Mark your calendars for candidate forums

Are you guys getting excited about the Mayoral election yet? Yeah, me neither. I’ve been to three candidate forums so far, and I’m still finding myself completely underwhelmed by all the candidates. And more bored with the whole thing after each one I attend. I wish real politics in real life was as entertaining as it is in the comics.

For example, in Mark Trail right now, Mark’s neighbor recently erected a giant fence around his property for reasons nobody understood. That is, until he explained it all to his wife, which is that he is planning to run for Governor of whatever State the Lost Forest is in, and in order to boost his chances of winning, he has imported a bunch of tamed exotic animals to his house so he can invite all his politically connected friends over for a big game hunt, which will prove to them that he’s Governor material. Don’t worry too much about the animals, though. The dude’s wife is a tattletale, and has alerted Mark Trail to his nefarious scheme.

Elsewhere on the funnies page, Rex Morgan, M.D. has recently diagnosed that town’s Mayor with prostate cancer. The Mayor doesn’t want to tell anyone because he thinks that his health problems could cost him the election, and he can’t afford to lose because then he won’t have health insurance anymore. Unfortunately for the Mayor, someone’s got other plans for him, and has leaked the news of his condition to the local paper. Luckily, the local political editor is a stand-up guy and also a cancer survivor, so he’s not going to bother informing the public that the Mayor is sick. Presumably, the mysterious figure behind the leak is not going to be deterred from ruining the Mayor’s campaign, and will soon send the information to some unethical blogger, who will publish it without a second thought.

Secret backyard safaris? Media conspiring with candidates to conceal serious medical conditions? Why can’t we get some of that intrigue up in here? Those are way better than taking advantage of loopholes in campaign finance laws.

Anyway, here’s a few upcoming opportunities to hear from the candidates:

Tomorrow, the Oakland Climate Action Coalition will be sponsoring a Mayoral Forum focused on Green Jobs and Climate Action at the Oakland Museum Theater. Details:

Tuesday, September 14th, 7:00-9:00 PM
Doors open at 6:30 PM
Oakland Museum Theater
1000 Oak Street

I know it’s short notice for the forum tomorrow. If you can’t make it, don’t worry – you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hear the candidates speak over the next few months. In particular, I’m looking forward to the forum on Thursday, September 23rd sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, the Oakland Tribune, and the Bay Area Business Roundtable. At this forum, the candidates will be questioned by a panel of local journalists, including Randy Shandobil from KTVU, Alex Gronke from The Oakbook, and Oakland Tribune columnist Tammerlin Drummond. The discussion will be moderated by Oakland Tribune editor Martin Reynolds. Details:

Thursday, September 23rd, 7:00 to 8:30 PM
Kaiser Center Auditorium
300 Lakeside Drive
Event Website

And of course, there’s other things to vote on this November besides the Mayor’s race. Jean Quan has vacated her District 4 Council seat to run for Mayor, and seven people are running to replace her: Libby Schaaf, Jill Broadhurst, Clinton Killian, Jason Gillen, Ralph Kanz, Daniel Swafford, and Melanie Shelby. They’ll all be on hand to answer your questions at a forum this Thursday, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Laurel Village Association, the Dimond Improvement Association, Melrose High Hopes NCPC, and the MacArthur Metro. Details:

Thursday, September 16th, 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Fruitvale Presbyterian Church
2735 MacArthur Boulevard

In other election related excitement, Jean Quan got herself a little music video to promote her campaign. It’s no Farouk is on Fire, but points for effort.

83 thoughts on “Mark your calendars for candidate forums

  1. Daniel Schulman

    V thanks for the comics. They definitely surpass the mayoral race for fun.

    Any updates on who’s going to be at which Mayoral Forum?

    Zennie reported that Perata wasn’t going to go to the Kaiser Center forum since the Chamber was going to restrict candidates. Have there been any updates?

    I certainly hope the Chamber has more spine than the Sierra Club. I think their journalist lead forum sounds interesting.

  2. ralph

    You, ME and Jean are gonna get the job done. And she bills herself as the education mayor? God help us all.

  3. Jenn

    So, I guess that the parts of Oakland where I hang out are getting taken back, block by block, by someone other than me. No intersection in the hills was shown in that video. Her message is so alienating.

  4. Barry K

    Jean “Ebonics” Quan is at it again. Take her latest mailer; surrounded by mostly young, smiling, black children. Or, many of her newsletters with photos of her surrounded by young, smiling black children. Or tie-ins to the agencies benefiting from Measure wh”Y” getting payouts. Or, the same agencies with smiling, mostly black children getting benefits of Quan’s Pay-Go funds.
    Me thinks she should call her campaign, “Black by Black.”

    Jenn- Quan gave up on supporting the Hills area years ago; except for the $100s of thousands for Chabot Space- where she’s Chair of the Board.
    Hills people are just a revenue source.

    And, the $60K (Pay-Go) for Skyline High so her kids could play tennis on repaved courts.

  5. livegreen

    You & Me & Jean are going to get the job done? The jobs in her video were-

    Spray painting. Are they the same ones that drop their used bottles in the culverts of Sausal Creek? Great for nature & for the native trout.

    Skate boarding youth. Are those the same that destroyed part of our neighborhood school playground recently?

    (To be clear, I’m talking about the disenfranchised white kids, not anybody else).

    No intersection in the hills? She didn’t even have an intersection on the edge of the hills.

    Good beat & vocals though. Maybe we should vote based on the Oakland bands they pick?

  6. oakie

    Sure wish we had a choice of ‘None of the Above’ for Mayor. Jean Quan makes my blood boil, but I sure as hell hope Perata doesn’t win, or “Block the Police” Kaplan for that matter. None of the Above is the only sensible choice.

  7. V Smoothe

    Oh, Chris. You’re so much more clever than I am. I’ll make a point of running by headlines by you for approval first from now on.

    Dan –

    I haven’t seen a final list of confirmed attendees, but as far as I know, almost all the candidates ended up being able to meet the criteria for the LWV forum on the 23rd, which, as I noted last month, really were not very challenging. Only 2 or 3 didn’t make the cut, I think.

  8. Barry K

    Piedmont Pricks (Pines) is hosting a District 4 Candidate Forum at Joaquin Miller school this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m. (Mountain @ Ascot in Montclair District)

  9. David

    This is what happens when you have one-party rule for …well, forever, or at least living memory.

    Saw the same thing at Berkeley in school. Sample “debate”:

    Berkeley student: “We need affirmative action!”

    Me: But what if the students you’re promoting to Berkeley can’t do the work/aren’t qualified?

    Berkeley student: “RACIST!”

    Me: Um, ok. I’m black, but whatever.

    Oakland Mayoral Candidate: “I will fund police, schools, and “youth activities!”

    A Better Oakland: “Um, how, with the city running so far in the red, it would take 5 years of 10%+ economic growth to balance the budget?”

    Oakland Candidate: “I will do it! FOR THE CHILDREN!”

    A Better Oakland: “Um, ok. Pension reform?”

    Oakland Candidate: “Parcel tax?”

    A Better Oakland: *Sigh*

  10. Annoyed

    Musically, this is the worst crap I’ve ever heard in my life. Even by rap standards – and I hate rap – this sucked and blew. So they took lame rap lyrics and put it to some hipster doofus, what would you call it, soundtrack from a Frankie and Annette beach party movie, and voila! Crap. Wow. Another reason not to vote for Jean Quan.

  11. Max Allstadt

    Hey V,

    Is there a calendar of forums that Don Perata won’t chicken out on at the last minute?

    He’s made a habit of confirming, and then no-showing without even having the courtesy to call to cancel.

    It sure would be nice if Don or Rhys Williams would put out a calendar of events that Don will actually attend. That is assuming Don can even still pay Rhys without violating campaign finance laws…

  12. Patrick M. Mitchell

    hahahahahahahaha! quan did a great job targeting the 13 – 17 year old demographic. oops…too bad they can’t vote.

  13. Naomi Schiff

    Why should Don show up at debates when he can just paper the town with shiny content-free mailers and robocall everyone incessantly?

  14. Dave C.

    I think the other candidates should make a much bigger fuss about Perata’s absence from these events. I suspect that it’s a more compelling issue than all this stuff about how he’s trying to “buy” Oakland. I don’t know if voters ultimately give a hoot about campaign finance or people trying to “buy” elections (Bloomberg basically “bought” the New York Mayor’s office, and no one seems to hold it against him). I think the other candidates might get more traction by painting Perata as yet another absentee politician. Quan made one reference to “the guy who isn’t here” at tonight’s forum, but Harland was the only one who connected the dots, pointing out that we’ve just experienced one no-show Mayor, and can’t afford to elect another one (he had a good line about how Perata is even worse, because he stopped showing up for work before he had even gotten elected).

  15. Naomi Schiff

    Yes and perhaps something about this continual treatment of the mayor job as a waystation or sinecure for the termed-out. Can we really elect a FOURTH retread?

  16. Daniel Schulman

    If people do not care about Perata receiving payouts from the prison guards union why should they care about these iotas?

    I find it disheartening that most of my fellow Oaklanders do not seem to think these payouts are a very big issue. While we obviously need to imprison people who are a threat to society, the Prison Guards Union has continually lobbied for more and longer prison sentences as a form of job security. Accepting money from them is NOT all right.

    That’s not even getting into the question of what Perata has done to earn over $400,000 in compensation. Perata is supposedly a campaign consultant for them, yet they are not running any campaigns this year.

  17. ralph

    The word on the street are many are dissatisfied with all the name politicians. Hope and dope, NikNak, preventing the police from performing their duties (not one but two candidates), Ebonics, pimping the children, non-profit money funneler, tax and spend, prison guards, yada, yada, yada. It really comes down to which item bothers you the least. Of course one could always go off script.

  18. Daniel Schulman

    Ralph, I completely understand all of the negative sentiments. It’s precisely, though, lumping the prison payments in with all those other picadillos that bothers me.

    Maybe it is my crazy liberal state-supported education taking over, but I fully believe there are few things more damaging to the soul than incarcerating our fellow human beings. The fact that it is a necessary evil is no excuse, but, rather a challenge to improve society so that we do not need to place so many of our fellows behind bars.

    Don Perata’s failings with his Sacramento-politics is on a completely different level than those of our homegrown folks.

  19. Livegreen

    While I agree with the opinions expressed, just as troublesome is how uninformed many voters are about the issues themselves.

    Also it is reflective of how uninspiring the other candidates are.

    They are fundamental to Don being in the running, and might b what has moved the prison guard issue to the backburner for some voters.

  20. Naomi Schiff

    I want an ETHICAL mayor, not sleazy evasion and end-runs through loopholes and marginal practices. Conflicts of interest have been a big problem in this city.

    And yes, Dan, the prison guards connection is not one I’d consider an asset to candidacy. It represents the worst impulses and the absolutely least effective approach to crime prevention.

  21. ralph

    Personally, I’d prefer a mayor who does not try to interfere / prevent law enforcement from performing their duties. I am not exactly thrilled by a mayor who wants to re-route my tax dollars to her favorite non-profits and claim that it won’t result in new taxes. Anytime one robs Peter to pay Paul one still needs to find the money to pay Paul. There are no City Hall Money Trees.

    To be fair, prison guards are not about crime prevention. If you want to do something about crime prevention, you need to get parents acting like parents.

  22. Barry K

    So Quan’s promise of Measure Y was another broken promise. Talk about robbing the people. $100,000,000 in five years for two months of OPD headcount.

    And her fix is to castrate MY so there isn’t any requirement for police staffing. But, allows for more $ to the groups that back her for mayor.

    No staffing requirements on the new Measure N (which is MY x 4 + $360).

  23. ralph

    In Quan’s defense, the city did exactly what they were suppose to do – appropriate for 739 officers. The city could never guarantee that they would have 803 officers. The only thing that they could safely do is set aside dollars to pay for x number of officers. The city set aside the money. JQ and others did not dupe anyone. People read what they wanted to read.

  24. Barry K

    Measure Y Takes Aim at City’s Crime
    By Heather MacDonald, The Tribune, October 10, 2004
    “A measure with only more cops or one with only prevention programs won’t win,” said Councilmember Jean Quan (Montclair-Laurel), citing a number of polls. “If we don’t compromise, we’ll get nothing.” Despite the concerns, the money raised by Measure Y will be used to expand the department to 802 officers, Quan said.
    “All of us have to run for re-election — none of us would break such an obvious promise,” Quan said.

  25. John

    I attended last night’s forum sponsored by the Oakland Climate Action Coalition. It was the first mayoral forum I have attended this election season. There were easily over a hundred people in attendance. I was disappointed that Perata did not deign to attend. I would have liked more of the candidates to have more explicitly called him out on his no-show but only two did.
    Joe Tuman was the candidate who impressed me the most last night. I knew next to nothing about him until last night’s forum. What impressed me was he ACTUALLY read the draft Climate Action Plan written by the OCAC. He didn’t just say he read it, you could tell by his comments that he really had read the plan and thought through the implications and the deficiencies of it. Also he actually answered the questions asked of the candidates AND his answers were clear, logical and cogent to the questions.
    It is not lost on me how pathetic it may sound that the most impressive candidate was the one who did his homework and could form coherent two minute answers to six questions but such is the state of politics in Oakland today.
    Rebecca Kaplan certainly can give an inspiring two minute speech filled with passion and energy but I question her ability to follow through. There’s a lot more to running a city than just getting your supporters fired up.
    From Jean Quan’s answers last night she is positioning herself as the candidate who has the most experience working the grassroots and the system as a community activist for decades. She certainly can rattle off the names of all the various organizations, both public and non-profit, she has been involved with over the years. But what I hear is a blizzard of acronyms and I am left wondering how much was actually accomplished? What changes were actually implemented?
    One of my biggest frustrations with politics in Oakland is the failure to implement so many of the ideas for improving Oakland that have arisen over the years. Envisioning a bright future is exciting; implementing those ideas is not. Implementation is very wonky policy drudge work – trying to affect change in a large bureaucratic organization is a slog. The candidate I will support is the one who says; “Here is my vision and here are the step-by-step actions to achieve it.”

  26. livegreen

    re. Ralph & Barry K’s comments, there you have it.

    Naomi, if Jean doesn’t get elected, it won’t be because she has good ethics. It will be because she’s not getting the job done.

    & unfortunately for her, it’s not just a choice between her and Don.

    Both these benefit Don, no matter how ethically challenged he is. And that’s why he doesn’t have to say anything. In fact the more he says the worse off he is because it draws attention to himself & his negatives.

    I agree with the negatives about Kaplan, however of the Big 3 I’m leaning towards her because she has the least amount of negatives, and at least she’s proposed some realistic, original, implementable solutions (see ABO’s Sierra Club debate video). & of the remaining candidates I might give 1 my protest vote.

    But I by no means am convinced. With good policy details and positives (not just negatives about opponents) I could be persuaded otherwise.

  27. MarleenLee

    Ralph – the City did NOT do what it was supposed to do. Measure Y required “hiring and maintaining at least 63″ new community policy officers. Those positions were not filled until the end of 2008 or so (and the six crime reduction team positions were never filled), and only after the City had been sued TWICE for their failure to honor Measure Y promises. Since my neighborhood PSO position in Quan’s district was one of the last ones to get filled, I think we have every right to accuse her of breaking promises.

  28. ralph

    Allow me to rephrase, money spent for non-enumerated uses was a violation, collecting the tax okay. Stating for the record we will have 802 officers, stupid. JQ should have known that she could not guarantee a number. At best, she can put the infrastructure in place that would allow the city to reach that number.

  29. John

    Dax, you really should have attended the forum or at least read the draft Climate Action Plan. The economic environment is a very large component of the Climate Action Plan. Every candidate in one way or another addressed the nexus between the economic environment and the ecological one. Before you dismiss the OCAC as having no economic sense at all, you really should have a look at who they are.
    Yes, China is the second largest generator of greenhouse gases and is getting close to passing us in that regard. BUT China is also fast becoming the largest manufacturer of photovoltaics. Not because they care about climate change, but because green tech is where the money is. They see where the future is headed and they are going to leapfrog us getting to it.
    So we in Oakland have a choice. We can hunker down and preserve the policies that have failed our city for at least a generation or we can make some very difficult choices and changes and head in more prosperous direction.
    BTW – One candidate, Arnie Fields, actually talked about China’s solar energy push and how we should emulate it and China’s ability to turn on a dime. That kind of surprised me – hearing someone running for office in the US extolling the virtues of the People’s Republic of China’s command economy, but maybe that is because I am old enough to remember Chairman Mao before he become kitsch.

  30. Dax


    “Yes, China is the second largest generator of greenhouse gases and is getting close to passing us in that regard.”

    They passed us a few months ago.

    “BUT China is also fast becoming the largest manufacturer of photovoltaic.”

    They are also rapidly building new nuclear power plants. Does Oakland’s Climate Action Plan include or encourage getting a fair share of our power from that source? Or is it all caught up in the knee-jerk “NO NUKES” thinking.

    BTW, you and and every reader of this forum already get about 25% of our power from nuclear.

    I’m just afraid that all too often, the global warming folks, because of their religious tendencies tend to eliminate certain sources of power because they are “bad” while proposing the imposition of others that are so expensive they kill most jobs.

    I simply don’t believe the current “green jobs” myths that are being passed around.
    Solar in NoCal is at most 1% and will not be 10% in 20 years. We do have winters and nights.
    Our population is growing as is our power needs.
    I’ve yet to see one solar installation that pays for itself (without the taxpayers paying for part of it).

    I should read the plan, but so often they produce pie-in-the-sky projections.
    They also can end up like the Bay Areas Air Quality Control District, which is now mostly just a place where lots of highly paid people work producing very little new value since 98% of the stuff they regulate is already controlled without them having any more input.
    Plus impose costs far out of step with the benefits produced.
    This was not true in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s, but now we are battling over tiny incremental gains while not controlling the costs for the tiny benefits.
    Witness the new costs they imposed on trucks and construction diesels.
    Agencies and plans, effective at first, end up staying in business, to keep themselves employed.

    As I said, Oakland’s economic climate is far more important to the quality of life for most Oakland residents than is some climate change measures that will take years to have minimal, if any, impact.
    Every measure they want to implement should have a EIR on the “economic climate”.
    I’d take the smog of the 60′s with jobs rather than the purity of 2020 with few jobs.

  31. livegreen


    As has been pointed out before, Jean & Ignacio HAD to write it with the minimum # of Officers. Othewise M-Y wouldn’t have been voted in. They would have been accused of wanting to backfill the budget with Property Taxes and M-Y never would have passed.

    Which they did ANYWAY.

    BTW, Ignacio’s aide Libby Schaaf, involved with writing M-Y, moved to Oakmore about 1 year ago & is now running for Jean’s seat.

  32. John

    Dax, I somewhat agree with you about the Bay Area Air Quality Control District. Earlier when I posted about good ideas that don’t get implemented one of the reasons I think they don’t get implemented is the astounding number of overlapping local and regional districts and authorities we have. With so many different entities having a little bit of authority over an issue it is a wonder anything at all gets done in the Bay Area.
    The last question of the forum was how would the candidate implement the Climate Action Plan. Jean Quan rattled off the names of about a 1/2 dozen ALREADY EXISTING commissions and boards in Oakland ALONE that would have jurisdiction over different parts of the Climate Action Plan. To her credit she said we ought to somehow combine or coordinate their activities. But how long would that take? It’s like a bad joke about convening a pre-meeting to discuss implementing a process to actually hold a future meeting to discuss the process of implementation (one of the reasons I DON’T work for a large corporation any more.)
    Smog and jobs or clean air and no jobs is a false choice. Preserving polluting jobs is short-term solution leading to long-term failure and third-world status. The world has already changed and we need to be nimble enough to take advantage and profit. And continuing to do things the way we have been is not going to do it. It is going to be difficult and it is going to be painful and people who don’t adjust are in danger of being left behind. The salad days of the 1960s are long gone. We have lost our competitive edge and need to do what we can locally to regain it.

  33. Dax

    “We have lost our competitive edge and need to do what we can locally to regain it.”

    The City of Oakland does not need to stick its nose out ahead of the crowd leading the way on global warming, by imposing costly rules on its local business establishments and firms.

    Don’t place Oakland companies in a costly non-competitive position.
    They can move to many other places.

    You didn’t answer my question. Does the Oakland plan encourage or discourage new nuclear power?

    Currently Oakland residents use 25% nuclear power as part of their mix.
    Solar power won’t reach that level in the next 25 years unless there is some huge breakthrough (including power storage for the nights).

  34. livegreen

    But Dax, then how are you going to appeal to wealthy liberals who live in the Hills and can only see Beirut (the Flatlands) from their TV or their telescopes?

    It’s either a continent or a world away…

    It’s easier to ask them to donate ever more money to Tax Measures, than to actually do something sustainable about it.

    Just like the problem of donating free food to Haiti & 3rd world countries. It puts the local farmers out of business, further undermining the employment base and poverty problem.

    BTW, the bags the free food is donated in are Made in Oakland (MIO). Seriously.

  35. ralph

    I don’t have a problem with the 739 officers language. I think “to appropriate for 739 officers” was rather clever and the actual meaning went over the heads of those who thought that they were getting 802 officers.

    What would have made more sense would have been to focus on what the people wanted. The people wanted X number of officers to do Z. This money can only be used to fund Z.

    The people may have wanted both the 739 and the 63, but at the end of the day they would have preferred the 63. So why write a measure that could prevent you from getting the 63. It makes no sense.

  36. Maureen

    Re: Quan and Perata and evil deeds. Both have a track record for supporting dubious developments in Oakland at the expense of the environment and residents. Perata influenced Alameda Flood Control to prevent their pressure to advocate a 100 year flood control area as an alternate to the residential development of Leona Quarry during its EIR phase. Owners of the quarry have been longtime Don supporters.
    Quan pressured the planning department to ignore the toxic wastes beneath the property at High and MacArthur and advocated strongly to put senior housing on top, without making the property owner, Alex Hahn, clean up the site and get it off the Cortese list (think brownfield). So far the site hasn’t been approved for housing, but it also hasn’t been cleaned up.
    We should all be cautioned about electing either of these two to higher office.

  37. MarleenLee

    Ralph, I think you are suffering from a severe case of “Oaklanditis.” You are so used to our local politicians being lying, sleazy scumbags, that this is all you expect. The 739 language was not “clever.” Check out – this is on the City’s OWN WEBSITE and promises us a “baseline” of 739 officers, plus the new 63 officers. Do you think it is “clever” to deceive the voters? After all, this deception has made us very cynical and mistrustful. And because of that cynicism and mistrust, Measure X and Measure BB are likely to fail. That is not clever.

  38. ralph

    On MY, I do find the distortions a bit distasteful. Unless one reads the measure, it is easy to think that the city will “maintain” a staff of 739 officers. Just one problem, MY never makes that claim, and it certainly doesn’t make the claim that Oakland will have 802 officers as JQ stated in the 2004 interview. If one did not read the measure and voted yes, then they got exactly what they voted for. It is not enough to read the spin; one must read the measure, analyze it, find the holes, highlight the flaws and then decide. There are no Rosie Ruizs in life.

    Appropriate for and maintain are two very different things. People who voted for MY thinking they were getting 739 officers should have really read MY because it never makes that claim. By not doing their hmwk, the voters deceived themselves.

    Hopefully, after the MY debacle and Ron D, the good people of Oakland will heed the all too famous words on my man Roger Daltrey.

  39. livegreen

    I’m sorry but Appropriate is deceitful. Why would one expect the City to tell you in all their marketing that they intend to hire, give assurances of the same at meetings, Appropriate the money for it, but not spend it for that?

    & where did the money go?

    I expect them to be straight forward with us and clear. If they’re not, then shame on them. Not shame on us.

  40. MarleenLee

    Ralph – who read the Health Care Bill? Do you read the text of each and every proposition and ballot measure before voting? Even if you did, I doubt you understood more than a fraction, because most of it is a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo. We are supposed to count on our elected representatives to fairly and accurately present the information to us so we can make informed choices as voters. Now we know we can’t, but that’s not our fault. Your standards for voters are way to high, and for politicians, way too low.

  41. ralph

    It doesn’t take much time to read the ballot measures. In most cases, one just needs to read enough to find the flaws. Voters need to do their homework. Voters need to understand the motivations of the person speaking. (I refer you to RK’s bio, which Len noted is technically correct but misleading.)

    Voters can find all sorts or time to support the Health Care Bill yet have no idea what is in it. If voters are going to vote blindly then they deserve the government they get.

    I have high standards for politicians, but expecting them to live up to those standards is pointless. Trust but verify.

    I may not understand more than a fraction, but at least I understand the fraction.

    Appropriate for was the only language that the City could use and control. The city could not, and no reasonable person would, say we are going to maintain a staff of 739 officers. Officers leave the force for reasons the city can not control. If the force fell below 739 officer and the city could not replace them, then the city would not be able to collect the tax and fund the 63 officers.

    The city can only control the amount it appropriates for expenses, in this case the amount for officer salaries and benefits.

    People in Oakland had all the time in the day to complain about GWB, rail against corporations and big oil but not one second for issues that will have a direct impact on their lives.

  42. Barry K

    Ralph: “The city can only control the amount it appropriates for expenses,…”

    You aren’t suggesting Oakland are you?

  43. ralph

    I am suggesting the controllable item is the appropriation. The actual number of officers on staff is uncontrollable.

  44. Livegreen

    Ralph, Whether or not you find the language deceitful, the politicians who were going around touting it (especially Jean & Ignacio) gave plenty of assurances to voters when they were selling it (“as JQ stated”). And that WAS deceitful.

    The politicians were either deceitful in writing the measure or in it’s selling or incompetent in it’s implementation, or finally in public policy since the net result is to kill further revenue measures. In one of the most liberal cities in the country that takes real skill.

  45. ralph

    Yes, they sold you a bill of goods. The MY language was clear and unambiguous with respect to appropriate for. JQ never should have made a promise about something she could not control. I can take a guess as to what she meant or wish she had said but that does not help you and certainly does not help her now.

    The language of the measure addressed the concerns of residents who feared that city would collect the tax and not hire the additional officers. I do not know how real that concern is. It is unfortunate that many did not understand that appropriate for is not the same as maintain a staff of …

    If this signals the death knell on other revenue measures, I am not going to be all tore up

  46. Livegreen

    BTW, Ralph, although the # of Officers might not b “controllable” that does not mean for management or budget purposes it is not predictable. OPD has over the last 6-7 years consistently told the public they lose an average of about 5 Officers to mostly retirement and occasionally transfers.

    They should b able to plan by #’s they give over that long a period. Yet they’ve cut academies in midsession only to fall behind in Officer #s only a few months later. And more recently they’ve failed to budget Academies even AFTER they fell behind in Officers. (How could they not know to start a new academy by that point?)

    To me this points to budget management issues, & that they apparently left the Academies out of the equation. & this points, yet again, to incompetence of the City Council.

  47. ralph

    Appropriating for 739 officers and planning to replace officers who leave are two different items.

    In the planning cycle, the city appropriates for 739 officers. In other words, the city has set aside funds to pay for 739 officers.

    Now some officers may elect to leave the force but it is irrelevant. The city has set aside funds to pay for 739 officers. It is entirely possible that city will lose some of those officers due to attrition but the budget is unchanged. The city appropriated funds for 739 officers.

    Now what might happen is 6 or 9 mos. into the year, the city realizes that revenues are not as high and they know that they won’t replace officer. In this case, it may be possible to find budget savings.

    I don’t think it is a budget issue. I think if more people understood the budget and appropriation process this would not happen.

  48. livegreen

    I understand the part of budget flexibility, but the measure is for funding police. If they left out Academies intentionally, for budget flexibility, then it’s another part of the political snow job and the promises made. & if they didn’t then it’s another sign of poor planning.

    Beyond the reasons for the wording in the actual Measure Y, they very easily could have included Academies in it. Then BOTH would have been taken care of. & they could have had a range of either time or officers to accommodate Officers leaving (especially since the average monthly #’s has been so steady over the years).

    Q: Do you think the Appropriations was only to give flexibility to the budget? Was it not to also actually hire Officers?

    If so, why did the CC barely ever meet their stated target (even during good economic times)? Was that intentional (for budget or because they don’t really care about actual hiring) or just being lax?

  49. V Smoothe

    The reason Measure Y calls for appropriation rather than staffing is because even with the best intentions, there’s no way the City can guarantee to always be staffed at a certain level. When an Academy graduates, the number of officers suddenly increases. Then it slowly decreases through attrition, and then it goes up again once another Academy is completed. If you wanted to mandate that the City staffed the department with 739 officers from the General Fund at all times in order to collect the parcel tax, in practice, you would be mandating that the City actually has to fund more like 790 officers from the General Fund in order to guarantee that they will never go below that level. It would be a complete disaster. For example, what happens if an Academy class has particularly high attrition and you don’t get the number of officers you need out of it in order to meet your staffing requirements? Or if you had an unusually high attrition rate for a few months between Academies? The City would have to stop collecting the tax.

  50. Naomi Schiff

    To me the thing to remember is that there are so many non-patrol jobs in the police department that none of these numbers say much about what you see on the street. Some of those jobs are likely needed; but these numbers don’t hold a lot of meaning as data, unless we look at what these employees are doing and whether they are deployed effectively.

  51. livegreen

    V, I take your point & I understand the reason for the language. I’m questioning both the selling (as Ralph says) and the planning & implementation.

    Again, the CC did not fund or plan Academies to keep up with attrition (even during good economic times). & since OPD knows when their Officers are retiring, they easily could have done this.

  52. livegreen

    BTW, I thought part of Marleen’s argument in her lawsuit was the City didn’t even plan Academies when they were already below Staffing?

    If that’s the case then yes, the City needs the flexibility, but they’re using the letter of the law against not just it’s intentions, but against the very reason that flexibility was put in. Which was to hire in a way that meets the changes in the #’s of Officers. Not to IGNORE or mismanage the hiring as they did.

    Again, even if it’s legal, dumb political move because the only way future Measures can get passed is by hamstringing the City’s flexibility even further.

    They can only cry wolf so many times.

  53. MarleenLee

    Nobody would have been complaining about any of this if the City had gotten close to its authorized staffing. So if the non-MY force was at 730, rather than 739, and they had actually filled the 63 required new positions, I doubt it would have even gotten noticed, let alone generated lawsuits. The point is that the City didn’t even make a good faith effort to get staffing up to the funded levels. Yes, of course the “appropriate” language may well give necessary flexibility, and I’m all for a reasonable interepretation, but I guarantee you MY was never meant to allow the the force to plummet by attrition, and for the City to continue collecting the tax. And yet, that is precisely what the City started doing when they cancelled the December, 2008 academy, and that’s the main point of my second lawsuit. Oh, and by the way, the actual text of Meaure Y, in the title dealing with this issue, refers to “MINIMUM POLICE STAFFING PREREQUISITE AT FISCAL YEAR 03/04 LEVEL.” The caps are in the original text. If that’s not deceptive, I don’t know what is.

  54. ralph

    I think by tying the hands of our elected officials you make the situation worse. See Sacramento. And for closer to home see Oakland. We already have at least 2 programs with spending floors. At the time, I don’t think anyone was anticipating the bottom falling out but it has which means other programs end up taking a deeper cut. You need to allow flexibility.

  55. livegreen

    Ralph, Except this was a measure the City Council wanted and they knew it was the only way to pass it. & they’ve proven they can’t manage it either way, and haven’t earned our trust.

    So no more Measures & they should work with the GPF budget. I’m fine with that.

  56. ralph

    I find it hard to believe that the city would just propose a Measure that the people did not want in some way, shape or form.

    As was proven by Marleen’s lawsuit, the city clearly misspent funds. But as long as we have lawyers and courts, I think we will have remedies.

    Of course, if this means Oakland residents never pass another revenue measure I am probably not going to complain. But do you really want to cut off your nose to spite your face?

  57. MarleenLee

    Who on the Council is paying you Ralph? Everbody on the Council knows this $360 tax doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing. The council is putting it on the ballot so that when it doesn’t pass, they can blame US for the City’s ills. Voting against these measures is not biting off our nose to spite our face. Rather, it is sending a clear message to City Hall that we won’t be lied to and have our tax dollars misspent. It tells them they need to live within their means and stop bleeding money. As by saying no to BB, it gives them a real incentive to get our force back up to where it should be.

  58. SF2OAK

    Getting back to the mayors race, what is up with the lame slogans.
    Jean Quan’s: Working hard for your neighborhood. Has anybody told her should she win the mayor’s job she’ll have to work for the whole city, seems like a recycled sign from a district election? How about our own dapper Don, ” I believe in Oakland” well I guess that should be a slogan for any one running for mayor. How about Tuman’s, an Oaklander for Oakland, I actually think that it is a requirement residency that is. “Kaplan for mayor” seems least offensive but not much information there either. Pat Kernighan says nothing about the city on her poster either, just a happy Oakland scene. uggh.

  59. ralph

    From my read, it sounds like the MY was something that the people wanted and not just the city. As to cut nose, spite face, I was speaking more broadly. The $360 PT is a non-starter, but I might be include to pay a tax if meant I would get an upgraded library. LG seemed opposed to any and all tax measures and that just doesn’t seem wise.

    Yes, placing the $360 on the ballot was plain silly. At least, IDLF has acknowledged that the voters want council to do their job. I can’t say as much for JQ, whose standard answer always seems to include the phrase, “we tried to do x, but couldn’t get the votes, we wanted to do y but the voters said no…”

  60. livegreen

    Ralph, I never said that. I’m open to voting for some Measures. If the City shows they can manage as both intended and as sold.

    With that track record I’m surprised 1 candidate for Mayor and 1 candidate for City Council has included Measure Y in their platform. If that’s an upside, what’s the down?

  61. ralph

    Your more recent posts have sounded more bitter, anti-government, tea party like frustration with government, hence my interpretation.
    Damn, throbbing headache included s/b inclined

  62. CitizenX

    ” I actually think that it is a requirement residency that is.”

    Actually, the residency requirement for all of Oakland’s elected officials is a slim 30 days.

  63. Max Allstadt


    Kaplan’s signs say “Kaplan for Mayor”, but the unofficial campaign theme, which Rebecca has been using a lot, is “the Oakland Renaissance”.

    It’s not exactly a slogan, because she uses it in different set up phrases, both talking about “sustaining the Oakland Renaissance” and “creating the Oakland Renaissance”.

    I think that makes a lot of sense, because for all the gloom and doom we see in the press and on the blogoaksphere, Oakland actually has significantly revitalized over the past few years. We should be both building on it and creating entirely new forms of rebirth.

    It’s a very fitting theme, and I think much more tied into the positive realities of our current situation than a lot of other sloganeering I hear.

  64. len raphael

    Max, how much is Rebecca counting on the Port as an “engine for growth” or was that another candidate?

    We should come up with a slogan for Marcie Hodge to put on her billboards.

    how’s “Oakland, forget our past, reinvent our future”

  65. Max Allstadt

    I don’t think Rebecca is betting on any one economic factor to save us. I hear her talk about transit oriented development, the port, downtown revitalization, cutting red tape for small businesses, cannabis businesses , and about a mayors office that would more actively recruit class A office tenants and industrial/”green”/R&D tenants for vacant industrial space.

    It’s easy to hear one talking point and label a candidate as overly focused on that, but with Rebecca, it really does seem like there’s a multi-part big picture strategy, made up of a bunch of significant components.

  66. len raphael

    Max, I prefer your total honesty approach to boosting feel good slogans.

    Nope, it isn’t hope and optimism that we need here.

    This town has no shortage of people blowing smoke up each others butts.

    I just don’t buy it that we’re being held back by negative attitudes.

    It’s hard unpleasant economic realities that won’t get fixed by the latest economic development fad be it bakeries, trans-pacific trade, wynan brothers, army base casinos, perfect maitais, dope growing, or solar r&d.

    quite possibly we will have to scale back to just being a cheap but more efficient bedroom community for SF.

    With some sections for upper middle class knowledge workers; some sections for blue collar crafts people and healthcare workers; and some areas for the janitors, orderlies and busboys.

    Not the exciting mini SF we were hoping for, not the Williamsburg and Park Slope to SF, but at least a decent place to live without getting mugged. A place where kids of the poor can get an education that works and gives them a hope of getting out of their parents’ situation.

    Would like to see politicians who stop selling dreams instead of solutions.

    -len raphael

  67. len raphael

    Maybe that’s what the TOD will be in the end for us here. Dense efficient bedroom communities.

    Biggest problem is the transition from now to that future. A hecka lot of very poor people cannot be taken care of and simply corralled off from the middle and upper class residents without a very very large police force. Though i supposed zoning could produce some of the same effects.

  68. Max Allstadt


    I think we need to sell dreams and solutions.

    One of the most astute things that we heard from Chief Batts when he got here was that he kept running into Oaklanders who were resigned to living in a dangerous, crime-ridden city.

    In order to fix the problem, we need new policy AND new inspiration. It is not an either/or proposition. If we do only one or the other, we lose. If we do both, we win.

  69. len raphael

    Max, not be ageist here, but I don’t you realize how many times Oaklanders have had their hopes raised and dashed by mayors and economic cycles?

    Years before Dellums pitched his model city bs, before Brown did his 10k, can’t even remember Elihu’s shtick, the Pathers promises that ended with huey newton dead in a drug deal. Multiple real estate cycles that lifted Oakland last and dropped Oakland first.

    The apathy and cynicism among Oakland voters re local government was not built in a couple of election cycles.

    But unluckily it got a booster shot by the bad luck of the draw handed to Obam ba, who raised many residents hopes only to see them dashed.

    -len raphael

  70. Naevero

    Has Don actually showed up for ANY mayoral forum? I get his annoying robocalls, and so far have gotten 2 postcards that show him with some sort of garden implement, but in terms of seeing HIM, well, that would be a no. I went to the Beat 35Y South Hills NCPC “Meet the Mayoral Candidates” on September 15, also attended by about 10 Oakland cops, who tromped out in unison after Reb finished her spiel. Poor Marcie—she was up next, and the first part of whatever she said was drowned out by the tramp-tramp-tramp of the OPD as they left the building. Don was not present, and although Mcley mentioned that the Mayor needs to attend City Council meetings, he missed an opportunity to note that Perata has not attended a number of these mayoral forums. Is he really that confident?

    The 35Y meeting included 9 candidates; for sheer entertainment, it would be hard to beat Larry Lionel Young, Jr., who discussed his cerebral hematoma and paced up and down the length of the seated area (I guess to demonstrate his comfort level with public speaking). Quan, Reb and Marcie stayed safely behind their table; Tuman, Candell, Mcleay, Harland and Fields all ventured out in front of the table. Not sure this matters much in the grand scheme of things, but it was hard to ignore.

  71. Naomi Schiff

    Len, I remain inspired and optimistic about Oakland after 36 years of living here. My neighborhood has improved dramatically, even though it still has its troubles. The arsonist is gone, and the crackhouse, and the grow house, and the liquor store with the dealers, and the random shotgun blasts, and vacant properties are now re-inhabited. It is possible to see progress, and to make progress. One danger in growing older is that we tend to imagine good old days. They weren’t all that great. We are equal to our difficulties if we can stay involved and keep our focus local (where we have the most impact). Elihu actually did set the stage for a good bit of the development that Jerry took credit for. Jerry did do some things that worked and left some momentum for Dellums. Dellums has accomplished some things that will move us forward too. Mayors aren’t the main thing, though,in my opinion. The citizens as a whole can have a big impact. We are going to have to be creative and agile. Hang on to your optimism; we are going to need it.

  72. Max Allstadt


    Everything has an ebb and flow.

    If you want steady sustained improvement in all things, there’s really only one place I can think of to look: the afterlife.

  73. len raphael

    wait a sec, you’re missing my point. i’m not particularly depressed by the 1.5 steps forward, .75 step back in oakland civil and economic life; or even the half step forward 1/4 step back in oakland political life.

    i was thinking aloud why it so hard to get voters who have lived here for more than four election cycles to pay attention to the issues or even to the effects of the choices their elected leaders have made in their name.