Joe Tuman doesn’t know Jack

Recently, my mother came to Oakland to visit me for the weekend. One of the things my mom likes to do when she visits is to suggest that we drive around neighborhoods where I might be interested in living, and see the houses for sale.

Inevitably, this lasts maybe half an hour, at which point she decides that the neighborhoods I have selected aren’t very nice, and that she would rather drive around and look at prettier, bigger, better maintained houses on adorable tree-lined streets. So then we go drive around like, Crocker Highlands or something as she relays a bunch of elaborate career strategies she has thought of for me (most of which involve changing careers) that would allow me to buy one of them someday.

Joe Tuman

Anyway. So we did our little tour, and as she admired the houses, I entertainment myself by counting lawn signs. I found myself surprised by the number of Joe Tuman signs. It was striking enough that even my mother asked about it. She’s all “So who is this guy Joe? I don’t think you’ve mentioned him before.” And I’m all “Oh, that’s cause he has no chance and is not worth mentioning.” And she’s like “Well, he seems popular.” And I’m like “Wev, this his his neighborhood.”

But she does have a point. I am increasingly surprised to hear so many people tell me how much they like Joe Tuman or how they’re considering voting for Tuman and how he has all these great plans for Oakland.

Um…he doesn’t. He’s a charlatan, folks. You’ve all been hoodwinked. He doesn’t know anything.

Plain talk

So. My first introduction to Joe Tuman was at a forum last July. He had announced he was running like two days before, and the only things I knew about him were from on his website, which wasn’t much. I don’t watch the TV news, so his job as a political analyst meant nothing to me. So I went to the forum genuinely curious about what this guy’s deal was.

The first question was about decriminalizing sexually exploited minors. You can listen to his response below:

He started out with this condescending line about how he was going to speak in “plain language”, as though the audience was too stupid to understand what anyone of the other candidates had said. This, in light of all the other problems I have with him, is probably a minor issue. But it drives me fucking nuts. In forum after forum, and in his answers to the Make Oakland Better Now! Questionnaire (PDF), like, every third answer starts out with him insulting either the audience or the questioner.

For some reason, a lot of people hear this and think that he must know what he’s talking about. Don’t fall for this, folks. It is a rhetorical trick. And a cheap one at that. You tell everyone you’re the smartest person in the room, and then you proceed to say something completely inane and hope people don’t notice. I think it’s awful.

Anyway. So he did that thing, like he always does, and then he totally failed to answer the question, talking only about enforcement on the consumer end and saying not one single word about how we should deal with these kids. Then, he went into this whole thing about how, as Mayor, he would reform the foster care system. Ooo-kay. Plan talk. I mean, yeah. If by “plain,” you mean “clueless.” Because, of course, the City does not run the foster care system and therefore it is not within the Mayor’s jurisdiction to change how children coming out of that system are dealt with, which I’m pretty sure dude knows absolutely nothing about anyway.

So that’s when I decided I didn’t like Joe Tuman — about 10 minutes after I first saw him. Then, of course, I went to more forums and read all the answers to questions on his website and read his Make Oakland Better Now! questionnaire (PDF), and the more I hear from this guy, the more obvious it is that he is just completely out of it. Yet, for some bizarre reason, people talk about him as if he’s some kind of expert on Oakland. The time has come to put that notion out of its misery.

So, besides not knowing that the County, not the City runs the foster care system, what else is Joe Tuman clueless about? Let me count the ways.

Funding the police force

First, there is his ridiculous police plan he is so freaking proud of. If you haven’t been to any forums or read it anywhere, his plan is basically that he is going to offer older officers early retirement and then hire them back part-time as annuitants where they are only paid salary and not benefits. He will then use the savings from those retirements to hire more new officers (we’ll have 1200 total!) who have a drastically cheaper compensation package. And he’s going to have them pay into their pensions. Here’s him talking about it at a forum:

So first of all, everyone, including the OPOA, agrees about the pension contribution. The only dispute is what they should get in exchange (they want a no-layoff guarantee). There is also widespread agreement that we are going to have to go to some sort of two-tier system. So on those points, he’s just with everyone else.

Which leaves us with this early retirement plan as the only difference. Now, the City already did a Golden Handshake program for non-sworn employees, and so if you were paying attention during the like six months of debate on this issue a couple of years ago, you know more about the Golden Handshake than you could possibly want to know. Joe Tuman clearly did not. Which is fine. But, of course, you’d think that if you were going to make it the centerpiece of your campaign platform, you would take some time to learn the rules at some point.

Here’s the deal with the Golden Handshake (PDF). It doesn’t save money. It costs money (PDF). That two years additional service credit you’re giving people? It’s not free. You pay for it. And you keep paying for it (through increased City pension contribution rates) for like 20 years. The only way you can make up for this additional cost is by keeping the positions vacated by employees taking the Golden Handshake vacant. That way, your salary savings offset the increased pension contribution costs.

Did you guys get all that? The Golden Handshake is not a good way to save money. What it is good for is reducing your workforce without having to lay people off. This is why it sometimes makes sense to do it — because layoffs are awful.

Another problem with his plan is that it is not even legal under California law, which explicitly states that you can only use the Golden Handshake for permanent reductions in the workforce. The shorthand people will give you about the program is generally that you have to keep the positions vacant for at least two years, and while it is, in practice, more flexible than that, it is not a tool you are allowed to use for doubling the size of the police force like he wants to do, even if it did make any financial sense. Which it doesn’t.

So there you go. The main point of Joe Tuman’s platform doesn’t make any sense if you know anything at all about the subject, which, of course, he doesn’t. As far as I’m concerned, that’s enough to write him out of consideration. But hey, why stop there?

Neighborhood Service Coordinators

I laughed out loud when I got to the last line of that Chronicle article about the Mayoral candidates positions on crime:

Neighborhood service coordinators, for example, have numerous and vocal supporters. Asked whether he, like Perata, would cut them, Tuman said, “Describe those to me.”

As Chronicle reporter Matthai Kuruvila noted on KQED Forum a couple weeks back, there is literally no way you could not know what Neighborhood Service Coordinators are if you had paid any attention whatsoever to the budget process earlier this year. Or last year, for that matter. Or the year before. Because they come up for cuts like every damn time the budget comes back, and there is always the same parade of people lining up to defend them, and always the same arguments about them, and there really just is no way to not know that this is a big issue if you are at all engaged.

Additionally, anyone who has been involved in their NCPC or their community or trying to improve their neighborhoods would know what Neighborhood Service Coordinators are even if they hadn’t paid any attention to the budget process, because you work with them. You get e-mails from them all the time just by signing up on your neighborhood listserv!

This really bothers me. I mean, I don’t believe that one has to have worked in City government before to be qualified for public office. But I do think that, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to be able to demonstrate some record of involvement and commitment to your community. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. But if you can’t point to anything you have done in the past that shows you’ve made an effort to improve the City in your capacity as a resident, why should anything think that you’ll take the job seriously once you’re elected?

Willful ignorance

On a similar note, I have often said that I don’t think the candidate forums should be some kind of trivia contest. It’s not fair to expect the same off-the-cuff knowledge of the City from people who are already working for it as those who aren’t. A smart person who is willing to put in the work can and will learn the details over time. The City is complicated. But it’s not rocket science.

Which is why I’m inclined to give outsider candidates a little leeway when they’re asked questions about City issues at forums and produce totally out to lunch answers about it, as Tuman does in response to a forum question about the Army Base development in the video below:

Some people might say that after a multi-year competitive bidding process with an RFQ and then an RFP and now an ENA and all the debate that went along with each step in the process, and with the Army Base being such a huge development project, a candidate running for Mayor should know at least something about it other than the fact that Phil Tagami ended up getting the deal. I’m sympathetic to that argument. But I also realize there are a ton of things to learn, and you don’t know what you’re going to get asked, and the fact is that sometimes you’ll get asked about something you haven’t gotten up to speed on yet. That’s forgivable.

And that’s one of the reasons I like reading candidate questionnaires so much. If you really want to know where someone stands on an issue, the best way to do it is to give them the time they need to research the subject and come to a position. I wish more organizations would publish their questionnaires, and I think that Make Oakland Better Now has done an excellent service to Oakland voters by asking all the Mayoral candidates to fill out detailed questionnaires and then releasing them for everyone to read.

And reading Joe Tuman’s questionnaire (PDF) is, I think, quite enlightening. But it doesn’t paint a very flattering picture of the guy. In fact, it paints a picture of someone who is basically completely ignorant about City government, and worse — proud of that ignorance.

When asked what he would cut in the budget, his response is that he doesn’t know:

I don’t know what I will cut yet; that will be subject to what I find in the audit.

I’m sorry. How can you possibly think you deserve to be Mayor in this time of complete fiscal crisis and not have thought of a single thing to cut in the budget?

MOB NOW! Questionnaire

It keeps going. He says he’s going to hire someone to study the Mayor’s and City Administrator’s office to look for efficiencies. I guess the 168 page report (PDF) from less than two years ago produced by PFM Group about exactly that subject wasn’t good enough for him? Oh, or maybe he just didn’t read it, or even know it exists.

His position on labor negotiations is uninspiring, to say the least:

Suffice it to say, I will use the following criteria for negotiation with our labor partners and stake-holders: a, every decision we make with respect to closing the deficit must serve the interest of everyone in the city — not just interested parties or select groups; b, every decision we make must reflect a long-term solution to the city’s fiscal planning.

Jesus. He’s going to meet with the unions and tell them we have a deficit? Does he think they don’t know? Does he really think nobody has ever thought of doing that before?

There’s another question in there about the Public Works Agency Performance Audit, and this is the one that got me the most.

This kind of audit provides terrific material, but it leaves me at a disadvantage for answering your questions because the report is a year old, and I am unable to tell what, if anything, the City has done with its recommendations (btw pages 24-25 do not deal with “recommendations for adequate funding” – as your question implied).

Look, I don’t expect the guy to have watched like every Public Works Committee meeting for the last year and therefore be some expert on what progress they have made on the audit recommendations off the top of his head. But the fact is that this information is out there and not that hard to find if you’re willing to look for it. But he can’t be bothered to make any effort to find out. He goes out of his way to say that he was too lazy to find out.

There’s a question about KTOP in there, and again his answer is that he doesn’t know what the City does with it other than broadcast Council meetings. Why would you say that? Why does this man take such pride in ignorance? It’s an odd trait for a professor, don’t you think? I mean, how the hell hard is it to find out what’s on KTOP besides a Council meeting? Turn it on! Or go to their website and look at the schedule! It’s not some great mystery. The information isn’t hidden. It just requires a modicum of effort to find out. And if you can’t be bothered to expend that tiny bit of effort to answer a question about why people should vote for you for Mayor, then why should anyone expect you to lift a fucking finger once you actually get in the office? Being Mayor is a hard job. Getting elected is the easy part.

He also has some strange ideas about management:

I will not fall victim to the micro-management curse, which would only lessen my effectiveness as Mayor, but I will insist on regular meetings with department heads that will require them to present me with firm, verifiable data as to capacity of their department, including a history of the performance of their employees, from the most senior managers to the lowest worker…Once a reachable goal has been agreed upon, I will insist that daily progress reports be sent to my office and will presonally review each such report.

He’s going to demand detailed data about every single employee in a department and then make department heads write him daily progress reports? In what universe is that anything other than micro-managing?

I could go on and on about this damn questionnaire. When asked about preventing police layoffs, he suggests applying to the DOJ for grants and using redevelopment money to pay police officers. We, of course, already do both of these things. I don’t think it is outside of the realm of possibility that there are ways we could do both of them better. But he doesn’t suggest doing them better. He just says that we should do them. Because, of course, he doesn’t know that we already do.

Like I said above — I don’t think you have to know everything before getting in office. But you sure as hell need to show you’re willing to learn. And everything about this questionnaire says the opposite. It’s like getting a question outright wrong on an untimed, open book test. There’s just no excuse.

I’ll figure it out when I get there

Can we go back to that budget question again? The one where he says he’ll decide what to cut after he gets elected? I’m sorry, but if you are running for Mayor in the middle of the biggest financial crisis Oakland has ever seen, and your position on the budget is that you’ll figure it out later, how are people supposed to take you seriously? Why do people take him seriously? I’m not being snide — it’s an honest question. I just don’t get it.

I mean, I can sort of see his appeal to a certain segment of the population. He’s got that whole angry citizen thing going on. It’s an attitude you see a lot from people who pay just enough attention to politics to know that we have serious problems, but not enough attention to grasp any of the nuances in policy debates or the barriers to progress. The end result is this attitude that basically says “Well, the people in charge have done such a bad job running things, any random person off the street must be able to do it better.”

And that’s a tempting thought. It’s easy to look at things from a distance and think “Oh yeah, I could do that!” But the thing is, running the City actually is, you know, hard. And that’s not to say that I think our leadership has done a great job, because I don’t. And I do believe there are a great many people out there who are not currently part of City who could do it better. And I don’t think you have to have work in City government to be one of them. But it is hard. It’s not like everyone in City Hall sits around eating peeled grapes all day.

And that’s Tuman’s attitude. I’ll figure it out later. I’ll tell you I’m going to do obvious things that everyone already agrees on or that we’re already doing and pretend nobody has ever thought of them before. I’ll learn about the budget once I’m in office. It can’t be that hard, right? After all, I chaired a committee at my school. That’s the same, right?

The Ron Dellums of 2010

Someone recently told me that they think of Tuman as this year’s Ron Dellums. And as soon as I heard that, I was like OMG, that is exactly what he is (minus the long and admirable record of public service, of course)! He’s a really good speaker, he condescends to his audience, says absolutely nothing, can’t be bothered to learn anything, and yet somehow, people are entranced. I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now. Don’t make the same mistake a second time, folks. Vote for a minor candidate who has no chance if you want to, but at least pick one who does their homework.

329 thoughts on “Joe Tuman doesn’t know Jack

  1. Jenn

    Like any academic talking head, he is clueless about the realities of governing. I never considered him as one of my picks, then when I read that he didn’t know what a Neighborhood Service Coordinator was, he became dead to me. It’s like he’s never even read a Tribune article on the issue-but then again, he’s an academic, why would he need to read the pesky Tribune? I also think it’s laughable when he says most people know who he is from his television appearances. That is complete and total bull. He only wishes people knew him from the teevee!

  2. Tod Vedock

    Understanding you have issues with Joe. I would like to extend again an invitation to have coffee with Joe so that you can talk with him directly.

  3. Ken O

    What Joe has is Charisma. I think that’s it. And he’s a true Outsider.

    I think Kaplan + pension cuts/two-tier would help, but it won’t be enough, fast enough, to weather the coming storm.

    More like natural trends really: the rat of baby boomers going thru the snake of time/ society. Pensions were ponzi schemes from Day One. Part of our ye-olde fossil fuel powered garden of eden.

  4. Charles Pine

    When I listened to the first audio clip, it turned out that V.’s comments about it are not well-founded. Tuman was asked a tendentious question demanding that the answer take a particular policy slant. His reply packed in a lot of common sense and practical stuff into the allotted minute or so. So I skimmed the rest of V.’s 3,500-word emote.

    The best strategy for dealing a blow to City Hall’s ongoing destruction of Oakland is to vote for Joe Tuman first and Don Perata second on the 1-2-3 ballot.

  5. Naomi Schiff

    Tuman doesn’t have much idea of what is going on in city government, based on my own conversation with him some weeks ago. We already know that Perata has ethics problems, too much money from all the wrong people, and little idea of what is happening in the neighborhoods. I can’t see why Mr. Pine would support either of them. I certainly don’t plan to rank Mr. Perata any higher than 10th.

  6. ralph

    I don’t know if I like Tuman. In fact, I know I really don’t but he serves a purpose. But I prefer him to either Quan, who can not balance the checkbook, or Kaplan, whose friends at the Green Party described her as credible but weaker than Quan with an eye on Swanson’s termed out assembly seat in 2 years.

    I can definitely understand why Mr. Pine would support Tuman and Perata. I certainly don’t plan to rank Ms. Quan any higher than 10th :) but she has my vote for Youth Services Czar.

  7. Karen Bishop

    While rational people disagree all the time about candidates, after reading V. Smoothe’s comments I think he goes beyond that. V. you are reacting to Joe in an irrational way. He doesn’t talk down to people at all. You may feel that he is but that is your take on it and a problem you have. Joe is pushing your internal buttons but that says something about you not Joe.

    Jenn says she has never heard of Joe before and Joe is acting like everyone should know him (like he is making this up). I’ve never met Joe in my life before three months ago at a house party. I am an average working person, not a particularly social or high profile person. However I’ve heard about Joe since I moved to Oakland in 1997. If you watch the news or read newspaper articles Joe has been quoted and seen for years.

    I became a Joe follower after the first public event. I’ve followed him by attending mayoral forums and I now volunteer for his campaign. I’ve talked with him one on one. I have never met anyone more honest, sincere and thoughtful than Joe. He is in the race to win and to make Oakland a better place. He has no higher political ambition and he will be beholden to no one throughout his term. I have absolutely no doubt that he will sit down with all parties and hammer out a tough and fair deal.

    Joe is willing to think about things in a different way, “thinking outside of the box” which is what the citizens of Oakland deserve. And his ideas are not pie in the sky but well thought out and he is tough enough to make it happen.

    V. I did listen to the video answer about child prostitution. Joe did answer the question throughly but you are too blinded by your emotional reactions to Joe.

  8. Mary Hollis


    Nice hit piece but since Tuman can’t win anyway, it is not clear to me why you wasted so much bandwidth and emotional energy on him. I see the choice this way:

    Tuman and others – Cannot win so irrelevant

    Kaplan – should be standing in SF or Berkeley which might actually have the money and the luxury of voting in a dreamer.

    Quan – Easily the most hopeless but maybe worth voting for if you believe that the only salvation for Oakland is fiscal collapse followed by outside help to bail our sorry asses out.

    Peralta – he gets my vote even though he is despicable, corrupt and skeevy. Why? Because I think he can get stuff done and has been around the worst block in town and survived.

    What is really sad is that the choice is so dismal.

  9. Diane Burkett

    Wow. What a diatribe. Interesting that a guy who claims to be so up on the issues and claims to only be evaluating candidates on their stances would write something that relies on partial truths and inadequately contextualized quotes to advance his obvious agenda. So sad. V, were you one of Joe’s SFSU students? Your rant sounds like bitter grapes from a guy who got a D. Lord knows your analysis and writing skills would reflect that sort of evaluation.

  10. Diane Burkett

    By the way Mary –
    So you know, Joe and Rebecca will be the frontrunners by next week so you migh reconsider your vote for sleeze and think about a real candidate. I’m Tuman first and Kaplan second, Perata won’t live through his first year, he’s already falling apart and hasn’t hardly campaigned. You like Brunner for Mayor, vote Perata.

  11. Daniel Schulman

    Diane, I am hardly a Perata fan, but I find spreading rumors about a candidate’s health to be about the lowest form of politics.

  12. Dax

    Compare the candidates to this

    I was thinking about the election the other night while watching a KQED special on early Christianity.

    They spoke about Paul or Mark’s early meetings being held in the home of a city leader.
    That connection adding respect to the movement.
    They spoke about the city leader, similar to a city council person, as being “respected”.

    Then I thought about our mayoral candidates and other city leaders on the council.

    I could not think of any who I really respect or find admirable.
    Couldn’t really think of any local elected officials I find admirable.

    Isn’t that odd? No leaders to respect or admire.
    It would seem that quality people no longer aspire to these positions.

    Rather they work in other fields or pursuits.
    Perhaps it was always that way, but I seem to remember some elected officials in the past I admired and respected.

    Perhaps I am looking at the past through rose colored glasses.

  13. Tommy Saxondale

    V.’s point is cogent and important: Tuman is ignorant about issues that our next mayor will have to deal with. Her argument here is persuasive.
    Her secondary point is that she finds him pretentious and condescending. I’m unpersuaded but will listen again to yesterday’s mayoral debate on Crosscurrents – – while pondering this essay.
    I disagree with those who decry the field of candidates. We have several strong candidates and I’m excited for election day.
    Ranked choice voting allows you to give your first place vote to an outsider without fear of wasting it. Consider Don Macleay:

  14. Karen Bishop

    “. . .Peralta – he gets my vote even though he is despicable, corrupt and skeevy. Why? Because I think he can get stuff done and has been around the worst block in town and survived.”

    Sad, very sad Mary. Oh and by the way his name is Don Perata not Peralta. At least spell the devil’s name right.

  15. Joyce Roy

    You decided before you even knew anything about Joe Tuman that you didn’t like him, so, surprise, surprise, to support your pre-judgment you looked at all his words with a jaundiced eye. I hope you do not make too many decisions in your life this way. If you, or any readers, want to see and hear him with clear eyes, he provides many opportunities:

  16. V Smoothe Post author

    Joyce –

    I think you misread my post. I didn’t decide I had a poor opinion of Joe Tuman before I knew anything about him – I decided that after I went to a candidate forum and in his response to the very first question, he talked about how he wanted to reform the foster care system, something the Mayor has absolutely no jurisdiction over at all. I have found his answers at the many forums I have attended since then, as well as those in his questionnaire, similarly ignorant.

    Diane –

    Since you asked – no, I am not, in fact, a former student of Mr. Tuman’s. I attended a much better school than the one he teaches at.

    Mary –

    Yes, I know he has no chance of winning. But there are few things that bother me more than taking pride in ignorance, and I knew from the moment I first read the MOBN! questionnaire, there was no way I could go through the election season without saying something about him. It didn’t actually take too much time to put together – I mostly compiled it from various e-mails I had sent over the past couple weeks to other engaged Oaklanders who are also frustrated with the fact that nobody has bothered to call him out on not knowing anything. The hardest part actually was editing it down to a reasonable length. I had to take about half of my quotes and stuff out, cause there were just too many.

  17. Jim Ratliff

    Excellent post, V! I completely agree with your characterization of the difficulty of governing, how detailed is the knowledge needed, and how the way you get it is to get involved—way before you presume to be mayor material.

    I’m afraid that I can’t be quite as generous as you in cutting newbies some slack, but I admire you for it nevertheless!

    Your critique is dead on. But I still have to give Tuman my #3 position, because no way will I give any of those positions to Perata.

  18. len raphael

    Maybe Joe is really doing this so he’ll have enough material for another poli sci book.

    In his next book, he’ll show how with enough name and face recognition courtesy of his ex media colleagues plus mastery of social media, a candidate can instantly get over 10% of the vote.

    He’s proven that the media is the message for many intelligent, upper middle class white voters here, who as V says, simply don’t have the time to learn the issues.

    I’d add that there is no mass media for voters to have learned the issues from.

    -len raphael,
    greg harland groupie,
    don perata voter

  19. Karen Bishop

    V, if you and others are so frustrated b/c no one will call Joe out, then why don’t you or your friends do it yourself?

    Please explain further what you mean when you say he doesn’t know anything. What specifically are you referring to? Please give your readers some specifics.

  20. Dax

    Hmmm… San Francisco State, not that good of a school?

    How about St. Marys in Moraga? is that a good school?

    Is a candidate from St. Mary’s or SF State good enough to be a quality mayor? Or would they be better if they were a graduate from UC Berkeley?

    Just wondering…

    Any good Bay Area mayors ever graduate from SF State or St. Marys?

  21. Karen Bishop

    Len, I take issue with this comment:

    He’s proven that the media is the message for many intelligent, upper middle class white voters here, who as V says, simply don’t have the time to learn the issues.

    How do you know that intelligent, upper middle class, white voters don’t take the time to learn the issues? How offensive and just plain wrong. If you are talking about a group of people who are intelligent then you are talking about a group who know how to gain access to information to make an informed decision.

    Geez, come on people if you are going to state an opinion have some information to back it up. If for no other reason, it makes it more interesting to debate back and forth.

  22. Karen Bishop


    All I can say to your comment is Kaplan is an MIT graduate and Stanford graduate but she won’t get my vote. She doesn’t come across as very smart. She comes across as a clueless cheerleader.

  23. ralph

    I am re-thinking Harland. It doesn’t do me much good because he cant block.

    People may not like Perata but when hoodlums are running up and down Broadway, Harrison, Webster, 27th, Franklin and Telegraph breaking store front windows, I am pretty sure he will not be standing in front of the police saying stop.

    Perata on jobs: healthcare and green industries

    Safety: job one

    Being a dreamer is great but if you can not work responsibly with public safety then all your dreams are going to go up in smoke.

    Being mayor is the job Perata wants, it is the name recognition Kaplan needs before stepping into Swanson shoes in 2 years.

    The only sound choice is Perata.

  24. len raphael

    Karen, I personally have talked to about 10 Joe Tuman supporters. Everyone one of them is white, between age 35 and 62, upper middle class, and highly intelligent.

    They all have a much higher than average knowledge of Oakland muni govt issues, but each of them would admit they only well one area at most eg. zoning or policing. All of them would say they only know the general outlines of the financial issues.

    You’re right that most of Joe’s supporters are very capable of digging into the issues say online. But they simply don’t have the time to do that.

    It is extremely time consuming for reseidents to do the work of full time professional journalists. As it is, the people I’m thinking of, devote many hours of the year to their particular civic niche, eg. zoning.

    So they talk and listen to an intelligent excellent communicator like Joe, and rationally conclude he’s their guy.

    Even when the people I know attended a forum, they wouldn’t have seen any reason to doubt their first impression of Joe, because none of the other candidates criticized each other, except for Harland criticizing Quan, and a few jabs by Quan and Kaplan on Perata.

    Comparing Joe’s statements to say Kaplan or Quan, would only have shown that he supports more cops than they do. Because all the “serious” candidate’s platforms are silent on how they’ll solve the financial crisis, all they do is is mention that there is one.

    Joe did go one step further at the LOWV forum: he announced that he had a secret plan to negotiate w the unions but he couldn’t tell us what it was before the election or he’d be violating basic rule of negotiation: “never show your hand” ahead of time or some such.

    -len raphael
    Don Perata voter
    Greg Harland groupie

  25. portmanteaus

    Tuman is a nice enough guy (I’ve met with him twice, and attended a candidate forum at a neighbor’s house), but he does continue to demonstrate a very strange (mis)understanding of Oakland. He’s smart, and yeah, he might be able to figure it out once he gets there…but I’m not really willing to take that chance. He’s very popular among middle of the road, white Dems…hence the yard signs in Montclair/Crocker Highlands/Lakeshore. All he really has going for him is that he’s not Perata…

  26. livegreen

    Karen, Len & I don’t always agree, but I do with him here. It’s just too boring for most people to get into the details of Oakland politics, or they’re too busy doing other things (which is understandable with work, family, schools, etc.).

    Part of the problem is our local news sources (the “media” Len refers to) simply don’t have the coverage they used to.

    But the worst is people don’t attend City Council meetings and see how hard governing is, or even more importantly, to give input.

    Very few citizens do and, the few times I’ve been down, I encounter the same dedicated group. But more to the point, the BIG turnout is the interest groups who have a stake in the game, and who whenever there’s a decision being made that will affect them, turn out in BIG numbers to make their voices heard.

    And that’s who the City Council leaders hear from, time and again. They mostly only hear from their average constituents AFTER a decision has been made (& probably only about a decision that pissed them off). But by then the decision is made, and it’s TOO LATE.

    So the next time your Cit Council representative makes a decision you don’t like, ask yourself two questions: Where and to whom did the Council Member turn to outreach or ask questions? & did you take the time to give your opinion?

    Democracy is not TV, it requires participation. Unless you want your leaders to make choices in a vacuum. If you do, expect somebody, who might not agree with you, to fill it.

    PS. This does not excuse bad decisions. But it certainly contributes to it.

  27. Karen Bishop


    I would be interested in your response to Don’s involvement in the Oakland A’s and how the City of Oakland has to pay out $10MM a year until 2025. I heard Don Perata admit the deal was a huge mistake. $10MM a year is a heck of a lot of money that could be put to good use right now.

    Why would you want to vote for someone who helped create some of the problems Oakland now faces?

    You make some excellent points about people’s level of understanding of the City’s issues. I would have to say most people have limited knowledge of the issues. I think some people will have an in depth knowledge of the issues. And some will have a good working knowledge of one or two issues. This may even be true of some of the journalists out there.

    It doesn’t bother me at all that Joe stated he wasn’t going to show his hand right now. He didn’t say it was a secret. Rather he was making a point that if you want to sit down and negotiate with a group you don’t announce in advance what your ideas are. If you do that you give your opponent the advantage. Anyone who goes into a negotiation has to hold his cards close to his vest (or her cards close to her vest) in order to get the best deal at the end of the day.

    I truly believe Joe is the best candidate for Mayor.

  28. Naomi Schiff

    Perata’s rhetoric is one thing, Ralph, but his track record is something else and you should look at it. He has been involved in some awfully costly mistakes, and at the same time has not involved himself in the Oakland community until he decided he wanted to be mayor. Plus, he is absorbing vast amounts of money from folks we really may not want to have calling the shots around here. Really–the prison guards union? Why would we want that? I fail to understand why you would believe his bluster and not someone else’s? Why suspend skeptical review for this one candidate?

  29. susan

    So V, whatever school you went to, did they have a writing class? Geez, at least proofread this stuff before you make us read it.

  30. len raphael

    Karen, if you search abo, you’ll find posts by me over the last two years reminding people of Perata’s Raider fiasco.

    I stand by those comments, but what I’ve come to realize is the strength of the sports team mania that has many voters as well as pols in its grip.

    The mass Oakland delusion that Oakland needs professional sports teams no matter what the cost is a good example of how to lose your leverage in negotation.

    Al Davis knew we would give the store away to get him to come back.

    Perata got us what we wanted in full view and approval by the city council, county board, other outside consultants etc. (wasn’t a big 8 cpa firm one of them?)

    That delusion continues unabated today with the A’s. Except now the money won’t come from the general fund but from redevelopment money.

    It was a giveaway that Perata should have tried to stop, but really I don’t think he could have.

    -len raphael
    Don Perata voter
    Greg Harland groupie

  31. len raphael

    Karen, no one is asking Joe to disclose the specific minimum cuts in specific department personnel compensation which he’ll accept from unions in negotiations so that the unions can tell if he’s bluffing.

    We’re just asking him for general outlines of magnitude of salary cuts vs borrowings vs sales leasebacks of city assets.

    Magnitude of cutbacks in current pay vs future retirement benefits.

    Magnitude of differential between tier 1 current employees is say opd, vs future tier 2 total compensation.

    Is he planning to get this by threatening to seek court adjustment of vested medical benefits? Or threaten to seek bankruptcy court overturning vested pension benefitsL

    Or maybe he’s counting on a Federal bailout for broke municipalities.

    Many of the above approaches will require the support of the citizens to be effective, credible threats. Keeping them secret will hurt not help gaining the public’s support for some potentially very costly and painful tactics.

    But the real reason I don’t buy his reason for not telling us what he’ll do about the financial crisis, is that he would have to be partaking of Oaksterdam’s finest via a monster blunt to believe that he has any chance of winning.

    He would be performing a public service by educating voters about the options as Greg Harland does when he discusses the pros and cons of the bankruptcy route.

    Since there’s no chance of Joe wining, I conclude he’s either delusional or so vain that he’s afraid of losing a couple of percentage points by saying something controversial.

    -len raphael
    Don Perata voter
    Greg Harland groupie

  32. len raphael

    Naomi, Perata’s made some whoppers. Quan has made some real doozies also.

    The difference is that Perata has shown by both his public admission of the Raider’s mistake, and by his kissoff of all the muni unions by signing the rebuttal of the parcel tax, that there were unintended consequences of giving big compensation boosts to muni unions over the years.

    Quan on the other hand is unrepentent.

    Depending on what forum she’s attending, it’s a variant of “it’s the recession, stupid” or “every city and state has the same problem” or “that decision was made before/after I was board member/council member.”

    Her other good one, is something to the effect “when the economy recovers, we’ll be fine”

    You don’t hear those rationalizations from Perata. He knows he screwed up on the Raiders and engaged in shaky transactions with his campaign funds according to the Chronicle endorsement.

    I can’t cite any fact or statement to back me up, but my take is that Perata really wants to perform his last tour of duty as a public servant in Oakland at a pivotal point in Oakland’s history and development.

    Dax has made light of Perata’s clean ups, and they look like pr stunts to me also. But people I know who know him say even before he was a politician he had a strong sympathy for the less advantaged whose lives he would like to improve by economic development while helping the entire city get better.

    Len Raphael
    Perata supporter and proud to say it

  33. Kent Lewandowski

    V, good post. Well at least, it’s passionate. I like that you never are afraid to hand out criticism of any public official or candidate, no matter how nice they may be in public.

    Anyways, regarding the topic of Joe Tuman I largely agree with you that he does not possess the nuts and bolts knowlege of city government that Jean and Rebecca do. When the Sierra Club conducted interviews in late August, Joe Tuman did not respond with a questionnaire. So we didn’t endorse him. The answer he gave (in the video feed you provided above) on the topic of fixing the budget mess is instructive. First he talks about encouraging early police retirement and then hiring them back. In other words, allow them to double-dip, and INCREASE their public salary – so that Oakland can save a small amount. Then he talks about “convening a meeting of all labor interests” and goes on to say that he’s “not giving away negotiating strategy.” That is what I would call a platitude. It’s not a specific solution – it’s just an idea that sounds good.

    In the questionnaires we received for the Sierra Club, Rebecca Kaplan’s answers stood out for clarity, vision, and demonstration of knowlege and understanding of how policy and progress is made at the city and regional level. For an example of what I am talking about, read the answer Rebecca gave to our question number 3: Development in the older urban centers helps the environment by redirecting new development away from wild and rural land on the edge of the urbanized region. What is your vision of future development for Oakland, both in downtown and in the neighborhoods? … Then read the answers from the other candidates and you understand why we felt her questionnaire was the best.

    Joe Tuman did not respond with a questionnaire, by the way. So we could not endorse him even if we had wanted to.

    In terms of the perennial hot topic: crime and safety. Making promises to voters and appearing to be tough on crime sounds great – but what is actually going to make a difference in terms of reducing violent crime in this city? That depends whom you ask. The “law and order” folks I talk to – I have met some of them while walking for Rebecca – are all seemingly convinced that Don Perata’s “tough guy” talk is just what the city needs to deal with the crime problem. The thing is, Jerry Brown talked tough about crime but did the problem improve under his watch? I don’t believe so. In fact, the mayor we all love to criticize – Ron Dellums – I think has the best statistical record in terms of crime stats improving under his watch. Or am I wrong? (I could be – I don’t track statistics.) Was this a sypmtom of Mayor Dellums’ superior instinct and knowlege? I don’t know, but I doubt that too. Mayor Dellums did a good thing by hiring our present police chief Batts and then letting him do his job. So we should give credit where credit is due.

    Crime is one of those things that is too complex for any single person to fix. So many voters are deluded by the belief that a guy like Perata can come in here and fix things all by himself. How naive! It takes a village, as Hillary says – and that applies to more than just child rearing.

    My favorite part of your post, by the way, was how you were driving your mother around in the Crocker Highlands while she offered you ideas for a career change to allow you live there. That was just too funny. Next time, take her up to wine country and ply her with some alcohol. That’s how I did it last time my parents were out here. Kept us all in a good mood and argument-free.

  34. DontBotherDelores

    It must be election season. Someone let the cray cray on the blog!

    Susan, no one forced you to read this long, persuasive, impassioned post with a few spelling errors. Get your own blog.

    Karen, do you read this blog often? You sounds like the rants of Greg Hodge and his friends who discovered this blog when V took him down to reality 2 years ago. What next, Joe himself responds?

    Naomi, $ from the wrong places? Which are the right places? Quan’s rich husband?

  35. Matt C.

    Just my two cents…

    Perata? No. Way. In. Hell. Oh, shoot. He probably has connections there, too. Tuman, when I listen to him speak I find myself blurting out “that’s bullshit” way too often. Quan is a pro, but I want to see a lot more conviction and a lot less thumb to the wind. Kaplan shows she knows her stuff, has sound ideas and shows a lot of conviction.

  36. len raphael

    KL, Ron’s crime stat improvements came at a time when many similar cities experienced even greater percentage declines than we did. Some did not. Pols always claim credit when reported crime declines and blame it on external factors when it rises or doesn’t drop fast enough.

    Personally, I suspect distortion in either the self reporting of crimes or in the compilation of non fatal crimes in an election year.

    The most attractive part of Kaplan’s approach to me is her encouragement and openess to resident’s ideas.

    Quan talks the village talk, but her actions during this election and her behaviour on the Monkey Ward building show she’s one arrogant rude gal who doesn’t hesitate to talk over people and to talk an extra 30 minutes past her alloted time. Not what i’d call a great listener.

    Perata on crime. Its a matter of emphasis and priorities short term vs long term. Perata is not under any illusion that more cops are the long term solution to our high crime.

    He wants to give high priority to funding Batt’s requested number of cops etc. so that in the short and mid term we attract more job producing businesses and residents who will spend money here.

    Quan and Kaplan made their approach clear when they locked arms to block tho cops at GrantII: they don’t trust their own chosen police chief to run his dept.

    i’m surprised Batts didn’t resign then and there. As it stands, I’d be surprised if he sticks around very long under Quan or Kaplan mayoralty.

    -len raphael
    Don Perata voter

  37. ralph

    I direct you to Len’s post to explain my support of Perata.

    As you have probably noticed there are pieces of Quan’s platform which appeal to me. However, at every turn, she has done her best to blame someone else for the mess we are in. She needs to man up, admit she made mistakes, and accept responsibility for her decisions. I lack the patience to put up with politicians who blame others for the problems to which they help create. And I have no desire to listen to her do the Obama, “look folks, I inherited this mess” for the next four years.

    Then there is the small matter of development. We need it. Quan doesn’t support it. From what I can tell, she has some sort of beef with developers. Developers build houses. Developers build office buildings. Developers build retail. People need a place to live, to work, and to shop. Quan hates developers. I see a problem.

    Perata or bust

  38. Karen Bishop

    Len, regarding the specifics of Tier 1 employees vs. future Tier 2 employees, benefits, etc. Joe is addressing this by talking about how to take police officers within a few years of retirement, allowing them to come back part time and then using the savings to hire new police officers at a lesser salary. Those strategies have been used successfully in the public sector and is a viable option. And it is not double dipping. Retired police officers are receiving a pension they earned and are working and receiving a part time salary.

    And there are more details Joe has discussed. But at the end of the day until someone gets into the mayors office and gains access to the financial records, no one not even Perata can know specifically how much is going to be up for negotiations. I heard Perata personally say he was going to conduct an audit in order to figure it all out.

    I certainly don’t hear any candidate seriously criticizing these plans and as a matter of fact I’ve heard Kaplan and Quan pick up these same ideas after Joe began talking about it. Recently Perata called Joe’s above ideas “fairy dust” but then he doesn’t say what he would do.

    Len, you mention there was nothing Perata could have done differently regarding the sports mania surrounding this City. Then I would suggest Perata just goes with the wind allowing the powerful interests push him around. So this means that Wolff gets his billions to develop or expand the team in Oakland. Developers continue to get rich at the expense of the citizenry by developing these huge ugly condos in the name of urban revitalization. Kroger gets to put up a grocery store in West Oakland that will turn out to be the wrong decision. Hard working commercial property owners get their property seized by the City in the name of progress.

  39. V Smoothe Post author

    Actually, Karen, Perata has laid out a very specific list of proposed cuts. It’s quite good.

    As for Joe Tuman’s police plan – it is not real. Sure, it probably sounds great to someone who doesn’t know anything about how these programs work. But if you read the post above and follow the links I provided, you will see clearly that it simply doesn’t make any sense. Anybody who actually understands the types of programs Tuman is talking about and their fiscal implications knows that it’s nonsense. And against California law!

  40. Jack B Dazzle

    Joe Tuman did NOT

    Vote to loan money to the Merritt Bakery
    Destroy the state budget
    Bankrupt the Oakland School System
    Block police action after the Bart verdict

    So I am at least considering him for Mayor.

  41. Karen Bishop

    Jack B. an opened minded person! Thanks for considering Joe for mayor.

    V. Joe’s ideas about the police are not against California law. I will get back to this blog on the particular law.

    I am seriously wanting to understand why some people (V. and Len in particular) think his ideas are nonsensical. Saying it doesn’t make it so. And I guess some people will color me clueless but I like the ideas. I think they make sense.

    Must get ready for work so I am not late for a meeting — but I will be back later.

  42. CitizenX

    V sez “Actually, Karen, Perata has laid out a very specific list of proposed cuts. It’s quite good”.

    V, is this list available somewhere? I don’t see anything specific on his website.

  43. Kent Lewandowski

    To respond to the numerous people who blame Kaplan and Quan for locking arms in front of the police at “Grant II:” this was a situation where the police were ready to disperse a large crowd of mostly peaceful demonstrators with force. Grant II demonstration was by and large peaceful and caused little damage (except perhaps to public image, and to the Foot Locker store.) If the police had used force on the crowd, I believe it would have turned ugly. So, depending on how you view things, either Kaplan and Quan prevented an ugly meelee, in the interest of preserving public peace, or they obstructed justice. I believe the former (admittedly, I only watched video.) Many others believe the latter. It depends on your point of view.

  44. Naomi Schiff

    Ralph, Quan doesn’t hate developers. She voted FOR Oak to Ninth, SUPPORTED Broadway/Grand, SUPPORTED Uptown development, recently angered some in her district in the Laurel by SUPPORTING a large residential development on MacArthur. She supported the majority on CBD zoning. I can’t think of an anti-development vote. She seems to fully understand the need for economic revitalization. I don’t know why you think she is against development. Several times when I have argued against a development she has been on the “for” side. I may not agree with her, but she has supported many large projects and large-scale plans. Jean is supported by a wide swath of middle class people and business owners.

  45. Daniel Schulman

    The problems of Tuman’s police plan

    * Two tier system & pension contributions. In debate parlance “non-unique.” That’s what everyone is proposing – it’s hardly Tuman’s plan.

    * Golden Handshake requires large amount of upfront money. It is used by organizations facing fiscal problems that see worse problems in the future. They still have some resources to maneuver. Oakland is past this point. There is no gold for the handshake. Unless Tuman can find some extra millions of dollars, it ain’t gonna happen.

    * Rehiring part-time OPD annuitants requires officers willing to be rehired. I’m sure a few might like Tuman’s part-time deal, but I doubt many would. If they want to make a lot of money they can go get another full-time job (they will be under 50), or if they want leisure they retire for good and move to someplace like Idaho with their six figure pension.

    * Even ignoring the huge upfront costs of the golden handshake, it doesn’t save that much money. Remember this is supposed to work in conjunction with all officers making pension contributions. In effect, Tuman is double-counting savings.

  46. ralph

    I use simple math, which, if you don’t follow the order, will result in the wrong answer. Quan uses the developers card as a reason not to support other candidates, and you dislike outside developers. The simple conclusion she “hate” developers. Now, your stance on outside developers may be an case where you hold your nose and vote because you like the rest of the package. So, if I have misrepresented her position, my bad.

  47. ralph

    You are partial correct.

    Yes, Grant II began as a peaceful demonstration but then the riot types turned a lawful assembly into an unlawful assembly and created an unsafe situation for all. And if you think the damage was limited to FL, then you may want to talk to business owners on Broadway, Harrison, Telegraph, 27th, Webster, Franklin and other street.

    I, too, watched the video. Quan and Kaplan were in the wrong. Prior to Quan and Kaplan locking arms, riot types started throwing stuff into the crowd. This created a risk to the safety of those assembled. Consequently, the police invoked unlawful assembly. (Yes, this is a law on the books and requires people to disperse.) But there are Kaplan and Quan singing Kum-ba-ya.

    As to damages, FL was not the only business to incur damages. You only know about FL.

    Broken windows at Sears, Ozumo, the medical bldg at 80 Grand, a small office supply store opposite Shaw plaza, Whole Foods, the wig store on B-way, Starbucks on W. Grand (note they boarded the windows, people had to throw rocks above the storefront panes to do the damage), Union Bank, former Kaiser branch would you like me to continue.

    Rioters stole $50K were of jewelry from a store on B-way. The office supply store was closed for over a month following the damage.

  48. ralph

    Really not much to be said about Tuman. Thus, we are left to discuss other stuff.

    That being said, as it is highly unlikely that I will be having a cup of coffee with any of these people any time soon, I do, at times, find these off topic discussions informative. For example, I assume Naomi is being truthful in characterizing JQ’s support of developers.

    Maybe the next entry should be Election 2010 Discuss. Yes there is Open Forum but it gets lost in the shuffle.

  49. Jenn

    Karen – I didn’t say I’ve never heard of him, I said that when he says most people know him from the news, that just doesn’t ring true. He’s not on the new often enough for most people to know him. It’s wishful thinking and ego.

  50. livegreen

    Thanks to V and Daniel for pointing out the flaws with the Golden Handshake. This seemed fishy to me from the get-go, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. But what you’ve both said makes sense:

    If you pay somebody more upfront to retire, the only way paying those costs sooner can equal out is saving money later. This is roughly the equivalent to large corporate “early retirements” when workers are given a big 1x payout that moves their retirement forwards. The only way a company then saves money is by not re-hiring replacement workers.

    Companies might combine it with reduced pensions in exchange for more cash upfront, but that is not an option here. The pensions stay fixed no matter the “golden handshake” (or might actually increase, as I think Dax pointed out, since the highest annual compensation will then increase?).

  51. John Gatewood

    Len, bubbe, you live around the corner from me and the reason the only Joe supporters you talk to are white & middle class is because we live in Rockridge-Temescal. You need to start walking your doggies in other neighborhoods, my friend!
    I am supporting Joe, V’s post notwithstanding. I knew nothing about him until I attended the Oakland Climate Action Coalition Mayoral Forum. He was the only candidate who ACTUALLY read the Draft Climate Action Plan put forth by the OCAC. I know he read it because I have read it and am very familiar with the land use and transportation sections of the draft and it was obvious from his comments that he had really read the document. He ACTUALLY answered the questions asked at the forum rather than obfuscate or run out the clock with irrelevant personal anecdotes. I was impressed that he did his homework and kept his answers cogent to the questions asked. Taking the time to read the draft CAP shows to me that he respected the organizations who put on this forum to actually study their ideas. But he didn’t pander either because the last question of the evening had to do with implementation and his answer was decidedly “un-lefty” and the crowd’s reaction was not supportive. But his answer DID show he understands how large bureaucratic organizations really work and how you get things done in them.
    As for Greg Harland – I understand and appreciate the need for someone with business skills being our next mayor. BUT this person ALSO needs experience negotiating with unions. I have never heard Greg say whether or not his previous businesses were union or non-union so I am assuming they were non-union. And if they were non-union then Greg is missing a very important business skill set. We need a mayor who has experience working with public sector unions but is not beholden to these unions. Joe has this experience because of his work at SF State.
    As for Joe’s early retirement public safety proposal he has said (at least at the house party I attended) at the beginning his proposal will only lead to small savings but over time these savings will grow larger and larger. As for his proposal being “fairy dust”, that just tells me that the opposing candidate hasn’t bothered to take the time to study the position and build a decent argument in response. Such a comment doesn’t impress me, it only turns me off.

  52. gopoublicschools

    All Mayoral, City Council and School Board filled out questionnaires on public education in Oakland, revealing what they really know and think about public schools. Like the MOBN questionnaires, candidates were given time to do research and then answer the questions thoughtfully. Check them out at (scroll to bottom, after video interviews with candidates).

  53. MarleenLee

    There are several parts of the Golden Handshake proposal I don’t understand. The financial incentive to get the older cops to retire comes out of the City’s budget. Don’t their pension payments also come out of the City budget? So doesn’t that mean we’re paying a financial incentive to get them to retire, plus their pensions and retirement benefits, plus the salaries and benefits of the people who replace them? I don’t quite get how this saves us money. Moreover, keep in mind that according to the City’s own numbers, it costs the City approximately $120,000 to recruit and train every new officer. So you need to factor that cost into the mix as well.

    Also, being a department chair hardly qualifies as having experience dealing with large, powerful unions. I don’t think Tuman was every involved with the union, other than being a member.

  54. Daniel Schulman

    MarleenLee, was Tuman ever a department chair? I haven’t heard that before.

    All I remember was at the Chamber forum he claimed to have been on some departmental committees. In the MOBN! response, he wrote:

    “My experience within these entities-and especially in the last 23 years at San Francisco State—
    has included committee chair positions for hiring and retention, tenure and promotion and curricular development.”

    I don’t think it has ever been made clear whether these were executive committees or merely advisory.

  55. MarleenLee

    For some reason I thought I had heard that – but I don’t know if it was department chair or committee chair. In any event, union members who sit on either of these types of committees would not generally have any executive power. It generally would only be advisory.

  56. livegreen

    V, Did you think of including his plans to attract retail? I thought it interesting how much attention he got (especially by the “educated” press) for this given how much planning the city is already doing on the subject.

    Especially since Joe’s proposal emphasized the Broadway corridor, which the City has already been developing detailed plans for.

    Nothing new. He just did a better job pointing out what the City & City Council has already been working on.

  57. CitizenX

    lg, the City has been “working” on this FOREVER,or so it seems. Brown made residential development happen. Perhaps, Tuman could focus the same sort of effort on retail and economic development?

  58. RdwithCypress

    I have to say I totally agree about the comments on City Employees and the Developers. It is fare to close a relationship for comfort. Take Walter Cohen, who was a unregistered lobbyist for PPD. Once he got the CEDA Director job he somehow talked city council into buying a PPD property at a significant profit for the troubled developer.

    Then lets look at Don Perata who is taking campaign money from big developers just like Jerry Brown.

    Then let’s ask ourselves who actually owns Sun Field Developers LLC who is developing all the Foods Co’s using eminent domain and which hedge funds own a piece of the pie and who owns shares in those hedge funds…. The answer might surprise you all..

    No V, I have to respectfully disagree with you on Joe. He may not be as smart as he comes off but at least he is not clever like Don. Cleverness is not good in politics unless you are the politician.

  59. len raphael

    KL, re Quan and Kaplan locking arms to block the cops at Grant II.

    There is no debate about what Quan and Kaplan did, but whether it was the right thing to do at the time.

    My point is that if Quan or Kaplan was convinced the cops were making a terrible mistake because they had info the cops didn’t (ie. no escape routes for the crowd), then one or both of them should have dialed up Chief Batts or Lindheim etc. immediately.

    I find it very hard to believe that Quan and Kaplan had people scattered around the demo feeding them real time info about the crowd, the cops, escape routes.

    My second source of info was from an OPD commander who was with his line of officers facing Quan and Kaplan just before and during the order to dispurse was issued.

    (Never met this cop before or after. Random meeting at Tagami’s evening cop fete. No, I’m not connected in any way to OPOA, no family members etc.)

    Commander said yes he had real time radio communication with other cops through out the are. Yes they were very very careful to make sure there were escape routes.

    The order to disburse was made because a few of the demonstrators were doing things such as throwing small cans of red paint down on the heads of the cops from upper floors of some surrounding buildings, as darkness approached.

    The order to disburse was made primarily to protect his officers and the peaceful demonstrators.

    No, I didn’t confirm his story with any other cops.

    -len raphael
    Perata voter

  60. ralph

    Finally, the truth comes out. Tuman has been consistent in indicating that he has experience applying his lay-off plan. I am always skeptical of candidate claims about business and other experiences because it is hard to verify and it never comes with size. I ran a business which doubled in size over 5 years. Did you have 1 employee or 1000? Anyway the truth on Tuman is he was someplace where his proposed plan was used.

    Perata today Perata tomorrow Perata for the forseeable future

  61. mfraser


    Your hit piece was both amusing and annoying for its one-sided nature. Just curious, having watched some of the forums, given that Tuman was the ONLY one who seemed to know about state and federal authority on ports, why didn’t you address that or even mention it? Not convenient for your conclusions, or were you yourself clueless on that? For you to talk about Tuman not knowing the jurisdictional limits of foster care auspices, then to ignore what Kaplan, Quan and Perata are so ignorant about on a larger issue – well, cherry pick away, but it is a transparent form of bias. And from what you say about foster care, given its complexities, I’m not sure you have any clue or have a proper vantage point to be throwing any stones.

    I suppose you prefer Kaplan or Quan? How much worse could you be than the two folks who’ve in the first case blindsided and crippled transit, and in the second been a leader in bankrupting the whole city? What is your better option, Ms Smoothe?

    Here is what I posted on the related Chron piece:

    Many of us trust Tuman to make the hard choices rather than pick-you-pocket-Perata (whom the Chron ENDORSED for God’s sake!), to overseer of failure #1 (Kaplan – with a DISASTEROUS run on the transit board spearheading the Van Hool buses and the absurd current transit workers contracts, which combined have basically bankrupted to transit system – way to go “Transit Expert Becky”) or #2 Quan, who as you admit has been actively involved top to bottom in the contracts that have bankrupted the city, & before that helped destroy Oakland schools.

    … you lack all perspective. Read about great Mayors and what makes them great:,9171,1050214-1,00.html

    Perhaps then you will begin to understand why many of us think Tuman ‘gets it,’ & you just don’t.

    Here is a piece showing that you are quite wrong about the golden handshake, and that while controversial it can reduce budgetary costs and has been used to do exactly that with a number of cities:

    A great Mayor comes with someone willing to confront the challenges, prioritize them correctly, and stand their ground on important issues (like renogotiating city worker contracts). Tuman is the only hope on these fronts; the other candidates are preordained failures. At this point Kaplan and Quan couldn’t get a concession from the police if it were in the interests of the police even in the short run; they are perceived as disloyal and unreliable, with some justification in my view of the world. The cops will virtually spit in their face, as will firefighters. Where will we be then, Vsmoothe? Did you know the Oakland police sat and met with Tuman for several hours to see what compromise might be reached? Do you notice they don’t vociferously oppose him? Tuman is that middle ground between taxpayer and civil servant that can make it work – not that you have any interest in that, of course.

    Tuman or several more years of catastrophe is the choice, and the bottom line. If you get Kaplan or Quan as you seem to want, I’ll be watching as Oakland burns, but from the other side of the tunnel, thank you. Perhaps I will hear you fiddlin’… it wouldn’t surprise me in the least. Vnero – has a nice ring to it!

    P.S. what the heck do YOU know about foster care funding? It is a complex myriad of state / county, and yes, local / city funding (particulary for group homes), but non-profit funding as well, particularly for group homes. It is especially annoying when people who in truth know very little set themselves up as experts. You could call such a person a charlatan of sorts – and I guess I am, but to you, not Tuman. Tuman has been very courageous to put himself out there given the poor quality of the candidates, and that is what I think urged him to make this leap. Old style “service,” the sort that a student is school gives who isn’t looking for ‘community service hours’ for their transcript. So forgive me if I don’t bow to your belief that someone has to have participated in mind-numbing beaurocracy first. Do you know anything about prisons as schools of crime? Start people out on local government committees, and what we end up with is Kaplan and Quan, and what that tells me is that local committee and board training (transit board, school board) seems to be highly related to inculcation with the values of a system of failure, and trains people who participate in just that. How has that worked out for you so far, Oakland? How do you enjoy those hefty new fines and agressive parking enforcement efforts, while hearing Kaplan and Quan spout out of the other sides of their mouths about “creating a business friendly environment?” That is Kaplan and Quan, products of service on our transit and school boards, before joining our city council. Too bad efficacy isn’t a part of your equation. Tuman has been a success at everything he’s done for at least the last 20 years; can you say that about any other of the top candidates? None of them have been a success for even the last FIVE years. Understanding of how to succeed is more importance than prior experience in venue; point to me a candidate who has been successful at all to compare him with, and I’ll consider it. From all I can see Perata, Quan and Kaplan are a sorry series of failures on all the most important issues they’ve been associated with. If I’m wrong, prove it. You will be contriving arguments of small scale ‘success,’ while ignore 800 POUND GORILLA sized failures. I’ll take Tuman’s success over Quan or Kaplan’s failures.

    Needless to say, the crop of people running is so poor that Tuman graciously decided to offer himself as an alternative. I for one say ‘thank you,’ Joe, I really appreciate it, and you’ve got my vote.

  62. Karen Bishop

    In response to V. Smoothe’s comment about how rehiring retired police officers would be illegal in Oakland.

    In 2001 it became legal for state employees to retire and then get hired as a part time employee. The total number of hours a part time state employee can work in a given year is 960 hours. The State recognized that there were advantages in both preventing a brain drain and providing cities, counties, municipalities flexibility in their budgets.

    To those who criticize Joe’s plan to rehire retired police officers (including Chip’s most recent article, kindly posted by V. Smoothe on this blog), I’ve done some rough calculations and I think this is a good beginning for increasing police officers and not having to make cuts else where to maintain or increase the police force.

    Chip’s article stated that Joe thought realistically only 15 officers would retire and then get rehired part time. previously posted the top paid City of Oakland workers, many which are police officers. With overtime pay many police officers are paid over $250,000 a year and this does not include health and retirement benefits. So let’s add another $50,000 to that figure so that a highly paid police officer is being paid $300,000 a year. That costs the City $4,500,000 a year. These 15 police officers are now off the City payroll and receive retirement benefits and these costs are shifted to the State (CALPERS). Now the City of Oakland hires back these 15 officers at the maximum number of hours 960. Multiply this by 15 and you have a total of 14,400 hours that that City has to pay these part-timers. Per hour wages tend to range from 30 to 60 dollars for part time professional staff. Let’s say we pay them $40.00 per hour. The total cost to the City is now $576,000.

    The City of Oakland now has an extra $3,924,000 to spend on new recruits. If Joe could get new police officers hired in at a starting salary of $50,000 and add another $50,000 to pension and health benefits, the City could hire 39 new police officers.

    If we currently have 679 police officers, you subtract 15, add back in 7.5 as they are now part time, then add the 39 new recruit. We now have 710 officers.

    Perata has talked cuts, cutting the Public Ethics Commission. I mean getting rid of it. What? So where do city officials, council members, etc. go to complain when ethics have been violated? Why doesn’t Chip and others question the soundess, or lack there of, of these types of cuts?

    Joe is being inventive, trying to find solutions to some serious budget problems. He is also not going to take a full salary as he will give back the entire pay raise Dellums gave himself. Joe is ready to lead by example.

    Oh and one more thing, The City of West Covina is currently hiring back retired police officers. They have a population of approx. 110,000 people with a police force of approx. 112 officers.

  63. RdwithCypress

    I have met all the candidates. My opinion of Joe is pretty good. He really is sincere. I believe he is honest which is more important than any other attribute a candidate can have. I don’t believe Don P is sincere, and I am still on the fence with Rebecca. Rebecca has come out on some real issues and I am starting to believe but I am still not quite sure if she is real. Jean has not taken money from any of the bad developers. I believe she is totally clean. I was relieved when I saw who donated to her campaign. Don is taking all the bad money, from developers and contractors. He is bad for Oakland no doubt about it.

  64. ralph

    For those who support Joe T, do you honestly think he can get the police to agree to a starting salary of $50K?

    Living in the the bay area is more expensive than the rest of the country. So, while I agree that it makes sense to reduce the salary while in training, realistically, the best you should expect in salary is a reduction to the average, adjusted for cost of living.

  65. Karen Bishop

    New York and Los Angeles pays their new recruits less than $50,000 (NYC $43,000 and LA $45,000).

    With high unemployment do you think a new recruit will turn down that salary?

    New recruits who are high school graduates making $85,000 plus is out of touch with the reality of the economy and so is the Police Union.

  66. mfraser

    Was that post a joke asking if we can find people to work with full benefits for $50k? Do you not know unemployment in Oakland is nearly 20%? I think the last time we posted jobs we had something like 1,000 applicants for a handful of jobs. What do you say to that?

    Can Oakland hire new officers at $50k or less? That would be a resounding ‘yes.’

  67. mfraser

    On the jobs issue, 11,000 applied for jobs at Wal Mart at a fraction of the pay and marginal benefits, back in the ‘boom’ years of 2005!

    Should a starting police person make DOUBLE the wages of a middle aged average family, which makes $45k on average in Oakland? STARTING OPD officers make between $72k and a loaded plate of benefits, with retirement at 90% of wages by age 50 (!), and a whopping $90k, and those are STARTING WAGES. The whole system is very seriously out of whack, and remember that Quan voted for these contracts, and Kaplan did basically the same thing for transit workers, then fled to the city council for a ‘do over’ on the burning building she left behind her.

    C’mon, Oaklanders – let’s think this through. Tuman may have a shorter ‘civil service’ type resume, but really, that is a plus given the mess we are in.

  68. mfraser

    Here’s some Oakland specific evidence on job applicants for police jobs:

    from the OPD website -

    “Q: Can I select my Oral Interview appointment?
    A: No. Due to the large number of applicants being scheduled, the Office of Personnel is unable to allow individuals to select their own appointment. The date and time will be randomly assigned to qualified applicants.

    Q: What if I can’t make my appointment?
    A: Due to the large number of applicants being scheduled, the City of Oakland, Office of Personnel is rarely able to reschedule an appointment. You are strongly encouraged to make every effort to attend your scheduled interview. In the event that you are unable to attend your scheduled appointment, there is also the option of “standby”. We do typically have some last minute no-shows and will allow applicants to wait for an available interview slot. Standbys will be taken on a first come, first served basis however, there is no guarantee that we will be able to accommodate you.”

    Haha – to show how absurd this question it – Berkeley just had over 1,000 applicants FOR THREE JOBS!

    Here’s a boo-ya Cramer fans. Berkeley PD starts at $60k, and got those 1,000 applicants for 3 jobs. $12k less, and 1,000 applicants. Yes, we can fill the jobs.

    “Great benefits include great retirement pkg, job security, uniform allowance and premium pay for bilingual. Opporutunity for overtime.
    Salary: $60,504.00 to $78,792.00 per year

    Contact Information
    Sgt Patricia Delaluna
    Berkeley Police Department
    2100 Martin Luther King Jr Way
    Berkeley CA 94704″

    We want to work with reasonable Oakland police. But if they don’t want to work out a reasonable deal, let them strike, and let them be replaced. $188k average salary and benefits – AVERAGE – is criminal in and of itself, and just too much. OPD should at least be agreeable to letting things retrench a reasonable amount, and hiring new officers at more like market rates. Then they could be grandfathered in if they are there now in some reasonable way.

    Oakland residents just want a way out of this mess, and no, we can’t pay $200k a year for rank and file police. That is double what New Jersey pays for goodness sake, and they actually are under the impression they have the highest costs in the nation! Read this to see what is bankrupting THEM, at $90k average pay – haha – they aren’t even CLOSE (we in Oakland are at $188k in the high estimate that I’ve seen – the Chronicle in July I believe, $162k low estimate).

  69. len raphael

    MF, I can’t talk re the other great mayors in that article, but to put Tuman in the same category as Denver’s (ex oakland resident) John Hickenlooper is ludicrous. I knew John personally in his college years and later when he lived and often visited Oakland.

    Joe has neither John’s business experience nor John’s years of community service that gave him a very strong understanding of Denver’s policy issues long before he ever ran for office.

    Hickenlooper ran a multi state brew pub biz with hundreds and possibly more, employees that went from zero to big bucks.

    Tuman managed his family’s local restaurants for a while.

    Joe is no Woodrow Wilson. He should stick to academia.

    -len raphael
    Perata supporter from temescal

  70. ralph

    When you have the time can you tell me where you found your BPD salary info?

    Last time I checked:
    Trainees earned $5817/mo, ~$72K/yr.
    Polices Off. Step A – E $90K – $106K/yr
    Polices Off. Step F – G $109K+/yr
    Sgts: $114K+/yr


  71. mfraser

    While I’m not saying Joe matches any of those profiles tit for tat, I am saying that ‘great’ Mayors DON’T tend to come from career politicians, or at least, don’t HAVE to. The odds of Perata being a great Mayor are about the same as him taking the side of taxpayers against the unions that have funded his campaigns.

    Here’s the $188k combined salary and benefits costs article…

    The city of Oakland, Calif., has laid off over 10 percent of its police force after failing to negotiate a settlement with the police union — whose members earn an average compensation of $162,000 a year.

    “What’s going on in Oakland is an example of a phenomenon being seen across the country: states and cities choosing between providing services to the public or maintaining luxury compensation for public employees,” Josh Barro, the Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, writes for the Real Clear Markets website.

    “More often than not, public employee unions have been winning this fight.

    As the result of the loss of 80 police officers, Oakland’s police chief says cops will no longer respond to 44 categories of crimes, including grand theft.

    “At current levels of compensation, Oakland cannot afford to maintain a police department with 776 employees,” Barro observes. “That’s because total compensation for an OPD employee averages an astounding $162,000 per year. But at a more reasonable level of pay and benefits, Oakland could afford to maintain its force, or even grow it.”

    OPD officers finishing training receive a starting salary of up to $90,459, before overtime, plus a health plan worth $15,859 last year — compared to California’s private sector mean of about $9,100 — and a pension contribution equal to 9 percent of their salary and overtime pay.

  72. len raphael

    MF, I wouldn’t agree with your general point. After all, Greg Harland got my full support before it became very clear that Quan has an excellent chance of becoming our next Mayor.

    The NYPD starting salary number is deceptively low. Search for the step raise schedule (i posted a link to it on this site a few months ago)and you will see that within 5 years of starting, NYPD cops rapidly get up to the 80K level.

    I’m not convinced that the reason NYPD, SFPD, OPD etc pay high salaries and benefits is that the police unions are so powerful.

    Especially in Oakland where the number of cops has consistently been a small fraction of total union employees, and like those other cities is forbidden to strike.

    Add to that the unique distrust and dislike of many of the residents towards the cops, and I don’t think the city council was under tremendus political pressure to overpay cops.

    it’s more a result of the professionalization of police work; and the overall very high compensation Oakland and surrounding cities like SF pay their muni employees.

    i can see both sides of the professionalization of policing after I recently personally benefited from the amazingly competent officers who responded to an emergent situation.

    Lets face it, do we really want to go back to Officer Bob whistling a tune as he strolls down the street twirling his baton? Not to put down community policing or beat cops, but we want our cops to be more than flatfeet but also mediators, youth counselors, family interventionists, and paralegals all in one person.

    When you expect those qualities, you’re competing with a bunch of other white collar jobs that pay (or least did) close to 75k/year without the risks of police work. add another 33% for the risks of being a cop in Oaktown, and it’s easy to see why we pay so much for cops.

    What’s impossible to justify is why we lowered their min retirement age to 50 and pay all city employees including cops, absurdly high pensions.

    Sure, of course the 9% sb paid by the cops as should Quan pay her 9%.

    -len raphael
    Perata supporter from temescal

  73. mfraser

    Oh, sorry, the BPD was just a job listing I found straight from BPD. I checked it and it is way out of date, so please ignore that. I’m done for tonight, so accept your stats.

    There are a plethora of locations that have more reasonable salaries for police, and Oakland pays pretty much nation-leading salaries. Even crime ridden New Jersey as I posted above has compensation at about HALF of our average, and for some reason they think THEY lead the nation in paying the most.

    Literally 72% of our city budget, as of this summer, was going to fire and police, all of which I expect you know, and that is 12% more than the California average.

  74. mel

    Kent Lewandowski says:
    “The thing is, Jerry Brown talked tough about crime but did the problem improve under his watch? I don’t believe so. In fact, the mayor we all love to criticize – Ron Dellums – I think has the best statistical record in terms of crime stats improving under his watch. Or am I wrong? (I could be – I don’t track statistics.)”

    Funny enough it was Elihu Harris with the best statistical improvements in crime reduction in recent history. Then Ron. Crime actually got worse during Jerry’s tenure, which is why I can’t understand Brown supporters touting their love for him because of reduced crime. What’s worse is that stats show a definite spike in crime after Brown’s appointment of Tucker as chief. So in this case you can more reasonably tie the rising crime to a specific decision Brown made as mayor. Tucker’s eventual firing threat/resignation over performance issues only corroborates this assertion.

    len raphael says:
    “Ron’s crime stat improvements came at a time when many similar cities experienced even greater percentage declines than we did.”

    It’s true that most other cities saw declines in crime as Oakland has in the past four years – some with more declines but some with less. Unfortunately in the Brown years, while most cities in the U.S. saw crime declines, Oakland experienced increases. By the end of Harris’ 2nd term as mayor Oakland had dropped out of the Top 10 cities for violent crime. By the end of Brown’s 2nd term, Oakland was back near the top.

    Talk is cheap when it comes to crime. I hate to say it, but sometimes I wonder if people see a white male talking tough on crime and automatically think crime is/was/will be low. Harris and Dellums are no hawks but still had better performance on crime than Brown. Similarly Quan and Kaplan are also no hawks but this sense that crime would rise with either of them as mayor while it would drop with Perata or Tuman is unfounded and shortsighted. In fact given recent history and experience, voting dove seems to be the way to go if you’re concerned about crime.

    Speaking of demographics, it’s interesting (not good or bad) that diverse Oakland could be on the verge of electing its first female or Chinese or Jewish or lesbian mayor and there hasn’t been much fuss over it. To my knowledge all Oakland mayors have been white or black Christian males.

  75. Naomi Schiff

    I wasn’t incredibly impressed with Joe’s knowledge of city affairs, but I would rank him well ahead of Perata on ethics. Alas, Perata is number ten. I can’t vote for someone who is taking big money from interests antithetical to Oakland’s success. Come on, people, he is on the payroll of the prison guards union! And apparently every police lobbying outfit in northern california is sending out his mailers. How could he be a tough negotiator with his very generous benefactors? We would be plundered by the profiteers who are hanging around like vultures, hoping to swoop on fat pension deals and the remaining redevelopment bucks.

  76. len raphael

    Mel, doesn’t surprise me about Jerry. As I remember it, JB had to buy the Calif Sherrif’s endorsement for Attorney General by hiring Tucker, good buddies with heavy weight Alameda County sherrif, Chas Plummer.

    Crime dropping the most under Elihu.

    Maybe that just proves that we are all clueless about the effects of policy on crime.

    -len raphael,
    Perata supporter from temescal

  77. Myles Blackwood

    While I am open to listening to criticism about political candidates of all backgrounds, there remains one truth by which I tend to lean towards when it comes to voting.

    I’d never heard of Joe Tuman before a month ago, when he was out canvasing my Temescal-Rockridge neighborhood streets. At the time, I happened to be walking to the farmer’s market to get some fresh veggies, when one of his volunteers approached my better half and I and handed us one of his cards. Being a de facto political scientist by choice of educational path, I found myself immediately skeptical of what this person may have had to offer.

    In fact, I’d dismissed Tuman for just another wanna-be and didn’t think much about it until the East Bay Express started pumping out a few commentaries on the guy, then Chip Johnson wrote not one, but two articles saying how surprised that he was that he liked Tuman. (I’ve generally enjoyed Chip Johnson’s perspective on matters relating to Oakland, as well as Zennie62′s, but I digress.)

    After seeing a few things about this person, I started to look into matters for myself, much like you did. And, where I see some of your complaints as valid opinion, I do not see any validity in any of your claims, and it appears that your conclusions are drawn to prove nothing… concrete.

    Much of what you have taken the time to share (and thank you for sharing it, I appreciate some thought in opinion, and you certainly tried) is not fully thought out, in my opinion.

    For example, in the first argument you provided about Tuman’s response to teenaged prostitution, you assert that Tuman didn’t actually give an answer. Further, you argue that Tuman’s answer doesn’t address the question.

    Well, not to insult you- but I think you should listen to the clip that you provided again. Tuman very clearly provided his solution. He stated that he felt that as Mayor he felt that it was *important* to *address* the *entire problem* of teenaged prostitution by enforcing the laws regarding prostitution more rigorously- from start to finish. He further went on to say that a large part of the problem with that entire equation are the actual customers participating in teenaged prostitution rings.

    AFTER he’d made those remarks, he went on to talk about communities and getting shelters and the likes involved. But, he’d already addressed the question, and was building on ideas at that point. So, really- he answered the question adequately, in the very least.

    Secondly, on the matter of the “Community Service Coordinators” you basically outlined the very reason for his response of “Describe those to me” by offering this up, in your very own words: “Because they come up for cuts like every damn time the budget comes back…”

    If they’re so effective, then why do they continually get put on the cutting block every time the budget comes back?

    I mean seriously. How did you miss that rather important detail?

    Tuman’s response could be implying what you suggest, OR it could also suggest that he sees no cause to have them because they’re not effective in what they do. He could also be suggesting something else entirely. (I don’t know, I’m not Joe.)

    This, however, does NOT go to say that there is NOT a better option out there, because there MAY be. It also doesn’t suggest that there is another option at all, because there might not be. However, I think that he very keenly addressed the issue without having to commit to any further discussion on the matter.

    That said, and on a side note: Please understand that I have no beef with anyone in that particular organization. In fact, I’ve never heard of them either… but, I’m also not running for mayor of Oakland, and have only lived in CA for about 4 years- 2 in Santa Cruz County.

    And, finally, I must point something out to you regarding how the City actually operates.

    BY CHARTER in this fine city we call home, the City Auditor (Courtney Ruby) is responsible for providing the Oakland Mayor’s Office, City Council members (and citizens) an unbiased opinion on what the best practices for operation of city government should be.

    Thus, when Tuman says “I don’t know what I’ll cut, I’ll wait to see what I find in the audit.” it’s pretty clear that he’s got a firm understanding of what is required of him, and what the Oakland Mayor’s job does and does NOT include.

    You see- by waiting for the City Auditor to continue doing her award-winning performance reviews and audits of how well the offices of the City are under way, it would actually SAVE MONEY for Oakland tax payers by NOT over-stepping Section 403 of the City Charter, thus doubling up on work performed, expenses paid and the likes.

    Instead, Tuman would be in compliance with the City Charter with respect to the Office of the Oakland Auditor and would smartly wait to see what areas in City government are the weakest performing. From there, it would behoove Tuman to begin to strategize an INFORMED plan in order to re-vamp them most effectively.

    So, while practicing this method of respecting the framework which forms the City of Oakland as a City, it would be a clear demonstration that Joe Tuman knows EXACTLY what he needs to know about the City of Oakland.

    Now- that all said… I’m not going to counter the Cop issue. I think that there can be about 50 dozen ways to reduce crime in this city which would also benefit the citizens living in the neighborhoods that are a little more rough around the edges than others. In my opinion, there needs to be a sincere movement in the direction of progress in Green-collar jobs, education and re-education (where applicable), business on all levels, and most importantly above all of that- community building. I’m fairly certain that you’d probably agree with me on those points at least. Those points, from my perspective, are what I see Joe Tuman offering to help with on some levels, but I’m not calling him a messiah either. (BTW: I’m not positive about his stance on green-collar jobs to be honest- but I figure that getting a new mayor with some political savy would be a good start.)

    IN conclusion: Kaplan, although highly educated, doesn’t really make me want to vote for her. I mean, didn’t she JUST become a City Council member like 2 years ago?

    And, while I do like her, I also think she’d be good for Oakland in a lot of ways. But… running for Mayor so soon after being elected City Counsel makes me feel like she’s pulling a liberal version of a Sarah Palin, only- Kaplan doesn’t provide us with pure entertainment and hilariously stupid remarks like Palin does… VERY much to Kaplan’s credit. And, Kaplan does have a vision for Oakland, and very much of it good. I just have a really hard time with the quick jump up the ladder of City Politics. I’m sorry Rebecca- that really bothers me.

    All the rest… meh.

    And, that- folks- is my $0.02 on the matter.

    Joe Tuman- Oakland Mayor ’2010
    He knows what he’s talking about, shouldn’t you?

  78. mel

    len, to be frank I couldn’t point out precisely what Elihu did to affect crime rates. In the 90s crime had been dropping in most cities and thankfully Oakland was part of that trend (though Oakland’s drop was a little bit more than average). Also thankfully Elihu didn’t do anything to cause crime to rise, obviously, since crime didn’t rise. Sometimes just not screwing up is enough to ask of a mayor, which is again why I’m not a big Jerry Brown fan, and why I’m not moved by any hawkish posturing from mayoral candidates. People can do stupid things when they try to appear tough.

  79. Dave D

    It astounds me that people will accept that Perata is a sleazeball crook but then convince themselves that he’ll “get things done”. What is it – that’s he’s a conservative middle-aged white guy and thus other conservative middle-aged white guys living in the hills feel a subconscious affinity for him? Its wholly irrational.

    You want to see the best predictor of how a candidate is going to perform in office if you elect him or her? Look at their records in previous political office.

    In Perata’s case, its a dirty sordid history of giveaways to the state prison guard’s union in exchange for campaign contributions and barely disguised kickbacks in the form of “consulting fees”. Its a history of paying for giveaways and goodies to his campaign contributors in the form of mortgaging California’s future in the form of bloated infrastructure bonds (Props 1B-E) that have saddled us with mountains of debt.

    Nobody gets investigated for five years by the FBI and the Justice Department for public corruption by accident. And in a sleight of hand worthy of a professional con artist, he set up a campaign war chest for an obscure BOE office in order to funnel campaign contributions into his legal defense fund. Even now, he’s funding behind the scenes Marcie “Dumb as Dirt” Hodge’s campaign in a cynical attempt to draw African American votes away from Quan and Kaplan. (Go ahead -next time you see Hodge at a candidates forum, ask her where all her mystery cash suddenly appeared from – I’m sure she’ll get back to you – and the elections board – five months after the election is over)

    And somehow, this serial crook is going to improve things in City Hall? How? By setting up a credit card swipe machine in the Mayor’s Office to more efficiently process pay-for-play? Or maybe hemorrhage the City budget even more by giving the patrolmen’s union everything they want, the rest of the city be damned.

    Dirty is as dirty does, and that is exactly what Oakland will get with him in the Mayor’s office.

  80. Daniel Schulman

    Len wrote–

    “Tuman managed his family’s local restaurants for a while.”

    Len, I don’t think that is correct. I believe Tuman worked part-time in his family’s small-town diners while he was in high school. His duties were probably more along the lines of busing tables and washing dishes than making management decisions. Besides does it really matter when we are talking about events over 30 years ago?

    I find it interesting that Tuman’s business experience has grown with every retelling the last few months.

  81. Karen Bishop

    Tuman’s business experience has been outlined by Joe himself. He has managed businesses, met payroll, created budgets, hired/fired – - everything a small business owner has to do to survive.

    Joe’s business experience is not an urban myth. I’ve sat and listened to Joe on multiple occasions outlining his business experience.

  82. V Smoothe Post author

    Yes, Karen, we all know what running a business involves. The question is whether Joe Tuman has actually done it or not. The way he has described his experience has changed dramatically over time. It’s like every time the dude is asked about it, his story becomes more inflated. Just look at the example Dan used. When he first announced he was running, he said he worked in his parents restaurants while he was in high school. Now, that experience has transformed into running two family businesses? I mean, come on.

  83. len raphael

    MF, i typo’d: meant to say “I would agree with your general point.” that you don’t have to have public office experience to make a good elected official.

    David D, people around here never see the irony in their using the 5 year investigation of Perata as proof that where’s there’s smoke there must be fire.

    Many of the same people who use the fbi investigation as proof of his wrong doing, would have automatically assumed any other powerful liberal Democract target of a Bush era FBI probe was politically motivated until proven otherwise.

    But those same critics don’t extend that basic civil right to Perata.

    Good debating method, used it myself when for a few days I thought my first choice, Greg Harland might have a chance, :) but it basically proves nothing.

    -len raphael
    Perata supporter from temescal

  84. Daniel Schulman

    Karen Bishop, I’m just going off my own 25 year old knowledge when I was an undergrad at Cal and knew Joe, his brother John, and had other friends from Turlock. If you have more up-to-date information, I would honestly like to hear it.

    My understanding of the 4 businesses Joe Tuman has run are:

    1) working part-time at his family’s diner more than 30 years ago

    2) working part-time at his family’s diner more than 30 years ago

    3) running a seasonal debate camp with a couple of partners for 2 or 3 years more than 25 years ago. I believe all of the employees were college students working as 1099 contractors.

    4) falling into a couple of speech consulting gigs based on his work on television. I wonder if this consulting business has any employees other than Tuman. Does he even have a business license? If so, is it in San Francisco or Oakland?

    If I am in error or you can fill in any other details, please let me know.

  85. len raphael

    MB, if Joe were elected and waited for the mother of all performance audits from Courtney Ruby, he’ll be waiting a very long time. Her audit productivity is pretty low. The best of her audits were done by independent contractors.

    My wondering how she could have been in office for several years in a major dysfunctional city and only came with a few hand slapping audit findings raised my rudimentary rusty cpa auditor instincts.

    I tracked down Michael Kilian and after several meetings with him, am quite sure he’d be an auditor’s auditor instead of a public relations auditor like Ruby.

    Kilian is not a Perata supporter like me, closer to the JQ camp. Always good to have checks and balances in govt.

    -len raphael,cpa
    Perata for Mayor
    Kilian for Auditor

  86. ralph

    Without going into details, I think you are reading too much into Section 403. Per the charter, the auditor addresses the soundness of accounting, provides assistance to City Departments to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency and economy of their operations. What we really need is a complete overhaul in the city government org and delivery of services. I believe some consultants have completed this analysis but it sits on a shelf in FOP.

    In other news, being highly educated does not prevent one from making bad decisions. Can you say NikNak and Grant II police interference.

    Crime…crime goes up and crime goes down. No one really knows why this is. Some theorize that people are less likely to report a crime the 2nd time if nothing happened following the 1st time. Others believe that PD have an incentive to juke the stats. The true measure is do people feel safer.

  87. ralph

    The auditor in me says that MK would be completely useless as the City Auditor. The city’s internal control structure is awful. This was true well before Ruby took office. In fact, it is something that MK should have noted but did not.

    Ruby has some work to do but she is one hte right path. I spent the first part of my career auditing municipalities. Ruby is on the right path.

    Proud Supporter of Perata
    Ruby for Auditor
    Strong Effective Government

  88. Livegreen

    Ralph, Killian had a falling out with the previous auditor, which is why he ran against him. He was not attached at the hip to him, like u imply.

    The principal differences between Killian and Ruby are that Killian believes in sticking to Audits in order to get more of them done. Not making Public Policy decisions, which is Ruby thinks is important but which she is NOT elected to do. She believes it is because…she’s setting herself up to run for higher office.

    Len, My understanding is Killian’s pretty P.O.’d about all the politicians and budget situation in Oakland, which is why he’s running. I’d put him more in Ignacio’s camp fiscally, but has reservations about him too.

    As many of us do with any of the candidates we choose. Nobody’s perfect. We’re all making priorities and judgement calls about the future, based on the best evidence we have available to us…

  89. Naomi Schiff

    The thing about Perata, Len, is that even ignoring the FBI investigation, his ethical lapses are legion. What about those contributions? And I’m not even talking about the recent ones. It is hair-raising to look at the public records, which of course aren’t that recent. He will be entirely beholden to his patrons. He elicits large sums from people who do not prioritize Oakland’s interests, his son is on the payroll, he is using a cancer fund as a front (disgusting!) and has received enough money to taint any decision.

  90. Livegreen

    MF, re. OPD will not respond to 44 categories of crime, this is NOT true. They WILL respond to any crime that is happening including Grand Theft.

    What they won’t do is come to take a report after the fact.

    Where it gets difficult is when it’s a minor crime and it’s taking them a long time to respond. But that’s up to OPD to determine at the time of the crime and based on their workload. And only they know that.

  91. woody

    Quite a hatchet job, but thankfully the 10 people that read this blog AND that also happen to know what KTOP is or what a Neighborhood Service Coordinator is (or does for that matter), won’t be subjected to this abomination. KTOP, really?? I have been living here 20 years, read the paper every day, went to Cal and have no clue what KTOP is…tells ya something about its effectiveness doesn’t it.

    Gosh, I really hope our next Mayor listens to KTOP. Give me a break.

    You never did agree to sit down with the guy did you? Your mind was made up once you found out he lived in Crocker Highlands. Would it have helped you to know he also lived on Telegraph avenue?
    Maybe that would give him “V cred”. Jeez, time to knock that chip off of your shoulder.

    V., with thse kinds of literary masterpieces I suggest you take your Mom’s sound career advice:

    –So then we go drive around like, Crocker Highlands or something as she relays a bunch of elaborate career strategies she has thought of for me (most of which involve changing careers) that would allow me to buy one of them someday—-

    Like, maybe like you should have gone to like SF State after all.

  92. CitizenX

    I don’t think I really care if Tuman ever ran a family business. It might be of help to a future mayor, but not critical under Oakland’s so-called strong mayor system. I say so-called, because, when it comes right down to it, the City Administrator retains the real authority for operation of the city government.

    Perhaps, the single most important any new Oakland mayor can make is his or her selection of a city administrator. The mayor provides vision and direction and the mayor takes on the political battles, but the city administrator is the one who runs the city on a day-to-day basis and gets things done.

    It is a common misconception that the Mayor hires and fires department heads. If you’ll read the Charter, you will see that the Mayor has the authority to hire and fire one person — the city administrator.

  93. ralph

    I do not make the claim that Kilian was tied at the hip to the previous auditor; Kilian does. He wants to let people know what he did when he was “co-steering” the ship.

    Producing reams of paper which say nothing is the same as doing nothing except it costs more.

    MK doesn’t really get it. Outside auditors are not bad. Just about every city uses outside auditors for some audits. The auditor is bound by the charter to review ballot measures. We barely have a press so it is hard to believe that Ruby is focused on press releases.

    I am somewhat shocked at his list of endorsers.

  94. ab

    Gosh, I was actually considering Joe. Even after reading V’s article which I think is relevant and informant. Because there isn’t any really good candidates in this joke of an election and I have to pick three :( . What is really turning me off to Joe is all these Joe fundamentalist fanatics that either didn’t bother to read V’s post or are such ideologues that they refuse to comprehend it. I really think politics, like religion, causes brain rot in what would normally be perfectly rational people.

  95. Daniel Schulman

    @CitizenX wrote

    “It is a common misconception that the Mayor hires and fires department heads. If you’ll read the Charter, you will see that the Mayor has the authority to hire and fire one person — the city administrator.”

    While that is true, it is one of those distinctions without a difference. When I had people who reported to me, I certainly felt (though never had the need) to fire their assistants or make “strong” recommendations for new hires.

    I certainly hope that whoever becomes mayor takes an active role in the hiring and firing process of department heads even if the ultimate decision rests with the City Administrator.

    I also don’t care what Tuman did or did not do 25 and 30 years ago. I do care, though, about his possible exaggerations in the hear and now.

  96. Karen Bishop

    Wait a minute ab, because I disagree with V, then I’m an ideologue and I’m not comprehending what V is saying? i comprehend what V is saying, but I disagree. Plain and simple.

    For the life of me I can’t understand why anyone would vote for Perata. But by the comments of some they are convinced Perata is going to do a good job. I disagree but that is their opinion. I’m not going to shake them from their position. But I’m not accusing them of being a fanatic or a nut.

    I outlined, with numbers, how Joe’s idea about hiring more police officers could work. I gave specifics. This is a point we can all jump on and agree/disagree. V. rants after she drives around the neighborhood with her mom and she is the queen of right? Come on people, who are being the ideologues and nuts here?

    I’m here on this blog because I like to hear other’s opinions, I like to debate and I want to learn. I’m also going to call people out when things don’t make sense to me, or when people are overly emotional about a topic without any hard numbers or data to back up their emotional claims.

  97. mel

    As a follow-up to what I wrote earlier – and I’ve mentioned this before here – in L.A. former Chief Bratton often gets credit for dropping crime when in fact crime had been dropping in L.A. since the early 90s through Chief Williams’ and Chief Parks’ terms. That trend just continued under Bratton, but typically Bratton gets all the credit. In fact Parks was blamed for “increasing crime” when there was only a very slight uptick in early 2002 when coincidentally newly-elected mayor Hahn had to decide whether to reappoint Parks or not.

    Parks was not popular among officers because he steadfastly opposed revised work schedules that the union supported. Officers then blamed him for low morale on the force and pointed to an “increase” in crime as a consequence of low morale. Things that make you go hmmmm. The local print media jumped on the whole crime wave hype (which was not justified by stats) and Hahn decided not to reappoint Parks and brought Bratton to LA instead. Bratton did a good job sustaining lowered crime trends, but Williams and Parks deserve kudos also. They unfortunately were victims of the perception gap that I speak of.

    Kamala Harris is being portrayed as soft on crime in the current Attorney General race when crime has significantly decreased during her stint as D.A. Whenever I hear or read criticism of Kamala it’s usually of the stereotypical “bleeding-heart” “friend of criminals” “will lead to rampant chaos and thuggery all over the state” kind. Cite the Ramos incident, rinse, repeat.

    When folks like Harris, Williams, Parks, Dellums, Villaraigosa, etc. get characterized as bad for crime when in fact statistics show the same or better performance during their tenures than folks like Brown, Hahn, Bratton, etc. then of course it looks suspicious and dangerously close to pure prejudice and stereotype. Obviously tough talk and being in the police union’s pocket has no overall benefit to crime trends.

    So when Quan and Kaplan are portrayed as being soft on crime and Perata and Tuman are assumed to be able to reduce crime, I have to wonder where lays the foundation for that sentiment. If some people just unconsciously “feel” safer with a white male as mayor (or DA, police chief, etc.) despite actual crime stats then obviously for the sake of the city they just need to get over their biases. If it’s solely based on Grant-gate then please extrapolate a chain of cause-effect that shows how that incident will lead to increased crime or the refusal of police, who work for the city/citizens and cannot strike, to negotiate contractual terms. Then point to historical facts, examples, and/or statistics to back up that claim.

  98. CitizenX

    Daniel, true. I believe Jerry Brown and Cynthia Dellums both did take a role in the hiring/firing process for department heads. My broader point is, that the mayor has little actual authority, whereas the city administrator has a great deal. The mayor is critical to provide leadership, vision and direction.

    The city administrator, IMHO, plays a much greater role in the success or failure of the Oakland city government. Same applies to the City Council. They hold the real policy and budget power in the City. The administrator makes it work or not. Here are all of the Charter granted responsibilities of the Mayor. Not an impressive list and far from a typical “strong mayor” form of government:

    Section 305. Functions, Powers and Duties. The Mayor shall be the chief elective officer of the City, responsible for providing leadership and taking issues to the people and marshalling public interest in and support for municipal activity. The Mayor shall have the following powers, duties, and responsibilities:

    (a)The Mayor shall be responsible for the submission of an annual budget to the Council which shall be prepared by the City Administrator under the direction of the Mayor and Council. The Mayor shall, at the time of the submission of the budget, submit a general statement of the conditions of the affairs of the City, the goals of the administration, and recommendations of such measures as he may deem expedient and proper to accomplish such goals.

    (b)Recommend to the Council such measures and legislation as he deems necessary and to make such other recommendations to the Council concerning the affairs of the City as he finds desirable.

    (c)Encourage programs for the physical, economic, social and cultural development of the City.

    (d)Actively promote economic development to broaden and strengthen the commercial and employment base of the City.

    (e)Appoint the City Administrator, subject to confirmation by the City Council, remove the City Administrator and give direction to the City Administrator. The Mayor shall advise the Council before removing the City Administrator.

    (f)Serve as ceremonial head of the City.

    (g)Represent the City in inter-governmental relations as directed by the Council.

    (h)Provide community leadership.

  99. Karen Bishop

    However if the Mayor chooses to exert strong leadership then he/she will have a lot of control over the City Administrator and the functioning (as well as effectiveness) of city government.

  100. mel

    ralph says:
    “Crime…crime goes up and crime goes down. No one really knows why this is. Some theorize that people are less likely to report a crime the 2nd time if nothing happened following the 1st time. Others believe that PD have an incentive to juke the stats.”

    With this logic, there’s no need to support someone like Perata for “getting things done” with crime, or not supporting Quan because she’d be soft on crime. Either would have little effect on crime rates if it’s all in the hands and whims of crime victims and PD statisticians, right?

    ralph says:
    “The true measure is do people feel safer”

    Really? So instead of gathering crime stats we should just be taking annual surveys to see if people feel safe. Let’s be even more susceptible to news stories and internet anecdotes for our sense of safety. And who cares if almost half the number of Oaklanders were murdered in the late 90s under Harris than were murdered in last years of Brown’s terms. If people (which people?) simply felt safer with Jerry Brown in the mayor’s seat then the lives of those 70 to 80 Oaklanders don’t matter, and all the additional rapes and thefts were OK too.

    This is the type of myopia and twisted logic that keeps Oakland in the ditch.

  101. CitizenX

    Karen, true. But, my point is, the mayor does not need to be a seasoned administrator. If Joe can choose a strong city administrator, I believe he has the brains, political smarts and vision to be an effective mayor. I can not say the same about his competition.

  102. livegreen

    The City Administrator is supposed to do what the Mayor & City Council instructs. However with a hands-off Mayor that doesn’t give instructions the CA’s power increases tremendously. & either way removing a City Administrator is not easy, politically or legally.

    Witness the last two removals of a City Administrator. In either case it was difficult and used up additional time & political capital.

    Also, it’s my understanding that Dan Lindheim has at times ignored the instructions of the City Council (either directly or indirectly). What have the consequences been?

    My first inclination with an unresponsive Mayor is to think we’d be better off without a City Administrator so they don’t spurn our elected officials, + it obliges the Mayor to take an active stance and not avoid the process entirely. However I can understand an opposing view which would say at least with a City Administrator in place they were able to direct and lead staff.

    I hope the City Administrator will be more responsive with a more responsive, present Mayor. (It is one of the big risks I view with Don Perata, aside from other issues).

    If we had a true “Strong Mayor” where the Mayor took direct responsibility for hiring & firing department heads, I feel we’d be better off. I’m open to hearing different POV.

  103. livegreen

    Ralph, You are attempting to make things black & white when they’re different shades of grey. My understanding is Kilian started off being a friend of the previous auditor, which is why he came to work for him.

    While there he participated in active auditing, but quit when he saw the department was being poorly managed from a personnel and morale point of view. That is separate from the auditing. And that is NOT tied to the hip.

    Your case is that it’s a small # of Audits but effective with Ruby, vs. a large # of Audits that were ineffective with Kilian?

    Though I’d appreciate some examples, why can’t we have both?

  104. Dax

    Regarding the Tuman storm.

    I’m getting lost here. I’m still uncertain who I will vote for.
    I can hardly follow this rush of pro and anti Tuman material.

    I’ve seen him a couple times up near the Skyline Gate entrance to the EBRPD Redwood Trail.
    All I’ve really have known until now was he was fit, and tan.


    Oh, a interesting event last night.
    I’m watching the Giants game as the phone rings.
    I answer, only to have the caller asking straight away, if I’ll be voting for Don Perata.
    I say, I’m unsure, and that I’m wondering about his position on pensions.
    The caller says he doesn’t know about that.
    So I ask, “Well, why should I vote for him?”


    I shout out F.U….(to no one, since he is onto the next call)

    I try to call, the Perata HQ using the phone number on the brochure I have on my desk. No one there, and the machines box is full.

    Good God, who are they getting or hiring to make those calls?
    (yes, I did call them this morning to complain)


    Tea leaves…(8×11 glossy tea leaves) That is how votes are being decided.

    Interesting, nothing being promoted about the parcel tax votes.
    The $360 parcel tax is dead.. Not even a pulse can be found. Just put on the ballot for political theater.

    Items I am sure about.
    Yes on 20
    No on 27

    Can you believe the CTA is listing their support of Prop 27 in their CTA Journal.
    About which they say…

    “Proposition 27 restores the authority of redrawing election districts to the Legislature, WHICH IS ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE”

    Has the CTA completely lost any respect they have for the intelligence of the California voters?


    PS. Have you seen Jean Quan putting comments after various Tribune articles over the past few days?

    Effective or ineffective?
    Reducing yourself to nothing more than all the other comments?

    Her comment on today’s Trib article about “Safer to be deployed to a military base in war torn region than survive on Oakland streets”

    She says…”At the early anti war rallies I used to say that more children would die on the streets of Oakland because of the Bush decision to throw trillions into the war effort while cutting education, Headstart and other programs for children. This seems to confirm this.”

    Is this type of comment good politics?
    Relevant? Effective?

  105. CitizenX

    Is this type of comment good politics?
    Relevant? Effective?

    No, not especially, but it does serve to stoke the ego known as Jean Quan. LOL.

  106. Colin

    This post really brought ‘em out of the woodwork.

    I considered voting for Joe – seems like a solid person, smart, and having a background in political science is a potential plus. But his MOBN! questionnaire discouraged me from taking him seriously and he has yet to establish any reason to change my mind. He doesn’t know what he was talking about.

    Joe comes across as a smart guy. I’m going to guess he can back it up. I’m a pretty smart guy, too, and I like to think I’m smart enough to solve any problem I’m confronted with if I put my mind to it (FACT: I put together a cabinet from IKEA just this week through shear mental determination). But I’m also smart enough to know that there are lots of complex situations where being bright isn’t enough. Like surgery – I know anatomy pretty well and I can sew, but I know I can’t pull off an appendectomy just by trying really hard and focusing.

    Fixing Oakland is a lot closer to surgery than it is IKEA. One has to go into the situation informed if one expects to get anything done. Joe is not informed on the issues.

    I hope he puts his money where his mouth is and gets more involved in local politics going forward and makes the effort to become informed – he could be a real asset to the city. But he’s not ready to start at the top.


    Nobody is responding to your numbers because you made them up. You decided how many officers would take the early retirement, what we’d pay them as part-timers, and what we would pay new hires, all numbers based not on reality but on painting a better picture of your candidate’s statements. There’s a police union that might have a say in the matter, for instance. We can all make up our own numbers to “prove” our case, but it’s an impotent exercise and one that’s divorced from reality. Not unlike the way California “solves” its budget crisis every year. I have no problem with you believing in your candidate and thinking he can solve the problems our city faces, but making up numbers doesn’t amount to a factual argument.

    As for all of the V hate, I’d suggest that if you’re new here you familiarize yourself with this blog. There’s a lot here that will give you some amazingly solid insight into Oakland. Most of you seem to have found it because you heard someone said something negative about your candidate and wanted to come here to go on a tirade against the person who would dare say such a thing. Read around a little bit and I think you’ll see this blog as an asset. V’s a smart and informed person who does her research.

    I’m not saying that you shouldn’t like Joe – you are entitled to your opinion – just that you might be more willing to respectfully disagree. And you might get something out of coming here.

    Or you may just be a dick who only cares about voting for a candidate who really expresses your anger. In which case, froth on somewhere else.

  107. mfraser

    On reading VSmoothes rant against Joe Tuman, something seemed odd to me. I’ll write a specific post on this, but the particular arguments raised against Tuman on the child prostitution are just so ‘contrived,’ to use a condemnation common to the high school and college debate community to disparage arguments wherein the advocate attempts to artfully string together a series of half-truths or non-truths so as to assemble an argument that when viewed as a whole is almost absurd and certainly doesn’t match the totality of the facts used as ‘evidence,’ but somehow seems reasonable if not carefully dissected. It was glaringly clear to me on first read that this was just such a contrived position, and knowing that when someone has such contrived arguments, there usually is a little more to that person’s agenda than that person tends to transparently disclose, and that further investigation is warranted.

    So, I looked a little more into VSmoothe to try to discern what motivates the blogger to put out such nonsense, because putting together these kinds of contrived arguments takes some concentrated effort. Interestingly, the first thing I discovered on doing some internet searches is VSmoothe is that she’s an OAKLAND CITY WORKER! You know, one of the 1% of all folks voting who are the actual workers in question in so many of these tax and budget questions, someone who’s contract and personal compensation, and that of friends and colleagues as well, is so directly impacted by these sorts of elections. Many of us think Tuman is by far the most likely to confront what as a package is unsustainable and absurd compensation, so I just think that this sort of personal financial bias needs to be known by all, and not something that has to be uncovered by doing internet searches and piecing things together. Financial bias and gain is generally accepted as the most blatant of bias concerns, so much so that we dismiss out of hand pro-tobacco ‘studies’ by the Big Tobacco funded ‘tobacco institute, to cite just one example. We expect by law these days politicians to disclose clear financial bias, although many such as Perata seem adept at skirting those laws with impunity, and it be of some interest to many who might read VSmoothe’s post on Tuman and think it is from a relatively unbiased Oakland citizen-voter if that ‘unbiased view’ isn’t as it seems to be.

    Second, word on the street is that VSmoothe is actually an ardent Perata supporter and active campaigner. Now that makes a lot of sense to me, given that Perata is THE candidate funded to excess by the various union workers of the city, and the person on whom they are counting on to hold back the taxpayer and give them a secret rep on the other side of the table! It is also no secret that in the past Perata has rewarded those who are loyal, with any number of appointments and indirect remuneration, which I can also document extensively if anyone really doubts it. So, VSmoothe, can you comment on this? Are you a city worker, and if so, why not disclose that up front when posting a piece like this? Have you been supporting Perata and actively campaigning for him?

    Don’t get me wrong; VSmoothe has every right to support whoever she wants to, and of course to actively campaign. It’s just the disingenuousness of hidden agendas, though, that really gets to me and that is most troublesome when uncovered, particularly in an election where so many of us already feel queasy to say the least about Mr Perata’s ethics and honesty (specifically his pay-to-play political history, and revolving door with the prison guard’s union who’ve paid him nearly $500k to ‘consult’ over the last 18 months while they have no active campaign or contract on the table(!), to name just 2 amongst many such issues). So please consider this information about VSmoothe’s background when you see such a sustained attack against a candidate who is surging in the polls and clearly hurting Perata, and who I think has now finally landed on Perata’s radar as a truly viable dark horse candidate, one who at the very least might force Perata off of many folks ballot entirely. This is become an acute issue for the Perata folks when voters Tuman in combination with voting for Kaplan and Quan, as many local publications are now urging.

    If VSmoothe really is a staunch Perata supporter, given that he hasn’t shown to most of the forums and debates, how do you square that with your personal criteria for dismissing Greg Hodge a couple of years back for just such an offense? I believe you specific complaint against him was:
    On Greg Hodge you wrote
    “Oaklanders deserve more than the bare minimum from their representatives.
    Hodge’s lazy attitude is hardly limited to his nomination petition. Check out his website…
    And apparently he won’t even be attending tonight’s candidate forum at City Hall to tell voters where he stands!”

    And just so anyone who might have been tempted to take your comments with more than a grain of salt knows a bit more to ‘consider the source,’ here is a bit in your own words about your own priorities, which seem to have included paying top dollar to city workers, and providing free transit to city workers, even as the budget crisis unfolded. Just to keep it clear as you try to influence voters about who is a credible candidate and who’s interests they will serve, I think it helpful for all to know a bit more what YOUR own priorities really are – you know, for disclosure’s sake! I particularly like your argument that follows about how municipal jobs are actually undercompensated when compared with private sector (that’s a good one – there’s a union funded study just noted in the Chronicle if you are seeking some more contrived evidence for your views), and even better than compensation shouldn’t “as a rule” be tied to performance for municipal workers (really nice!):
    V Smoothe, on March 30, 2008 at 5:40 pm Said:
    “I don’t see what the problem is with Edgerly’s compensation. She runs the city! A position with equivalent duties in the private sector would be far more generously compensated. Working in municipal government, one will never earn a salary competitive with one’s worth in the private sector, but I don’t know how we can expect to have competent people in City Hall if we don’t pay them a respectable wage.”
    V Smoothe, on March 31, 2008 at 8:26 am Said:
    “I don’t think it should be a question of whether one is impressed with Edgerly or not, although I do think that many of her critics fail to grasp how demanding her job is. We don’t, as a rule, tie compensation to performance in municipal jobs – salary is attached to position, not a person (although many positions offer a pay range). So if we don’t think Edgerly is doing a good job, that’s a reason to fire her and find a new City Administrator, not a reason to reduce the salary for the position (although I really hope that she stays on long enough to do the next budget).
    Something I find interesting about city salaries is that as a rule, we pay people on the low end of the skills and experience ladder way more than they would be worth in the private sector (see $26/hr plus benefits for library aides, $87k/yr for program analysts), while people who have more skills and responsibilities earn a lot less that they could elsewhere. I don’t think that salaries for Councilmembers, City Administrator, etc. are necessarily too low – obviously one has to make some sacrifices when working in government, but I’ve never understood the insistence by many that they’re too high.”
    VSmoothe Jan 12, 2010:
    “With EasyPass, all employees are offered unlimited AC Transit passes loaded on TransLink cards. The cost per employee of the program is unique to every situation, but is based on pricing matrix where the City of Oakland, would, at most, be paying an annual per employee cost less than what the City seems to think it would cost to buy a pass each month. Personally, I think it’s a no brainer that the City, which loves to bill itself as being so incredibly green and environmentally friendly, is beyond overdue for doing EasyPass.”
    VSmoothe Jan 5, 2010
    “We could do like some other cities do and just have November elections anyway, and require a lower threshold, like 40% to win outright, and only have run-offs on the rare occasions when nobody manages to beat it. Wev. In case I haven’t made it clear yet, I hate IRV.”

    By way of disclosure, I’m a taxpayer who is a non union private school teacher and run a small business. I have no formal ties to any campaign, but I do have a yard sign! I’m probably willing to volunteer for Tuman, but haven’t done so yet. I know him for 25 years ago when he worked at Cal for a few years, but haven’t kept in contact with him since, but did talk with him for about 2 minutes at one of his talks a few weeks back. As far as my own views and priorities, I really hate the way the city unions have bankrupted this and other cities with the willing consent of the elected represenatives, and the extensive role Perata in particular has played in that process, but Quan and Kaplan to differing degrees as well. And I really hate dishonest politicians and hidden agendas and those who mimic those same tactics on behalf of those fundamentally corrupt politicians, so that is why Perata won’t make my top 3, period.

  108. len raphael

    mf, i’m a perata supporter but my criticism of Joe has nothing to do with that because Joe will have a negligble effect on the final outcome unless you think most of his supporters would have named Perata as their first or second choice if Joe hadn’t run.

    -len raphael

  109. mfraser

    Well, I do think Joe running has brought in some folks who normally write off city politics as unsolvable and don’t pay much attention, and that some of those voters maybe cast a different focus on the issues raised. And yes, I think that Joe’s campaign very much begs the question, ‘who of the top four do I least want?’

    Ranked choice voting, when used for this purpose, effectively gives the voter a ‘strike’ against one of the top four, and I think Perata is divisive enough that this is problematic for him. This process and what I’ve uncovered has made me slowly move Perata down my ballot spot by spot, and now painful as it is for me to say, I’d even find Quan more acceptable than Perata. I think I’m normally a classic Perata voter, demographically, and very much think Quan is almost a disaster for Oakland if she prevaisl, and if he’s having trouble with me, I think that’s a sign of a larger and growing problem for him.

    Maybe I’m wrong and time will tell, but I’m hearing from a lot of folks, “anyone but Perata,” most commonly because of the revolving door with unions, and the Raider’s deal. That history is hurting him, even among those who should be his core supporters, but who just can’t accept his seemingly dirty brand of politics.

  110. CitizenX

    mfraser, while I don’t agree with V’s anti-Tuman rant, in her defense, she has never hidden the fact that she is a City employee. Think it has been pretty much common knowledge, since she went to work there. I wouldn’t expect her to announce that every time she does a new post to her blog. And, at the end of the day, this is her blog.

    Having read this blog from the days before she was a City employee, I doubt her current employment situation has anything to do with her opinion on the candidates. She has always been an independent thinker on these issues.

  111. mfraser

    I never said she hid that fact, but don’t at all agree that most folks reading her post, one of heightened interest to her normal posts, know that history at all. And yes, personally, I obviously think that creates some pretty strong bias, and should definitely be disclosed in my view of the world.

    You don’t think financial bias on election issues should be affirmatively disclosed?

  112. Colin


    Thank you for your shocking expose. Were it not for your diligent research I would never have known that V works for the library (except for the fact that she mentioned it again in the post she put up today) or that she scandalously discussed giving away transit passes to city employees (in lieu of paying for their parking, which was being discussed at the time).

    And thank god for your word on the street knowledge – which street pray tell did you find out whom V backs for mayor on? I’d like to know, because currently it seems to be the street running out of your ass.

    You’re combing the blog for scandals and sensationalism that just isn’t there. If you really care about your candidate, stop defending him here by attacking She Who Dares Not To Like Him and go volunteer for him – something you haven’t bothered to do, by your own admission.

    I know there’s a huge temptation to be righteous and indignant on the internet, but you’re not doing yourself, your city, or your chosen candidate any good here, and quite frankly you’re making yourself look like an idiot.

  113. Karen Bishop


    I didn’t make the numbers up out of thin air. If you read Matthai Kuruvila’s editorial yesterday you will see that he quoted Joe Tuman as admitting that 15 officers at most would take early retirement. So I started from that premise. We can all debate more or less the numbers of cops that would retire but I thought that would be a good starting place.

    The salaries for the retiring cops came from an SFGATE finding of the top 100 paid Oakland employees. While we don’t know the salary of the cops who decide to retire it is a safe bet many are highly paid. The part time hourly salary comes from other articles’ I’ve read about what part time retired state works are paid. And yes the $50,000 starting salary is a made up number in the sense that is what Joe would want a new recruit to start out at at the beginning of his/her career. However there is room for neogitation.

    We can debate numbers but you have to start somewhere. And I was trying to show there would be a savings when the retired cops pension costs are shifted to the State. The wages paid for part time pay is significantly less than a full time salary for a highly paid cop.

    Less officers retire and the more you have to pay a new recruit the less the savings. But if you can’t even begin with a starting point without getting totally blasted, then it doesn’t say a lot about the ability to have a reasonable debate.

    And while you may or may not be talking about me when you describe V hate, I don’t hate V. I’ve read this blog in the past and there are some interesting views posted by V. And just for the record I didn’t come to this blog because I heard something negative about Joe, I came to this blog, along with others to engage in a debate about politics. I happened upon the Joe doesn’t know Jack and thought it would be interesting to debate V.

    But V. doesn’t want to debate on this topic. She has made up her mind and whenever anyone challenges her she either says “read my previous posts” or I don’t like Joe Tuman because he doesn’t know anything. When challenged to give a specific example, she turns to “read my previous posts.” That’s not good enough in a debate. One has to engage the other person for dialogue to take place.

  114. mfraser

    I’ve been backchanneled to please document the point about the City of Oakland working in partnership with the County on foster care issues. Please note that on her first point, VSmoothe is quite disparaging about Tuman not knowing that this foster care is entirely under the auspices of the County.

    Here is what the all-knowing VSmoothe says as she takes Tuman to task, and note that what she views as his misunderstanding of this issue is what she declares as the turning point for her on dismissing him, and why she declares him “clueless.” She says:

    “Then, he went into this whole thing about how, as Mayor, he would reform the foster care system. Ooo-kay. Plan talk. I mean, yeah. If by “plain,” you mean “clueless.” Because, of course, the City does not run the foster care system and therefore it is not within the Mayor’s jurisdiction to change how children coming out of that system are dealt with, which I’m pretty sure dude knows absolutely nothing about anyway.
    So that’s when I decided I didn’t like Joe Tuman — about 10 minutes after I first saw him.”

    Ouch, Ms Smoothe, given the FACTS I’m about to lay out for you, what do you say now? I do have to ask, when it turns out that YOU are the one who in fact is ignorant on this issue, VSmoothe, do you apologize for your incorrect understanding and admit that you’ve in fact been schooled on this by Tuman, or do you stick to your guns regardless of the evidence and contrive weak defenses and dismissals?

    Remember, this ‘cluelessness’ on this issue on Tuman’s part that you assert was just so painful to you and completely unacceptable to you that you outright decide you don’t like him, and dismiss him. Is it unacceptable to you that YOU yourself are the one who is in point of fact clueless? It’s just so painful to ME, honestly, when the poorly informed lecture others from the vantage point of ‘know it all,’ like being an effective Mayor is a trivia test. Before slamming Tuman on this so aggressively, you really should do a little work to make sure you are informed. Or, are you just ignorant, and wear that ignorance as a badge? You even went to lengths to point out how his presence of knowledge makes him a ‘charlatan.’ Given how you spanked Tuman on this, just curious how you deal with the fact you are blatantly wrong and Tuman is right, the city is substantially involved in foster care issues, with planning, facilitation, task forces, and even direct funding – given that, do you apologize publicly and admit your ignorance on the isssue? To be consistent, do you dismiss yourself on such issues, admit your own ignorance, and withdraw your false complaints, bowing to Tuman’s correct assumptions on the issue? That would be the thing to do of most integrity, wouldn’t it; but, you ARE with the Perata camp seemingly, so I guess I don’t expect much consistency. Hypocracy is the watchword I ask you to ponder, look in the mirror and reflect on Ms SMoothe because you are guilty of the very thing you so vociferously condemn Tuman of, while in fact being quite wrong about him.

    Ok, here’s a couple of clear references to the strong City of Oakland support and policy on foster care issues. There’s lots more, but I have things to do right now, so more later if I have time. The evidence, however, is clear that Tuman’s assumption that the city does play a strong role in foster care is correct:

    Here’s evidence of actual funding that is under control of the city to dispense:
    “Staff also requests that the City Council respond to the Oakland WIB’s request for the right to
    evaluate where the $375,000 from its FY 06-07 budget should come from to serve formerly
    incarcerated individuals and young adults transitioning from the foster care system through a
    competitive bidding process. The proposal to resolve the budget impasse had a provision that
    specified that the $375,000 come from the Oakland PIC’s One Stop Career Center allocation. The
    WIB requests discretion in determining the source of the funds. Therefore the issue of where the
    $375,000 will come from remains unresolved. Per the City Attorney’s opinion, the Council, the
    WIB, and the Mayor must concur on the source of the $375,000 allocation.”

    Here are multiple Oakland City level proposals related to supporting foster care in Oakland that are discussed in
    Parent’s Council/ Oakland Focus on Families (O.F.F.)
    “Since it truly takes a village to raise a child and because prevention is a key element
    in healing our community, it is essential that the Oakland FY Office (see
    Recommendation 1), and the Foster Youth Liaison spearhead the Oakland Focus on
    Families (O.F.F.) initiative. OFF will consist of carefully screened parents, seniors, and
    educators, who share the goal of providing parenting advice to parents and other
    caregivers who may need parenting assistance, or are at risk of losing their children
    to the dependency or delinquency system. The group will meet to come up with a
    program, curriculum and presentation format. Initially this group will meet people and
    parents where they are. In other words, they will visit churches, schools, drug
    rehabilitation centers, group homes that cater to young parents (both female and male),
    and adult education schools. During these presentations, OFF participants will hand out
    brochures, offer advice, answer questions, and provide the names of organizations that
    may be able to provide assistance.”

  115. mfraser

    Colin, I think her lack of transparency on this is apparent. I just want honesty and disclosure, and don’t appreciate hidden agendas. The ad hom’s aren’t worth responding to. I think some folks will appreciate knowing these details.

    Interesting how Ms VSmoothe and her cronies don’t want to engage informed debate… I think that is transparent as well.

  116. woody


    I agree, lets leave it up to the surgical team of Dr. Perata, Dr. Quan and Dr. Kaplan to guide us thru this complex process/mess. They have done a bang up job so far.

    Perhaps Perata could have constructed your Ikea cabinet as well. Then every Sunday (save the bye week) you could look at that broken cabinet and be reminded of your failures.

    When are all you V-groupies heading to the “Keep fear Alive” convention? The the anti-Tuman vitriol and paranoia is palpable and that seems the perfect venue.

  117. mfraser

    And my point isn’t that such things are ‘scandalous,’ and I never assert they are. I just propose that one should disclose all biases that if disclosed might weaken one’s argument, particularly in a discussion of politics such as this, and given what several others have described as a ‘hit piece,’ which it seems that it is. Given your disdain for transparent disclosure are you a Perata fan as well, I wonder?

  118. Colin

    Okay mfraser,

    You’ve just discovered this blog and now you’re on to the secret agenda. Good on you.

    Still waiting on where you heard that V is a secret Perata operative. Or why that matters. Is her mission to undermine Tuman? And why would Perata care?

    V doesn’t like the guy, you do. So far nobody has accused you of having sinister ulterior motives.

  119. mfraser

    I don’t stand to gain, and that is apparent from my disclosures, except as a taxpayer! And this ‘gain’ is shared with most of my fellow taxpayers. My point is that VSmoothe’s interests do NOT coincide with most of the rest of us.

    I’ve explained the Perata trade off effect, and it’s been discussed elsewhere. I Believe that camp Perata Believes that Tuman is hurting them, and pushing them off some ballots. They are going to need a fair number of 2′s and 3′s to win this, and so Tuman bumping them off – even if they think Tuman himself can’t win – could cost them the election vis-a-vis Quan or Kaplan.

    Tuman is the ‘third leg’ that let’s the Anybody But Perata movement put together something coherent; vote Tuman, Kaplan, and Quan in any order. You even see that as an explicit endorsement now.

    Yes, as a taxpayer I have an agenda, and it is decidedly NOT the same as the 1% who are city workers getting 100% retirement or close to it with full benefits, at just age 55. Pretty sweet deal, and a pretty strong motivation for their collective and individual political stances.

    Consider what Willie “Partonage” Brown himself had to say on this, from January of this year – and note that given his reverse bias on this issue, in effect condemning his own prior record and position on this – I find him highly credible, so I just ask you to read and think carefully on this, considering the source (and for Oakland he end’s up being quite prescient on this, though really the hand has been writing on the wall for awhile on this issue):

    “If we as a state want to make a New Year’s resolution, I suggest taking a good look at the California we have created. From our out-of-sync tax system to our out-of-control civil service, it’s time for politicians to begin an honest dialogue about what we’ve become.

    Take the civil service.

    The system was set up so politicians like me couldn’t come in and fire the people (relatives) hired by the guy they beat and replace them with their own friends and relatives.

    Over the years, however, the civil service system has changed from one that protects jobs to one that runs the show.

    The deal used to be that civil servants were paid less than private sector workers in exchange for an understanding that they had job security for life.

    But we politicians, pushed by our friends in labor, gradually expanded pay and benefits to private-sector levels while keeping the job protections and layering on incredibly generous retirement packages that pay ex-workers almost as much as current workers.

    Talking about this is politically unpopular and potentially even career suicide for most officeholders. But at some point, someone is going to have to get honest about the fact that 80 percent of the state, county and city budget deficits are due to employee costs.

    Either we do something about it at the ballot box, or a judge will do something about in Bankruptcy Court. And if you think I’m kidding, just look at Vallejo.”

  120. mfraser

    Here’s VSmoothe wanting to ‘set the record straight’ when what seems to be her candidate is being called the ‘development candidate.’ This is a post with research over very small potatos – notice she doesn’t bother to defend Perata as not in the pockets of the developers, she just attacks the other candidates, since you can’t really credibly defend Perata on these issues. If she thinks that economic bias is worth addressing on such a small scale, why not with Perata? I think it’s because her politics are ‘Perata or bust.’

    This was from 2008, Nadel vs Sullian that she’s commenting about –

    “So there you have it (she says their development related contributions are roughly equal). Do what you want with the information, it isn’t all that interesting to me, but I felt like the record needed to be set straight. I won’t say that contributions are irrelevant, but it’s important to have the full picture.”

    So why no ‘full picture’ on Perata?? Hmmm… I wonder…. this is a much bigger election, the issue is FAR larger in this campaign, but guess what! – apparently it’s not worth addressing for some reason – especially I would guess if it doesn’t help your candidate to focus on what he doesn’t want anyone focusing on and where he’s really not defensible… hmmmm… little bit of inconsistency?

  121. V Smoothe Post author

    mfraser, you seem to be a very angry person. I suggest you take a little break and go do some yoga or something other calming activity. It will be good for your blood pressure.

    In any case. Yes, I work for the City. I am not sure why you think this is an exciting discovery – it isn’t like it’s a secret. I talk about it fairly frequently here.

    And yes, I am supporting Don Perata for Mayor, but I’m not sure why you seem to feel hoodwinked because you didn’t know that before. I mean, I think it should have been pretty obvious from the post that I’m not supporting Joe Tuman. I’m sorry if that was confusing to you.

  122. mfraser

    Really, you’ve openly admitted your support of Perata??? I’ve missed that – do tell where that is please? It seems that you’ve quite purposely danced around that rather critical point.

    I’m not at all angry, and in fact I’m amused that you would think that I am, although really I think that is just YOUR cheap rhetorical trick to paint me as enraged so you don’t have to respond when so clearly exposed as a poser, and as manipulative. But I am annoyed by people with hidden agendas who also distort the facts and repeatedly misrepresent. Does me pointing that out with extensive evidence make me seem angry to you? Maybe the facts just seem like a brutal slap to you? Sorry, but that isn’t my fault… your errors are your own, and you shouldn’t be upset unless my points to that effect are in some way wrong. I welcome you to ‘refute… my lunacy’ as your friend suggests, if you have anything of substance to say – which of course your actual lack of substantive response seems to indicate that you don’t.

    To the contrary, you are the one who comes off to me as angry with your ad hominum attacks against Tuman, while I attack your ARGUMENTS, not you, and instead of responding to my points, you just lob weak ad homs at me as well. My only ‘insults’ are to your integrity, and I stand by those as factually established at this point.

    I think you confuse my disdain for your contrived arguments and pretense of objectivity for anger. Again as that thing that seems to make you wince, EVIDENCE, consider your own nasty comments which demonstrate your extreme and unreasoned bias which includes in your piece on Tuman this verbage from you – see who really seems ‘angry’ (and here’s just a few zingers from you hurled at Tuman):

    “Joe Tuman doesn’t know Jack”

    “He’s a charlatan, folks. You’ve all been hoodwinked. He doesn’t know anything.”

    “He started out with this condescending line about how he was going to speak in “plain language”, as though the audience was too stupid to understand…”

    “you [Tuman] proceed to say something completely inane and hope people don’t notice. I think it’s awful. Anyway. So he did that thing, like he always does, and then he totally failed to answer the question…”

    “Plan talk. I mean, yeah. If by “plain,” you mean “clueless.” …I’m pretty sure dude knows absolutely nothing about [foster care jurisdiction] anyway.”

    “So that’s when I decided I didn’t like Joe Tuman — about 10 minutes after I first saw him.”

    So VSmoothe, no matter what you claim, YOU are the one who sounds “angry” and needs to chill, what’s more you are completely rude, offensive and insulting to Tuman while claiming HE is offensive and insulting to everyone else. Basically, you are the worst kind of political advocate, the person who does something horrible (see all evidence above and throughout your post) and then try to preemptively undercut the other person and accuse THEM of doing exactly what you’ve just done to / with them, just like Karl Rove! So how my arguments against your points and background, all factual, are so offensive while you’d like to pretend you are Ms Chill – well, that’s rich.

    I guess you just didn’t read any of my reasoning, and aren’t impressed by facts or reasoned argument. That’s fine, completely your choice; as long as any readers who might have given your point of view some credence are clear on your extemely pro union bias that you aren’t declaring, your own equally clear vested interest, and that you had no intention of doing anything but a hit piece on Tuman, that is my only concern in engaging this.

    I’m just saying I think these connections and biases of yours should be laid out clearly and affirmatively, another point I make that you have nothing to say to of substance. Again, where are these regular declarations of your support of Perata, which I’m not seeing? When you agree you are an active campaigner for Perata, I think that clears things up a fair bit for most people. I thought you were trying to leave the impression you come into this fairminded, giving Joe a fair shot and reviewing him objectively. You know, when you disingenuously say things like, “So I went to the forum genuinely curious about what this guy’s deal was.” You know, that statement that in light of the facts seems to be a total falsehood, given that you weren’t at all interested in giving him a fair chance, by all evidence I’ve pointed to, nor when the campaign even offers to have you meet with him, do you seem to have any interest at all, which given this context isn’t surprising.

    If we can agree that you have no such real sense of fairness or objectivity, fine, that accomplishes what I wanted and makes my point. It doesn’t seem to me on reading responses and comments people post here that in general people visiting hear are QUITE as clear on your biases and motivations as you seem to think or pretend to think… In fact, I think that was the whole point on your end, was the pretense of fairness and objectivity so people might care what you think.

    So I gather you have nothing to say about Tuman being right in assuming the city does have substantial interests and involvement with foster kids? Or the fact that you completely skewer him for being ‘clueless’ on the issue, then turn out to in fact be the one who is clueless? Just reread those comments you made about Tuman, and consider the truth as it’s now established. Again, just not reading the reasoning of the post I gather. Facts are overwhelming for you sometimes, I know, I get it. I won’t bother to deconstruct the rest of the half lies and full lies you lay out, given what you’ve already admitted and what you concede by your lack of ability to respond.

    Or any of the points about how you apply your standards with no consistency, reviewing the financial connections of some candidates and not others, particularly with Perata when the problems are so glaring?

    In fact I think you were the only one saying things that seem pretty angry, and although it seems such things as evidence and details are sort of lost on you, I don’t think they are to everyone. Sorry if the unmasking hurts, but if you have any sense of decency, it should; if it doesn’t, that even speaks louder about you than all the rest of this, and again established that with Perata you are at least in good company.

  123. mfraser

    Again, still waiting as to where you’ve ever publicly acknowledged your campaigning for and affiliation with Perata

    Just noticed this littel gem from the morning after your post went up.
    In item one you AGAIN state/imply/emphasize that you went in totally open to Joe… can we agree that is a lie, or will you just suggest it is a manipulative misrepresentation?
    In item two a snippy ad hom – are you angry? Or just mean spirited? Or just perpetually sarcastic?
    Item three is about you and your Perata buddies emailing back and forth about how to take down Joe – I guess you volunteered?
    Still pretending you are in any way open minded or objective?

    You say:

    Joyce –

    I think you misread my post. I didn’t decide I had a poor opinion of Joe Tuman before I knew anything about him – I decided that after I went to a candidate forum and in his response to the very first question, he talked about how he wanted to reform the foster care system, something the Mayor has absolutely no jurisdiction over at all. I have found his answers at the many forums I have attended since then, as well as those in his questionnaire, similarly ignorant.

    Diane –

    Since you asked – no, I am not, in fact, a former student of Mr. Tuman’s. I attended a much better school than the one he teaches at.

    Mary –

    Yes, I know he has no chance of winning. But there are few things that bother me more than taking pride in ignorance, and I knew from the moment I first read the MOBN! questionnaire, there was no way I could go through the election season without saying something about him. It didn’t actually take too much time to put together – I mostly compiled it from various e-mails I had sent over the past couple weeks to other engaged Oaklanders who are also frustrated with the fact that nobody has bothered to call him out on not knowing anything. The hardest part actually was editing it down to a reasonable length. I had to take about half of my quotes and stuff out, cause there were just too many.

  124. mfraser

    Umm – because people alert me, to paraphrase, “she pretends she is objective and open to all, but hides her real affilations and it’s really disturbing.” That’s how. Isn’t it interesting your groupies keep asking “how did you know” while saying “it doesn’t matter, who cares.” Why would you want to know how I found out if it doesn’t matter and doesn’t unmask manipulation and dishonesty on your part?

    So, where are these posts where you admit that affiliation to Perata? I’m just not seeing them. You do have hundreds you know. Isn’t it a little odd you NEVER actually discuss that particular point, with all your attacks and defenses of politicians and given how important this issue is, this particular election? I hope your readership is strong enough that it doesn’t fly to say “well you know so I must have been open about it.” I know because some people are getting annoyed with your pretense of objectivity, that’s how, and I decided after reading your piece it was fundamentally unfair, and in truth a ‘hit piece.’ You know, like when Perata has the Prison Guards people send out hit pieces with made up names. You know, like that.

    You can just try to pass this off, but I think the arguments stand on their own to anyone who values integrity and disclosure in politics. You have an extensive blog with hundreds of posts – did you forget to mention your Perata affiliation while emailing back and forth over the weeks so much material about Joe that you can’t even include it all? It’s just so manipulative and dishonest. Are you saying you’ve FORGOTTEN this entire time to ever mention that? Wow. If that works for your readers, good for you. I’d be pretty upset if I’d been trusting you over these last few years…

    And, others have commented on your objectivity because you attack everyone equally, haven’t they? I think that was Zennie… Now that doesn’t quite stand up so well, does it?

    Finally, you just never engage any of the arguments –

    How Tuman is actually right that County and City share responsiblity
    That you’ve slammed him with numerous insults while your post is replete with errors and falsehoods
    That you’ve pretended to your readers you are objective while having ulterior motives
    I know it is obvious NOW. The point is it wasn’t obvious before I posted this. Now it’s out there at least, so regardless you can’t pretend any more.

    Your friend says my lunacy will be exposed. So come on, expose why my argument is wrong. I dare you. When you’ve been busted and it’s true, all you can do is try to make light of it.

    You are the one who started by posting pages and pages of near slander against Tuman, now your position is, “who cares, yes I’m with Perata, but it’s all in fun”? You are a piece of work, that’s for sure.

    I’d love to see the emails back and forth with your cronies – “Let’s just make a few ad hom attacks and hope no one cares… No, I think we should answer him… No, we have to say something, but keep it short, and just ignore his arguments…” Haha. You are a card!

    “Damn, he’s calling us on this too…”

  125. ralph

    Thank you for the laugh.

    @those who had a question for me (LG?),
    sorry had stuff to attend to, fraser took the stage, and i don’t have the energy to scroll through to find your questions

  126. mel

    Wow I just discovered the wonderful powers of CTRL+F !

    With crime being a major issue and problem in Oakland, would any supporter of Tuman or Perata care to explain how electing Tuman or Perata will lead to reduced crime?

  127. Chris Kidd

    Boy, I sure wish people cared enough about Oakland policy issues to comment on ABO when it isn’t election season. This is essentially the only in-depth online policy, politics, and planning resource for Oakland, provided at no charge and without advertising. But sure, let’s look this gift-horse in the mouth. We all know that the Librarian’s lobby is a corrosive threat to our city’s integrity.

  128. mfraser

    Forum is of course appreciated, lack of honest disclosure or fabricated arguments from a ‘team’ putting together a purposeful hit piece, not so much.

    Why is attacking the argument someone makes, or their motives when documented and detailed, the same as attacking the person or the forum? That is just so weak. And if you really feel that way, why isn’t V the one you are directing that toward given her piece on Tuman? Go back and read her piece and count the insults, not to mention the false claims.

    If my argument is wrong, fine – call me out, explain why. And to add insult to injury, after V initiates this nonense and issues one long personal slam against Tuman with manufactured args, and MY statements are merely against her argument and her disclosure, yet you blame ME! Ha.

    Well, fine, no real debate here, just diatribes and fabricated arguments, red herrings and self congratulatory pats on the back. More slams about ‘such long posts,’ blah blah blah. Yes, very in depth debate, so insightful, so impressive; congratulations. Maybe this level of ‘debate’ and ‘argument’ is why Oakland gets what it does. I just came from Richmond, and that place with all its problems is better run that this one, by far, with even fewer resources, again by far. And people are more willing to engage in real argument, and confront the truth as best they can, although they have their hit police and election buyers, being Chevron’s sewer town. How sad. Is this what people meant when they disparagingly commented on me moving here, to “union town!”?

    P.S. I think the point is there IS no nice, friendly librarian lobby, just the real ones that are trying to decide this election with their cash, and fake posts and onslaught of ‘free’ election labor, and the pay-to-play folks aligned with them. Well, not really free since the voters are essentially funding it.

    All these ad homs are just another nice, cheap way to avoid real argument. Does that really work here? I guess it does based on the history, and seems like its close to working again, and despite everything in his record, Perata may prevail. So unbelievably transparent and shabby, whether it works with most people or not. But shameful nonetheless.

  129. mfraser

    You know one of the differences between here and Richmond, one that makes it clear how Richmond is doing a little better on the war against the self serving monied interests? Tom Butt. One guy who has devoted himself to the city with common sense on good government issues for time out of mind.

    He engages in these battles non stop, and has for decades, and he alone I believe has been the critical element. Gammon, while I’ve certainly taken him to task for largely ignoring Kaplan’s large missteps, makes some good efforts, and certainly has brought a lot of important info to the table, but my main complaint about him probably relates to his role as journalist and my personal view of what that should be, whereas in Richmond Tom Butt doesn’t have to pretend to objectivity (although he brings a good dose to the table).

    So he’s respected, and his banding together with a few other good government folks has made the Council balance of power close, and sometimes on his side. I just don’t see any reputable good government advocate here, or a culture that seems much interested.

  130. whatthe&@#doweknow?

    wow! 1st time poster here, and I have to say – boy, do things get heated and personal on here. There seem to be some relatively informed and intelligent people who, for rather uninformed and emotional reasons support or oppose their candidates of choice (or of distaste) with a great degree of enthusiasm or vitriol that makes them seem to completely ignore the actual stated points of their “opponents” while going off on tangents completely unrelated.

    Quite amusing.

    Having said that, it also appears that folks want very much to have “full disclosure” of who one supports – although I doubt very much it is for the stated reasons of objectivity and transparency – it seems to me that the candidate one supports is directly and proportionally related to how posters on here determine whether one is sane, their arguments valid, etc. There seems to be absolutely NO objective evaluation of arguments on their merits, but rather attacks based upon one’s belief in one’s own candidate or else disdain for another.

    FULL DISCLOSURE (although based on my observations, any arguments I may post after this will either be completely dismissed, regardless of their logic our soundness by those who oppose my candidate, or embraced by those who support him – but oh, well – let’s have fun!): I support Don Perata for Mayor. I am NOT an Oakland Police Officer, NOT a developer or city employee. I am NOT a well-heeled campaign donor (I DID donate $100). I AM a long time Oakland resident. I am a working class stiff. And I pay attention.

    Someone earlier in this string, who is apparently rabidly anti-Don Perata linked to a Time Magazine article on what makes for great mayors.

    I find it instructive that the article starts thusly:

    Richard Daley / Chicago
    Richard the Second
    He wields near imperial power, and most of Chicago would have it no other way. Two years ago, Richard Daley was re-elected to his fifth term with 79% of the vote. His annual budgets are routinely passed with only token opposition. He controls public housing, public schools and the city council. He is cozy with Big Business, is a master at the ward politics of fixing streetlights, and he speaks with a blunt, blue-collar brio that Chicagoans find endearing.

    “There’s never been a [U.S.] mayor, including his dad, who had this much power,” says Paul Green, professor of policy studies at Chicago’s Roosevelt University. And he’s used it to steer the Windy City into a period of impressive stability, with declining unemployment and splashy growth.

    From the days of Daley’s legendary father, sometimes known as Richard the First, Chicago’s national reputation as a bare-knuckle city of backroom deals by the Democratic faithful and their labor-union allies has always held a lot of truth. But Daley has professionalized the city by hiring skilled managers and burnished its business-friendly image by strengthening connections to global firms like Boeing, which relocated its headquarters to town, and to white-shoe industries like banking, financial services and law.

    In his 16 years at city hall, Daley, 62, has presided over the city’s transition from graying hub to vibrant boomtown, with a newly renovated football stadium, an ebbing murder rate, a new downtown park, a noticeable expansion of green space and a skyline thick with construction cranes. As federal and state dollars flowing to the city have dried up, he has used his influence to persuade corporations and the wealthy to kick in for big-ticket attractions, like the $475 million Millennium Park, nearly half of which was paid for by private donations.

    Daley’s unchecked power sometimes short-circuits public debate. In 2003, under cover of night, he unexpectedly dispatched wreckers to demolish Meigs Field, a tiny downtown business airport that he called a security risk but preservationists had been fighting to save.

    Now, it seems to me that those on here who oppose Don Perata actually oppose him for sharing the very same traits as are listed here for Chicago Mayor Richard Daley:
    “Wields imperial power” “cozy with big business” “master at ward politics” “bare knuckle backroom deals”

    It also notes some of the things that I have heard Senator Perata say over and over again: he would professionalize city hall, hire competent professional managers and hold them accountable, etc.

    So, if those are the traits necessary in a big city mayor, regardless of whether they make a person “likeable” or warm and fuzzy, and the person that cites this article believes this to be true, do folks believe that Don Perata owns these particular characteristics/skills and if so, don’t we want them in OUR city hall?

    The next Mayor the Time article outlines is Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, and it says:

    How did Franklin respond? She started by committing what might have been political suicide. She cut 1,000 jobs from the city payroll and got the city council to approve a 1% sales-tax hike and a 50% bump to property taxes. To prove she could take it as well as dish it out, she laid off half her staff and cut her own salary by $40,000.

    To restore faith in the local government, Franklin shepherded through the city council a new ethics code for municipal employees. She corralled 75 private firms to conduct studies of Atlanta’s budgetary, infrastructure and homeless problems and perform a massive audit of the city government—pro bono. She organized a task force she called the Pothole Posse to go after the city’s crumbling streets. She kept a running tally of cracks that were filled, combining good stewardship with quality political theater.

    Aren’t these in fact the self-same themes that Perata has hammered home at every debate that he has appeared at? (other than the hike to property taxes which he has said he would only do after earning the trust of Oakland voters that the city is actually working more effectively and efficiently with the money we already give city hall) He keeps talking endlessly about potholes and sweating the small things so that people trust the city to tackle the big ones (not a favorite line of mine, I must admit – I am actually far less concerned with potholes and street lights than I am with crime and education, but that’s a valid point he makes, I think)

    I guess the point I really want to make is this: being the mayor of a complex urban environment such as Oakland is a tough, demanding job that requires a tough, demanding person with a complex set of skills and a time-tested ability to deliver results in challenging government environments against difficult odds. As much as I personally like many of the so-called “minor” candidate and find their commitment to our city refreshing and inspiring, and as much as I am impressed with Joe Tuman’s polish and presentation, our city is facing crises of epic proportions that require tested leadership. If you have been paying any attention at all over the last 20 years (I have been a resident for 21 and will admit I was more focused on adapting my first year here than I was on what was happening politically), then you know that, regardless of what you think of Don Perata as a person, or how “challenged” you may think he is ethically (and I must admit – it seems to me personally that the only real challenges I have read in regards to his “ethics” have come from one source, and they have amounted to nothing more than accusations and allegations, innuendo of improprieties, etc. Regardless of WHAT your stance is in regards, for instance, to the FBI investigation of Mr. Perata, I would ask if ANY of us could stand up to 5 years of scrutiny, 3 grand jury investigations, and be cleared of wrongdoing, and not still have to face the questioning stares and/or doubtful rejoinders of our friends, family and neighbors who wonder just what happened and why we would be investigated if we were truly innocent – but I digress!)

    As I was saying, if you have been paying attention, you know that for 20 years (or maybe its more – 21 or 22?), Don Perata has been representing our city, and has brought jobs, housing, transportation, health care services, public safety protections (does ANYBODY remember that it was Don Perata that passed the sideshow law? or the assault weapon ban that became a model for the nation?) – the man flat out gets things done.

    I will never argue with anyone about the character of the man – I don’t know him like that. In fact, I have no idea what ANY of the people running for Mayor are like behind closed doors. I don’t know how they treat their spouses or children, whether they are kind to their staffs, treat their pets well, or have never had a speeding ticket in their life. I trust that they all pay their taxes every year (sorry, Mr. Dellums!), that, like ALL of the rest of us, they never cheat on those taxes or overstate a deduction or two here or there (we ALL are clean on this one, right?), etc.

    However, I have to be honest – I could CARE LESS!!! Sure, it would be great to have a person in office that I could go have a beer with, enjoy a few laughs, and feel like we shared common values. But I believe we tried that with George Bush, and the outcome was a little less than desirable.

    What I want in office is someone that has the stones to get make tough decisions, the resources and relationships to bring business, jobs, and dollars to our city, and the ability, like former State Assembly Speaker Jess “Big Daddy” Unruh used to say, when it comes to the special interests in the city, “can eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women and then vote against them”

    Don Perata is the only one in this race that has a career of having done just that.

  131. mfraser

    When has Perata stood up to the interests that have funded him? That’s the part I’m missing. Gun control, pension increase provisions, Raider’s deal, etc, are all exactly what his patrons have demanded. You ignore that one little fact.

  132. Born in Oakland

    It’s a dirty little town this Oakland and maybe we need a mayor with a little dirt in his background.

  133. RdwithCypress

    Hi, Born in Oakland and whatthe&@#doweknow?

    During the beginning of the campaign I too supported Don. Then I saw the details of the FBI, “Famous But Incompetent” investigation which clearly ties him to Contractor DeSilva. DeSilva somehow gets an very unreasonable percentage of Oakland Contracts. They are making millions on the City when these contracts are supposed to go to competitive bidding and be shared with small Oakland businesses. Then if you take a look at Don’s campaign contributors you will find most of the Major Developers donating to him. Tuman, Quan and Kaplan haven’t taken this money. I want a strong Mayor but I also want one who is accountable to constituents more than outside interests.

  134. RdwithCypress

    A really great Mayor Forum last night. Joe Tuman came out and said something is wrong with the fact that only 3 contractors get all the bids on Oakland’s clean up, and fire abatement contracts. He actually used the word cronyism at least 2 times. Nice job Joe! It is exactly what it appears to be…. Arnie Fields said he would fire most of the code inspectors and all of their management and use the savings to go to Schools and Cops….

  135. Naomi Schiff

    This idea that Perata would be our “daley” and “get things done” is propaganda. Arguments about “has the stones” are dog whistles to the testosterone crowd. If Don were so tough he wouldn’t need to take so very much money from groups such as the (for crying out loud) prison guards! What are the priorities of that group for Oakland, do you think? This is not about surviving an FBI inv. This is right now. Perata is currently paid quite well by the prison guards. Why?

    Okay, what about Don’s running to the police station or the police union whenever he needs press? How is this person going to be a tough negotiator with the police? Answer: He can’t. He owes them. It’s not about the FBI. This is right now. Mr. Perata has some virtues, but objectivity and toughness are not among them. I voted for him for senator. I am not voting for him for mayor.

    In my many years as a business owner I have generated my own income. Don’s method is to nicely integrate a large income with political power. Not what I see as a good mayor. Not by a long shot.

  136. len raphael

    Naomi,explain to me how Perata owes some tremendous debt to the what 600 active member OPOA? or how his political debt to the much bigger prison guard’s union would affect his decisions as mayor in Oakland?

    600 cops vs 2 or 3 thousand SEIU members supporting Quan, plus the SEIU’s vaunted political advisory people? Surely the SEIU has a much greater stake in the outcome of this election than the Prison Guards.

    Or are we supposed to worry whether Perata will quadruple the arrest rate here in order to provide more work for the prison guards?

    -len raphael,
    Perata for Mayor, Killian for Auditor

  137. livegreen

    I’m still with Dax on this, being undecided, but leaning towards Max for Kaplan (disclosure). I have a couple questions for Perata supporters from Don’s website:

    –Under Economic his 1st point is “Prop 1C – Wrote Prop 1C that authorized $2.8 billion to fund affordable housing, transit-oriented developments and farm worker housing, directly benefiting the Transit Village at MacArthur BART.”

    What/where is the Transit Village at MacArthur BART? (Is this yet to be built or did he get the wrong Bart station);

    –As part of the State office, I see all that he did for the State. But part of his job is to represent Oakland & bring home the bacon for the City and its citizens (especially if he’s going to run for Mayor). So what did he bring home for us? From his website:

    -Re-entry Programs: $5 million.

    Now to be fair he does list other things he did for the City besides bringing money home. Like saved OUSD from bankruptcy, founded OPL, founded GASP, $1 billion for clearn air around the Port, founded Castlemont Corridor Violence Prevention, and others.

    But $5 million for the City? Is this “getting the job done” for Oakland? Please ask Don to make his list longer to help build support among us undecideds.

  138. Naomi Schiff

    He did NOT save OUSD from bankruptcy. He engineered a deal that ended up costing OUSD about 80 million in indebtedness to the state, attempted to work a land deal to sell off valuable publicly owned parcels to his friends, and then when that failed, changed his mind about the state takeover. It wasn’t very helpful. OUSD spent millions on consultants, ended up with a parade of short-lived city administrators, and now owes even more. Perata has done some good things but he has not been involved on a grassroots level in Oakland’s neighborhoods over the long term, and he has taken way way too much money from lobbyists to act independently.

  139. ralph

    I can’t speak at length about the MacArthur BART TOD but I do recall it being part of the Oakland/BART TOD plans. I first learned of it 4 yrs ago when I was googling Oakland Development plans. It is listed on the projects list. When completed it will transform the area around the McArt Bart Station.

  140. Chris Kidd

    LG, the MacArthur BART TOD/Transit Village has yet to be built. Slides 40-42:
    I believe the current development team is going to build out a section of the agreed TOD while retaining rights to construction of another area until the market improves. On a side note, BART is one of the worst agencies to deal with when trying to partner with private development. Their different departments are completely siloed from each other so that the priority of one department can get steamrolled by the priorities of another and they rarely bother to communicate. It makes private investment very cautious with BART because they never know if their project will get scrapped after they’ve spent multiple months working with BART.

  141. livegreen

    I just called a couple of the candidates offices, & was informed that the BART MacArthur Transit Village is in the works. So this appears legit, though I wonder how far down the road & why we haven’t heard of it before. Good to know it’s being discussed though & that Don got some funding for it.

    Chris and Ralph, reading your posts now…

  142. Naomi Schiff

    MacArthur BART transit village (why do I somehow dislike that t. v. name; perhaps because it makes me think goats, hens, happy peasants singing folk tunes as they hop aboard colorfully painted rickety trolleys?) has been the subject of many years of meetings, discussions, stakeholder groups, city redevel. activities, in addition to getting money from state. (Bridge Housing’s former director, Carol Galante, who was involved, was in the meantime apptd. by Obama to HUD.) Perata liked steering money around in the Senate, and I have no quarrel with it. He shouldn’t be mayor though.

  143. livegreen

    So “Getting this done” takes more than getting funding.

    I have to say that, compared to Rebecca and Jean’s websites, Don’s lacks detail about any plans he might (or might not) have. Is this a harbinger?

  144. DontBotherDelores

    livegreen, i thought you lived in North Oakland. Didn’t you attend any of the meetings about this? The Transit Village will break ground next year and be open in 2013. I don’t live there but I know this. I think there may have even been a blog here about it.

    This is not a defense of Perata but something you should just know. It is true and it is underway.

  145. Naomi Schiff

    To livegreen’s question. Yes, Don has seemed to feel he needn’t explain any of his ideas. And if you skip most of the debates, you don’t have to answer many tough questions. He really hasn’t been all that involved in life in Oakland.

  146. Oaklander

    Anybody have an opinion on Terence Candell?

    I’ve eliminated everybody else. Getting desparate.

  147. Dax

    Candell is the tops, as in “interesting”…

    I have never heard him in person but others here seem to indicate he makes the various forums/debates most interesting.

    He posted here once but hasn’t been heard of in several weeks.
    Perhaps mention of him will bring him forth to post again.

    If you go to his site, he has music.

    He seems to have a very high opinion of himself and his views (as do many of the candidates or they wouldn’t run)

    Look at what they said today in the Tribune
    As mayor he would launch a $100 million jobs program to train residents and put them to work.

    He said he would find the money for the programs by cutting off public subsidies for large developers and charging nonresidents a commuter tax and a toll tax that would generate a combined $480 million a year. He estimates that a city-created theme park would generate $150 million a year.

    You can’t beat stuff like that.

    At least he puts numbers on the stuff he proposes, unlike others who say they “can’t say” until they do a comprehensive study of the finances…blah, blah, blah…

    How about “A Candell, to light the way”

    Or “You CAN hold a Candell to Oakland’s darkness”

    Or…”With Candell -> Oakland Can-Do”

    What do ya think?

  148. RdwithCypress

    Wow, has everyone seen this! Michael Kilian is a incredible auditor to have found this one. This is incredible. It ties in directly to what Joe Tuman said at the last debate!

    Michael Kilian, candidate for Oakland City Auditor, submits Conflict of Interest Complaint to Oakland Public Ethics Commission
    On October 10, 2010, Michael Kilian, who is opposing Courtney Ruby in the campaign for Oakland City Auditor, submitted a compl aint to the Oakland Public Ethics Commission alleging that Inspection Services Manager Antoinette Renwick failed to report a familial relationship with her department’s primary blight abatement/cleanup contractor, Arthur Young Debris Removal Service, which constitutes a conflict of interest.

    Kilian states this one example of nepotism appears to have cost the City more than $1 million each year in cleanup contracts.

    Renwick, who became Inspection Services Manager in 2002, appears to have retired October 15, five days after Kilian’s complaint was filed with PEC Executive Director Dan Purnell.

    Courtney Ruby’s nepotism audit does not appear to have detected or corrected this example of nepotism. A 2007 audit of Public Works bidding found that Arthur Young was also the #1 Public Works contractor.

    For Details see the link!

  149. Dax

    Well, that report in the link leaves a lot to be desired.

    What kind of familial link are we talking about?
    Is there competitive bidding on the contracts.
    Where is the text of the “report/complaint” that was submitted?

    On the other hand, looking up the position involved we see the common Oakland type salary involved.

    $128,510 base
    $ 19,411 “other”
    $147,921 total pay

    Oh yes, and if the person in question did actually retire, it appears they will receive a minimum pension of
    $131,851 * at age approximately 59.

    Thus expected to collect such pension for approximately 23.5 years.
    Or a bit over $3,000,000 total, plus monthly medical payments of approx. $425

    That being 102.6% of their base.
    However, in that “other” pay may be some compensation that is available to be included in their “highest year” income for the purposes of pension calculation.

    *(unless they are part of one of the discontinued pension plans)

    I think its important to keep up with what Oakland city employees are making, lest we lose sight of what normally is unseen by the public.

  150. Dax

    Slight correction, since I used male CalPERS life expectancy above.

    That 59 year old “female” would actually be expected to live to 85.4
    Or about 26.4 years.

    Thus, if collecting a pension of $131,851, they would actually collect
    about $3,480,866 over their expected retirement.

    Plus up to another $134,640 in medical payments.

    Grand total, $3,615,506

    Not a bad retirement package, I’m sure it all makes financial sense in the decades to come.
    No need to worry about it now.
    Besides, messy financial data only serves to confuse the voters (and most of the council)

  151. ralph

    I am somewhat surprised you have not heard of the MacArthur Transit Village. I was not even living in Oakland when I first learned about it and you have been here much longer than I. If you like, we can an in-depth discussion about MacArthur T.V. at BOTR event this week.

    Websites are a poor measure of the candidate. Rebecca has a bunch of the web fanatics on her team. This stuff appeals to her primary demographic. Candell site is not all that spectacular. Quan’s is okay. Perata has leaflets which address his plan. You can find it at your library.

    One can conduct an audit and not detect fraud or other abuses. Auditors use statistical sampling to select the items to test. As a result, not all items are tested, and some things might go undetected. I suspect Kilian knew what to look for to prove a point. And from what you presented, there is no way of knowing if this deal resulted in a worse outcome for the city.

  152. RdwithCypress

    Thank you Dax for quantifying the potential losses due to nepotism. And to answer your question and to be completely clear, Ruby was given this inference in a whistle blower complaint. She has had the thread for a long time and not done anything about it. She is not the only one either. Thank you for your comments. The relationship looks like a direct family member. I hope they can do something about the pension. Believe me when I say I know exactly the cost to the city. Low bids accepted and then change orders approved etc. Not only cost the City but the homeowners even worse.

  153. Karen Bishop

    Re: Transit Village. The latest information I can find is a letter from the City Administrator in 2009. Within the letter there is a time line for the completion of the TV. The City’s estimate is that it will take until 2023 to complete. The replacement of the BART parking lot is supposed to break ground next year, then two years after that the first low income 90 unit rental building is to be built (with more projects after that). I couldn’t find any newer information so not sure if the 2011 parking lot is on target.

  154. RdwithCypress

    Since were talking about Joe Tuman who spoke directly about cronyism at the last mayoral forum. Let’s talk about the so called transit village. I would say Tuman does know Jack.

    The transit village project is being handled by the Aegis Group

    Aegis used to use a certain political lobbying company (unregistered of course) by the name of the Enterprise Group for dealings with a little company called PPD Merritt I, LLC.

    PPD sold its project property to the City at a great profit and avoided foreclosure as a result of the CEDA.

    The kicker is that Enterprise Group is/was Walter Cohen the current Director of CEDA.

    Talk about cronyism. The whole thing is a back room deal. All of these guys donate directly to Don Perata. I bet that Kaplan knows this but if she doesn’t then she was duped.

  155. Karen Bishop

    Also from reading about Prop 1C, the bond money was raised but communities throughout California had to apply for the money from the state, similar to writing a grant.

  156. Naomi Schiff

    Yes. As they say, follow the money. I have been watching the secretary of state contribution site for some time now. It is just lists, but it is fairly accessible and quite interesting, although not up to date and not local enough for a mayoral race. Because Perata was a state politician, you can see quite a lot, though.

  157. len raphael

    John G. get your facts straight: I am a zayde (as of 6/1/10) not a bubbe.

    I forgive you my son, for supporting Joe.

    I’m working up the coordinates of a square mile block area in East O and then make a bet with you about the racial composition of Joe’s supporters.


  158. RdwithCypress

    good god, did no one hear me about Aegis? The connection to CEDA director Walter Cohen and Don Perata is clear as a bell. The insiders are making millions on these deals and the only one who seems to care is Joe Tuman. Did you hear him talk about the cronies at the forum at holy names? He actually stood up for this part of the discussion. Aegis=PPD=enterprise group=desilva=greg fisher=Walter Cohen=DON PERATA = Valdez Property = Transit Village?!?. For God Sake, No one thinks this is a problem?! Where the hell is the FBI!

  159. len raphael

    For Joe Tuman comic relief, watch the Humanist Hall Mayoral Forum where Joe deadpan answers a question about inclusionary zoning, by declaring that it’s not fair to poor people when the lower income housing units are located in remote corner of a development, but should be “blended” in with the market rate units.

    I love it when a guy who lives in a Crocker Highlands single family residence tells his fellow citizens that they have to blend with their less fortunate fellow Oaklanders.

    -len raphael
    Perata for Mayor
    Kilian for Auditor to keep Don on the straight and narrow.

  160. Naomi Schiff

    I think there are quite serious Perata ethics problems. Just for an example, here’s the link to the “hope 2010″ committee, Perata’s “cancer” committee.

    Total expenditures $780,000 for 2010 Jan-Oct.
    Link to expenditures:

    Okay, what is interesting about this? Out of 780,000, 20,000 given to actual cancer charity, apparently. The rest all campaign expenses of some kind. There is no cancer measure on the ballot, right? Lots of payments for campaign services, though. The address is up the street from me and is entirely festooned with Perata for mayor signs.

  161. mfraser

    “Listen, Jeff–you–you don’t understand these things–you mustn’t condemn me for my part in this without–you’ve had no experience–you see things as black or white–and a man as angel or devil. That’s the young idealist in you. And that isn’t how the world runs, Jeff–certainly not Government and politics. It’s a question of give and take–you have to play the rules–compromise–you have to leave your ideals outside the door, with your rubbers. I feel I’m the right man for the Senate. And there are certain powers–influence. To stay there, I must respect them. And now and then–for the sake of that power–a dam has to be built–and one must shut his eyes.
    It’s–it’s a small compromise. The
    *best* men have had to make them. Do
    you understand?
    I know how you feel, Jeff. Thirty
    years ago–I had those ideals, too.
    I was *you*. I had to make the
    decision you were asked to make today.
    And I compromised–yes! So that all
    these years I could stay in that
    Senate–and serve the people in a
    thousand honest ways! You’ve got to
    face facts, Jeff. I’ve served our
    State well, haven’t I? We have the
    lowest unemployment and the highest
    Federal grants. But, well, I’ve had
    to compromise, had to play ball. You
    can’t count on people voting, half
    the time they don’t vote, anyway.
    That’s how states and empires have
    been built since time began. Don’t
    you understand? Well, Jeff, you can
    take my word for it, that’s how things
    are. Now I’ve told you all this
    because–well, I’ve grown very fond
    of you–about like a son–in fact,
    and I don’t want to see you get hurt.
    Now, when that Deficiency Bill comes
    up in the Senate tomorrow you stay away from it.Don’t say a word. Great
    powers are behind it, and they’ll
    destroy you before you can even get
    started. For your own sake, Jeff,
    and for the sake of my friendship
    with your father, please, don’t say
    a word.”
    Mr Smith Goes to Washington, 1939

    Having observed this Oakland election cycle for just a few months, and the random walk of public opinion which is the status quo right now, I don’t personally believe Oakland is ready for the basic principles of good government just yet. Maybe it won’t ever be, but I’m optimistic that real efforts can be made to get a group together to begin to make a real stand if some lessons from this election can be reflected upon and learned.

    When you have someone like Perata, who probably rightly so thinks he can ignore all the electorate that is reading and thinking about the issues, and win just by running $1 million of commercials with just a slogan and his name and saying “I’d be proud to be your mayor, and honored to have your vote,” and that probably will by and large be enough, when combined with a few other tricks like having his union patrons pump the boards full of nonsense posts and defenses and red herrings, what hope is there for this election right now? The funny thing is that the vast majority of voters don’t even live in the areas that most of the small numbers of posters on boards like this one do, and I just don’t think a lot of the people in Oakland are having any kind of meaningful dialogue about the election with what’s going on in their lives and the challenges they are facing.

    The folks on here who read and think and know Perata’s corrupt to the bone, with all the evidence out there and $500k in personal payments from the prison guards for past favors given and hundreds of thousands more in ads from those same kinds of groups for past favors given b(since he can’t really do much for them going forward), and still these people say “he’s our man,” well I just don’t know what you do about that, not right now, today, 10 days before the election.

    As I posted yesterday, I do know that in Richmond they have a cranky old fellow named Tom Butt who is their Jefferson Smith, and he’s been able to cobble together enough voters through his reputation for honesty and integrity and his clean hands approach to politics to stay elected (sometimes barely, amazingly, and not b/c Chevron and others don’t keep trying). He’s parlayed that spot on the Council into several other seats, with a few other good government advocates, but as I mentioned sometimes he gets the slight majority, and sometimes they get it back. There’s a real lesson out there in Richmond for us, that just one person even, or a few, can begin to make a difference in changing the basic nature of a city. It’s true though that Richmond is only 100,000 people, and we are 4x the size, so maybe that changes the equation; but we have to find the right people to carry this torch, and I think it can be done.

    Politics here are seriously broken, and that’s fairly obvious if one makes even the most modest effort to peel back the covers from what’s going on, with graft deals like have being highlighted by people like Joe Tuman and Robert Gammon and the Chronicle, but no one even really seems to care! Perata and Co almost don’t even try to hide it, it’s so brazen and their confidence that they control the system and determine the outcomes is so high. Specific, detailed examples are out there and even well know, and even those few people paying attention bumble on to ask “what’s their plank on transit village funding” rather than are these honest people who will make decisions for the common good, and have decent ethics and principles. Even Kaplan and Quan aren’t riding against the special interests, because they just have their own set, and Quan’s even overlaps with Perata’s in many ways. He’s just got the law enforcement unions, and she’s got the rank and file service workers.

    The people who do care and know that all these claims that all this corruption is just how is a bunch of bunk, they need to seek each other out and band together, and find our Jefferson Smith and Tom Butt characters to begin to push back the tide on this sea of corruption that’s drowning Oakland. Until then, we are going to keep getting wave after wave of back room deals, and pension payoffs, and ‘consulting fees,’ and no bid contracts, and on and on, and guess what, there won’t be enough left to run the city properly.

    It seems to me Perata’s wash of money is going to probably carry the day for the forces of evil given how little focus there is on the rampant corruption and self dealing, and what little priority that issue even is in this community at this moment, and I hope I’m wrong, but it spurs me on all the more to hold the line and vote for people with any ounce of integrity in the election and vote on principle alone right now. Then I think the plan has to be to begin to look beyond this election to figure out how to find some stronger candidates – good government folks, people of principal – who can rise to fill the need that is just so painfully obvious.

  162. Dax

    “festooned”… Now that’s a word that isn’t used enough these days.

    Or in this instance one might say that location is “infestooned” with signs.

    Go to the nearest high school and ask the first dozen students what “festooned” means.
    I’ll give two-bits for every kid who knows the correct meaning.

    Now, regarding
    The Cancer “Hope 2010″ funds…

    The $780,000 expenditures…

    GOOD GOD, if that wasn’t a crime, it should be. If a trust custodian had done that with a widow’s trust, he be sent to jail for 5-10 years and forced to pay full restitution

    I am undecided on this mayoral race, but I’d like to hear from a Perata support on how one can justify that legal thievery at that “Hope 2010″ cancer fund.

    They just drained every drop of blood from the poor thing.

    Oh, they did spend $29,000 of “cancer” money on “NO ON PROP. 11″ which was the prop that was written to make redistricting fairer by taking it out of the legislature’s hands.

    Sounds like paying to defeat that measure is the opposite of trying to cure cancer.

    BTW, this year the same con-artists are trying to repeal Prop 11 by foisting Prop 27 onto the public.

    These types never give up trying to grab power away from the people.

    Anyway, regarding the cancer funds in Perata’s cancer committee, it looks like all the money was looted.


  163. Karen Bishop


    I think it is funny that you sign off after every comment with Don Perata for Mayor and Kilian for Auditor to keep Don on the straight and narrow. Sounds like you know there are major ethics problems with Don. What if Ruby becomes auditor? What if Don spends time side stepping Kilian? If Don becomes mayor I think the citizens are going to have to take over the investigation of complaints to keep the City honest. This is going to be an exhausting next 4 years!

  164. Karen Bishop


    Joe Tuman is right about inclusionary zoning. It isn’t fair to put low income housing in a remote corner of a development. Or let’s take it one step further. When a developer is allowed to build market rate condos or rentals in return for setting aside some many units as low income, developers are allowed to put the units on the other side of town. They don’t even have to build the low income units near the market rate units. This just seems to be skirting the intent of having affordable housing units.

    It would make more sense to have different levels of socioeconomic groups living in close proximity. White flight decimated neighborhoods leaving behind the poorest people. This certainly didn’t help West Oakland, East Oakland, or insert your neighborhood throughout America.

  165. Naomi Schiff

    It takes time, but browsing the secretary of state contribution site is edifying with regard to Mr. Perata, even though it doesn’t have the full story in that it does not cover the local mayoral campaign of course. But you can see the money whipping around in circles from crony to crony to Don to crony to campaigns. We’d need a fulltime auditor just to keep up with Don himself, in the unlucky case he became mayor.

  166. Dax

    You know, I posted up above about a Oakland employee retiring at age 59.

    They were not the highly publicized “police and fire” we so often hear about.

    They were not in a position that requires a 4 year degree.

    Yet they leave their city job with future retirement compensation of over THREE MILLION SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS.

    Hardly a eyebrow is raised here.
    We have come to accept such largess as the norm.

    And people wonder why Oakland is in such financial straits.


    Does anyone here have anywhere near that amount of money put away for their retirement.
    Is anyone else here a multi-millionaire?

    I see the same in my own neighborhood.
    The only ones with multi-million dollar retirements are…you guessed it, former employees of Oakland and Oakland specific agencies.

    If you were to predict such a condition 50 years ago, city workers and citizens would have thought you were mad.
    Now it passes almost without comment.

    What would have been considered abusive is now accepted.

    And to think there are some who actually feel the citizens should pass a additional $360, parcel tax, so that we can keep multi-million dollar pensions in place.

    Fungible, the money the city gets is fungible. Out of your pocket and into theirs, regardless of all the reasons they give.

    A world gone mad.

  167. Jonathan C. Breault

    Joe Tuman has a different take on issues than V Smoothe. That is apparent. What is not so clear, however, is that in light of this fact Joe Tuman “doesn’t know jack”. No matter how well thought out this diatribe might be and no matter how sincere the author might be the ridiculous, blanket declarations of opinion render the piece specious and irrelevant. The author is a veritable child with practically no life experience that people would find edifying. Her perceptions are skewed, albeit normal for a person barely over the age of 30. Young people are on the one hand bounding with energy, idealism and sometimes even a bit of knowledge. The stridency of the opinion is often a reflection of the wholesale absence of historical context or comprehension of the much more nuanced aspects of life that they have not yet encountered, been challenged by and learned from. I did read the entire piece but V Smoothe lost me early on with the strident, patronizing and ridiculously opinionated skewering of Tuman. Dismissing this guy in this manner diminishes the author’s credibility. Tuman is a serious guy with a point of view that is worth investigating. The cavalier and immature prattling about the efficacy of his platform is immature and fatuous.

  168. Oaklander

    First off I want to complement mfraser for his writing. You have talent. You also made so good points about Smoothe’s attack on Tuman which was overboard.

    That said, I want to give my ten cents on the ten candidates.

    Perata: We do not want a John Daley style mayor in Oakland. Chicago is a big tough town with a murder rate comparable to Oakland’s and a police force that is known for shooting first and asking questions later. Not a good model. I don’t think Perata measures up to Daley anyway. Perata is an old lefty who turned into a semi corrupt politician and he can’t play the tough guy role that well anyway. Maybe he’s Italian, but he ain’t one of the Sopranos. He also ain’t Cuomo. So he’s nowhere.

    Quan: She doesn’t impress me as any better than Perata.

    Kaplan: She would be better off opening a law office or running for city attorney. She’s competent, but she is hanging her whole career and future on getting elected mayor. This woman has got the credentials to do anything she wants with a MIT degree and Stanford law school. Why risk being mangled in high profile Oakland politics at her young age? And let’s be honest, the average voter isn’t going to want a lesbian in a man’s suit and black patent leather shoes representing Oakland.

    Tuman: He’s annoying, picky, elitist, but maybe that is good. I like him and I don’t like him.

    MacLeavy: Probably the most down to earth and practical guy running. No charisma however. But I like him.

    Candell: the man can get your attention, but he has some crazy ideas about charging people tolls to come to Oakland and building a theme park. What’s with all the PhDs in weird subjects? Weird and useless degrees seem to be very popular in the black community (see Hodge and Young).

    Hodge: If it was a beauty contest, she would win. She does have some good ideas on finance and if she can get it together, maybe study economics instead of institutional psychology (what a crook) she will go somewhere.\

    Young: This kid is funny and very honest. But no website, no plans. I like him but I can’t vote for him. He should go back to teaching for a while. Another MBA. Why do people waste their time with this worthless piece of paper.

    Harland: He’s a Perata supporter, hard nosed business man. This reflects badly on Perata.

    Fields: Please. This guy has issues. Though he does point out quit correctly that Oakland is fraught with corruption.

    On the corruption note, I should like to add that the OUSD is dysfunctional for the most part. I worked there and have a number of family members and friends who have worked there. I worked with teachers who were practically illiterate. This system needs to be fixed first and foremost or nothing will ever go right in Oakland.

  169. RdwithCypress

    Jonathan, I couldn’t agree with you more. I used to feel that V Smooth was providing a great service with her blog until I read this. She also seems to support Auditor Boobie, I mean Ruby. Sorry I digressed for a minute.

    Oaklander, You are also correct, however I wish you would have given Jean and Joe more credit. She is viable and we definitely don’t want the Don in office. I think we all agree on that. Also, Candell is honest and has made some really good points, however everyone keeps bringing up the toll booth comment from early in the campaign. I wish they would start talking about his real and important points instead of focusing on the negative. And finally Mr. Fields, give him a break. He has suffered so much from the corruption. If you only knew what these corrupt,cronies Fkheads did to him you would vote for him on the first line. The next thing that happens is all of the bad stuff must come correct! The next mayor is responsible to make it happen and we on this blog and as neighbors must make sure whoever it is is accountable!

  170. Daniel Schulman

    Jonathan C. Breault you attack V Smoothe for her lack of experience, but shouldn’t we be talking more about Joe Tuman’s experience or lack thereof?

    He’s just over 50 and has lived in Oakland for 25 years, but I can see no indication he has given any of these issues any thought since more than a few months ago. As far as I can tell, his resume shows no involvement with Oakland city government, no work with local nonprofits, no membership in service organizations, no membership in any community organizations, and no involvement with the local business community. Has he ever even spoken at City Hall on an issue or written a letter to a public official.

    His claims to being a businessman seem overblown. What are these four businesses he has claimed to run? I thought Tuman insulted Greg Harland at the Chamber forum when he compared his business experience to Harland’s (“I’ve also signed the front of checks”).

    Tuman’s ideas of policing, budget, and retail are all half-baked. He is smart enough to put a veneer of plausibility on them, but there is only so much he can do with a few months of study.

  171. Karen Bishop

    Jb, you said it better than I ever could. But I wouldn’t blame it on age. There are lot’s of smart, thoughtful young people who do their homework and aren’t driven by irrationality.

    But I do want to give V Smoothe props for having this blog. It takes tremendous energy and commitment to keep it going and to link up to many different sites that add to the content of the blog.

    Dax, it seems as though everyone ignored your post. I read through it and am horrified that so many people are retiring with the sweetest deals ever! It’s just so overwhelming. Over 1300 City of Oakland employees make over $100K. And it’s not just a little over $100K it is WAY OVER. When you have hundreds of civil service employees making close to $300,000 (that includes pension and health insurance benefits) something is very wrong. I work incredibly hard, I have a good salary but I don’t even come close to these amounts. And then I think about the poor working folk, who are trying to be honest and get along in this world and I feel that are being duped big time by City officials.

  172. ralph

    John Daly is a golfer. Richard Daley is mayor. I agree we should not have a John Daly type as mayor.

    Your average voter does not care what the next mayor is wearing.

    Education and learning is key to success. No idea why you think additional degrees are useless.

    Dax does not posts the salary and pension for the regulars. He posts whenever the oppty presents itself to alert the casual reader of the issue.

    Please come see my next production: Waiting for Nov 2nd

  173. Dax


    When I first clicked on the documents all I got was text.

    No documents and nothing to indicate there were any.

    Now with or without those, I have no idea what you are talking about when you say
    “Please look at it again and critic again as long as it is not ad homen”

    “Ad homen” towards who?
    My post was as follows—
    Well, that report in the link leaves a lot to be desired.

    What kind of familial link are we talking about?
    Is there competitive bidding on the contracts.
    Where is the text of the “report/complaint” that was submitted?

    Where is the “ad homen” in that?

    OK, now, when I click, I do get the familial information.
    Appears to be her sister or something if I understand it correctly?
    Her sister’s husband is the contractor.

    Now, in a separate issue, after reading those documents (one I couldn’t download)

    My question is who is Andes Construction linked to, tied to, etc, if anyone?

    They did all the sewer replacement/relining in my neighborhood, over several months. Parked all the equipment near my house each evening, so I became very familiar with the crew of about eight or nine.

    A most unusual work force for a city that describes itself as multi-cultural.
    Not unlike the narrow work force I have seen in all the residential construction going on in the Oakland hills over the past decade as ride my bike slowly past the same sites day after day, week after week.

    Or aren’t we suppose to notice the obvious?

  174. RdwithCypress

    Why City Council should have known about Arthur Young Fraud – and Renwick….

    TO: Office of the City Administrator
    ATTN: Dan Lindheim
    FROM: Community and Economic Development Agency
    DATE: April 27, 2010
    RE: Supplemental to Informational Report Summarizing the 2007 Low Bidder
    Response Analysis Study Performed by Mason Tillman Associates

    Responses from Oakland Contractors:

    Cannot Win Contract in Oakland: City Has Favored Companies or Circumvents Acceptance of Lowest Bid Primes Have Favorite Subcontractors
    City of Oakland Difficult to Work With:
    Inaccessible Managers
    Bid Process Not Well-Organized or Unclear
    Internet Posting Provides insufficient Information ‘(Bid Area of Service Not Advertised)
    Too Much Paperwork
    Inadequate Time to Respond to Bid Request
    SLBE Requirements Cannot Be Met
    Prefer Bid Notification Rather Than Periodically Checking City Website

    B. Perception of Inability to Win a Contract
    Interview responses suggest construction contractors are less likely to bid when they perceive the likelihood of their winning the contract is low. Construction contractors report their perception is that the City awards contracts to its favorite companies and therefore the prospects for other companies to win a bid are limited. An analysis of City contract data, as depicted in Table 1.03 below shows a high concentration of contract dollars going to just a few businesses during the three-year study period, July 1,2002 to June 30,2005.

    1. Size of Contract Awards Indicates Frequent Use of a Few Businesses on Small
    and Large Contracts

    During the three-year study period the City awarded 57.22 percent of its construction prime contracts, or $44,206,127, to 20 construction prime contractors. The total dollars awarded for this three-year period were $77,252,468. The 20 businesses listed in Table 1.04 received more than 50 percent of the construction contracts awarded in the three-year study period. The 20 construction contractors represented 14.49 percent of the total businesses awarded, construction contracts. The total number of contractors that received construction prime contracts during the three-year study period was 138. Furthermore the 20 businesses ‘represented less than 3 percent of the more than 700 construction firms identified in the City’s subcontractor Disparity Study as available to perform construction work as prime contractors and The top five highly utilized contractor received 42.75 percent, or $33,027,322 of the $77,252,468 total prime contract dollars awarded during the three-year study period. The size of the contracts awarded to the five highly utilized prime contractors range from $932 to $6,010,063.2 These five prime contractors received both large competitively bid contracts and small informal contracts under $50,000 which did not have to be advertised or competitively bid.
    Table 1.03 depicts the ten companies that received the most dollars. ‘

    Table 1.03 Highest Contract Dollar Awards between July 1, 2002 – December 31,2005

    2002 – 2005 Number of Contracts Awarded Percent of Total Contracts Awarded
    Andes Construction Inc. 23 12.37%
    Rays Electric 18 9.68%
    Gallagher & Berk Inc. 27 14.52%
    Swinerton Builders, Inc 1 0.54%
    McGuire and Hester, Inc 14 7.53%
    AJW Construction 14 7.53%
    Valleycrest Landscape Development 2 1.08%
    Arthur Young Debris Removal 67 36.02%
    Zakskorm Construction Company 3 1.61%
    Bay Construction Company 17 9.14%
    Top 10 Sub total 186
    Total Contracts awarded 608

    see link for full report:

  175. Karen Bishop

    Getting into the research spirit:

    Andes Construction, Owner Danilo Mayorga. Danilo Mayorga, Jr. is accounting manager. Named fast growing Hispanic Business in the 2009 Hispanic Business Times. Don’t know how they are connected, or if they are with anyone at City Hall.

    Here is an article about problems one of Oakland’s neighborhoods have had with Andes Construction:

  176. Karen Bishop

    According to Alameda County Assessor’s Office the owner is an Exempt Public Agency, so I would think the deal went through. Info comes up for 2529 Seminary Avenue but nothing comes up for 2521 Seminary Avenue

  177. mfraser

    Someone asked me to repost with some of my late night glitches and typos cleaned up… thanks for the interest, and here it is!

    “Listen, Jeff–you–you don’t understand these things-
    -you mustn’t condemn me for my part in this without-
    -you’ve had no experience-
    -you see things as black or white-
    -and a man as angel or devil.
    That’s the young idealist in you.
    And that isn’t how the world runs, Jeff-
    -certainly not Government and politics.
    It’s a question of give and take–you have to play the rules–compromise-
    -you have to leave your ideals outside the door, with your rubbers.
    I feel I’m the right man for the Senate.
    And there are certain powers–influence.
    To stay there, I must respect them.
    And now and then–for the sake of that power–a dam has to be built–and one must shut his eyes. It’s–it’s a small compromise.
    The *best* men have had to make them.
    Do you understand?I know how you feel, Jeff.
    Thirty years ago–I had those ideals, too. I was *you*.
    I had to make the decision you were asked to make today.
    And I compromised–yes! So that all these years I could stay in that
    Senate–and serve the people in a thousand honest ways! You’ve got to
    face facts, Jeff. I’ve served our State well, haven’t I? We have the
    lowest unemployment and the highest Federal grants.
    But, well, I’ve had to compromise, had to play ball. You can’t count on people voting, half the time they don’t vote, anyway. That’s how states and empires have been built since time began. Don’t you understand?
    Well, Jeff, you can take my word for it, that’s how things are.
    Mr Smith Goes to Washington , 1939

    Having come recently from Richmond and observed this Oakland election cycle for just a few months, and the random walk of public opinion which is the status quo right now, I don’t personally believe Oakland is ready for the basic principles of good government just yet. Maybe it won’t ever be, but I’m optimistic that real efforts can be made to get a group together to begin to make a real stand if some lessons from this election can be reflected upon and learned.

    When you have someone like Perata, who probably rightly so thinks he can ignore all the electorate that is reading and thinking about the issues as too small a minority to really even be of concern, and BELIEVES he can win on election day mainly by running $1 million of commercials with just a slogan and his name and some nice pictures of a variety of faces and conclude by saying “I’d be proud to be your mayor, and honored to have your vote,” and that probably will by and large be enough, especially when combined with a few other tricks like having his union patrons pump the boards full of nonsense posts and contrived defenses and red herrings, what hope is there for this election right now? The funny thing is that the vast majority of voters don’t even live in the areas that most of the small numbers of commentators on boards like this one do, and I just don’t think a lot of the people in Oakland are having any kind of meaningful dialogue about the election with what’s going on in their lives and the challenges they are facing, not when with the elections days away many people I talk to can’t name more than 2 or 3 of the candidates, if that.

    The audience here who reads and thinks and knows Perata is corrupt to the bone, with all the evidence out there and $500k in personal payments from the prison guards for past favors given and hundreds of thousands more in ads from those same kinds of groups for the same past favors (which just has to be since he can’t really do much for them going forward), and still even many of these people say “I don’t care, he’s our man,” well I just don’t know what you do about that, not right now, today, 10 days before the election.

    Having lived there for 5 years, I do know that in Richmond they have a cranky old fellow named Tom Butt who is their Jefferson Smith, and he’s been able to cobble together enough voters through his reputation for honesty and integrity and his clean hands approach to politics to stay elected (although amazingly, just barely sometimes, and not b/c Chevron and others don’t keep trying). He’s parlayed that spot on the Council into several other seats, along with a few other good government advocates and the network of loyal followers he’s built, but as I mentioned sometimes he gets the slight majority, and sometimes they get it back. There’s a real lesson out there in Richmond for us here in Oakland, though, that just one person even, or a few, can begin to make a difference in changing the basic nature of a city. It’s true though that Richmond is only 100,000 people, and we are 4x the size, so maybe that changes the equation; but I believe that nonetheless the time has come to prioritize ‘good government principals,’ that we have to try find the right people to carry this torch, and I think it can be done.

    Politics here are seriously broken, and that’s fairly obvious if one makes even the most modest effort to peel back the covers from what’s going on, with graft deals like those that have been highlighted by people like Joe Tuman and Robert Gammon and the Chronicle, but no one even really seems to care! Perata and Co almost don’t even try to hide it, it’s so brazen and their confidence that they control the system and determine the outcomes is so high. Specific, detailed examples are out there and even well know, and even those few people paying attention bumble on to ask instead “what’s their funding plank for this or that” or other such minutiae, rather than “are these honest people who will make decisions for the common good, and have decent ethics and principles.” Even Kaplan and Quan aren’t riding with any effort against the special interests, because they just have their own set, and Quan’s even overlaps with Perata’s in many ways. He’s got the law enforcement unions, and she’s got the rank and file service workers – he just happens to have sold out to the groups with the greatest resources. In local politics the winners keep winning most of the time, and Perata has been aligned all along with those who’ve now dominated the agenda for many years.

    The people who do care and know that all these claims that all this corruption is just what we have to accept to get functional government is of course a bunch of bunk, these people need to seek each other out and band together, and find our Jefferson Smith and Tom Butt characters to begin to push back the tide on this sea of corruption that’s drowning Oakland. Until then, we are going to keep getting wave after wave of back room deals, and pension payoffs, and ‘consulting fees,’ and no bid contracts, and on and on, and guess what, there won’t be enough left to run the city properly, not this year or next, not this election cycle or next. Not until we make a sea change in our fundamental priorities and insist on ethics and good government first, last and always.

    It seems to me Perata’s wash of money is going to probably carry the day for the forces of evil given how little focus there is on the rampant corruption and self dealing by rank and file voters, and what little priority that issue even gets by almost anyone in this community at this moment, and while I hope I’m wrong, this dismal outlook actually nonetheless spurs me on all the more to hold the line with my own ballot and vote for people with any ounce of integrity in the election and vote on principle alone right now, principal over everything. Then, when this run is over, I think the plan has to be to begin to look beyond this election to figure out how to find some stronger candidates – good government folks, people of principal – who can rise to fill the need that is just so painfully obvious.

  178. mfraser

    On experience

    The issue keeps being raised of Joe Tuman’s experience, and supposed lack thereof.

    First, and most important, such a question is relative, and the question as generally proposed leaves out some critical qualifiers. “Who has experience that best demonstrates successful achievement in their chosen field, and is that experience relevant.” Well, on the first part, of the top 4 candidates only Tuman really has much demonstated SUCCESS of positive accomplishment, by which I mean success that most voters should value. Perata has successfully advanced the agenda of his patrons (particularly the prison guards and police) with gun bans, dramatic pension increases and lowered time served requirements, property deals and policy changes that directly line the pockets of his biggest donors (including the disasterous Raider’s deal), and great success at getting payments for ‘consulting’ when his patron groups don’t really have active issues or campaigns, nor do they need his help. Sure these are all ‘successes,’ but are these the successes that voters want? As many have pointed out before me, Perata is successful at helping himself and friends and allies, and sometimes helps the voter here and there, but it seems that is pretty much incidental, wouldn’t you agree? I do have to comment a little further on the gun control issue, because not only was that really for his key patron constituency, but it also took 9 years – NINE YEARS – to accomplish, and that is one of his signature successes! Don’t forget as well that being a legislature, even a powerful one, doesn’t in any way mean one will be the most effective of executive administrators, and many have concluded about Dellums, of course. Doesn’t exactly seem like the expeditious march to accompishment Perata would like you to think when looked at with that in consideration, does it? So, in short, given that these items constitute Perata’s history of “success” I’d take Tuman’s history of “success” over that any day.

    Quan and Kaplan have almost no direct executive or managerial experience at all. They’ve sat on Councils and boards which set budgets and pass policies, but never have implemented the nightmares they’ve visited on others. This experience, based on their collective and individual results, is probably net-net counterproductive, because the Oakland council has pretty well run the finances straight into the ground, and left the Mayor and city workers to try to pick up the messes that they in large measure have created, such as the absurdly rich contracts for our public workers and fire and safety folks – the very causes of our financial crisis! That’s good experience? I love the examples of Kaplan being the ‘transit expert,’ when no one seems to be able to answer that in truth on the two biggest decisions BY FAR that she confronted, the Van Hool buses and the actual contracts for the transit workers, in both cases the results were dismal failures, with the Van Hool buses being costly and shipping jobs overseas, not to mention being an ongoing maintenance fiasco and ongoing drain; and in the case of the transit contracts, she gave the kinds of rich contract terms that are now in combination with the Van Hool bus purchases costing us a fortune and causing what most observes call ‘drastic’ cuts in service and near insolvency for the transit system. More important, don’t forget BOTH of them have voted for more aggressive parking enforcement and increased fines, so every time you get one of those budget busting tickets, remember to thank Ms Kaplan and Mrs Quan. Don’t forget that the impact on businesses of these sorts of punitive measures, obviously, dwarf any small positive strokes from efforts such as easy permit requirements. So please explain, WHY when looked at overall is that quality, relevant, SUCCESSFUL experience? I do know and acknowledge that Kaplan has been doing somewhat better as late, with the transit to the cities center, her pot club policies and proposal, and her efforts to promote downtown clubs, but in truth these successes pale in comparison to the basically dramatic failures she’s racked up, one of which, the aggressive parking tactics and increased fines, was decided and passed within the last year. In short, while Kaplan is only 3 steps back for every step forward, Quan is double that, and Perata a factor of many times worse. Again, Tuman’s successes will always outweigh the other candidates on balance records of failure, and honestly, that is why he jumped into the race in the first place I believe, because the records of those who had already announced was so fundamentally poor.

    Tuman in contrast has done well at all that he’s done for the last 20 years, succeeding as an author on politics and political thoeory and practice (which is so much more substantial that serving on bogus, do nothing committees or writing letters in my view of the world), has succeeded as a University professor and is by all accounts well regarded by students and his colleagues, and has obviously succeeded as a political commentator, rising to some prominance in our region. At least on a comparative basis, given the nature of the ‘experience’ of the other 3 top candidates, I personally don’t even see how you can compare what have been a series of collective failures for the citizens of Oakland by the other 3 as far as the outcomes, and still say that is nonetheless better than the actual ongoing success Tuman brings to the table.

    in truth no one in the group has much direct managerial experience. Since we agree Tuman has lots of experience researching and writing books, serving as a news and politics analyst and rising to some prominance in that job, and teaching, those who raise this are really of course just questioning the relevance of that experience. I’ve already established that for any of these other candidates to claim any real managerial experience is really more than a stretch – it just ain’t so. Given the true nature of the Mayoral job, where it really is about communication, whether to the public or the city workers or the outside world, his past success in what he has done makes me think he has the best odds, and by a fair bit, of being an effective Mayor AND a success for the agenda of the voters, of the candidates available to us. The bottom line is real success for 20 years in multiple professional capacities with Tuman, or marginal success at best for the others for years and years of the past, including the recent past, and arguably net-negative records for all three when one considers how they’ve done on the decisions they’ve made which are the largest, and most lasting and important.

  179. Harold Stanley

    I have now watched footage of every single debate but one. Short story: I don’t get it.
    I really don’t.

    That dude is in 4th place?
    What is so great about Joe Tuman?

    I don’t get why anybody gives him so much credit. Is it because he was on the TV? Because I don’t find his answers to be all that amazing, or his solutions nearly as impressive as he seems to think they are.

    Best thing I can say about him is that he isn’t Jean Quan or Don Perata.

    I have noticed that he is very condescending as well. I cannot remember his exact answer from a student question about job prospects, but it basically amounted to “grad school, grad school and more grad school.”

    Granted, we do seem to live in an economy where you need a master’s degree to get a barista job, but it seems remarkably out of touch and brazenly condescending.

    I think dude is smart, but not half as smart as he thinks he is.

  180. RdwithCypress

    Hi Harold,

    I have followed and attend almost every forum. I have met all the candidates personally. I won’t say how I am going to vote, but I will say this. Joe Tuman, actually knows how to listen and more importantly, I believe he is an honest and sincere person. I believe this to be a more important attribute than intelligence. That is not to say I don’t think Joe is smart. Think about it, we have had George W. as president for goodness sake. What we need in Oakland is a Mayor that will not sell out to the lobbing interests and Developers etc. Someone that will listen to ALL communities and respond to their issues directly. Experience who cares! We need a real person in office!

  181. Karen Bishop


    I went to the Secretary of State website and did some research on the Hope 2010 Ballot Initiative. If I understand how to read the reports, I found that there has been over $12MM in contributions to get the Hope 2010 on the statewide ballot. Hope 2010 spent over $2MM as contributions to other campaigns and ballot initiatives. Interestingly enough $2MM was spent in 2006 to support Prop 1A, Prop 1B, Prop 1C, Prop 1D and Prop 1E. These were the statewide ballot initiatives for transportation, emergency shelters, education and emergency preparedness. All of these Props passed and may have been worthy causes, but they have nothing to do with cancer research. As a matter of fact, if I’m reading the report correctly, less than $500,000 was spent on cancer research. It was money given to other well known organizations (American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association).

    I even found that Hope 2010 spent money to try and recall a state politician a few years back. Funny, I didn’t know recalling someone from political office was going to advance our knowledge of cancer prevention.

  182. Naomi Schiff

    Yes,it seems to be an all-purpose fund to promote whatever Perata is pursuing at the moment. In this case, it appears that it is being used to promote his mayoral candidacy, from perusing the documents. It may be within the law, though I don’t actually know this, but it is far from ethical in my view. There are many other Perata funds, but on the Secy of State site, mostly things pertaining to earlier years are available, since he left the senate. Still. Impressive to read the contributions and expenses.

  183. Karen Bishop

    I think the only way to prove Perata is illegally using the Hope2010 for his bid for Mayor is to get ahold of one of those invoices from the vendors who are providing campaign fundraising, campaign consulting, postage, etc. At the minimum I wish the press would question Perata on this and at least get him on the record.

  184. Daniel Schulman

    Well I think I’ve cycled enough on this thread enough, and I am about ready to move on. With a little over a week to the election, though, I do wonder some about the end-game.

    If Tuman doesn’t win, it seems like he has enough supporters to potentially sway the outcome. Depending on second/third choice votes, Tuman supporters might push Perata over the time, elevate Kaplan into second over Quan before the final iteration, etc.

    Also if Tuman doesn’t win, does he and his supporters stay involved with city politics. Regardless of who becomes mayor, there will be big problems ahead for Oakland. We need dedicated individuals keeping tabs on things and participating. I am a bit concerned that when legitimate questions were raised about Tuman’s policies and experience, some people lashed out at his competitors and VSmoothe instead of positively supporting their candidate.

    Hopefully Tuman’s supporters will act more like Howard Dean’s who formed Democracy for America after he lost than like cynical Tea Partiers.

  185. Karen Bishop

    It’s a variable spending spree at the Hope2010:

    $110,000 was spent to try and recall Jeff Denham:
    $50,000 to Avalon Village, a nonprofit to help senior citizens live at home independently;
    $25,000 to Literacy Program (OPLP);
    $25,000 to Ignacio De La Fuente, campaign consultant;
    $150,000 went to the democratic party, central committee;
    $1,900,000 went to Don Perata’s legal defense fund
    $7500 went to the One Dream Foundation
    $5000 went to the Unity Council
    $3500 Alameda County Meals on Wheels
    $2500 to the Oakland Police Emergency Network
    $2500 St. Vincent’s Day Home
    $1000 to the Richmond Police Activities League

    Probably very worth while organizations, but again where is the relevancy to cancer research?

  186. Chris Kidd

    Exactly my sentiments, Daniel. I can only hope that, no matter the outcome, supporters of Mr Tuman redirect their energies towards Oakland’s major political and policy issues following the election. It’d be nice to see some new face at the planning commission or city council meetings. People obviously care enough to get heavily involved in this discussion thread: now comes the next step.
    The worst of all outcomes would be these same people figuring they “did their part” by voting or deciding (if Mr Tuman doesn’t win) to take their marbles and go home.

  187. Karen Bishop

    I believe I gave multiple examples of Joe’s ideas and to show that I’m pro Joe, not just anti-Perata. And I feel I legitimately questioned V.’s emotional reaction to Joe as a candidate. To me, it seemed like no one wanted to hear it and rallied around V. and got defensive.

    But I think the comments about staying involved in Oakland politics is a fair and relevant point. I’m obviously supporting Joe and am putting a lot of energy into it. I am also learning things about the City that I didn’t know before and I want to stay involved. I can’t promise I’m going to be attending all the council meetings. I’m already putting my energies into local issues that are separate from the mayor’s race. I hope other supporters of all the candidates will do the same.

    Maybe this thread is now going to conclude, don’t know, but I’ve enjoyed the ideas and comments from everyone. Even those I disagree with, I’ve learned some things.

  188. Dax

    Regarding city contractors.

    Does the city require that city contractors offer the citizens and residents of Oakland a equal opportunity for jobs on those Oakland contracts?

    I found it odd that when our area’s sewer rehab was done, that the workforce was “uni-ethnic” for a project in a widely diverse city and in a widely diverse neighborhood.

    I also found it odd that only workers who were fluent in Spanish were used on the job. In fact, of the 8 or 9 regular employees on the months long project, 6 spoke absolutely no English at all.

    Does Oakland, in its city contracts insist on open hiring opportunities?

    Does it insist on its contractors hiring workers who pass the same legal standards that the city itself uses for their own hiring?

    Or is it just a wink and and a nod, with 75% of Oakland residents being left out of any realistic consideration?

  189. mfraser

    I as well appreciate the sentiment about the need for greater involvement, including by those of us newly participating. In fact, my earlier post about the need for more focus on ‘good government’ and ethics in government was entirely focused on that goal.

    I would guess things here in Oakland wouldn’t have gotten as bad as they have if more people were keeping a watchful eye, and if there were a more organized way to bring the attention of the citizenry to issues of abuse and unethical conduct both by current politicians and by prospective candidates. There is enough money here that I think a fairly large group of opportunistic vultures have decended on this city, and have been bleeding away this city in every way they can for some time. I think and hope that Tuman voters are some of the folks who are most interested in keeping these issues alive and even shining a far brighter light on them going forward, and I look forward to meeting and working with those folks and others going forward.

    In just the last few days, based I would guess on posts I’ve made here and elsewhere, I’ve been contacted by a couple of fairly notable local commentators who seemed to be commending the focus on good government principles that I’m most interested in. Tracking me down may not be that hard, but probably not the easy either, and such interest makes me think that sincere efforts to organize for the promotion of ethics and good government would be supported by local media.

    For the fairly detailed reasons I listed, I do think the concerns I raised with the original post are quite legitimate. It is far easier to tear something down that put it up; similarly it is far easier to make malicious attacks against a candidate than to construct the positive case. Responding to such negative attacks, particularly when masking a hidden agenda and when willing to manufacture facts – well, that can take some negative arguments and energy to effectively counter. To think that those defending Tuman against the unfair attacks that have been leveled on this particular thread also have the burden of proof to keep things ‘positive’ is somewhat unreasonable, given the original post. It still interests me that more of the followers of VSmoothe haven’t taken her to task for the tone of her original post, and for not having a policy of more honest disclosure, but for those of you who affiliate with her, that is of course ultimately up to you.

    While some have tried to characterize my posts as some kind of personal attack against the author, I don’t at all agree, as I tried hard to discuss the arguments rather than ad hominem attacks using language like ‘clueless’ and other various insults to Tuman intelligence. It’s a little hard to not engage those arguments at some level given the extreme nature of the original post and the many insults it hurled, though, but that hardly makes the Tuman advocates responsible for the tone of the discussion.

    Politics are largely comparative and no candidate is without flaws and different strengths and weaknesses; indeed, I’ve always maintained that Joe Tuman is running because of the weaknesses he perceived in the candidate pool, and personally I share those concerns. It IS a perfectly legitimate way to decide how to vote based upon the process of picking the least flawed of the candidates; indeed, given that no candidate is perfect, isn’t is almost inevitable? This idea that we can just discuss the positive attributes of candidates seems not only a bit utopian to me, I’m also not convinced that is any way to actually compare and contrast effectively, and eventually come up with the best candidate given the available choices.

    If you would like to join me in working to highlight the issue of ethics in our government and elected officials here in Oakland, I hope you will contact me at:

  190. Karen Bishop

    I think at some point citizens are going to think negatively about Perata as he endlessly sends slick, glossy mailers to them. I’ve received four or five in the past 2 weeks.

  191. Max Allstadt


    I do think that the tone of V’s post was over aggressive, and knowing the way that elections go, I wouldn’t doubt that the tone has something to do, at least subconsciously, with V’s support of Perata.

    Joe is quite obviously a threat to Don Perata’s first place vote total. Part of that simply has to do with the fact that there are many male voters, even today and even in the Bay Area, who intuitively have difficulty voting for women.

    There’s no public polling on Joe and Don. But there is public polling confirming that men vote for men by a disproportionate margin. Having another viable male candidate in the race is inherently bad for Perata. This is still anybody’s race, but if Perata doesn’t win, I’m confident that post-election analysis will show that Joe had something to do with it.

    I also think Joe isn’t going to win. And I agree with a lot of V’s criticisms of Joe for lacking Oakland-specific knowledge and lacking past engagement in Oakland’s governmental affairs. However, I also think the police plan that V criticizes above is not Joe’s plan, exactly, so that particular criticism isn’t really valid.

    I still voted for Joe 2nd, after Kaplan. All candidates put on a front of confidence. I’m pretty sure that if Joe won, he’d immediately admit to himself that he was in over his head, and seek out advisors with deep knowledge of the city and proven track records. But during an election, saying that out loud is suicide, so I certainly don’t expect to hear it.

    So Joe gets my 2nd place vote and Kaplan gets my first, because I’m confident that Rebecca actually knows the inner workings of city hall well enough to start changing them for the better from day one.

  192. Naomi Schiff

    I’d be curious to know whether Rebecca has voiced any plan for hiring a city administrator.

  193. ralph

    I believe in one of the forums, RK indicated that she would look for the best qualified C.A. Neither she nor the others indicated who they would hire. I believe the question came up in the context of bringing Bobb back.

    Personally, I think the position needs to be abolished. We need to revamp the way we provide and deliver services.

  194. Max Allstadt

    Rebecca Kaplan has been very clear about het plans for hiring a City Administrator. She would do a real nationwide search for a qualified candidate. That’s what Dellums should have done instead of hiring a trusted old friend. It’s also what Brown should have done instead of hiring an untrustworthy criminal.

  195. Naomi Schiff

    Yes, agreed. That is what Jean Quan says she plans to do, too. For accuracy: Jerry Brown transferred Edgerley in from the budget department.

    Ralph, I don’t think I see how abolishing that position would help. Most mayors are more politicians than administrators. Running the city is fairly large job. Mayors generally can’t manage the level of detail required, and tend to be more taken up with the politics. I do date back to the pre-strong-mayor days when we had a city manager form of government, which in general I preferred. The mayor presided over and had to attend the city council meetings. There was less division between council and mayor. When things got acrimonious it was out in the open. The city attorney actually staffed the city council meetings, too. When you asked a question at the city council, the relevant people were usually there, so they didn’t hide so much behind “we’ll get back to you on that.”

  196. Max Allstadt

    I’ll also add that RK was clear that whoever she hired would need to have years of actual experience as a municipal manager. If you ask me, that ought to be in the charter.

    As for undoing Measure X (Jerry’s measure X, not the measure X doomed to fail this year), I find it highly unlikely that the political will could be found to do that.

  197. Dax

    Speaking of Edgerly, did you realize that because of the 2004 pension hike, she now gets $39,000 EXTRA pension each year, compared to what she would otherwise have received, and that over her expected retirement, that pension boost the City Council passed gave her over a $1,000,000 Golden Parachute.

    $150,602, current pension.

    $111,557, under the prior agreement.

    Thank you city staff, city council, city unions, and mayor.

    Six of the current eight council members voted for that gigantic leap in pensions.
    Mayoral candidate Quan was one of them.

    Imagine handing Ms. Edgerly a parting gift of $1,000,000 dollars.

    Rather like Carly Fiorina getting 20 million after being fired.
    Except Edgerly’s type of boost was and is being given to all Oakland misc employees.

    Can you imagine what the public would say if the city council had voted to give Ms Edgerly a million dollar home as a retirement gift? What would the article in the paper say about that?

    Yet, to this day, 99%** of the Oakland public is unaware that essentially that is what was done.

    ** Oakland public who are not city employees.

  198. Karen Bishop

    Re: abolishing city admin. position – sounds like a disaster, even more of a slow down in the churning of the wheels of the government. People who are great administrators have a different skill set than what makes a politician great. Someone needs to take care of the details and who knows what the details are to get the job done.

    RG – thanks for the article. I figured Mayorga and De La Fuente had to be friends. The City is so backwards in its thinking. We are in the middle of a downturn in the economy, we could use the property taxes right now. Now there are no property taxes paid, and I would suspect the redevelopment plans are on hold. The citizens of Oakland sacrifice so much for the benefit of the few.

  199. Mfraser

    Thanks Max for your thoughtful comments. In the end our positions are close, I just put Tuman first and Kaplan second for all the reasons that I list previously.

    Agreed on the police plan not being as Smoothe depicts, but also that she is the one who is wrong on foster kids being “solely” in county jurisdiction as she claims. In fact while really severely belittling Tuman, don’t forget that it turns that she

  200. ralph

    We need an administrative function but the current hybrid system is flawed. It is if the C.A. was retained to appease the people who don’t believe in “S-M.” I believe that the city org structure is flawed. I don’t think that the cabinet is organized to achieve what people in Oakland value. Someone will handle the d/d in a new org our current set-up is screwy.

    Note – more pension stuff from Dax. (You did make the earlier observation that no one commented on the pension stuff in a previous thread, right?)

  201. Mfraser

    …sorry, but don’t forget it is her error actually as there are many shared efforts as I document. Others raise even more substantive errors as Tuman does reasonably answer the question. To be stretching so far to find fault that is on a false foundation supports my claims about a deeply held bias on her part.

    We agreeTumanand Kaplan are the best of the lot though. Thanks!

  202. Dax

    Not being familiar with city contracts I have a question.
    Regarding Andes Construction and other city contractors, does the city take care to insure that companies awarded such contracts make serious and realistic efforts to hire individuals regardless of ethnicity?

    And that language considerations are not such that most residents are effectively excluded.

  203. livegreen

    I agree with Ralph re. our weak “strong” Mayor. If we got Mayor’s who were less political and more Administrative (ie. an effective combination) we wouldn’t be worse off. That’s how New York got Bloomberg.

    & as far as being detail oriented, what are we electing them to do? Figure out how to win the next race? They should be more than just political.

    Besides they could have their Department Heads attend the City Council meetings for the detail. So the detail wouldn’t have to disappear at all, + it might get more press & light shown on the various departments, their effectiveness, etc.

  204. Max Allstadt

    Livegreen, as much as I think Mike Bloomberg is awesome, I certainly wouldn’t say he’s not political. He’s very political, very focused on power, but also focused on using that power effectively, rather than racking up future votes. Of course that’s also affected by the fact that he doesn’t need to worry about keeping campaign donors.

  205. Naomi Schiff

    The department heads currently do usually attend city council meetings and committee meetings if anything affecting their departments is under discussion. I agree that Measure X was badly written. It was then slightly amended, but not enough to fix it, just enough to get rid of some of the most egregious contradictions and unworkable bits. But because administrative experience is not required of candidates, there will always be a need for somebody to head up the operational side of things.

  206. ralph

    It is no secret I detest Oakland’s form of “S-M” government. I have no idea why people try to defend it. It does not work and it will never work because it is some red-headed bastard step child form of governance.

    In a column from 2/11/10, The Berkeley Daily Planet had this to say of Oakland’s S-M

    “One of the challenges in evaluating the administration of an Oakland mayor in these days and times is that 12 years after the passage of Measure X, residents and local media outlets (new and old) still are not certain exactly what a “strong mayor” is supposed to do and be responsible for.

    One of the problems is that the Oakland City Charter, as modified by Measure X in 1998, is far more vague on the responsibilities of an Oakland mayor than the term “strong mayor” would lead one to believe.

    This is not a responsibility or failure of leadership so much as it is a sign of Oakland’s immaturity—both in the media and in the public—in failing to either understand or make clear the lines of authority within Oakland city government. If we don’t want wiggle room in city authority, we need to eliminate it both in our minds and in the charter under which our city operates.”

    What is truly sad is people want to continue with this system in the hope that the right person will make it work. I don’t care who is driving the car, a car with 2 flat tires will never run right.

  207. CitizenX

    The Mayor has as much power as the Charter grants, or the City Council gives him/her. Prior to the “strong mayor” legislation, the mayor was pretty much the 9th councilmember, who ran the meetings. The Charter gave the mayor few additional powers. Jerry Brown had no interest in being the 9th councilmember and running the council meetings — hence the “strong mayor” initiatives.

    The council had no desire to give the mayor any additional authority, because to do so would reduce their own power. The 2004 Measure P Charter amendment was, after a somewhat public process, drafted by the councilmembers and the result was a watered down “strong mayor” form of government in name only.

    I posted the Charter-defined mayor’s duties and responsibilities earlier — a rather short and not very impressive list. Ralph is absolutely correct. Even the best of candidates will be rather constrained in making the sort of changes the public expects. The city council holds the power and until that changes the Mayor be kind of strong at best.

  208. Karen Bishop

    In light of this conversation about the
    Strong(ish) Mayor in Oakland, how do people perceive the candidates working within this framework? How do you think Kaplan, Quan, Tuman or Perata would be able to negotiate/adapt?

  209. ralph

    If you are driving a car with 2 flat tires, you want Perata behind the wheel. He will be able to work with people to get results. Quan in her nice motherly way will probably tell everyone it will be okay as soon as we get through this rough patch. Kaplan will be too busy trying to make nice with everyone to accomplish much of anything, but it sure will sound good. Tuman will be drinking from a firehose and without the meat on his bones to support himself will be pushed down B-way into the water.

    That is how I see it. You are welcome to disagree.

    Ralph for Perata and Ruby
    Please come see my next play, Waiting for Nov 2nd

  210. Dax

    If I’m driving a car in 2011 with 2 flat tires its probably because Oakland has laid off half the street sweepers who were cleaning up the glass.

    Laid off, because we had to save money from some place to enable Don to keep his promise to the OPOA regarding their salaries and benefits… No cuts.

    (Seriously, I still don’t have a clue who I will vote for #1, #2, or #3…. No shortage of fault to be found in each of them)

  211. Dax

    Speaking of police and police services jobs.

    How about this from the new State Controller’s data base

    Police Services Agency Crossing Guard, PT $30,160 $37,003

    Part time (how many hours is that? and how many days? Only school days?)

    How do you get to $30K – $37K ?

    Just wondering…

    see page 8

  212. CitizenX

    Ralph, if Perata is driving the car with two flat tires, I think there is a better than average chance the car will be carjacked. LOL.

  213. Karen Bishop


    I’ve thought long and hard about comments made here on this blog as it relates to Don’s experience and why some people think he can get things done and can command his way through the maze of City government.

    It would be foolish for me to try and convince others that Don can’t get things done or that Joe Tuman knows as much as Don about politics and how to get things done within City Hall. That is because it isn’t true. Don has been a politician for many years and knows how to work within the political realm. Working for government is different than private business or academia, each having their own cultures and constituents (or what is now called stakeholders). And this is why it is hard to unseat incumbents because the argument that they know how to get things done, they are familiar with the players, ec. gets used successfully in reelection campaigns.

    However it isn’t rocket science either. Someone who has spent years studying politics and policy, communications as well as advising the public and teaching hundreds of student has a deep knowledge and can parlay that knowledge to manage the City. In addition, even someone who has political experience still has to learn their way around a new hallway.

    There are some additional points to think about too. It isn’t enough to know the players or how government works. Governments do work in a particular way but that doesn’t mean the mayor cannot bring a fresh perspective, or to look at a problem in a different way. Many times I get caught up in solving a particular problem in the same way, sometimes its effective and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes when others on my team bring me a different way of looking at the argument or the problem, I not only expand my knowledge but I actually am able to solve the problem more quickly, and I open up new opportunities.

    Another point is the integrity and ethics of a person that you have to consider. I think very few people would say Don has no ethical concerns swirling around him. Even his supporters have shared their concerns about his ethics. The question becomes how important is it as he governs the City of Oakland. For me, it is extremely important because we are trusting our Mayor to work for the benefit of the citizens, not just for the wealthy and the well connected. I’ve read on numerous occasions on this blog (and on other places) that there are some sweet deals in place between contractors and city council members. I would hope we can minimize this, create a more level playing field and open up the bidding process so that more companies get involved in providing services to the City. The City wins because a more competitive bid means less money paid out to provide those services. We also want neighborhoods like West Oakland to thrive, but for its citizens not just for Food & Co (or what ever company comes in). I want my next mayor to not automatically think we have to use eminent domain to get the grocery store in West Oakland. We again are sacrificing some people to benefit others.

    Having said that, we need someone who has more than integrity and ethics. We need someone who knows how to use these virtues and turn it into effective policies. So what are we left with? An imperfect City Charter, a strong(ish) mayor that some say is ill defined and a bastard child. So we need someone who can take what is given and work within those parameters, fixing and changing the parameters when possible. We need someone who can take what is given, use their skills, capacities and knowledge, along with their desire to lead and manage to bring about some much needed good government leadership to the City of Oakland.

    For me that is Joe Tuman. For others it will be a different choice. But I hope whomever we vote for, people will take time to think about the many different issues that have come up during this campaign season.

  214. RdwithCypress

    Living Green,

    You must live in Lake Shore or the Oakland Hills. I live in West Oakland and I can tell you for a fact that it takes OPD on average 15 min. to pick up the 911 call and 40 to respond. Once I called to report a gun fight 1 block from where I live and after repeated attempts to get 911 I finally gave up. Then 4 hours later OPD knocked on my front door and then started to leave before I could even answer it. When I caught the officer getting back into his car he said he was responding to a 911 hang up call. This is a true story that happened during August 2010. The usually don’t even show up anymore. It is really a serious situation!

  215. Naomi Schiff

    I don’t think the 2-wheeled analogy holds up. Don is way too politically entrenched for this nonpartisan (supposedly) job. He has taken GOBS of money from police and prison guards; he has done something strange with his so-called cancer funds, spending them on this mayor’s race. Most cities our size use city administrator form of government. One side effect of S.M. is that we end up with a rather expensive mayor’s office.

  216. ralph

    I think your facts regarding cities ours are wrong. At best you are looking at a 50-50 split for cities our size. Further there are a number of smaller cities with fewer than 350K residents that are strong mayor. In the top 50 cities, I suspect that SM is running 2-1.

  217. RdwithCypress

    Wow, a campaign contributor and Ruby supporter has gained preferential treatment from Antoinette Rewick, Disgraced Former Building Services Supervisor accused of conflict of Interest by Michael Kilian. Wow, no wonder she didn’t investigate this…. Everyone needs to see this story. Hold your mouse over the exhibits as they change… This is huge!

  218. ralph

    If you either knew the 1st thing about audit or could provide a convincing narrative, I might be inclined to listen. However, since neither of these are true, I am not buying what you are selling.

  219. Karen Bishop

    I’m sitting here with my ballots – there are 3 of them. Went to Ruby’s website and then went to Kilian’s website. From reading the websites Kilian’s sounds much more substantial. Its very sweet and noble that she went to Ghana and is supporting 20 Ghana children, but really what does that have to do with audits? She’s not going to get my awwwww vote. I need a hard driving, audit machine

  220. Dax

    I somewhat agree with Ralph to this extent.

    I go and download 20 pages of internal memos regarding that free fence.
    I have to flip back and forth to see which name goes with which.

    Before you give us raw files, at least explain what the story line is. So we don’t start with a jigsaw puzzle.

    Only the very dedicated will plow through that stuff connecting all the names and numbers.

    I’m still not sure there is absolutely a clear cut example of someone getting a free fence… I got lost somewhere in the temporary fence, final fence, partial penalties, and who gave final approval of what….

    I see Edgerly thrown in on one page but don’t know her involvement.

    So, lay out the story so we can fit the pieces together.
    As presented, I don’t see any votes changing.

    Cliffs Notes

  221. RdwithCypress

    Ralph, Dax,

    Godness, The city put the fence up with Art Young. They then tried to make the owner pay but in the end this property owner used his influence to get the city paid for the fence after loads of comments. What more do you need to know. What needs to be changed to make it easier to understand? Thanks for coaching us in a nice way. I recommend you look at who the property owner is to fully understand.

  222. ralph

    From what I heard, not only did Kilian file his Form 460 late, but it was also incorrect. So, an auditor can not properly report his contributions and this is the guy you want as an auditor.

    There isn’t a city in the country that does not utilize external auditors for work. Both of the audit firms I worked for performed various audits for municipalities. It happens, and as city council continues to cut the number of auditors while the number of mandated audits increase, you can expect a rise in audits performed by external auditors.

  223. Karen Bishop

    Oaklandlocal just posted a fact checking article based on MOBN questionnaire. Kaplan wants to aggressively enforce blight fines as a revenue generator. Well we saw how well the increased revenue plan worked by increasing enforcement hours for parking – IT DIDN”T! It outraged people. Seeking revenue through aggressive fine enforcement is going to further fracture and embitter the citizens against the City. And during this troubling economic time, going after people who may not have the money to pay for repairs and clear the blight could lead to lost hopes and dreams. I now know who is not going to be #2 or #3 on my ballot.

  224. Daniel Schulman

    Karen Bishop that is a complete misrepresentation of Kaplan’s position on blight enforcement. Whenever she discusses it, she talks about going after all of the empty foreclosed properties owned by banks. Her idea is to increase the holding costs on foreclosures so the institutions are more willing to sell and people can buy homes at more reasonable costs and live their “hopes and dreams.”

  225. We Fight Blight


    While we would never vote for Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor because of her support for the Nic Nak liquor store in North Oakland, we do support her position on fighting blight.

    Blight has a significant downward affect on tax revenues by depressing property values. The foregone revenue resulting from significant blight in Oakland is astounding and is likely far greater than the amount of lost revenue from those who opt to shopp in Walnut Creek, San Francisco and Marin. While it is not likely that the City can generate a significant amount of revenue from blight fines in and of themselves, aggressive enforcement of blight fines would act as a significant deterrent and, to the extent they force property owners to clean up their properties, could have a positive affect on property values and attract investment in Oakland and consequently have an upward tick on property tax revenues. There are other positive revenue spinoff effects associated with addressing blight as well as crime reduction. Because we are in tough economic times shouldn’t mean that property owners get a free pass on blight issues. Maintaining a blighted property is a violation of the Oakland Municipal Code. Property owners should be held accountable across the board. Their failure to maintain their property affects us all.

  226. Karen Bishop

    I don’t think Kaplan will have control over the process so only the foreclosed homes get hit with blight fines. Also banks are going to put properties on the market in their own time to make sure they get the most money for the property. There are literally hundreds of properties in Oakland just sitting empty because Banks don’t have the staff and dumping properties on the market will create more problems, falling property values and falling property taxes (in some situations).

    We have to be careful not to have the strong arm of the government lower it’s hammer on the most vulnerable or those least able to defend themselves.

  227. Karen Bishop

    Ralph, I would be interested where you heard this about Kilian. How late did he file and how significant was the error?

  228. Max Allstadt

    @Karen Bishop,

    As mayor, Kaplan would absolutely have the authority to prioritize blight enforcement so that bank owned blighted properties would be the sole target.

    And actually, even under Dellums/Lindheim, the administration would be crazy to target anyone other than banks and absentee landlords with blight citations. Targeting poor homeowners would lead to blowback. Plus it’s downright mean.

    I’ve lived in West Oakland for 7 years and I’ve never met a long time homeowner with a rundown house who’s complained about blight tickets.


    It boggles my mind how Kaplan successfully create a blight enforcement ordinance that you like, and unsuccessfully vote in favor of Nik Nak, and still permanently lose your vote.

    The vacant properties ordinance is probably the single most significant piece of blight fighting legislation in years, and it’s city-wide. Nik-Nak was one store in one place, and Kaplan’s vote was with the losing side. Please consider the net positive effect on the city of these two votes before giving up on Rebecca.

  229. len raphael

    my favorite Joe line is from last week’s Humanist Hall forum.

    Asked about inclusionary zoning Joe earnestly declared his support but had to go one step further: how it was unfair to put the below market rate units in out of the way sections of an otherwise market rate building.

    They should be “blended in” with the market rate unit dwellers to be “consistent with Oakland values.”

    That’s “rich” coming from a guy who lives in a Crocker Heights single family residence.

    -len raphael
    temescal Peratista
    Kilian for Auditor

  230. Naomi Schiff

    Another reason to vote for Anybody But Perata for mayor:

    Updated: A’s Owners Give $25,000 to Perata Group After Ex-Senator Says Team Is Moving to San Jose

  231. len raphael

    Naomi, my view of influence peddling, is that the a successful politician who has multiple sources of contributions is much more independent than a poor one who has only one or two well heeled supporters.

    the successful politician can “triangulate” as Bill Clinton a course thru his supporters.

    Again, other than the developers, most of Perata’s supporters could care less what he does in Oakland.

    -len raphael, temescal
    Proud Peratista

  232. Naomi Schiff

    I’m thinking the prison guards will all get free box seats at the santa clara county ballpark. Perata is not on Oakland’s side, folks. He is out for himself and nobody else. Don’t vote for him.

  233. Naomi Schiff

    Len–”most of Perata’s supporters could care less what he does in Oakland.” That right there is a reason to vote against Perata; exactly. Many of the people financing him don’t care about this place BUT I DO. Don is entangled in all kinds of non-Oakland agendas. (Watch out. You may be surprised at the height of the buildings on Broadway.) Vote for Jean. She is honest.

  234. len raphael

    Karen, nothing strange about me wanting an auditor’s auditor in that office and especially because he’s loosely affiliated with the opposing camp, Quan.

    if i thought Quan was going to win, I’d prefer an experienced auditor who wasn’t even loosely affiliated with her.

    I don’t claim to have more than the min audit experience hours required to get my cpa license and maintain it. But I’ve been in the biz for many years and read many resumes. Ruby does not have a heavy audit background based on the info she posted online.

    Auditing is more art than science. you need that experience to detect fraud etc.

    Ralph, would you disagree with me on that last point?

    -len raphael
    Proud Peratista
    No on Q(uan)
    Kilian for Auditor

  235. len raphael

    Naomi, I have no illusions about Perata and the height of buildings abutting me on Bway. Any pol as pro development as Perata would pose the same risk of putting my garden in perpetual shade.

    But I won’t even be around to enjoy my garden if i get shot in back next saturday morning when i go up to the BOA ATM or buy gas at the Chevron on Piedmont and Pleasant Valley.

    I trust Jean all right, I trust her to do exactly what she says: put prioritiy on anti violence programs instead of cops. You can take the anti-violence programs, I prefer cops.

    -len raphael
    No on Q(uan)
    Yes on P(erata)

  236. len raphael

    Naomi, re. the 25k contributed byWolff and Fisher to Perata PAC

    I try not to repost here, but I’m tired.

    25,000 might be a lot of money to you, me, and Dave Newhouse, but to very wealthy people like Wolff and Fisher it really isn’t that much. If they were seriously trying to influence a politician re. a transaction as big as moving an entire sports franchise, they would have contributed heck of more money than 25k.

    No, the most likely explanation isn’t as exciting as yours, but more likely they were just making a contribution to an old political buddy who had helped them out in the past.

    The conclusion in the eastbayexpress article is that Perata is up to no good because he opposes using any public money to subsidize a new stadium for the A’s.

    it never occurred to the express that Perata really did learn the same thing from the infamous Raider’s deal that as most cities and sports economists would say, investing public money in attracting/retaining pro sports teams is stupid.

    Someone might suggest that that to our sports economist gurus Quan, Kapland, Doug Boxer, and Dave Newhouse who believe spending redevelopment money on a stadium is a wonderful use of public money.

    What i like about Perata, is that like any smart politician he learns from his past mistakes and adapts. Quan unfortunately is doomed to keep repeating her mistakes because she never admits having made a mistake.

    -len raphael, temescal
    No on Q(uan)

  237. Karen Bishop


    I didn’t mischaracterize RK’s position at all. She said that she would use blight laws as a revenue generator, particularly on the foreclosed homes. She said particularly but not exclusively. When city government looks to fines as a revenue generator, the City is in big trouble. They have it all backwards, the City isn’t going to raise enough revenue from fines to then catapult them to a premiere city because they have enough money to beautify the city. They have to bring in business, focus on rezoning and cutting red tape in a meaningful way. That increases the tax base in a meaningful way, they raises enough money to then do other wonderful things for Oakland’s citizens.

    @Max, RK will not be supervising the code enforcers so that ONLY foreclosed homes/Banks will be hit with blight fines. When revenue generator is the reason behind slapping blight fines then you will see a team of code enforcers unleashed throughout the city and they are a much nastier lot than the parking enforcement people.

    @Len, I agree Ruby is more fluff and I’ve decided to vote for Kilian

    @Len, you repeated yourself on Joe’s comments at the Humanist forum. Please see my comments in response to your post. I agree with Joe and think he is spot on. The poor shouldn’t be shunted and shuttled to remote parts of the city because middle class people don’t want the poor to live down the hall.

    @Len, agreed $25,000 is chump change, however look at the pattern of Perata’s behavior. Creates funds to run for an office or get an initiative on the state ballot, huge contributions and then he spends the money however he wants. The money is barely used for its intended purposes and the bulk of the money is used to buy influence. This is the man’s modus operandi and not someone who has learned from his mistakes.

  238. RdwithCypress

    We fight Blight, I am familiar with your web site. I live in West and agree that we have a blight problem. That said, the City has been for some time over enforcing the code which compounds the problem. In other city’s when you get a notice to abate a condition, you have30 -45 days to abate it yourself. In our city they simply slap you with huge fines fees and penalties. The city is making significant revenue on this and worse it clears out a persons bank account and thus there is no money left to fix the problem. If you don’t pay the CEDA invoice in like 10 or so days, you have a lien placed on your home, which means your title is encumbered so you can no longer qualify for a bank home improvement loan. The property ends up sitting un-repaired. This is the worst policy I have ever seen! Other city’s help the property owner abate the negative condition, our city compounds the problem. I strongly believe that it is being used to bolster the budget. I would go so fare as to argue that Oakand Code Enforcement is causing Blight!.

  239. RdwithCypress

    Also, I spoke with Kapan directly on this issue. She said that she was unaware of this and that the intent of the Blight code was to target bank foreclosed properties that were left sitting. She seemed appalled at the idea that heavy code enforcement was actually pushing more foreclosures. To her credit she spoke about this negative effect at several forums. The problem is that when you right a property law it pretty much targets all properties not just properties owned by banks or out of town landlords. I have reviewed 100′s of these CEDA case files from the PTS system and time and time again I see regular people suffer complete financial ruin by this policy. There are programs like Detroit where they offer redevelopment loans to help you abate a condition. Not in our city! If you have an abatement on your property the 5th floor money/loans will not be granted until after the abatement. This is the most ridicules policy I have ever seen.

  240. Karen Bishop


    Thank you for speaking up about this. When Max mentioned he never heard of an ordinary person or poor person receive a blight fine, I knew that couldn’t be true, knowing how laws in the hands of city workers end up being handled. Yet I had no direct proof.

  241. ralph

    Audit is a bit art, but no auditor is going to detect a well designed plan to commit fraud. For example, on my very first audit, one of the employees was stealing pennies off the interest. She had been doing this for at least 7 years. How did I detect it? Dumbluck.

    It was my first audit. She was in accounting so I asked her when she took her last vacation. You get one guess.

    In the last 20 years, there have been many changes in the roles and responsibilities for the municipal auditor. For example, when I started performance audits were not huge, now they are an expectation.

    Auditing is not about finding fraud. A good auditor will be able to identify and advise one on internal control issues. Ruby’s audit have identified more than an insignificant issue with Oakland’s internal control structure. Judging from the issues identified in the CAFR(?), there is no way that this issues just popped up when she was elected in ’06. They existed long before she came into office.

    You need an auditor who can identify the issues and a council that is going to hold the CA, Controller and others responsible for implementing the controls that will reduce the risk of fraud to a relatively low level.

    Ruby is by far the better candidate for auditor.

  242. RdwithCypress

    Len, The controller position in the City has been open since LaRae Brown was pushed out for pointing Ruby to the Payroll findings.

  243. RdwithCypress

    In Baltimore, the City purchased over 5000 foreclosures using redevelopment money. They invested an additional 12k into each for repairs and flipped them for a profit. They call this the Baltimore 5000. This is how you fix blight. Now they are up to around 6500 homes. This is the way to fix blight.

  244. CitizenX

    Ralph, what “issues identified in the CAFR” are you referring to? I checked the last audit (June 2009) and there is one finding for the City regarding Internal Service funds, which appears to be a continuing budget issue (the budget rates charged City departments for fleet, facility and related services are too low).

    The Redevelopment Agency has one finding regarding recording a property transaction in the wrong period (June vs. July, when the transaction actually closed). Not exactly earth shattering control issues, IMO. Working from memory, prior years were pretty much the same.

  245. Karen Bishop

    You don’t have to read many of the complaints RdwithCypress posted without seeing how irresponsible CETA is behaving. Am I right in the way I read these records that these blight fines start with a phone call form a neighbor complaining about the neighbor next door? If RK has been on the City council and has not read these complaints or, has read them and has not gone on record trying to improve this process, than shame on RK!

    Some people have complained Joe Tuman is not familiar with City Hall and how things work. I ask those same people, what is RK’s excuse? She has been involved in politics for years! So this shows knowing how to move around City Hall means nothing!

  246. ralph

    Brown claims there were problems with internal control going back as far as ’99. Unlike fraud, problems with internal control should smack an auditor in the face; if these claims are true, then Kilian should have detected them during normal audits. Kilian is not an auditor. Trust me, Kilian is not the person you want in office.

    Ralph, who unlike Len, did more than a minute in audit

  247. ralph

    I’ve read so many audit reports these last few months I forget which had what findings. It could have been a CAFR going back to ’07. It could have been a non-CAFR. The specific audit it the one that has Edgerly trying to defend herself as opposed to accepting responsibility.

  248. CitizenX

    RdwithCypress and Ralph, former Controller Brown made many claims, but I never saw any sign of any resolution in the City’s CAFR or outside auditor’s management letter. She claimed that City cash was overstated by over 170 million dollars. Were that true, I would expect a prior period adjustment to show up in a subsequent audit and an audit finding to follow. Nada. Same with other claims. If all this was true, I’d expect the outside auditors to say something in their report to the City Council. Nada. I thinketh the lady doth protesteth too much. She has a lawsuit filed by none other than John Burris. Wonder how many $$$s she’s after?

  249. Naomi Schiff

    Len, you think you are a realist but you are actually an idealist. You have unreasoning faith that by getting a career pol, beholden to big contributors, you will get improved city government. You believe that someone who clearly owes the police unions big time will be able to work with them on pension funds givebacks. That’s idealism, if not pie-in-the-sky expectation. I’m the realist here. Integrity, detailed knowledge of the city, and a willingness to work hard on the problems we face is the ONLY way we are going to “get things done.” I’ve had enough of the Old Boys’ networks. It has not served us well. These guys and their fat money deals are to blame for the situation we are in.

  250. ralph

    I have some doubts about the overstmt, but Brown’s stmts regarding the bank recs and Edgerly’s responses to identified issues, when taken as a whole, point to problems in internal control.

  251. ralph

    Realistically, the only thing Quan is good at is squandering taxpayer money. In the middle of a recession she refused to stop her buddies at the Nonprofits from raping the city coffers. She then compromised with them by giving them a $4MM raise and justifies it with well it is less than the $13MM they would have gotten. Does she not understand how the 2.5% of revenue mechanism works. She could not reach a deal with the police officers and she will not be able to reach one later. For the life of me, I can not see why you think that her financial irresponsibility is good for the city.

    I think she would be an excellent coordinator of child and youth services (as long as she had a budget director) but that is not the position she is seeking.


  252. Chris Kidd

    RdwithCypress – it’s my understanding that CEDA had built up a reserve fund during the boom times to help fund operations during a decline in the economy, much like the one we have now. Unfortunately, the state raided that reserve fund to help plug their budget deficit, much like what they do every year to transportation agencies. This left CEDA with a sizable operating deficit and no way to continue funding themselves (since they derive a lot of their budget from permitting new development which is no longer happening). I think this is where some of the overly enthusiastic code enforcement is coming from. Not saying it’s right, just saying that if the state hadn’t screwed us we wouldn’t be in this position today.

  253. RdwithCypress

    I have a direct question for V Smooth. There is a nasty rumor floating out there that you are a paid worker in the Perata Campaign. Is this true or false? Please clarify for me? Up until now I believed this was miss information but this “Tuman doesn’t know Jack” story makes me wonder. Please say it ain’t so….

  254. V Smoothe Post author

    That is false, RdwithCypress. I am not a paid worker for any local campaign. I have been volunteering for the Perata campaign because I think that he is hands down the best choice for Oakland Mayor. I think it should be clear from the post that I don’t believe Joe Tuman is qualified.

  255. CitizenX

    Ralph, once again, her issues are not repeated by the outside auditors. When one of the chief financial officers of an organization make the kind of statements that Brown did, outside auditors will sit up and take notice. I can’t believe that they wouldn’t investigate all of her claims. I would have expected to see at least SOME of her issues show up in the audit findings. Nada. For that matter, I would have expected Ruby to pick up on her issues and investigate. Nada. So, either the auditors are totally negligent, or Brown is out to lunch. We can all draw our own conclusions, but I just don’t see it — noise and smoke, but no fire?

  256. RdwithCypress

    Thanks V Smooth. I knew this had to be miss information. Thanks for clarifying and thank you so much for this venue!

  257. mfraser

    The problem as being highlighted by RdwithCypress is dramatic. Just look at that first entry on his lit – overgrown vegetation on a lot. A $2,000 bill becomes a $40,000 lien on the house?

    That is using the power of the city for robbery. That is enough to bankrupt people and put them out of their homes. Even the $2,000 bill is clearly a payoff – that is what, a few hundred dollars of work?

    This is the same the city is doing with parking tickets, taking a failure to pay 25 cents and turning it into a fine that is 300X as much, then turning around and trippling that within a couple of weeks.

    This city is doing several million dollars in liens a year when most cities are doing what, maybe a few 10′s of thousands of dollars? Whatever the liens are, there must be many times that in fines people just suck it up and pay. Soo we are talking at least $10m to $20m annually, much of which I suspect is just going to pay contractors inflated fees with dubious deals. There is rampant abuse, which comes back to the sitting city council, who is not doing their job.

    I would predict this; someone will eventually try to make a class action suit on this stick if this continues, and if the city loses (as it should, putting a $40k lien for a $2k bill) with repayments and punitive damages, you could easily be talking $100m or more. Then those of you who support Kaplan or Quan or Perata will be wondering ‘how did that happen.’ Tuman is the only one talking about basic issues of extreme abuse like this. How can Kaplan or Quan, being on the council, not even know how excessive these billings are?

  258. Karen Bishop

    @ChrisKidd, I’m not familiar with CEDA’s budget and how they fund their efforts. Do you have a citation or direct evidence that the state raided CEDA’s surplus and they only receive their funding through blight fines? That would be helpful to better understand how all this works.

  259. RdwithCypress

    Ralph, please stop being so naïve. You are the one who keeps pointing out audit sampling. The big 4 public audit firm KPMG, dropped the City of Oakland. Word on the Audit Street is that KPMG knew what a mess the City’s finances and found it to be too risky a client.

    Furthermore, you and I both know that the public auditors do just enough to meet the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS). This means they really don’t do much. They also face an independence issue as all auditors do. The truth is if they raise up severe issues they often face losing the client. It really boils down to sampling like you said. What is an acceptable sample for 500 million. I know KPMG was sampling accounts with an average sample of 29 transactions. Give me a break! LaRae pointed Courtney to the nepotism findings on her payroll audit. LaRae was doing her job. Period!

  260. Chris Kidd

    Karen – It looks like Ralph supplied the goods already. I had read it in a few places, but most of my info usually comes from discussions I have had with city planners or others who are in the know.

    I should add that I’m a HUGE supporter of Prop 22. For so long, different types of transit advocates have been fighting each other and undermining local transpo agencies over table scraps. Van Hools, service cuts, BRT, fare increases. All of these obscure the bigger issue, which is the state raiding transit agencies to plug holes in other state functions. It’s time we started dealing with the true costs of state functions instead of propping them up with the raided proceeds of other chronically-underfunded agencies. This is why people get mad that ACTransit has to keep coming back year after year with more propositions to restore funding that gets stolen.

  261. ralph

    I don’t know Brown but honestly, if any of what she said was true, then technically she should have been the one to make things right. As Controller that was her responsibility. Bringing it to the attn of someone else without having a game plan to correct it was like saying, I really have no idea what I am suppose to do, please fire me now.

    I have no idea of what you mean by this, “Furthermore, you and I both know that the public auditors do just enough to meet the Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS). This means they really don’t do much. ” And I doubt you do either.

  262. Karen Bishop

    Thanks Ralph.

    So I went to my ballot to see how I voted on Prop 22 — it’s blank! I did research last night, voted on everything else but went to bed confused on how to Vote on Prop 22. Now I’m starting to get the issues involved. When on the websites it was difficult to understand the issues.

    Thanks for the link. What is interesting is some cities refused to give the money back to the State. How much was taken from Oakland and I wonder what would have happened if the City said shove it to SACTO.

  263. CitizenX

    RdwithCypress, several years ago the City and Port put out a request for proposal for outside auditors. Two firms, KPMG and Macias & Gini, responded with proposals. Staff selected KPMG, which was the then current City outside auditor. Staff’s recommendation was overruled by the City Council, at the suggestion of IdlF. He felt that it was time for a change in auditors. This is all public record. KPMG did not “dump” the City.

  264. Dax

    RdwithCypress Says:
    October 25th, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    “Godness, The city put the fence up with Art Young. They then tried to make the owner pay but in the end this property owner used his influence to get the city paid for the fence after loads of comments. What more do you need to know.”

    Yes I got the basics when I spent time slowly reading the TWENTY PAGES…

    However there are issues regarding if the city completely had the right to charge the owner. That they built he fence and then reversed the charges does not prove that the property owner should have been charged in the first place.

    However the biggest problem in putting this story out in the manner you did is that you didn’t give a outline of the events and people involved.

    Instead you just dumped a 20 page complicated document on our desk and expected us to wade through it, creating our own outline of what happened and who the people were.

    Very few people know who x, y, and z are or what their duties and positions are.

    This kind of presentation will never be effective for more than 1 person in 100.
    A newspaper would give some context and make it simpler for the reader.

  265. RdwithCypress

    Dax, I agree that the support is complex and hard to understand, however please remember substance over form. The reason I am so pissed about this one is that ordinary property owners that receive a mostly unwanted Arthur Young fence courtesy of Renwick and code enforcement usually have to pay in excess of 10k. They don’t even get to appeal!?! and if they refuse to pay it ends up on their property tax bill. So this really suck that Ignacio’s ex chief of staff gets preferential treatment over ordinary people.

  266. mfraser

    It more than sucks; it is evidence of deep corruption that we all need to care about and begin to make a stand against. If you don’t care just for the sake of a cleaner government and because you care about your neighbor and them losing their savings and their homes to unjust takings, remember what Pastor Neimoller said about the inaction of the intellectuals against Hitler, and think about how it applies to many kinds of government abuse of power, and this kind in particular where they use a small issue to heap on layers of fines, ultimately seizing your house and for many people effectively gutting their life savings-

    “They came first for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

  267. ralph

    There is an excel file in the linked document that indicates what was taken from each city. I think Oakland “lost” $41MM.

  268. Daniel Schulman

    Joe Tuman just posted a response on hs blog how this is not a golden handshake program –

    Not sure if he shifted, but if he has been consistent my apologies for my comments that went to the problems of a golden handshake program.

    It does make me more confused, though. If there is no Golden Handshake and the program is completely voluntary, why does he feel officers will take him up on the offer? He mentions in the university setting the employees like the ability to wind up their careers at half-time, but the police who are 2-3 years from retirement are 47 or 48 years old. Without the service credits (i.e. the gold), they seem to be giving up a lot of money.

    As I mentioned before, I am sure there are some particular cases where this might make sense to a few officers, but I do not see it being attractive to 15 of them a year.

    Tuman also clarified in his blog post that he plans to pay new officers $45-$50,000 to start. Hey, if I thought he could pull that off, I would vote for him.

  269. Mfraser

    What would it take to convince you? If he shows information on how other similar positions are oversubscribed in other areas would that convince you?

    Only Tuman has been talking real specifics on this issue. He said that figure a good month ago at a talk I went to. It’s obvious to me in this economy those spots would fill, but if one doubts it tell him what would convince you.

    Perata won’t talk any real cuts for his closest held supporters, police and fire, and absent such cuts there is no viable solution.

  270. Daniel Schulman

    I do not think we would get enough qualified police officer applicants at $45-$50k a year. Times were better true, but Oakland had a hard time finding applicants a few years ago at over $80k starting with many new officers making close to $100k with overtime. All that was also with the highly publicized $8 million recruitment campaign.

    A far bigger problem is getting OPOA to go along with the deal. I know Tuman claims to have some great negotiating ploys in his pocket, but I have a really hard time seeing OPOA agreeing to a reduction in starting pay of about 40%.

  271. ralph

    The likelihood of Tuman paying the officers b/w $40-50K is as likely as Naomi voting for Perata. Tuman and Harland are somewhat misstating the wages of a NYC officers. Furthermore, they fail to indicate that taken as whole the NYC COL is less than the Bay Area. The starting OPD wage should be around the average adjusted for the COL. This would probably place Oakland around $70K starting. Perata is probably in the best position to get a deal done.

  272. V Smoothe Post author

    Dan –

    After receiving criticism for his early retirement plan not being workable, Joe Tuman came up with this new explanation of his police plan, in which the early retirement is no longer early, just retirement. It makes even less sense than the way he had described it before.

  273. len raphael

    Karen, after the election, we should revisit inclusionary zoning and TOD development that has mixed market and below market units.

    i’m sure there’s a price point at which people buying or renting market rate units will happily live next to people on Section 8, but it definitely lowers the price point and in turn requires higher/denser to make the project viable. if we need to increase the proportion of middle and upper middle income residents here, in part so we can afford services for the many poor residents, then we better be darn careful about imposing “blending” requirements on them. That’s akin to making West Oakland grocery sell locally grown organic produce in biodegradable bags.

    -len raphael
    No on Q(uan)

  274. len raphael

    Ralph, you didn’t respond to my point that Ruby’s resume shows audit lite.

    Considering that everyone puffs up their resume, her’s should get discounted to audit sub-lite.

    -len raphael

  275. len raphael

    Naomi, guilty as charged: I really am an idealist realist, or maybe a realistic idealist.

    Even if i agreed 100% with Quan’s policy goals, i wouldn’t vote for her because she’ll never be able to implement them due to her inability to handle the finances.

    For someone who is so vehemently opposed to talk about bankruptcy, I’d say she is the most likely one to lead us right off the cliff.

    -len raphael

  276. ralph

    Ruby put in her time at the Big 8 (6 or 4). She has broad experience in financial management roles which is what the audit profession requires these days. Kilian is an auditor of a bygone era. I would make a better auditor than Kilian.

  277. Karen Bishop


    Tuman has always been consistent in his explanations. I just read his statement on his website and I can attest that this is the same thing he said on at least 4 other previous occasions when I heard him speak. Joe has not waivered or changed his position one bit.

    For all the doubters that Joe could hire new police officers in at $40-50,000 just look at the changed economy. We are no longer in the go-go economy where my condo will sell for triple after 2 years of ownership or where people can job hop after a few years of experience and end up with a 100K job plus bonus. We have close to 20% unemployment in Oakland, the average statewide is 12% and 10% around the country. While I find it incredibly sad that formerly well paid people are having to find jobs that pay barely a living wage, we now are in the economic position of being able to negotiate what we pay police officers. People need jobs, we can pay them less and in the future their salaries will increase.

    Some of the most prominent economists came to the Bay Area last week and in a meeting in San Jose, they concurred that Oakland would not see a turn around of unemployment until 4th quarter 2015. That is 5 years away. This will give us plenty of time to negotiate salaries, hire more police and when demands for salary come up for negotiation we will be on the uptick and can then afford it.

    I’ve previously posted that the City of West Covina (1/4 the size of Oakland) has done exactly what Joe has proposed. So it is being done.

    Perata getting a deal done – yeah right. He’ll be throwing some money around to make people feel better and behind our backs he’ll be making some sweet deals with the rich developers and then it will be too late. He’s the kind of politician that will appease some special interest groups, put some type of do gooder non profit together so everyone can feel better for the evening as the well heeled drink their wine at the fund raiser, gala event. I don’t want any part of that.

  278. mfraser

    Well, I don’t think so since I’m not comparing anyone to Hitler or Nazi’s, which actually is what I believe trigger ‘the law.’ I just like the rhetoric and didn’t want to steal the conceptual idea without attribution.

  279. Chris Kidd

    I don’t know, mfraser. I pretty clearly read that as you comparing CEDA’s actions to the slippery slope of Nazi persecution. Close enough for me.

  280. mfraser

    Yes, yes, my point was obviously that the people who run CEDA are Nazis. That is MY hidden agenda.

  281. Chris Kidd

    “comparing to Nazis” =/= “are Nazis”

    Come now, mfraser, let’s not be disingenuous. It’s okay to admit when you’ve overstepped things a bit.

  282. mfraser

    For the record I don’t think CEDA are nazis! Just property thieves…
    who use the system to and power of government to destroy peoples’ lives…
    and target that on a specific ethnic group most commonly…
    without morals or compunction destroying lives and ruining the very fabric of civilization.
    But definitely totally distinct from Nazis.

  283. mfraser

    I actually think this demonstrates the falsity of Godwin’s law in resurrecting a nearly dead thread, if there is a violation of said law, which I ain’t copping to. So there.

  284. Karen Bishop

    re: my post on cities hiring retired police officers. Don’t know under what circumstances each city approached this but thought it interesting to bring forth to the discussion.

  285. Robert Wiles

    I’m one of those who votes absentee. Consider me an “anyone but Quan” voter. The Mayor’s race isn’t our deeper problem. It’s still the Council. Given how Perata is connected to a few of the Council, I really do not expect much improvement.

    Watching the snarling and sniping here, I’m pretty sure it’s a case of not really wanting to face deeper issues. Our politicians have never gotten over Prop 13′s message and our electorate does not really pay much attention. Desintation: Disaster.