclass we have in Oakland. It’s policies of vastly increasing government jobs fed state and local combined with affirmative action arguably lifted as many people into middle classdom as it’s welfare programs institutionalized poverty. (on second thought, that’s wishful thinking.)

    was the dismantling of trade school education damaging because it removed an intermediate step into the middle class? maybe. hard to tell because there were both racial and tribal barriers to entry into union skilled trades. many latinos here have learned skilled trades without attending trade schools.

    Ralph, I could well imagine that funding and staffing and administering OUSD the way some of the most successful charter schools do total intervention in their students lives would show results. ain’t gonna happen unless natural gas is discovered in East Oakland. Keep hoping that Ben Chavez low cost methods actually work and are not a matter of self selected students.

    What’s m20?

    -len raphael

  68. Ralph

    You can not write off the child because the parent is an idiot. You at least need to the give the child a chance to grow as “normal” a life as possible. You might just discuss some ugly truths in this process. Some of them we might be able to address and some children might get left behind. But I am not yet ready to write off all the children.

    The good people of Oakland love to cite the high unemployment and incarceration numbers of African-Americans and Af-Am males in particular. Some of the people who cite these stats are the youth and their supporters against the curfew. These kids also suggested that more money should go to after school programs. Do they really think that the youth who is walking the street at 3am is going to an after school program. If anything this demonstrates their complete lack of understanding of cause and effect and why we need a curfew. Some people like to view a curfew as a safety measure. It isn’t. It is our last best hope to ensure that the forgotten ones have an opportunity at success.

    I am troubled by one thing that I heard while listening to the Feb 09 PSC hearing on this matter. Business owners and maybe a few others assumed youth were committing property crimes in the downtown area. Based on the amount of property damage following Art Murmur, I suspect many of these crimes are committed by 20 year old hipsters.

  69. Ralph

    Len, even if you throw charter school resources and the control structure at the public school, it only works if the parent is engaged. If your 15 y.o. child is roaming the streets at 3a.m., I am going to go out on a limb and say that the parent is not engaged.

    Dismantling trade programs was not a problem. There were many problems with them. Len, I believe in part what you are saying in integration was the problem and I don’t disagree.

    M2O is Measure OO

  70. len raphael

    For a little cross cultural comparison, didn’t some of the northern cities in the UK turn into massive multi generational welfare states as global forces hit the rust belt and ship building industries of that part of the UK? What’s the situation in those cities now?

  71. len raphael

    Ralph, i didn’t think i was saying that integration of schools was the cause of the educational problems. I would say it diverted attention, anger, energy from fixing the causes though it did bring attention to vast differences in resources allocated to poor schools.

    Hard enough to do a makeover on the kids. The parents who don’t get with the program are a lost cause. It’l never happen for good reasons, but I could see how a benevolent version of the Orphan’s Train might work. Maybe creating boarding schools? http://www.orphantraindepot.com/NeedforOrphanTrains.html

    Something like that was done by the US Govt for American Indians with awful results. Then you got that school in HI for native Hawaiians which did work?

    -len

  72. Uncle Bob

    How quickly the conversation has deviated from its original intent. I also have plenty to say about:
    - NYC politics
    - other blog topics on this site or some other ones
    - intended uses of “curfews” or “scheduled human confinement” and their
    success
    - educating youth to become successful graduates and seekers of jobs long
    gone or not yet created
    - training youth to become enthusiastic and successful business owners and
    community leaders
    - the past, current and future economy
    - who’s on First Base at the Coliseum
    - life after December, 2012
    - Icelandic volcano ash
    - missing honey bees
    - etc, etc.,
    Oops! I digress…

    I think that all of the points raised in discussion about what a good Mayor of Oakland should or shouldn’t do are valuable for both the declared candidates and any potential candidates who are considering declaring their candidacy, in addition to Oakland voters. Making comparisons with municipalities or governments elsewhere, however, merely leads to confusion or disagreement about Oakland’s dire need for a good, effective and participatory Mayor who will:
    - LISTEN to the city’s citizens, businesses, organizations, employees and officials, in order to
    - LEARN and LIVE with a clear vision and specific plans for what needs to be done, how it should be done, and by whom, then
    - LEAD them to success by establishing “S.M.A.R.T.” targets, regularly evaluating them publicly to reinvigorate progress, identify and minimize potential roadblocks in advance of any potential target miss, and then
    - LAUD (instead of take credit) by publicly recognizing and rewarding successful accomplishments or positive performance.

    I’ve met all of the officially declared candidates and, to my knowledge, NONE of them have demonstrated any potential for success in these areas.
    I’ve also met Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, and I believe that she has the potential for success, but she has yet to demonstrate that performance or her capabilities at the levels outlined above (though she does still have a few more months, in order to do so).

    Thankfully, Oakland’s next mayoral election isn’t being held today, so as in the old TV game show “To Tell The Truth,” I’m still waiting for the right leader to “Please Stand Up!” If the election was going to be today (and these are our only three choices), then I would have to settle on voting for the person I believe is most likely to do the right thing(s) for Oakland. That means someone who is generally honest, forthright, knowledgeable, accepting, hard working, fair and unbiased when making judgement and decisions, and who doesn’t react with “knee-jerk” solutions that are not well thought out and truly beneficial.

    For me, that clearly describes Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan.

  73. len raphael

    Not a single one of the candidates has a nano second of experience managing an organization of more than 10 employees. Unless you count their experience approving the selection of managers which they did along with anywhere with fellow board, council, legislature members.

    The City of Oakland has 4,800 employees.

  74. Al

    Here we are, wedged inside a sinkhole like a wedding-cake floating around on pot of boiling stew…like ants.

    Honestly, this has become such a fiasco. and please would someone qualify the statement above? What are Dinks?

    Anyway, I really need some informed help. Seriously, what does it take to get a sign replaced in this camp? Is there a state-law that says roads are sacrosanct, not to be ignored or manipulated without proper authorization?

    No one is paying attention, overtly, but there are existing trends still in vogue, even while widespread investigations are being carried out. What Gall!!!

    Two fires, substantial rental units, both catch fire within a few weeks…on either side of my block. Nary a news article about this, or these in particular.

    Yesterday, just yesterday, we heard the crunch, the rubber and the aftermath right at 9th ave and E. 12th. The vehicles were removed pretty quickly, no ambulance, no police…good and proper….except for the debri field left in the crosswalks and disabled paths, not to mention all the shards of plastic and screws.

    Yes, Oakland is a wonderful place to do business. I followed up on this last incident and there is no report in one of these properly handled incidents…so far. But that did look like a 70′s or 80′s vintage Benz.

    My aingst? WTF???? Is there a law that says the tow-companies are required to clean up the messes?

    So, it boils down to two questions, about state or city laws pertaining to our roads. Does anyone know how to track down these things?

    And for the record, anyone who has held any sway in this town, for any length of time, they have no business taking credit for anything when this level of fraud and abuse, and certainly wasted public resources is being ignored.

    Wonders if the dinosaurs considered thier peril or just kept pursuing their canivorous appetities.

  75. Max Allstadt

    Len, that’s what a City Administrator is for.

    I’m voting for somebody who’ll have a real hiring search and get Oakland a top-notch city manager with demonstrable experience and success in another city – Somebody similar to Chief Batts, who appears to have taken his job not just out of a desire to serve, but also out of personal ambition. I get the impression he took this job because it looked really difficult, and I want somebody like that in the Administrator’s office. That’s where the management can really happen.

    Mayors aren’t easily comparable to managers. Nor are governors or presidents. Managers are supposed to make money, efficiency and order. Mayors are supposed to make happiness. And each has a very different set of tools and obstacles to contend with.

  76. len raphael

    Max, in theory I agree with you. In practice neither Brown nor Dellums did as you and i would have expected rational mayors to have behaved. When it comes down to selecting their city administrator, they chose loyalty over management expertise.

    At the governor and presidential level it’s different because there is a large pool of competent, experienced, loyalists to choose from.

    Consider going back to a weak mayor-strong city manager structure, and then we can safely chose mayor’s based on vision, ideology, intellect, or personality. To change the culture of Oakland’s bureaucracy will take a manager paid well enough to stick around for 10 years.

    Batts has much better odds of coming out of his time here looking good because OPD is tiny and so badly managed, he can look like a star even if the council and the new future mayors block every major request he makes.

    -len raphael

  77. Robert

    I will rephrase what Len said. None of the candidates, or anyone on the city council, has any experience serving on the board of directors for a billion dollar a year corporation. Which is a reasonable analogy for the city council, with the mayor as chairman, if you don’t like mayor as CEO. (Actually, if we had a true strong mayor system, the mayor would be equivalent to CEO.) And by corporation, I specifically mean a profit making enterprise. The experience in managing a major corporation would be a huge benefit in making the policy decisions needed to run a organization the size of Oakland.

    What I want to see from the mayoral candidates is a vision for where they see Oakland in 8 years. While vague policy statements are nice (improve efficiency, economic revitalization, etc.) are nice, what we need to see is how the candidate is going to change Oakland over their term. The equivalent of JB’s 10K plan. The other thing that I want to hear is how they are going to deal with the budget mess. While the little things that RK has worked towards during her first years are helpful, they will be nowhere near enough to get the budget back under control. So who is going to feel the pain for the city’s past excesses?

  78. Max Allstadt

    I disagree. There are a handful of former CEOs who’ve found success in government, some of whom I admire, some of whom I find loathesome.

    I think being in a high stress, high brainpower, high social intelligence position of any kind might help prepare someone to be mayor. But the leadership traits that come out of that aren’t exclusively learned in the corporate world.

    And the skill sets of a CEO and a Mayor are indeed different, as are the inherent challenges in each job. It’s quite forseeable, for instance, that a CEO would flail and drown under the constrains of ethics laws and union power and due process and of the arduous timeline of passing legislation. CEOs have different constraints, true, but their mandate to simply say “do it now” would be a tough thing to give up.

  79. len raphael

    There’s always the Jerry Brown philosophy on how to run Oakland: pick 2 or 3 important vision things, keep reminding your staff of those priorities and ignore everything else. let the city bureaucracy run itself.

    How long did J have Bobb as manager? A couple of years?

    Not saying you need a ceo of at least a medium sized unionized for profit corp. Not impressed by Bloomberg. A former school superintendent could work fine.

    My point is that you have no way to predict from their resumes or their words which of the candidates would be a good mayor because they have no comparable job record.

  80. Robert

    Max, I think we may be fated to disagree. I do find it intriguing that you focus your rebuttal on a mayoral system that we do not have in Oakland. While full prediction is never possible, it is possible to look through resumes for success in previous managerial/leadership positions. Technical knowledge is only a part of successful leadership, and usually a small part.

  81. annoyed

    Where to start. First of all, I’m sick of hearing about how we need jobs training in Oakland. The best job training is education. We don’t live in a manufacturing based economy any more and it makes no sense for black youth to think that is their future. Even if you want to be a a carpenter or a plumber, you need basic math skills. If you want to make rap videos, you need to have more than a clue about how to turn on a computer. And speaking standard English will open more doors than not.

    The black youth in my ‘hood hang out because they can. Nothing more. They are bored and think this is a cool thing to do. They don’t all sell drugs but the drug dealers love them because they provide cover. They don’t all come from dysfunctional crack mamas. Some come from regular families who own their own homes and don’t know have enough sense to control their kids’ behavior. The scary thing is that they grew up hanging out and now that they are adults, it is a different and much more intimidating problem.

    The first premise for the curfew for me has always been about protecting the kids, since their useless parents refuse to. With little girls getting dragged into prostitiution, it seems that would be enough.

    Also, the whole dynamic about what it means to be a man and what is cool has been turned on its heard. These young men are often disrespectful on a level that would have had them peelling them selves off the ceiling in another era from parental intervention.

    Just as people have defended RK for her unprofessional attire, if your kid walks out the door looking like the thug, that is exactly how people will treat him. Believe it or not, there are some parents who will not let their kids go out with pants down around knees, and wearing colors, ESPECIALLY if they live in a less than upscale neighborhood.

    I live in a high crime area but it is real mix of ethnicities and classes. One size doesn’t fit all but it’s amazing how so many youth identify with the whole gangster mentality. Their parents think it’s cool. You can’t blame only popular culture but you can’t deny the impact of it either.

  82. len raphael

    Annoyed, any idea what’s going on in the parents’ mind to think it’s cute or cool for their kids to gangster dress? maybe a dumb question, because i’ve known uppermiddle white parents who thought the same.

  83. Ralph

    Len, nothing. Nothing is going through the mind of any parent who allows their child to look like a common criminal when they leave the house. When I was a kid, parents would say look like you belong to someone before a child went outside. And whatever you do, do not embarrass the family name. Apparently respect for one’s self stopped being cool.

  84. annoyed

    Some parents relate to the whole gangster mentality. Some are just too ignorant. Some of it is cultural particularly with kids growing up American with immigrant parents.

    I’m very clear that how things are where I live is not representative of 98th and MacArthur. But that’s kind of the point, one size does not necessarily fit all. These generalizations that people make that all kids who are hanging out are poor and disenfranchised are not always the case. Like the sideshow, those young people who show up to drive in circles have the cash to afford high performance cars and lots of tires. The observers might be poor folks, but we know many of them aren’t either. They come from all over the Bay Area.

    Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say again. The problem with kids is adults, particularly their own parents. This is a problem that crosses all ethnicities and class lines. People with resources can bail their kids out of trouble, parents with few resources cannot. Don’t confuse who is going to jail with who is commtting crime.

    By the way, there is a youth center one block from my house, so there are alternatives for some kids who want alternatives.

  85. Chris Kidd

    Can we put the “city leaders should be CEOs” trope to bed? Corporations are supposed to generate the most profit possible. Governments are supposed to provide services, not generate profit. Having a measure of business sense in government is always good, but we shouldn’t ever equate success in one arena with automatic success in the other.

  86. Robert

    I don’t believe that, as used in this conversation, CEO was intended, at least not by me, as a trope.

  87. len raphael

    read that piece twice. rk is enthralled by TOD. looks like that’s her equivalent of JB’s 10k dto vision.

    on fiscal armageddon, she hints that she wants to selectively lay off staff but is depending on highly paid baby boomers retiring to cut personnel costs. Heck, if she has a secret method to overriding civil service and union contract seniority rules, we should elect her mayor next week .

    as for the deficit getting better when the boomers retire, i’d say she’s got it backwards: we’ll be paying the retirees the big bucks for not working plus paying bucks for working employees. am i missing something here?

    on crime she talks the talk about supporting our new police chief, but avoids supporting anything he’s specifically asked for such as gang injunctions and youth curfews.

    what i’ve noticed at some CC meetings, is that RK tends to focus on micro stuff that really is just micro even though it is achievable. eg. raising the threshold for biz tax to 25k. gross revenue. yes that’s basically a nuisance tax, but it’s peanuts and no joe’s home therapeutic massage biz is not going to grow into the next Chiron.

    She has my vote as the next IT czar for our town, but first she should actually test out her theories. I’ve spent hours at the business license office. The vast majority of people who go there don’t speak english very well, and most of them probably would be confused by a web site that attempted to explain the intricasies of Oakland’s business tax to them in any language. Compared to CEDA, I’d say the business license office was a model of efficiency.

    -len raphael
    temescal

  88. len raphael

    If you want mayoral alternatives to Q K and P, even if just to push QKP to change their positions, then you want some other candidates to get air time on the upcoming League of Women’s Voters candidates’ night.

    The main obstacle for the currently second tier candidates, is that the League gave them about 30 days warning that only candidates with at least 400 some separate donor contributions as per previously filed disclosure reports, will be allowed to speak.

    One of the candidates, Joe Turmin, apparently didn’t even get notified.

    Doesn’t seem like a high bar, but it really is because 2nd tier candidates have only one good shot at raising money from individuals and want to maximize that. you don’t want to hit people up multiple times. before they can go to the well, they have to build credibility. Watching the video of the Leagues candidate night builds or destroys credibility.

    Personally I think the threshold should be lowered for candidates who never held public office to 200.

    But since there are only 20 something days left, every one of us who wants to improve the Mayoral election, should put a $1 bill in an envelope this week, with a piece of paper on which you’ve written your name, home address, employer name and address (or write unemployed or retired etc.), and optionally phone number and email address. And the words “Political Contribution to _____ “(fill in with candidate’s name)

    Find candidate(s)’ address on their web site and mail ASAP.

    If you can’t come up with $1 you deserve whoever we get as next Mayor.

    -len raphael
    temescal

  89. Daniel Schulman

    Len if we lower the requirement for people who have never held any office they will just dilute debate time from serious candidates.

    Your example of Joe Tuman – why should he be taken seriously just because he’s been on TV a bunch. He’s running for Mayor of Oakland and didn’t even realize until an interview with Zennie (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/abraham/detail?entry_id=67958) that our city has a strong mayor form of government.

  90. Robert

    So you want only establish politicians to participate in city elections because anybody else would ‘dilute’ debate time? That approach brought us Dellums and an ineffective city council, and has not been a success elsewhere in the state. We can’t afford to be afraid of different ideas.

  91. Daniel Schulman

    Robert I am not afraid of new ideas. The early forums allowed new challengers to participate and that is all well and good. If they don’t gain traction, though, they should be excluded from the later debates.

    And it’s not established politicians I am referring to but people who have some idea of how city government works. It’s celebratory candidates I have a problem with. In this light I would lump Tuman and Dellums and to a lesser extent Brown together.

    If someone like Len wants to file, I’d have no problem with them participating in the debates. At least they know Oakland has a strong mayor form of government.

  92. len raphael

    Daniel, in practice it’s not a very hard test to meet and even a good kick in the butt for candidates who think they have lots of time before voters wake up for a few minutes, fill out their absentee ballots and go back to sleep.

    If the LOWV imposed a minimum dollar threshold, that would seriously limit debate.

    -len raphael
    temescal

  93. len raphael

    Maybe the more important issue is how to help the LOWV publicize the event so normal voters watch it.

    I hope LOWV has already requested community programming time (is there still such a thing?) from TV and radio media. A plug from Chip Johnson et al before the event would help.

    Any ideas?

    -len

  94. ralph

    Excluding candidates did not bring us Dellums. People longing for some sort of yesteryear with little concept of the idea of moving forward and the politics of race brought us Dellums.

    I’ll be honest. I do not want to listen to a number of lesser candidates who lack broad appeal and have not a clue as to how the city works.

  95. Max Allstadt

    I couldn’t agree more, Ralph. There has to be some threshold for inclusion in major debates.

    Getting on the ballot isn’t enough of a threshold. I could get on the ballot, and I could probably even get on this year’s ballot because I’m off work this coming week. But I wouldn’t be a viable candidate. Entertaining? Sure. Viable? Not this year.

  96. Mary Hollis

    Greg Harland seems to be saying some good things. I’d like to see him given a platform to debate the more “establishment” candidates.

    I’m not familiar with all the bit players, and can see how it could be unwieldly to give them all equal time. But surely, given all our current problems, we should be more than usually receptive to new ideas and outsiders? And cyncial about those who caused this mess being able to fix it?

    Personally, I think the “big three” are all tainted and my vote will be for one of the others, once I have figured out who they are!

  97. Max Allstadt

    Remember, Mary, it’s a ranked choice election, you get a first, second and third choice vote.

    As for Mr. Harland, I think that his heart is in the right place, but that he has a lot to learn about the realities of Oakland. At the public safety debate, he used some terminology to refer to some of the poorer neighborhoods of Oakland that is, frankly, suicidal for a candidate seeking votes from communities of color.

    Phrases along the lines of the stereotypical “you people” were among his responses about crime. I don’t think he actually said that one, but he might as well have. The reaction from many black members of the audience was laughter. It was clear that they didn’t think Harland was racist per se, just clueless as to how to address a crowd full of non-whites.

    Of course word choice shouldn’t matter in an ideal world, but we don’t live in an ideal world, and Greg’s word choice left many in the audience perceiving him as out of touch.

    Lastly, on a different little tangent, I really would like to see a bit player who’s using the “radical honesty” approach. Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx-OVdTkwvA

    Some day I hope to find time to run for office with a platform based on radical honesty. I think it can work, particularly if the candidate does some deep study of all the issues and responds to them in a radically honest way.

  98. len raphael

    Max, the interesting thing about Greg Harland, is that he has excellent rapport with black ministers of the smaller congregations. See the announcement and retraction of his endorsement in the Trib of a few weeks ago.

    It wasn’t a typo. Instead of spending his time going door to door in the Hills sections the past few months, he spent his time calling on ministers and doing volunteer work in West O to better understand the issues.

    He’s an interesting combo of a retired white businessman who grew up in Oakland and went thru some tough times as an adolescent that gave him a gut understanding of what it means to be down, including how some cops can really screw you over.

    Occasional verbal gaffs could indicate what you said or simply reflect that he pays less attention to being pc than typical Oakland pols.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if poor people in Oakland are less concerned with whether Harland uses the right buzz words, or trumpets how he’s a “progressive”.

    People want someone with concrete realistic ideas for bringing in more jobs and providing security in their neighborhoods.

    And could be that unemployed people look past appearances and gaffs when they meet a guy who actually has created jobs as compared to a politician who has never created a job other than a staff position.

    -len raphael
    temescal

  99. Max Allstadt

    I wasn’t making a judgement about Greg’s substance. I just saw something at that debate that looked to me like inexperience in the language of local politics, and it seemed like enough of a liability that it would effect his ability to govern.

    I realize the contradiction here, having posted a link to a radically honest candidate for congress in my last statement. It also is not a contradiction: candidates and politicians who don’t know the right lexicon will have trouble governing, because gaffes matter to the masses, whether or not they should matter.

  100. len raphael

    What is it about VA that can produce candid politicians? Webb, the currrent senator, is about as close to honest you can get and still get elected.

    Great video.

    A little of that honesty would go a long way in any election.

    I’m forwarding it to Harland with a request for his honest response to the video.

    For sure language matters. And I could easily picture how some hills’ straight residents who never set foot in the flats, would be very quick to notice pc gaffs about african americans, women, lgbt’s…

  101. livegreen

    But one has to decide which matters more, language & gaffes -or- policy. If it is gaffes, & how well one appears in front of the cameras, then we will always have smart-talking politicos experienced at underhanded behind the scenes manipulation.

    This is what made both Clinton & Bush III so enticing.

    & why we need to pick the best candidate with the best COMBINATION of experience & policy.

    It is not self-evident. Neither is democracy. It takes work, patience & nurture.

  102. ralph

    People need to stop being PC and start being honest. I prefer my bigots in the open. The bay areas insistence on pc talk limits any and all open and honest discussion.

  103. David

    When black people (ministers, Bill Cosby etc) state that black people need to repair their family structures, work hard, go to school, and stay honest (or at least out of jail), they’re greeted with “Amens” from the (non-white) audience. When a white person says the same thing, they’re greeted with boos and cries of “racism.”

    Grow up.

  104. Brad

    What Len said above is exactly why I will NOT be voting for RK in November:

    “On crime she talks the talk about supporting our new police chief, but avoids supporting anything he’s specifically asked for such as gang injunctions and youth curfews.”

    That’s exactly it. RK is just another of those politicians who doesn’t want to actually address the elephant in the room. She just hopes crime will get better on its own. She doesn’t want to actually work at it, by using strategies unpopular with the limousine liberals in the hills.

    I remember when the Forum show in NPR discussed the gang injunction. The guest against the injunction had one main point: since almost all the enjoined activity is already a crime, we should just enforce those laws. But with what police force is Batts supposed to enforce those laws? We already laid off 80, and by the time the smoke clears, a third of the force is going to be gone.

    As for youth curfews, it’s all nice and good to talk about the rights of kids. But when you’ve got groups of very young children, ten or twelve in a group, kind of aimlessly roaming around the city at 1 AM, it’s just an invitation for trouble. Like Batts said, they’re often not the troublemakers, they’re the victims. Why these kids are hanging out at all hours of the night is a hard issue, but it’s not hard to see that it’s bad for them, and bad for the city.

    With all due respect, Len — as you said she had your vote — I just can’t bring myself to vote for another clueless politician who hopes that by closing her eyes things will magically get better.

  105. V Smoothe

    This is not correct. Rebecca Kaplan has been upfront and open about her support of the gang injunction.

  106. len raphael

    Brad, “She has my vote as the next IT czar for our town, but first she should actually test out her theories”.

    IT (information technology), not mayor :)

    V, citation(s) please for RK support of North Oakland gang injunctions.

    btw, we know how Dellum’s will be forgotten, but what about Lindheim? Other than his poor negotiating skills, he seems to have turned to be a much better city administrator than expected.

    -len raphael
    temescal

  107. Daniel Schulman

    Len come on, RK has spoken in support of injunctions many times. In fact, she makes a very clear distinction that she supports injunctions of named individuals but not blanket ones.

    At the first mayoral forum, she was the only one on the dais to voice support for Batt’s proposed injunction of named individuals even though the audience was clearly against her on this issue.

  108. ralph

    RK never sounds like she is 100% behind the GI. She seems to have unfounded concerns. She often remarks “… make sure that we’re not criminalizing people of color.” The GI is not broad. It is specific. The police identified certain individuals, 4 of whom are in prison, that they will be watching.

    In my book, support of the GI sounds as follows the police and the atty have done the work and this is solid. It is does not infringe on any person’s liberties. It is similar to a restraining order. This GI is designed to bring peace to a neighborhood that has experienced an increase in gang activity. We need to create communities where people can live and thrive and the GI is but one tool to move us in that direction.

    RK’s answer is too PC. It is as if she doesn’t want to tick off Geoffrey Peete. David is right; Cosby and Obama can tell people to stop having babies and to be accountable, but the minute an RK does something like that she will be labelled a racist by the GP’s of the world. If RK truly supports the GI, then this crap about “criminalizing people of color” is unnecessary. The only people being criminalized are criminals.

    PS: DS, exactly, she knows the GI is specific. I’d love it if she could address the benefits rather than speak to the fears of people. We have Candell and others for that.

  109. len raphael

    what position, if any, have the other council members publicly supported or opposed on the GI?

    what about the non cc member mayoral candidates?

  110. ralph

    Where is open thread? I have a city job announcement for Dax. Hopefully, you will have had your morning coffee before reading.

    Budget analyst, 2 yrs Associate degree pay range $53,400 – $65,600.

  111. ralph

    Len,
    Here is my take on GI support:

    Quan: for
    Kaplan: for
    Candell, Johnson, MacLeay: against
    Perata: can’t pin down, but my hunch is against based on a conversation I had with him, I think he too is trying not to upset black people

    We also need a curfew.

  112. Daniel Schulman

    I do not think it helps to discuss the support for or against the gang injunction in terms of black and non-black.

    My understanding is that many prominent members of the black community favor the gang injunction and others are against it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Geoffrey Peete – who’s called out above – actually favors the gang injunction. Have you asked him or has he made a public statement on the issue?

    Although I am risking further being called an ageist, it seems to me that age is a more important dimension in determining support for the injunction than race.

  113. ralph

    Dan,
    I happen to agree that reducing GI to race doesn’t help which is why my preferred stmt of support, noted above, makes no reference to race.

    My personal belief anyone with half an ounce of common sense should see the good with the GI, but old, young, black and white alike have denounced it as racial profiling.

    As for Peete, I seem to recall him being against the injunction from stmts he has made. But I leave open the possibility that I could have extrapolated his position based on other stmts.

  114. Max Allstadt

    Everything I’ve heard from folks about the Gang Injunction has been widely split, without any particular racial profile that fits someone who is pro or con.

    And yes, Ralph, Don Perata, as with many issues, isn’t giving any answers. He has no public opinion on the Mehserle verdict, apparently none about the gang injunction, and about the only controversial stand I’ve seen him take on crime is a screed he wrote on his blog, lambasting Governor Ahnold’s proposal for the early release of non-violent drug offenders as a means of easing prison overcrowding.

    Gee, I wonder why Perata wants to keep people in prison for as long as possible. I can come up with about 409,000 reasons, actually.

  115. al

    um, back again. Down to business then. I’m concerned about what the whole slate might look like, especially district 2. I’d like to support the incumbent here and post a few signs, but my neighborhood is on the fringes and I don’t know much about the rest. Always like to support a strong female role model also, so all these elections just tear me up…but that commercial about Jerry Brown is just priceless. Poison too. Anyway, seriously….what’s it goiing to look like AFTER all the tubes, bridges, and new buildings are cycled through(including the Transbay terminal)…and we wind up here again minus the artifical bubbles…WHats the real trend…do we see fiscal control?…obscure loyalties to established institutions?….what’s the problem with local money…sounds good…who has a plan for it-to succeed?….waiting….