Greg McConnell: Is Oakland Worth It?

This guest post was written by Gregory McConnell, President and CEO of the Jobs and Housing Coalition, which represents major businesses in Oakland.

Many Oakland business people are asking whether Oakland is still a good place to invest. As I talk to small and big business people all around the city, I hear the constant question. Is it time to pack up and leave?

Phil Tagami told me that several tenants have talked to him about leaving the Rotunda and taking hundreds of jobs out of the city. The small shops in Frank Ogawa Plaza report that business is off 30 to 50%. The Tribune Tower managers say they can no longer tolerate the fact that their building is frequently forced to close because Broadway between 13th and 14th Streets is usually the epicenter of unrest.

On Wednesday, a client attending a conference at the Marriott called and asked if it was safe to eat at Jack London Square, I told her no, it had been shut down. Another business group that has invested in Oakland brought its national board of directors to the Bay Area. They too had plans to stay at the Marriott and visit potential sites in Oakland for new investment. Instead, they went to San Francisco fearful of riots and unruly mobs.

City officials are assessing the impact of the occupancy on our fragile economy. They will be looking at reduced sales at restaurants, lost revenues at retail outlets, lost leases, and lost jobs. We will have empirical evidence soon, but for people who lost a lot in broken windows and shattered confidence, and workers who have been told to go home, or have been laid off, the impacts are already known.

All of this begs the question. Is Oakland worth it?

No, if our leaders allow long-term unlawful occupancy of our public spaces. No, if the police are forced to hide away in the City Center parking lot under a “minimal presence” order, thereby forcing property owners to arm themselves and risk their lives. No, if graffiti and broken windows are acceptable. No, if the city does not protect the people that employ the 99% and serve the residents.

On the other hand, there are many reasons to say yes. Oakland is still one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It is rich with caring, intelligent people who work hard and engage in community affairs. We have young entrepreneurs who are opening small businesses. We have new innovative companies like Pandora, Sungevity and BrightSource Energy that are bring thousands of jobs to the city. Large corporations have established foundations that give back, Kaiser foundation and the Rogers Family Foundation are just a couple of examples.

Most Oaklanders share the outrage at the failure of our economic system. It rewards a small segment and seems to ignore the plight of every day working people who are losing jobs, homes, investments, and worse, the optimism that has always allowed us to think that our lives will get better. The Occupy Movement has brought this to our nation’s attention. For this, we are grateful.

Nevertheless, we have to distinguish between our shared anger at Wall Street and the occupancy of Frank Ogawa Plaza and lawlessness in our streets. Oakland’s business people are not Wall Street profiteers. They are people like you and me who wake up in the morning and work to feed their families.

The owner of Café Teatro hires four people to sell coffee and sandwiches. She is not rich and she is not exploiting anyone. The owner of Rising Loafer is in the same boat. Well before the occupancy, she frequently talked to me about her outrage at corporate America. Tully’s supported the occupancy with donations of food and cleaning supplies, before their windows were smashed. Each of these businesses will be forced to shut down, and the people they employ will be jobless, if the unlawful occupancy of Ogawa Plaza and violence in the streets continues.

I believe that this too shall pass. It needs to happen soon. If it does, YES, OAKLAND IS WORTH IT. But, if we don’t do something soon to change our downward spiral, we may lose the city.

On Thursday night, I took visiting business people to Pican Restaurant. My mission was to help a local business, which has seen a 40% decline in sales over the last few weeks, while trying to give potential Oakland businesses confidence that the city is still functioning. I hope others will do something similar to support Oakland businesses that create jobs and revenues for this struggling city.

We all honor Oakland’s long history of promoting peace and justice. Nevertheless, we need to acknowledge that there is a big difference between supporting efforts to change Wall Street and the unlawful encampment that is destroying the city, our local business people, and their employees.

I urge the residents of Oakland to tell our leaders that support for changing Wall Street and ending unconscionable corporate greed, does not equate to support for an on-going unlawful occupancy. Please write the Mayor, the Council, and the City Administrator. Tell them to end the occupancy and lawlessness in our streets. Let them know that this caring community also cares about working people and businessmen and women who bring jobs to the city.

When we make that clear, I trust that our leaders will find a way to end the unlawful occupancy. If they do not, perhaps we will need to end the occupancy outside and inside city hall.

345 thoughts on “Greg McConnell: Is Oakland Worth It?

  1. Jennifer

    I don’t advocate businesses being damaged such as windows being smashed or walls being spraypainted. I do question exactly how much business itself has been affected — I’m talking about businesses that are not physically surrounding the plaza. I know people who work in downtown Oakland — some in buildings surrounding the plaza. They’ve gone to work every day and have walked around every day, often buying lunch from a downtown proprietor. A few times they’ve been sent home early, but they’ve never been unable to actually get to and from work. I also don’t recall Jack London Square being shut down. I think some businesses were likely having issues before Occupy Oakland and that they’re looking to shift the blame.

  2. Rust Belt Refugee

    Can downtown Oakland (which includes everything from Jack London Square to Uptown in the eyes of a visitor from outside our fair city) survive only on business from residents and downtown employees? I doubt it. We need destination eating, drinking, and entertainment (good luck with destination retail). Expecting visitors to analyze the geography and demographics of Oakland is a bit too much to ask–they just see a riot and reconsider.

  3. annalee allen

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Oakland survived the earthquake. Oakland survived the Fire. And Oakland will survive this. I am one of those downtown workers and I am determined to go about my daily routine, and support all the local businesses I usually support. I am not going to let frantic news reports looking for the next shocking scoop influence where I go or what I do. We are going to get through this.

  4. ralph

    “A few times they’ve been sent home early, but they’ve never been unable to actually get to and from work.” When employees can not work business does not happen. When employers can not guarantee a safe work space, employees start to think about working elswhere and employers start to relocate. This how it works in the real world not the fantasy camp of OO comrades.

    Business has been greatly affected. The afternoon that OO and its splinter orgs were out destroying WF other businesses closed early. The Bank of the West on Broadway closed at 2:30. The Starbucks on W Grand also closed its door for fear of being next. The OO and its splinter people fed up with the excesses of a small dry cleaning businesses shattered the front the businesses front window. The dinner crowd at Ozumo was incredibly light we were told because of the riots. The riots are hurting this city.

  5. Livegreen

    What about the people who live near there and call DT & UT home? They should put up with the nightly riots because others can leave?

  6. Chris Vernon

    To my knowledge, Jack London Square has not been shut down – my wife works there and says OO hasn’t really affected JLS.

    What seems crazy is that OPD and the city went after OO tent dwellers that were largely peaceful and then failed to do the same when hooded anarchists started smashing windows (as they’ve done in the past during many other protests or periods of unrest in Oakland). This is completely backwards.

    It’s important to remember that the vast majority of the OO participants are not directly confrontational with OPD or downtown merchants. And, although they aren’t proposing many solutions, they are pointing fingers in the right direction.

    Due to the Occupy movement across the country, the national conversation has shifted completely from deficits to wealth inequality. How exactly this will play out remains to be seen, but it’s refreshing to hear real talk, not Republican nonsense. Let’s do remember this is a very wealthy country with a GDP that has risen steadily over the last generation, but has truly benefited relatively few Americans. This is a result of poor policy, not a lack of wealth.

    If I was young, well educated and unemployed, forced to live at home – I’d be angry too.

  7. MarleenLee

    Thank you, Greg, for urging common sense and those that have common sense to write to our elected leaders, who appear to have none.

    Some of the comments here totally mystify me. “We will survive this?” I hardly think that is the point. Is that some sort of excuse to avert your eyes and not deal with the reality? A fire and and earthquake are acts of God. This is a totally man-made disaster and there is absolutely no comparison. Our elected leaders openly ALLOWED and encourage this disaster to happen. An equivalent analogy would be seeing a small grass fire, knowing that it will soon become a conflagration, and throwing some gasoline on top of it.

    And I guess Jennifer thinks that if businesses are harmed, but not that much, then it is all okay? This just shows the total egocentricity and utter lack of compassion these so-called “progressive” supporters of OO have. They are so f-ing “progressive” that they have set back economic redevelopment in downtown Oakland 15 years, according to Pat Kernighan,.

    The campers need to go NOW!

  8. MarleenLee

    Chris, there’s nothing wrong with protesting and changing the national conversation. There’s nothing wrong with being angry. You can be and do all of those things without illegally camping and infringing on other people’s rights. Not to mention the fact that they are totally shooting themselves in the foot because they are rapidly losing mainstream support.

    You might be frustrated with “Republican nonsense,” but right now, I’m frustrated with “liberal nonsense” that is destroying our City. Remember, a lot of these folks (the Oakland contingent) actually want to destroy capitalism, not fix it.

  9. Jenn

    Jack London Square was not closed down — people were at Heinold’s the evening of the march to the Port enjoying drinks. Miss Pearl’s had a big water break last week and may still be cleaning up from that — any closure there was not due to protest.

    That said, I do have a nonprofit client whose office was closed last Wednesday and has been greatly inconvenienced by Occupy. I live down near JLS and am really tire of this. I think a lot of people agree with the Occupy sentiment, but not the tactics. I still have no idea why the Port was targeted.

  10. SA

    If you told people JLS was shut down, then YOU are part of the problem hurting Oakland business. No such thing was true.

    I had a lovely dinner at Encuentro the Tuesday night that the helicopters were out helping police roust peaceful folks from the OO camp. The story in the Chronicle about the owners of Restaurant B or whatever it’s called? Right there in the lede was their nostalgia for when they had a wait list every night… 2007. FOUR YEARS AGO. OO has been there for six weeks. What happened in the meantime? A massive recession!

    I live in Adams Point and regularly go out in the Lake Merritt, Telegraph, Uptown, and DTO areas. And I support #occupy here in Oakland and elsewhere.

    Salon got the headline right when it comes to this business-slanted yellow journalism: “Great city forced to read swill.”

  11. Ivan

    I’m starting to think that Oakland’s politics are not only divisive but selfish too. Clearly, different groups of people seem to view OO quite differently:

    Those (few) who oppose both OWS and OO

    Those who favors OWS but are fed up with OO because they’re affected by it (i.e., work, live, or do business in or around downtown)

    Those who both favors OWS and OO because they’re not affected by the latter (or simply fail to recognize the correlation btwn the never-ending riots and Oakland’s economy)

    Those (read: mayor, council members) who flip-flop around the issue because don’t want to upset their voter base.

    This does not look particularly promising, and I even wonder if there’d be enough support to recall the beloved major. Maybe, as someone suggested, we do need to see the riots and OO spread to Rockridge, Montclair, and Lakeshore to expand the base of those finally able to connect the dots and see where this is heading in the long term.

  12. Ravi

    Ivan: “I’m starting to think that Oakland’s politics are not only divisive but selfish too.”

    That’s it exactly. Oakland is locked up in the grip of a Mayor and a City Council for whom political survival and ideological pretense are all. There is no vision for this City; there is no commonsense; there is no understanding for how to manage a city the size and complexity of Oakland.

    There will be no change, sadly, until most of the bums are thrown out, starting with the Mayor.

  13. gregory mcconnell

    Business people in Jack London Square were called and urged to let their employees go home. The Port released its workers. I stand by my post.

    The janitors in my building on Ogawa Plaza have lost work on at least two occasions because the building closed based upon safety concerns, and I have personally seen the footage of Tagami staring down an angry mob. Oaklanders should never have to choose to stay or leave based upon safety concerns. That is the point of my post.

    Those who agree in the righteousness of peaceful civil protests have my support Those of us who believe we have a right to be safe also have that right. These rights are harmonious until thugs change the game.

    Lawlessness is not the same as peaceful protest!

  14. Rust Belt Refugee

    Of course those of us who live downtown, uptown, Lakeshore, or Adams Point know how to navigate this town and know what’s safe and what’s not. Can we spend enough money locally to support the level of commerce that a city of this size needs without outside investment?

    Meh, my friends in the ‘burbs and in SF don’t like coming out here anyway. I can commute to work through Piedmont, shop in Emeryville, and go out in SF. And I can tell folks I meet there how proud I am to have lived next to OO. Maybe we can built a monument downtown and bring in politico-tourism?

    But damn it, this idea that OO is cost-free, or that someone else deserves all the blame, is really galling. A movement like this, no matter how just, has a real cost born by real people. Meditating while others break windows doesn’t separate you from what’s going on. Your presence in our city affects us, no matter what your intentions. The idiots in city hall are a big part of the problem but not the whole problem.

    Perhaps the movement is important enough that the collateral damage is worth it. If so, stand up and say so. Own it, please, and make your case. Don’t deny it.

  15. annoyed

    The earthquake lasted less than a minute and clean up and rebuilding started immediately. The fire burned for about 24 hours and smolderred another day or so. As soon as it was safe, clean up and rebuilding started.

    OO has no end in sight. It is this lack of critical thinking about the damage to Oakland that is hard to swallow. It doesn’t matter if the demonstration on Wednesday was mostly peaceful, if your property was spray painted, your windows smashed, if you lost a day’s pay, then who cares if it was mostly peaceful? The fact is, if OO did not exist, there would be no weekly riots. The rioters have used OO for cover and OO has refused to disavow their violence. The No Justice No BART folks who wore out everyone with their Monday night demonstrations about police violence and cell phone accessibility have pimped off of OO to flog BART.

    Many of the people in OO feel angry and powerless and are looking for a way to express that anger. For the first time in my life, I have some understanding how Jim Jones was able to get hundreds of people to move to South America and end up committing suicide.

    The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.

  16. annalee allen

    comment to Annoyed ~ I have to say you managed to trivialize the after effects of two rather devastating disasters. remarkable.

  17. James

    I live a little over half a mile from Frank Ogawa plaza.

    Long before Occupy Oakland, downtown became a ghost town after dark. In fact, by 6pm, most of City Center is shut down! There are people who want to shop and eat here and nothing is open! The same is true on the weekends. In fact, when the Oakland Marathon was in town, lots of out of towners were looking for a place to grab food, and were amazed that City Center was all closed. I had to direct them to nearby neighborhoods.

    I used to actually prefer to lock my bike at the West Oakland BART station and take the longer ride home than have to try to unlock in that creepily empty plaza at 14th street. Ever since Occupy Oakland arrived, I feel safe in the plaza. Co-workers from San Francisco housesat for a friend who lived in Uptown Oakland a few months ago, and said that they were “creeped out” by how empty the streets were. They had been considering moving here, but were turned off by that experience. I invited them back out here on Wednesday, and when they saw the streets filled with people, they started asking me about good neighborhoods to rent in!

    Lots of the examples of businesses closing or people being inconvenienced center on Wednesday, which was the day of the General Strike. That was a one time deal. There were people bent on making trouble, and they did. But the majority did not, and who knows how many people came to Oakland that day for the first time?

    I don’t want any small local business to suffer because of the occupy movement. From what I’ve heard, there are folks from the movement going out and meeting with local businesses this week to discuss concerns and mitigate the impact. This is a vital step and I hope that folks will really hear those concerns and make the necessary changes. I am making a point to buy from at least two shops I haven’t been to before in the plaza this week.

    Greg McConnell is a developer and a past supporter of anti-rent control policies. This is not to vilify him, but to point out that he has a vested interest in painting the picture of Occupy Oakland in a negative light. The story about JLS not being “safe” felt like a reach – JLS was far enough from the part of the port where people were gathering that it wouldn’t have been affected. Pican Restaurant is at 22nd and Broadway, which is also far from FG Plaza. If their business has declined in the past few weeks, I would blame the change in weather before thinking about Occupy Oakland.

    My final point is this – those who are concerned about Oakland’s economy should be looking to Jane Jacob’s theory of vibrant, walkable neighborhoods. We need more stores that stay open later and we need more people to live near their stores or have easy access to them. Jack London Square is a great resource that fills with people every weekend (Farmer’s Market, Pedalfest, Eat Real, etc.), and most of the storefronts sit largely empty, which discourages people from regularly filling that space or wanting to live there. Downtown Oakland stays open for the office workers but closes for the residents, which forces us to go elsewhere for our needs. Businesses have been affected by a downturn in the housing market that predated Occupy Oakland – lots of those condos that were supposed to fill downtown and uptown with full time residents are going empty. People have less disposable income to spend. And all signs point to the fact that we’re about to endure another “dip” in the national economy – how we will shore up and protect Oakland? If you think tearing down the camp is the answer, you’re taking the easy way out.

  18. len raphael

    A Petition for Recall of Mayor Quan was filed this afternoon at the City Clerk’s Office.

    There was a ten day waiting period after the Notice of Intent to Circulate Recall Petition was filed on Oct 24th. The Mayor responded at the end of the 10 day period last week.

    The Petition itself is the same as the original version that was the Notice of Intention with the only allowable change being the appending of the Mayor’s response.

    The City Clerk has an additional 10 days to review the documents and then if approved, the petition goes to print and signature collection starts.

    At that point the Petition is effectively public domain, in that anyone can collect signatures and submit to the Clerk for verification.

    Without going thru the same process, the petition cannot be altered in any way.

    A copy of the filing dated Nov 7, 2011 should be online at and at by end of tomorrow.

    -len raphael
    Vote No on Quan’s H,I,J

  19. PRE

    Would someone please tell me exactly how I’m supposed to take seriously commentary that says JLS has been “shut down?” This entire piece is filled with similar sweeping generalizations. Now if Mr. McConnell wants to address the specific reasons behind the decisions that have turned JLS into a near ghost town be my guest, but problems down there long predated OO or anything to do with BART police shooting an unarmed rider in the back.

    There is no excuse for graffiti and absolutely none for smashing windows of banks or anything else, but it wasn’t OO that turned some unsightly tents in the Plaza into a police riot. And I can definitely say that looking out my window at four helicopters noisily hovering over downtown night after night kept me away much more than OO ever did or could.

  20. ralph

    People who do not live in Oakland do not make a distinction between OO at 14th and Broadway and Ozumo in Uptown. It is an important point lost on a number of you. Ozumo and Pican opened 2008/2009, I think the people who work there have a good idea of what is affecting their business.

    Past news reports have shown that protests rarely stay in a confined area. Residents of other cities make a decision to skip DESTINATION Oakland to avoid being caught up in this stupidity. When employers send their employees home early, it means fewer people staying downtown for dinner. When I see a mayor who allows this crap to continue unchecked, I advise my out of town friends and family, who are looking to stay in a BART friendly hotel, to stay in Union Square. I’m thinking about their safety.

    Cities tend to recover from natural disasters, outsiders do not attribute the damage to city officials who lack the capacity to act decisively. But when our elected leaders allow the inmates to dictate the conversation, then it is hard to recover.

    James is anti development. I don’t point this out to villify him but he must realize that without additional residential and commercial development in the downtown area the neighborhood will remain unwalkable.

    Can someone tell me how I am suppose to take seriously someone who writes, ” lots of those condos that were supposed to fill downtown and uptown with full time residents are going empty.” I have news for you buddy most of those buildings are fully occupied.

    The problem is not unoccupied residential buildings. Guess where these people are during the day working and for the most part not in downtown Oakland. Some do but must don’t. The downtown and uptown areas need more businesses such as Clorox, Pandora, KP etc. These people spend money at local restaurants during the day. But when businesses either shutdown early or refuse to locate here, we all suffer.

    If you think leaving up this camp is going to attract new businesses to the area, then you are sorely mistaken. If OO really wants to help these businesses, then they can do like Marvin K. Mooney.

  21. gregory mcconnell

    James, thanks for not vilifying me, but let me set the record straight. I have never developed anything in my 62 years on the planet. I wish I had the talent and resources to do so.

    Yes, I have worked to modify rent control policies and have been successful using lawful procedures in the process. I also served as director of rent control in Berkeley and as an executive in the Wash., DC, rent control program.

    But so what, this is not about me. This is about the unlawful occupancy of Frank Ogawa Plaza and related civil unrest.

    I won’t go into your other points other than to say that I am glad you feel safe. Most people feel quite the opposite. That is why the city of Oakland has released its employees on at least two occasions that I know of. Businesses in Jack London Square were advised to send their employees home last Wednesday. Shops around the Plaza were advised to close because the police could not guarantee their safety. Vandals broke windows, sprayed graffiti on buildings and I have personally seen people getting drunk at the Plaza, fighting, cursing, and defecating in public spaces, even after the portable toilets were installed.

    I understand that the end is near for the occupancy of the Plaza. Does that mean we cannot continue to seek change of Wall Street practices. No, in fact, we can focus attention better when people direct their actions at Wall Street and not hard working people who are trying to make a living and who work to make Oakland better.

    Council Member Desley Brooks, who camped out for a few days, and represents the hardest hit district in the city, spoke eloquently at the City Council meeting about the difference between seeking justice, jobs and hope, and unlawful continued occupancy of the Plaza.

    I agree with her. Peace.

  22. Jack

    Our company is in East Oakland. We employ more than 100 people here. Oakland is important to us.

    OO is not hurting our business, but it is hurting our ability to recruit the high quality workers we need. The problem did not start with OO, it started with crime, but OO has surely made it worse. Being in Oakland has become a competitive disadvantage for us.

    We are not leaving Oakland, but that is because we live and love Oakland. But I am not sure how or why an outsider would invest here.

    I wish the people on this board could come together with a solution, and not pick apart each others positions. Oakland needs us to listen to each other and work together.

  23. WJR

    Damaging the prospects of Oakland is not what this protest should be about. Oakland needs every single job and business can get. This protest needs to be in Washington against the Political Establishment both Republican and Democrat that set up the policies that pitted our workforce making $7.50 to $50.00 per hour against an offshore workforce making fifty cents to $5.00 per hour and then turned around and bailed out the banks and wall street interest with no penalties or compensation for our taxpayers who funded it. Stop penalizing the local communities and focus your attention where it belongs. Our Mayor needs to decide whether she is a Mayor and a Leader of all of the city or a protestor, and she needs to do it soon.

  24. annoyed

    How exactly did I trivialize the fire and earthquake? If you are in favor of OO then that’s fine but please don’t put words in my mouth. I thought the point was crystal clear. The fire and earthquake lasted a finite amount of time and the city was able to move on when these events ended. When is OO going to end? When do we get to start moving forward and rebuild downtown. Jesus H. Christ.

  25. PRE

    People can vilify OO and the entire Occupy movement all they want, but I know one thing for certain.

    The past spring and summer the country saw both parties play a game of one-upsmanship about who could be “brave” and cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid more than the other side. The supposed “Hope and Change” guy being at the front of the line to do the cutting. Now, after decades of ever increasing inequality and ever increasing corrosive money in politics the conversation has finally, FINALLY turned a little bit towards those questions instead.

    Jack asks for a solution. I’m sorry to say but this IS part of the solution, because the way things were going wasn’t working very well for lots of parts of Oakland, East or otherwise – or doesn’t a 16% or 20% unemeployment rate (which well predated OO) scare people? We should all be grateful that the response HAS been OO rather than something with blind destruction at its core.

  26. annoyed

    I’m reposting because I wasn’t able to edit the first post before the edit function timed out.

    I thought the point was crystal clear. The fire and earthquake were natural disasters that lasted a finite amount of time and the city was able to move on when these events ended. The moving on took more than a decade for downtown and some of my neighbors still don’t have chimneys. That is what is so galling about the OO because downtown has just gotten back on its feet and now it’s something else except we don’t know when or if OO is going to end. When do we get to start moving forward and rebuild downtown? Again. Jesus H. Christ. I lived here for both disasters. I spent the night of the fire buying goods that were needed by first responders and schlepping them to St. Vincent De Paul’s even though I live nowhere near the hills. I know people who lost their homes in the fire. I know one couple who left Oakland because it was the second time they lost their home in a wildfire. I clearly recall how the earthquake devastated downtown Oakland with a number of buildings that were no longer safe for occupancy. A number of my neighbors had damage to their homes from the earthquake. People died in both of these events. But the city was able to move forward and rebuid. People in West Oakland forced Caltrans to move a freeway right of way, something no one had ever accomplished before. How is stating that Oakland was able to move forward from two natural disasters but can’t move forward from OO since we have no idea when or if it will end is trivializing anything? If you think a comparison is valid between two natural disasters and an occupation that is your choice. I think it is completely invalid.

  27. MarleenLee

    PRE – citing the old “ends justify the means” argument. Sorry, don’t buy it. Numerous groups and movements were able to achieve monumental gains without having to set fire to buildings, pee in doorways, destroy business or hurl rocks and bottles at the police. Women getting the right to vote? Women getting the right to have a legal abortion? Yes, changes in policies and laws can be achieved by lawful action and effective advocacy and persuasion.

    Not sure if you listened to the speakers at last week’s City Hall meeting. It didn’t sound like too many of them were concerned about Wall Street, Washington, abusive lending policies or foreclosures. In fact, a lot of them probably couldn’t even explain the first thing about how Medicare or foreclosures work. Rather, a lot of them were all reveling in how fun it was to live in their little commune and how it was contributing to their sense of “family” and “purpose” and self-actualization and personal growth and yada yada yada. You never heard so much self-centered, self-righteous hippie tripe.

    Occupy Oakland does not appear to have any coherent message about reforming Wall Street. Rather, it seems to be about (1) making sure youth curfews and gang injunctions are taken off the table; (2) paying tribute to Oscar Grant and Lovelle Mixon; (3) destroying capitalism; (4) keeping schools open; (5) telling the police to f___ off; (6) telling the government to f— off; (7) “decolonizing” public space; (8) giving the homeless a place to stay; (9) giving the new “community” an opportunity to explore anarchistic utopian ideals, and God knows what else.

    The fact that these messages are garbled, incoherent, unappealing, or unrelated to the OWS “movement” in general has not stopped our City officials saying they “support” the movement. Could they please specify what exactly they support?

    Yeah, unemployment is bad. OO will only make it worse.

  28. livegreen

    The Mayor’s office just put out the following statement:

    “Oakland is a city of the 99% and last Wednesday’s peaceful demonstrations showed support for the broad goals of creating job and reducing income inequality. However, as a city, we are carrying a disproportionate share of the burden. Overnight camping and the continued presence of a small, unsafe element are impacting both local businesses and our neighborhoods.

    Local businesses are hurting because of vandalism and reduced patronage. Neighborhoods are hurting because city services already stretched by budget cuts face additional demands responding to emergencies downtown.

    We are a city of the 99%. Oakland has the highest rates of unemployment, poverty and foreclosures of the major Bay Area cities. We are struggling under the weight of budget cuts at the local, state and federal levels. While we support the call for broader participation in political and economic democracy, we cannot ignore violence, property destruction and health and safety issues in Frank Ogawa Plaza.

    This situation is costing us real jobs. We can’t afford to lose a single job.

    Oakland has demonstrated its support for the 99%. Now is the time for the encampment to show its support for Oakland.
    We call, once again, for dialogue between representatives of the encampment and the city to move toward a peaceful resolution.
    We ask the many Oakland individuals and organizations who have shown their concern to reach out to the encampment directly.
    And, we call on protesters to assure Oaklanders that further demonstrations will be peaceful and that violent demonstrators will be isolated.”

    Sounds like they’re going to try one last dialog Wednesday evening. It looks like the Mayor’s office is still conflicted between the initial message and the actual events.

    At least they’re moving in the right direction. The anarchists are leaving no choice, even for those who’ve been actively participating in the camp.

  29. livegreen

    Most likely, if OO doesn’t reform it will either be shut down in it’s current form -or- transform into two separate organizations, one existing vs. one that is peaceful & cooperates with the City.

    This is what the Mayor might be shooting for…

  30. Charles Pine

    Ask yourself why the Occupy groups in most other cities around the country have kept their movement on point, not damaging the economy and image of the city. The answer lies in the nature of Occupy Oakland and the vacillating non-leadership of mayor Quan. Her latest this morning is to ask OO publicly, please talk with me about resolving the problems. That’s it. Talk.

    Occupy Oakland is only the current, most egregious example of mayor Quan’s failures. To stop the failures and open the way to a safe, thriving Oakland, we must recall Quan, repudiating the decade of policies she has promoted on the city council and now as mayor.

    The recall committee is working the processes as fast as possible to get the recall petition ready. If you want to be notified when and where you can sign the recall petition, use the link within

  31. Rust Belt Refugee

    “Now is the time for the encampment to show its support for Oakland.”

    I’ve spent a few evenings down at FOP talking to random people, and I’ve yet to randomly meet an Occupier who knows much about Oakland, much less one looking to support Oakland. Oakland is a venue for the event. When OO is done, most of these folks will move on and never consider the consequences.

  32. Jack


    East Oakland has an unemployment rate of over 50%. It is disgusting. It is what I, and many people like me are trying to fight. OO is killing us.

    OO is a disaster for Oakland. People, business and families are fleeing. The 1% are not leaving because they were never here.

    Can’t we help people in a way that works for everyone? Oakland is not the enemy, Quan is not the enemy and the police are not the enemy. You are confusing evil with incompetence. Oakland simply does not have the depth of political skill to handle a situation like this. We are over our heads, bankrupt and leaderless.

    I am not trying to vilifying OO, I am vilifying the destruction of a city that I love. Why can’t we work together to both help Oakland and our community? If OO won’t work with the city, how is it helping Oakland?

    OO, our city and country’s leaders are all the same. They are screwing us while smiling and telling us they are saving us. It is all about them.

  33. Annalee Allen

    annoyed ~ let me clarify my thoughts for you re the response to the two disasters, speaking as someone who was very, very involved with community responses to both: Countless hours of meetings, preparing for testimonies, assisting with various activities associated with rebuilding community spirit, and on and on, for months and months ~ I know I am not alone here, as far as the community outpouring that occured with respect to those events. While yes the shaking lasted barely a minute; and yes while the fire burned for a finite length of time ~ the aftermath has lasted to this day, more than 20 years later. 20 years of my life. Maybe you just woke up and kept on with your day, and those things didn’t impact you that much directly and that’s why you think the way you do. So, that’s why it felt like you were trivializing what I was bringing up, by way of comparison with what we have today. It all comes down to this ~ if you care about Oakland you do what you can each and every day. I’m sorry if I didn’t make my point clearly.

  34. annoyed

    So much for my efforts at trying to have civic shared responsibility. We should all stay in our residential silos.

    But back on topic, you’ve still missed the point I was making whch is that the fallout from natural disasters and an indefinite occupation are not comparable. If that means I am trivializing the recovery from the fire and earthquake, well, whatever.

  35. livegreen

    A # of the Mayor’s BBON people are urging other citizens to attend the OO General Assembly. On the one hand it’s positive to get the broader, more reasonable citizens involved.

    On the other hand it’s interesting that our elected Officials are appealing to citizens to have their voice counted at a General Assembly of an outside movement.

    Does this validate OO as another Political Party? Or an additional, secondary, Municipal Government?

  36. ralph

    I do not negotiate with terrorists. The laws of this city are clear. By law, the pie people do not have the right to camp overnight. The IC and CA were right to evict them and the mayor was wrong to allow them to recamp. The only thing that needs to happen now is have them removed. And I use them broadly.

  37. Ravi

    “Does this validate OO as another Political Party? Or an additional, secondary, Municipal Government?”

    Ya sure, you betcha. Whatever happens is democratically valid! And what, pray tell, is the primary “Municipal Government?”

  38. Jame

    At the begininng of the Occupy movement, I thought interesting. I told myself, I could be in support of this, if there was a concrete goal. We are 6 weeks in, and there is no end or goal in sight.

    I support the idea of OO. I do not know how the rights of OO relate to camping out in Frank Ogawa Plaza. Or looting Oakllectiv. Or breaking windows at Tully’s and Whole Foods.

    Over the past 2 years, my sister’s downtown Oakland employer has closed 8 times due to random riots or violence downtown.

    Our big brother to the west has nonsense protests frequently. I can’t think of a single incident where businesses were forced to shut down due to the threat of escalating violence or riots.

    If potential and current businesses and downtown leasees are voicing their displeasure, than dozens of others aren’t saying a word and planning on moving. It is troubling that we have heard from dozens of current businesses. This will continue as long as our city allows nonsense to take over and destroy our streets.

    Frankly the city’s decision making process on OO reflects the leadership for everything else: lots of meetings and no decision or action. No one wants to voice and opinion and risk someone getting mad at them.

    Enough! It is time for perception that it is OK to trash Oakland to stop, and it is time for some leadership that has the gumption to fight for it.

  39. annalee allen

    why is it that not a single tent has gone up in the Dellums Building Plaza, barely a block away from City Hall. Guess no one wants to mess with the feds. Hmmmmm. Might as well stay in good ole ogawa plaza.

  40. PRE

    I have said nothng about the strawman of whether or not “the means justify the ends.” The issue is that, clearly vandalism and property destruction aside, YOU do not have the right to decide what means the people take to bring their issues before the government. And you absolutely don’t have the right to decide whether or not what they want to discuss is valid or not.

    On a practical level, if the Mayor wants to have police riot number two on Wednesday she can go ahead with that but I have a strong feeling that the sequel will be even worse for everyone involved than the first time around.

  41. George

    Also, Floyd Huen (Jean’s husband) is interested in weakening the Mayoralty and City Council even further. From an email:

    The idea of neighborhood assemblies is exactly what the Town Halls were meant to be; we did 8 of them with the last being the biggest, almost 600 people at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. It you see this is as a alternative power structure, so be it. The ideas of issues that flowed from these are the basis for us to work on as priorities for the city, neighborhood by neighborhood.
    We wanted to use these to judge the next group of canididates for council next year.

    Could these eventally replace the council in that neighborhood meetings could become a direct form of democracy using the NCPC approach ? Of course they could . It could begin with the budgetting process going forward.

    But starting all over again does not REQUIRE rejecting everything we have in the meantime. It requires sophistication in building the new community within the old one. That is why we ran Jean for Mayor and that is what we are trying to accomplish. All of these proposals are up for discussion and trying out. The whole purpose of Block by Block Orgnanizing network is the beginning of this new type of organizaition in each neighborhood: based on block by block. The Inside work within the government must serve the outside work: the building of block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood organiatization to activate ALL residents of Oakland to govern themselves. We just celebrated our first annivesary the same night as the city council meeting.
    I think the vision of both movements is very similar.

    However if Jean is recalled this will suffer a big setback. The situation at City Plaza must be resolved soon. There must be some form of meaningful negotiation so that the larger goals can be worked out together. The GA’s can keep on happening at the plaza observing the time limits. The sleeping overnight can occur somewhere else; or decamping and coming back together can and should continue.

    Floyd Huen

  42. gregory mcconnell

    The occupancy of Oakland will soon end. The center voices in Oakland are speaking up in larger number. The effects on businesses and workers are being made more clear every day. City costs are high and revenues are plunging. As a consequence, services are being reduced, including the social safety net for the poor, youth, seniors and the homeless. Meanwhile, the occupiers still have no plan, no clear voice, and show no respect for the city and its residents.

    This will soon end. I hope it is peaceful. But if the anarchists take to the streets, our police department, with the aide of others, will do what is necessary to maintain order. There may be dark days ahead, but that is the price for living in a civilized society that operates by the rule of law. Whatever happens next, the people of Oakland must stand together and show the resolve to see this through.

    Oakland holds firm our commitment to the right to free speech and assembly. Those rights are guaranteed by our constitution and our collective conscious. We also hold firm the rights to make a living, create jobs, and maintain safety in our streets.

    We will bring the encampment to an end and we will send a message that Oakland is a city that honors protests and its laws. I am confident that the people of Oakland will stand together.

  43. len raphael

    Quan using her BBBON (block by block) org run by her husband Floyd to stuff the ballot box at tonight’s OO general assembly vote is dangerous at worst and stupid at best.

    Quan’s major backer, Nick Vigilante, has been mass posting on neighborhood yahoo sites calling for residents to come to OO and vote for the resolution forswearing violence and property destruction.

    Just the kind of strange cynical manipulation that you get when you cross a retired Homeland Security/Justice Dept guy like Nick Vigilante with a stuck in the 60′s radical like Quan and Floyd.

    Quan wants that vote to provide cover for her, Nadel, Brunner, and presumedly Kaplan to defeat attempts by the council to order an end to the encampment. Barbara Lee even butted in to support the encampment.

    At best Quan sends in enough people who’ve never participated in OO assemblies to pass such a resolution, what 90% majority? Not likely. Then at the next GA, the vote is reversed.

    Whatever the moral persuasive power such a vote would have on the black bloc people would be lost by its manipulated taint.

    If the OO people come to the conclusion themselves to forswsear violence and smashing, that might mean something.

    At worst, Quan, Floyd, Vigilante and her block captains are sending normal residents into a volatile situation where black bloc people will have had plenty of time to prepare.

    Is Quan going to ask OPD to pull even more cops out of East and West O for for political machinations? She should.

    You figure she justifies risking the safety of the carpet bagging residents the same way supporters of the encampment justify the harm it’s doing to Oakland: in the long run we’ll all be better off by striking a blow at the 1%.

    Same old same old, that right wingers and left wingers use to sacrifice people for their goals.

    Quan can’t even run her own city, now she wants to run OO also.

    -len raphael, temescal
    Vote No on Quan’s H,I,J

  44. annoyed

    Wow. Jean Quan and her hubby are a real box of Fruit Loops. Is there a time for the meeting on Thursday? Thanks.

  45. Livegreen

    Actually some BBON people have been at the camp since the beginning. Under the guise of making it more peaceful they are trying to find a way to keep it going and, perhaps, turn it to their own advantage.

    Let’s see what luck they have: OO not only deposited their $10,000 in a Wells Fargo but according to the Chronicle under the account of the “Long Haul Anarchist Collective”.

    OO has already effectively been infiltrated & taken over, but not by Floyd. Good luck turning that around, BBON.

  46. len raphael

    repost from temescalneighbors of BBBON’s Nick Vigilante:

    Hello Everyone,

    Occupy Oakland will consider an Anti-Violence resolution at its General Assembly meeting this Wednesday beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Frank Ogawa Plaza, accross from City Hall. The resolution will come up for consideration at some point after the meeting begins, attendees will get an opportunity to speak about the resolution, and then the resolution will be voted on. Successful passage of this resolution is an important first step toward bringing an end to physical attacks and violence which have occurred during or after Occupy Oakland events. I encourage everyone to attend the Occupy Oakland General Assembly meeting and vote “YES” for this resolution. Bring a jacket or wear warm clothing because it will be cool outside. Parking will be available on city streets. There are also several parking garages; one in back of City Hall, one in back of the Federal Building, and one under City Center across from City Hall. These garages charge a parking fee, and they close each day at around 11:00 p.m.

    Here is the Occupy Oakland resolution:








    Nicholas Vigilante

  47. len raphael

    from Rockridge Neighborhood Watch Site (no politics allowed).
    Karen Ivy is secretary of the Rockridge NCPC:

    “Think hard before going downtown tonight

    We’ve seen repeated calls for residents to show up at tonight’s Occupy Oakland general assembly and vote for the agenda proposal against using violence and property destruction. This despite the fact that the newspapers regularly report on a group of about 150 people, usually called the “black bloc,” who insist that violence should remain in the toolbox and frequently try to shout down speakers arguing for peaceful protest. The “black bloc” is a completely unpredictable factor, there’s no way to tell what they’ll do; and they almost certainly know about the calls to come down and vote. Whether you believe in the principles of Occupy Wall Street or not, the situation in the OO General Assembly tonight will be potentially dangerous.

    If the proposition passes the GA vote tonight because of a bunch of people who only show up tonight, the “black bloc” will almost certainly try to put it on the agenda again shortly, in hopes of defeating it in a general assembly which isn’t full of one-time voters.

    If the OO campers pass the resolution against violence and property destruction by themselves, that will be a very strong statement about the movement; if they don’t, that’s an equally strong statement about the movement, in the wrong direction.

    Think long and hard about showing up at the General Assembly tonight, and don’t go unless you are prepared to cope if the situation turns violent.

    Karen Ivy


  48. livegreen

    The Chronicle reported the OO GA has to vote 90% to pass anything. If true, nothing will change. The Mayor then needs to make a decision about the camp. & OO will either split in 2 or end.

    Either the Mayor acts to end the Camp, or finds a way to save face by using BBON to form a 2nd OO movement, or does nothing and looks leaderless, forcing the Council to override her.

    Since they appear to have 5 votes it is my impression they can vote to instruct the City Administrator (CA) to remove the camp. Please correct me if I’m wrong about their ability to do so.

  49. len raphael

    What do you bet that Kaplan “abstains” at the last second when the decision comes whether to evict OO ?

    She has that abstain thing down to an art on controversial issues where she wants to be able to please both the maximum number of voters.

    It makes her look like a pure opportunist.

  50. JSBA

    I for one am sick of the camp for a number of reasons and the main one admittedly is selfish. I own a start up video game company based here in Oakland, we do testing on games. My testers generally work in two shifts a regular hour 9 to 5 shift and a late shift from 6 to 2am. i have been trying to get contracts and investments but due to the OO movement many of the companies i talk to have reservations about doing business with a company located at 14th and Broadway. I will soon be moving my business 66 Franklin in JLS but even still investors and companies fear that i will have to delay or slow their projects due to unrest in downtown. SEGA flat out told me that they will not do business with me because they do not believe that a company in Oakland can attract and retain the qualified individuals needed to perform the tasks they need done. i told them that that was absurd however that doesn’t change their mind. Its no so much that i believe what the OO people are saying is wrong, its more that they are perpetuating the negative stereotype our city already is struggling thus with. stifling the very minimal growth that we are experiencing. Add that to the truly useless city government we have and you are left with a major city moving backwards rather than surging forward. Oakland has a lot of catching up to do and i just don’t believe that OO is helping us do that.

  51. modestexpert

    Re Kaplan, I’ve been watching her on a number of issues, and much as I have issues with how Quan is handling things, we surely dodged a bullet with her.

    I remember during the debates for Mayor on the blight issue and abuse she repeatedly said how blight was a real issue, and the city was doing what needed to be done. When the Grand Jury report came out, she had the nerve to say she had been pushing for reform on that issue all along!

    Yes, Kaplan will stay away from any real decisionmaking or taking any stand. For me things have cleared up a lot over the blight issue/extensive citywide abuse, and now OO. Kaplan, Nadel and Brunner are simply catastrophic for making any real progress.

  52. Barry K

    George- I found this interview on BBBON by one of the founders explaining their anti-government agenda and political aspirations.

    (Q): What is the agenda of BBON?

    James Vaan: (A)
    Last night we did adopt a mission statement but it’s not quite complete. So far it says, “The mission of the BBBON is to build stronger and more sustainable communities for the benefit of all Oakland residents by: developing and building grassroots leadership in neighborhoods, increasing participation, communication and transparency in all civic activities, influencing policy in all democratic institutions, and working with businesses, government, community based organizations and civic institutions, to achieve social, political and economic justice in a collaborative partnership led by residents.”

    In practical terms, we invision this organization to be a city-wide umbrella that would be focused on activating people in their neighborhoods. We ultimately see that the organization would involve itself with electoral campaigns and selection of candidates, and to extend that influence and be a force in city processes.

    We might want to have observers assigned to each of the city’s commission and boards – there are some 40 of those – so we can push certain things and not push others.

    One of the first things we’ll be joining in is a clean up day happening for Martin Luther King weekend in District 7. We’re going out and leafleting the neighborhood the weekend before. We’d like to help communities green their neighborhoods, work on streetscapes, plantings, house painting.

    We don’t want to be in conflict with existing organizations doing civic patrols, environmental work, etc. We hope to augment but not supplant these organizations.

    Except the City Attorney, the Police Chief, Dir of Public Ethics, a police department…you know, all those that might get in their way.

  53. len raphael

    Quan rumored to have hired a high powered SF spin maester a couple of weeks ago. Presumedly paid for by her campaign committee.

    Up till now looks like she was her stubborn self, listening to her family instead of to the consultant.

    Much slicker Quan release. She’s sticking to the script now.

  54. len raphael

    I was wrong. The consultant, Nathan Ballard, supposedly just quit saying she wouldn’t listen to anything.

  55. gregory mcconnell

    Yesterday, I attended the press conference led by Council President Reid which was interrupted by angry protesters. I fully associate myself with Ms Brooks comments. “These are people who believe everybody ought to have a voice, yet they came down here to silence our voices.”

    This was not the so-called “small band of anarchists” who infringed on the rights of the Council and community leaders to peacefully express their views. These were mainstream OO’ers.

    It appears that their actions yesterday backfired and crystalized what is going on in Oakland. People all over town saw with their own eyes their version of democracy at work. If you agree with them, you can speak. If you do not, they will try to shout you down.

    OO does not respect our city leaders, our community groups, or our businesses. It is really too bad because a lot of people who have suffered in the economic meltdown could help make change, but OO choses tactics that are offensive.

    I don’t know anyone who has worked harder than Ms. Brooks to try to bring hope to the poorest people in Oakland. She camped with OO when the protest started. Now she is vilified and attempts are made to drown out her voice. They don’t know her well. She will not be silenced by an angry mob.

    So much for dialogue and open exchange of ideas.

  56. len raphael

    wasn’t the woman leading the chanting barrage against the Councilmembers, identified as an organizer for CNA (CA Nurses Assoc) ?

    CNA was a major financial backer of Rebecca Kaplan in her last mayoral bid.

    Was the CNA employer acting in a private capacity on her day off, or was she acting in the course of her duties as a representative of CNA?

  57. Ken O

    I attended last night’s GA for the 1st time. It was worth attending – once. I’ll try to return if time permits, wherever it ends up being.

    But I must say there were far too many “Fcuk the Police 24/7″ responsibility shirkers, people who were all for property destruction/vandalism for myriad reasons. Too many shouters/screamers. GA is not as bad as jerry springer, and the facilitators really tried. Most people (80%) seemed positive and willing to try. But I can imagine us getting to the Detroit level if we let clowns prevail.

    Really too bad about a CNA professional protestor (not representative of #OWS) shouting down city councilmembers. No respect at all for civic discussion.

    I think it would have been okay for one minute to get a point out, but not the whole time. We are not Mexico here. Yet.

    A strong, clear proposal needs to be made at the next GA or two. You only need three people to submit your proposal to oaklandoccupyfacilitation(tors?)@gmail and then go up and give your presentation.

    Shouldn’t be so hard. Just need to clearly define what your proposal is FOR and AGAINST. And define your terms. (“violence” for one…)

    Attacking private property locally…well that is almost going back to the Chinese Cultural Revolution disaster. We must not go there.

  58. Daniel Schulman

    Greg, that video of protestors shouting down Council members and community leaders was astounding. You and the other folks up there did a great job of comporting yourselves well in the face of such juvenile antics.

    While I originally supported the occupiers, I think this phase of the movement has run its course. OWS and associated groups including Occupy Oakland were extremely successful in the changing the national debate. It’s time now, though, for them to declare victory and disperse. If they persist, sentiment will swing completely against them and they will be marginalized as a left-wing Tea Party.

    While I think the occupation should end, I am not so sure calling on the Mayor and OPD to do it is the right answer. Based on past history, I do not believe they have the ability to end the occupation without further violence. I was looking forward to the meeting at the Den this evening to discuss alternative means of ending the occupation. But alas, much as the press conference was shouted down the other day, threats of violence were able to get this meeting cancelled.

  59. len raphael

    Quan is constantly pulling the rug out from under her most loyal supporters, like Don Link of North Oakland.

    In this latest example, reversing course, again, and telling OO to leave their encampment just an hour before her BBBON lieutenants were telling people to come down from Montclair and Glenview to vote at a GA that obviously was going to run very late at night.

    She treats her supporters like dirt. I’ve lost count how many times Don Link has assured everyone that Quan is tough on crime, and then she lays off cops, and undermined Chief Batts. Then Don Link had to come up with a story why Batts was terrible for Oakland and good riddance after initially saying how great he was.

    Speaking of Batts, the name keeps coming up from very different sectors of town when people ask who they would want to replace Quan.

    I’m down with it, but doubt if Batts would want the headache.

    -len raphael
    Vote No on Quan’s H,I,J

  60. livegreen

    Don & Nick think the Mayor is a coalition builder. So I guess they continue to hope she can build a coalition in support of manageable Public Safety. How they figure that the Mayor is to form such a coalition without good, well managed Law Enforcement I don’t understand.

    Especially when they chose the Mayor, no matter what, over a Chief who actually DID build that coalition.

  61. len raphael

    What cracks me up about Don Link and some other BBBON people, is that they deny that BBBON is a front group for supporting Quan and her agenda. Its funny because at the beginning, BBBON was completely open about that and about working to elect candidates who support Quan’s agenda. Even today, their web site features a big picture of Quan and Floyd surrounded by admirers.

    Nick Vigilante of BBBON was her campaign co-chairperson along with Sandre Swanson.

    -len raphael

  62. Patrick M. Mitchell

    In my younger days, I worked for Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. One evening they held a rap music-related event that quickly got out of hand: attendees were breaking down/jumping gates, smashing windows, openly using drugs, etc. The solution? Universal played country music at top volume, turned on the sprinklers and wheeled out search lights to point at the crowds. The entire park was empty in less than 2 hours – and this was a crowd of about 20,000.

    Although many of you may be too young to remember, in the late 70′s/early 80′s Hare Krishna devotées became a fixture at US airports, aggressively soliciting passengers. My life at that time required frequent air travel and going through the airport was like running the proverbial gauntlet. Someone – bless him or her – came up the the bright idea of using Cricket Clickers: small, handheld metal crickets that when pressed make a distinctive, irritating clicking noise. When Hare Krishnas appeared, all of the passengers in the immediate area surrounded them and CLICK CLICK CLICKED the Hare Krishnas into submission. It was so effective, Airport personnel were handing them out for free. Very quickly, Hare Krishnas abandoned airport solicitation.

    RE: OO, rather than begging, doing a rain dance or using force, why not simply create a physical environment that makes staying undesirable? This is a task at which City of Oakland government excels so success is virtually guaranteed.

  63. annalee allen

    I too am ready for the occupiers to decamp and go back where they came from (oh and it would be nice if they helped clean up before they left, but I’m not holding my breath). This ongoing trashing of Oakland, and lack of caring about what they break or destroy is really wearing thin. I have not been to one of those meetings, so I base my opinion on what I read, and if it is true that they cannot disavow violence to people AND property, then they have lost whatever sympathy I might had felt. The thing we should be doing is gearing up to defeat the Republicans and to support Obama. Practically everything the Occupiers complain about can be laid at the doorstop of the Tea Party and their supporters ~ can’t they see that? And if not, why not?

  64. MarleenLee

    Patrick, those are great ideas. I’ve thought about similar ideas myself. Perhaps some sort of noxious gas that smells horrible but isn’t actually physically harmful? Combined with annoying noises/music, plus bright strobe lights that bring on headaches? Are there any apartment dwellers or nighttime businesses in the area that could be negatively impacted?

    Of course, however, the problem initially was not getting them to leave. The problem was keeping them away. The police actually did a great and peaceful job of clearing out the camp initially. No violence, no tear gas. The problems started when the campers brought in reinforcement and the riot started the next night. How are you going to prevent a repeat of that? Strong police presence I think is the only option. Also, they will need to construct a real fence around the grassy area to keep people off, and maintain a strong police presence in the area for some time to make sure they don’t return.

    Maybe we should compile a list of ideas and send it to Mayor Quan, since she seems to have none.

  65. len raphael

    Any lessons to be learned from People’s Park ?

    (Patrick M, re the hare krishna, and there I thought they all had gotten jobs as mortgage brokers)

    I don’t think OPD wb using their sonic cannon, though it is much safer than anything else.

    For nighttime, there are high intensity laser dazzlers. No, can’t use those either.

    Rather than station 100 cops at FOP round the clock for the next 2 months, maybe just maybe Jerry will lend us the National Guard sans guns?

    Could cause fatal flashbacks to some of Quan’s most fervent baby boomer supporters. So better rule that out too.

  66. ralph

    They can’t see it because the Tea Party is not the cause of the problem. The Tea Party and the Pie People have more in common than they do differences.

    I have a feeling that recent activity will put an end to this movement quickly. The all inclusive policy of OO just did them in.

  67. Ivan

    Yep, just next to the OO encampment.

    And, one of the OO folks went on record on TV stating this is in no way related to OO because “there are shootings in DTO every day” same exact words.

    “Shootings in DTO every day” I just couldn’t believe the lies from this out-of-towner…

  68. ralph

    Two shooting related events in Occupy Movements on the same day (the other being VT). City leaders across the country need to examine the issue of safety with these camps. The situations were different but the dangers are the same. It seems to me that there may be at least one lawsuit in the making against the city for allowing OO to break the law while the city knew the potential risks.

  69. gregory mcconnell

    I do not recall murders at 14th and Broadway before OO. This is the consequence of “minimal police presence” I am very angry that OO tries to say this is what happens in downtown Oakland. To the contrary, this is what happens when lawlessness is allowed.

    End it now!

  70. Ravi

    Len: “btw, what is Quan’s agenda? Or is it Jean Quan dressed in progressive clothing?”

    Quan may be wearing what she thinks is a progressive costume, but the party she has been invited to is at the asylum. Quan is, quite simply, nuts. And most of the CC members are right behind her–right on the cusp of lunacy.

    Marleen: “Perhaps some sort of noxious gas that smells horrible but isn’t actually physically harmful?” There is such a substance, easily purchasable on-line, even from Amazon. It’s called “Liquid Ass.” For some light relief in this very sorry time in Oakland you might google that word and read some entertaining tales about how to use it.

    Greg McC: “I do not recall murders at 14th and Broadway before OO.” Unfortunately all the bad consequences of having an incompetent, emotionally unstable Mayor have come together this week. But we need to keep in mind that Oakland has had a history of more than 40 years of about 100 murders a year and up to 1000 shootings a year with entirely too few complaints. We seem to get upset if a cop shoots someone. Then it matters. Citizens shooting citizens somehow just doesn’t rate in this nutty town. There! I just said it! Maybe Quan is exactly the right Mayor for Oakland.

  71. ralph

    I have only lived downtown since moving to Oakland. I can tell the pie person with some degree of certainty that shootings at 14th and Broadway / DTO do not happen everyday.

  72. livegreen

    This kins of result has been the concern from the beginning (& why IDLF has been calling for no encampment since then). That OO has not been willing to talk to any City Officials, to have their own police force, & to consider OPD by it’s mere presence to be a provocation was all setting itself up for this type of accident. This is the very reason we have “law enforcement” to begin. Pull them, and then we have the absence of “law enforcement”.

    My Q: why was there no Law Enforcement near Ogawa Plaza? Were they told not to be present there (presence = provocation, etc.)?

    Because, as Greg says, minimal OPD presence was then bound to lead to this.

    And referring to Ralph’s reference to lawsuits, this was also predictable should there be an accident (the same reason the CA & IDLF have been arguing for an end since early on).

    The Mayor & BBBON will try to spin this as spin from her opponents, but with an absence of City Officials, OPD & no communication with OO, something was bound to happen sooner or later

  73. len raphael

    ralph, i also think oo people have more in common with teapartiers than they realize. But my american history aint what it never was, but at least within various past us mass movements there were combos of anti big business, anti central banks combinded with anti immigrant anti catholic anti semitism.

    quite a few of the teapartiers are anti overseas military, libertarian drug liberalization.

    seems like the main difference is that oo’s see the solution as redistributing the wealth of their 1% to the lower 99 and sort of want a much bigger federal govt; where most teapartiers would want the govts out of all pockets and a much smaller govt.

    interesting that a few conservative economists argue that too much wealth concentration is bad for economy.

  74. Oakie

    It is time to put some sting into our objections to the course this city has taken. It is time to boycott the city of Oakland.

    The OO has truly taken power.

    Yesterday we watched as the OOers shouted down the cc members demanding something be done and that was the end of that media event (with the slogan that they are the 99%).

    Tonight, after the shooting, Police Chief Poodle was shouted down by OOers demanding their lights get turned on, and Poodle quickly retreated.

    The mayor then made a pathetic and limp demand that the OOers leave immediately. She is afraid to step out of her office to make a public statement for fear of being confronted by Those With the Real Power in Oakland, so she talked privately with media cameras rolling.

    Hey folks, this city is out of control. Camp Lovell Mixon has intimidated and chased away the media when they feel like it, the police are instructed by Mayor Ah Q to not make their presence known in the Camp area, for fear that they may get upset. The OOers own the city, and the citizens of this city have done nothing. Totally pathetic.

    Send them a message. Boycott this city until they bring law back to this city.

  75. livegreen

    The only remaining questions are when will the camp go, and which side of the lawsuits will Dan & Michael Siegel be on?

  76. len raphael

    We’re working as fast as we can to get the recall petitions ready for signing. At least 10 days away.

    Only wish we could add several council members to the recall list. It should be easier the next time.

    len raphael, member of
    The Recall Mayor Quan Committee

  77. Ken O

    @79 Pat – v funny! Good idea.

    Strobe lights, light deprivation should help. We use it at Gitmo all the time.

    #OO is total fail because of disdain for external AND internal police. No police = anarchy = chaos = crime = what happened Thursday.

    Time for OCCUPY Oakland to go read Matt Taibbi’s blog, Culture of Life News, Market Ticker and TheOilDrum and figure out what the real economic issues are.

  78. Barry K

    LiveGreen- “The only remaining questions are when will the camp go, and which side of the lawsuits will Dan & Michael Siegel be on?”

    A: Since Michael Siegel is a member of the radical group, BBBON, you can assume the team will be suing both sides!!

  79. Jack


    Please don’t boycott the city. The council does not care at this point.

    Business in Oakland is getting killed. Please support them. If they close now, they probably will never come back.

  80. gregory mcconnell

    Oakie, Boycotting the city will only advance the cause of people who want to shut it down. Please support our businesses. Shop and support the business men and women trying to make a living in this time of strife.

    Jack, I hear your frustration, but I disagree with your statement that the Council does not care. Five of them, Reid, De La Fuente, Brooks, Kernighan and Schaaf, held a news conference on Wednesday to say that protests are OK but illegal encampment is not.

  81. Ken O

    Something good I read elsewhere:

    “90% consensus decision-making is too inefficient to be effective… and puts too much power in the hands of the [oral] minority. Majority rule also has its limitations, and so alternatives should be vigorously explored. Consensus decisions should be limited to things like brainstorming sessions whereby strict minorities can keep unpopular topics alive for future discussion.”

  82. Oakie

    Here’s some interesting commentary from a guy living at OO, too afraid to be known to speak to “the media” within eyesight of “the others” who claims he personally knows at least two guys wanted for armed robbery who live at OO because they know the cops won’t come in:

    I personally wonder how many guns are now stowed away at OO. I’m quite sure there’s quite a drug stash by now.

    I would be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that if they put a large net over the “community” and checked fingerprints, they would get more than one hand’s digits worth of people with warrants out for very serious violent crimes. Would love to get the data from that Gedanken experiment.

  83. Oakie

    To explain why I would call for a boycott of Oakland, I thought I would share this open letter to a cc member (and sent to the Mayor Ah Q) I found on a neighborhood list. I left off the person’s name to protect this person from embarrassment.

    I would also note that last night, after the shooting victim was known to be dead, there was a significant increase in the OO population. I believe this was a concerted effort of people like this letter writer who will be going out of their way to “protect” the occupation. These are the “progressives” of Oakland who have controlled the politics of this place for 30 years, ad have created this dystopia. People like Ah Q and her husband, Dan Seigal and the rest of the sagging, greying people whose dogma was created in the late sixties Berkeley scene and have not learned a bit from the experience of the last forty years.

    It is pretty clear to me that it represents a significant portion of the Oakland voting population:
    Dear Council Member Schaaf,

    I am writing to register my strong objection to your position that Occupy Oakland should be “evicted” through police action. A police action
    to remove this encampment will create huge cost and probable further damage to property and most. The occupy movement and encampment includes, families with children, seniors, people with physical and mental disabilities and a huge diversity of participants.

    The first police “eviction” resulted in an increased occupation, escalating actions and the attraction to Oakland of groups and
    individuals who seek conflict and confrontation. The vast majority of the occupy movement is peaceful and wants to avoid conflict a small minority is encouraging conflict; you should work with the majority and not be goaded by a minority into escalating conflict and harm to our City. The occupy movement is gaining
    in numbers and constant attack on an encampment which has become symbolic of
    police brutality around the nation and world will only further polarize a situation which is just now calming.

    The problems you find so objectionable in front of City Hall are considered “nuisance” problems when neighbors bring them to your office’s
    attention, and they are very often ignored, by you and OPD. Why you are now filled with righteous anger and urgency to act, however unwisely, I do not understand.

    I respectfully register my objection to a “police eviction” of the occupy Oakland encampment
    because it will result in increased violence, increased cost, increased property damage and possible loss of human life. I also feel it will likely be unsuccessful and result in increased occupation of Oakland by activists and an
    increase in polarization and mistrust between Oakland residents, Oakland Police and thousands of young and old people who want an opportunity to participate in a world-wide social movement. Oaklander’s should have the same rights and freedoms as other Americans, and you as a public official should protect out
    rights as well as our property.

  84. Oakie

    Another tidbit I haven’t seen reported anywhere else, from a neighborhood list:

    A resident made a Request for Information from the city regarding the cost to the city of the recent Crime Summit revealed that the city spent $700 on clowns [insert joke about Mayor Ah Q] and $10,000 on food [insert joke about pigs at a trough].

    Taxpayer’s money well spent? Not to mention the thinly thought through Mayor’s presentation and proposal revealed breatlessly at the dog and pony show, used basically as a promotion of her 3 propositions we’ve now voted on (you have voted, haven’t you??).

  85. charlie s

    The situation goes from bad to worse. Virtually every police dept in the area now says it will deny “mutual aid” to Oakland if and when the city calls for it, causing massive increases in overtime costs for OPD that will burden us taxpayers. These local agencies contend, rightfully in my opinion, that mutual aid is meant for emergencies, and that when Mayor Quan invited OO campers back to the plaza after the raid she ordered, she disqualified the city from all future aid related to OO. Thanks, Mayor Quan. You’re costing us a million a week, and making our city a national laughingstock, or worse, a disgrace

  86. len raphael

    unless the OO encampments drops and stays at low numbers, don’t see how police alone, even with expensive mutual aid would have the overwhelming numbers needed to almost clompletely avoid use of tear gas, beanbags, batons. are those what’s called “force multipliers?”

    national guard.

  87. livegreen

    Further to Patrick’s earlier idea, after the rain stops they might consider bringing in studio rain makers for a prolonged drenching, & switch it off with Studio Lights &/or music at all hours. Along with just enough Officers to protect the equipment.

    Or just funnel enough water at the base of the camp to wash it away or make it wet enough to soak through the tents…

  88. Born in Oakland

    Earlier today (Friday) the OPOA distributed a letter to the encampment stating it was time to dismantle. Tonight eviction notices are being distributed throughout the encampment. The live blog on is a handy tool for receiving instant news. City Councilmembers are publicly (on television) criticizing our Mayor’s ability to lead and communicate. My bet is that the encampment will be evicted tonight or this weekend. There are fewer “innocent” bystanders downtown after hours and on the weekend.

  89. len raphael

    how many cops does it take to prevent the re-occupation of the plaza after eviction?

    probably quite a few to do it without hurting demonstrators.

    might just have to park a bunch of old junker cars there for a few months

  90. len raphael

    unarmed National Guard would leave least bad feelings at local law enforcement as well as best way to minimize injuries to all involved, at lowest cost.

    gotta figure some percentage of the National Guard will refuse, but that’s ok.

    btw, what’s the story with the oakland undercover cop who allegedly went native?

  91. Naomi Schiff

    The right thing to do is hold peace negotiations. If warring countries and the parties to civil war can do it, surely we can pull it off. We need the councilmembers, occupiers, police, mayor, and businesses to speak to each other and step out of their respective rigid positions.

  92. livegreen

    Naomi, the Mayor has not exactly had a rigid position in all this, & neither has Desley Brooks. Yet the Occupiers have not been any more willing to have a dialog with them than with IDLF, Phil, Marleen, Greg or Len. These five look to have been waaaay prescient.

    BTW, have you used any of the New Economy, Social Responsible Business info I gave? If you, OO and BBBBBBON aren’t willing to use that (combined with the policies of LA & SJ you pulled earlier), what is all this fight for? What about B-Corps?

    We have ‘em right here in Oakland and Tagami houses one of their advisors in the Rotunda Building. The potential replacement to Wall Street is RIGHT there two steps away, and OO wouldn’t know it if it hit them in the face (pun intended).

    In fact they’d rather vandalize a building that both represents Oakland and houses some leaders in the new, socially responsible economy than actually listen to them.

    I’m beginning to think they don’t really care about replacing Wall Street. It’s more about f_ckin Oakland and f_ckin the Cops.

    If that’s not true then prove it. DO something OO.

  93. Dave C.


    Here’s a video interview with the officer who was “outed” in a previous Copwatch video as an undercover. Surprisingly open about his sympathy for OO and his doubts about police tactics. Not sure about “went native,” but makes for pretty interesting viewing:

  94. len raphael

    Dave C, very interesting. Not at all the way the news release made it seem. Discomforting maybe to many who want to “objectify” cops.

  95. len raphael

    Just found the press release from Kaplan inbox where she calls on OO people to snitch. Yeah, that’s really gonna happen.

    Presumedly she knew that, but had wet her finger and saw which way the political winds were blowing. Time to look tough on OO crime lest you get caught in the backlash.

  96. Dave C.

    The same officer was apparently filmed charging a TV cameraman in a rage when the cameraman tried to take video of cops outside Highland on the day of the Lovell Mixon killings, so he’s not always as warm and fuzzy as he came off in this video.

    If I were conspiracy-minded, I might think OPD made the video in order to fool occupy supporters into allowing him to infiltrate OO further, but I doubt OPD is capable of PsyOps that sophisticated, or has anyone on the force with good enough acting skills. (And it probably wouldn’t work anyway—the video is a minor PR coup for OO, but that doesn’t mean they won’t heckle the guy and shoo him away if he moseys into the camp again.)

  97. Dave C.

    Len, I actually wouldn’t be shocked if there are people “snitching” from within OO already. I think some of the more moderate, peacenik people at OO have been pretty disturbed by the confrontational, inflexible tactics of the more radical folks. They might not be willing to speak out publicly, either from fear of retaliation or just an eagerness to get along with their neighbors, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s been some secret communication between occupiers and OPD or city hall going on. Quan has claimed (and I am inclined to believe her) that they’ve received several 911 calls from inside the camp, a fact that the leaders of the “leaderless” camp would like to keep quiet because it undermines their claim that they can take care of their own security harmoniously.

  98. len raphael

    Dave, if that cop was putting on an act, he’s in the wrong line of work.

    wouldn’t be inconsistent with being a warm and fuzzy teddy bear cop, to charge a paparzzi camera person when his comrades were dead or dying inside.

    No matter how well trained or professional a person is, when the people who’ve got your back, get killed, it would be very hard not to want to stop someone from cashing in on the tragedy. It’s not like he shot the cameraman with a tear gas cannister :(

  99. MarleenLee

    Naomi, the City has already tried peace negotiations. Quan welcomed a representative to discuss options. OO refused to designate a representative. Quan presented a non-violence resolution. OO refused to endorse it. OO doesn’t want peace. They have made that quite clear. So when the peaceful negotiation options have been rejected, by OO, force is the only option left. Obviously, peaceful negotiations don’t always work between warring countries, especially when the leaders of those countries are insane and/or irrational and/or don’t share our values. I mean, peace negotiations would not have worked with Hitler, whose goal was world domination and extermination of the Jews. How do you negotiate with somebody like that? You don’t. You bomb them into oblivion. OO has been taken over by anarchists, communists and otherwise irrational people who have no interest in negotiation. Just look at their messaging. They want to destroy property; they don’t care about destroying businesses or hurting other people; they want to destroy capitalism. You can’t successfully negotiate with people like that. They are looking for a non-peaceful resolution, and that’s what they’re going to get.

  100. charlie s

    Thanks, Ralph, for the link to Bay Citizen which suggests Oakland can no longer rely on police mutual aid. The thing that gets me — bewilders me, annoys me — is that this could’ve been easily foreseen by Quan prior to her decision to invite the OO campers back. It was a foolish and potentially VERY expensive mistake.

  101. Born in Oakland

    The City Administrator has now issued a vacate order. That makes three notices in the last 36 hours or so. I only hope the camps (the Plaza and Snow Park) get cleared at first light and not in the middle of the night. Seems more humane that way somehow. I want the Occupy movement to get back “on message” and that is not what the encampment seems to be about. What have we wrought here in Oakland?

  102. len raphael

    Yeah, I vote for daylight too. As do some of Quan’s BBBON people also. Amazing how Quan has succeeded in uniting residents. Pity, that’s all she has achieved among the wreckage of her first 10 months.

    What’s the dynamic between Quan and her administrator Deanna Santanna?

    Anyone else get the impression that Santanna plays Starbuck to Quan? Could be i’m mixing up my seafaring novel with another one where the captain loses his nerve and the 2nd in command has to take the wheel from the immobilized captain.

    Santanna, like Batts but much faster, realizes what she’s gotten herself into. She knows she won’t stick around as long as Batts did. She’s determined that she can’t be blamed for the sinking of the good ship Oakland.

  103. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Quan is Ishmael, Moby Dick is her ultra far left belief system and OO functions as The Pequod.

  104. len raphael

    hmm, maybe we’re giving our leaders too much respect placing them in a Melville novel.

    Alice in Wonderland is more appropriate, with the Mad Tea Party in particular. “she’s mad you know, quite mad” (actually, that might be a bogus quote. I couldn’t find it

  105. len raphael

    Was it an BBBON member who suggested using the Kaiser Memorial building to house oo people if they were willing to relocate? Wb funny to think how that would have affected the inflated appraisal the City got for it’s proposed sale to RDA.

  106. len raphael

    Holding casting calls now. Libby Schaaf (or as Larry Reid would say, Schaft) keeps getting suggested for Alice.

  107. SF2OAK

    OO is the .005%, they have every right to voice their opinions but must do so in a legal manner, and Oakland has a responsibility to her citizens to enforce the law. This is a colossal waste of my tax dollars to spend to police this camp which you know when tragedy will strike, which is just around the corner- Oakland will be sued by Mr. Burris et al for allowing OO to exist. This will be a tricky jiu jitsu move if Oakland government can dismantle the camp without a fuss, but so few people, and even fewer Oaklanders are in OO- we are now being held hostage by those “righteous” few- how ironic. What that 99% also reminds me of is the criminal element in Oakland, we are also being held hostage by those 1% or fraction thereof that daily commit crimes and make us waste our city budget on law enforcement. Yes maybe both ends of the bell curve ought to be evicted and it seems that we have successfully evicted the Wall St. 1% from Oakland (yes they were never here- so why protest here?) Now let’s work on the other 1%ers. I also find irony in the fact that the protestors are at FO Plaza yet they have not raised their ire at Oakland’s government which is the 1% here and as I read on OWS website Occupy is against “greed and corruption” where better to turn to than city hall who for the last so many decades is the center of greed and corruption in OAK.

  108. Patrick M. Mitchell

    I bow to your superior knowledge of all things Melville, George.



    The other cities are our white sheet while we dine on Ortolan.

  109. len raphael

    a friend asked me what’s the deal with Quan’s dove?

    is it a rent-a-dove that is trained to go back to it’s handler nearby or is just supposed to survive on it’s own in Oakland?

  110. len raphael

    Resigned from what? His position as shadow City Attorney ? Does Quan have a shadow police chief also?

    Part of the reason for Quan’s poor job performance besides her progressive ideological blinders, is that she never expected to win the mayoral race. In her mind, she’s still a coucilmember not comfortable with leading a city, including it’s police.

    -len raphael, temescal

  111. Patrick M. Mitchell

    And now Siegel is free to sue the City of Oakland without any sort of “conflict of interest”. Who didn’t see that coming (I mean other than Quan)?

  112. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Question: as Siegel may be presumed to have “insider information”, will that help or hurt us during the certainly impending lawsuits?

  113. len raphael

    Greg, why did it take weeks to get a majority of the Council to move on something as vital as saving the City’s economy?

    In Oakland our politicians have turned being a “progressive” city = being a dysfunctional city, on matters fiscal and public security.

    Or as Quan kept repeating today on KQED, how important the “Movement” was to all residents.

    Quan and the council members who are so concerned about “the Movement” and being “progressive” when the City can’t pay its bills or reduce the murder rate.

    -len raphael, temescal

  114. len raphael

    In the mayor forums and in today’s KQED interview, Quan displayed her public speaking trick of completely ignoring the question asked and proceeding to answer a question she would rather to have been asked.

    On KQED , Michael K asks her to explain her own behavior leading up to the first raid. She proceeds to talk about appointing a panel to review the cop’s behavior during the raid.

    Just like the journalists and moderators during the mayoral debate, Michael K is not prepared for Quan’s tactic and lets her blather on.

    -len raphael

  115. livegreen

    Michael Krasny & KQED do not know Oakland well enough to lead a detailed Q&A on Oakland. & that was one of his better interviews on the subject. KQED is a SanFran based radio station that pays only lip service to Oakland & the entire East Bay.

    San Jose has an even bigger beef with them.

  116. Oakie

    There’s a 10 minute video produced by a teabagger about OO:

    To me, it’s not much of a distortion of the essence of OO. The producer clearly had an agenda, ironically, as all he had to do was show the facts.

    But it feels like a majority or near majority of Oakland are in pretty much full support of OO, except for the black bloc violence. It is clearly anticapitalist and antipolice. And that certainly includes Dan Siegel, and for the most part Mayor Ah Q. Just ask Batts.

    What is not apparent to many locals is how far far left this agenda is, and how out of step with the overwhelming majority of the country. They claim to represent the 99%. I’d say it’s more accurate to call it the 2-3%, aka the lunatic fringe. And I would guess a smaller portion of the country’s sentiments than the teabaggers represent.

  117. livegreen

    About Dan Siegel, I think the conflict of interest issue is an important one. Dan Siegel has been fighting this City’s attempts at any Law Enforcement on a regular basis. He employs one City Councilperson and is the primary reason the Gang Injunctions have been controversial and cost the City so much money to implement.

    Any lawsuit that arrises both Councilperson Jane Brunner & the Mayor should be forced to recuse themselves from (not just the Injunctions).

    Anything else is a BLATANT attempt to philosophically and financially enable an employer/campaign donor…

  118. livegreen

    I meant “Any lawsuit that arrises [from Dan Siegel] both Councilperson Jane Brunner & the Mayor should be forced to recuse themselves from voting on.”

    And, if the facts are on their side, the City Council should let the City Attorney fight any OO lawsuits, like it did with the Edgerly lawsuit.

  119. len raphael

    More interesting is the rumored resignation of Sharon Cornu. If that’s true, what do you think? Window dressing to appear moderate or the rats are leaving the ship?

  120. gregory mcconnell

    Len, I cannot answer the question of why the Council took so long to get behind dismantling the camp. I pushed and pushed for a position. I am just glad they finally came around. I am sorry to see Sharon Cornu leave. As a business leader, I was concerned when she was appointed. I incorrectly assumed she would be anti-business. But I came to respect her quite a bit. She was a very solid women who resisted some of her inner union urges and sought solutions that would work for the city. No doubt she was and will always be a strong labor voice, but she was someone I worked with closely and admired.

    Here is my thought for today. Recall Ranked Choice Voting.

  121. Oakie

    I know, in addition to the recall, there is talk now about term limits and ending ranked choice.

    But I think you’re all barking up the wrong tree. The problem is the electorate, not these minor nuances of the electoral system. As evidence, look at yesterday’s Channel 5 poll: 47% of Oakland residents supported continuing to allow the encampment, 41% opposed. So a free and fair election, no matter the details of the electoral process intricacies, would have allowed and even encouraged the encampment indefinitely.

    The problem is either that we have a democracy at all, or that the majority of voters are just plain idiots.

    Instead, while waiting for the idiots to die of old age, I would suggest we do something different: Return cc member and mayor salaries to 1985 levels (based on the belief that current governance is certainly no better than what we got back then–and pay should be based on what they are worth).

    About 7 or 8 years ago there was a huge bump up in compensation to cc members and the mayor, based on the argument that they should be paid enough so that they would be full time, and that the compensation would attract talented new candidates.

    Well, none of that is true. They still hold outside jobs or enterprises, and they are more incompetent than before the jump in compensation.

    And, further, I would withdraw all benefits or pension contribution of any kind. That would serve the same purpose as term limits, but also save us money.

    There is no way that the savings from this would net out the cost of the fiasco of the last few weeks by Mayor Ah Q, but it’s a start. Incompetent governance is very expensive.

  122. Ravi

    Oakie–Polls are often very misleading to those polled and thus are not reliable indicators of considered points-of-view.

    In an Oakland which had real leaders in elected office, residents could be well-informed about various alternatives for dealing with OO (or other demonstrations or public expressions). Such information might explain the financial costs of an encampment and include means for developing a public dialogue about the valid concerns of demonstrators with useful ideas (not those out to party and create a mess).

    It’s all about leadership and general competence in government. As you say.
    It’s about the people in Oakland and their leaders–it’s not about our voting system. It’s also about communication in a city with a dearth of competent media and a government with absolutely no committment to transparency.

  123. Patrick M. Mitchell

    There was a brief interview with the Alameda County Registrar on KGO about an hour ago…he described voter participation as “anemic”: 23% of registered voters in Oakland returned ballots. I wonder how low “turnout” will affect results.

  124. Eye2theworld

    By any standards the City of Oakland has not been well managed. Our last two Mayor’s have shown little to no real leadership skills in solving core issues. Our City Council continues to founder and fails to bring any real checks and balances to the Mayor’s inept leadership. A common denominator in all of this is that a majority of these characters have been in their positions for a long time. Far too long. They are clearly a big part of the problem. Yet, our electorate continues to return them to their positions of power year after year. We can chalk that up to democracy. That’s what the people want. Or we can acknowledge that name recognition, Pay Go funds and political relationships (favors/patronage) honed over many years due to positions of power, give these Council members undue influence in an election. Term limits can and should be a viable option for ending the long standing political and economic failures of our current elected officials. We need new ideas and fresh faces that can articulate a vision for Oakland, not tired sorry politicians who can”t even lead themselves out of a wet paper bag, let alone the City.

  125. Ravi

    Eyeball: “Yet, our electorate continues to return them to their positions of power year after year. We can chalk that up to democracy.”

    It’s not democracy, Eyeball. It’s called alienation. People have given up on Oakland’s muni gov’t. The few that vote regularly have economic or ideological ties to those who’ve been in city hall forever.

    If the ties are pure economics, we don’t have any problem calling it corruption.

    But I would say that the ideology that prances around in Oakland as liberalism or progressivism isn’t just benign ideology. It’s as empty as Mao’s or Stalin’s “socialism”. It doesn’t work; it’s mostly lies and evasion; it’s ethically utterly corrupt.

  126. George

    Oakie, electoral institutions matter a great deal.

    And yes, the electorate is not helping itself by electing incompetents, but I think there are structural issues at play.

    I discuss both in detail at my blog They’re down the page a bit.

  127. len raphael

    Our mayor is facing a quandary: Segal quit, Cornu quit, defeated on Port Commissioner, lost on all three ballot measures. Had to reverse herself on OO and tell her BBBON supporters to do an about face and like it at the same time. It was a good week for the many of us who are fed up with incompetent ideologues running the City.

    Greece and Italy has been forced by their fiscal disasters to find competent officials to replace their politicians, we have to do the same thing here in Oakland.

    -len raphael

  128. Eye2theworld

    Clearly there is a crisis in leadership in Oakland. It is time to replace these career politicians with new faces, new ideas, and a new vision for Oakland.

  129. livegreen

    the Tribune’s website has the “OO Protester Could be Deported” title on 2 headlines, sometimes 3. How hard do they need to work it to create (even inflame) the immigration component? Anything to sell a paper…

  130. len raphael

    Can an MOBN or Traumatola person explain to me how their charter amendment petition drive for a rainy day reserve; and a 12 year/3 term limit for council would make a significant difference?

    Reserve is a fine idea, but we’re facing a fiscal hurricane for next 5 to 15 years. How in heck are we going to “reserve” anything?

    I kinda sorta understood the reasoning for an 8 year, 2 term limit as Traumatola was initially suggesting. How and why was that turned into 12 years/3 terms?

    Also, what is the relationship between Traumatola and MOBN?

  131. Oakie

    The flaw in thinking that electoral reform (term limits, ending ranked choice) will change anything real is to conclude that the wondrous defeat of HIJ is due to the voters finally coming to their senses.

    It is not.

    We had a perfect storm in which Ah Q managed to unite all to her left and all to her right in giving the mayor and cc a vote of no confidence.

    The 40% polled as opposing the encampment would not have been able to overwhelmingly defeat the measures by themselves. It needed a good chunk of that 47% who, to the final day, supported continuation INDEFINITELY of the encampment. That would be the Dan Siegel contingent, which is after all the core Ah Q voter. WITHOUT THEIR VOTE in opposition to the measures, we would not have this victory.

    I would suggest something different must be proposed. I am proposing turning the pay to cc members and mayer into “stipends” without benefits or contribution to any pension system, and the stipend should be set at no more than 50% of their current salaries.

    Setting the compensation high several years ago has not attracted competent leadership. Making it a stipend instead will eliminate these lizards from sitting in the cage for 20 years, so no need for term limits (which, by the way, have not proven effective at the state level to improve governance–quite the contrary, it has made things worse).

    If we have a recall now, and it succeeds, I shudder at the thought of who would win. It didn’t turn out very well when Grey Davis was removed, and the hurdle to get your name on the ballot is near zero (only 70 or so valid signatures needed).

    After Dellums (pre-ranked choice, btw), followed by Ah Q, who’s next as mayor for this voting electorate?

    Desley Brooke is my guess, which is why I’m deeply suspicious of the group who started the petition drive: Gene Hazzard, who brought us Dellums. This is not a hopeful moment imho.

  132. Ravi

    Oakie–Part of the reasoning behind paying electeds a living wage with benefits is that this helps prevent even more corruption when electeds also get paid by special interests.

    Admittedly it hasn’t worked in Oakland. Jane Brunner, for instance, with two jobs, has never appeared to be up-to-speed on what is supposed to be going on in City Council meetings, even when she was Council President.

    The recall will indeed be a challenge. Many people involved with the recall are as empty of useful ideas as the Mayor herself or the Council. Being negative on Oakland’s government isn’t nearly enough to bring about change.

    So it will be up to Oakland’s citizenry to make something of the crisis and opportunity of the recall. We will need to find a new Mayor with a vision and the will, and the ability, to move off dead center.

  133. George

    Oakie, please read the extensive literature on the effectiveness of professional vs. amateur legislators. It’s grim.

    While I share your anger at our current crop, the answer is not reducing the incentives to run for elected office. The answer is educating Oaklanders, and having good electoral institutions (yes, term limits, but also getting rid of RCV, and maybe increasing the number of at-large councilmembers).

    Also, addressing the structural problems that I talk about on my blog. Empowering the petite-bourgeoisie, if you will.

    Rule by shopkeepers!!!

  134. len raphael

    Ravi, it’s going to be hard enough to recall Quan, now you want to put the burden on the people working on the recall to find Oakland a great Mayor instead of the usual sorry bunch.

    Then there’d be nothing left for the rest of Oakland to do but sit back and vote.

    The recall election will most likely be on the same ballot as the replacement election. And that will probably be either June or November, so there won’t be some big additional expense.

    Whenever critics of the recall talk about the “big expense” remind them this ridiculous mail in election which the polls clearly showed H and I had little chance, cost what 800,000 ?

    -len raphael, treasurer
    Committee to Recall Mayor Jean Quan and Restore Oakland FPPC # 1342967

  135. Patrick M. Mitchell

    I have to disagree, len, with your assertion that recalling Quan will be difficult. Although finding people to collect signatures isn’t particularly easy, finding people to sign the recall petition will be easier than finding goose crap around Lake Merritt. In a way, the failure of all three measures was kind of a quickie referendum on Oakalnd’s elected class. At the head of that class is Quan; her mandate, if that’s what it was, has vanished. People really, really want her gone.

  136. Ravi


    You misread what I wrote. I specifically said that I don’t think the recall people are up to the task of creating a vision for Oakland or coming up with a new mayor. This chore will be up to the citizenry at large.

    And, from what the grapevine says, the recall people aren’t exactly moving the recall itself along very smoothly.

  137. len raphael

    Did we add to the list of Quan’s recent humilating defeats, the Margaret Gordon Port Commission appointment?

    At the Tues CC vote, Quan did another OO post raid pirouette, claiming that she really supported Gordon. In fact, the city council members informed her before the Tuesday session that her candidate from my favorite up and coming ngo, Ella Baker Center, would be voted down.

  138. len raphael

    I’ll bet the Chiodo Creature is happy that it will soon be getting neighbors.

    “Occupy Oakland will set up a new occupation in the park and empty lot on 19th & Telegraph adjacent to the Fox Theater”

    This could be just the thing the Creature needs to jump start his future as the tourist destination in Oakland envisaged by the Chamber of Commerce and our City Council.

  139. len raphael

    Among those arrested at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge early Thursday evening was the city’s top labor leader and the president of the nationwide Service Employees International Union, according to a union spokeswoman.

    The labor leader, George Gresham, the president of 1199 S.E.I.U. United Healthcare Workers East, and the president of the S.E.I.U., Mary Kay Henry, were arrested along with Kevin Doyle, the executive vice president of S.E.I.U. 32BJ.

  140. livegreen

    It will also be great for young families with children who live in the new condos, and kids who go to Oakland School of the Arts !

  141. gregory mcconnell

    OO has made it clear that their “enemies” are the people who built Uptown from a miserable deserted joke to a thriving anchor for Oakland’s renaissance. Now it is time the people of Oakland to make their positions known. This includes residents, community leaders, elected officials, those seeking office, and everyone else who has a stake in Oakland. Are the people who made Uptown enemies or friends?

    So many of the statements I read start with “I support the goals of OWS, but . . .” Well now that it is clear that OO’s goals are to oppose Oakland’s businesses in general, not just Wall Street, how do you feel? Now that they say they will attempt to take a park surrounded by a residential neighborhood, a school, many thriving restaurants, and the arts scene that has brought attention to Oakland, how do you feel about their “goals”?

    Just remember this, since the start of the 10K plan, this area has been peaceful and growing. Where streets were once deserted at sundown, we now see people from all over the Bay Area attending events at the Fox, participating in First Fridays, dining at the restaurants, and residents walking, jogging and enjoying the neighborhood.

    People express concern that the camp will be dangerous because it will bring about police confrontations. We saw the police in action the other day when they shut down the Ogawa camp, they did not seek confrontations and acted professionally and peacefully as they did their jobs. The police have not been a problem in the Uptown neighborhood. If a problem arises, blame it on the people who create it.

    I will no longer say that I support the goals of a movement when all I see is a group trying to pick a fight with the people who give Oakland a chance to become a thriving city.

    How about the rest of Oakland? Where do you stand? Please tell me, do you think the people picking a fight at 19th and Telegraph for a camp represent the 99% of Oakland residents? Do they represent you?

  142. ralph

    The Occupy Oakland does not represent me. I can not support a group that feels we are better off when the Uptown was an uninhabited wasteland of prostitution and drug addicts. This is a thriving neighborhood with a park, residences, nightlife and businesses. The mayor and council must not allow this to continue. Thankfully, at least council agrees these encampments must end.

  143. Ivan

    Actually, I believe they also made it pretty clear that they oppose the “whites’ gentrification of Oakland” in general. Which is funny, because if you just spent some time strolling around the streets of uptown & downtown on a regular Friday night, and walked into bars, restaurants, and art galleries, the first thing you’d notice is that “whites” are hardly a majority around here, including the owners of these newly established businesses.

    It also has to be noted that if reclaiming blocks & blocks of urban wasteland and boarded properties = gentrification, then gentrification is truly a wonderful thing. No, let’s be real, OO’s agenda has sadly drifted toward sabotaging the “whites’ gentrification of Oakland” (ironically led by ORINDA’s white business owner & organizer Tim Simons) and I bet a silent majority of individuals who initially supported this local movement, and marched with them, and even carried their signs – as many of my co-workers did – are now having second thoughts. In fact, even the word “counter-protest” no longer appears to be a taboo around Oakland.

  144. Alberto

    Finally, a lot of articulation on the problem…unfortunately, there is no one commenting here on the futility of the system itself to manage it’s assets with integrity. Plain and simple. The deadline approaches….my only comment is simple this…put the police we have on bicycles and saturate the worst neighborhoods with them…eliminate the blight and everything else will fall into place…Do it NOt…and the Police department/aristocracy will fall and the rest will follolw like dominos.

    The fact is, the unions, led by OFD and OPD, the usual suspects, have created this situation by spearheading the real “occupation” by the protectors of Wall Street’s thugs…who of course…are behind this debacle in it’s entirety.

    Empower the residents to help themselves and get the real occupation over with.

    Time is short, or has no one understood the lessons of history, remember Pol Pot, the Bolsheviks….intellectuals, teachers, administrators…and parking Gods better start complaining about the system too…or you will put at the top of the list…:)

  145. len raphael

    if you want a good laugh, read the eastbay express article on the !%. I felt a little bad posting there that the local Chamber of Commerce here is to put it nicely, not the power elite that the eastbay xpress writer would have us believe.

    for another yuckle, find the posting on yahoo groups by MJQ’s Block by Block which argues against OO moving to the Chiodo Creature site, in part by saying that the surrounding housing is low income residential.

    Just the image Uptown needs. Gotta wonder what part of Montclair/Glenview BBBON leadership lives in. Hint: pictures of a house of a BBBON leader was shown to the city council.

  146. annalee allen

    Greg ~ I agree with you. I’ve waited so long to see the tangible results that come when an empty historic building can cause rebirth ~ when investment takes place and restoration is carried out (the restoration employed many, btw) And now this. So discouraging.

  147. Livegreen

    In related news MLB is set to soon make a decision about SJ vs Oaktown for the A’s. With all the positive OO headlines, which way could this one possibly go? Selig & Wolf just got handed the excuse & justification they need.

    Chalk up another one OO & Ms. Mayor.

    Get you’re excuses ready: “Oh this is Oakland. They already had it in for us.” The buck stops where?

  148. ralph

    The winter rains are not too inhospitable to the freaks that are OO. They have set up camp at 19th & Telegraph despite the huge no trespassing sign. I hope that by the time I wake they are gone.

  149. Daniel Schulman

    I can barely handle the irony of the protestors rallying around the Chiodo Creature brought to them by the Chamber of Commerce over local activists’ objections.

    Do they know their beloved statue of Gandhi et al. was partially purchased for renaming the place Henry J. Kaiser Park.

  150. gregory mcconnell

    A week ago, I asked everyone running for office and asking for support to publicly state their position on OO. Now that OO has taken over the Uptown Park, I renew my question. Please tell us where you stand on OO and the occupancy of Oakland’s public areas for encampments. Please state your positions clearly so that people considering your candidacy can know where you stand. I respect different views, and this will not be the only issue that i will use to determine who I support. But I will not support anyone who does not make their position clear on this topic of great concern to Oakland. I encourage others who are being asked to support candidates to take a similar stand.

  151. Daniel Schulman

    Greg, I understand where you are coming from, but your proposal sounds too much like a loyalty oath.

    Personally, I think a particular council member should make a statement regarding the words and actions of other attorneys in her law firm. That, though, is her decision to make. Whether she ultimately does or not will certainly influence mine and others’ support in future elections.

    Similarly, I think it makes perfect sense for you and your organizations to base your support for a candidate based on his or actions and stance on Occupy Oakland. It’s when you start calling for public pronouncements that I start feeling a bit queasy.

  152. Sue

    It’s ok to protest peacefully but not ok to camp illegally and use up valuable resources that could be used in Oakland – especially East Oakland, Fruitvale, Diamond district etc. to help residents. This group has proven that they kill businesses that employ people and neighborhoods suffer.

    One solution is to start accessing fees on each member of the OO group for the cost of damage to buildings, cleaning graffiti, police, toilets, clean up. I’d arrest them and fine them heavy penalties for the cost. If they are under 21, then go after their parents for money. The City can start with Jean Quan’s daughter who camped out at Frank Ogawa Plaza. What was the cost? $5 million and growing. She probably has a job, so the City can take the fees out of her paycheck. The City should attach fees with social security numbers so that when some of these people eventually get a job, they they can pay to help the City recoup the costs. Just like any promoter that throws a concert, a fair, a marathon race; there is a cost for police, fire, cleanup etc. which paid by the promoter. Why shouldn’t OO movement pay? Didn’t they deposit $25,000 into a Wells Fargo Bank? That should be used to offset the cost to the City and the residents of Oakland.

    The OO movement in Northern California has become a cartoon. A bunch of whiney people who play it safe by protesting in union friendly, progressive Cities. If they want to make an impact with their message, they need to go to the States where the Republican Candidates reside. If anyone can remember the Civil Rights movement, the change didn’t happen until college students from the North went to the deep South to join the protest. A few got killed for the cause. These folks seem to like to protest with a party afterwards. What a joke.

  153. len raphael

    86.186 DS, i needed a laugh today. OO follows in a long tradition of contradictory/ironic politics and public policy.

    What’s the story on the renaming? And I’m hazy on who owns the lot. Is it Forest or the city or ?

  154. len raphael

    Sue, what this town needs a good political cartoonist. I’ve asked around and I’m told it’s an art that’s dying out with the print media.

    if anyone knows someone who wants to try their hand at, let me know.

    -len raphael

  155. Freddy

    If we tallied up the spare change that went into the pockets of Forest City, Sears, Sunny Hahn, city employees, various law firms and other persons of interest, we could could call it The Six Million Dollar Empty Lot.

    And that’s probably conservative, it could be double or triple that amount.

  156. len raphael

    Did the Chron get it correct, “… the vacant lot, which was posted with no-trespassing signs and is owned by the Oakland Redevelopment Agency.”

    Did RDA lease this to Forest etc?

  157. Andrew

    On Twitter someone raised an alarum over a “victory garden” at Ogawa Plaza being torn up. All I could think to myself was “those who put the hostage plants in harm’s way just had their bluff called.”

  158. gregory mcconnell

    Dan, Please revisit what I wrote. I did not ask anyone to state a particular view. I asked them to state their position.

    We are partly in the mess we are in because we keep supporting people who keep doing the same things. They ask for help. We give it, hoping they will make the right decisions. Tough times come up and they are silent.

    I stand by my position. And again, this is my personal decision. Maybe my support will matter, maybe it will not, and people can ignore my request as I can ignore theirs.

  159. Rust Belt Refugee

    Just heard that OO now wants to occupy Lakeshore & Grand. Occupy a farmers’ market and a fairly successful small-business-centric area?

    However, it’s good to see that the out-of-towners are figuring out which direction leads to Piedmont.

  160. Matt C

    I’m concerned about the student artwork that was on the fence around the lot. I was passing through at 10am and none was to be seen.

  161. livegreen

    Did OO occupy the vacant lot, the park, or both? Photos in the Chronicle make it look like both, but the article repeatedly refers mostly to the vacant lot. & CBS 5 used “park” & “vacant lot” interchangeably.

    I ask because doing damage to a Public Park where residents, families, & OSA students use daily is not the same as a vacant lot. A Public Park does not = a vacant lot.

  162. Naomi Schiff

    Len, I believe that Forest City has never purchased the 19th/Tel lot. They were in the initial stages of trying to get approvals for a (hideous badly designed) fairly tall residential building, but did not proceed with the plan as the economy was melting down (I guess that was the reason). So although there was some rough master plan for the area, the lot does not belong to FC and no entitlements approved as yet. The only plan I’m aware of right now is to create an el-shaped temporary outdoor display area for artwork, surrounding what so far was still planned as an empty lot for now. I was thinking of chucking some wildflower seed in, though.

  163. ralph

    livegreen, when I drove by this morning the pie people were camping on the vacant lot and assembling in the park.

  164. Freddy

    This is the last official document I can find regarding the empty lot:

    Some protesters stood in front of the student artwork to make sure it didn’t get trashed. It was taken off the fence and carried through the front door of Rudy’s for safekeeping.

    I walked around the empty lot this afternoon. Apart from a few ruts from city trucks during the clean up, nothing was trashed. The fence is missing; the way this city is run, that’ll probably cost a half million bucks. Too bad, it looks better without it.

  165. len raphael

    The situation described in SF Chron and Bay Citizen articles today on how the combo of Quan’s policy confusion; and the meddling and maneuvering of her whole family, campaign supporters via BBBON (Block by Block) would make for a good Marx Bros comedy if this weren’t our city they were destroying, block by block.

    The articles barely touched on how BBBON tried to “stuff the ballot” at the GA vote last week by posting on neighborhood yahoo groups an urgent request to residents to pack the vote at the GA.

  166. Freddy

    As of last night, S’no Park, s’no more. Though it hasn’t been much of a park since they quit maintaining the grass.

    The Occupy of Oakland is over, for those who count tents. It demobbed peacefully and quietly, nobody noticed. No tear gas, ghettobirds, ambulances, not even a stubbed footnote.

    Shortly thereafter a 15 year old was shot at 14th and B’way, whisked away in a Paramedics Plus. The Occupy had departed so nobody noticed. Back to our standard sirens, street kids, an average Sunday night.

    So what have any of you learned from this? Anything? Time for a new thread? A new blog?

    Getting kinda wrinkly around here. You think you’re a nimby? Hah! My lawn sweeps itself.

  167. Rust Belt Refugee

    Piedmont is steep walk uphill, and those paths in Piedmont Park are wicked confusing. Dracena quarry would make a nice campground, though.

    Our neighborhood watch email list is describing the Lake Park outpost as more of a food tent to help the homeless folks who’d been depending on Occupy. Haven’t been done there myself yet, but it’s a good sign to see something related to OO helping part of the community.

  168. Daniel Schulman

    Matt C., during the occupation myself and others had an ongoing Twitter “dialogue” with some of the participants at 19th & Broadway. While they adamantly stated they were taking care of the student art, you can clearly see in this video at the 0:52 mark that the care was certainly not uniform —

    For the OO apologists who think storing the artwork is sufficient, I say BS. Taking someone else’s artwork without their permissions is disrespectful regardless of what you do with it. Further, they have no plan for re-displaying the art. Some of them claim they are going to talk with OSA administration today, yeah right. Where will the art go without the fence.

    OO also showed no respect for local activists. Funds for the art park were already stretched really thin. If OO actions raise the costs of site prep at all, it might cause the project to be scaled back or jeopardized it entirely.

    OO’s big boogeyman is the Chamber of Commerce (and the BIDs). Community activists fought business interests backed by the Chamber to make this space an art park instead of a parking lot. OO does not care. Instead they rather rally around the Chamber-sponsored Chiodo Creature.

  169. Sussu

    The people making the most noise about how unsafe and awful Oakland is are always the one who purport to want Oakland to develop and prosper. It doesn’t really matter what is actually happening downtown, these same groups always say the same things.

    Most other cities have been able to handle large protests and even the Occupy protests. You don’t see city leaders “awfulizing” the situation by explaining to anyone with a video camera how extremely dangerous their city is.

    Handwringing about riots and violence is an internal political tool in the City of Oakland. This tool gets whipped out at every opportunity, and it’s seen as great leverage.

    But at the same time, it really is destroying the reputation of Oakland.

  170. Naomi Schiff

    Sussu I appreciate your comment. Also: two ironies i found odd to contemplate: 1) to have the OO people glomming on to the chiodocritter, infamous chamber of commerce folly. 2) the worst damage to Snow Park caused by cops who put bad ruts into the lawn while pursuing an eviction with way more force than was necessary for a small and peaceful encampment.

  171. ralph

    Were the ruts caused by cops, the public works trucks or the entitled trust fund kids who left there crap out there after camping out illegally?

  172. Naomi Schiff

    I don’t think the kids had vehicles, which leaves it to the other two. What bothers me is the general lack of recognition that one shouldn’t compact earth underneath oaks and redwoods, because it can kill them. Kind of an apolitical concern. Everybody should stay out from under those trees. Personally, I think there is plenty of thoughtless behavior to go around.

  173. ralph

    The pie people only care about pie people, and I love that you ignore the but for the pie people the others would not have been there.

  174. Naomi Schiff

    Ralph, I am not a defender of the occupy folks, nor of the police, nor any of the other parties, many of whom have in common an ignorance of Oakland’s history and how things have come to be as they are. I have some sympathy for each of them, and some criticisms of their behaviors and the breakdown in civility.

  175. Sean

    I stopped reading once you said “begs the question.”

    Begging the question is a logical fallacy. You meant “raises the question.”

  176. len raphael

    Yup. But I couldn’t figure out how to search online within a web page. in firefox, I went edit, select all, find. But it didn’t.

    Sean, very few of us are professional writers. Evaluating positions expressed here based on how well or poorly written you think they are is gonna to lead to some dead ends.

    We want to encourage people to write full pieces here instead of just posting replies.

    One of the organizers of the anti CEDA abuse group, wrote very hard to read posts that were also off putting for other reasons. Readers here discounted the poster’s charges because of the lousy writing and irritating tone etc.

    There was a poster on oaklandnorth or local criticiznig something i wrote because i had supposedly used a bunch of rhetorical tricks i had never heard of. The poster must have recently taken a rhetoric class to be able to rattle off all these latin phrases, without responding to my points.

  177. gregory mcconnell

    Born in Oakland gets best post of the year award. I too am thankful for the hard work that V puts into ABO. Last year, Sean Sullivan had the excellent idea of asking all of us to support V with financial contributions. I want to renew that call and find a mechanism where people can contribute. I want to be careful about how it is done so no one can claim that V is influenced by money. It is so obvious to all who know her that she would not be a tool for anyone, but then there are those who will buy anything salacious. More to follow on this.

  178. gregory mcconnell

    Sean, I just figured out that you were referring to my use of the phrase “Begs the Question” I did not know what you were talking about until I read the post again. How silly is this?

    It begs the question, who are you to dictate writing styles? I think everyone understood my post, whether they agreed with it or not.

    Why don’t you put up something so people can know where you stand on important issues.

  179. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Fans of 1930′s thrillers know that the word “fantastic” meant “unbelievable” when used in movies of that era. Today, it’s a synonym of “awesome”.

    When describing one’s talents, we say that it’s their “forte”. It’s an Italian word. When pronounced correctly (fort), it means “strength”. When pronounced incorrectly in this context (for-tay), it means “loud”. But if, during conversation, we pronounced the word as “fort”, virtually everyone around us would cast a withering glance, assuming our “error” relegated us to uneducated hick status. And yet they – like Sean – would be wrong. We know what’s correct; we just choose to be erudite rather than arrogant.

    Sorry. To communicate effectively, we must understand each other. And language is fluid. Dust thou understandeth Gregge ere gone ye to forget?

  180. gregory mcconnell

    I recently had the good fortune to meet with Deanna Santana and Fred Blackwell. I am impressed that we have two solid new administrators who are committed to making Oakland a first-rate city. They talked about five year forecasts, systems of analysis of economic conditions, and transparency. They talked about outreach to job creators throughout the country and bringing business to Oakland. They talked about trying to save our sports franchises and competing for major jobs projects like OAB, LBNL, Coliseum City, and Broadway Valdez. They impressed me that they believe Oakland is worth it and they are willing to fight for the city.

    Whatever misstep the Mayor may have made on other issues, landing these two was a good move. I only hope they will be allowed to do their jobs and get support from the Mayor and Council.

    We need to help people understand that we are all in this together. For example, big business helps make small business possible. The small shops in Oakland need Clorox, Kaiser, PG&E, Comcast, ATT, and others to stay in town so their employees will eat, shop, and play in town. Oakland needs revenue from all types of business so we can have the funds to hire cops, repair our roads, keep libraries open, and provide services to residents.

    We can decry the foreclosure crisis and rail against some of the greed we see from some in the so-called one percent. But, if we conclude, as some seem to do, that all business is bad, who will hire, who will bring money to Oakland, and how will the city sustain itself?

    Polls conducted by the Jobs and Housing Coalition show that voters, no matter their political persuasion, want increased public safety, more jobs, and better schools, in that order. Let’s unite at the center, work together, and stop dividing ourselves with useless stereotypes.

    If we put in the work to address these issues, we can get the city back to where it needs to be. Lets work on making people feel safe, attracting jobs, and making the city prosperous so all can enjoy a higher quality of life.

    Oakland Is Worth It!

  181. Livegreen

    Well said Greg. I footnote that Oakland schools r actually improving,and this is a story that bears repeating.

    Ironically the flight from Oakland schools is occurring at the exact time of their improvement. So either residents don’t know about this, or they don’t want better schools. Or there r other factors at work (see Greg’s poll re Safety).

  182. Ravi

    I don’t doubt what Greg says about City Administrators Santana and Blackwell.

    Nor do I doubt, as Greg says, that “voters, no matter their political persuasion, want increased public safety, more jobs, and better schools, in that order. Let’s unite at the center, work together, and stop dividing ourselves with useless stereotypes.”

    The problems lie with our policymakers (City Councilmembers) and our Mayor. They refuse to be accountable and transparent. They don’t have, or cannot articulate, tangible goals or a vision for Oakland’s future. And they cannot lead–they cannot set priorities and manage resources over the long term in order to improve Oakland nor can they articulate any sort of vision.

    Until we have a whole new crowd of elected officials in City Hall, or unless some unheard-of transformation occurs among this very sorry group of incompetents and self-promoters, Oakland cannot move forward.

    Voters must learn that we cannot move forward without getting rid of the elected deadbeats in City Hall.

  183. len raphael

    We can blog till our hands fall off without seeing the needed changes here. As residents, employees, and business owners we have to take active action roles in both leading and supporting better candidates for public office.

    And we have to support good candidates (and certain recall campaigns :) with money, especially in their early “seed capital” stages.

    If you think that someone else will do it for you, or do it better than you, you’re probably wrong. Grassroots people have inherent advantages over the pros of credibility, enthusiasm, and understanding of what voters want.


  184. ralph

    If we increase the pay and make council a fulltime position, then you can go a long way to improving the candidate pool. Today, we are limited to those who have other means of support and those for whom this position is an upgrade in earnings.

  185. Ravi

    Good and important point Ralph. Making the Council full-time would quickly get rid of three or four particularly destructive hangers-on. Full-time and full-pay isn’t the complete answer, but it’s one important step along the way. If we just had four or five serious, competent people on the Council, it could make a very big difference.

  186. len raphael

    Ravi, Ralph, LG, why not get voters to email MOBN and tell them you won’t sign their toothless term limit charter amendment (“limiting” to three 4 year terms. aka the Larry Tramatola full employment amendment) unless it includes a prohibition on outside gainful work combined with a pay hike.

    and while you’re at, ask what good a “rainy day fund” charter requirement is when we’re facing a fiscal hurricane for the next decade?

  187. Ravi


    Get positive! None of the current proposals for change in Oakland are going to have immediate results. But they are small, POSITIVE, steps along the way.

    Even the recall of the Mayor, if it happens, is only a very small step. And, again, it’s a negative. A positive form of this would be to propose someone for Mayor with a vision and some leadership skills.

  188. Oakie

    I find it hard to believe you’re proposing increasing compensation for cc and mayor. Dellums got $184k plus something like $20k of expense spending to maintain what he felt he desrved as a lifestyle. The previous mayor, Jerry Brown, was paid $100k plus exactly $60 per year for expenses (a subscription to the NY Times).

    CC members also saw a doubling of salaries, plus larding on of benefits and pension contributions on the rationale that paying them full time salaries would allow them to work full time on city matters. That was done about halfway through the 20 year tenure of most of the current cc.

    All of that got us a lot worse than zip. Things have deteriorated and have been a disaster worse than anything we saw in the 1990′s.

    So now you propose increasing it? I’m ready to get out of this mess.

    We already pay these guys as if we were a city 5 or ten times larger than we are. The problem is not that we don’t pay enough.

  189. Ravi

    I don’t propose increasing the Mayor’s pay.

    I don’t think that simply increasing Councilmembers’ pay is a good idea, either. I don’t have the facts at hand, but I think Councilmembers are paid about $70K a year. Many Councilmembers’ staffers make significantly more money (more than $100K),

    Any increase in Councilmembers’ pay would have to be accompanied by a ban on outside employment. I also think that some provision would need to be made to prevent existing Councilmembers from benefitting–it might be required that in order to get the increase, a Councilmember would not be allowed to have served more than one term already. We definitely don’t want to pay most of the existing bums more money.

    There might well be other requirements, such as mandates for greater transparency, accountability and ethical behavior as a part of a pay-increase package.

    And of course, no one reform is guaranteed to give Oakland a competent government. We will need to do very many things.

  190. len raphael

    On third thought, I don’t see how increasing the pay for CC members, with or w/o prohibiting outside work would make the difference we’re all aiming for. It’s quality output we want. We’re not going to get that my paying 150k when the people with the smarts and attitudes to lead the city as council members can be found in people who would work for 25k and those who wouldn’t work for less than 600k.

    Nor do i see a prohibition on outside gainful work (work that include being a landlord or investor or trust fund beneficiary?) making a difference.

    A hack is a hack is a hack. Young or old, female or male, of color or caucasian.

    What we have is a plethora of hacks and a paucity of smart, principled people willing to do a thankless job with diminishing resources.

  191. len raphael

    Ravi, it’s not a matter of negative or positive change being better or worse. Yes we need to break some things here and build some things.

    My criticism of those MOBN charter amendments is that passage of them gives phony sense of improvement that distracts from fixing things, and in the case of term limits, coopts the energy of voters from a powerful limit of two terms.

    But mostly it deflects attention from the pressing need to weaken the power of the unions over elected officials.

    I’ve come around to Russo’s suggestion of a charter amendment that allows outsourcing to volunteers, BEDs, and non-profits; and another amendment eliminating binding arbitration for cops and fire.

    Initially i opposed those because what’s needed is allowing outsourcing to for-profit business’ also.

    But doing it in steps would make it easier to add the profit sector outsourcing piece later.

  192. len raphael

    Ravi, it will be hard enough recalling the Quan and her whole family, from creating a valid litigation proof petition thru a recall vote, let alone finding a good replacement. Those things don’t happen just with enthusiasm, disappointment, and anger at the Quan regime.

    There will be plenty of candidates once they see recall progress.

    Yes, we all have to encourage people we know who would make good mayor to run. That means encouragement, energy, and money.

  193. Oakie

    My understanding is that it is against city ordinance or the charter to outsource work performed by existing employees. A simple and effective change to the charter would be to not only allow it, but require it whenever the cost is lower. Say, for example, park maintenance. Given the extravagance of city pensions, it should make a lot of work done by city employees outsourced, saving the city money and probably improving the quality of the work actually performed (since the contract can be denied for renewal based on performance of contracted services). I wouldn’t even mind outsourcing police services to someone like Blackwater (remember, there’s going to be a whole lot of combat hardened soldiers out of work pretty soon). I am particularly enthusiastic about this idea given the amount of misbehavior by our cops, such as covering their names on their uniforms with black tape, shooting nonthreatening protesters with beanbags, etc.

  194. Ravi

    Oakie-in-Wonderland: Blackwater (or Xe as it’s now called) is exactly what Oakland does not need. This organization is famous for killing civilians and operating without rules. If you think OPD cops act badly, you need to do just a little reading about Xe.

    Oakland badly needs a much larger, better-organized, civilian-controlled, community-oriented police department. Anything less than this just won’t do in Oakland’s political and social environment. Which you should make an effort to learn something about too.

    And Xe employees are famous for their high salaries which far exceed those of ordinary soldiers, not to mention cops.

    Very poor thinking indeed.

  195. Rust Belt Refugee

    Combat-hardened soliders as police? Insanity.

    We’re already policed by outsiders who probably come in regarding Oakland as that awful “inner city” they used to drive through on the way to the mall (where was Mehserle from–rural Marin?). Let’s now compound that problem by bringing in outsiders also trained to suppress a population and to see everyone in town as a potential enemy. Lovely.

  196. Oakie

    Glad to have stirred the pot.

    I would not suggest anything that would cost more money. All I am saying is that we’re paying an average Oakland cop $191k in total compensation and the performance, in some cases, is lacking or outright criminal.

    How much money has the city spent in the last 10 years defending the actions of cops who are not following orders or performing their duties as required?

    The two incidents I mentioned (a cop who put tape over his name tag, and one who shot a bean bag projectile at a protester not presenting any danger at all to the cop) are going to cost us plenty and I see absolutely no reason why the city taxpayer should be on the hook for these despicable actions. They were disobeying their orders, with no consequence to them.

    It seems to me that for $191k per FTE we should expect more, and any behavior by them ought to be paid out of their pockets, not ours. So make them contractors to the city and indemnify us for their actions on the job.

    But this is Oakland, where people push to pay ever more, and we seem to get less and less–and tolerate it.

    I would not characterize our cops as “outsiders.” Since when do you need a passport to come here from Marin. To me, what has become defined as localism, is actually tribalism in disguise.

    As to the comment about “trained to suppress a population and to see everyone in town as a potential enemy” you may want to actually pony up next a veteran from Iraq or Afghanistan. They’re our neighbors, went into service for our country, and are, for the most part, very decent people who will now be looking for work. I regret my attitude towards veterans who returned from Vietnam in the 60′s, and I think your comment truly stinks.

  197. Ravi

    Oakie, come back to reality. The reason OPD has problems is not due to some inferior cops who somehow have decided to work here.

    OPD is a part of Oakland city government. As such, it’s primarily under the management authority of the Mayor and City Administrator. This “management” (I must use quotes here) chooses the Chiefs and oversees the performance of OPD. Period.

    Blaming cops is like blaming Hitler’s soldiers for the crimes against humanity of the Third Reich.

    Beyond that, we have a truly non-functional City Council in Oakland. The City Council is the legislative branch of local government whose primary function is setting policy. Like passing an ordinance that says that Oakland will have community-based policing (done back in 1995) and then not following through by creating further legislation and by funding community policing adequately.

    Your ideas don’t hold much water because you don’t seem to have a basic understanding of how government works and what democracy is.

  198. len raphael

    Oakie, if there was something disparaging about members of our armed services to take offense at in the above statements, I would have been first in line. Both of my sons were in combat in Iraq, one on Afghanizstan. One has re-entered civilian life, the other, as an officer in special forces, will most likely be sent back to Afgh or Iraq by our current president in the near future.

    The comment(s) were critical of Xe nee Blackwater. They showed ignorance of Xe’s activities in Afgh and Iraq, where they were used primarily as security for US civilian officials and contractors, and as trainers for the military and police of those countries. In fact, the many of our military are highly critical of using essentially mercenaries to perform tasks that should be under the control of the US military and subject to military law.

    Ravi, I pretty much agree with your analysis, but I can’t resist referring you to Godwin’s Law.

    -len raphael

  199. len raphael

    In Oakland incompetent politicians compete for votes on how progressive they are. This often amounts to a competition for who has more endorsements from
    progressive organizations and other progressive politicians, and their participation in those same organizations.

    They don’t compete on who has better concrete policy ideas. They don’t compete on who has real life experience matching the description of the political office they seek.

    When they can’t separate themselves from the pack of candidates using endorsements and participation in organizations, they start pontificating on policies over which their elected office has 0 jurisdiction, such as the inequities in the Federal income tax system.

    After gaining office, the pols will put much effort into showing how progressive they are without putting much effort into fixing local problems. eg. banning nuclear waste transportation, censoring Arizona racist immigration policies.

    When pressed for local results, the same progressive pols are quick to blame national and state policies and forces for all of our problems, without taking any responsibility for the local component of many of them.

    Before November some of the fiscal sh_t should have hit the fan here, forcing candidates to address the policy issues. They will try their best to avoid that. We have to try our best to make them give more than sound bite policy statements.

    -len raphael, temescal

  200. Eye2theworld

    Speaking of term limits, it appears that Councilmember Jane Brunner is now looking to become our next elected City Attorney. She has been on City Council for just about forever and now wants City employment. One has to wonder if this is about getting and keeping that golden pension. What is troubling is that Jane Brunner has been part of the City Council that made extremely poor budget decisions, provided giveaways to City employees via their pension benefits, and has come out against gang injunctions, anti-loitering laws and curfews. Given her professional relationship with Dan Siegal one has to wonder if voting her in as City Attorney is a wise idea. Barbara Parker has done a great job under Russo and as acting City Attorney. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have the same name recognition. Oakland really needs to stopy recycling the same politicians.

  201. Rust Belt Refugee

    It’s simply a case of whether the skills are appropriate.

    My neighbor, a great guy, is a prison guard. If I reject the idea, say, that prison guards should be hired by the OSD to maintain student discipline, it’s not out of disrespect. It’s because it implies that prison-guard techniques are useful in an educational setting. Wrong tool for the job.

    The trend for too long has been to train police with techniques suited to soldiers rather than community servants. For every Mixon or every 580 shooter who needs a quasi-military response, we have hundreds of other incidents that are better solved through a combination of local knowledge and the ability to defuse a dangerous situation.

    I’ve had a few run-ins with police in “suppress the population” mode, and I’d hate to see how that goes down with outside mercenaries in the same role.

  202. len raphael

    Rust, opd is a mixed bag. i have heard of cops who fit your description, but the ones i’ve dealt with are completely the opposite. I doubt if it’s a training problem or even selection. But it probably was caused by selection and weeding out flaws at some point.

    I’m not impressed by many of the opd brass. Jordan seems like a yes mam ladder climber. So wouldn’t surprise me if the brass hasn’t weeded out or regrooved the bad apples.

    -len raphael

  203. len raphael

    Rust, OPD is like everything else in our local govt: lots of good people, some bad apples, dysfunctional policies, culture and management. Like a toothpaste tube, you try to fix part of it, and it oozes out somewhere else.

    hiring batts was a waste of money and hopes in that context.

  204. Ravi

    “Hiring Batts was a waste of money and hopes in that context.” Yes, and firing him (essentially, by not providing him with support) is a pretty good guarantee that hiring an outstanding new Chief with a first-rate reputation is going to be very very difficult. Oakland becomes, yet again, untouchable.

    I had to look up Godwin’s Law. And I am quite aware of how many arguments devolve into something about Hitler. But my point about blaming the footsoldier for the failure of the general and of the heads of state is, I think, particularly pertinent to Oakland and OPD. There are lots of people in town who can’t find enough to criticize Oakland cops about. These same people never think to apply appropriate criticism to the Mayor or Council. Just like Oakie.

  205. len raphael

    Main problem with the core of three or four hundred cops here, is not a lack of professionalism or sensitivity to diverse racial and economic groups. With proper management and different kind of outside civilian review, those issues would mostly disapate.

    The problem is financial/unbalanced bargaining power. That core of senior cops are addicted to great benefits, and absurdly high overtime. Their pay ain’t bad either. They got an unbeatable combo of charter enshrined binding arbitration and their understaffing, along with pols who are less interested in increasing police on the street than they are in not increasing total spent on police.

    Those +300 cops know they are absolutely safe from layoff in one of the most dangerous American cities. They adapt to the understaffing in their own ways to minimize their risks.

    Throw in the residents whose support of police gets twisted into support of the cops’ high total compensation, and you have a situation where everyone gets what they want except the residents.

  206. len raphael

    Picture getting stuck with generations of Quan and Huen. Oakland’s version of the Kennedy’s.

    Their blighted home as Hyanis Port

  207. charlie s

    The recent comment on stratification within the OPD was right on target. I only wish we’d heard more of this prior to last spring’s contract negotiations. In fact, the entire bargaining process itself may need to be re-examined. While I don’t deny that it’s important to protect the privacy of the bargaining parties, it’s also necessary to give the taxpayers some idea of what’s at stake and how the process works.

  208. Ravi

    “Picture getting stuck with generations of Quan and Huen. Oakland’s version of the Kennedy’s.”

    No picture needs to be conjured up–the experience is real. Quan has been screwing up everything she touches for a very long time.

    What we might try to picture is a Kennedy political response to a mass shooting, like what occurred last night near the main post office.

    Do you think the Quan clan is feeling a need to step up, take charge and announce a plan to prevent further such outrages?

    I guess they can’t find a politically-correct slant on it, so why bother?

  209. City of Potential

    Love the commentary and info that I get from reading the posts here, thanks.
    Had a question, what is going on with the recall, its been a while since it was filed with the city…?
    Anyone have any info?

  210. len raphael

    Let’s just say we’re going thru birth pangs right now. The people involved are dedicated to recalling Quan and her entourage. So one way or another, the recall will happen.

  211. Patrick M. Mitchell

    So is Anthony Batts our Mary Jo Kopechne?

    The bargaining process must absolutely be revamped. Both parties at the table have overriding personal interests that are contrary to those of the people who are ultimately affected and responsible: the taxpayers. We should require that the City be represented during contract negotiations by an outside, capable and neutral entity based on City need and ability to pay. At that point, our elected officials will once again be beholden to us rather than the public employee unions.

    I see Matier & Ross have reported in this morning’s Chronicle that the Quan recall petitions should hit the streets next week. “Minor distraction” indeed.

  212. annoyed

    So who here is part of the competing recall effort? I had guessed it was Len. This will probably kill the recall as people signing your petitions will not know they cannot be submitted. Good work. At this point, as much as I detest Ms. Quan’s tenure as mayor, I’m ready to vote againt the recall. I simply don’t trust you. The thought of De La Fuente as mayor makes me sick to my stomach.

  213. len raphael

    I resigned from “The Committee to Recall Mayor Jean Quan and Restore Oakland”. Co-chairs of that are Nancy Sidebotham and Charles Porter.

    some of the members of that committee were originally selected by Gene Hazzard, though I was not.

    not sure what exact name of Gene Hazzard’s committee is.

    ANNOYED, absolutely valid point that one does have to trust the excecutive members of a recall committee to have the motivation, resources, judgement and stamina to get to the finish line. otherwise you might be wasting your vote. the City Clerk and attorney has yet to rule on how competing petitions with possible duplicated signatures would be handled. i won’t speculate here.

    there are many pitfalls along the way from start to the election which can derail a recall or a referendum. Oak to Ninth is a good example.

    i would think it’s premature to assume any particular person is a shoe-in to be next mayor.

    -len raphael

  214. len raphael

    you also want a recall committee that can collect the requiisite valid signatures by the deadline for at least a Nov 15 election, if not a June 15th election.

    Getting +25k valid signatures (allowing 25% for invalids) is no easy task even with paid experienced signature collectors. from conversations I had with some Oak to Ninth people, it is even more difficult and slower when you use volunteers.

    Shouldn’t be a surprise that a successful recalls costs the proponents money for competent specialized attorneys, coordinators, signature collectors, mailers etc. Recalls, like referendums, also often face court challenges at the end, that are as much dependent on depth of pocketbook as on the strength of one’s legal position.

    -len raphael

  215. Ravi

    It’s sad that the recall effort may become just another petty, divisive Oakland power struggle. Such that the original goal, to take a big step toward improving governance, is very likely to be completely lost.

    Many people say that Oakland has the government it deserves. They are seeming more right-on every day.

  216. len raphael

    Annalee, apart from your hopes that the recall fails, maybe could you give a brief history of the Oak to 9th referendum without getting into favoring or opposing that referendum.

    would be useful considering how short a collective memory oakland voters have.

    -len raphael

  217. len raphael

    Recalls and referendums share similar rules, processes, operational issues, and historical origins in the Progressive Movement.

    It would give people a better understanding of what’s involved in a recall if they knew the history of the Oak to Ninth referendum.

    btw, has there ever been a successful local referendum in Oakland ?

    A successful local recall?

    My understanding is the League of Women Voters pushed Russo’s office for several years to produce a comprehensive guide for residents on how to do recalls and referendums but it was never done.

    The state election code and the Fair Campaign Practices Commission provides some guidance on local referendums and recalls, but leaves much of it up to the local officials.

    SF and LA have published such guides. Oakland has not.

    So whether you support or oppose Quan’s recall, you just never know when you might want to see a recall or a referendum succeed in the future.

    During the coming City Attorney election, ask Barbara Parker and Jane Bruner what’s the delay in publishing such a guide.

    -len raphael, temescal

  218. gregory mcconnell

    I am optimistic about Oakland as we head in to 2012. The economic downturn of the past few years shows signs of ending. We have a great opportunity to change the political culture of the city with elections in several council seats. Most important, we have many great people who are committed to making the city better. This includes remarkable people who don’t often comment here, but we know they are watching and reading.

    V, thank you for being who you are and doing the remarkable work that you do.

    Happy Holidays to ALL. Let there be peace and prosperity in the New Year.

    Greg McConnell

  219. Naomi Schiff

    I will try soon to write up something about the Oak to 9th referendum petition story, which was a mess. It sounds like this recall (these recalls?) could be considerably worse a mess, if that’s even possible. Not least because it is unclear how a recall would be handled, if the signatures were to be gathered. I firmly oppose the recall, in part because I remember that a large band of very silly people ran for governor when we recalled Gray Davis. We would have been far better off keeping Davis in there, saving ourselves the money, the upheavals, and the incompetence that ensued. The mayoral term isn’t that long: work with Jean for now, and run somebody good next time if you are dissatisfied. We ought to spend way way more time recruiting and supporting good candidates and way less time heckling the officeholders who are there now. It is tough to attract good candidates to this difficult position.

  220. ralph

    The recallers got the fever, ain’t no stoppin’ them now, they got the groove. Best hope is the mayor develops some executive leadership skills between now and the recall.

    I have never been a fan of California’s recall process. I am in principle opposed. The best hope is if no qualified candidate runs people vote no on the recall question.

    Naomi, I think it is a fairly straightforward process with the signatures. The law does not prevent competing petitions; each petition stands on its own. Only need one petition with the number of qualified signatures to move to the ballot. Signatures can not be combined across petitions, but individuals are free to sign each petition. Because Oakland follows the state, there in none of this annoying runoff stuff. I tried to explain this to a reporter last week but he wasn’t buying logic.

    If you want better mayoral candidates, then Oakland must increase the pay of council members. Unless one is a “celebrity” being a council member is the most likely path to mayor. Increasing the pay would increase the pool qualified candidates. Problem is the voters in Oakland are so upset with the current elected leaders they have no desire to give them a pay raise not realizing (or realizing) that this keeps good people on the bench. I see a nose face problem. Pay should be determined on position and responsibilites – not the person.

  221. len raphael

    October 10th 2011 was the 100th year anniversary of the passage of the right of CA voters to have recalls and referendums.

    “Progressives fought for years to put more power in more people’s hands and the 1911 election took democracy in a new direction,” said Secretary Bowen, California’s chief elections officer and custodian of the State Archives. “While the system is far from perfect, voters have been using some very powerful tools to counter their elected representatives for the last century.”

    The state rules on recalls are explained here:

    Humbolt County has a well written guide to recalls. SF and LA have online guides to referendums and recalls. Oakland has nothing despite the repeated efforts of the League of Women Voters to get Russo to produce one.

    Until the city attorney rules otherwise, the assumption is that the state rules for local recalls trumps local IRV law.

    Should be easy to time a mayoral recall election for the regularly scheduled Novemeber election date.

    -len raphael, temescal

  222. ralph

    Can someone explain to me why the City Attorney should prepare a Cliff Notes version of the recall procedures? Aren’t elections and such the domain of the city clerk? I just don’t see this as part of the City Attorney’s duties. Because the LOWV says the C.A. office should is not a good enough reason.

  223. len raphael

    Clerk is not an attorney. The application of the state rules to local recalls and referendums requires interpretation and reference to case law. eg. in the referendum context, i think it’s state law but I could be wrong, that says the signature colllectors have to be residents of the locality. That was one of the rocks that Oak to 9th referendum crashed against.

    Apparently there was a court case after Oak to 9th that overruled that local residency requirement for referendums. Not clear if it applies to recalls.

    You can’t expect the Clerk to opine on that.

    Then state law is silent on important stuff. Eg. multiple simultaneous recalls of same incumbent. Yes it was clear that it was ok, but it was appropriate for the City Attorney not the Clerk to make that interpretation.

    -len raphael, temescal

  224. jack

    Annalee and Naomi,

    I agree with your position on recalls in general, but for me, Quan is a different story. We need to get Quan out of politics. If we let her finish her term, she is politically savvy enough to get past this issue. People just forget. Unions will protect her.

    Quan has she destroyed much of the political landscape in Oakland. As city council person and now mayor she has alienated almost everyone. No one wants to work with her. How will we attract the best people to work for Oakland if Quan is still at the helm?

    Quan also helped bankrupt the Oakland Schools, and brought us national embarrassment with Ebonics.

    I just don’t want to see what she does next as mayor. I know it won’t be good.

  225. annalee allen

    Jack ~ I can understand the frustration folks seem to be feeling about things, but it is still my strong opinion that a drawn out recall campaign does nobody any good and will just keep things in limbo for the foreseeable future. It sucks the energy away from other community initiatives, plain and simple. Personally, I’ve been looking forward to an upcoming conference that will be here in May; it is the California Preservation Foundation Conference. I’m looking forward to showing off the many landmarks, such as the new city hall plaza complex, the fox theater, the Uptown District, the improvements to Lake Merritt, etc., that have come about since the conference was last held here 30 years ago. People from all over the state will be coming to our town for this. And, fyi, Oakland’s 160th birthday is also in May. These are things I’ll be focusing on in the new year; not some ill-conceived recall. I want our mayor to show the same sort of interest in these things (as I would expect her to have) and not be burdened with combating the negativity. However, I doubt if I am going to change any minds out there, regrettably.

  226. ralph

    We can only hope that the occupy terrorist do not return to FOP and there is grass on the field.

    AA, on the plus side, MJQ does not need to focus on the recall. From a practical standpoint, since her name will not appear on the ballot, her best bet to retain her job is to do the job she is suppose to do – reduce crime, increase resources for public safety, expand the tax base, and create an environment that encourages investment in the downtown and neighborhoods.

  227. jack


    Only the mayor can change my mind on whether the recall is a good thing or not. If the mayor learns from what happened, then I will not vote for the recall.

    However, if things continue the way they are going, I am not only going to vote for the recall, I am going to actively help the recall.

    Annalee, is there anything the mayor could do or not do that would make you endorse the recall or are you against all recalls? Do you think Oakland can lose more people like Chief Batts and survive long term?

    When you are in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. With Quan, it looks to me like she is bringing some heavy digging equipment.

  228. annalee allen

    Jack ~ I would have to say I am not big on recalls (as Naomi referenced, that state recall of Gray Davis didn’t work out so well) and I’m not a fan of term limits either. Vote them out if you want someone new. As for your comment about the mayor learning from what happened, I would say that is something we all need to do, moving forward.

  229. ralph

    If voting people out of office were so easy, then I suspect we would have more competitive elections. Truth is we don’t because of the power of incumbency.

    Extended service crowds out new ideas and the next generation. The headmasters at my school serve no more than 20 years. Deans and chancellors have similar caps. There are a couple of good reasons to do this. First, there is burnout, the jobs are challenging and exhausting, individuals need time away to recharge. Second, for the institutions to survive over the long run, you need to groom new leaders and bring in new ideas.

  230. len raphael

    I’m not exactly unbiased in this because i’m one of the proponents of the recall, but I’d
    agree with Ralph and Jack that all Quan has to do to beat the recall is improve her performance.

    Heck, the expectations of voters here are so low for their elected officials, she wouldn’t have to do much except stop making things worse.

    But she continues to violate the defacto Mayor Do No Harm rule.

    Even as city council member she’s been bigger on image than on results. She cultivated the image of her working tirelessly, knocking on every door in Montclair, attending every opening etc.

    In a town where most elected officials work part time at it, or are awol like Dellums, that wins voters hearts.

    For the recall, instead of focusing on improving the substance of her performance, compensating for her administrative and policy weaknesses, she’ll focus on attacking the motives of the recall proponents.

    Yes that would be divisive but don’t blame the recall for that.

    Perata will be seen hiding under every bed.

    She’ll tap into the 1% fear that “business people” will be trying to thwart a true progressive.

    Hope it’s not a leading indicator, but I just a read post from one of her supporters referring to misogynist and racist motivations behind the recall.

    That is a waste of energy but that would be her choice of responding to the recall.

    Plus that tactic won’t work because there is such a broad cross section of residents from East O to Upper Rockridge, poor to rich, left to right etc. who just won’t put up with two incompetent Mayor’s in a row.

    -len raphael, temescal

  231. annalee allen

    Ralph ~ term limits is the lazy way to bring in new blood. Citizens need to step up and vote; they need to learn what the issues are and pay attention to how the elected officials are doing their jobs.

  232. ralph

    Annalee, tell me, when was the last competitive election? It is not a matter of citizens stepping up to vote. The incumbent has a huge advantage that most quality candidates can not overcome. The unfortunate result – the least qualified candidates run against the incumbent resulting in a landslide win for the incumbent.

    Increasing the council compensation may increase the pool of quality candidates but the candidates will still need to overcome the incumbent advantage.

    As for learning the issues, I agree with you. Too many people vote blindly for youth programs without understanding the financial consequences. I know at least one Oakland residents who is against ballot box budgeting but has no problem voting for Kids First. Maybe it is selective distaste.

  233. len raphael

    Becoming an informed voter is necessary but not sufficient to make sure that city officials know and try to fullfill your needs.

    Most of us don’t have the time or the desire to attend raucous council meetings or even email our council members and mayor.

    But if we don’t email our officials, back it up by supporting their campaigns with cold hard cash or volunteer time, all the self education won’t make a never mind.

    A good alternative is to educate yourselves and then bring several of your neighbors up to speed on the issues and the players in local government. Whether you do that by talking over the fence, in the hallway, street, or social media, it’s all good.

    Get over that stuff about not talking politics. This isn’t about politics but about getting mugged, kids dying in drive-bys, and your neighbor breaking a collarbone when their front bike wheel hits a pothole.

  234. gregory mcconnell

    I don’t know how my post became a recall debate.
    Still I thank you all for the thoughtful comments.

    We will see what transpires in 2012.

    Happy New Year all my friends.

  235. Ravi

    As opposed to what the anti-recallers are saying, I see the recall effort as a geniune effort on the part of Oakland’s electorate to get involved and make a big change. A recall is, after all, just another election. Yes, it’s costly, but so was Quan’s special election this fall in which NOTHING was approved. This fall’s special election was a clear demonstration of Quan’s failure as a leader. When she proposed the parcel tax she referred to a privately-conducted survey which suggested that voters would support additional taxes to deal with all the crime in Oakland. Quan then went ahead and made the tax one which could be spent for nearly anything. Only at the last minute did Quan and the CC make an effort to claim that the parcel tax would go towards crime reduction.

    And comparing Quan to Gray Davis is comparing onions to apples. I’ll say no more than that.

    On the matter of a better-informed electorate, I have to blame the really poor quality of local media here. We have only one or two reporters or columnists who are capable of the occasional well-informed, thoughtful essay on Oakland’s very screwed-up politics. If we had much better local media, we might have much-better and more-involved voters.

  236. len raphael

    Ravi, all i see is a grim prognosis for local media coverage of muni government here.

    Without a Walter Hellman to fund an Oakland version of the Bay Citizen,we have to support oaklandlocal, oaklandnorth, and yes the Trib, with money and posts.

    btw, the Bay Citizen ( to which i contrib $) had a few good pieces on Oakland and then stopped. They had solicitors out on College Ave the other day.

    Depending on what V decides to do, we also might need to work with V to continue this site best we can because none of those other sites or blogs have filled the role of ABO for fact based analysis and for discourse between opposing viewpoints without the usual name calling.

    -len raphael, temescal

  237. Ravi

    Good and important observations. Most of the media you mentioned have the significant limitation of not having writers with the ability to think critically about Oakland’s problems. They, as well as most of the posters right here, tend to think in very conventional ways full of cliche and received knowledge.

    For example that Oakland’s elected officials are somehow liberal or progressive. That things will get better through ordinary political processes. That one can ignore Oakland’s history. That Oakland can’t move forward because there aren’t enough resources available. (I just have to say Oakland is, relatively speaking, quite a wealthy city–its “leaders” just haven’t the slightest notion of how to spend money well). That to solve our violence problems we must have more job.

    I just have never seen any evidence that more jobs are necessary to reduce violence. Oakland’s shooters aren’t in need of jobs–they have guns, cars, clothes and plenty to eat and drink and smoke–they already have jobs, as killers, thieves, burglars, sexual exploiters, drug salespeople and so on. They just need to stop doing the violence; that would be plenty enough to make Oakland a happy place. If they want regular jobs, fine. When they stop shooting and stealing, the small businesses that will appear will hire them. They can also start other kinds of small business themselves–other than criminal ones.

    ABO has been something of a fresh breeze in Oakland because V can write well and think critically about things sometimes. And she evidently can read and understand what she’s written.

    Too bad Oakland doesn’t have the four dozen Vs it needs to prod the citizenry and electeds into consciousness. That, of course, would be Vs who can keep their thing going, sadly unlike this V.

  238. Ravi

    Handa’s death is a significant loss to those in Oakland who have had an interest in real transparency and accountability in local government. Handa kept many people informed of what was really going on downtown. There is no one to replace him.

    It always amazed me how he persisted in his critical view of the doings and sayings Oakland’s essentially corrupt and incompetent elected officials. He had virtually no support from the establishment, either in City Hall or in whatever passes for media here. The fact that Handa’s views were so widely ignored expresses perfectly the pervasive cynicism, feeble grasp of reality and deep immersion in ideology of so many powerful and influential people in Oakland.

  239. len raphael

    Concur about Sanjiv’s death.

    Many Oakland officials will unconciously breathe a sigh of professional relief at his passing regardless of their personal sadness.

    Sounds crass but I think Sanjiv could appreciate my saying that his passing comes at a very bad time for transparency and public review of Oakland city government.

    Many of us, including myself, were driven to distraction by his interminable speechifying and ranting.

    His info was part heresay, part gossip, and part research.

    But then he would come up with gems of info and insight that were invaluable to all of us trying to make Oakland better and I’d forgive his rants and ramblings.

    Thank you Sanjiv for your service to Oakland.

    -len raphael, temescal

  240. Freddy

    Sanjiv Handa was a real good guy. One of the two people involved in Oakland politics whose opinion I could trust.

    Hell yeah, City Hall will draw a deep breath. This is a big loss for all of us.

    If there is a memorial service, I would like to pay my respects. Too young! Ridiculous.

    He’s up there with Bill King. I hope other folks follow in their footsteps.

  241. Ken O

    If we all PAID V enough money, she could be our version of Bay Cit.

    How much $ would it take? And we’d need more than just one woman. We’d need at least two to three people to properly cover the entire city. 2-3 major neighborhoods each.

    The other problem in journalism is that you need to be close to sources…but then that becomes chummy and confrontation avoidant. Examples: nuclear and oil resource watchdog agencies, the SEC, ratings agencies Fitch/S&P/etc, DC press corps. How does anyone avoid that, least of all the humble blogger?

    Luckily, with some open data points, bloggers needn’t be ultra close to “the powers that be” or rather their PUPPETS aka city council members and mayor.

    It just takes time reviewing published PDF agendas, budgets, reports and KTOP videos.

    I wonder why V has stopped blogging so much… working more to pay rent? Oakland and world events are too depressing? Realized that the banks and politicians and their backers always win, so there’s no point?

  242. SF2OAK

    I’m shocked and saddened by Sanjiv Handa’s passing. We are all poorer for it and totally agree with Len that CC are breathing a sigh of relief. I wish there was a back up. CC meeting all be less; less informative, less entertaining, and taxpayers will be getting less because as we have learned from Mr. Handa the byzantine labyrinth known as Oakland city government will act with impunity. He was a clever little window (2 minutes at a time) on Oakland city Hall. RIP

  243. gregory mcconnell

    I am in for supporting V. I will do my part and more. It is her choice. If she wants to do this I will help make it happen. V, Oakland is worth it and needs you.

  244. Rude_Hawk

    The more I read of Jean Quan’s decisions and policies, past and present, the more I see her as an infiltrator instead of a Mayor.

    From one of the highest City position, Jean is not working for Oakland residents (The Mandate), she is working for her political alliances, an extreme minority.

    This is why the recall must proceed.

  245. len raphael

    The Committee to Recall Quan Now expects to have it’s petition approved for printing shortly but considering the city furlough it could take till second week in January.

    RECALLQUAN.COM will be up and ready with basic content, email, social media links, and very importantly credit card contribution link next week.

    In the meantime you can sign the Gene Hazzard petition (that’s the one which mentions the Oakland Army Base) but understand that there is an excellent chance that petition would not withstand legal challenge by Quan.

    Unlike Hazzard’s petition, our petition has been vetted by a a top election law firm from the getgo and the collection process will be monitored to insure full compliance with state and local rules.

    Much like the Oak to 9th ballot measure, a Quan court challenge would not have to be filed till Quan was sure the petition collected sufficient signatures to be a threat.

    It is fine to sign both petitions but if you are only going to sign once, make sure your signature counts by signing ours.

    We will be using a combo of volunteer and paid collectors.

    Reality is that it is near impossible to collect requisite number of valid signatures within the time constraints
    in relatively low density Oakland during the winter time without use of paid collectors who must be Oakland residents.

    -len raphael, treasurer
    Committee to Recall Mayor Jean Quan Now

  246. len raphael

    To get a handle on the dimensions of making a sustainable ABO read the Bay Citizen account of it’s financial and sometimes editorial struggles. It’s strenth and weakness was main support from one person, Walter Hellman. Five million bucks.

    Then look at oaklandlocal struggle just to raise a couple of grand. And yes, I donate to both, as well as subscribe to Trib and the Chron.

    -len raphael

  247. Ken O

    oaklandlocal is nice but seems biased toward the flatlands/ all democrats all the time/ NGO staffer type reader. even if that’s what it’ll take to get oakland “liberals” to read OL, I’d still like to see some VSmoothe/ Taibbi type hard-hitting journalism about city government.

  248. len raphael

    OL mission statement: “Oakland Local is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media and capacity-building organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on local issues that matter. We are both a go-to media resource for diverse voices in the East Bay of California and a capacity-building tool to help low-income and under-served communities make their voices heard online through the hands-on media training we provide. We are particularly focused on serving Oakland’s low-income communities of color.”

    I’ve always found OL receptive to posting op-ed pieces that express views opposite to their editorial position. Have some interesting discussions with their writers and posters also, though at best it’s usually we agree to disagree.

    They were first to do in depth coverage of the CEDA scandal. They dug into it beyond the scandal aspect somewhat also.

    No OL is no substitute for ABO or a robust Trib and Chron and Bay Citizen. But it deserves our support including our postings.

    I’m less sure where OaklandNorth fits in.


  249. len raphael

    Dan Borenstein Trib editorial the other week had a one liner about Quan promising to unveiling the truth about the city’s fund balances.

    Assume this is just another October surprise unless anyone knows otherwise.

    I can’t wait to hear how the head of the council’s finance committee for many years is going to show how persons’ unknown conspired to hide the true depth of our city’s fiscal problems from her and her fellow elected officials.

  250. ralph

    Ok, this thread has taken a few left turns…the path for local media is going to blogs such as this, with quality in depth analysis and online news such as Bay Citizen. Oakland North is also good but it also an extension of UC Grad School of Journalism. Survival of quality news blogs will probably require grant, individual donations and ad sponsorship to survive.

  251. ralph

    I had high hopes for Oakland Local because I believe that is the model for local news, but they consistently underwhelm me.

  252. len raphael

    Ralph, no bit_hing allowed unless you’ve contributed an op ed piece to OL.

    Donate 25 bucks and tell them to cross check their stories before repeating press releases/meetings and interviews.


  253. gregory mcconnell

    Five year old murdered in Oakland!

    Out of respect, I extend my heartfelt sympathy to the family. I pray for you that peace, some day, may come back into your lives.

    To everyone else, I am weary of hand wringing and offering expressions of sympathy. I have grown very tired of hearing about Oakland being a tolerant and progressive city. Nothing is Progressive about three innocent children being murdered thus year. Nothing is Progressive about 110 people killed in 2011. Nothing is Progressive about 1,234 deaths in Oakland since 2000.

    In a recent article, refugees brought to Oakland from Iraq for their safety said they fear living in Oakland more than they did Iraq. As sad as it is for me to say this, they are right.

    Some people say we need weapons control. No doubt we do, but more important, for now, we need thug control. We need law enforcement to aggressively and lawfully suppress violence.

    Time to face the facts, local efforts have failed. Too many of our elected leaders sympathize with people on the wrong side of the law. They cringe at the thought of letting police do their jobs. Meanwhile, our woefully understaffed police department is outnumbered and out weaponed by the thugs on our streets.

    We need to call this what it is, a STATE Of EMERGENCY, that requires immediate State and Federal intervention. Please join me in asking the Governor, our Congressional Representatives, and the President of the United States to Intervene and bring this to an end.

    This ongoing violence is a Civil Rights violation. It matters not that the perpetrators are black and brown, just like the victims. All of us have a right to walk down any street in Oakland at any time of the day or night and not be threatened, whether the perps wear white sheets or hoodies.

    We can end violence in our streets if our elected officials show the will to make it so. If they do not, they are not leaders and we should get new ones.

    And we, residents, community leaders, and business people, should make it crystal clear that we support strong action and that we will not tolerate murders and violence on our streets. We need to shout that we stand against violence. We must show in unequivocal terms that we support official action to make Oakland safe.

    End this onslaught of murders and violence by all lawful means, NOW. They did it in NY and other US cities and we can do it here.

  254. Ravi


    Absolutely right! If there were only a few more responsible citizens like you ready to tell it like it is.

    Oakland citizens have just spent $100 million in Measure Y funds to “prevent violence” during the past 6 years. Not a single act of murder or shooting has demonstrably been prevented through Measure Y. We’ve got another couple of years of money either to throw away uselessly or to try some new things which actually might reduce the killings. There will be some $20 million available during the last years of Measure Y. Surely this money can be spent better than in the past.

    The City Council has been pushing to rubber stamp the throwing away of Measure Y funds for the future just has they have been thrown away in the past.

    Time for citizens who understand Greg’s POV to speak out.

  255. len raphael

    Bringing in the FBI in not without precedent.

    But no self labled Oakland “progressive” would be caught dead asking for the FBI no matter how many innocents die because of our officials’ and fellow residents’ politicization of reducing violent crime.

    We are stuck in a cycle of arguing about the theology of violent crime reduction.

    New York City residents who surely are just as “progressive” as any one here don’t waste their time and city money arguing about how to make and maintain the huge reductions in crime achieved in NYC. It simply isn’t a matter of debate there since Giuliani and Bratton era.

    That doesn’t mean they don’t have problems of police power abuse, but they separate that from the shared community value that big cities need a lot of cops.

    Nor does that mean that you pay the cops and fire fighters whatever they ask for. Nor more they we should be doing that for other employees or outside service providers.

    -len raphael, temescal

  256. Livegreen

    There’s only one way the City of Oakland is going to b able to afford more Officers or maintaining services in the face of theeconomy or redevelopment costs. & that’s to cut current compensation and require more contributions to retirement & medical.

    Esp. given the City pays it’s employees better than richer cities like San Francisco even though they have a tax base that has about twice the per capita income.

    Since the City Council locked in extended year contracts before they even knew if they could pay for them (waiting for the parcel tax approval), it might b time to call a Fiscal Emergency.

    Of course the City Council doesn’t have the leadeship to do this, so get ready for more cuts in the# of Officers and other City services…

    Happy New Year!

  257. len raphael

    Defeating Measures H,I,J shows we can beat City Hall and its old and young co-dependents in the New Year if we emphasize our common goals.

    -len raphael, temescal

  258. Ravi

    The defeat of last fall’s measures only shows that voters can be negative in the face of poorly-considered City Hall initiatives.

    What is still to be determined is whether voters and other citizens can come up with a feasible vision for Oakland’s future and a plan to move towards that future.

    A vision and a plan are what are City Hall cannot provide and are what are so badly needed.

    Even if citizens come up with a good vision and plan, City Hall will do its best to make sure nothing happens.

    This is Oakland’s pattern–too little leadership; far too much narrow-mindedness and limited self-interest; little willingness towards togetherness and cooperation in order to actually accomplish something.

  259. Mkilian

    An analysis titled, “Cal Supremes Shrink Oakland’s Purse – Now What’s the City Plan?” encapsulates the hard financial reality facing Oakland.

    As this analysis points out with the just released Cal Supreme Court decision regarding redevelopment agencies Oakland’s operations budget just shrank by $26 million.

    Yes, Oakland is going to need a plan.

  260. len raphael

    Michael, don’t you think it’s a little late for a plan, considering how the plan for the last three years was to rely on smoke and mirror fund shifting, selling assets to the RDA, raise deferrals, and furloughs, and loudly express confidence that this was just a rough spot in the economy?

    Then Brown went and broke the mirror.

    It was just a few years ago that Brunner was hoping to convert all of North Oakland into an RDA. Now that would have paid for a great Oakland spending party with nothing to show for it afterwards but a really nice Fox Theater. Ok, maybe we would have gotten a Parkway theatre somehow out of it.

    Could well be that Chapter 9 wouldn’t reduce any of our outlays other than voiding all labor and vendor contracts.

    What a waste of say 20 in legal expenses to go Chapter 9 only because the union leadership doesn’t have the will or the ability to tell rank and file that the city really really is broke and the residents are not willing to cut services to the marrow by layoffs.

    Can’t blame the unions when most of elected offcials are dependent on the unions for election and re-election.

    Our leaders will write a check for the legal fees and blame it on the Federal bankruptcy judge.

  261. Mkilian


    You are fantasizing. Oakland can not do a bankruptcy. Oakland will just have to deal with its harsh fiscal reality. The Bond indebtedness is that high.

  262. len raphael

    The bond service is a fairly high percentage for a city of this size. Didn’t Bruce Nye point that out at a hearing? Odd that it hasn’t seemed to bother the credit rating agencies, yet.

    Why would high bond levels prevent a bankruptcy court from voiding all the current employee and vendor contracts even it might not be able to cram down any of the bonds (though there are other opinions on that)?

    i’m not saying it’s a desirable thing to do, but that when you have a city where leadership thinks stretching out the repayment of an ancient failed pension fund is “reform”, we’re not going to wake up some morning to read that our elected official and their union supporters worked out a plan to drastically reduce retirement benefits/costs for current employees and cutting current compensation for many of them.

    Some of that happened in SJ, a bit in SF. But other than that delayed contribution by the cops, nothing significant here in Ostrichland.

    -len raphael, temescal

  263. Ravi

    About bankruptcy, I would mention just a couple of minor points. For one, the law of unintended consequences, otherwise known as business-as-usual in Oakland. For another, Oakland won’t, and can’t, be redeemed by a single process such as a bankruptcy, or a mayoral recall or a Measure Y or even a Measure Y lawsuit. Oakland can’t move forward until most of its current crop of corrupt, inept and narcissistic electeds are relegated to the scrapyard of history, AND are replaced with some quite ordinary grown-ups who can bring with them a bit of common sense, a tiny amount of vision, some open-mindedness and truthfulness and a modest amount of experience holding a job outside of government.

  264. len raphael

    Ravi, basic agreement, though Oakland govt. seems low average on the corruption scale, CEDA and RDA not withstanding. The union elected official connection isn’t corruption in legal sense, just money and free labor gets power.

    Much more difficult than any change of any officials is changing the political culture and increasing level of engagement. I have my differences w OO, but they got that part dead on correct.

  265. len raphael

    Get a copy of American Babylon. Ignore the heavy left wing bias and the dense academic prose. Just read the first few chapters.

    His take is that Oakland never had a thriving job base here except during WWII. Eye opener is description of how Oakland biz elite (before they departed) tried really hard for 10 years to make Oakland attractive to business investment other than residential real estate.

    This is years before de- industrialization of America.

    Their nation wide p/r campaign dwarfed anything that’s been proposed since. Plus they had favorable stats. But they still failed. (haven’t gotten to the chapters why. Hard to read too much of that at once)

  266. Ravi

    Right next to my copy of American Babylon is my copy of No There There by Chris Rhomberg. It’s of the same vintage (2004 actually) as Self’s book. There must have been a special awareness then of the struggles of failing cities like Oakland and a curiousity about origins.

    The why of Oakland’s problems is no different from that of Detroit or other urban areas blighted by racism, suburban flight and corrupt, narcisstic, power-obsessed politicians.

    It’s no different today. Virtually no one is willing to say that our electeds are little different from those of yore. It’s just that our racism has devolved from the personal to the institutional. All wrapped up in trendy Left Coast rhetoric.

  267. len raphael

    yup. essential oakland reading and reference books along with easier reading:
    Oakland by Beth Bagwell
    Second Gold Rush by Marilyn Johnson

    for pictorial, at least one of Annallee Allen’s books

    several good neigborhood books. eg. Temescal by Jeff Norman

  268. len raphael

    speaking of history repeating itself, why is our oldest living retired councilmember, Dick Spees, so enamored of Quan?

    For sure he drank a lot of what they put in the water fountains at City Hall to have served 6 terms, 24 years.

    And where are all the other retired council members? Were most of them so old as to not last long after retiring?

    You never hear of any retired or even ex councilmembers except for Danny Wong and John Russo.

    -len raphael, temescal

  269. Mkilian

    It looks like the unwinding of the RDA is going to be a very complicated process. Take a look at this:

    And for a legal analysis look to:

    As mentioned in a posting above the Cal Supreme Court decision regarding redevelopment agencies Oakland’s operations budget just shrank by $26 million.

    Let’s put our heads together on this. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, “Samuel Johnson said: “Nothing focuses the mind like a hanging.”

  270. len raphael

    RDA: looks like all those city attorneys on the RDA direct payroll will have full employment one way or another for several years.

    btw, why did the RDA need so many in house attorney?

  271. len raphael

    Oakland Local is the only on or offline general circulation media that shows understanding of the depths of our fiscal situation and understands that it’s causes precede the real estate crash.

    One of these months i expect Jennefer Inez will whip out her smart phone pocket calculator and question some of the numbers spewed forth by City Hall. That would be the first time in the last 3 decades for a journalist here to do that.

  272. Ravi

    Can the Oakland City Council lead?

    Nope, nor can the Mayor.

    It’s up to the citizens, who are deeply divided and have been for a very long time.

  273. len raphael

    City says there are now 7 concurrent recall petitions. Not clear how many are for Quan and how many for Council Members.

    Direct democracy at work.

  274. len raphael

    Are those school board recalls entirely over the school closing decisions? Different groups or one umbrella?

  275. livegreen

    Yeah, but OUSD has to do something. There are way too many schools for the school population. There’s simply no choice.

    At least they’re willing to make the tough decisions. Unlike the City of Oakland…

  276. len raphael

    Harbinger of things to come to the City Council when they eventually have to make similar decisions. But they won’t. The Fed bankruptcy judge will do it for them.

  277. Ravi

    And regarding police reform and the crime thing, Judge Henderson could decide to put OPD under Federal jurisdiction because the terms of the NSA haven’t been fulfilled by the City Administration.

    Those folks in City Hall are so completely on top of it all!

  278. len raphael

    JQ “”I’m actually having a lot of fun,” she said after rehashing many of the lower moments from her first year in office.”

    Best that our Mayor avoids the Fruitvale. People there don’t enjoy having their children murdered.

  279. Ravi

    I’m sure that all of those Quan diehards (“a recall would be a waste of time and too expensive”) are very gratified that this lovely and deserving woman is having such a good time. No doubt they prefer to buy their tacos on College and Piedmont Avenues.

  280. len raphael

    The murder of 5 year old Gabriel Martinez.

    Got a call from an acquaintance who lives in East O and often gets supper at his family’s taco stand.

    She asked where she can sign up to help on the recall.

  281. livegreen

    I watched the M-Y mtg last night, & it was painful. Jose is a nice guy, but he has difficulty running a meeting that gets anything done.

    They debated for about 1 hour whether they should discuss recommendations for changes to the staff’s proposal. Not making the actual recommendations, just whether they should discuss it. Even though it was already on the agenda.

    If they’d just done what was already on the agenda they could have saved 1 hour or more. Geeze.

    Some decent recommendations once they actually discussed it though…

  282. gregory mcconnell

    The Occupest disrupted City Hall today. They managed to make it difficult, but not impossible, to go into City Hall. They demanded that people who accosted cops on Wednesday should be released.

    I was out there with Max. I went because they needed some diversity. 90 plus percent were white.

    People who violate the law do so because they want to and they should do the time if they truly believe. Many people were arrested during the Civil Rights movement in the 60′s and 70′s. We did not carp about being arrested. In fact, back then, we thought it an honor.

    This “protest” is not going very far and we should just allow it to die an ignoble death. There are many things we could do to redress Wall Street, but I hear nothing of import from this group.

    “Mic Check,” nothing is happening here.

  283. Livegreen

    They seem to b determined to shut down Oakland and little else. They’ve forgotten Wall St. I can’t help but think the Officers who were preventing them from breaking in to City Hall could have spent better time trying to prevent crime and more murders.

    Occupy Oakland is not doing what they said they set out to do. They are not doing anything about Wall Street.

  284. ralph

    No, Livegreen, Occupy Oakland is doing plenty good. They are the poster children for the new, “This is Your Brain on Dope” Campaign.

  285. len raphael

    Unconfirmed that MJQ laid off 100 employees today, blaming RDA court case. How much did she and the CC waste in legal fees betting against Jerry’s lawyers?