Kerry Hamill talks to Phil Tagami on TagamiVision

If you missed the last interview with Kerry Hamill on TagamiVision, which debuted during the primary campaign, you can view it here. Now that the field for the at-large Council seat has narrowed to just Hamill and Rebecca Kaplan, it’s time for a new installment.

Watch below as Hamill explains the differences she sees between herself and Kaplan and shares her thoughts on the current City Council’s performance, Oakland’s crime problems, police deployment, youth services, gun control, former Mayor Elihu Harris, former Mayor Jerry Brown, and current Mayor Ron Dellums.

So…what do you guys think?

34 thoughts on “Kerry Hamill talks to Phil Tagami on TagamiVision

  1. Max Allstadt

    What do I think?

    Well, to start off, I think saying that the officers on the graveyard shift are young, naive and have itchy trigger fingers is not going to win her friends on the force. These young guys are the ones we want to retain, and if she walks around saying thoughtless stuff like that, even if we do retain them, they won’t be too cooperative with her office.

    I think we have a city that isn’t entirely made up of heterosexual baby boomers, and that our council should reflect that. This city has a large queer population. We have a very large population born after 1964. These demographics need someone to represent them.

    I think that Rebecca Kaplan’s willingness to post detailed thoughts on this forum and others is encouraging. I found Hamill’s web presence in the first round to be pathetic. It was a template, employed so naively that I was easily able to use their open comments section to post a link to an unfavorable article. This demonstrates a lack of interest and lack of understanding of technology, which is a huge problem for me.

    What do I think? I think I’m voting for Rebecca. I donated to her campaign because I think that she’s more enthusiastic, more engaged, and has more to lose if she screws up the job. People have complained that they think Rebecca may be using this office as a step up to higher office. I think that’s a good thing – in order for it to work, she has to do a good job.

    I also think Phil is doing this town a huge service by producing these spots. I’d like to see more of them. I think he needs a bigger table too. If Charlie Rose can squeeze in 4 guests, you can too Phil. I’m not necessarily suggesting a debate or multiple candidates. Just more than one person on the same topic. Say, a school board member, a PTA member, a student, a young teacher and a seasoned teacher…

  2. len raphael

    hamill’s opening comment gave me sufficient to vote for kaplan: every incumbent council member except for brooks endorses hamill. a leading indicator of more of the same ol same ol if hamill wins.

    hamil’ls comments about young itchy trigger finger cops alone on night shifts probably has some reality to it, except for the trigger finger nonsense. fatigue impaired judgement from the new 12 hour shift could be a more important factor.

    she finally put some substance to her anti crime platform. throughout the entire election she flooded mailboxes with some silly campaign consultant designed literature screaming about crime, but w 0 details about what she’d do about it.

    she is the first pol willing to say we gotta put pressure on the federal judge to revise the raiders settlement. dellums and the whole council should be taking up that chant.

    MA, kaplan plays the understated sexual politics card well. you do what you gotta do to get elected, but as far as some burning city affected injustices/interests need to get gay representation on the council, one could look at the council’s composition as overwhelming female and say males of any sexual orientation are vastly underrepresented. does that mean that the interests of oakland’s males are getting short shrift? or is there any predilection to programs rather than police? :) . is the council overwhelmingly female because males have better political opportunities available?

    kaplan, in her moves from green party, to democrat, and from organic school lunch, green industry will solve oakland’s unemployment, and a big “ambassador” type program will solve crime (and some other initial anti crime doozies), to (at least in this blog) show a pragmatic policy shift to raising the priority of anti crime policing measures. i don’t expect any more detail from her on that but hamill looks like she’ll push kaplan to be more pragmatic and specific.

    main reservation about kaplan isn’t her obvious ambition to get the heck up and out of oakland, it’s that she’ll need to kiss the butts of the unions who are supporting her. how she’ll do that and support cutting oakland’s personnel costs is the question.

    in particular, where does hamil and kaplan stand on the various proposed parcel taxes (including AC transit) and the kid’s first law?

  3. oakie

    I agree with len. A friend of my enemies is my enemy. If Hamill is endorsed by most sitting Council members, I’ll vote against her. And she’s Perata’s tool, besides. But, to be honest, it makes no difference which is elected. The pattern in this city is set. And we lose.

    In fact, that’s how I decided to vote in a couple of offices in the recent election. If I saw a pattern of Brunner plus other lawn signs, I was sure to vote against those others. A tip of the hat to those people for helping me decide how to vote.

  4. tagami

    Max – ok I agree a larger table would be better and a panel discussion would be cool are you interested in coming on the show?

    I should have the Kaplan interview in the “can”and in a uploadable format by next week.

    Thanks for watching


  5. gfw

    okay, I can see the eagerness to see new blood in Oakland, but Kaplan isn’t the knight in shining armor. First, she’s a Canadian, so is ineligible to run, unless she proves us otherwise; second, she has described herself as a radical eco-socialist, so I’m definitely not on board; third, she’s never had to support herself as a trust fund baby, so exactly what is she good for? We don’t need a Chris Daly for Oakland.

  6. Max Allstadt

    Canadian? V, is that true?

    The only thing that I have any reservations about is the potential for union appeasement. We certainly have enough of that already. I’m a moderate on unions though. I think that rather than negotiating with them to lower their salaries, we should push them to raise their standards. It’s a much harder line for them to debate in public. Plus, their own rhetoric emphasizes the superiority of union workers.

    Len, Nancy Nadel, in her Tagami Vision interview, declined to endorse anyone. There were, however, Kaplan signs on her house during the election.

  7. Robert

    A friend of my enemy is my enemy? Has not been a very productive philosopy over the years, but if you go that route, you need to be careful about who you think is the enemy. Is the enemy the members of the council who are unable to effect change, or is the enemy the unions whose inflated salary demands and work rules are a significant contributor to the problem? Is it better to have someone who is not beholden to the unions and can work with the rest of the council, or is it better to have somebody who the council does not want, but is a friend of the unions? It all depends on what you think is the biggest problem.

  8. gfw

    Sorry too many glasses of wine last night– what I meant to say that, as someone who hasn’t needed to support herself, Kaplan hasn’t really proven what she’s made of, or what she stands for. As a result, we get the absolutely shameless posturing and flipping on key issues. I mean, she’s just trying waaaay to hard, and everybody can see it. It’s totally phony.

    Anyway, I don’t really know what a radical eco-socialist is, but I’m pretty sure that I don’t want one running our city government/deciding policing issues/approving redevelopment projects, and so forth.

    Incidentally, what’s the deal with Kaplan’s bio? I can’t find anything anywhere. Mystery woman.

  9. len raphael

    both hammil and kaplan seem to have heavy union support, just different unions. someone clue us in as to which unions represent which city workers and which have mainly construction workers.

    Hamill (
    AFSCME – Local 3993
    International Brotherhood of Teamsters – Local 70
    Laborers’ International Union of Northern California- Local 304
    Oakland Education Association
    Oakland Firefighters – Local 55
    Operating Engineers – Local 3
    Pipe Trades Association – Local 342
    United Brotherhood of Teamsters – Local 70

    Kaplan (
    # California Nurses Association
    # SEIU Local 1021
    # SEIU – UHW
    # U.A.W. Region 5 (United Auto Workers)
    # IAFF Local 55- Oakland Firefighters
    # The Central Labor Council of Alameda County, AFL-CIO

    # Oakland Education Association (OEA — Oakland Teachers)

    Kaplan’s other site gives her resume. Impressive if you’re impressed by academic approaches to public policy.

    As far as kaplan being an earth first type, that must have been one of those “big” wines. Hey, I’m relatively slow growth compared to most participants in this blog, and I assume kaplan is tight with what i consider the equivalent of the hitler stalin pact, but between the sierra club and larger developers aka smart growth :) So i don’t see how you can quiblle that she’s a central planning eco naz (which i consider the BRT to be) i, when she seems to favor high density growth youze guys want.

    What’s wrong with a local pol being a ambititious flip flopper? Local pols should be opportunists who listen to what the people want and give it them. You’re asking a lot if you want them to exercise leadership. I’d be happy with them giving as much weight to the voters as they give to unions and developers.

    And who the heck do you think wants to be an oakland council person? We had unusually execellent challengers in the june election who got clobbered. I supported Pine in the
    last election, but Kaplan in the runoff. And if Kaplan wins she will owe her win to a lot of unaffiliated voters who consciously chose to support her.

    (btw, did phil t. disclose in the video that he was listed under hamills endorsements? doesn’t detract from a very helpful video, but makes me wonder if his questions would have been more pointed and he wouldn’t have said the “good answer” )

  10. Max Allstadt

    One other reason I think Kaplan will prove to understand growth better: She’s a bicyclist, and an avid one. I think in order to understand the strengths and failings of any urban core you have to get out of your car, and spend time trying to move around the city on foot, bike and transit. It slows you down enough to really get what’s going on.

    Bikes speed you up just enough to cover more ground and get the bigger picture, without losing track of human scale. I think this daily experience of moving through the city, coupled with experience on transit issues is invaluable. You simply cannot do effective urban planning without doing a lot of walking or biking.

    I don’t know if Phil disclosed his endorsement on his site, but in the last round of interviews he was very fair, and at least those posted on NovoMetro/Oakbook did full disclosure.

  11. avis

    I went to several of the debates and Kaplan reminds me of Nancy Nadel…a lot. I think she will be just as effective as Nancy.

  12. dto510

    I don’t see how anyone could liken Rebecca Kaplan to Nancy Nadel at the debates. Many of Sean Sullivan’s supporters, including me, are supporting Ms. Kaplan because she brings energy, passion and a fresh perspective to the City Council, and that comes across clearly. I for one have different expectations for the at-large seat than for my district representative, and I respect the work she done at AC Transit. The Chamber of Commerce’s PAC and the Oakland Builders Alliance have both endorsed Ms. Kaplan and did not support Ms. Nadel’s reelection.

    Regarding the union endorsements, Kaplan has the largest city employees’ union, SEIU 1021, and Kerry Hamill has the teachers’ and firefighters’ unions, so it’s sort of a wash. The employees’ pay is being negotiated now, so that will likely be resolved before the new councilmember takes office.

  13. Max Allstadt

    Oh, and also, if elected, Rebecca and Nancy would be my picks, along with Pat Kernighan, for the city council members most likely to win a race up the stairs to the top of city hall. Charity event! C’mon council, let’s make your jobs a little more fun.

  14. kerry hamill

    The rookies on the graveyard shift need help. There are too many civilian shootings in Oakland – lots of it happens during the graveyard hours and often the officers do not have significant street experience under their belt.

    Professsionals in all high stress, life and death decision-making jobs will tell you they are better equipped to handle the pressure and practice restraint after they have clocked some years on the street.

    I am not taking anything away from the young officers who serve. I’m asking for balance in our ranks – and suggesting that we need to recruit officers with more experience. And we need to offer older officers EXTRA incentives to work the graveyard shift.

    Revisiting the Riders case with the judge and the NAACP and ministers and Police Review Commission is another component to the same theme. Experienced officers who live here that I meet walking precincts tell me they would love to work here but won’t because officers here are investigated extensively and at great expense to our citizens. If someone says that an officer is rude while issuing a traffic citation, this merits a full blown investigation. No witnesses or evidence required.

    We have gotten tremendous benefit from the Riders Agreement – and the gains in protocal and procedure must continue.

    But it costs the citizens in this city dearly to meet some of its more extreme requirements. $11M annually should be going back into our community for public safety that is not laden with bureaucratic dictates.

    It’s time for a review.

    Check out my Public Safety Strategy – both Enforcement and Prevention, at

    Kerry Hamill

  15. Chris Kidd

    How about a city councilmember carnival dunk tank? $20 for three baseballs to hit the target. We’d have the city’s budget crisis solved in no time.

  16. len raphael

    would completely agree w much of what you say about the chilling effect of the riders settlement implimentation in your post here, then you make the non sequitorabout the “tremendus benefits in protocol”.

    has there been a tremendus drop in the dollars paid out to Burri’s et al lawsuits against OPD?

    why did OPD lose the ruling from the courts a bit ago on OPD search protocol?

  17. Jim M

    Ms Hamill, you say that rookie officers need help on graveyard? Older more experienced officers can handle the stress better? Look at what you are doing to your police force. They deal with more crime per officer than neighboring cities. They take on more dangerous events than other cities. Instead of managing the police department let’s ask the parole department and district attorney to monitor their clients better. Many of these desperados are repeat offendors and the crimes they commit yield below minimum wage income. Based on the brain power they use to do these things they certainly are not the fluffiest biscuts in the oven. A little case management would go a long ways to help them. Mandatory employment and training would help too.

  18. Brian

    In Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink there is a chapter on making decisions under pressure. He sites this study on police patrols:

    It comes up with some interesting conclusions about one versus two person patrols.

    I wish I had confidence that someone in the city government reads studies like this or looks at some actual data while developing a policy.

  19. hedera

    I am very confused here. I listened to what I thought was the Kerry Hammill interview – it was the link labeled “here” in the initial text, not the video square (which was blank, probably because I was using FireFox – I’ve noticed that this site behaves better with IE7) – and I didn’t hear one single remark about inexperienced cops with itchy trigger fingers on the night shift. Are there 2 different interview tapes??

  20. Max Allstadt

    I think there is also definitely something to add here about how obvious it is that most shootings would happen on the graveyard shift. I live in West Oakland, I’m also in East Oakland from time to time. The only time I ever see some jackass pullout a gun…. middle of the night. And frankly, if some gangster pulls a gun I’d rather the cops shoot first and ask questions later.

    There was an incident a few months back where there was a shoot out near the intersection of West and San Pablo, and one of the thugs stopped to pick up a hamburger during the shootout, and later continued shooting, WHILE EATING THE FUCKING BURGER.

    Yeah it’s funny, but it also isn’t. Faced with criminals this brazen, this pathologically fearless, I’d be a little quick on the draw too.

  21. molly k

    As to the comment that Ms.Kaplan is a bike rider and gets around Oakland in a very different way than those that drive cars – I believe she is taking care of herself. Ms.Hamill has a husband, 2 daughters, 2 dogs and a job that requires constant transportation from place to place. Although she does not own a bike, she is a constant rider of BART and AC transit and drives the most eco friendly car. She has a lot more baggage that doesn’t allow her to bike wherever she pleases. But since she entered the campaign she has been out almost every night visiting every neighborhood in Oakland speaking with voters/ I have yet to see Ms.Kaplan or any of her supporters/volunteers at my doorstep (and I live in a high voter neighborhood) nor received any phone calls from her.
    I’m not quite sure what Ms.Kaplan’s plan for solving the crime in Oakland is and if she has any experience to back it up. Just because you went to MIT or served on the AC transit board doesn’t mean you can handle the crime in Oakland. Ms.Hamill’s plan to get more cops in neighborhoods as well as focusing on youth development and gettingkids off the street is a huge step to improve the crime in our city.
    As well, for you democrats out there, Ms.Hamill has voted Democratic in every election since Jimmy Carter. I believe Ms.Kaplan didn’t support Al Gore in 2000 and is now a democrat. Why the switch? And if the rumor is true that she is from canada, then she definetly has not been voting Democratic as long as Ms.Hamill.
    Yes, the website was not great for the primary, but it is up and running now. So please check it out!
    -molly k.

  22. V Smoothe Post author

    It’s funny – I keep hearing from Kerry Hamill supporters that she has this great plan for addressing crime, but I have yet to see her articulate the specifics of this plan. Her “crime platform” consists of five brief statements, four of which are self-evident to basically everyone in Oakland at this point (hire more officers, use a crime-tracking system, reassign uniformed officers away from clerical jobs, use GPS in emergency vehicles).

    The fifth point in her five-point plan is that we should audit Measure Y funds. This makes me seriously question just how engaged Hamill is, since, if she’d been paying attention, she would know that we already have a thorough annual independent audit of Measure Y and on top of that, Courtney Ruby is currently doing her own audit of Measure Y, which she announced in March.

    In contrast, I saw Kaplan attend and speak at the Measure Y Oversight Committee as early as last fall, when I started watching them. At the Public Safety Committee meeting where the audit that Hamill is apparently unaware was scheduled to be presented, Kaplan was there, passing out a nine page document detailing her public safety proposals. While I didn’t agree with every proposal in her platform, I was deeply impressed with the depth of thought and research that had clearly gone into crafting it.

    I have yet to see such nuance or consideration from Hamill on any subject. Hopefully, she will be able to produce a crime platform of substance at some point during the campaign – then at least would be able to have a more interesting discussion than one centered on whether or not Kaplan from Canada (she is, BTW, and has dual citizenship).

  23. len raphael

    come on v, neither kaplan nor hamill have substantive policy proposals for reaching specific short term and mid term security goals. kaplan at this point seems to be much better cranking out position papers but that’s what i’d expect from a former academic. hamill seems better at touching voters’ hot buttons, and that’s what i’d expect from a perata protege.

    what so deeply impressed you other than kaplans intelligence?

    -len raphael

  24. Max Allstadt

    I think it’s pretty evident from the results: 40% to 20%, and from the visibility in the first round that Rebecca is working devoutly on this campaign. I also see her at City Hall a lot.

    My bike comment wasn’t about ecology. It was about the intuitive sense of the urban landscape that I believe can only be achieved through extensive biking.

    The fact that Rebecca is from Toronto is encouraging to me – it means she has a sense of what a polyglot city looks like when it’s not a holy wreck like ours is.

    And lastly… WHY THE HELL MUST EVERY POLITICIAN BE THE MATRIARCH OR PATRIARCH OF A NUCLEAR FAMILY? That’s identity politics at its most prevalent and most base level. Ick Ick Ick. I know plenty of people who are great parents and lead unremarkable professional lives. As a matter of fact, I think that’s more common than simultaneous excellence at home and at work. I have also known people who were excellent in their work, with family lives that were in ruins. I think the entire topic is bogus and the suggestion Molly is making is little more than a thinly veiled identity based attack.

    Consider the opposite point of view: Perhaps Rebecca is better equipped to be a full time councilmember because she DOES NOT have a nuclear family to take care of. Perhaps she’s better equipped because she has that much more energy available to give to us, rather than to her brood.

    Or perhaps the candidate’s personal lives are largely irrelevant, and we should look at their policies, personalities, diplomatic styles and decide accordingly. Yeah, maybe that’s it. It’s a job interview, not a debutante ball.

    Does it ever occur to people when they think about candidates’ personal lives that it’s virtually impossible to get an accurate read on someone so removed? Think of how long it takes to get even a fleeting and unreliable impression of your neighbors, or even your cousins or uncle’s family. The reality is that we know precisely squat about how people live at home, and we’re arrogant is we assume we know much at all.

  25. V Smoothe

    Len –

    I’m not entirely sure what you expect. Kaplan’s public safety proposals seemed pretty detailed to me – where exactly do you feel it fell short?

    To me, the contrast between the two candidates is very striking. I mean, both candidates say we need to hire more police. For one of them, that’s it. The other has taken the time to study barriers to recruitment and staffing and make concrete suggestions as to how we remove those barriers. One says the same four things that pretty much everyone in Oakland has been saying for years, the other is actually looking at successful practices from other cities and talking about how we can adopt them here.

    The key difference between the two candidates for me is one of engagement. I find it staggering that one whole point of Hamill’s five point plan is that we should do something that’s we’ve already done. In contrast, Kaplan has demonstrated, to me at least (and I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I’m a pretty tough person to bullshit when it comes to Oakland-related policy issues), a real depth of understanding and attention to detail on a wide range of topics.

    But if the only difference was, as you suggest, one of intelligence – would that be a bad thing? I mean, don’t we want smart people making decisions?

  26. molly k

    No doubt Rebecca has worked hard on her campaign, but so has Hamill. And the election is not clear -in June we had a 20% voter turnout. Does that really mean Ms.Kaplan is supported by the majority? I think not. November will be a completely different election- so don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Of course it is not necesary to be a family person while in office, but while Ms.Kaplan is working for herself, Ms.Hamill is campainging as well as Ms.Kaplan AND raising a family.

  27. Rebecca Kaplan

    Specific, immediate, public safety actions:

    In a recent column, Chip Johnson described the restaurant take-overs as “crimes of opportunity.” This distinction is helpful, because this type of crime can be prevented in ways different from crimes of revenge (where a specific person is the target of violence). As a result, I do believe there are immediate public safety steps we could take which would have an impact on this type of crime (as well as others too). Specifically:

    Visible, uniformed, walking (or on bicycle) public safety patrols along commercial strips. To the extent possible, this could be done with police assigned to beats in those areas. However, since Len asked what can be done immediately (and since expanding the police force is a multi-year process) I would specify that I would work to Immediately provide safety patrols for Oakland’s commerical areas by other methods.

    Ideally, I would like to develop for Oakland a program like Atlanta’s — which uses uniformed professionals to provide both safety, and information, in commercial districts. (Improving public safety and economic success). However, even if what we do does not end up being quite like Atlanta’s program — I will work together with existing stakeholders and programs (such as our Business Improvement Districts, some of which have already hired security guards), to immediately improve and expand safety patrols in commercial districts. (Including working to put together funding for them).

    In some cases, the safety patrols may remain until we expand our police coverage. In other cases, we might decide that the “non-police” safety personnel are working well, and stick with that in the long run. (Which can free up police for other duties).

    At the same time, I will work on longer-term solutions including: improving OPD’s evidence-gathering and analysis capacity (so more crimes can be *solved*), expanding police personnel, and meeting with people at the County and other stakeholders to come up with better solutions to the jail problem.

  28. dto510

    molly k – you say Kerry Hamill works hard on her campaign while raising a family, but I don’t get the impression that she is working very hard. Ms. Hamill skipped District 3′s only at-large debate this Spring (hosted in HarriOak), and recently missed the John George Democratic Club’s endorsement forum. I believe that most of the current Council had school-aged children when they were elected, so I don’t see that as a unique asset. Your repeated emphasis on Ms. Hamill’s family begins to sound like an excuse for her lackluster campaign. Is she’s not out and about in the community when she needs our votes, how engaged will she be as a Councilmember?

  29. Charles Pine

    Kaplan: “Ideally, I would like to develop for Oakland a program like Atlanta’s — which uses uniformed professionals.”

    These are the Atlanta Ambassadors, apparently paid by the downtown business improvement district. In Atlanta’s downtown, 65 to 70 percent of the crime is larceny (simple theft). Not relevant to Oakland’s armed takeover robberies.

    Furthermore, Atlanta does not use the Ambassadors as a substitute for police. As the Atlanta BID folks write, “In Downtown we have more certified law enforcement (over 400 in the aggregate between the eight jurisdictional agencies [city police, Georgia State polices, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, and the Capitol Police -- sounds like downtown Sacramento -CP]), more private security (over 3,000), and more eyes and ears watching and listening than any place in this City.” (

    I’m all for finding good ideas from far away — but with due diligence.