Hodge back on ballot!

Three way race in District 3 after all. From the ruling:

While the City Clerk did not act in an improper manner, the applicable ordinance required Petitioner’s nomination petition to include the signatures of at least fifty (50) registered voters of the city who are residents of the district of the office for which the candidate seeks nomination…Whether or not the signature at issue, that of Charles Mouton, technically complies with the foregoing ordinance and statues, his signature is in substantial compliance with their reasonable objectives, which is to ensure that signators of such petitions are both residents and registered voters of the relevant district…As such, Respondents Latonda Simmons, City Clerk of the City of Oakland, and Dave MacDonald, Registrar of Voters for the County of Alameda, and all persons acting under their direction and control, are ORDERED TO take all necessary steps to include Petitioner Gregory Hodge on the June 3, 2008 City of Oakland Municipal Nominating Election ballot for the office of the Oakland City Council…

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37 thoughts on “Hodge back on ballot!

  1. Max Allstadt

    Nice. But why didn’t you include the back story on how it even came to this, V? I mean it’s in the East Bay Express right now, but it’s pretty shady and oughta be repeated everywhere.

  2. CK

    Damn, that Express piece is RUTHLESS. It looks like there’s going to be some bare knuckle matches this summer. Now that the reality has set in that some of these seats are really up for grabs, the mud is being slung quick and fast.

    Let’s hope the down-and-dirtiness of it all also translates to more receptive and thoughtful council members.

  3. V Smoothe Post author

    I generally try not to repeat information that’s been in the newspapers unless I have something to add. Also, I’m on vacation and out of town through Tuesday. I actually only read the Express item just now. After reading all the legal documents, I think the whole story is actually a little bit more complicated and more interesting than has been reported, so it might be worth something longer. I’ll try to get to that when I return.

  4. dto510

    Max, I don’t think there’s anything “shady” about Nancy Nadel supporters challenging Greg Hodge’s signatures and trying to keep him off the ballot. While of course the number of people who tried (and failed) to get on the ballot shows how unpopular Nadel is, there is a clear and not very high threshold of fifty valid signatures. I am surprised School Trustee Hodge convinced a judge to let him in, although he’s right that the voter was legit; most people have very little sympathy for incompetent politicians.

  5. Max Allstadt

    You’re right, it’s not shady. I suppose that anything within the rules isn’t, particularly in politics. It’s more that I think that people in positions of power have an ethical responsibility to build and reshape government in a way that is as representative as possible, as open as possible, and as honest as possible. Yeah, I know, “good luck with that, Max.”

    Long story short, I don’t believe in the letter of the law, I believe in the spirit. If you exploit technicalities in a way that undermines the spirit, and you’re doing it because victory is more important to you than principle, you don’t deserve the power you wield. The motivation for keeping hodge out of the race wasn’t that he’d actually failed to meet the requirements. The motivation was that Nancy would have had a better chance to win in a two way race.

  6. V Smoothe Post author

    Max –

    Many people choose to adopt handles for web-based discourse as a method of separating one’s personal and professional lives. I’ve never understood why anyone would have a problem with this.

  7. ConcernedOakFF

    I, for example am not allowed to comment on city policies, as I am a city employee….

    I would be retaliated against at work. I am also officially barred from making any public statements regarding the Fire Department.

    That is why I do not use my real name.

  8. Max Allstadt

    Well then we need to change those policies. To me it’s childish to believe that someone cannot disagree with their superiors and still understand their place in the chain of command.

    You should be barred from making any public statements on BEHALF of the fire department, because the department has a right to it’s own voice, and official channels for that voice. Nonetheless the notion that one must give up one’s right to public expression in the service of a team is ludicrous. The more honesty the merrier. And yes, honey, those pants make you look fat.

  9. Tagami

    I think it is a personal choice to use or not use your name – I enjoy the exchange either way

    On the Hodge/ Nadel issue I think it will be a good exchange of thoughts and ideas to have a contested election for a change. I hope to interview all three candidates for novometro.

    The irony is that Nancy’s late husband Chappell Hayes was three signitures short of making the district three ballot in the early 90′s…which lead to an unsucessful write in campaign “Hayes CC3″…


  10. Max Allstadt

    The exchange doesn’t suffer too much from anonymity, Phil. What suffers is civility. Watch these posts and you’ll see that the people who use pseudonyms are way more likely to say hostile or inflammatory things.

    I hope you go one step further than Novometro interviews and put them all on Tagamivision.

  11. RALPH

    V Smoothe

    Nadel has already shown she is indifferent to downtown Oakland.

    Hodge in addition to being unable to master 50 valid signatures, was part of the draft Dellums for Mayor campaign. I can’t imagine what people saw in Dellums that made them think he would be a great Mayor, but in some regard Oakland residents deserve to reap what they sow but those of use who moved to Oakland post the election should not have to suffer. Thus Dellums and his kind must go.

    Sullivan who would seem to be the least offensible has a way of “misspeaking” that is annoying. In his kick-off speech, he made reference to being tired of our youth dying. I must preface the following by stating, murder, any murder, is a problem, but the 2001 – 06 five year average for murders of youth under age 18 is less than 6 and none are in D3. Great issue but not directly a D3 issue.

    But what we do know is he is committed to providing oppty for youth. So assuming he is committed to changing/increasing the opportunities for our youth, he has yet to articulate a plan to achieve this goal. I would think that the revitalization of downtown to create the tax dollars that are so sorely needed to improve Oakland would be a cornerstone to his plan. But his plans are often vague and sound akin to Dellums approach of gov’t handouts. This is not the ticket and relying on non-profits to pick up the slack doesn’t work either if the people don’t have a job to go to.

  12. Max Allstadt

    RALPH -

    I live in district 3 at the corner of 24th and MLK, why don’t you check the city’s crime map and tell me again that youth murder and violence aren’t a problem.

  13. RALPH

    Correction: the years should be 2001 – 2005. 2006 was an aberration but still of concern. That said, I never said anything about violence the stats I quote were specific to murder and the reported numbers indicated that youth, defined as 18 and under, for the 5 years 2001 – 2005 (not 2006, error on my part) represented less than 6% of the reported murders. And at least for one of those years the under 18 was outside of D3. I do not have complete stats on 2006, but the numbers would indicate that of 148 murders 18 were of people under the age of 18.

  14. V Smoothe Post author

    Ralph -

    I find it interesting that you got that impression of Sean, because I felt the exact opposite after speaking with him. I’ve been consistently impressed with his grasp of the myriad issues facing District 3, his solid understanding of what we need to be doing, and the energy he can bring to the table. His policy statement is more detailed and better thought out than anything I’ve seen from any candidate for any office in Oakland in the last several years. I’m excited enough about his candidacy that I’m volunteering for his campaign, so you can imagine how odd I find it to see him compared to Dellums!

    Regarding the homicides – it seems incredibly odd to me that anyone familiar with the district, especially West Oakland, could say that youth violence is not a pressing District 3 issue. It seems rather arbitrary to me to limit “youth” to only those younger than 18. I mean, we already have a different word that is legally defined as such (juvenile). I don’t want to put words into Sean’s mouth, but I doubt he would use your definition. I know Covenant House provides services to people in their 20s.

    Anyway, below is a list (not necessarily comprehensive) of names of young people who were murdered last year in District 3.

    Eric Savoy – 15
    Englebert Juarez – 22
    Marcus McCall – 26
    Billy Ray Taylor – 24
    Bruce Jones – 19
    Robert Benjamin, Jr. – 25
    Johnny Gaines – 25
    Leon Cooper – 26
    Byron Winston – 20
    Dale Knight – 25
    Osvaldo Bravo – 22
    Willie D. Tatmon, III – 22
    Anthony Dailey – 15
    Shadondee A. Williams – 24

  15. RALPH

    I still only see 2 people under the age of 18 on your list. That said, I did not define youth. Urban Strategies Council defined the term in their report Homicides in Oakland. Young people is a much broader category that includes people over 18 and I think under 40 in their report. When expanded D3 is well represented, I never said D3 was living immune from murder, I simply took exception to the use of youth. I also note that you refer to your list as young people and not youth. I do not think their is a legal definition for youth. I think the legal term is juvenile.

  16. RALPH

    i love my typos. also, to be clear i did not say D3 was immune from violence. but since sean spoke to murder, i spoke only to murder

  17. V Smoothe Post author

    Youth, young people, I consider the terms interchangeable. I guess I just don’t understand your point. You characterize Sean Sullivan’s statement that he’s tired of our youth dying as “misspeaking,” but I don’t follow. Urban Strategies Council may limit the definition of youth to those under 18 for the purposes of their report, but I don’t see why we should expect anyone else to use their definition, or why it makes sense to criticize a City Council candidate for not following it. Particularly since Sean, at Covenant House, works with youth, and they do not restrict their services to those under 18. I just find the fixation on that particular age perplexing.

  18. RALPH

    While you might consider the terms interchangeable, I don’t but the good thing is I am not here to change your definition. But I never heard anyone refer to a 32 year old IB as a youth. That said, even before I did the research to find the stats on youth murder, I had as working definition under 18. The report just confirmed that I am not the only one who considers youth as under 18. But more importantly the way I respond and address violence and murder for those 18 and older may be different than the methods I use to address those younger than 18. I find the term young person more encompassing. Like it or not you need to find a cut-off point otherwise it is a term used without distinction. Is someone 76 a youth? You need a cut-off.

    I also left with the impression that he was pleased with the idea of sending young people on the street to hawk their music. I don’t think that is a constructive activity as I’ve yet to see how that has helped. Also, I am not sure why he supported the Ambassador program. The whole idea just smacks of social welfare without making real change.

    The inherent problem I have is Nadel is useless. And Sean reminds me of Obama good talk but give me the meat. Hodge is a non-starter.

    n.b.: I might argue that Sean works with young people.

  19. Joanna

    I’ve met Sean Sullivan and heard what he has to say on the issues. For the most part I really like what he has to say – I’ll never agree with everyone, right? I’m a tad concerned about his possibly being in the back pocket of the developers, but how else are you going to get elected in this town without some serious mula to back you up. All I know is that I’ve had NN as a Council Member for a long time. I’m ready for a change. I get the feeling that she meant, and probably did well in the beginning, but lately (last 3-4 years), not so much. I haven’t read so much about Greg Hodge. I’d like to know more about GH, but I checked out his website and there’s no info there, just a link to donate.

    That said, I’m not one to use my name to put behind a candidate… I’d rather my neighbors get involved in the process and find the right candidate for themselves. After all, I voted for DoNothingDellums, and am haunted by that vote. Now, I’d like to get on the RecallDellums boat, anyone want to point me in the right direction?

    Hey, V – did you see that City Manager Deborah Edgerly is making over $250K a year? I want that job!

  20. Max Allstadt

    I really don’t think that Sean Sullivan is in the back pocket of developers. (Full disclosure, I’ve endorsed him and I’m volunteering on his campaign). I wouldn’t be backing him if I thought he was in anybody’s pocket. Growth is in his platform, but he always talks about “Smart Growth”. I think he’ll probably be rather moderate about development. When I talk to him about my own brand of urbanism, he seems to agree, and I’m pretty sure he isn’t pandering. I don’t think you’ll see him supporting irresponsible projects. I also don’t think you’ll see him holding up reasonable ones.

    What’s more, the ultimate check on developer and government power in this city is the community voice. When genuine community opposition happens, bad development gets stopped. By genuine I mean widespread, and motivated by something more than ideology. STAND, for instance, fails that test. They’re a small group of people who have an ideology that isn’t based on context. They beat the same point into the ground year after year, and nobody listens because the braoder community doesn’t share their concerns.

    Sean has told me that he’s really dedicated to getting out and talking to people. I told him that if he won I expected that to continue. He seemed to take that as an obvious thing. That’s why I’m on board. I’m pretty damn sure I’ve made the right call.

  21. Max Allstadt

    I voted for Dellums too, and I regret it. I don’t know about the recall, but I think that we need some means to compel him to do his job. I’d love to take the measure X community meeting requirement up a notch. The mayor should have to sit on the hot seat in front of us all at lease once a quarter. On video. If an orator as good as him fears defending himself in front of his city, it can only mean one thing: he knows his performance is indefensible.

  22. Joanna

    So Max, what’s the negative on Greg Hodge? I’m just curious why you’re going for Sean instead. I don’t need anyone to tell me why not to vote for NN.

    As for “smart development”, that’s a tough one. In theory we have community involvement now, right? I’ve been to many Planning Commission meetings, but often I don’t feel that they are listening to those who speak in front of them. Many Commissioners seem to have that deer-in-the-headlights look while the everyday public speak. Plus, there was the whole Oak to 9th debacle. Signatures were gathered, people spoke at meetings, and yet that project never downscaled, never changed. For all the negative Council spoke about it the night of the first vote, you’d think something should have changed, but then nothing did. I guess that was a turning point for me in feeling that we may have the right to speak, but it doesn’t mean anyone in power will listen unless they’re holding the purse strings.

  23. RALPH

    My youth/young people issue aside, Sean did not convince me that he was pro-growth. Like youth and young people, one can make their own defn of SMART growth. And I could not tell from his website where he stood, so either I skimmed thru it initially and missed some key points or it has been beefed up a bit or and what is probably closer to the truth I was too tired to read the unwritten words . But I need to hear from the candidate where he stands. Hopefully, he and I will get a chance to dialogue soon. It seems to me that downtown Oakland can be vibrant we just need the leadership to make it happen. Cities from Washington to Baltimore to Denver to SJ to SF and all points in between have revitalized their core; Oakland should be doing the same. While grillz for thrillz* may be a great store for your basic ne’er-do-well, it is not going to bring da noise or da funk needed to make downtown vibrant. I love mom and pop just as much as the next guy, but mom and pop are not going to see a much bigger piece of the pie if destination retail atttracted more feet on the pavement.

    I might add Oakland got screwed with 880 and the train station which make the water less attractive.

    *grillz for thrillz is not the name of a store, rather a fictitious name for the grillz store of b-way

  24. RALPH

    pulled that trigger to fast

    but mom and pop are not going to see a much bigger piece of the pie until destination retail comes to town and attracts more feet on the pavement.

  25. Max Allstadt

    I don’t know hodge’s history that well, frankly. However, there are some school board incidents that show up if you google him. I’ll see how he does at the debate. Mainly I got behind Sean because he helped me hand out flyers to save work/live. It was at the Art Murmur, and he could have turned it into a photo-op and an opportunity to self-promote, and he did nothing of the sort. He said he’d come help, and that’s all that he did, and for a politician in the making that’s a rather impressive gesture. Hodge also really didn’t get his act together at all until the last minute, which made it difficult to assess him.

    As for your need for specifics, let me say this: I went to a meet-up with Sean, and after hearing people throw him a few softballs, I tried to ask him things that would challenge him a little more, and I got nuanced and smart answers. Find him at one of his events and try to do the same. I think he’s likely to give good answers as well as, when appropriate, Jesse Ventura’s classic honest answer: “I don’t know, but I’ll find out”.

  26. Max Allstadt

    Joanna, you’re somewhat right about the planning commission. They have a habit, from what I’ve seen, of punting anything remotely scary on to the council. They’re also a little too likely to favor the side of the argument presented by folks in more expensive shoes. As a matter of fact I owe them an earful on that very issue. At the same time, when the planning commission ignored my pleas for sanity on industrial land rezoning, they only did it during the official vote. Two members of the commission gave me some introductions that helped me out a lot with getting the city council to pay attention. Zoning honcho Eric Angstadt also got the point and was willing to dialogue with me regularly to find a way out that would work on the beaurocratic level.

    I don’t know the oak to 9th story. I’ll read up. There’s no doubt that in any political system, connections can outweigh what’s good for the people, we’re going to have bad days sometimes. I’m hoping the next council will have fewer.

  27. Joanna

    Max – very true about the some days are good, others not so much!

    The Oak to 9th issue came after I spent a few years going to every Planning Commission, Design Review, and any other meeting regarding the Jack London Square project. I am all for redeveloping the Square, but wanted to see it done in a way that made sense.

    My fear – which is coming true – is that JLS will be mostly office space. I still hope that they can fill up the retail spaces, but with the super high rents I just don’t see how. My main complaint about the project was the design. What they said was that it didn’t work as it existed then because it was too elongated – which I agree with. But the project they’re building further elongates the shops AND none of the buildings really tie together aesthetically. I hope that I’m wrong and JLS can be the destination spot it used to be. But during that whole public meeting process I was blown away with how both the Planning Commission and City Council bowed to the developer on almost every whim. People that had no clue about the project and who’d never been to a single meeting until the final vote showed up to speak in favor of the project. Some of these people even made contradictory comments that actually were similar to what many NIMBY’s, (those of us looking for changes) had to say. Those comments were glossed right over.

    I myself am off to the PC meeting tonight to mention Conditions of Approval and allowing developers to build 24/7. Other projects in our area have been officially limited to 7a-7p Monday thru Friday, but not JLS. They were banging steel at 7:15am last Saturday. It’s good for Senator Boxer that she was out of town!

  28. Max Allstadt

    Oh jeez, whatever you do, don’t mention Senator Boxer at that meeting. Last time someone tried to use her name to emphasize a point, It really backfired. Then again, that guy was being a real pill in the way he brought her up.

    I actually like quite a few of the new buildings in JLS on an aesthetic level, but there is definitely a point to be made about the way retail was so loosely mandated. On the outskirts of the square it’s too spread out. It needs to be more clustered than it is at the moment, or the only shops that will occupy will be ones directly serving the residents, such as dry cleaners etc.

    I go to the planning commission from time to time out of curiosity. Perhaps I’ll see you there tonight. You’ll know me by the stuffed dog in my pocket.

  29. V Smoothe Post author

    I don’t understand why people would say Sean is in the pocket of developers. If that’s true, why aren’t they giving him lots of money?

    I don’t see why people oppose office space construction in JLS. Without a critical mass of people to shop at stores and eat at restaurants, retail in the area will continue to flounder no matter what the rents.

  30. Max Allstadt

    It is odd that offices would be objectionable. I suppose the only objection I would have is to an imbalance of office vs. retail vs. residential. I also really love dodging forklifts on my bike (for real, I’m not being sarcastic), so I hope the old market spaces stick around for a while. That’s real street life for you right there.

  31. CK


    I think people’s opposition to a strong office presence in JLS is due to the nature of offices. Yes, they hold large numbers of people, but they affect the businesses in areas surrounding them in only small windows of the day. Morning commute, lunch rush, and happy hour. It limits the range and viability of businesses the area can support.

    That being said, I think adding some office to JLS is a good idea, considering how comatose areas of JLS are currently. I’m gonna (once again) agree with Max on this one, stressing moderation in all things.

  32. Navigator

    The developers have killed the square by raising rents in order to drive out the restaurants that didn’t fit in with their vision for an upscale JLS.

    The square was a vibrant place when El Caballo, the Spaghetti Factory, and TGIF were in business. The developers decided these restaurants weren’t upscale enough for their new image for Jack London Square. Now, other then Hahn’s and Pescatore, the east end of the square is a ghost town. These guys kick out the restaurants, raised rents, and basically destroyed what once was a thriving dinning and entertainment area for Oakland and the East Bay.

    This glorious area with the beautiful waterfront setting, should be a vibrant and dynamic area for Oakland. Instead, we have empty building after empty building. This is inexcusable. These developers are going to turn Jack London Square into an office park and blame it on “Oakland’s image.” Oakland is going to lose an opportunity to develop a beautiful tourist destination, which would once and for all, put to rest many of the negative stereotypes perpetuated by our friends across the Bay with their unbalanced, slanted, and selective crime reporting.

    These developers have to start marketing these spaces aggressively instead of constructing buildings and then allowing them to sent vacant in order to then claim there is no other choice other than office buildings. It’s criminal that an asset such as the Oakland Waterfront is allowed to stagnate in this manner. I’ve traveled to every major city in this country and you can count on one hand the ones which have anything comparable to Oakland’s waterfront. Yet, many cities do so much more with so much less. Wake up Oakland! Save your waterfront!

  33. Max Allstadt

    Frankly, I think the best thing we can do about this is to all chip in to send the council and the planning commission to Seattle for a weekend. It’s the only waterfront development I’ve ever seen that really went right.

  34. Joanna

    JLS should have an announcement re 66 Franklin (prev home to El Torrito and the Spag Factory) soon…

    I totally agree with both Navigator & Max. You’re both right. :)