DREAMING of a better Jean Quan music video

So. After I posted Jean Quan’s music video a while back, a couple of people mentioned to me that they were surprised I wasn’t meaner about it.

Block by Block

I said that yeah, the video kind of sucked, but it seemed clear to me that it was made by kids, although I think now that I may have been wrong about that. And then she posted a new version of it, which was clearly higher budget.

Anyway. I also said that I wasn’t more critical because I really do appreciate the fact that she’s experimenting with something different. I mean, everybody’s campaign materials are all the same, and it gets really boring after a while. I think it’s great that she’s trying to spice it up. And sometimes, when you try new things, they don’t work out. Big deal. At least you’ll know how to do it better next time.

Plus, the song was kind of catchy. I mean, not catchy in the sense that I had any desire to listen to it more than once. But it was at least mildly entertaining. I didn’t find myself desperately wishing it would be over already while I was watching it after like twenty seconds like I did with that that Luann music video they put out a couple of weeks ago.

So I gave “Block by Block” an A for effort.

DREAM A Better Oakland

Now Jean Quan has a new video up. Since, like I said, the first time is for learning, and she’s already had that, I don’t feel as obligated to be kind about this one.

The new video, called DREAM A Better Oakland, is a promotion for her “Envisioning East Oakland” townhall this Saturday in the Elmhurst neighborhood. The premise of the video is that she is giving some kids a ride to one of her house parties. So, right there, you’ve got a suspension of disbelief problem. Like, I don’t buy for a second that she would do that and therefore whole video is implausible to me. I can never get into it when I’m just too distracted from the very beginning by the premise.

But the bigger problem is that the whole thing is really half assed. Jean Quan does not make an even remotely credible case that she is enjoying this at all. Instead, she looks resentful about having all this noise in her car. At 2:03, she looks like she’s struggling to stay awake.

In fact, everyone in the car appears unhappy to be there. They all just seem really uncomfortable. Like, the “better Oakland” they are dreaming of is one where Jean Quan is not giving them rides.

The overall effect is just extremely grim. I mean, I get that it’s a depressing song. But you have to present at least some kind of positive feeling if you want people to think you’re going to improve the situation. The last song at least was positive, and was also about her.

Oh! And don’t even get me started on the inexplicable “Go Raiders” badge she has tacked on top of her logo at the end. Plus there are too many fonts.

Jean Quan’s second music video took several steps backward from her inoffensive first attempt. Therefore, I give DREAM A Better Oakland a C minus.

140 thoughts on “DREAMING of a better Jean Quan music video

  1. Daniel Schulman

    We should get together a do a country western version for her.

    I drive my pick-up block by block.
    I walk my dog block by block.
    My wife left me down the block.
    Jean Quan helped me get a job on another block.

    Block by block
    Block by block

  2. ralph

    I stopped the 2nd video at 25 seconds. Painful. It did remind me of the closing scene in Chris Rock’s remake of Heaven Can Wait, though.

    Frankly, I am troubled by lyrics that include the line, “there is not enough activities so trouble we get ins.” No that is a choice. Go to a library, open a book.

    The city is not here to offer you a job or a bowling alley. The city’s primary function is to create an environment where people can thrive and every time I hear JQ’s message the only thing I hear is social welfare.

  3. Colin

    It’s a tough call, but I think my vote goes to the video of JQ nodding to the beat while riding around with her posse. While neither does much for me musically, conceptually, or politically, the first song has lots of silly guitar parts and the line, “Get your vote on.” I cannot take a song with silly guitar parts that encourages me to get my vote on seriously. Or rather, I take it less seriously than the one where she’s kickin’ it in her thumpin’ Prius while her boyz tell it like it is. Because there is so much cognitive dissonance in the second video that it’s hilarious. JQ+posse; Prius+thumpin’; JQ+thumpin’; JQ pandering to kids too young to vote; the quiet rapping recorded in the car; rapping for the mayor; rapping for JQ; and her horrible repurposed yard sign out front – the one where her campaign just plastered a sticker that says “mayor” over the words “city council”.

    Now my brain hurts.

    Who told Jean this was a good idea?

  4. OP

    Question: is it legal to use the official Oakland tree logo in your campaign materials? A while back I was volunteering on the Measure O campaign (IRV) and wanted to use the tree logo with certain parts of the branches colored differently to spell out IRV. I asked the City Attorney’s office if I could beforehand and was told (I think by phone, not an official letter) that that would be trademark infringement or something similar.

  5. len raphael

    Colin, her advice came from the same inner voice that told her not to worry about making her own supporters look like fools after they had publicly supported the Measure X parcel tax and now she denies ever “supporting it”.

    Much like her her Measure Y position, she had only “appropriated” for Measure X.

    -len raphael

  6. Naomi Schiff

    I think I remember that it was discovered that the old tree (the stripy one) was not ever trademarked. Then came the newer one during the Jerry regime, which is unfortunately the wrong type of oak (a valley oak) instead of the type in front of city hall and common around here. Don’t know if they ever trademarked that one. It’s on the website header.People have certainly used each with abandon, and this issue has come up before in election campaigns. The best time was when I received some communique from which was simply signed by Ignacio De La Fuente, President. Didn’t say president of what.

  7. Naomi Schiff

    her horrible repurposed yard sign out front – the one where her campaign just plastered a sticker that says “mayor” over the words “city council”.

    The idea was to recycle, not waste all those signs. I don’t have a problem with that, and wish more candidates would do so. Also, I wish they wouldn’t post signs on the public medians and such.

  8. len raphael

    Naomi, if you really want to stop sacrificing trees for political ambitions, try to get the LOWV to get the county clerk etc. to provide email opt-in for voters who want to opt-out of paper mailers.

    that would dramatically lower the money barrier to challengers.

    if you want to enforce the non posting on public medians, then you have to do so against realtors and retailers and garage salers. Democracy is messy.

  9. Ken

    Regarding Measure X:

    I was for it before I was against it, but now that I’m against it, you should know that I was never for it.

  10. We Fight Blight

    Wow. I see it now. Instead of hiring police to protect the City, Jean Quan as Mayor of Oakland, hires teenagers to make rap videos exhorting the wonders of Oakland. Get’s kids off the street, gives them a livelihood, generates taxes restores the image of Oakland and reduces crime. Oh wait a minute, aren’t we already doing that under Measure Y crime prevention programs?

  11. Dax

    Lets create a campaign song for _____

    Don’t want no tax
    Ain’t got no funds
    My big ideas,
    That’s why I run


    Block by block
    Oakland in hock

  12. Max Allstadt

    I still don’t get Jean’s slogan. “Taking back Oakland, Block by Block”.

    It implies that somebody’s “got” Oakland. Who? Are we sure that whoever’s “got” Oakland is actually all that bad? And couldn’t Jean just ask them nicely to give it back, instead of getting all aggro and “taking” it back?

    Maybe she should find whoever “has” Oakland and have a restorative justice healing circle and convince them that they really should give Oakland back?

  13. Colin

    Max -

    I’m confused about whether it needs to be taken back Block by block per Jean Quan, or if it needs to be taken back brick by brick per Marcie Hodge.

    Hodge is coming off as a lot more detail oriented. Whatever it is that has Oakland, I’d like to make sure we get rid of it on a smaller scale. Especially if it’s bedbugs.

    I expect Quan to issue a statement clarifying that by “block” she meant all kinds of construction materials, be they cinderblocks, bricks, or marble cornerstones.

  14. Daniel Schulman

    Max it is not really that difficult.

    The people who currently have Oakland are the elected representatives.

    When we the people go to the polls and make informed choices and vote, we take Oakland back.

    When the votes are counted, we give Oakland back to our elected representatives.

    Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

  15. Naomi Schiff

    I still support Jean. I don’t care about what publicity stunts any of these candidates do, really. That’s not substantive. Jean’s stuff isn’t any worse than Don Perata pretending to clean up my neighborhood. Which a) he doesn’t b) I do and c) was obviously a campaign stunt, since he is never around any other time.

  16. ralph

    Speaking for all of the undecideds (I was appointed spokesperson during the last mtg.), where is the beef with Jean?

    How does she plan on paying for her before and after school programs? Her job creation program doesn’t sound promising. The city doesn’t have new untapped revenue sources. My unofficial survey indicates that the well is dry at the old sources. Can you say new taxes?

    Honestly, the more I read JQ’s platform the more I think she should be involved in education. Don’t get me wrong, I think the mayor can be a good partner with OUSD, but it sounds like Jean would prefer to be part of OUSD leadership.

  17. Ken

    She was involved with education! She was one of the prime movers behind the ebonics movement, and left her presidency of the school board for the city council just as OUSD was running up a 200 mill deficit and plunging towards state receivership!

  18. ralph

    True. I never said her tenure with education was all honey and roses. I just think her preference is and will always be education. That being said, I think her programs and goals are selling the students short. Given her love of ebonics, this should not be a surprise.

  19. oakie

    “…it’s all in the game.”

    Vote None of the Above. We should change the charter to always have that option. Give us a real voice.

    As for Perata and Quan, a pox on both their houses.

  20. livegreen

    Max and Ralph, I just wanted to express Thanks for a couple good laughs. Something I much needed during this election season in Oakland, which seems to be getting more pathetic by the day.

    Jean’s bait-and-switch has moved me towards “none of the above” re. the two major candidates. At the risk of throwing my vote away the most either Quan or the Don is going to get from me is #3. & it might not be that.

    I wish some of the 2nd tier candidates would pool their resources & campaigns. Greg Harland and Joe Tuman seem like good candidates to do so. That’s difficult for politicians (even newbies) to sacrifice, but it’s the only way any of them will jump up to meet the big 3.

    BTW, I do see more Tuman signs in Montclair, Oakmore, Glenview & Upper Dimond.

  21. OP

    There is a none-of-the-above — just don’t vote for anyone. The beauty of RCV is that there is no penalty in voting for those second-tier candidates.

  22. CitizenX

    It’s time for Quan to spend some paygo funds and buy some votes (especially asian-american votes). Three items for scheduling from last Thursday’s Rules Committee:

    Adopt A Resolution Authorizing A Grant Of $10,000 From Councilmember Jean Quan’s Pay-Go Funds To Artists Deborah Koppman And Amanda Locksood For A Mural To Be Installed On Farmer Joe’s Market In The Dimond District; On The October 5, 2010 City Council Agenda

    Adopt A Resolution Awarding $10,000 of Council Member Jean Quan’s Pay-Go Funds To The Laurel District Association For Upgrading Of Street Lights; On The October 5, 2010 City Council Agenda

    Adopt A Resolution Awarding $5,003.41 Of Council Member Jean Quan’s Pay-Go Funds To The Oakland Asian Cultural Center For Capital Improvements; On The October 5, 2010 City Council Agenda

  23. len raphael

    CX, where do we find the current balances of PayGo funds available for each council member? What if any formal approvals do council members need to make expenditures?

  24. Naomi Schiff

    It’s at the rules committee because it is being agendized for a council vote. By the way, these three were posted before, and do not seem huge or wasteful. I can understand wanting to change the system, but in the meantime have no objection if the expenses are worthwhile. I am incredibly grateful for the lifesaving signals installed on Harrison St., partly funded by Nancy Nadel’s paygo funds. We started trying to get a signal there in 1985! Finally achieved it a year ago. That’s 25 years, folks, since we raised the issue.

  25. len raphael

    Naomi, as V pointed out before, much of the PayGo spending goes for legit stuff that would normally be done via another part of the budget. The problem is that the spending decisions are decentralized and much less transparent when done thru PayGo, not to mention that they epitomize pork.

  26. Max Allstadt

    I wonder it there would be a way to fix the paygo system. Restrict what it can be used for. Mandate real transparency.

    I’m not existentially opposed to the idea of councilmembers having access to funds that can be used to address needs that the City’s bureaucracy overlooks.

    Of course the problem with this is that until you look at the numbers, many crazy projects would qualify. For instance: Nancy Nadel’s $590 per square foot Teen Center renovation.

  27. Andy K

    I am so sick of hearing that there are not enough activities for kids in Oakland. There are tons. Oakland Tech has many, many clubs, and I would have to imagine that other high schools do as well. Parks and Rec does too. Many youth sports clubs (soccer) offer scholarships, and the Oakland Soccer Club costs well less than $100 for two seasons of soccer (fall and spring), over 20 weeks of activities.

  28. CitizenX

    Len, the last report I saw was for 2008-2009 on the Sep 29, 2009 Finance Committee meeting — check it out. As of 8/17/09, Councilmembers had $6.1 million in unspent paygo balances and (per the included spreadsheet) $3.9 million was in a fund that has no cash — a great trick, if you can pull it off.

    Check out some of the uses to which your tax dollars are being put. Gifts to non-profits, school improvements (while school bond proceeds sit unspent), demolition of private residences, school programs,improvements to certain neighborhoods and the purchase of an oboe. Right, an oboe.

    Naomi, agreed, many of the expenditures are for noble causes, but there are many other noble causes in this city going unfunded — potholes, street repaving, basic public safety. I’m glad you got your traffic signals. I hope there is not an even more dangerous intersection elsewhere in town that went without. These funds are being spent without prioritization against other city funding needs and are most certainly used as “keep the incumbents in office funds”.

  29. ralph

    You should forgive Jean Quan her ebonics. She was ahead of her time. In fact, with the DEA recruiting ebonic translators, one could possibly consider JQ a visionary. Those are not the words I would use but some might.

  30. len raphael

    Took another Len Raphael completely unscientific poll, asking two 20 something year old residents of deep East O what they thought. They played it back over their iphones or some such.

    “She’s off beat”

    “wouldn’t be bad if she was trying to rap”

    “there’s a lot of stoners in Oakland who think all music videos are cool, but don’t know if they vote”

    “she should have set the car up as a hot box”

    btw, what’s a hot box?

    “if she was smoking a blunt, that wb really cool”

  31. Naomi Schiff

    The ebonics thing was not unreasonable, but it had a bad name and terrible press relations. The basic idea was that some kids were growing up mostly speaking and best understanding street English, and could be more effectively taught standard English if the project were approached more like teaching a second language, which for them it was. It was unwise to call it ebonics. It was not well explained. But there is a considerable body of linguistics research that backs up this approach. In some countries, the distinction between the vernacular and the educated dialects is even greater than it is here, and some never learn the standard version. Gradually, of course, you end up with a new language developing. But to keep people in the same society functioning and earning a living and communicating with each other, it makes sense to make sure they understand each other. (Have you ever seen a Cantonese speaker and a Mandarin speaker sort it out? Can you understand a thick Scottish brogue?)

  32. ralph

    I know you mean well, but I am not overly concerned about other countries. I am concerned that we are using all sorts of tricks and gimmicks, with little documented success, to improve the outcomes of poor black kids. It is racist on its face and serves no valid purpose.

  33. Max Allstadt


    You used a LOT of passive voice sentences in your defense of ebonics. It’s as if you don’t want to assign responsibility for all those mistakes to any particular person. Hmmm….


    I can show you how to set your car up as a hot box this weekend if you’ve got time. It’s fun!

  34. len raphael

    Can someone give a complete account of the West Oakland forum?

    From what i just heard, there was a breakthrue (after max left) where the candidates basically debated each other by using their time on their next question to respond to each others criticism. apparently Quan took the brunt of the hits.

    Was there a video of the event?

  35. OaklandSection8

    He raps about who is “gonna” change the schools while Jean silently bobs her head. She better stay quiet. She was a member of the school board that ran the school district into the ground requiring a state bailout/take over. And that was during good economic times! She isn’t qualified to lead a parade (or riot) let alone a city during these tough economic times.

  36. len raphael

    i’ll never understand why when i bring up how ousd went bankrupt on JQ’s watch, quite a few intelligent local public school activists respond with the non-sequitor that ousd total debt increased under state control.


  37. len raphael

    i’ll never understand why when i bring up how ousd went bankrupt on JQ’s watch, quite a few intelligent local public school activists respond with the non-sequitor that ousd total debt increased under state control.

    you’d think they’d repeat JQ’s Ken Lay enron defense how you can’t expect the president of the board to question the inhouse accountants when they told her that for the first time in many years, OUSD miraculously could afford to hire more teachers AND substantially increase salaries.

    Or even the really lame “OUSD was formally taken over by the state several months after JQ left to head the city council’s finance committee”.

    As if the OUSD insolvency developed overnite.

    I don’t know if she, like Brunner with Paygo funds, also took special care of schools in her district. But I think it was more activists would rather not blame our own elected school board for spending money we never had and should have realized we didn’t have.

    -len raphael

  38. 94610BizMan

    Len it is simple to understand. The “activists” are economic parasites hustling Other Peoples Money. The more a politician shovels it out the more support that politician gets.

  39. Barry K

    Citizen X and Len, re: Quans get-out-the-paygo-and-buy-voters campaign,

    She also gave $25,000 of our Dist4 funds to an “artist” in Montclair to design and install five mosaic sidewalk tiles in the Diamond district. First check for $10,000 issued last month.

    Doesn’t beat the $20,000 last year for bi-lingual online training for Cantonese speakers to learn CORE training.

    Or, the $10,000 for the Men of Valor (church group) that also gets Measure Y funds and supports both new parcel taxes.

  40. OhPleeze

    Stop and think about this. Political ads targeting adolescents: People who (the last time I checked <30 seconds ago) aren't old enough to vote.

    Why comment so extensively about Jean's musical talents and production skills? How about grabbing the meaty and outrageously preposterous notion of campaigning–and squandering one's campaign spending–on an age-inappropriate audience.

    To me, Jean's ads ('scuse me "music videos") scream in big neon letters "COULD THIS WOMAN RUN A CITY IF SHE CANT FIGURE OUT WHO THE VOTERS ARE?"

  41. len raphael

    Since Kaplan and Quan want to eliminate loopholes in the campaign finance rules, the rules should be changed to count as political expenditures PayGo appropriations/payments made in the prior 12 months; and the imputed monetary value of volunteer labor provided by non resident employees and independent contractors who work for the city or it’s vendors or developers.

    Dream on.

    -len raphael

  42. ralph

    Anyone ever notice just how many of Oakland’s laws, measures, internal controls are poorly written and rarely followed.

  43. len raphael

    Appears that Barbara Lee is staying on sidelines for the mayoral race, only sending her former chief of staff, Sandre Swanson, in as a token of support for JQ.

    If JQ wins, might be beginning of end for Lee-Dellums machine. Presumedly Perata would bring in more Latinos.

    Was JQ expecting some support from Brunner but those hopes were dashed when Rules Committe turned down the ethics ruling on spending caps?

  44. V Smoothe

    Len –

    Sandre Swanson is co-chair of Jean Quan’s campaign. That’s not just “token” support. Also, I’m pretty sure who Swanson endorses has absolutely nothing to do with Barbara Lee.

  45. livegreen

    Len, I agree with you that Quan’s defense of her involvement with the OUSD financial fiasco (she was on the City Council by then) as being pretty lame. However it doesn’t mean she’s totally to blame either.

    First the school board members aren’t paid a whole lot, & they have a TON of info to review. Of course its their job to do that anyway. But also, as I recall from the articles of the time, a lot of the losses were hidden from the School Board and after the State takeover the Finance Dept.’s computer systems had to be totally revamped because they were so poor. IF that’s true, that’s not Jean’s or the School Board’s fault. It IS the fault of the OUSD Administrator & his staff if they didn’t bring it to the Board’s attention before the melt down.

  46. V Smoothe

    Oh course it’s the School Board’s fault that they had no idea how much money the District had or was spending. They’re the ones in charge. That’s what being in charge means – that you are responsible for things. Saying that it isn’t the fault of Board members that the District went into bankruptcy would be like saying that the City Council bears no responsibility for the City’s current financial condition. It’s ludicrous.

  47. len raphael

    LG, I call JQ’s response, the Ken Lay defense.

    She seems to think that because she wasn’t financially compensated, she’s not responsible. That’s why we couldn’t sue her and her fellow board members. (ok, maybe it’s because all public officials are protected from almost all lawsuits short of outright fraud).

    You’d think after that fiasco, voters would have been more careful about whom they picked to serve on the OUSD?

    Nope, voters still go for the touchy feely how can we improve education board members. During the last school board campaign (i was neutral) for my district I asked the gal running (Jodie) if she knew the amount the state paid per student in Oakland. She guessed at some wildly low number that was about half of actual.

    A year or so later I read how she and other board members begged David Kakashiba (aka author of Kid’s First) not to resign for conflict of interest because they “relied on his” detailed knowledge of OUSD finances.

    Tell me again how much better off we are with local control.

  48. livegreen

    All I’m saying is if the Board isn’t being told the truth is they can’t automatically know what to search for or where to look, for something they don’t know is wrong. One would think the internal controls at OUSD would have been strong enough to have been found earlier. When it was, people were fired.

    So part of the question is, why weren’t those controls stronger & why wasn’t it found out earlier?

    There’s no question, local control put us in the position to be taken over by the State. Neither local control nor state control are magic bullets (one led to budget collapse, the other to massive debt).

    There’s got to be something in between, namely schools that work, on budget. Like the City.

  49. Dax

    I am always amazed at how many well spoken people (voters), including some elected officials, know nothing.

    I often ask people on various topics what their “ball-park” estimate is of some quantitative question.

    How much per capita, student, family etc.

    Or how many people live in x, y, or z

    Or how far, in miles, is x, y, or z

    Or what typical govt cost is per x, y, z

    Or any other various questions that might indicate what their perceived reality is.

    I ask a variety of people these types of questions as I might casually meet them or engage them in conversation somewhere.

    The reality is they most often know almost nothing, or at least nothing close to reality.

    I’m afraid for many city council members and other government leaders, they don’t know all that much more.
    Past Oakland School Board members would fall into this category.

    I asked a fairly articulate person answering the phone in a local legislator’s San Leandro office about how many people lived in the district.

    NO idea. OK, so I asked her in a polite way, if she had any idea about how many people lived in San Leandro..
    Hesitant to guess I encouraged her to give me a “ball park” guess.

    OK… about… 200… ( a pause as I waited for “thousand” to follow the “200″, but “thousand” never came.

    Surprised, I asked her how many people were in the local high school she graduated from a while back….

    OH, So I ask her if she thought more people lived in San Leandro than had attended her high school (in Hayward)…
    She was perplexed, but yes, she thought that probably there were more people in San Leandro than in her high school.

    Again, I was careful to not act shocked but it highlights the true reality that is in many people’s heads with regard to numbers, budgets, statistics, etc.

    That local politicians would make monumental blunders about financial matters is really no surprise.

    Next time you meet Oakland residents in public, ask them some basic questions about Oakland government, or about Oakland city workers.

    How much they are paid.
    What is their pension plan.
    How many hours they work per week.
    Benefits they get and the cost.

    98% of people you ask will know nothing about such questions.
    Not even ball-park answers.

    Surprisingly few city and state workers know much about their own pension plans unless they are nearing retirement.

    Kind of like doing your own polite form of Jay-Walking (Leno)..

    Then imagine folks voting on a dozen or so state propositions. Oh yeah.
    Can’t wait for the massive marijuana industry to fill Oakland warehouses and bring in all that tax money, as well as Teamster jobs…
    Oh sure, those taxes, and jobs are as good as money in the bank… right.
    NO one will dare grow the marijuana in the sunny, hot, central valley using $10/hr labor.

    Oakland leaders, dreaming of new profitable ice-skating rinks again.

  50. Barry K

    Speaking of Swanson and “token”, let’s not forget that Sandre Swanson, Barbara Lee and Ron Dellums all wrote to the Bankruptcy Judge handling the “Your Black Muslim Bakery” asking that he NOT allow the City of Oakland to get paid back over $1.2M in loans.

    Speaks volumes for Quan’s choice for her campaign Co-Chair!

    G*d forbid she’s becomes mayor, but, she’ll be able to ask a future bankruptcy judge handling the Merritt Bakery not to pay Oakland back; either.

  51. livegreen

    I agree with much of the criticism of Jean Quan. But, with or without a Tuman and/or Kaplan surge, this race to date has shown to be between Quan and Perata. And Quan’s deficiencies don’t automatically mean Perata is a positive.

    I’m concerned that none of the candidates have satisfactorily addressed solutions for either the budget or safety. And the two lead candidates have not addressed how they will cut costs for their Union supporters.

    The issues I’m concerned most about regarding Perata is most of his dealings are secret & behind the scenes, and many of them involve financial support from developers not based in Oakland.

    Since I’m allowed three candidates, and my first two are not either of those ahead in the polls, for the final two (most likely) I’m starting to lean towards the devil I know rather than the devil I don’t. & Somebody I know who will spend time on & in Oakland, will be here full time, and not smoking cigars with supporters in Contra Costa County.

    We don’t have any good choices in this race, and I sure hope in the future we’ll get somebody with both experience, moderation and solutions (for the budget, safety, employ-ment & building a middle class tax base). In the meantime we’re left with the cards we’ve been dealt.

  52. livegreen

    The Marcy Hodge ad on the Tribune website is really annoying. Covers up 2/3 of the page and won’t close.

    DAX or Len, you were asking how she could hope to win, and wondering why she’s running? I recently heard she’s getting financed/paid to run to help split votes. (Who’s, I don’t know, but based on her politics, assume minority & liberal?)

    I understand that might not be the only candidate…

  53. livegreen

    Minority & liberal voters. She sure has money from somewhere. I’ve been on Kate Murphy’s blog tonight (catching up after not going there for a while) and EVERY page view has Marcy Hodge ads popping out. (What a pain to read).

    No way she gets enough money to do that on her credit card over-charges from Pera(l)ta Community College District.

    The other race is for BART. Apparently Monique Rivera worked for Bechtel up until a few weeks ago. Closest Bechtel can come to actually employing the candidate…

  54. len raphael

    LG, i don’t know sht and am merely guessing, but maybe Marcie inherited some money from her brother Jason who died in December 2009. That would give her enough time to reserve the billboards.

    She’s probably figuring if she gets enough votes, the next mayor will put her in some position or she’ll have credibility to run for higher office later.

    She doesn’t strike me as a machiavellian type to say the least.


  55. Naomi Schiff

    A word about the school takeover by the state: the district did not go bankrupt, first of all. They were definitely not keeping the books straight. They were told by the state that they couldn’t transfer funds from one use to another in the way they had been hoping to do. (I think it was that they wanted to “borrow” monies from capital funds for other purposes. Not healthy, agreed, but not exactly the same as bankrupt, either.) Second, the state takeover was in part engineered by Mr. Perata who was planning to sell some of the OUSD land (our publicly-owned land, that is) to some developer pals. Third, the state takeover did not save the OUSD budget. OUSD would have been in better shape without it. Consultant costs and inept state administrators put the district further into the hole. And apparently even Don P. eventually came around to that point of view. The whole thing was highly political, and not simply or even mainly about what it seemed to be about. It isn’t to absolve or blame people that I say this, but that some of the observations above seem not to recognize what really was going on.

  56. len raphael

    LG, I look at JQ and her fellow OUSD board members and counsel at the time (was that JB’s law partner what’s his name?) the same as i would the owner of a small bakery that like so many small business’s and non profits just barely scrapes by after paying modest wages to it’s employees and owners/managers.

    They’re going along year after year, and then one day their bookkeeper switches them to a new accounting software program. A few months later, the bookkeeper is pleased to tell the owner/manager that they’ve had the best year ever and the bank accounts are overflowing.

    The manager/owner knows that there the number of customers and the mix of products hasn’t changed in years, most costs have gone up.

    But ever the optimist, the owner/manager promptly gives everyone a big raise and buys a bunch of new equipment.

    A few months later, the bookkeeper says, oops, the beginning balances were doubled up.

    Too late, there’s no cash to meet payroll and the vendors force the bakery into bankruptcy.

    Sure the bookkeeper and the software caused the problem but the manager/owner should have questioned the numbers.

    JQ didn’t do it when she headed up the OUSD, didn’t do it when the council approved huge retroactive pension increases, didn’t do when no money was set aside for infrastructure and medical retirement benes.

    And didn’t do it before the June 2008 election race when in the midst of a serious real estate crash, the city announced it was is good shape.

    -len raphael

  57. ralph

    I was shocked to receive a mailer from Ms Hodge but her talk about bringing Silicon Valley type employers, which I like, to Oakland seems like the last way to win the vote of blacks living in West and East Oakland. She may appeal to degreed black professionals, but except for Candell, so might any of the other candidates. If what you say is true, then it would seem like someone is wasting good money.

    Nine candidates is not enough to split the liberal vote. Isn’t everyone in Oakland some type of liberal?

  58. len raphael

    Naomi, again the issue isn’t how badly the state administered our schools, but how we and why we got into that situation.

    simply put, my understanding is it was brought on by OUSD spending money it thought it had but did not in fact have on teacher raises and hiring more teachers.

    That was the so called “accounting computer software” problem.

    Them most complex part of non profit/muni accounting is always properly classifying revenues and expenditures by the fund categories for which they must be dedicated by laws and contracts. aka “restricted” funds vs “general” funds.

    So to say it was simply a problem about which fund got which monies, is the same as saying the ousd thought it had a pot of money that it didn’t have, but went out and spent it without sufficiently questions how it could possibly have gotten the increased available funding.


  59. len raphael

    LG, speaking of devils plural and caught between hard places, when i compare JQ and DP side by side, i see downside potential for both of them but also upside potential for DP.

    DP has already shown his willingness to throw OPOA overboard on the parcel tax.

    I think he’s switching lanes to the ranks of other Democratic survivors who see the writing on the wall about funding the retirements they created for their union supporters.

    Will he substitute developers for unions? Yup. Not like there’s a resurgence of grass roots contributors in Oakland to get support or retirement.

    I don’t like that but I can live with it. At least there’s an upside to that which there isn’t to paying higher wages and retirements to employees.

    What I can’t live with is a mayor who’s idea of managing her police dept is locking arms and blocking them from carrying out lawful orders.

    Can’t live with a mayor who has stated numerous times and shown by her actions that an adequately staffed police dept is not a high priority for her.

    Nor can i live with a mayor who still tells us that our fiscal problems were entirely caused by the real estate and stock market crashes.

    -len raphael

  60. V Smoothe Post author

    I never cease being totally floored by the labryinthine logic twists Quan and her supporters will make to avoid admitting any responsibility for this complete disaster that happened entirely under her watch. It really is difficult to have any respect for someone so hellbent on avoiding ownership of their mistakes.

    You are right about one thing, Naomi. The School District did not go bankrupt – it went into State receivership so that it could avoid the otherwise unavoidable bankruptcy that happens when you literally do not have the money to pay your bills. You may have created some elaborate conspiracy theory in your head about how this was all some evil plot of Don Perata’s, but the fact is that it could not have happened at all if the School Board did not completely fail in their responsibilities to not spend way more money than they actually had. The City has done the exact same thing under Quan’s leadership of the Finance Committee.

    And now, where are we? The schools are back under local control, this land sale you are so upset about never happened, and OUSD has had the most improved schools in the State six years in a row. So it kind of seems to me like it all worked out.

    And the elaborate plan from the School Board at the time to save themselves from receivership by taking voter approved bond money that was supposed to be spent on designated capital projects and using it as a slush fund for their day to day operations instead? Aside from the fact that it is obviously illegal, it also illustrates a shocking disrespect for the taxpayer. It was not a solution. Any the fact that they thought it was says to me that they really had no business making decisions about how to spend public money.

  61. V Smoothe Post author

    What livegreen is referring to re: Marcie Hodge is a sad conspiracy theory dreamed up by Rebecca Kaplan groupies who really should be spending their energy on their own campaign. They insist that Don Perata got Marcie Hodge to run and is funding her campaign so that she will take votes away from Rebecca Kaplan. When you point out the obvious flaw in the theory (that nobody needs to worry about taking votes away from Kaplan, since she doesn’t have enough to matter), they just keep burying their heads deeper in the sand and insist that they are actually winning, and you can tell because areas of town nobody has ever seen are completely covered in their lawn signs.

  62. Daniel Schulman

    “sad conspiracy theory dreamed up by Rebecca Kaplan groupies”

    V that is a bit harsh. As a card-carrying Rebecca Kaplan groupie, I certainly do not promote nor subscribe to that conspiracy. I don’t even think it makes sense with ranked-choice voting.

    While some Rebecca Kaplan supporters might have helped spread the idea, I do not think it is majority opinion.

    At the same time I do wonder who is financially supporting Marcie Hodge’s bizarre campaign. I also don’t give much credence that it is self-financed with inheritance money since she doesn’t seem to be enjoying running. Anyway, it really doesn’t make much difference any which way – just a curiosity.

  63. Colin

    I haven’t heard the Hodge conspiracy voiced by any Kaplan supporters I know, but I don’t get out much. The place I saw it was Gammon’s column, and he was pointing out that she was originally funded by Perata’s cohorts when she ran for the Peralta board and then went on to ascribe evil intentions to Perata, as is his way. I can see how making sure that the voting base in poor black parts of town was spread out over as many candidates as possible would help some campaigns (maybe arguably even Perata’s), but, much like the OUSD real estate sale plot, I can’t believe anyone would be evil genius enough to conceive of and flawlessly execute such a plan.

    While I’m sure the reasons are less brilliant and evil, one does have to wonder about what the hell she’s doing in this race and why she’s spending so much on it.

    V, I’m guessing based on your snarky tone that you don’t like Kaplan supporters. As a Kaplan supporter, I’d ask that you not generalize about all of us. Some of us just like her policy ideas.

  64. ralph

    Is it possible that you are applying a white male standard for excitement? Now, I will grant you walking in late on a mayoral forum is not a way to show interest, but this does not mean she is not excited about being mayor.

    And aren’t conspiracy theories the province of a smaller fringe element?

  65. Dax

    I’d say of the possible reasons why Marcie Hodge is running for mayor, that her campaign is really a “pre-campaign” for the expected open District 7 council seat.

    I believe it opens up next year, but am not sure about that.

    I keep asking the following question.

    Has anyone who does not live in District 7 been receiving her mailers.

    I live in District 7 and have gotten two Hodge mailers.

    Report your experience from other council districts.

    You see, she is currently on the essentially non-paying Peralta Board.
    Not sure how she makes her living.

    Her brother ran for the Oakland School board while very young, then eventually ended up with a real paying job, working for a school district.

    So, if one follows that pattern, you might expect she wouldn’t mind going from a non-paying board, to either a paying council seat ($68,500 plus car allowance, benefits, pension, prestige), or possibly a paying city position, should she actually be running to help another candidate.

    I tend to go with the aim being a pre-campaign for the District 7 council position.

    Let me know about any mailers outside of Distict 7.
    Keep them and count them.
    As I’ve said, I’ve gotten two in my District 7 residence.

  66. V Smoothe Post author

    Colin and Dan, please accept my apologies for the generalization. I honestly did not mean to imply, nor do I believe, that all Rebecca Kaplan supporters are whiny conspiracy theorists, although I totally see now how my comment made it sound that way. I actually quite like and respect many people who are devotedly supporting Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor. I should have said “some” Kaplan groupies (and I consider Robert Gammon among their number).

  67. Dax

    Thanks V, that was the main mailer I received. I also got another smaller one.

    Even if she is sending mailers elsewhere, I could still see running for mayor as being a step to Dist. 7 council seat.

    I just see her aiming at some kind of paying job in government as her aim.
    Then again, at this time, I don’t know what she currently does for a living.
    A council seat, while active and busy, is certainly attractive and might even eventually lead to a real run for mayor.
    But the bottom line, it pays and once in, its yours as long as you keep running.

  68. ralph

    I am of the mindset that running for mayor is not always about running for mayor. Sometimes one does it either to bring a different point of view to the conversation, expose issues or to position themselves for something else.

  69. livegreen

    Re. Marcie Hodge, she might or might not be on the payroll of Perata’s supporters, but she’s getting a lot of money from somewhere to pay for this blitz. It didn’t appear out of thin air.

    I don’t see why such a plot could not exist for Mayor, when it even exists for a much smaller campaign, the one for BART Director. As mentioned above, Monique Rivera worked full time for Bechtel up until a few weeks ago.

  70. livegreen

    Len and V, good points about Jean Quan and her school board days.

    I am, however, still very concerned about whether Perata will be a full time Mayor and whether he will get into all the issues that Oakland needs addressed, instead of those that concern his largest campaign donors and continuing to broker Police Union & construction magnate funds to other top politicians state-wide.

    The latter is a very time consuming job, and it’s not going to stop when he becomes Mayor. That kind of cash flow and power base are too important for Perata to give up (a lot more important than being Mayor of Oakland).

    Then Oakland become of secondary importance to a well branded politician yet again.

  71. V Smoothe Post author

    livegreen, I’m not supporting Monique Rivera for BART Board, but I fail to see how the fact that she worked for Bechtel for many years means there’s some kind of conspiracy going on.

  72. ralph

    Richard Belzer would be right at home here.

    Oakland may have a number of issues, but right now few candidates are discussing expanding the pie. At least with more pie, one will have money to address other issues.

  73. Colin

    How would Hodge running for mayor help her win a city council seat next year? I’m not seeing the logic there. If she has all of this money, why would it be advantageous to spend it on a race she’s not trying to win when she could spend it on the race she actually wants to win? There’s no advantage in being a perpetual candidate, or being known for losing the mayor’s race dramatically.

    And I’m not in her district but got 2 mailers from her.

  74. V Smoothe Post author

    Colin, the idea is that running for Mayor would boost her name recognition among voters, which will in turn give her an edge when running for another office because people will already know who she is. I have no idea whether or not that’s what Marcie Hodge is thinking in this case, but it’s not an unheard of strategy.

    Of course, for it to be an effective strategy, you have to appear at least marginally competent during your campaign for the first office.

  75. Dax

    Colin, oh, its pure speculation.

    While my theory may be a reach, so is her reasons for running for mayor where her chances are near zero.

    Look, even though she is on the elected Peralta board, that is almost unknown to the average voter. They know very little about her, and much of what is known is tainted by the Peralta credit card scandal issue.
    Running for mayor gives a person a chance to raise their profile in the community, even if they lose. Also allows other issues to appear on Google to supplant the credit card problem. I imagine “running for mayor” will be the key item to appear after the election.

    So running for mayor, going to forums, putting out a few mailers, allows you to get that name around less than 2 years from the possible opening in the District 7 seat.

    (BTW, I checked and found that the next election for District 7 is actually in November 2012, so it is 2 years away)

    People have reasons to run for mayor.
    Hodge is NOT running to become mayor so we allow ourselves to wonder about her motives.

    I think a future run for District 7 is a very possible reason.
    You keep your name out there, you keep the pot warm. The Peralta Board is a very lonely place. A politician could go there and just die if they didn’t do something to keep fresh.

    I’m still not clear on what she currently does for a living.

    Perhaps running for mayor could lead to some other Oakland city job, or a job with some other agency.
    I mean a job where they pay a salary and have benefits.

    Anyone here know what she currently does for a living?

  76. Daniel Schulman

    I have a question about Jean Quan that maybe people can help me with.

    Obviously the two big issues in this Mayoral election are budget and public safety. One of the 2nd tier issues, though, that I am interested in is the candidate’s view on boards and commissions. For disclosure, I am a current member of the city’s Landmark Preservation Advisory Board, and a supporter of Rebecca Kaplan.

    Don Perata has been pretty clear he wants to suspend all boards except for those required by state or federal law. I think that just leaves the Planning Commission. Though, Public Ethics and Landmarks are both in the City Charter.

    Rebecca Kaplan in her MOBN response (http://makeoaklandbetternow.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=tKsmbz0f0sw%3d&tabid=38) said she wants to strengthen the citizen’s boards and give them some actual power. I believe she is also in favor of setting up a new Transportation Board.

    That seems like a pretty clear distinction to me, but I do not know where Jean Quan stands on the issue. Since I do not know of any public statement on the matter, I assume she is happy keeping the boards as they are. However, I thought I’d ask if anyone knows any different, and if Jean Quan has a specific position on the role of citizen boards.

    I am also guessing that Joe Tuman doesn’t even know the boards and commissions exist, but if anyone knows about a position he has, I’d be interested in learning that too.

  77. len raphael

    Marcie hasn’t sent anything to my 94618 part of temescal. I feel ignored by the conspiracy.

    Did get my first Jerry mailer. Talk about tax and spend union loving politicians who have reinvented themselves. Who says Perata won’t change with the times? It’s Quan who’s stuck in an Oakland time warp.

    -len raphael

  78. Colin

    I understand wanting to be a known political candidate and buying some name recognition. This is not that.

    I’m sure I haven’t seen all of it, but she’s spent at least $90k on media buys in the last month. That’s not keeping your name in the front of people’s minds, that’s going all in.

    I doubt that she actually has the money to cover all of this, but have no solid facts on the matter. That said, if she is the sort of politician who would make a calculated move like this 2 years in advance of the office she’s seeking, she would probably also be shrewd enough not to go broke doing it.

    So I don’t buy it. Sure, it’s theoretically possible that she is simultaneously extremely clever and extremely stupid about campaigning, but it’s highly unlikely.

  79. Dax


    “Did get my first Jerry mailer. Talk about tax and spend union loving politicians who have reinvented themselves. ”

    Yes, during the first debate, on TV, twice during his answers he made a point of saying he had vetoed pay raises.
    He also talked about his “back then” pushing for a two tier pension plan.
    Suggesting he can really be tough.
    Of course that was 30 years ago.

    So I keep wondering how he let his staff and council pass through a 35% leap in Oakland pensions in 2004, just six years ago.

    What is more relevant, 30 years ago or 6 years ago?

    I am really amazed that Whitman’s people have not had her counter with the Oakland pension facts.
    After all they are using all manner of other items about Oakland.

    There is still another TV debate and no doubt Brown will once again use the “he can be tough” on public pay and pensions.
    Wonder if she’ll counter.

    She really seems rather naive in so many ways. That she and her people let this nanny thing explode on them is amazing.
    They had to to know it would surface.
    Better to bring it out yourself and spin it in the right direction instead of letting Gloria Allred define it.
    What a nightmare?

    So amateur, makes me wonder if she could really handle Sac as well as Brown.
    I have visions of Meg at the bargaining table with a troubled look on her face.
    (unseen, under the table, some guy like a John Burton type, is gnawing on her ankle and is down to the bone and tendons) Never happened like that at eBay…

  80. Max Allstadt


    You’re dead wrong on two counts: first of all, the only person who dreamed up the Marcy Hodge theory is Robert Gammon. In don’t know a single vocal Kaplan supporter who sad anything about Hodge before Gammon wrote his article.

    Second, Kaplan can still get enough votes to be one of the top two finishers. And she’s competing for first place votes, so someone who votes for a dark horse candidate as a first choice is indeed hurting Rebecca and helping Quan and Perata.

    The polls say 33% undecided, and there’s a month to go. My advice to people who want to don’t want to see Quan or Perata win is to vote for Kaplan as choice one, and for their favorite second tier candidate as number two.

    I’m leaning for Kaplan 1, Tuman 2.

  81. V Smoothe Post author

    Max –

    I can’t speak for what anyone has told you, but I’ve been hearing all the same things about this Perata/Hodge conspiracy theory since mid-August. I assumed it would turn up in the Express at some point. I was surprised it took so long, actually.

    And seriously? Joe Tuman? I’m shocked that you would even consider in passing casting a vote for someone so deeply clueless.

  82. ralph

    How does one go from a Perata supporter until Kaplan got in the race to Kaplan – Tuman – Open?

  83. len raphael

    Dax, most likely Whitman’s speech writers don’t know about Jerry’s role in setting up Oakland for bankruptcy.

    But even if they did, she’s already coming across as mean Meg who treats working people like trash.

    Criticizing Jerry for taking care of the retirement of the hardworking underpaid Oakland city employees would be the icing on her anti worker image.

  84. ralph

    where is the chatter on the ballot measures and propositions?

    I wonder if the pot wunderkids realize that they are setting up the city and every employer for a crippling lawsuit. Prop 19 allows people to come to and work high. Employers can not send high employee home until after the ‘ee has done something wrong. So when that high as a kite city employee, driving behind the wheel of a large automobile, t-bones someone, do not be surprised when the city loses millions.

    (ok, admittedly the propositions are beyond the scope of ABO, but since certain mayoral candidates are hooked on the dope money, it is only fair that gen pop know the wacky weed is neither easy nor free money.)

    Yes on Measure BB

  85. Max Allstadt

    Ralph, I can’t vote for Perata or Quan because f Ranked Choice Voting.

    I still think Kaplan has a shot at coming in second in the first round, and then has a chance at winning based on second and third choice votes.

    If I vote for Perata or Quan second or
    Third, that vote could be a vote against Rebecca’s final tally.

    Also, I can’t vote for Quan because she’s financially incompetent. If, and only if the polls show on November 1st that the race is polling incontrovertibly as Quan and Perata in positions 1 and 2, I may hold my nose and vote against Quan by giving Perata my second choice. But I’ll be holding my nose very very tightly.

  86. V Smoothe Post author

    Max, I think you misunderstand Ranked Choice Voting. There is no way your second choice vote can ever have any impact on the chances of your first choice candidate. The only time your second choice vote ever gets counted is after your first choice is completely eliminated from the counting.

  87. ralph

    V, not sure what you are referencing:
    1) Prop 19 allows people to go to work high and prevents employers from sending them home. (see voter pamphlet)

    2) At least one mayoral candidate is digging on the dope. (see contributor list and sponsored legislation)

    3) Voting YES on MEASURE BB is not a ridiculous thing to say. Measure BB is good governance and responsible. It is the only thing that will give the people what they want community policing.

  88. MarleenLee

    Ralph, I think you were the one that said you always read the full text of ballot measures. So where in Prop 19 exactly does it say employees will be allowed to come to work high and prevents employers from sending them home? Chapter and verse, please, not arguments from the VIP.

    City officials have publicly stated that if BB passes, but X fails, there will be more layoffs. Now, I don’t necessarily believe that, but that’s what they’re saying. So if we’re at 680 now, and we lose, say 20 more (which I think is what they’re saying), then we’re at 650 or fewer by January. Do you really think OPD is going deploy 63 officers away from an already decimated force to the old Measure Y beats? I sooooo doubt that. Even Jeff Baker, Measure Y kingpin, apparently told a representative from the LWV that if BB passes its unlikely the Measure Y officers will return. That’s triple hearsay, so take it for what it’s worth, but that’s what I heard.

  89. Max Allstadt

    Christ, if I can get this into local politics and still miss details of IRV, maybe IRV does suck.

    Perhaps a November primary with a December runoff if needed would solve the problem of turnout, but still be an intelligible process.

  90. ralph

    Ms. Sacks,
    I’ve come to the conclusion that a better use of time is reading the summary arguments.

    I suspect that getting the 63 officers is not going to happen overnight. I do not expect OPD to deploy existing staff to MY beats. Anyone thinking that is probably sniffing dope.

  91. Max Allstadt

    And I suspect that if BB an X fail, that we’ll lose enough cops to scare the shit out of the general public.

    And that’s why I’m voting no on both: the general public is too apathetic and needs to be scared into paying attention. Also, losing 200
    cops might also get OPOA to stop being stubborn and take a pay cut.

  92. ralph

    Exen if BB passes, Oakland is going to have a general fund problem.

    I could be wrong but I am of the mindset that OPOA played JQ and even they know that the writing is on the wall re: pension contribution.

    Pay cuts are always harder but if my math is right a 10K cut should provide funds for up to 50 odd officers. 50 additional officers is a good thing for all parties.

  93. len raphael

    Max, you’re starting to sound like me when i opposed the patch to Kid’s First.

    Starting to think IRV isn’t as great as described ?

    I have a large box of clothespins in front of my house when you ready to vote for Perata as first choice to deny giving the city to Quan and her ilk.


  94. len raphael

    I was all set to repeat unquestioningly what a buddy recounted how Lionel Hodge, the father of Marcie and the late Jason, is a wealthy retired engineer in Vallejo who was grooming Jason for a political career. Now so that line goes, he’s grooming Marcie.

    i google Lionel Hodge and come up with some odd reference to a former Vallejo councilman who was sent to prison for a while in 1996 for shooting his wife, who was head of a menlo park non profit or somesuch.

    lots of grist for conspriacy theorists.

    -len raphael

  95. len raphael

    the only useful thing i learned from googling for hodge’s dad, was this link to a vallejo online media.

    look on the left side for the piece about legal costs vs benefits of their bankruptcy. conclusion there, unlike what Quan and others have said, is that Vallejo’s savings far exceeded their legal costs as of 3/09


    Combine that with the possibility that if Vallejo had asked the bankruptcy court to reduce vested retirement oblgations, they might have gotten a really big return on investment in legal costs.


  96. Dax

    Along the lines of funny things in the news somewhat related to Prop 19 and Oakland.

    Several news stations ran stories about the meeting regards Oakland picking 4 “official” pot growing companies.

    The funny part.

    That the pot growing employees will be paid $50,000 per year in their union jobs.

    Now, when “indoor” pot growers in Oakland, with huge PG&E bills and fairly high rent, are making tens of millions of dollars, just how long before some Central Valley town or county passes a similar ordinance that allows land owners, with free sun, lots of land, and cheap water, to grow bigger and better pot, while using $10-$15 per hour labor.

    Just how many months or perhaps a couple years, before Oakland pot growers are under-priced. Thus, either going out of business or reducing wages to a fraction of $50,000.
    This ain’t the Port and the longshoreman’s union with a monopoly.

    What part of supply, demand, and the law am I missing?

    Sounds like pie-in-the-sky…

    Then again, why are the companies willing to go forward with a investment?
    What is the missing element?

    Larry Reid seems all positive about the pot farms being good for district 7.
    Does he know something I don’t?

    Seems like pot could fall to 1970′s prices. Like tomatoes, anyone can grow and plant or two in the back yard.
    In fact they already do.

  97. Naomi Schiff

    Some good news – Cultural Arts got the NEA grant for the empty lot next to the Uptown and Fox.

    –It’s 200,000
    Xiaojing Wang, Policy Analyst
    Office of Councilmember Nancy Nadel
    Oakland City Council, District 3
    (510) 238-7031

  98. livegreen

    Dax, What he knows is a new source for campaign contributions, taking him to lunch, and other cost of living savings so he can pay for his Mercedes (unless that’s considered a cost of doing business).

    V, Re. Gammon and the East Bay Express, is it just their current speculation about Perata supporters contributing to Hodge that you find objectionable & part of a conspiracy theory, or their coverage of Perata supporters contributing to her in past races? (Or both?)

  99. Daniel Schulman

    The NEA Grant is such good news.

    Hopefully we can keep the momentum against the unending tendency to increase parking everywhere.

    No to the Uptown Parking lot – Yes to Art
    No to T-CUPs – Yes to citizens ability to comment
    No to 5,500+ Added Parking Spaces in the Valdez Triangle – Yes to human-scaled retail

    While we are at it, can we get more laundromats?

  100. Dax

    You know, looking at the big picture, the people involved, and the history, it would seem that the prosperity of the people in Oakland, is way down the list of priorities.

    A prosperous Oakland is only what they think you get, after you pay homage to all the other important matters.

    If Oakland had been run like Singapore the past 40 years, it would be a example for all of America.

    How is Oakland entirely different than Singapore?

    Or are those Singaporeans just superior by some unknown factor?

  101. Daniel Schulman

    T-CUPs are Temporary Conditional Use Permits.

    In practice, the idea is to allow surface parking lots (mostly downtown) with just staff review. Because they are seen as “temporary” it is argued there is no need to go in front of the Planning Commission.

  102. Naomi Schiff

    By the way the supposed-to-be-so-lovely parking lot recently allowed at 14th/Harrison is not even as (slightly) lovely as promised. I intend to look back and see what the conditions are. Yes, they should require hearings and eschew surface parking. I hope everyone will help push the broadway/valdez plan back to broadway, and help them realize we live in a city, not Pleasant Hill.

  103. ralph

    Do I frequent a different DTO? Honestly, there is more than enough parking to cover current demand.

    What do you mean by, “I hope everyone will help push the broadway/valdez plan back to broadway.”

  104. Naomi Schiff

    The specific plan drafts use the area between grand/27th/Harrison/Broadway as (yet another) retail area. (Yes there are people living there now. Also some empty parking lots.) It would further dilute our business area. It’s on the same theory as the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party: when you mess up a place setting, everyone just moves down a seat. If they can’t figure out downtown, they do uptown. Before they’ve built out uptown, move on to ex-auto row. We need to learn to compress and build out our commercial areas, for synergy, activation, transit-friendliness,and to get a critical mass of customers. This however has been going on for 40 years so why am I surprised?

  105. Naomi Schiff

    Oh: so Ralph, to answer your question, a great many members of the technical advisory cttee plus members of the public have been saying they should focus the effort along Broadway, not sprawl it out so much, and attempt to work with the already-vacant areas where some new businesses are springing up.

  106. Max Allstadt

    Naomi, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that the interests involved in the project At 13th and Harrison want to use the entire Harrison St. side of the lot for mural art by Oakland kids.

    I suggested the idea to them during their appeals process, and they later contacted me asking me to make introductions to potential sources of art. I went to a meeting with them on Monday and I’m pleased to say things look very promising.

  107. V Smoothe Post author

    That’s very sweet, Max, but shouldn’t be a surprise, nor is it particularly laudable, since doing so was one of their conditions of approval. There are several conditions on that list that haven’t been met.

  108. Naomi Schiff

    Okay, Max, good start! I look forward to seeing the mural and I hope the parking lot people will meet all the conditions. We’re watching with great anticipation.

  109. ralph

    There are no shortage of unused, vacant and parking lots in the Grand/Bway/27th/Harrison area. Heck there are no shortage of vacant lots on Bway from 12th St. But we need to be cognizant of the fact that retail ops require a certain footprint and if if you can’t put enough stores together you have not done much to expand retail. Also, I think it helps for open space planning. We need to stop thinking small.

  110. Max Allstadt

    The point I’m making is that the mitigations aren’t done yet.

    My hope is that the mural wall may set a precedent and be mandated for future mitigations on other projects.

  111. V Smoothe

    It’s understandable if the art takes some time, but they also have a condition saying they will clean it up every day, and the thing is absolutely filthy. I have a scores of photographs spanning several weeks taken at all different hours of the day illustrating the filth they allow to accumulate and specific items of waste remaining there for weeks. There was supposed to be landscaping and bike parking. Again, landscaping, sure, I could see taking some time. But if you were going to put in bike parking like you’re obligated to, wouldn’t it make sense to do it when you repaved the lot? They argued for their permit that they were protecting the city from blight when creating a new surface parking lot. But what has happened is that it adds to the blight.

  112. Max Allstadt

    If conditions aren’t being met, then by all means, make sure they get met. I didn’t
    chime in to defend the site wholesale.

    I was just reporting that Carlos has taken action to keep his promise to me that his clients would put up an art wall, and that the representatives I met were very enthusiastic about the art they saw.

  113. livegreen

    That sounds great.

    If you’re talking about Carlos P., you might mention to him that Desert View Auction just moved from Oakland to Hayward, so the landlord behind his properties on Tidewater might be more willing to sell.

  114. Dax

    I see in the Tribune article today that Jean Quan presents one of her main points as fixing the pension problem.

    Can someone, possibly a supporter, tell me what she means specifically.

    Points needed to understand.

    1. When does she propose doing this.
    2. To what level will pensions be reduced for new hires.
    3. what contribution levels from employees.
    4. Average of 3 highest years?
    5. Age at which you can collect?

    Does Jean have a specific proposal or is she just waving a big wand at the future?

  115. Dax

    Just called the Quan4Mayor office.

    They will email me with more info, but for now they only seem to know about the police pension issue of getting police to contribute their share.

    Is that her only “reform” planned for pensions?

    That is only a fraction of the pension issue.

    BTW, as usual, no one is even aware of the 2004, 35% pension boost.
    Like I always say, other than a few city employees, not one Oakland resident in 100 is aware of what took place in 2004.
    Yet it makes the Raiders debacle look like chump change.

  116. len raphael

    Speaking of chumps and their change, i’m starting to suspect that the Perata Raider’s 20/mill joint city/county annual subsidy might just have been a fair market price that we had to pay if we were dumb enough to believe we absolutely had to have the Raiders back.

    Blaming Perata for that is misplaced when we should be blaming our elected officials who approved it, our sports mania lust for the Raiders that Al Davis could smell and our continued failure to develop the area around the arena to make it more attractive to fans. since i hate sports, i couldn’t say how much is Al Davis’ responsibility as an owner/operator to sell seats.

    -len raphael

  117. len raphael

    Is there a video of the Mayoral forum at the humantist? hall the other night?

    Rumor was that JQ assured the supportive audience that we have at least 4 to 6 years before we face bankrupty.

    Would be so typical JQ to retire as Mayor and be able to claim “Oakland went bankrupt after I retired”

    -len raphael
    Perata for Mayor
    Kilian for Auditor

  118. len raphael

    Found the recent video of JQ saying she projects we’ll be bankrupt in about 6 years “if the police don’t pay for their pension” http://vimeo.com/15903256 towards the end, a question from the audience.

    A JQ supporter would say that of course if we make JQ our mayor we won’t go bankrupt because each of our say 550 cops who are then earning say 65k/year will each be contributing 9% or $5,850/per x 550 cops = $3.2Mill/year.

    JQ’s financial math continues to be truly scary.

    She is telling us that 3.2Mill more dollars per year will cover the payments on over $1 Billion of retirement obligations that are coming due as the baby boomers retire from their city jobs.

    Heck, even if we had a generous 30 years to spread out the over $1 Billion, and we don’t have to pay any interest, that’s 33 Million in retirement payouts per year.

    Not counting the likely huge increases in Calpers premiums for the general fund.

    Nope. If elected mayor, Quan will be unable to maintain her perfect record of departing just before the ship sinks.

    Jean Quan is innumerate.

    -len raphael
    Perata for Mayor
    Kilian for Auditor

  119. Naomi Schiff

    I don’t believe Jean Quan thinks that is the ONLY thing we have to do. It is ONE thing that is needed. Tell me, what is Perata’s superior plan? Is his admirable track record the wonderful state budget, which I seem to remember grabbed quite some millions of dollars from Oakland’s community development dept.? You are not very even-handed in your criticisms. One might think you had reasons other than budgetary ones.

  120. len raphael

    Naomi. Have you watched that video? No one cut Jean off.

    She had plenty of time left to say drastic cuts in all current employee retirement benefits will be needed.

    But she had finished her reply.

    btw, has anyone ever succeeded in cutting off Jean?

    Absolutely I have ulterior motives: I think Perata would do a much better job at running Oakland, warts and all, than Quan with all her pure motives and selfless incompetent service.

    Quan would make a good director of social services if she had a good financial controller to keep her away from the fisc.


  121. len raphael

    Naomi, btw, i’m quite consistent in the final laps of mayoralty races here.

    I voted for Lionel Wilson, did not vote for Elihu, for Jerry Brown; actively supported IDLF. If i had lived in SF probably would voted for Willie Brown.

    What was it Max said, about liking 75% of a candidate’s position is good enough for him. I like about 85% of Perata and 10% of Quan, 20% of Tuman, 25% of Kaplan, 90% of Harland.

    -len raphael
    Perata supporter
    Kilian supporter