Best Oakland Mayor forum yet! I got video!

So who made it out to last night’s Mayoral forum?

I went back and forth for a long time about whether to go or not, and finally I decided that since it was in my neighborhood anyway, I should just go, and I’m so glad I did. This is the fourth Mayoral forum that I’ve been to, and it’s the first one where I didn’t find myself bored out of my mind after about 20 minutes.

This one had a different format than previous ones, and OMG was it such a refreshing change of pace. There is nothing more pointless than spending like 20 minutes listening to a string of people all say that crime should be lower or that the budget is the most important issue facing the City. Martin Reynolds did a great job moderating, the questions in this one were overall more interesting, and having questions directed at individual candidates instead of all to the group minimized the time spent on nonsense repetition and having to listen to people who clearly don’t have the faintest idea what they’re talking about. I also thought the “lightning round” of questions, where the candidates were supposed to answer with only a “yes,” “no,” or “undecided” was fun.

Obviously it would have been better with fewer candidates on the stage, so we could have gotten more time for questions, but I think the forum organizers did a really exceptional job adapting to the constraints they were under. I hope that the organizers of some of the other upcoming forums follow their lead and try for something a little more creative with their formats.

So big kudos to the League of Women Voters Oakland, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the Bay Area Business Roundtable, and the Oakland Tribune for pulling off such a successful event!

For those who couldn’t make it last night, you can watch my video of the event below.

If you’re confused by Jean Quan’s answer to the lightning round question about the parcel tax, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Every single person I talked to afterwards was like “What the hell?” So no, you didn’t hear wrong. She did, in fact say that she does not support her own parcel tax.

BART Board Forum on Monday!

And of course, we’ve got more forums on the way. Monday, September 27th at City Hall Hearing Room 1 at 6 PM, the League of Women Voters is hosting a second round of candidate forums. This one will include Superior Court Judge, Peralta Community College District 3, Peralta Community College District 5, BART, and AC Transit District 3.

That’s right! It’s a BART Board forum! Come on down to City Hall to show your support for Robert Raburn (who I am delighted to say recently earned the endorsement of the MGO Democratic Club) and submit tough questions to ask of incumbent Carol Ward Allen.

For those who couldn’t make it to Monday’s forum with the Auditor and District 2 candidates (among others), it will be rebroadcast on KTOP this Wednesday at 6:30, Thursday at 4, Friday at 7, and Saturday at 5. I’ll put up the video online once I get the DVD from KTOP.

Funnies Update

Finally, I know you guys are just dying to know what’s happening in the fictional political worlds of Mark Trail and Rex Morgan, MD.

Well, since it’s the comics and the only get three panels a day, not much has happened since when I wrote about them two weeks ago.

Mark Trail’s neighbor is still planning on kick-starting his political career by hosting a hunting party in his backyard, and his wife is still upset about it, so now she’s leaving him, which he’s concerned will ruin his career before it even gets started because voters like to see a family man.

Mark, meanwhile, wants to expose his neighbor’s evil plan by writing a story about it, but his editor is skeptical because he finds the whole thing implausible. Which…well, you have to admit, it kind of is.

I’m hoping that today’s little disagreement between Mark and his editor will be the start of a major plot twist, where Mark quits his mainstream media job in disgust and starts a crazy blog detailing how evil his neighbor is, How awesome would that be?

Meanwhile, in Rex Morgan-ville, the Mayor has basically spent the last two weeks running around yelling about how he’s going to find out eventually who leaked the news about his cancer diagnosis and when he does he’s going to like, waterboard them or something. He seems kind of unbalanced and paranoid. I don’t think I’d vote for him if I lived in this town.

One of the Councilmembers wrote an op-ed in the newspaper last week criticizing the Mayor’s budget, and now the Mayor is screaming at him and saying he’s corrupt. I hope it turns out he is, because this storyline is starting to get kind of repetitive and dull.

Okay, that’s all for now, folks. Have a good weekend! See you at the forum on Monday!

85 thoughts on “Best Oakland Mayor forum yet! I got video!

  1. Andrew Alden

    The Tribune avoids carrying these hard-hitting comic strips! Think of how stimulating it would be to replace Wee Pals and Family Circus. They rely on anodyne comics to lull us into a pleasant stupor and stop caring about Oakland’s government.

  2. Bruce Nye

    V — thanks so much for posting the video. I got there late, by which time it was SRO, people were pouring out the doors and I couldn’t get close enough to the doors to hear, let alone see.

    BTB, We’ll start publicizing this tonight or tomorrow, but for those who are interested, candidates’ responses to the Make Oakland Better Now! questionnaire are now up and available ( Also, we’re doing a sort by question (i.e., here’s the question, here’s what each candidate said). We will be posting those sorts over the next week. As of now, you can see what the 8 responding candidates said about the ballot initiatives at Only one out of eight says anything positive about the parcel tax (and not all that positive).

  3. Tony

    Your right V. This was the most entertaining forum so far. I enjoyed the lightning round too, especially when cadidates tried to squeeze in more than just “yes” or “no” in their answers. Tuman said “yes” to attending council meetings AND offering to sit next Sanjiv Handa. LOL

    Raburn for BART Board D4!

  4. ralph

    Thanks for publishing the questionnaires. For at least one candidate, I did change my favorable/unfavorable.

  5. jean Quan

    When I voted to let the parcel tax be put on the ballot, I tried to make it clear that I was doing it so the voters could decide. I explicitly said I did not think it would pass, but was doing it because the OPOA wanted it on the ballot. I thought then and still do that the Police must pay at least their 9% of the pension, and until they do, any new initiative for the police is likely to fail.

  6. Pamela Drake

    Hey folks, sorry to detract from the funnies discussion, but I have heard Jean Quan say numerous times that she voted to put the new parcel tax on the ballot to give the voters the choice and because the police union wanted to have a chance to get it passed. She has said that she thinks it’s a hard sell 1) because of the economy, and 2)because the police have not first offered to give a 9% pension share. That would have probably had to have happened BEFORE voters would give their ok.
    Also, please do go to the BART debate. The Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club (of which I’m a member) just voted to endorse him last night also.

  7. Daniel Schulman

    It would be nice if some of these candidates who claim as Mayor they would go to all of all the city council meetings were actually going them in the past and present. Do they even know what goes on at city council.

    I’ve seen Candell speak to council, and I think MacLeay has been down a time or two, but what about the others. Have any of them actually spoken for an issue down at City Hall.

    As to the next Monday’s BART Board forum, I sure hope a lot of people come down to support Robert. If you are undecided, come see the two of them together and at the end you will be convinced it is no contest. Of all the races on your ballot, BART Board has the biggest difference between the top two candidates. Robert Raburn is a smart, thoughtful guy who knows transportation issues inside and out. The less said about the incumbent, the better.

  8. James Vann

    Jean Quan definitely opposes the $360/yr/parcel tax. The tax is not Jean’s tax, nor was proposed by her. It was developed and made a mandatory condition by the police association. Jean voted “Yes” at city council only because the deal made with the police association was on the condition that the council would put the tax on the ballot. Jean feels the community will reject the deal. The special assessment was a cynical “blackmail” agreement, forced by the police association and begrudging accepted by the council in order to achieve a balanced budget for FY 2010-2011, which is mandated by state law.
    If passed, The police association would slowly begin to contribute to their pension cost: 4% the first year; 3% the second year; 2% the third year. If rejected by voters, 120 older officers will be laid off in January. The police association sacrificed the 80 officers who were laid off in July, because those
    officers were new, most diverse, lacked senority, and were not a threat to the “vested” officers the association has vowed to protect.
    Let’s throw the darts at the real culprits and not impugn one who earnestly directed her efforts toward the peoples’ interests.

  9. len raphael

    Went to JQ’s office on Grand Ave today and got confirmation that JQ will not be supporting Measure X.

    I was told that she only co-sponsored Measure X because the cops refused to put in their 9% pension contribution unless the council agreed not to lay off any cops for 3 years. This is where it gets very political double talk and confusing. I’m not sure i followed the logic: the council would only agree to the 9%/no layoffs agreement if Measure X passed. But Measure X doesn’t put that in writing and JQ and the other council members all promptly announced they didn’t think it would pass.

    To me that’s not the same as saying you will not support it as JQ did last night, but that’s not Q’s office spin on it.

    The best one can say about Quan’s position is that she set the cops up to look like the bad guys and always intended to lay a bunch more of them off.

    The worst is that she voted for the parcel tax before she decided it could sink her campaign.

    -len raphael

  10. MarleenLee

    Let’s get the facts straight on Measure X. There was NEVER any deal between OPOA and the City. I did a public records request for a copy of this so-called “agreement.” Initially, the City informed me that there were no responsive documents. Later, they produced a copy of the so-called agreement signed by Lindheim, but not by OPOA. An unsigned agreement is not an agreement. Therefore, there was never any formal agreement with OPOA, and the claims that there is an agreement are unsupported. Both OPOA and the City Council are complicit in this fraud by trying to convince the voters that there is an agreement when there is none.

  11. Dave C.

    “Jean Quan definitely opposes the $360/yr/parcel tax.”

    Maybe so, but she has gone out of her way to avoid saying so explicitly. For instance, the Make Oakland Better Now! questionnaire asked:

    “Question 1. Please state (a) how you intend to vote and (b) how you urge Oaklanders to vote on each of the following:

    “Measure V (increased medical cannabis tax and new non-medical cannabis tax). Measure W (telephone trunk line and access line taxes). Measure X ($360 parcel tax). Measure Y BB (suspends police staffing appropriation requirements for collection of 2004 Measure Y parcel tax).”

    Quan gave an explicit “Yes” answer to all of those except Measure X, about which she gave the following “answer”:

    “X: “I voted to put this on the ballot because the OPOA requested it. I did so to let the voters decide but do not believe it will pass. I believe the OPOA must start paying their share of their pension costs whether or not this passes.”

    Remember that she was asked to state “how you intend to vote,” and “how you urge Oaklanders to vote.” I’m sure she had her reasons for trying to avoid taking a public position on that measure, but it seems very disingenuous for her (or her supporters) to act as if she has been upfront about her opposition to Measure X all along.

  12. livegreen

    Pamela, Did Jean say that just recently, or before they decided to put the Measures on the Ballot?

    If the latter, please point me to when & where she said that? Do you have a link?

  13. livegreen

    Jean and Pamela, I didn’t see Jean’s comment above, so let me re-phrase:

    1. Re. Jean: “I explicitly said I did not think it would pass, but was doing it because the OPOA wanted it on the ballot.”
    & Pamela: “and because the police union wanted to have a chance to get it passed. ”

    Are you both saying Jean that you didn’t support the taxes & this part of the budget compromise until the OPOA did?

    2. Re. “I thought then and still do that the Police must pay at least their 9% of the pension, and until they do, any new initiative for the police is likely to fail.”

    Do you mean actually pay into their pension now, or do you mean agree to pay if the Measures pass?

    Why is it so hard to figure out what politicians are saying? (Especially after Measure Y).

  14. MarleenLee

    Also, don’t tell me that the police asked for language in a ballot measure that said 120 of them would be laid off if it didn’t pass, knowing full well it wouldn’t pass. Give me a break.

  15. annoyed

    You mean like the cops demanding a three-year no lay-off guarantee in exchange for paying into their pensions when they knew there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that the Council would accept such an agreement? And 80 cops would be laid off?

    You all are incredibly naive if you don’t think OPOA isn’t trying to play hardball politics here. Maybe you don’t know how unions work but their primary purpose is to screw low seniority workers to protect the high-seniority-with-retirement-in-their-sights cabal. That’s all unions. Just because they are cops doesn’t elevate them to some lofty heights where selling out the people they are supposed to serve is beneath them. This is all about protecting work rules, benefits, retirement, and salaries. Period.

    So to answer your question Marleen, yes, I absolutely do believe it. It’s a way to look like they are trying to compromise and be reasonable when in fact they are doing nothing of the sort. The cops don’t want to pay into their pensions. End of story.

  16. Charles Pine

    annoyed wrote: “You mean like the cops demanding a three-year no lay-off guarantee in exchange for paying into their pensions when they knew there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that the Council would accept such an agreement?”

    For residents, a demand for no layoffs means no reduction of a police force that is already half the staffing of most major cities.

    We have nurse-to-patient ratios in hospitals. We have building codes. But the council refuses to address the first job of any municipal government, public safety.

    So yes, there was not a snowball’s chance in hell that the council would do its job. Thank you to the police association for helping to expose the criminal uselessness of the Oakland city council.

  17. Colin

    Jean Quan’s post has efficiently summed up my problems with her campaign and view of the mayor’s roll. Not because of the vague equivocating, but because of the I’ll let the voters decide this major issue stance. At best, her campaign’s pledge has been to enable organized neighborhoods solve their own problems. She isn’t offering executive leadership or a vision, just that if people demand things she’ll do them.

    She is touting the Hillcrest Motel as an example of her effective leadership. The truth is that people from the neighborhood had been working for 6 years to get rid of that motel before she was even on the council. While I applaud her for stepping in when she did (she absolutely did a good thing there), she hardly had a leadership roll in solving the problem.

    I don’t want that kind of government. I don’t want to have to take the reigns and demand basic services in order to get them, I’d rather have the obvious things taken care of without me pointing them out.

  18. len raphael

    another correction: Greg Harland opposed Measure X at last night’s forum. It was Don Macleay who “reluctantly supports” the parcel tax. (my lame excuse is that i was standing way in the back in a doorway to the overflowing auditorium)

    Harland did say he reluctantly “supports” the revised Measure Y basically because he believes Quan and the OPOA has blackmailed us into an untenable position where we can’t legally collect Measure Y funds and have no choice but to lay off more and more cops.

    i can see his point but I still oppose Measure Y – II and say fix it right later.

    -len raphael

  19. len raphael

    Those poll numbers are scary if like me you believe that Jean Quan becoming our next mayor would be much worse than Ron Dellums.

    Perata at this point, is not going to win on first round. Second round could push Quan over the top depending on whom Tumin and Kaplan’s supporters chose as their second pick.

    No chance for Kaplan or Tumin or Harland to win.

    I’m going over to Perata’s office tomorrow and getting some lawn signs.

    -len raphael

  20. Mary Hollis


    You can put that “for sale” sign on your lawn. And if I owned in Oakland, I would too. But with the prospect of Queen Quan, who would buy it?

    It’s time for an Anyone-But-Quan campaign. The fact that there is no obviously good candidate is no reason to believe that there isn’t an obviously bad candidate.


  21. Sue T

    Oakland needs a Mayor with a vision; who can make tough executive decisions, working with the unions, and making changes. Jean Quan waffles on issues depending upon polls. She doesn’t come across as powerful. Let’s look at a simple example as demonstrated in her parking wars with Desley Brooks. If she couldn’t negotiate with Desley to get the parking spot, you can imagine what she will be like in City Hall and working with the unions. Don’t want decisions made by flipping a coin. I have some concerns about Don Perata but have decided to vote for him because I think that he is the strongest of all candidates.

  22. We Fight Blight

    Crime is, has been, and will continue to be the most important issue during this election. Crime rates, while moving down, are still unacceptably high. When you punch your ballot card, make sure you know what your candidate’s position is on crime. Crime in Oakland has a demonstrable affect on reducing our tax base and preventing us from providing core local government services. Crime discourages people to shop, dine, recreate, move to, vacation, conduct business and otherwise spend money in Oakland. Crime encourages good, hard-working, tax-paying residents and businesses to leave for safer communities. Studies on human incentives show that significant reductions in crime do not happen with social programs, but with an adequate number of police. Having a strong police presence acts as a real and visual deterrent to criminals, allows for a quicker response to crimes in progress, results in more arrests and detentions, provides the ability to enforce quality of life crimes, and makes members of the community feel safer. Oakland PD is significantly understaffed no matter how you measure it. When five men can burglarize a home, at 9:00 pm on a Saturday, when every single adajacent neighbor is home, and carry all the loot including a 40-inch flat screen tv down the street laughing and not get caught, even though 911 was called immediately, because the police response is upwards of 8 minutes when other cities are 4 minutes; there is a problem. Make sure you all know what your candidate’s position is on crime and how they will or will not support a robust police department. Jean Quan is an apologist for crime and along with her colleagues on City Council played political football with our public safety.

  23. len raphael

    Sue T, wedge politics rules in this town.

    Just the way many of the Asian organizations automatically endorsed Quan, many older women will also vote for her, just as they did for Brunner in District 1.

    I don’t think older african american women are as disposed to vote for Q as older white women especially those who consider themselves to be “progressive”.

    (any poll data on this?)

    Quan has succeeded in wrapping herself in the “progressive” mantle though to flat land residents like me her achievements in improving the lives of poor oakland residents seem like window dressing, as much as they assuage Montclair guilt for having decent schools, roads, parks, and low crime. Ok, not roads :)

    -len raphael

  24. Charles Pine

    “improving the lives of poor oakland residents seem like window dressing” – It’s worse in the case of Quan, outright stiffing the residents of deep east Oakland:

    * She postponed construction of their branch library (funded mostly by a State grant!) so she could try to pass a $148 million bond issue to build a palace library downtown.

    * She chose to protect Chabot Observatory up in the hills from the first round of budget cuts in 2008.

    * She looks the other way while the executive director of Youth UpRising pays herself $180,000 a year out of a no-conditions Measure Y grant. A political alliance with a poverty pimp trumps real services.

  25. Jenn

    Jean Quan punted on the parcel tax. She says she wants the voters to decide, but says it won’t pass, then she’ll blame the voters. That’s not leadership. That’s why she won’t make a good mayor.

  26. mry

    @Mary, hopefully one of her supporters will :) I have just decided that if the citizens of Oakland think she is mayor material, there will never be any hope for this city.

  27. annoyed

    You know Charlie, for someone who claims to be against bad government, allowing any function in the city budget to take something off the top is the pinnacle of bad government. We’ve had fewer cops and less crime. We’ve had more cops and more crime. I agree OPD is too small, but the answer is not some magical number pulled out of your ear.

    Tying up more than 75% of the budget for public safety with no flexibility is bad government any way you slice it.

    There was a time when NYC with it’s 40,000 cops had horrific crime. They changed the way they policed and crime plummeted.

    Chief Batts just killed community policing in Oakland by pulling out the PSOs. I look forward to how Batts intends to rebuild the good will that was years in the making when he unilaterally decided to pull the PSOs because he came here and found a community policing model he didn’t like. In some regard, he is no different than every other chief we’ve had who has paid lip service to community policing. Community policing is fine with them as long as the chief gets to call all the shots and the community stays in their place.

    The days are apparently gone when I get an e-mail from a lieutenant asking for community help finding an accused sex offender. In less than three days, the accused was in custody because a neighbor saw him and called 9-1-1. I would love to know how we will be defining community policing in the future because as of today, it sure doesn’t seem to include the community.

    If I had to craft a model for community policing, it would have at its helm, every area lieutanant I’ve had the pleasure of working with because along with the PSOs, and the one or two really effective NSCs, we got a lot a done.

    After all the stupidity of the past few months, I better not hear the chief or anyone else in blue in this town cry about not having enough community support. You had a lot more than you knew and you blew it.

  28. we Fight Blight

    Annoyed–see Freakanomics by Levitt and Dubner. They have a very enlightening chapter on why crime in most major Cities in the US has been plummeting since around 1990. Innovative policing strategies is mentioned most frequently by “experts” as a reason for significant reductions in crime. However, Levitt and Dubner found that an increased number of police, increased punishment (heavier prison sentences), and the reduction in numbers of unwanted children due to Roe v. Wade are the three major reasons why crime has plummeted.

    Childhood poverty and a single parent household are among the strongest indicators that a child will have a criminal future. Growing up in a single-parent home roughly doubles a child’s propensity to commit a crime. So does having a teenage mother.

    Dubner and Levitt exploded the myth that NY City reduced its crime primarily through innovative policing strategies. It was through a massive hiring effort. Between 1991 and 2001, the NYPD grew by 45%, more than three times the national average.

    The City of Oakland as a local government has a fundamental obligation to provide public safety as its single core function–law and order–among all other services. You do that by hiring enough police. By any measure we are understaffed. I believe the Justice Department says we need 1,200.

    Police and prisons serve as deterrents to crime. Ensuring that single, or teenage mothers do not have “unwanted” children is a huge challenge. We know how to put more police on the streets–cut non-core City services even more and restore our police. Social engineering, however, is far more elusive and long-term in nature.

  29. livegreen

    I think it’s amazingly simplistic to say that 75% of the general fund is for Safety therefore we should cut police, because

    -It bases the cuts JUST on what is the biggest % of the GPF budget and not the needs of the City.
    -It assumes that only Safety is overpaid.
    -The City Council has ONLY focussed on OPD within public safety (not the Non-Profits).
    -Of the crime fighting reasons We Fight Blight has pointed to.

    The City of Oakland has both a budget problem and a crime problem. Focussing ONLY on OPD (which is exactly what the City Council has done) is not going to solve EITHER.

    Instead the entire City of Oakland needs a hair cut, by the same amount. No favoritism either way. Fair is fair.

    Instead the City Council has wasted months being indecisive which has only added to the budget woes and will only increase the cuts that result. And what have they said will be cut if the Tax Measures don’t pass? Salaries across the board?

    No. More Police Officers. This is just crazy.

  30. annoyed

    I’ll Google to confirm the amazing position that NYPD went from 35-40,000 cops to 51,000 to 58,000 cops. This doesn’t even pass the smell test but I’ll check it out. I suspect that the increase in resources was not just in police services but in public works. NYC subscribes to the broken window concept which is as much about keeping neighborhoods in a state of good repair as chasing down crime.

    “In June 2004, there were about 40,000 sworn officers plus several thousand support staff; In June 2005, that number dropped to 35,000. As of November 2007, it had increased to slightly over 36,000 with the graduation of several classes from the Police Academy. The NYPD’s current authorized uniformed strength is 37,838.[6] There are also approximately 4,500 Auxiliary Police Officers, 5,000 School Safety Agents, 2,300 Traffic Enforcement Agents, and 370 Traffic Enforcement Supervisors currently employed by the department.”

    I hate to quote Wikipedia but the source seems to be legit. So much for exploding myths.

    I never said to only cut public safety. I said it is bad government to take funding off the top for any service without the flexibility to move resources and change priorities. It’s interesting that the same people battering City Hall about government seem to suppport bad government in a big way. Incredible.

  31. annoyed

    My quote of 51,000 to 58,0000 represented a 45% increase in police services. It is clearly bogus. If someone actually put this statistic in a book, I would have to question every other so-called “fact” in the book.

  32. len raphael

    Tribune city council endorsements. same old same old Tribune.

    The Trib has a style where they start off the editorial with acknowlegement of what’s eff’d up with Oakland politics, in this case “well financed incumbents vs challengers with little name recognition or community support”.

    They go on to endorse the incumbents or candidates like Shaaf who have worked for incumbents.

    The Trib calls their way of picking candidates who “can hit the street running”.

    No mention of how hard it is to even get a voluntary position on a board in Oakland govt unless you are part of the “team” that shares power in Oakland.

    -len raphael

  33. RdwithCypress

    I wonder why everyone is talking about the issues above, when we cannot get our candidates to really give us specifics on what solutions they have to offer. Has anyone even noticed that the only candidate that is actually addressing problems and solutions is Terrance Candell? Why is everyone so critical of him. He is actually speaking the issues. I would challenge all the other candidates to step up and actually stop taking about their long resumes and start talking problems and real solutions they can bring to the table. The comments sections of abetter Oakland offer more policy discussion than I have seen in any candidate forum yet and I have been to most. Any Candidate that steps up and actually takes a stand on an issue will get the votes. Oaklanders want straight talk not pandering and resumes. Thank you better Oakland for being better than the News to have the pulse of this wonderful community…. Thank you Vsmooth.

  34. RdwithCypress

    I went down to the Mayor Forum at the Montclair Presbyterian Church last night. It was a very well put together even on measure Y and BB. Rebecca Kaplan spoke out against the over enforcement of building code, the placing of liens on family households for things like overgrown lawns and peeling paint. Kaplan really got this right, in explaining that the Code Enforcement division of CEDA should be focusing on blight caused by big developers and foreclosed bank owned properties sitting on the market and not Oakland Citizens. Thanks Rebecca for speaking out on the issue. All of the Candidates did very well. Thank you Terrance and Rebecca for giving me your ear…

    Here is another bad policy for everyone to know about.

    Another taxpayer-funded Oakland outrage

  35. RdwithCypress

    Don Perata, spoke about his efforts on gun control. I would argue that it was not effective. Anyone who has been to any gun show in the Bay Area knows this problem is still out there. You can still buy an AK-47 or any assault rifle you want and they are still California Legal. Sorry Don, but you didn’t really do much to get the guns off Oakland’s streets..

  36. len raphael

    Annoyed, note that NYPD salaries as of last year at least, rapidly increased over first 5 years service to something around 80k/year.

    Has NYC changed that automatic step raise schedule?

  37. len raphael

    RK’s fundraiser is at Chiodo Studios? Does that mean the Chiodo Multi Headed Multi Cultural Diversity Public Money Eating Beast will be attending also?


  38. Naomi Schiff

    Similar to my reaction. Someone invited to me to the fundraiser but I would never be able to keep my mouth shut about the CMHMCDPMEB. I am perfectly delighted with multicultural diversity; but this kind of artwork gives all that a bad name.

  39. ralph

    Thanks Len. (and I mean that sincerely).

    Now that I am on the same page, has someone blocked 23 Heads from ever seeing the light of day?

    If so, please let me know as I would love to send a thank you card.

  40. len raphael

    Ralph, we must chant for China and India keep growing so that the price of those 23 tons of copper and tin zooms upwards out of reach of our hapless Chamber of Commerce and their friends at City Hall who are just chomping at the bit to spend Redevelopment money on the Creature.

    Mario Chiodo by sever accounts is a very personable fellow who attended Piedment schools but lived in Oakland. His family once had a fairly large food biz? here, many years ago.

    As long as the city council can reach into the RDA, I fear there’s no stopping the Critter from eating Uptown.

  41. RdwithCypress

    Hey Len, Ralph, Naomi, VSmooth

    Mind letting the rest of us in on what the hell you are talking about?

    V Smooth, can you shed your flashlight on this subject? I thought I was well informed, but I cannot understand what is going on except to say that Len and Ralph seem to be upset about something big and that worries me greatly.

  42. Naomi Schiff

    A large and unsightly sculpture featuring various famous personages is planned for the otherwise nicely designed park in the Uptown development. It is a mixture of socialist realism and triteness, with a soupcon of conflict of interest and taking onesself way too seriously. The sculptor convinced the chamber of c to raise money for the thing (he is on their bd. of directors) and then when they didn’t raise the huge sum required, they asked the city for more, doing an end run around the usual channels for approving public art. It is a shame. But I look forward to seeing the funny hats that will appear on the heads once it is in place. I hope fervently to see mickey mouse ears on mother teresa.

  43. Daniel Schulman

    I attended the Kaplan event at the Chiodo Studios. There is a nice write-up on the OakBook:

    Seeing the actually sized pieces of the Remember Them sculpture did somewhat change my view on the piece. It is still unsightly, and I object to the arbitrary selection of personages. However, the shear size of the piece does lend it a certain je ne sais quoi (credability/curiosity/monstrosity).

    I am more convinced than ever that the UpTown Park (bah on Henry J. Kaiser Park) is the wrong place for the sculpture – the piece is way too large for that space. However, I do think it will attract attention and some people will come visit it if they are already in the area.

    I hope a better location for it can be found.

  44. ralph

    Well Dan, if you can be changed, then maybe I should reconsider. Still, I would find this piece of art more interesting if the individuals depicted had some connection to the space/area. I know when I am traveling I seek out history and art that pertains to the area. I just don’t see your average, everyday German tourist crossing the bridge to see MLK Jr. It would make more sense to go to Memphis, Atlanta, or Selma. I bet if this piece were actually connected to Oakland, fundraising would have been as easy as pie.

    Sorry for gate crashing, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

  45. Naomi Schiff

    Correct Ralph. There’s a much more elegant tribute to MLK in Yerba Buena Park. And we have some great heroes that do have an Oakland connection, plus aren’t overworked as the standard pantheon. It is the overly-conventional world view that makes this piece so tiresome. Yes perhaps those are all great people, but already recognized, and better done, elsewhere. Too late now. That thing will be very expensive to move. Best to plant dense bushes around it.

  46. Daniel Schulman

    Ralph, I’ve hardly flipped over to an enthusiastic supporter of the sculpture. I am now only about 90% against it instead of the full 100.

    It will not have any connection to Oakland. It is trite. It is too large for its proposed location. But, it is going to happen.

    I am just suggesting that we should attempt to make the best out of a bad situation, and lobby for an alternate placement. For example, there might be a suitable locale at Middle Harbor Park or maybe the proposed Gateway Park.

  47. ralph

    Dan, considering I hate the whole concept, anything to move my needle from 100% against to just 97% against should be positive. I am fully behind Naomi’s suggestion for dense bushes.

  48. Steve Lowe

    Not to worry! As the years pass, and different potentates take their place at Oakland’s spongy helm, angry citizens will appear before an even more spongy Council, demanding more heroes’ heads be added, maybe even at the expense of one or two of the lesser lights Mario has on the model right now.

    So, after much public agonizing and hand-wringing, this Councilmember or that polcymaker – maybe even one from another jurisdiction! – Mario will be sent up the ladder, hacksaw in hand, to lop off the finely chiseled head of, say, Eleanor Roosevelt, and made to replace it (at some cost, to be sure) with the maybe coarser but still recognizable bust of, I dunno, Jacques Barzaghi?

  49. Max Allstadt

    I’m softening on it too, having seen the full size forms this weekend. I still think the process of funding and approval was whack. I still think Churchil has no business being depicted as a humanitarian alongside Ghandi. But I do expect it to be an effective tourist draw.

  50. len raphael

    How’s about placing it at the airport end of the Oakland Airport Connector?

    The Creature would feel at home there.

    How much more is this going to cost us in RDA money?

  51. Naomi Schiff

    I dunno, Max, do you often go somewhere just to see a commemorative sculpture of miscellaneous famous dead folks?

  52. Max Allstadt

    No, Naomi, I don’t. But to quote PT Barnum: “nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public”.

    It’s cheesy. So are tourists. Anybody want to go in with me on an ice cream cart? We can sell fudge Gandhis on a stick!

  53. Steve Lowe

    Maybe somebody with a more western identity. How about Judge Roy Bean made out of fudge soy bean at the OAC corral: Could it be that true Oakland’s destiny is finally beginning to come into focus!

    – S

  54. ralph

    I find myself agreeing with Naomi, which is a lot nicer than my original thought which probably included something to the effect it is probably time for Ms. Kaplan to relocate her campaign headqtrs further up Broadway.

  55. Naomi Schiff

    Having attended art school in the conceptual era, I am favorably inclined toward transient art forms such as sculpture that melts. I’m in on the ice cream cart.

    If only the Chiodo thing were a little more transitory. Maybe change the medium? Say, build the whole thing out of jello?

  56. ralph

    I don’t know why but I would love to see The Awakening on that lot.

    Alternatively, I could get down with Mr. Potato Head representing these figures.

    I guess should get over my wish that he had used this plot of land and oppty to explore Ohlone people and culture. For it is sunk, the best I can do now is move on.

  57. len raphael

    On the Creature’s plague, oops i meant plaque, it’s carbon footprint should be memorialized.

    Naomi pointed out that earnest striving look of socialist realism that i had missed the first few times i gazed upon the Face of the Beast. Who’d have thunk a graduate of Piedmont High would be channeling a dead Soviet artist?

  58. len raphael

    Our incumbent auditor, Ruby, has the barest minimum experience as an auditor. Looks like she had just enough to get her CPA license. That ain’t much.

    -len raphael, cpa

  59. RdwithCypress

    It looks like Ruby has postponed all of her September Audit Reports until October. I wonder if she is trying to get media attention before the election.

  60. Naomi Schiff

    IF you have nothing better to do, you can complain about 180,000 going to this. They are asking for a delay. Love the staff report which refers to “Maya and Ruby” meaning Bridges and Angelou. 25 feet high by 50 feet long. I say, fabricate it in jello.

    Subject: Grant Agreement Amendment For Installation Of Chiodo Sculpture
    From: Community And Economic Development Agency
    Recommendation: Adopt An Agency Resolution Authorizing A First Amendment To
    The Grant Agreement Between The Agency And The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber Of
    Commerce Foundation, Which Awarded The Chamber $182,000 For The Installation Of
    The First Phase (Maya And Ruby) Of The Sculptural Monument Titled Remember
    Them: Champions For Humanity, By Mario Chiodo In Henry J. Kaiser Memorial Park,
    City of Oakland Page 2 Printed on 10/7/10
    *Concurrent Meeting of the Redevelopment
    Agency and Council Community & Economic
    Development Committee
    Tuesday, October 12, 2010
    To Extend The Completion Date For An Additional Year (From September 30, 2010 To
    September 30, 2011)

  61. Daniel Schulman

    Dang saw the post too late and missed the meeting. The delay fits in with an idea I’ve been thinking about.

    I think a big part of the problem is that people have a hard time understanding just how massive the Chiodo Sculpture is and how it is going to overwhelm the park. Council should require that they put up some wooden forms that show placement in the park and scope of the project, so people can get an idea of what’s being talked about.

    This is similar to the way that some hillside communities have requirements that new construction place a form to show the roofline prior to permitting, so that people can understand the effect on views.

  62. Naomi Schiff

    That is an excellent idea, Dan. It is definitely going to kill the park. They could fabricate it smaller. Or maybe make a whole lot of commemorative tourist versions in plastic at 5 in. tall, and skip the big one.

  63. len raphael

    very good idea.
    maybe a hologram? (is there such a thing)

    or plasticized paper mache

    showed the Creature to someone who had never heard about it. Her impression was it was something from dante’s inferno.

    asked me why the eyes of many of the Hero’s are bugging out.

    Certainly not a happy bunch of heros all wielded together for eternity.

    I’ll just bet that my man Winston C feels he’s stuck in purgatory connected to a bunch of wooglies.

  64. ralph

    Ms. Kaplan is making it easier to not support her campaign. First, you have her unexplainable and unexplained vote on NikNak. We can follow this up with decision to stop the police from performing their duties following the Grant trial. And now we have censorship by her campaign people. Apparently, her campaign does not tolerate residents who have questions and seek answers about her direction. If this is not an indication of what type of mayor she will be then I do not what is.