How your ranked choice voting ballot gets counted

A couple months ago, I conducted a little experiment to see how well people understood ranked choice voting. The results were fairly dismal.

I mean, it wasn’t like some formal super expansive survey or anything. But over the course of about two weeks, I asked maybe 15 people if they could explain how ranked choice voting works. And not, like, some dude sitting next to me at a bar or the person in front of me in line at the convenience store. I was asking people who I expected would know what ranked choice voting was, but not people who I expected to be experts. So not people who were like, involved with the Measure O campaign or something.

Anyway, a few said no right off the bat, but most of the people I asked seemed pretty confident that they’d be able to explain the process. I was all “Okay, go for it.” Everyone got it right that you get to pick your first, second, and third choice. Some people imploded immediately after, others got a couple steps father, but basically, not a single one of the way-more-informed-than-the-average-voter people I asked could produce an accurate explanation of how the votes are counted in a ranked choice voting election.

Anyway. Since there have been some comments here recently about people’s plans for strategic ranking in the elections, I figured now was probably a good time to do a little explanation about how this counting actually works.

The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has put together several short videos explaining Ranked Choice Voting process. Here’s one of them:

Did that help? I think it’s a pretty good video. I wish they had shown an example with more than three candidates, though, because where most people I talk to seem to get confused is the multiple rounds of counting. I mean, it’s the same thing, just repeated over and over again. But for some reason, it seems to trip people up.

You only get one vote

The important thing to understand with Ranked Choice Voting is that you still only get one vote. There is no possible voting counting scenario where you are voting for more than one person at a time.

What happens is that if your first choice candidate is eliminated, that one vote that you get can be transferred to another candidate. But you still have only one vote. You will never be contributing to the vote totals of more than one candidate at the same time. Your vote, depending on the round of counting, may go to either your first choice candidate or your second choice candidate or your third choice candidate. But in all scenarios, it only goes to one candidate at a time.

Have I repeated myself enough? I mean, I know I’m being redundant, but I don’t know how else to do this. Maybe with pictures? Would pictures help?

Sample ranked choice ballot counting

Well, I suppose they can’t hurt. Let’s look at a little example.

Let’s pretend we are having a ranked choice voting election for our favorite character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We’ll look at three different imaginary ballots for this election alongside imaginary vote totals. In the example, the candidate that each ballot’s vote goes to in any particular round is circled in red.

Ranked Choice Voting example, round 1

So here are our three ballots, plus the vote count for all the imaginary ballots in this election’s first round of tallying. As you can see, all three of the ballots have been filled out correctly, with different candidates picked as choices 1, 2, and 3.

What would an example of not filling it out correctly be? Well, people ask me a lot if they’re allowed to pick the same candidate for choices 1, 2, and 3. No. If you want to do this, it means you don’t understand how ranked choice voting works. The only way your second choice vote will ever count is if your first choice candidate loses and is no longer in the running.

If you really only want to vote for one candidate, then that’s fine. You are not obligated to pick a second or third choice.

Okay, let’s move on. Since no candidate in the first round received 50% of the vote, we move on to a second round of counting.

Ranked Choice Voting example, round 2

Since Angel received the lowest number of votes, he is now eliminated from the running. He had fifteen first choice votes. Those votes have now gone to the other candidates, based on the second choice votes of people who had picked Angel as their first choice.

Since none of the ballots we’re looking at picked Angel for their first choice, all of their original first choice candidates remain the candidate their vote is going to. The only people whose second choice votes count are the ones who picked Angel, the eliminated candidate, as their first choice.

Okay, since we still do not have any candidate with more than 50% of the vote, we move on to a third round of counting.

Ranked Choice Voting example, round 3

Since Angel was eliminated after the first round of counting, he is still out. Cordelia had the smallest vote total after the second round of counting, which means she gets eliminated.

All the people who voted for Cordelia as their first choice have now had their votes transferred to their second choice candidate. You can see this in sample ballot number three. That voter had selected Cordelia as their first choice. Now that she’s out of the running, their vote goes to Xander, who they had selected as their second choice.

The other two ballots picked someone for their first choice who has not yet been eliminated, so their votes are still going to their first choice candidate.

Since we still have no candidate receiving more than 50% of the vote, we will move on to a fourth round of counting.

Ranked Choice Voting example, round 5

Since Xander had the lowest vote total in the last round, he is now eliminated. In the third of our example ballots, Xander had been marked as the second choice. Since he is now out of the running, this vote is now going to Buffy, who the voter had marked as their third choice. For the other two ballots, their first choice candidate remains in the running. Therefore, their vote is still going to their first choice candidate.

And still, we have no candidate receiving over 50% of the vote. That means we are on to yet another round.

Ranked Choice Voting example, round 5

Since Giles received the lowest number of votes in the last count, he is now eliminated. His votes are now redistributed among the remaining candidates according to what those voters choose as their second or third choice vote.

In the second example ballot, the voter had picked Giles for their first choice. Now that he’s gone, their vote goes to Willow, who they had picked as second choice.

Since only two candidates remain, the one with the highest number of votes wins.

Buffy got the biggest number of first place votes in this election, and after several rounds of elimination, ended up the winner. This is the case in almost every ranked choice voting election. A lot of people say that oh, it will be different in Oakland. Maybe.

Ranking your choices

Really, the simplest thing to do is to just vote for whoever you want to vote for. But if you do want to craft yourself some elaborate voting strategy because of ranked choice voting, here are some tips on how to do so effectively:

  • If you really want to vote for a fringe candidate, mark them first. There is no point in voting for Jean Quan or Don Perata as your first choice, and then voting for Larry Lionel Young as your second choice. That second choice vote will never, ever matter (as you can see in Ballot 1 in the examples). Fringe candidates will be eliminated from the running before any of the major candidates get eliminated.
  • If there is someone who has a reasonable shot of winning, and the most important thing to you in the election is that you really, really don’t want them to be Mayor, pick the person person who has the highest chance of beating them first. You have no way of knowing how many rounds of counting it will take for someone to cross the 50% threshold. There is no guarantee that your first choice candidate will be eliminated before the final tally.

I hope that was helpful. And in case in hasn’t been drilled into your head already, I’ll say it one more time. Ranked choice voting does not mean you get more than one vote. It means that your vote can be transferred to another candidate only after your first choice candidate is eliminated.

Oh! And if you want to practice and look at how the counting process works, there’s a great website, where you can mark an example ballot for Oakland elections with your ranking choices and then see how the counting works in each round and where your vote ends up going. Your one vote. Remember, you only get one!

151 thoughts on “How your ranked choice voting ballot gets counted

  1. Douglas Boxer


    I have had the exact same experience when asking my somewhat politically engaged friends to explain IRV. No one gets it right….more anecdotal evidence that a lot of people are confused by this system.

    The fact that it takes more than 1 paragraph to explain how a voting system works means, in my view, should disqualify that system from being put in place.

    Someone please tell me what was wrong with a system where a June primary vote is held and if no one gets 50% plus one, then the top two vote getters move to a November General Election. Done. Easy to explain. Easy to administer. No math degree needed. No one trying to game the system.

    And don’t tell me it’s b/c incumbents never lose in that scenario. They don’t lose in IRV either (see San Francisco’s 6 election cycles with IRV).

  2. Gene

    @V – great explanation of IRV.

    @DB – two reasons that I know of:

    (1) cost: not having to have a second round of elections saves money (though probably not so much this first go round when they have to explain it repeatedly)

    (2) broadening the field: in many elections, people vote not for their first choice, but for their mostly likely to win choice. e.g., under the old system, I’d vote for Jean Quan. Not because I think she’s the best choice, but because she has the best chance of beating Don Perata, who I think is a career crook. Under IRV, I can vote for Rebecca Kaplan, Joe Tuman, or whoever, without feeling (as much ;-) like I’m throwing my vote away.

    I don’t think IRV is without flaws, but it does (theoretically) have the above advantages.

  3. ralph

    So is it safe to say, if I go all black and don’t look back, my vote won’t count.

    Pet peeve with IRV, the candidates claim that for this to be true democracy in action we need to hear from all the candidates. No, I just need to hear from the most viable candidates. Someone does not value my time. Should I trust them with my dollar?

  4. Mary Hollis

    It seems that the most prevalent tactic with IRV is to put your favorite candidate first and then either choose nobody else or else make your 2nd and 3rd choices two candidates who have no chance of winning.

    Fair enough, given the animosity that typically exists between leading candidates.

    But then how does it work when you hate all the candidates, as it seems many here do?

    All I know at this point is that I don’t want either Quan or Kaplan to win.

    Other than that, it hardly matters, since I firmly believe that nobody can fix Oakland’s problems. I will probably go for Peralta because, crooked and corrupt as he is, I think he can get things done. Choices 2 and 3 will be anybody but Quan/Kaplan (ABQK)

  5. JBoy

    @V Agree. Nice explanation of IRV.

    @Douglas June primaries have a lot of older, white, wealthier voters. Nothing wrong with those people per se, but that electorate was electing nearly all of Oakland’s leaders. And c’mon IRV isn’t that hard. If you get the math of how American Idol reduces the field, you get IRV. So you rank candidates. Your one vote counts for your top choice on your ballot. You drop the last place candidate. You do a new count. You do this until someone has more than half the votes. Done. Aussies, Irish and San Franciscans can do this for their big elections and survive to tell the tale.

    @Mary If you really don’t care between Quan and Kaplan, then sure, don’t rank either of them. But if Perata were to come in behind them and not make the final runoff (unlikely as that is), you should indicate your “lesser of 2 evils” between them if you have any difference of opinion. But your call – and probably one that you don’t have to sweat too much, as Perata is likely to be in the final two.

  6. Judy Cox

    I”d like to respond to Doug Boxer about what’s wrong with the old system:

    1. Oakland held its local elections in June, when very few people vote, especially in communities of people of color; about 60% more people vote in November compared with June.
    2. It costs lots of money to run added elections: by not holding an Oakland local election the City saved $800,000.

    I’ve spent time at the Registrar of Voters on election night as an observer, and I’ll bet that most of us couldn’t explain how votes were counted under the old way.

  7. Charles Pine

    The real method for broadening the spectrum of a legislature is proportional representation of some kind. Candidates run on a party label, and each party get seats in proportion to the percentage of votes its candidates got.

    That could be done for the council citywide, abolishing the Tammany Hall districts we suffer under today. Doesn’t work directly for a single office like mayor. A council formed by proportional representation could choose the mayor.

    The dominant faction(s) do not want to change to proportional representation. So under certain conditions they introduce IRV instead. IRV is like an anti-poverty program. It does not make things better, but it makes people feel better.

    But don’t ask current and former officers of the League of Women Voters-Oakland about this. They are too busy rigging candidate forums and pushing for more tax measures without accountability.

  8. Max Allstadt


    I agree with a lot of people about the problem with the June primary system: turnout.

    I would support November open primary with a December runoff. Many more people vote in November, and if there’s a runoff the excitement of.a runoff inherently draws good turnout.

    As for my vote in this election, I’m voting Kaplan 1st, and my second and third choices are going to take some serious thought.

  9. V Smoothe Post author

    Charles, I am an officer of the League of Women Voters Oakland. Your comment about “rigging candidate forums” is both nonsensical and baseless. The League does not support any political party or candidate.

  10. Naomi Schiff

    The League of Women Voters has done enormous good in advocating for transparency and full information in this city and beyond. (No, I am not affiliated with the organization.) I can’t think of a better nor fairer group, and have very much appreciated in particular their voter information posts explaining measures I have not fully understood. As to the primary/november thing: One of the weirder phenomena we ended up with was when a candidate won the primary outright, with more than 50% for mayor, and then sat around for nine months before taking office. It created a huge lame duck period, and slowed city government’s pace even more than usual. In addition to saving the city money, the new system was supposed to make it less expensive to run, except that Perata has just attacked and for the moment vanquished our campaign rules and opened up the Big Money race, unfortunately. By the way, when people say Perata would “get things done” I believe he will get things done that I don’t want done! Like selling off Oakland’s assets, and caving in to the police union. How is that a good thing? I support him as my tenth choice.

  11. Max Allstadt

    And now Charlie Pine’s anti-tax conspiracism has a dance partner in Naomi Schiff’s anti-oligarchy conspiracism…

    And one and two and Cha-cha-cha. And shuck and jive and Cha-cha-cha…

  12. ralph

    So if part of the issue is the long lame duck period, why not compress the time between elections. I have lived in one party towns most of my life (now I will admit it seemed pointless to hold general elections following the primary), but there was at most 4 months from primary to office.

    As a firmly undecided voter, is there something wrong with selling non-productive assets? I could be wrong but it seems like holding onto non-productive assets is financially irresponsible.

    Also, Don understands the police problem. Heck the police understand the police issue.Thing is Don probably has the ability to get the task done. I am not convinced that either Quan or Kaplan have that same ability given their July 8 stunt. Does a supporter have a different read?

  13. Jenn

    I think you are assuming a lot if you think people will actually rank three candidates. A lot of people will vote for one — I can’t even think of three I’ll vote for. And, if you only vote for one person, and that person is in last place, your ballot is exhausted and the universe of votes is decreased by one – it’s those voters whose vote doesn’t get counted.

  14. Max Allstadt

    Ralph, what’s the police problem exactly?

    Don doesn’t get the financial problem, because he’s said he wants the cops to take no pay or benefit cuts, but that they shouldn’t be laid off either.

    Then he said he’d save money by eliminating the public ethics commission which he can’t do without changing the city charter through a special election.

    Given that the PEC has exactly ONE full time staff member who’s paid well under 200k, and given that a special election costs over a million bucks… No I don’t think Don gets how to fix the police problem. It’s not even fuzzy math he’s attempting: there’s no math, just an overactive imagination.

  15. MarleenLee

    I’m speculating, but I assume Charlie’s comment about LWV was based on my blog entry about my recent experience at their forum on state and local measures. To be clear, I did not think the presentation was “rigged.” However, it was erroneous, biased and negligent. The presenter completely misstated what the Measure X said, and then the co-president piped in that this is “what the police union president said,” as if that were the same as what the ballot measure actually said. (And as if it were appropriate to rely solely on what union officials tell her, particularly after she refused to respond to my emails). Our local LWV said they supported all of the tax measures because “Oakland needs the money.” I think that is a fairly partisan position, and not at all in keeping with their mission of “good government” watchdogs. So I do not think Charlie’s comment was baseless or nonsensical at all, in the context of this meeting, which really soured me on our local LWV, and I certainly would not trust the information they provide at this point.

  16. V Smoothe Post author

    Kaplan and Quan die-hards are constantly insisting that Perata says the police should not take any salary cut or pay into their pensions. But that is simply not true. Perata has consistently stated that there need to be give-backs from the police.

  17. V Smoothe Post author

    Marleen, your description of the League’s position and the way it was reached is inaccurate. Perhaps you misheard. All League positions on ballot measures are based on thorough study of the measure, followed by evaluation of the how the measure matches up with League positions that have been formally adopted by the membership. If you would like to learn more about the process and participate in the future, you can become a member of the League.

  18. Naomi Schiff

    The extremely close association of Mr. Perata with his employers/financial supporters, the prison guards’ lobby, and his weird premature endorsement by the OPOA (coupled with OPOA’s inept attack on other candidates), indicate that he would have a hard time in negotiating a strong position for the city. His eagerness to turn public assets into private speculations with the OUSD land–among other real estate-connected efforts–makes me question how he would handle city assets, should he win the election.

  19. ralph

    I have heard Don say that the police know that they need to contribute to their pension. He makes the same statement in his opposition to Measure X. It can get lost in some of the other nonsensical statements regarding finding 80 other people, cutting commissions and cutting redevelopment. I suspect if elected, reality and its limited options will hit Don like a ton of bricks.

    OPOA has played Jean Quan. Don’t you think that they will continue to play her? OPOA knows the writing is on the wall but they seem to have just enough strength to bully certain mayoral candidates.

    Are you suggesting the city should retain non-productive assets?

  20. V Smoothe Post author

    Of course they know they need to contribute. They already agreed to do it. They were willing to do it before the layoffs happened earlier in the summer. They just wanted a no-layoff guarantee in exchange. Which Max’s candidate says we should have given them.

  21. MarleenLee

    V – I don’t profess to know how the LWV reached their positions. I just know that I was there when they said how the decisions were reached and I know what I heard. I have excellent hearing and recall. The comments that I found so offensive related to Measure X, not Measure BB. The presenter specifically said that Measure X required the police contributing to their pensions and guaranteed no layoffs for three years. Measure X contains no such provisions. That’s when the co-president said this information came from the union president (as if this were the same as if it were written into the ballot measure – never mind that it’s totally not true). The summaries of both ballot measures were previously posted on the LWV website and contained misinformation. I sent them an email on Sept. 7 ago advising them of the errors, and the mistakes were still not corrected as of the time I attended the meeting. (The summaries have since been removed from the website).

  22. Max Allstadt

    I think reality will hit whoever gets elected like a ton of bricks, Ralph.

    Kaplan has my support, and I like her optimism because it’s good for us to see some energy and optimism, but as a practical matter, even she is painting a picture that’s too rosy a depiction of Oakland’s next few years.

    Let’s over extend the “ton of bricks” metaphor:

    I believe if Perata wins, reality will hit him like a ton of bricks. I believe he will then say “ow!, I just got hit by a ton of bricks! Help!” Whereupon he will discover that there aren’t as many people out there willing to help him as he thought.

    If Quan wins, reality will hit her like a ton of bricks, and she’ll say “what bricks? I don’t see any bricks, and even if there are bricks, I certainly wasn’t the one who set up a pile of unstable bricks next to my own face – the economy put the bricks there!”

    If Tuman wins, the bricks will squash him, and he’ll bleed to death while giving an explanation of how he’s going to get out from under them that sounds somewhat reasonable, but that any bricklayer would laugh at.

    Terrence Candell will yell at the bricks very loudly as they fall from the sky, and display total confidence up until the moment of impact. Then, silence.

    If Kaplan wins, I actually think she already knows the bricks are waiting to fall on her, and may be able to dodge some of them. Not all of them, but enough that she’ll survive the brickopalypse and hobble around picking up bricks and trying to build something.

  23. livegreen

    So from what I’m hearing from everyone is none of the candidates have offered a solution that actually works for the budget crisis (as of yet). So we have to go on our best guess.

    I’m curious if any of the candidates will “offer” us service cuts only instead?

    I’m also curious why none of the candidates have offered to do what Newsom did: fire and rehire all City workers at a lower rate.

    Now that might seem radical, and it might not even be legal, but he did propose it, and the unions did negotiate. SF solved a much bigger deficit than Oakland WITH their unions. Why don’t ours want to contribute too?

  24. Max Allstadt

    A quick question about IRV:

    V you say the candidate with the most first choice votes almost always wins. Do you know of any examples of when that was not the outcome? Are there consequences, lawsuits, or perhaps at least rumblings and whispers about such a candidate having no mandate?

  25. V Smoothe Post author

    I’m glad you asked that, Max. There is one example of a ranked choice election where the candidate that got the most votes in the first round did not win in San Francisco. In 2006, a man named Ed Jew won election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors even though he did not place first in the initial round of counting. His name may already be familiar to you because he later was suspended from office because of a corruption scandal and then he went to prison.

    Ron Dudum, who ran and lost in that election, did file a lawsuit earlier this year against San Francisco’s ranked choice voting system, but honestly, I have not followed it and I have no idea what the status of it is right now or if it was dismissed or what, and I just really don’t have the time to look. Anyone who knows, feel free to chime in.

  26. ralph

    I may be firmly uncommitted but I do not entirely disagree with your brick analysis.

    Right now I feel like I am voting for the least offensive candidate. Whereas I can take reasonable guesses as to what Perata and Quan might do given a set of facts, a vote for Kaplan makes me think that it could go whatever way the prevailing winds are blowing. No one in her camp has been able to tell me otherwise.

  27. Jim Ratliff

    Thanks, V, for a great, well-needed explanation.

    I’m curious about your second tip: “pick the person who has the highest chance of beating them first.” I could understand instead: “Make sure the strongest challenger to the candidate you adhor is somewhere on your list of three choices.”

    But I see no need to list the strongest challenger first if that candidate is not your fave: As long as you have an active choice for an uneliminated candidate, your vote is doing all it can to prevent the adhorent candidate from reaching a majority. (And even this logic is only necessary in races, like the current mayor’s race, where there are more than four candidates. In such races, you run the risk of all three of your choices being eliminated before the final showdown, and then you’re out of ammo.)

  28. Charles Pine

    Civic activists in Oakland have seen for years that the LWV-Oakland is as partisan as any group about ballot measures – to the point of excusing corruption in electoral finance, supposedly one of its main good-government concerns. See what LWV-O did around Quan’s disastrous Measure N in 2006, for example, her $146 million bond proposal for a palace library downtown.

    Opponents of Measure Y in 2004 had a similar experience as Marleen Sacks had this year at the LWV-O: the leaders make up their mind first, then invite citizen input, after which the predetermined position is adopted.

    My remark about rigging candidate forums was an allusion to the dustup over the recent attempt to exclude Green Party and other candidates from a mayoral forum. Yes, the LWV-O and its partner group backed off before the event was actually held.

    LWV-O is as welcome as any group to participate in local politics. But the pretensions to impartiality have worn thin.

  29. Olsen

    @V, @Ralph,

    The lawsuit on SF’s RCV is still going on, now to the 9th Circuit court of appeals. It is a fascinating read:—Appeal-to-9th-Circuit-Court

    Previously, the Judge ruled that IRV indeed does not produce winners with “true majority” and that voters have to votes strategically to have their vote not exhausted (not counted anymore) But, cities have a right to run elections as they see fit, and the judge gave the first round to SF. Majority winners and non-strategic voting were the selling points for IRV. Not ONE SF supervisor was elected with Majority support when using IRV. The voters were duped.

    A big expose’ on IRV in Aspen just came out – another good read. They are voting to repeal IRV in November.—An-investigation-into-Aspens-voting-system

  30. V Smoothe Post author

    JBoy –

    Thanks for the correction, my memory of that election has clearly faded. For others reading: Ed Jew did come in first in the first round of counting, beating Ron Dudum by 50 votes. Dudum won in the second round of counting, but then feel behind again during the third round and ultimately lost. Here are the tallies.

    Also thanks for the update on the lawsuit. I remembered a general sense when it was filed that people expected a dismissal, but did not follow the issue beyond that.

    Jim –

    I guess that’s one way to look at it. The way I see it, the goal is not to just keep one candidate from getting 50%, which can happen with or without your vote, but to get someone else to 50% first, for which your vote can be helpful.

    Orson –

    Thanks for the update.

  31. V Smoothe Post author

    Charles –

    I think the problem is that you seem to be thinking that non-partisan means “agree with me.” This is not the case. Nor is it the case that the League bases their positions on opinions from the general public.

    The League is a non-partisan membership organization, and never supports any political party or candidate. The League does, however, take positions on ballot measures. These recommendations are made after the ballot measures are studied and evaluated for how they relate to the various official League policy positions that have been adopted by a vote of the membership as a whole after thorough study.

    If you don’t like the League’s positions, the best way to change that for the future is to become a member of the League.

    Regarding the forum in question, it appears you have gotten some inaccurate information. There was never any attempt by the League to exclude the Green Party or any other party from any candidate forums. What actually happened was that the League, in order to facilitate a more informative debate for voters, asked candidates running for Mayor to meet a number of objective criteria in order to demonstrate that they were running a serious campaign if they wanted to participate in one of many Mayoral forums the League is sponsoring. After 8 out of 10 candidates met the criteria, the League and their co-sponsoring organizations decided that they may as well invite everyone.

    While the criteria for participation caused some consternation here in Oakland, the use of such criteria for participation in forums is actually quite commonplace. The criteria used locally was actually more generous than the suggested criteria provided by the National League of Women Voters. Think about it this way: when you watch a debate for Governor, you don’t have six candidates on the stage – you have two.

  32. Charles Pine

    Good boilerplate, V., but the fact remains: the LWV-O supported Measure N. Quan’s corrupt financing of her campaign for that bond issue came to light: half the funds came from businesses with no interest in the topic (libraries) but holding and angling for City contracts. The LWV-O, supposedly a crusader for clean government, excused Quan’s corruption.

    Thanks for the invitation to join the LWV-O. I first learned how the group works when campaigning against Measure Y in 2004 — from a man who had joined before then and left in disgust.

    If the LWV-O leaders want to make up their minds about ballot measures by themselves, that’s fine. The off-putting aspect is the hypocrisy: LWV-O solicits input that has no chance of affecting the LWV-O endorsement process. That is what I experienced in 2004 and what Marleen experienced this year.

  33. V Smoothe Post author

    Well, Charles, all I can say is that if you want to have a voice in the League’s positions, they way to do that is to become a member. That’s the way membership organizations work. If you don’t want to, that’s fine too. The League is not for everyone. But then you don’t get to complain about not being listened to when it comes time to take positions.

    In fairness, though, if your goal is to keep the League from supporting improvements to our public libraries in the future, then it probably isn’t worth your time to join (unless you bring a couple hundred similarly minded people with you). Although I have not taken a scientific poll, I feel pretty confident in guessing that the vast majority of League of Women Voters Oakland members support library improvements.

  34. Olsen

    Wow, a quick search on LoWV’s found some serious claims:

    There is an IRS complaint challenging their tax exempt status due to their lobbying efforts:

    Here’s the official complaint:!

    Seems it has been happening all over the U.S.:!

  35. ralph

    It sounds like you found people who have axes to grind. I don’t see a lot of meat on the bone. Isn’t it possible that MN requires certain non-profit directors to register as lobbyist? The only thing a reasonable person can conclude is Oakland is not alone in the nutcake dept.

    Seems like these same arguments have been tossed about with respect to AARP, NAACP and probably others and have gone nowhere.

  36. Jenn

    Newsom’s plan to fire then rehire workers never came to pass so was never tested. He reached an agreement with the unions to institute 12 furloughs days over a two-year period, I believe, which amount to a 5% pay reduction.

  37. Max Allstadt

    @Charles Pine: is there a parcel tax or othe tax ballot measure you would support? I’m pretty accustomed to seeing you vehemently oppose all tax measures. Did you support the police parcel tax in ’08 (NN, or N?)?

  38. LoveOakland

    Newsom’s plan was considered to be illegal which was why he did not pursue it. He then proceeded to negotiate short term concessions from employees.

    In both Oakland and SF, employees have made concessions several times in the past decade. Currently, Oakland and San Jose employees take home 10% less income and SF is about 5%. The Oakland Police have postponed a 4% raise but take home the same paycheckk.

    As for longer term budget issues, a lot of it is simply the economy. If Oakland fires every last non-Police/Fire employee – all library staff, parks and rec center employees, grant writers, payroll clerks, senior center staff and so on who are funded by the general fund, it will just about close next year’s budget shortfall. Unfortunately, there won’t be any staff left to process paychecks, order supplies, clean buildings, service vehicles, repair things that break for the Police (50%) and Fire (25%) who make up 75% of the general fund because they’ll be gone. And of course, there won’t be the services listed above.

    As for the retirement issue, there are three problems. One, a small closed end retirement fund for police and fire is in poor econ condition. Second, police don’t pay a penny of their share of retirement costs as much lower paid clerks, rec center staff, etc do. Fortunately, the other two retirement funds: a small closed fund for administrative employees and CalPERS are rebounding and are in pretty good shape. Third, during good econ times when the city didn’t have to pay anything into retirement, they failed to set any of it aside for bad times like these.

    Once the economy recovers, we need to remind the city that even though there are many unmet program needs and deferred maintenance of facilities, we must, must, must set aside money for reserves to see us through the next recession when ever it comes.

  39. len raphael

    LO, what kind of an economic rebound do you figure we’d need to cover even pay as we go for the medical retirement benefits and the infrastructure work? Getting back to various real estate and sales tax revenues of maybe the pre dot com sluggish 90′s?

    if the go go real estate 2002-2006 years didn’t generate enough cash to cover those costs, let alone PERS, wouldn’t we need to find another close to 100mill in cost cuts in the general to cover just pay as we go, pay as the roads collapse for the next 10 to 15 years?

    at the minimum, we’ll have to amend the charter to allow outsourcing if city employees reasonably will retire instead of taking 40% compensation cuts.

    then what if you’re too optimistic about Calpers and PERS? Do we budget as if those are going to recover their massive losses in time for the baby boomer retirement wave? or do we hope for the best like the council did a few years ago re. medical benefits and infrastructure?

    There’s some hope for Calpers recovering if the fund invests mostly in US companies that have moved their production overseas, and in foreign based companies.

    But counting on some amazing rebound in the Oakland economy in the next 5 to 10 years is a very long shot when even highly skilled info jobs like legal, accounting and engineering are moving overseas quite briskly and not coming back.

    -len raphael

  40. Dax


    “In both Oakland and SF, employees have made concessions several times in the past decade. Currently, Oakland and San Jose employees take home 10% less income and SF is about 5%. ”

    What do you mean by that? Are you calling the furloughs concessions. Or are you suggesting that over the last decade that Oakland and San Jose employees are making 10% less salary.
    Or 10% less in total compensation?

    I don’t believe the facts show either San Jose or Oakland employees have had their compensation cut 10%, unless you count the recent furloughs as permanent cuts.

    “Fortunately, the other two retirement funds: a small closed fund for administrative employees and CalPERS are rebounding and are in pretty good shape”

    Where do you get that idea. Even before the last couple years, the future of Oakland’s CalPERS account was destined for future shortfalls.
    Ever since Oakland blasted up its pensions in 2004, the long term prospects of needing supplements from the general fund were always apparent.
    Even Ignacio De La Fuente, one of council members who make the pension boost blunder in 2004, now says Oakland is facing a permanent financial disaster unless the quickly return the pension system to 2003 levels for all new hires.
    Even after doing that pensions are going to continue to drain the general fund for decades.

  41. JBoy

    @Olsen — In real life RCV only leads to considerations of strategic voting when rankings are limited to three — and even then, not for most voters. That’s a product of current voting equipment in Alameda County and San Francisco. The number of rankings will increase when the equipment changes.

    AND… RCV is still LESS prone to strategic voting than the old runoff systems, and in every election where RCV has “kicked in” in San Francisco, the winner got more votes in the final round than they would have had in a December runoff.

    Also, looked at your Aspen story. Any controversy seems to be all out some variation of RCV Aspen used to elect two seats and in the way they counted the votes, not in the basics of the RCV race for mayor.

  42. fakchek

    The Buffy example is interesting because it uses 6 candidates. But what about races with 10 candidates, like Oakland? I heard recently that the ACROV software is only equipped to count votes for 6 candidates. If that’s true, doesn’t that raise some serious questions both for candidates & voters about RCV?

  43. goblue72

    Maybe Perata’s solution will be the same one he used when he was Senate Pres. in Sacramento – issue a bunch of bloated bond measures (Props 1A-E) that benefit his contributors and kick the budget can down the road for someone else to deal with. Any guy so corrupt as to fund the campaign of another candidate (Marcie Hodge) just to drain minority votes away from his top competitors (Quan & Kaplan) has NO business having his hand on the public fisc.

  44. Charles Pine

    Max Allstadt wrote: is there a parcel tax or othe tax ballot measure you would support? I’m pretty accustomed to seeing you vehemently oppose all tax measures…

    Max, is there a street shooting you would overlook? Okay, now we both know you are a master of the technique of asking, have you stopped beating your wife?

    As for parcel taxes, the city council has yet to submit a tax proposal that closes the bait-and-switch loophole: we pay a new “dedicated” tax, then the council shifts general fund money to something else. So Max, in the spirit of your style of questioning, are these councilmembers venal or stupid?

  45. Max Allstadt

    Charles, I asked an honest question, and you didn’t answer it. I generally think of you as a positive influence on Oakland, I’ve just noticed that you seem to oppose tax measures every time they come up, and I was honestly curious if this was true for all of them or not.

    It was an honest question, I even asked about the last election’s cops measure, ’cause I thought that as a public safety advocate, you might have supported it.

    So, can I have an honest answer instead of hyperbole, please? I mean, I can answer all o your questions if you really want me to, but I’m not sure you do.

  46. Dave C.

    Jean Quan is bragging on Facebook (and Twitter) about having been “endorsed” by the Tribune, even though they recommend her for the third-choice slot, behind Kaplan and Tuman. She also says that she was endorsed by the Bay Guardian, even though they actually endorsed Kaplan and recommended Quan as a 2nd choice. She certainly has an odd definition of “endorse.”

  47. Max Allstadt

    Actually, Quan is being misleading twice in one tweet! She also says she got the SF Bay Guardian endorsement, but Rebecca Kaplan was in fact the Guardian’s 1st choice.

    Hey Jean did you see the title of the Tribune’s article? It says “We recommend Rebecca Kaplan for Oakland mayor.”

    And here’s a quote from the actual text of the Trib’s “endorsement” of Jean Quan: “…we don’t see in Quan the leadership skills and ability to rise above the political fray that will be necessary to unite the city.”

  48. len raphael

    Max, I can’t answer for Charlie, but the only tax i would support at this stage of our muni governance, would be a tax dedicated to preventing teacher layoffs, and which set aside a bigger percentage for charter schools.

    Measure L seems to be aimed primarily at increasing teacher salaries, and only allocates 15% to charter schools. I don’t know current percentage of kids enrolled in charter schools, but the percentage sb flexible, up or down depending on enrollment.

    Wouldn’t give this city council a nickle more of tax revenue because the poor judgement they shown during the dot com and real estate boom years blowing the real estate tax bonanzas on wages, personnel increases, and social programming shows they can’t be trusted.

    They budget like a college student using an atm.

    Just got my property tax bill showing $900 bucks of parcel taxes for some mythological public services.

    -len raphael

  49. Max Allstadt

    V, could you please help me explain what services are going no get slashed if BB fails, ’cause I think that Len’s contention that they are mythological is overblown, if not mythological itself.

  50. len raphael

    Max, my point is that Oakland already charges parcel taxes for services like “Landscaping and Lighting” that it should have been providing as a basic service out of it’s general fund before it even thought about funding say, anti violence programs.

    Then there are EMT parcel taxes that I assume go towards the OFF union designed overstaffing of medical emergency calls. The one where every new FF is a highly trained EMT and we often send two fully staffed fire trucks plus an ambulance to med emergencies.

    I voted for measure Y only because it had mandates and controls that were supposed to ensure funding for certain public safety activities. New measure removes even those weak assurances and gives city council a “just trust us” mandate on how they’ll spend the money.

  51. ralph

    It is a shame that Oakland voters have such distrust of city council that they require poorly thought out minimum city spending requirement before allowing a new tax. Measure Y should have never included the appropriation for 739 officers. The people want community policing Yes on BB.

  52. MarleenLee

    Nobody can actually say whether any services will be cut if Measure BB fails. The City is making threats, sure, but that’s like the mafia claiming they’ll break your kneecaps if you don’t pay protection money. If the government works the way it’s supposed to, or if the person refusing to pay protection money shoots Tony Soprano while he’s holding the sledgehammer, that won’t happen.

    Find me one person at City Hall who will guarantee that the Measure Y officers will be restored effective January 1, 2011. Ain’t gonna happen. The City will stall and stall, just like they did after Measure Y passed. Those positions will not get filled, particularly since the department is already so dramatically understaffed, and the City is refusing to schedule new academies or rehire laid off officers.

    Even if BB passes, the size of the force will continue to shrink due to attrition -50 to 60 officers per year. So you’ll be paying more money for a smaller police force.

    A serious alcoholic goes through detox once deprived of the drug. It is painful, but necessary for true rehabilitation.

  53. Colin

    Quan did the same thing with the Sierra Club – cited them as endorsing her when they suggested her as a second or third vote. Half truths are an accepted part of the campaign, I guess.

  54. livegreen

    Yeah Ralph, Just like 75% of M-Q went to salaries and not libraries. & for M-Y, as Marleen has pointed out, the City barely ever achieved it’s staffing goals.

    The City’s priority appears to be to the benefit of it’s employees and the unions who contribute to our politicians. Not to provide functioning services for the City’s residents.

    It’s the City Council that created the mistrust, not the electorate.

  55. MarleenLee

    Speaking of lying about endorsements – the Pro-BB folks are claiming on their website that MGO is endorsing a “yes” vote. In fact, MGO has taken “no position” on BB. Despite repeated e-mails, the website has not been corrected. That should tell you something about the integrity (or lack thereof) behind their campaign.

  56. len raphael

    Ralph, since the “current” deficit is a fraction of the “structural” deficit, even the influx of new tax revenue will not be enough in just a few years when Oakland budget converts to one big retirement benefit administration/disbursement machine.

    Without written, legally enforceable assurances, the council and mayor will pay bond holders, then pension contributions, then retiree benefits, then general obligation bond holders, then everything else with what’s left over. There won’t be much left over unless you think we’ll have grown into another SF by then.

    -len raphael

  57. ralph

    Fact: we are in a recession.

    Fact: Everyone needs to contribute something.

    Fact: Police can take a pay cut, contribute a full 13% to their retirement and Oakland still would not have enough money to fund primary services.

    Fact: Police staffing is a function of supply. You need people who want to be officers. You need people who are qualified to be officers. Some of these people are serving in the armed forces.

    Fact: We are in this together. We can either make some concessions to the economy and take the steps to close up the hole in the boat or we go down drowning.

    The people should have never required an appropriate for clause. As long as I have the funds available, I could appropriate for 1000 officers and never hire more than 800.

    LG, given your love of Kid’s First, I am surprised that you would punt on BB. These “education” programs don’t do a lick of good if the child can’t live and learn in a safe environment. Go ahead, cut off your nose to spite your face. If you really cared about sound financial policy, you would demand a repeal of Kids First to pre Measure OO levels. M2O, the only program to receive a $4MM+ raise in a recession.

    Vote Yes on Measure BB

  58. MarleenLee

    Ralph – we are already contributing. According to my most recent tax bill, we’re at over 1.4% annually – that’s close to the highest “contribution” in the state – for a police force that is half the level experts agree it should be. Meanwhile, City employees continue to be among the best paid, with the most generous benefits. And we dole out millions to non-essential services that have virtually no oversight. I’m with you on repealing Kids First. Until these programs are cut, and you can show me salaries and benefits are in line with private and public sector equivalents, and until the City promises a specific level of police services, no more handouts from me.

  59. livegreen

    Ralph, If everybody were to take a meaningful haircut & contribute, as I’ve said many times before, i’d be willing to consider an increase in property taxes. Especially as it would enabled us to hire even more Officers.

    As such it is a continuation of the anti-homeowner, anti-middle class policies of the City Council and City Staff. If the City followed our recommendations, it would both increase the likely hood of being able to pass the taxes AND pay for even more Officers.

    That’s not the proposal, and the haircut is not meaningful, across all departments, or for all taxpayers.

  60. len raphael

    Ralph, the tax situation is a parallel to what Perata said about Kaplan’s platform: many of her items are just normal operating procedures for a normal city.

    But Oakland isn’t normal. The voters have to ask Mayoral candidates precise day to day operating procedural questions, and voters have to micromanage their elected officials thru ballot measures.

    If i agreed with Dellums, Nadel, Kaplan, Brunner, Quan and David K about the value of social programs, I’d have worked for Kids First also in this envoirment.

    Budgeting by ballot is indicative of dysfunction system, but a necessity.

  61. len raphael

    Raplh, think what you’d do if you were a typical city council member here or mayor and all of a sudden another 55 to 80mill bucks came pouring into the system from a new parcel tax.

    You have thousands of screaming well organized union members who are scared they’ll never get their medical retiree benefits and want those COLA’s that have been cruely taken from them.

    You have hundreds of well organized non profits marching into your public meetinsg making you look like bad guys who hate kids and seniors.

    Are you going to hire more cops, spend millions on infrastructure that no voter will even notice, or make those employees and non profits happy?

  62. ralph

    I, too, hate ballot box budgeting. It is crappy at the state level and even more crappy at the local level.

    Measure BB, unlike the $360 parcel tax, is not a blank check. The money can only be used for specified purposes.

    I could be convinced to vote for a parcel tax if the city reduces expense structure, repeals Kids First, prohibits the use of tax dollars to fund programs that would have qualified for Kids First funding, limits COLAs to a percentage of the change in CPI and caps at 3.5% and probably a few other ideas…

  63. Angela

    Thank you for this article. I found it after googled about the ranked ballot system.

    I’m still confused by this system and not entirely sure I’m doing it the right way – so that kind of bothers me. The Buffy example? It makes it look like you are making three marks on each ranking, which I think isn’t correct. And, well.. I just don’t GROK it. My fault.

    If I have to freaking STUDY to figure out how to vote correctly, there’s something wrong with this method. Hey, I’m willing to study to learn, but what about the 1000′s and 1000′s of others who will not bother to try and figure it out.

    Woe unto the poor election workers this time around.

    I may give up, throw my hands in the air and just not vote for mayor.

  64. livegreen

    Well, it the public can’t bother to study who to elect and how to do it, then we have some pretty big problems. & that goes well beyond IRV…

  65. ralph

    I can understand why you come to the conclusion you and you are correct it is not correct.

    You simply rank your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd picks. No duplicates.

    Your 2nd and 3rd picks only come into play if your higher ranked candidate is a low total casualty.

  66. Naomi Schiff

    Ralph I am with you on BB and I also think that Kids First needs to be further reworked, at the least. I support alternative crime-reduction tactics but I agree that we don’t have enough police.

  67. ralph

    Measure Y levergaes Federal Dollars for Oakland

    For those individuals not aware, last month the Federal Government awarded the City of Oakland a combined ~$3MM for community based violence prevention and juvenille offender reentry demonstration grants.

    I understand that people are upset with the council but the success we demostrate with Measure Y allows us to leverage other money.

    Yes on BB.

  68. len raphael

    Ralph, what success’ are you referring to with Measure Y? My favorite metric is the number of residents who have been become productive members of society because they now have jobs as counselors at anti-violence centers.

    What’s that called, a feedback loop? Similar mechanism as calling into a radio talk show and standing near the radio while you’re calling in.

    City grants beget Federal grants, beget state grants. But what did these programs produce other than some non productive jobs?

  69. ralph

    To answer your question, here is what Measure Y has been able to do at one West Oakland School.

    Violence prevention funds were used to introduce restorative justice principles to Cole Middle School in West Oakland which had fights every day, constant teacher turnover, high rates of suspensions and expulsions. The funding paid for one practitioner who trained all the teachers on how to conduct peacemaking circles and begin to discuss basic values with the youth.

    After one year, there were no fights on campus, no teacher turnover, no expulsions and suspensions down 83%.

    Violence prevention funding is also being used to develop the infrastructure to transform the county juvenile justice system to a restorative justice system. This will keep youth out of incarceration but still taking responsibility for their actions while reducing recidivism, through crafting agreements with their victims to make their victims feel healed. Keeping youth out of incarceration but still taking responsibility has a behavior transforming affect and will save taxpayers a lot of money because incarceration is so costly and recidivism with the current system is so high.

    Yes on Measure BB.

    We simply can not afford to take 1 step forward and 4 steps back.

  70. MarleenLee

    Ralph, of course you can find anecdotes like the one you cited. But questions must also be asked about how much all of this should cost. How much Measure Y funding went into this “practitioner” teaching skills in “peacemaking circles?” (Whatever that is). Was this some half-day session that all the teachers attended? If so, then it really shouldn’t have cost more than $1,000 or so. And really, these are the sorts of costs that should be borne by the school district, not the City.

  71. ralph

    Throughout this election season, voters have been asking what can the city do to partner with OUSD to improve outcomes. Measure Y funds are one such way. When you and I were students, we attended functional school. But neighborhoods in East and West Oakland have issues that neither you nor I have had to consider.

    I disagree that this should be funded funded from the school budget. The behaviors are rooted in dysfunctional communities and manifest themselves in schools. School budgets should be used to fund teachers, arts, music, sports, guidance counselors and enrichment programs. The community needs to address these issues and an effective way of doing it is at the school. If we did not address these issues through MY, then we would need to fund schools for these programs.

    The advantage of the city taking the lead on these programs is the ability to coordinate with other agencies to provide full-wraparound services. It would be a shame if we allow

    I don’t disagree that we need performance measurement. However, if performance measures were a huge concern, then maybe the residents of Oakland should have required them as a part of Measure Y.

    But if you ask me, decreased teacher turnover and suspensions, which should in theory improve the teaching and learning environment, are wins.

    Yes on Measure BB

  72. livegreen

    Ralph, Couple questions to better understand your perspective:

    -You’ve said you’re against OFCY programs, but you support Measure Y programs. Both are City funded and pay for programs at Schools (though M-Y also pays for non-school outreach programs). Why support one but not the other?

    -With or without Measure BB, as you pointed out, the City has received $3 million in Federal Funding for the M-Y programs. Why do we still need a tax measure to pay for these programs?

    -Why should we trust the City to spend the parcel tax money on staffing OPD Officers if they didn’t do it before?

  73. ralph

    I knew this question was coming as I have a hard time understanding why a supporter of Kids First could ignore MY.

    First and foremost, if I were not clear, the city was able to obtain the $3M in funding because of MY. Oakland was able to obtain these funds because of the MY programs. These funds supplement and expand our efforts. We would not have obtained these funds if we did not have MY.

    Second, generally speaking, I am not in favor of giving tax dollars to non-profits which have not demonstrated results. I know KF is not going away, but KF has no performance measurements. MY has demonstrated results.

    Third, do not confuse the Measure X blank check $360 parcel tax with the $90 continuation of MY, absent the 739 appropriation, for specific programs.

    If you want KF to succeed, you also need to address the community issues that impact individual lives. We need to address the crime issues that are part of these individuals daily lives.

    You either pay the freight now to stop the cycle of poverty and destruction or you pay later. And I guarantee you that the you will be paying substantially more later in terms of lost property value, disinvestment, increased incarceration, higher health costs, etc…

    Yes on Measure BB

  74. livegreen

    Ralph, You keep calling me a supporter of Kids First, but I’m only a qualified supporter. That is, I think it should be better managed & the rate never should have been increased. However we’re not voting on that now (one way or the other) so back to my questions to you about M-Y redux (Measure BB):

    -You didn’t answer my question: If we got the $3 million in Federal Funding. Why do we STILL need the property tax $? Is there a clause in the Federal Funding that says we need to continue paying local funds to get the federal funds?

    If there is, how did we get them to begin and how are we maintaining them now that the M-Y property tax has already stopped being collected?;

    -Actually, Marleen has questioned the M-Y evaluation process. What are the demonstrated results that you’re pointing to?
    (I’m open to understanding on this point, though I still question how the City would take steps to improve where necessary);

    –I ask again: Why should we trust the City to spend the parcel tax money on staffing OPD Officers. & I mean ANY Officers, including the Community Problem Solving Officers.

    -I believe the City needs more Officers to combat crime. If voters like myself believe this (and there are many) why would removing the minimum staffing give us assurance?

  75. ralph

    Read what I wrote. The $3MM only supplements, it DOES NOT REPLACE. The govt awarded the $$ because we were able to demonstrate results w/MY.

    The $2.2M is spread over 3 yrs and $750K is only for one year. We are one of four cities awarded these funds. The Fed Govt requires that we demonstrate how we plan to continue with these plans post award period.

    I provided an example of an MY success in a previous post. Please see the example above for the West Oakland school. I do not have a long list of success stories, and I don’t see the value in listing them as you will call them one-offs. (For the record, I think the city could improve transparency by putting success stories and other metrics on a dashboard on the city site.)

    Here is the thing on the officers, I happen to believe that OPD should be deciding how to deploy its officers and we should not dictate it for him. However, the residents have made it clear that they want community police officers and MY and now M2B provides a dedicated funding for said officers.

    Hiring officers is not going to happen over night. I frankly believe that you people (yeah I said you people) were expecting too much in terms of how soon you would reach your desired force. You can’t possibly tell me you don’t know that it takes time to find qualified candidates to apply, train, hire and deploy.

    Yes, more officers would be nice. The chief has said so; all candidates running for mayor agree; I suspect all of city council agrees as well. We are going to get there but it will take time.

    Requiring minimum staffing when you are already dedicating dollars for specific services is just plan stupid. If you think that it is more important that the city appropriate for 739 before you agree to MY/M2B, then you really do not want the MY services. You really want the city to pay for 739 officers.

    The Measure BB fix is not about the budget. The question you need to ask yourself is what do you want? If you don’t care about prevention services, hate taxes, distrust the council, then vote no. If the answer is crime prevention and re-entry services and community officers, then Vote Yes on BB.

    Really time to decide what type of Oakland you want this to be.

  76. MarleenLee

    Ralph: if you think Measure
    BB requires filling the Measure Y officer positions, please tell me where you think those officers are going to come from? Inside the ranks of the already decimated force? I think not. Rehire of the laid off police officers? If Don Perata is elected – well, I hope so, because he just said a couple of days ago that this is his plan, but notably, he didn’t make it sound like it was contingent on BB passing. None of the other candidates have committed to rehiring the laid off officers. In fact, Quan of course voted for the resolution that said if X doesn’t pass, then more officers will automatically be laid off. So where exactly are the Measure Y officers going to come from?

    For every violence prevention “success story,” I could probably point to a an example of waste, fraud or illegality. Just the other day somebody who works closely with a Measure Y violence prevention provider called me to tell me that the providers are useless fraudsters. They aren’t even allowed to work with kids at OUSD because with their criminal records, they can’t pass the fingerprinting requirements, and they get paid three times what OU
    SD employees get paid to do the same thing. She gave me examples of how the “evaluator” intentionally deleted data showing that the program was not working. What kind of a City do I want? One that does not tolerate this type of fraud and abuse, and does not ask the taxpayers to fund it.

  77. ralph

    I never said that the officers would be hired today, tomorrow, or next week. I thought I was clear hiring officers depends first and foremost on having a supply of people who even want to be officers. And even if you have a supply, it is going to take time to get them on the force. Oakland residents are becoming more like today’s children with a need for instant gratification.

    Second, M2B like MY makes money available for these officers who will be deployed as community officers that people so deperately want.

    As for coming from within the existing ranks that makes no sense. If the GF had money to pay for X officers, then you remove those officers to a dedicated funding source, the GF still has money to pay for X officers. It seems highly unlikely that the city would use the GF money to go on a spending spree.

  78. Patrick M. Mitchell

    At 1.40xx%, the City of Oakland has more than enough of my money to fund police and fire adequately, fix infrastructure, fully fund libraries and parks and run a decent school system. They just chose to line the public employee’s pockets instead.

    VOTE NO ON BB (and every single other revenue-related measure)!!!

    It’s just that simple.

  79. MarleenLee

    Ralph: we have a supply of officers ready to start tomorrow. They are the officers who were laid off in July! Do you believe that the City will rehire them if BB passes and X fails? Based on what? If you don’t believe they will be rehired, then you will have to admit it is unlikely that those positions will be filled before Measure Y expires, which, of course, violates the language and spirit of Measure Y, and will likely lead to more taxpayer distrust and litigation.

  80. ralph

    As ugly as 1.4x% is, not all of it goes to Oakland. OUSD, Community College, BART, EB Reg Parks and EBMUD get a cut.

    I make no assumptions about the laid off officers. They may be available. They could have found other gigs. If the officers are available, then I would expect the city to make efforts to rehire. Why? Dedicated funding source.

  81. V Smoothe

    Just to clarify about property taxes – everything over the 1% baseline tax goes to voter-approved debt service. It’s not money that’s available to pay for services.

  82. Dax

    Not sure about the most recent polls, but I initially missed the channel 2 KTVU segment about Don Perata being upset about the Tribune slamming him.

    I heard the promo but missed the on-air segment.

    Did anyone else hear it.

    What did you think? Will it change any votes?

    Seems to me there is a collective effort to deny Perata a first ballot victory and then not give him any second place, or third place votes.
    However I don’t think the general public will understand that tactic, unless it is put forth in a very clear manner.

    The general public will place Perata number two or three in many instances.

    The PLOP campaign is not rolling.

    PLOP (Please leave out Perata)

  83. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Technically true, V. However, if Jean Quan and her handmaiden, Deborah Edgerley, hadn’t squandered our rainy day reserve in 2006, our rate could still be at 1.33% like it was 2 years ago. The problems with our budget are systemic and are due almost entirely to the excessive pay, benefits and pensions awarded the employees of the City of Oakland. Since our spineless Mayor and Councilmembers won’t do anything about it, we must force them to do something. And by force I mean cut off the cash flow. I would rather see 220 more police laid off than fork over one more dime.

    Yes, I know all about the effects of the recession…but the money lost because of the recession is nowhere near enough to explain the deficit. Our City Council voted to bump pensions up to 2.7%, retroactively, even though any reasonable person who had ever balanced a checkbook could see that it was impossible – literally – for the City to ever have sufficient revenues to pay for those pensions. I think the current Council should be removed from office for nonfeasance.

    Council isn’t even intelligent enough to understand that the more taxes levied on properties (ESPECIALLY the regressive parcel tax), the less valuable our properties become. Less value = less property taxes paid…and City revenue continues its downward spiral.

  84. V Smoothe

    I wasn’t trying to defend the way the City has spent its money. Just pointing out that those high ad valorem tax rates don’t go to pay for day to day services.

  85. MarleenLee

    Here’s an excellent article on California property taxes post Prop 13.

    Check out the bottom where it analyzes Berkeley’s tax bill. Berkeley’s ad valorem rate in 2006 was 1.23%, but with all the additional parcel taxes, assessments and whatnot, it DOUBLED to 2.51%. So really, in Oakland, you can forget about the 1.4% ad valorem rate because the actual tax burden is probably closer to twice that.

  86. Dax

    I was wondering where all that Perata money was going.

    Then my mailman came and brought 2 Perata mailers.

    #1) Two page written material. While I do like more than glossy stuff, these two pages were rather boring, filled with generalizations about he schools and such. (no photos, not glossy)
    Material to read when you’re having trouble falling asleep.

    #2) Full on glossy, large, 8 pages of pictures with almost no content.

    Observation about the pictures used.
    What percentage of Oakland is non-Hispanic Caucasian?

    It would seem from Perata’s brochure that less than 15% is.
    What, 27 to 30 people….of which…

    Whats up with Perata and Quan and their photo selection? The need to please.

    Now, some would question my questioning of bringing up such a subject, but we all know that each of these photos was carefully selected to portray Perata in a certain manner.

    The non-glossy mailer says the following..

    “I will be a visible mayor.

    “My promise is that I will be on the job and available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.”

    You don’t suppose he is trying to suggest that all mayors aren’t available in such a manner?

    Question…regarding Oakland clean-ups.

    How often, prior to running for mayor, has Perata ever been involved in such events?
    Those rakes, brooms, and dust pans shown in the photos sure look NEW…
    Look closely and you’ll see the dust pans still all have labels on the bottom.
    AS do all the other tools.

    Ah, some of the campaign dollars being used.

    You know, if it was a 20 year Don Perata trait, carrying a plastic bag and picking up paper from time to time as he was doing his duties, it would have been a useful look at his real attitudes regarding trash.
    Somehow I don’t ever think he stoop over and grab a McDonalds cup on a Oakland side walk.
    Then again, would Jean Quan do that? or any of the others?

    How about you?

    That would be real leadership. Showing that such a simple act is not only acceptable but commendable.
    Leadership in simple acts.

    That one trait, if it had been followed for years and years, could have been enough to push someone like Perata to victory.
    Of course voting all along wouldn’t have harmed Meg Whitman either.

    Whitman, Perata, leaders?

  87. ralph

    Are completely allowed to ignore facts in the comment sections?

    Yes, the special assessment do push up the effective tax rate. Yes, the lower your assessed value the greater the effect.

    I am thankful I do not live in Berkeley because $1700 in assessments is crazy. Sadly, Oakland is moving in that direction with OUSD asking for another $195 after asking for and receiving $195 just 2 years ago. $400 in assessments going to OUSD is insane and that does not include debt service – $1000 all-in. OUSD may want to sell some excess property and invest in BRIC funds.

  88. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Furthermore (I do not have children) I would consider paying $390 to OUSD, the same amount as anyone living in a $1 million home in Montclair pays, when the schools in my district get the same attention the schools in Montclair do. This makes the parcel tax particularly egregious.

  89. len raphael

    Ralph, have you dived into the performance reports posted on the MY web site? Not saying i have, but have been told by someone who has that they don’t paint the rosy picture you do of an efficient, effective system of anti violence prevention.

    in some ways, I like the idea of using ngo’s to basically outsource city services to non union cheap service providers. unfortunately, too many ngo’s are gravy trains for their execs, and exploitive of their employees/volunteers, with little oversight of how effectively the money is spent. the oversight is mostly that the money is spent on program related items, not how effectively the money is used.

    i’d much rather use the threat of outsourcing to get large wage/benefit concessions from city employees who could do the same services now performed by ngo’s but with more transparency.

    if you don’t think the city employees, including those at ousd can do the work, lay them off and hire people who can.

    -len raphael

  90. Naomi Schiff

    Dax: For 30 years I have been doing neighborhood cleanups, creek-to-bay, median plantings, litter pickup, and so on at many Oakland locations. I have seen Don around exactly zero times, although I have seen lots of city staff, community people and a few politicos. Jean has long participated in even smallish community cleanups and related events, and her office is quite active in helping to organize these efforts. She also was a key participant in helping to save our libraries when Jerry’s budget threatened to radically cut services. Don has only claimed interest in the neighborhoods since he decided to grab the mayor’s office as his sinecure and money-absorption base. Those shiny dustpans stood out for me too. I wouldn’t wave a well-used dustpan over my own head!

  91. Patrick M. Mitchell


    I, too, have seen Jean at many community events. She even knocked on my door to ask for my vote once. But it is what she didn’t do that makes her unfit to be Mayor. She didn’t guard the financial health of our City and, by extension, the financial interests of its citizens. No amount of garbage picking can make up for that.

  92. Dax

    Saturday, San Francisco Chronicle.

    Minor story, probably read by few in Oakland.

    Seems the non-Perata candidates are only now beginning to get the clear impression that working together is necessary to stop Perata.

    They have only two weeks too get that thing going and they don’t seem to have a way to get the public to focus on the need to not place Perata in one of the three choices.

    I go back to my post of a several weeks ago.


    Either “Please Leave Off Perata”
    or “Please Leave Out Perata”

    PLOP, is something catchy that they need to use as a gathering phrase that includes some suggested meaning.

    Though they needn’t get too suggestive.

    A PLOP pamphlet, single page, should be handed out with each candidates literature.

    Even a group press conference.

    It will take quite a bit to make something newsworthy in these last days, with all the charges abounding.

    Ideally Perata would raise a stink.

    What do you think?


    Why its a conspiracy, a outright PLOP!

  93. ralph

    Word on the street is throughout his career, Don has slipped in quietly and performed neighbborhood clean-ups with groups which tend to be overlooked by the majority. Because one has not seen him at an event does not mean he has never participated. Perata is a solid man, who believes in all of Oakland, and would make a great mayor.

  94. len raphael

    Agree w Ralph on Perata. No saint, but heads and shoulders above the other candidates.

    The best of them would make fine mayors for small cities or towns.

    -len raphael

  95. Dax

    Ralph, I am not for any candidate, but what does the following mean…

    “Word on the street is throughout his career, Don has slipped in quietly and performed neighborhood clean-ups”

    What is the source of that?
    Or is the source some one who also heard the “word on the street”

    A guy like Perata, from Supervisor, to Senator, over so many years, does not simply go out on the street and start picking up trash.

    And if he had done it with some group, it is organized and publicized in a manner where it is not “unknown” by the general public.

    OK, over his 25 years, can you give me specific examples of his “clean-up” acts, or is everyone just passing along a version of “word on the street”.

    If there ever were earlier incidents of such, were they ever done in non-election years?

    Or are “clean up days” just like “pot holder” days?
    My neighbors across the street just got two pot holders while I didn’t receive one.
    But from about 10 years ago, I have a Perata pot holder.

    Has me wondering about who they are choosing to get pot holders?
    Elderly couple, don’t know if they are registered Republican or Democrats, or if Perata would know if they were older or not? Probably a cross referencing data base that might have that info.

    One wonders if his campaign isn’t just “salting” the mine of public opinion with rumors of his wonderful past.

    Pardon me if I remain very skeptical.

    Or am I also to believe his large “Fight Cancer” mailing a few months ago was just coincidental with him running for mayor?

  96. len raphael

    Common Dax, who believes any politician or wannabe pol hype about their accomplishments whether it’s Quan’s zillion years of slaving away on the OUSD board, or Kaplan’s accomplishments for a combo number of years as councilperson/ACT, Tuman’s teenage job experience managing his family’s restaurant etc.

    generally the hype is harmless, but not if it is very related to duties as mayor of Oakland.

  97. ralph

    One of my neighbors, who participated on a clean-up, relayed this neighborhood clean-up info to me. She is a truthful woman.

  98. ralph

    If asking me, I probably could have been clearer. My neighbor was at a Sring 2010 clean-up. I assume she either talked to Don or he relayed the info to all about his history with neighborhood clean-ups.

    For anyone who believes in Oakland. This election is easy – Don Perata. We have a chance for something great; we must not squander this opportunity. Tuman would be a fine second pick.

  99. Dax

    Ralph, Your neighbor is no doubt truthful. I agree with you.

    “My neighbor was at a Spring 2010 clean-up. I assume she either talked to Don or he relayed the info to all about his history with neighborhood clean-ups.”

    Sounds like we still don’t have any information, independent of Don, about his “clean-ups” prior to, or outside of, election cycles.

    Pardon my skepticism, but I just don’t see Don picking up a piece of paper on any Oakland street, except when someone is looking and he is trying to promote a image.

    Now, I am really truly uncertain who I will vote for. It is not impossible I will vote for Perata.

    However, “Don Perata. We have a chance for something “great”….is really a reach.

    Don Perata and “greatness” are not compatible.

    He might be “better” than A, B, or C, but “greatness” is not something he is known for.

    You cannot do Mercury Insurance deals and ever expect to be considered a great man of the people.

    We have his very questionable character, to be evaluated with Jean Quan’s ineptitude, and Kaplan’s naivete rookie-ness.

    Tuman, I know very little about, but I’ve got two weeks to study.

    Perhaps I will vote Candell for theatrics.

  100. ralph

    Yes, I was having some fun with “great.” I think at the end of the day Perata will be able to reach those who may think that they are being left out of the discussion and to line up enough people to get stuff done. Ms. Kaplan should be an asset in council.

  101. Naomi Schiff

    What stuff? Where is the content in this “get stuff done” trope about Perata? It does not mean a thing, just as “I believe in Oakland” doesn’t mean much. (Well yeah, Oakland exists. I believe in it too.) He is known for “getting stuff done” like helping his buddies, the big lobbyists. What exactly are you talking about? Cutting sweetheart deals with the cops union perhaps? Note that last week his response to criticism from the Tribune et al was to go stand in front of the police dept. with a bunch of uncomfortable-looking policemen behind him.

  102. Dax


    “Yes, I was having some fun with “great.” ”

    I don’t know why I didn’t catch that…
    I’m losing track of who is for who.
    Obviously you were “over the top” but as happens with many posts I make doing the same thing, people don’t catch it.

    I actually did see Don Perata picking up a piece of paper once…that happened to float onto the hood of his candy apple red, Hemi powered, Dodge Charger. I hadn’t noticed it was even there prior to him removing it. You see, I was focused lower, gazing at those 22 inch Panther chrome wheels.

    Actually I’d like to see all the candidates run…
    Like once around a track.
    Physical fitness has its place, as the mayor should set a example.

    Quan, Perata, I don’t think it would be pretty. Candell would do well for the first half lap…
    Tuman and Kapland, might be a race…
    Hodge wouldn’t enter unless she could charge some new running shoes on her Peralta credit card.

    Perhaps thats why I don’t see more candidates at my door. They aren’t fit enough to walk precincts.

    I see I’m wandering again…

  103. Naomi Schiff

    Quan has been walking at least two days a week, including in my neighborhood where many of the houses are many steps up. I don’t know if she can run but she was tiring out her young campaign workers.

  104. ralph

    I like the idea of a physically and fiscally fit mayor. But I am firmly against Tuman because his post 40 marathon PR is 3:11. :)

    This town needs a mayor who has pro-growth policies and has the support to make it happen. Perata is that person. I know some people are anti-growth but the mayor of Oakland needs to grow the pie to ensure we continue as a going concern.

  105. Naomi Schiff

    I agree that growth is needed; but what kind? Do we want someone who will sell off public assets to developers with big lobbying investments, from out of town real estate interests? It is possible to extract money from Oakland without contributing much, you know.

  106. ralph

    What exactly are out of town real estate interest? Are we in a position to turndown SF, Philly, Sacramento or Timbuktu developer dollars. Aren’t their dollars still green? Don’t they work like other dollars?

    Not all public assets have the same value. If the city has an asset that is not returning value, then what is the point of holding the asset. If the long-term trends indicate that city will not have a need for the asset, then sell it to a developer who can return value to the city. To me it is very simple, if either my annual carrying costs or best return under continued ownership are below what I can earn if a developer converts the property to something usable, then I sell it to the developer.

  107. Steve Lowe

    A chance for something great? Lemme see, wasn’t that why everyone voted for Jerry and wound up with Jacques instead? All during this administration, the Council, often led by proud Perata and/or Jerry supporters, worked hard to undermine the Mayor, downplay the Task Force process, resist Mayoral appointments – and more. All presumably because they wanted a chance for something great.

    To be told directly, as I was when visiting a senior CEDA manager at the first of this year (after our group asked about how the current Mayor might be helpful in implementing policy) “Have you talked with Perata?” speaks volumes about Oakland’s creepy backroom politics and the putrid willingness of one group to sabotage another just to gain the power of this or that office.

    What you see as a shimmering image of greatness on the horizon may instead just be, upon closer inspection, “something wicked this way comes…”

    (MacBeth, Act IV, Scene 1)

  108. livegreen

    Pro-growth Perata = selling off industrial land to his paying Real Estate Developer buddies who own it. Then when there’s less blue collar jobs, more unemployment, less homeowners and less care for neighborhoods, and more trash on the street he can go do a clean-up. Repeat, as a basis for election.

    I agree with Naomi: What kind of Development? What, we’re either pro-growth or anti-growth, there’s nothing in between? Like we can’t have targeted growth, or residential growth in one area and light-industrial, mixed use commercial in another? Whoa, that’s way to complicated, let’s not even discuss it. Just “pro-growth”.

    BTW, is the clean-up an official platform? Very high-reaching. At least he’s learned from Joe Tuman to be specific and pick attainable goals (just don’t mention how much trash still is left to be picked up).

  109. livegreen

    I am not a fan of Perata or Quan, for obviously differing reasons, that have already been mentioned. However looking at the Perata and Quan websites (& skipping over these weird, supperficial videos), Perata’s plans are so vague, general and unspecified it leads me to agree with the Tribune comments (in their endorsement of Kaplan) that Perata doesn’t have much of a clue about Oakland’s needs or what, exactly, he will do to meet them.

    I’m actually kind of surprised that Quan actually does have a lot of specifics, mostly around how she can help Schools & Jobs/Economic Devlopement. I don’t agree with all of them but at least they’re there.

    Where Jean is wanting is the Budget and Public Safety. The former is absent, she has ties to many unions who (unlike in San Francisco) haven’t advertised any willingness to contribute to solving the deficit, and the next Mayor is going to need fortitude dealing with these.

    Of course Perata will have his own troubles dealing with the Union who supports him & represents the workforce that costs the biggest chunk of change. Having never worked with the City, he’s going to be on a steep learning curve that he might never be able to master and might not want to get into the details of (like our current outside Mayor). Finally he has questionable ethics and has a history of catering to his largest real estate donors. His abilities to manage the City govt and goals are both unknown.

    I’m leaning towards Kaplan in my first choice, but if it comes to Quan vs. Perata, I’m leaning towards Quan. It’s that or risk another outside Mayor arriving from on high to save the day.

    And fall short. Way short.

    We are truly not blessed by our candidates. This decision is based on evaluating the lesser of two evils. I understand anybody who feels differently and why.

    Oh, & if Quan or Perata are elected and fall short in their goals, get ready for a heavier more dedicated challenge from Kaplan in 4 years. She’s kinda been takin it easy on the two front runners…

  110. ralph

    You would be better off with ABQ. I am not sure Quan knows the pie is shrinking. This from SFGate, “Quan prefers a strategy that whittles away at police along with most other departments, in hopes of keeping at least a bit of everything.”

    Trying to be all things to all people is simply not a successful strategy. The next mayor will need to focus on core services and revenue generation. Smart business people shed the nice to have in order to focus on the core. They are even quicker to do this when the times are tough.

    Laser sharp focus. Quan does not have it.

  111. Dax

    Blue collar jobs? Someone is trying to protect blue collar jobs in Oakland?

    Protect them from what?
    More to the point, protect them for who?

    Shhhh, not a topic for mayoral debate.

  112. len raphael

    SL, I agree with your overall view of the underlying weakness of the body politic here. We’d probably disagree on the cause of that, I’d say historical wedge politics that started for good reasons but deteriorated into Beirut like infighting.

    One of these days you’ll have have to explain why Dellums was any different in that regard from any other Oakland pol working the racial and economic cliques, elites, fears and prejudices that unfortuntately come along with the delightful diversity of this town.

    Voted for Jerry but got Jacques. That’s a good one.

    -len raphael

  113. len raphael

    if power corrupts, i’d add that the opportunity to get power is already nicely eroding the ethical edges of Ms Kaplan.

    At the Rockridge Community Planning Council forum the question was asked “do you support high density housing around the Rockridge Bart station.”

    Kaplan said she did not support it. Only Harland and Quan supported it.

    For someone who’s made TOD and green development the foundation of their platform, it’s depressing to see her assume the Jane Brunner attitude that smart growth is for the poorer parts of town.

    Rockridge Bart would a perfect location for a TOD that would succeed from day one. But Rebecca can’t risk alienating those high turn out Rockridge nimbys can she.

    Then there’s the little matter of honesty. At the Sat morning Temescal mayoral forum Kaplan Kaplan starts out by saying Perata was not there because he would not come to a forum that was only sound bites.

    Harland responded to a question about how he would transition from a businessman to politician by saying he had decided first to be absolutely honest no matter what.

    Then Harland paused and said that what Rebeca had just said was disturbing to him because Harland and Kaplan had sat next to Perata at a forum the night previous.

    Everyone at that forum, let alone someone sitting nearby could see and hear that Perata was quite ill sweating, coughing, and barely audible over the mike.

    With Harland still talking, Kaplan protested that she hadn’t said that.

    LG, actually I don’t think either Kaplan or Quan are “going easy” on Perata out of some sense of decorum.

    My impression is the neither of them can take the heat themselves and verbally fall apart when directly criticized. They’re reduced to Quan’s “not true, not true” or Kaplan’s “i didn’t say that”.

    Think about it, Quan and Kaplan have never faced tough smart opponents who could think on their feet and were good public speakers too.

    -len raphael

  114. Naomi Schiff

    “. . . Ron Dellums was talked out of retirement into running, and we’ve seen how that turned out. Maybe Perata thinks like Jerry Brown, that Oakland is a steppingstone to something higher. Or Perata is just tired.. . .”

    I’m with Dax: PLOP! Please leave off Perata! We don’t need a FOURTH retread!

    You know those big peeled-off pieces of rubber lying on the freeway? My friend the car mechanic explains: Truck tire retreads.

  115. ralph

    What we don’t need is someone who lacks laser sharp focus on the issues of the city. Ms. Quan wants to usurp the powers of OUSD instead of focusing on the issues of the city. Let OUSD deal with OUSD. Let the mayor deal with the issues of public safety and creating an environment where the residents of Oakland can thrive.

    Perhaps the next mayor can create a department of youth services that oversees the city’s efforts to deliver services to the youth. Perhaps the next mayor could appoint her to lead this agency.

  116. len raphael

    Darn Ralph, I didn’t realize JQ wanted to pull a NYC Bloomberg style takeover of OUSD.

    That would be the first thing she’s proposed that I agree with. Just so long as she’s not the mayor when it happens.


  117. ralph

    I believe in an educated community. Strong schools with smart students increases our ability to attract employers, who both need an educated workforce and whose employees demand strong schools.

    However, a mayor, who is overly involved in education, can be problematic. Schools never improve as fast as people demand and never within an election cycle. Thus the whole process becomes subject to the political winds. The mayor should focus on those issues that the district can not address, e.g. creating vibrant and safe neighborhoods that allow students to thrive, developing an appropriate network of social services that provide gap support, etc.

    Of course, one needs money to provide those services. I am not convinced that Ms. Quan’s feed all mouths policy is the best way to achieve her goals. In fact, I know it is not. There needs to be some degree of fiscal management which she has not displayed.

  118. len raphael

    Ralph, my impression is that Bloomberg’s takeover of NYC’s school hasn’t been the wonderful cure all he promised, but hasn’t been a disaster either.

  119. len raphael

    Re Trib’s endorsements. What really burns me up is the Trib pontificating on how only the top 4 polling candidates were “serious”.

    It’s the owner of the Trib that’s truly not serious about Oakland. As we approached an important election, the Trib’s ownership didn’t think we rated a full time seasoned political journalist to replace their Oakland cub reporter Kelly Rayburn(who i heard went back to school).

    Then Drummond channels the Trib editorial board rationalizion for mediocre election coverage by blaming it on the large number of candidates who decided to run.

    This town is just full of pols and reporters and managing editors who want to blame someone else for their failures.

    -len raphael

  120. livegreen

    Ralph, I totally agree with you that Quan is a generalist, and wants to make everyone in our diverse City happy. But I also agree with Naomi about retreads.

    This isn’t a case where we just go anti-incumbent for the sake of it. As tje Reno Sun Harold newspaper said, like Nevada throwing out Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid for Sharron Angle who was one of the “least effective” members of the Nevada State Assembly:–Replacing-Sen.-Reid-with-Angle-would-be-a-disaster-for-Nevada

    Or like Ignacio de la Fuente’s opponent in the last election, a private contractor who tried to stiff Oakland by not paying the City money he was contracted to do.

    Give me a good alternative, and I’ll vote them over Jean Quan. That’s why I pick Kaplan. But, Len, I just don’t believe Don Perata will take the time to deal with the details of running Oakland, or that he has any better solution for solving the deficit.

    Look at his proposal to not touch OPD at all. Even though they make up 65% (or close) of the General Fund budget. That’s a better, more realistic solution?

  121. ralph

    “We all wished that the field were stronger.” – Oakland Trib Editorial Bd.

    According to the Trib, you are voting for the best of a bad bunch. Now, you need to decide what is important to you. Now if getting a deal done with the police is important you may want to consider Perata. They have no incentive to open the contract. They can’t be too pleased with the Kaplan/Quan stunt the night of the Grant verdict. They like Don. They would probably be more willing to accept a deal with Don. Don is also on record of thinking multi-year. (To be fair I think Kaplan gets that you can only ask them once. I think Quan will keep going back.)

    Don is also the only candidate in bringing the middle class to Oakland. Quan wants more workforce housing. She is doing her best to force the middle class out of Oakland.

    If you are concerned about the whole city, i.e. East and West Oakland, then either Perata and Quan make good candidates. I am not convinced that Kaplan appeals to East and West Oakland. But they be could b/c I see more support for her in the typical hipster haunts.

    A blanket stmt on “re-treads” is the same as saying all black people think alike. Oaklanders made a good pick with Jerry Brown. I never would have considered Oakland as a viable city for a home if it weren’t for his revitalization efforts. Oaklanders made a bad pick with Dellums. I knew this was a bad pick but there wasn’t much I could do. Not all old politicians are the same. Heck, Quan has been in this mess for a long time and has the same old-school way of thinking. If re-treads are out, then she should not be a consideration.

    Perata Tuman are good picks and someone for the love of dog find Quan (and her finance director) a position organizing wrap-around youth services.

  122. ralph

    You want a strong a middle class. Jean Quan and her supporters are anti-developers / anti-development. Do you have a magic wand to develop middle class housing while Jean Quan is kicking developers out of Oakland block-by-block?

  123. Dax

    Los Angeles is moving on pension reform as Oakland leaders flounder like fish on the beach.

    When you do the math on the proposed, or even the past, LA pensions, you see how far out of whack Oakland is.

    Yet the issue is addressed only in the most unclear terms during this election.

    Even now, a LA worker who retires at age 55 from a $75K job after 30 years gets $48,600.
    That same worker in Oakland would get $60,750, or an extra $1,000 per month.

    YIKES…good God almighty, that difference is huge..

    But they know even LA’s current plan is too expensive. Under their proposal that pension would fall to $26,100, or less than half of Oakland’s current system.

    Under the new plan, a worker could work for 37 years, from age 25 until age 62, and get $55,500 on a $75,000 job.

    A similar worker in Oakland would get a 100% $75,000 pension..or over $20,000 more than in LA.

    So Oakland is paying out $1,000 to $1,666 more per month in pension to that $75,000 employee.

    HUGE differences. Yet in the mayoral campaign they brush over the topic.
    Squabbling over peas, while pumpkins roll by.

    How can a poor, nearly bankrupt city like Oakland pay retirees $1,000 extra per month? I might add that LA retirees will be paying half their medical as well. Oakland just hands them up to $425 per month.

    My oh my, isn’t Oakland rich…

    This is real money folks, not the relatively tiny dollars politicians like to argue about.
    Remember, Oakland has some 2,700 “miscellaneous” employees aside from police and fire.

  124. livegreen

    Ralph, Thanks for giving me a chuckle, I like your block-by-block adoption. I do agree with your concern, especially for Middle Class housing. Personally, I would like to see continuation of DT development but also in-fill in other residential areas (beyond Transit Oriented Design-TOD).

    Of course this won’t happen in the current market, at least yet.

    In the meantime the cheap land will still be in industrial areas, and that’s where I’m afraid Don will continue to push out light industrial & the jobs that go along with it.

    Back to my other point about Don: So how’s he going to solve the budget & pension challenges without touching Police?

  125. Naomi Schiff

    I stick with the forces of PLOP: Please Leave Off Perata. Perata’s track record of big money influence is his strongest visible characteristic. We don’t need that. Seems to me Don really pushes the envelope. Does he really need all that money for his not-lobbying job for the prison guards? And what about his unclarity on the details of city governance? And who would he hire as city administrator?

  126. livegreen

    BTW, two related points: Jean has said that she went to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Mayor of Walnut Creek and got them to ease the % of Affordable Housing (AH) in Oakland and got Walnut Creek to increase it’s %.

    Don’t know if that’s true or not, but (either way) it shows that she gets (or is at least starting to get) the AH problem in Oakland & how it attracts lower-income, higher service need, higher cost residents.

    She also made the point that she doesn’t believe Don is willing to get involved in these kinds of detailed policy discussions with bureaucracies and other Mayor’s. She might be right…

    PS. When Affordable Housing (AH) stats and #’s are discussed in the press, do they distinguish between Senior & Low Income AH, or are they all lumped together?

  127. len raphael

    LG, if even JQ gets it about how bringing in more poor people is going to make it harder to serve the poor residents we already have, then I wouldn’t worry that Perata isn’t attentive/hands on/detailed oriented enough etc to do similar stuff.

    Heck, it was probably his staff that drafted those stupid laws in the first place.

    But whatever, his developer buddies wb sure to bring such things to his attention.

    The problem with Dellums isn’t that he’s distracted or like Jerry doesn’t carry thru. Dellums is a totally empty suit (unless Steve L. can prove otherwise.)

    Dellum’s would have been if he set goals and provided leadership. He was right about some things, such as the need to delegate and depart. Problem with Ron is he delegated, departed, and never came back.

    -len raphael

  128. ralph

    What are the light industrial jobs you are worried about losing? Seems like light industrial will still be available even as we develop the lands.

  129. len raphael

    I will work to get Perata elected with all his Prison Guard and Cancer Fund warts, his Raiders baggage, etc. over the other “serious candidates” simply because he would never do something as dangerous as Kaplan and Quan did when they locked arms to obstruct the OPD at Grant II riots.

    Saturday morning around 9am Achilles (my pit) and I were going to take a short walk up to the BOA at 51st and Bway to make a deposit at the ATM. Didn’t get there till noon because I was blogging.

    So at noon we go there but the ATM is blocked by OPD cars and yellow tape where a guy had been shot in the back at 9am that morning.

    That spot is darn close to equidistant between the place where Perata was car jacked and where Chris Rodriquez was paralyzed.

    While I can seem some useful aspects to the Restorative Justice which Kaplan and Quan tout, I want flatfeet on the ground and more of them, night and day so that aholes are deterred from drivebys, burglaries, car thefts, rapes, and muggings.

    That is not going to be a high priority for a former civil rights attorney like Kaplan or a Montclair liberal like Quan. (thought i wouldn’t be surprised that within a couple of years Kaplan will have moved substantially to the right on cop issues)

    Improve the security of Oakland streets and the business and jobs will come.

    -len raphael

  130. len raphael

    LG, none of the “viable” “serious” candidates have given us their solution to our financial disaster.

    Nor did the Tribune bother telling us what they asked the “serious four” and what their replies were, other than to criticize Perata’s replies.

    But whoever gets elected will have to deal with it, and the limited options available. I see no reason to think Perata will do any worse than Kaplan; and certainly better than Quan.

    So I’m supporting Perata as the candidate who is most likely to provide the number of cops needed to protect me so that I don’t get shot in the back when going to my local ATM on a Saturday morning.

    -len raphael

  131. livegreen

    Because, Len, he thinks we can do it without participation from the highest paid City employees who account for 65% of the budget, and get the most generous pensions.

    That’s just impossible.

    All City employees need to participate. Same haircut for everybody. Fair to all.

  132. len raphael

    Lg, Perata made it clear to the cops that he’ll protect their jobs but not their compensation when he signed the rebuttal to the parcel tax.

    Even if you don’t agree with my read of Perata’s action on that, it is simply a law of nature that when we start paying out those big retirement benefits to baby boomers it will be obvious that there won’t be any money left to pay any city employee more than subsistance wages.

    Though i might joke that Perata would turn Broadway, College, Telegraph, International into toll roads, and then sell the rights to the tolls, I think there will be an extremely temptation for any of the three most “serious” mayoral candidates to start selling off or borrowing against every asset we have before threatening bankruptcy etc to get vested retirement benefit concessions.

    Seriously, I think the risk of sleezy Perata screwing up on that asset monetization is lower than for naive Kaplan or ditzy Quan.

    if anything, the prospect of FBI scrutiny may have turned Perata into a choir boy.

  133. Naomi Schiff

    No choir boy a) violates the campaign spending limits with such aplomb b) keeps a cancer charity around for bogus campaign purposes c) takes substantial money for lobbying for the prison guards who have no legislation before the state govt d) behaves as arrogantly as the guy I saw on the videotape taken out front of the police dept. the other day. PLOP. He doesn’t care about Oakland. He cares about Don!

  134. mfraser

    While I like PLOP, I think POP is better -

    Please Omit Perata

    Plus, you know, he looks like a pop, or perhaps grand-pop.