More candidate forums tonight, plus video of D4 forum last week

Hey folks, I’ve got another candidate forum for you to watch. Scroll down to watch last Thursday’s District 4 City Council candidate forum.

Tonight, the League of Women Voters Oakland will be sponsoring another candidate forum at City Hall featuring several local races. The whole thing runs from 6-9 PM in City Hall Hearing Room 1 (on the right, just as you walk in the front door). The forum will cover the following races:

For those who don’t want to drag themselves all the way down to City Hall, you can watch the action from the comfort of your home on KTOP, which is Channel 10 on Comcast. Those poor souls who, like me, do not have cable can watch it all streaming online. [UPDATE: Um, apparently, I was wrong and the forum is not being shown live on KTOP. Oh well. I'll still put up the video next week.] And of course, I will be putting up video of the forums here for you to watch at your convenience, but likely not until next week.

One reason you may want to go in person if you’re particularly invested in any given race would be so that you can submit your own questions to be asked of the candidates at the forum.

For those who like to make plans more than a few hours in advance, there’s yet another Mayoral forum coming up this week, co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and the Bay Area Business Roundtable. That one will be held this Thursday, September 23rd at the Kaiser Center Auditorium (300 Lakeside Drive) from 7 to 8:30 PM.

The League of Women Voters Oakland will also be sponsoring another forum at City Hall next Monday, September 27th from 6 to 9 PM. That one will feature the candidates for Superior Court Judge, Peralta Community College District Areas 3 and 5, BART Board, and AC Transit Board District 3.

And here’s the video of the District 4 candidate forum for those who couldn’t make it last week. If you want to see these candidates in person, there will be another District 4 forum held on October 22nd sponsored by the Laurel District Association and Laurel Village Association from 6:30 to 8:00 PM at the Allendale Rec Center (3711 Suter St).

For a full list of all forums being sponsored by the League of Women Voters Oakland, view the calendar on the League website.

All the candidates running for the District 4 seat were in attendance. As a reminder, the candidates are: Libby Schaaf, Jill Broadhurst, Daniel Swafford, Melanie Shelby, Ralph Kanz, Jason Gillen, and Clinton Killian.

130 thoughts on “More candidate forums tonight, plus video of D4 forum last week

  1. Audit Oakland CEDA

    Here are some questions to ask the candidates for city auditor. Audit Oakland CEDA supports Michael Kilian in his effort to defeat incompetent incumbent Courtney Ruby.

    The head of CEDA had a prior job as a lobbyist for developers in the City of Oakland. During his first year in office he recommends to City Council that the City purchase land from his client. He never discloses his prior relationship with the owner/developer. The City buys the property. The evidence is provided to the City via the whistleblower hotline with documentary evidence. What would you as city auditor do?

    The city is illegally commingling revenues from code enforcement, permit fees, and revenues for the Oakland school district in fund 2415. Furthermore, they are misappropriating cash from the fund using overhead allocations. What are you going to do about it as city auditor?

    A building services supervisor has a personal loan of $50K with a contractor doing business with the city. The building services supervisor approves invoices totaling $12M over two years. The loan is filed and recorded in an outside county but the documents are available. Payments to the contractor are clearly stated on the general ledger. As auditor what would you do about tit?

  2. ralph

    A and C)I can not tell from your description if there are laws on the books to disallow these types of transactions.

    B)Sounds like something that should come up in the financial audit. If it isn’t coming up in the audit, it doesn’t sound material but it does point to an internal control issue that needs to be addressed.

  3. RdwithCypress

    I could not believe how Ruby responded to the questions about getting the community input into the Auditors Office. I have been trying for over a year to get an appointment with her to show her substantiated evidence of actual wrong doing. She will not take the meeting and I am her constituent not an employee.

  4. RdwithCypress

    Ralph, on the above comment, if you think A and C are not violations then have a closer look at the City’s Charter. Conflicts of Interest are clearly defined.

  5. oakie

    What’s all this flurry of chatter dissing Ruby?

    Where have all these complaints been for the last 4 years–I’ve never heard a word of it anywhere, and certainly never on ABO.

    I do remember Ruby as the hero sussing out the putrid bile of Deborah Edgerly and her ilk.

    I smell a rat.

  6. Max Allstadt

    Actually, Oakie, I’ve heard plenty of criticism of Courtney Ruby’s performance on this blog, and particularly from it’s author.

    My general impression is that Ruby may not be doing everything the charter says she’s supposed to do, but that she’s made major improvements over her predecessor’s performance (her predecessor is also her challenger in this election.)

    VSmoothe could tell you in more detail what the grievances are.

  7. ralph

    I understand that A and C are conflicts of interest, what was less clear was where it is written that these are violations of a code of conduct or code of ethics. I’ve known companies to spell out prohibited activited and identify activities that could potentially lead to a conflict of interest. I just haven’t seen where this was done in Oakland.

    The auditor can be doing more, but she has made huge improvements. I spoke with someone last night who said that for years she had just been going about her business and it was not until Ruby came in and conducted an audit that it became evident that their department processes were dysfunctional.

    Thanks for the link. Interesting because I think MK makes a point of saying the auditor’s office issued hundreds of reports which this article makes clear it did not.

  8. ralph

    Crap I knew I should not have raced the clock

    Thanks for the link. Interesting, because I think MK makes a point of saying the auditor’s office issued hundreds of reports during his tenure. This article makes clear that during the last years of Roland/Mike the auditor’s office did not do much.

  9. V Smoothe Post author

    oakie, I’m not sure what you’re talking about. I have written on multiple occasions about the severe underperformance of the auditor’s offense. Courtney Ruby does an excellent job of promoting herself, but she is pretty much a disaster as a City Auditor.

  10. ralph

    It could be my search terms and my definition of severe underperformance, but I don’t see it. 4/08 Ruby a big disappointment. 7/08 Ruby really stepped up her game. I didn’t see much after 7/08 to sway me one way or the other.

  11. RdwithCypress

    I agree, Courtney is a politician not a real auditor. I can’t stand talking heads and look forward to the day when we can get a real auditor behind the desk. She is a good talker but she has had years to clean up and she has not done it. I have many years as an audit executive and I can tell the difference. To me the proof is in actions not words. By actions I mean findings and follow-through not talk.

  12. CitizenX

    Four years ago, Ruby looked good compared to her predecessor, but then a box of crayolas would have looked good in comparison. Four years later, not so good. Seems more interested in headlines and photo ops, than working towards a better Oakland.

  13. livegreen

    Here’s a previous post from V on ABO (haven’t had time to read it yet):

    “Courtney Ruby is a Big Disappointment”:

    You can also scroll on ABO under People to see more posts. (The 1st one has something disappointing about Lindheim, which could segway into another topic: the Shadow Government -or- unelected power of the City Administrator. Makes me wonder if we might not have a true Strong Mayor system).

  14. RdwithCypress

    Ruby has failed on multiple levels.

    1)Conflicts of interest all over city hall that have been substantiated by iron clad proof at all levels of management. Pay to play etc. Much activity is not at all above board.

    2) Whistle blowers are not protected so employees and constituents a like are afraid to use her hotline. I know of specific examples of whistle blower retaliation and so does Ruby.

    3) Her auditors are not independent of the city employees. Before this was reported, even Ruby’s whistle blower Auditor, Sharon Ball and a facebook page up so many friends who were city managers and employees. At least Ruby’s team has to appear independent.

    4) Lack of transparency through out the city. Mandatory reporting is not being accomplished. It is her job to point these out not mine as a constituent

    5) Reported misappropriations are not examined or investigated.

    6)Audit Findings are made public by Ruby, but after the headlines they fall off the table. Ruby has the responsibility to see her findings corrected and recommendations implemented. On this she gets a D-

    7) The payroll audit mostly identified findings that were spoon fed to Ruby by ex-controller Larae Brown. Courtney failed to protect Larae who was doing her job well. Furthermore, Lindhiem never replace Larae when he took over from Edgerly. The spot is still open to this day.

  15. RdwithCypress

    It will be interesting to see if Ruby’s Revenue Audits will have any teeth. They were pushed from Sept. to Oct. I wonder if this was done for political reasons or if she has actually found what she should have found so long ago as it is so obvious.

  16. ralph

    You might very well have a point. However, points 1,2, 4 and 5 are vague and fail to point to specific incidents. Furthermore, I can tell you what is COI but absent a policy on COI people will do what they want.

    Item 3 is not the worst thing in the world, but I can see where one may have an issue it. I think it may also be an issue of how governments and employers deal with social media, but I digress.

    Item 6 – headlines have a short life span. Ruby can not perform the audit and be responsible for the correction and implementation of any findings. The process owner is responsible for correction and implementation.

    Item 7, if Larae were doing her job well then there would have been no issues with the payroll. Fact is, as controller, Larae was responsible for ensuring that the system operated, and the proper controls were in place.

  17. RdwithCypress

    Ralph who are you? We should speak offline. Contact me at Once I know who you are I will fill in the blanks for you. I am an Oakland Constituent with many years as a CAE, Sr. Executive in Audit and Compliance. I need to vet you some before I give you the goods. I am sure you understand why.

  18. RdwithCypress

    By the way Ralph, did you even read Liedheim’s weak ass response to the payroll findings? Amazing that he seems to refuse to acknowledge 80 years worth of best practice on payroll controls. He actually wrote that there is no best practice in the area. Courtney has a responsibility to shame him on this until they fix the issue. Right? Right! I am aware that there is the same activity still going on today. Nothing changed. Nothing!

  19. RdwithCypress

    By the way Ralph, did you even read Liedheim’s weak ass response to the payroll findings? Amazing that he seems to refuse to acknowledge 80 years worth of best practice on payroll controls. He actually wrote that there is no best practice in the area. Courtney has a responsibility to shame him on this until they fix the issue. Right? Right! I am aware that there is the same activity still going on today. Nothing changed. Nothing!

  20. ralph

    I assume you are referring to the 79pg tome issued Nov 07. According to my records, I last viewed it July 09. If this is the report, then the Admin you are referencing should be Edgerly.

    I thought Ruby’s work was good. But I was saddened by Edgerly’s response. Her responses clearly lacked any knowledge of her responsibilities and obligations.

    In every audit I have ever conducted the lists of findings and mgmt’s response includes: the finding, quantified, potential impact, a recommendation and mgmt acknowledgement of and steps to be taken or taken, if any, to address the problem. Edgerly was defensive in her response. If one did not know better, one would think that it was about race and qualifications.

  21. ralph

    As to shaming Edgerly, I do not know if that is the way that I would describe it. But this audit makes clear that DE should never have been in a position of the public’s trust. The Auditor should have made every effort to bring this before council and the Mayor and if need be take it to the press.

  22. livegreen

    Which raises the question, what power do the Auditor findings have, what ability to enforce (power to implement), and/or what obligation does the City have to implement her findings?

    If none, why have an Auditor?

  23. livegreen

    Which raises the question, what power do the Auditor findings have, what ability to enforce (power to implement), and/or what obligation does the City have to implement her findings?

    If none, why have an Auditor?

  24. ralph

    Now, if an employee borrows Sum X from Vendor Y. I see problems.

    Without knowing the full details, I can provide a perfectly plausible explanation for how these individuals were able to carry out these transactions without being identified by the auditor.

    My explanation does not excuse the transaction rather it points to further flaws in the city’s system of internal controls. Ownership of the internal controls is outside of the Auditor’s office.

  25. RdwithCypress

    Okay, the fact is Ruby is aware of this and many other bad and even worse situations. For whatever reason, she has not stepped up and publicly faced the issues. She knows of the corruption and it is very wide spread. I actually think the bad players have something on her. I don’t understand the reason but I know she is not raising the issues to the proper places. This kind of thing needs sun light. She is supposed to turn the lights on but she is not. I want you to understand that I really tried with her but was turned away. Now I have personally suffered retaliation in a big way. What I put up on the site is small in comparison to what has been found. Ruby has stood by and done zip. I don’t trust her and I don’t trust her people.

  26. ralph

    Based on the findings and Edgerly’s response, she should have been dismissed on the spot. Now assume the city does not dismiss Edgerly. The city should be concerned about the substance and potential impact of the findings. Because something did not happen does not mean it won’t happen. So you give Edgerly 5 mos to clean up the internal control process. The auditor comes back and retests those controls. Either she has improved the internal control structure and she keeps her job or she does not and is out. Given the severity and her responses, she really should have not held her job longer than it took for city council to read the report.

    Look at her response with regard to seasonal employees still listed in payroll. She missed the point completely. That is a textbook example of ways people used earn additional pay (i.e. commit fraud). Also, check out her response regarding payroll advances. Ruby correctly identifies these transactions as an interest free loans. DE calls this inflammatory and incorrect. She probably receives a huge refund from the government in May.

  27. ralph

    Those are the same documents which we agree indicate a potential problem with internal controls as they relate to related party transactions, conflicts of interest, pay to play flat out ethics.

    Ruby does not own the problem. These are problems in the Controllership function. I seem to recall that last year the city was looking for a Controller. Hopefully, these issues are being addressed.

    In addition to going to City Council with these findings, I would encourage them to be posted on the City Auditor’s website, not in 79 page report but simple charts and graphs.

  28. livegreen

    I don’t mean what I last said against Ruby. I mean it against the C.A. & CC. If they don’t accept her recommendations then what’s the point. So, what’s their obligation to evaluate & implement?

  29. ralph

    What is your question? If City Council and the Mayor fail to hold the City Administrator and Controller accountable, then you vote them out of office, you deny them revenue raising measures… The Federal Government does not award funds to city’s that fail to implement proper internal controls.

  30. livegreen

    I’d be interested in the results of some of these Audits. For example, the 2006 article mentions the previous Auditors findings of misuse of Credit Cards & the shredding of OPD Overtime documents by employees.

    It would be nice if summaries were put out of Audit results & City implementation so we could trace back. Without each citizen looking up the results of each audit individually.

    So, for example, if the Credit Cards & shredding of OPD Overtime docs were successfully resolved, or not?

  31. RdwithCypress

    I am waiting to see what happens with Ruby’s Oct Revenue Audits but, Michael Kilian seems like real auditor, not just a slick politician. He may not be the best public speaker I have seen but I understand he is a great auditor and accountant which is exactly what the city needs. He is also correct when he says the city is in real trouble.

  32. Audit Oakland CEDA

    The city auditor owns the responsibility of holding finance and control accountable. The auditor is not a “reporter.” The auditor is supposed to ride the issue for the citizens until it is repaired. Don’t hold finance responsible for the auditor functions. I am going to upload a document to help folks understand the Federal standards for municipal auditors and put a link here. Or perhaps someone else can. Constituents must understand why the city auditor is elected and not appointed and what the legal obligations of the city auditor are to the constituency.

  33. ralph

    With all due respect you are pointing to problems with implementation. You may not like what NN said in her email, but from where I sit the Controllership and Administration have done little to make known what are clear COI violations.

    The responsibility with correcting the problems belongs to Agency heads, the Controller, and the City Administrator. City Council needs to be on them like white on rice to ensure that solutions are implemented and the audit office should re-test after agency heads say that they are.

    If ever there were a case for a charter amendment, the City Auditor would be it.

  34. Audit Oakland CEDA

    With due respect back at you, this is not an implementation problem. This is the auditor actually failing to follow up. I invite Michael Kilian to jump into this discussion. Is the city auditor not responsible to the constituents to follow up on findings publicly and diligently like a dog with a bone until recommendations have been implemented?

  35. livegreen

    Brown on rice is more healthy.

    I’ll read up on your links AOC, but how is anyone able to keep anyone accountable if we don’t know Audits have been done & which haven’t, and of the ones done, which ones have been implemented and which ones haven’t?

    Since our “local” news doesn’t track these, it’s a challenge. If we had an online summary list or spread sheet with links to details it would give us both a central point to track from & links to read in more detail.

  36. Audit Oakland CEDA

    Ralph, i like disagreeing with you because our discussion is what will help constituents think about different sides of many issues and how to engage with their elected city auditor. don’t stop because we disagree.

  37. RdwithCypress

    The requirements for government auditors are posted on the web-site.

    Circulars a 050 may resolve the discussion issue:

    b. Management Officials. Agency management officials are responsible for receiving and analyzing audit reports, providing timely responses to the audit organization, and taking corrective action where appropriate. Where management officials disagree with an audit recommendation, the matter shall be resolved by the followup official.

    c. Audit Followup Official. The audit followup official has personal responsibility for ensuring that (1) systems of audit followup, resolution, and corrective action are documented and in place, (2) timely responses are made to all audit reports, (3) disagreements are resolved, (4) corrective actions are actually taken, and (5) semi-annual reports required by paragraph 8.a. (8) below are sent to the head of the agency.

    Proper follow up is defined as an audit designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a corrective action.

    The responsibility of the auditor is to continue to raise the finding until is it resolved. Period! Not move to the next audit and let prior issues go.

  38. Audit Oakland CEDA

    AOC has now discussed its findings with Joe Tuman, Arnold Fields, and Michael Kilian. Courtney Ruby stated, via her PA, that my findings “do not warrant a meeting.” I delivered and discussed my findings with Kaplan’s and Quan’s campaign representatives this afternoon. Now PEOPLE! Go challenge the candidates to respond.

  39. Valerie

    The reality of Ruby’s failure is her lack of experience in dealing with this type of problems. We need a REAL EXPERIENCED auditor such as Michael Kilian.

  40. Valerie


    …scrutinize the Oakland Police Department’s finances to ensure that our streets are safer. She will also examine Oakland’s disaster preparedness to ensure that services are available to us when we need them most. 4 years NO RESULTS?

    …make easiest city in America to do business. This is why Courtney will work to reform the outdated business processes that are driving away investment. Long lines, outdated systems, and confusing permit processes are a tax on Oakland’s businesses that they cannot afford. 4 years NO RESULTS?

    …revisit its parking policies. Courtney will analyze Oakland’s parking department to ensure tickets are being issued reasonably and fairly. 4 years NO RESULTS?

    We have no time for her to continue playing with our tax money. After all we are footing the bill for that department. We MUST vote for someone who can bring RESULTS.

  41. Max Allstadt

    Michelle, there are a lot of Ralphs in the world.

    Assuming that the Ralph you’re talking to anonymously on the web is also a Ralph who has a major business relationship with the city? That’s more than premature. That’s borderline paranoid, and it weakens your message, big time.

  42. ralph

    I thought I was out, but AOC your posting re the Federal Government proves my point. I am going to ignore the fact that the referenced OMB circular pertains to Federal Executive Agencies and address the meat as most governments follow the substance of the document.

    As I stated before and is spelled out clearly in the referenced OMB Circular, Executive Agency Management is responsible ….for taking corrective action.

    c. Audit Followup Official. The audit followup official has personal responsibility for ensuring that (1) systems of audit followup, resolution, and corrective action are documented and in place, (2) timely responses are made to all audit reports, (3) disagreements are resolved, (4) corrective actions are actually taken…

    Not one sentence of A50 discussed the auditor beating the drum.

    What part of this language do you not understand? So, please tell me, for the love of dog how that differs from anything I have written.

    And for the record, I am not Ralph Grant. I don’t know who he is, and I don’t do business with the city. And that is all I intend to say on that matter.

    I am a licensed CPA and have been for the last 20 years. Along the way I have audited municipalities, federal agencies, commercial businesses and not-for-profits. In other words, I know a bit about materiality, GAAP, audit standards, the audit process, the whole nine…

  43. ralph

    Despite what you read in these comments, Ruby does conduct follow-up. Refer to the website. What is frustrating is finding the initial audits.

    I don’t disagree that the process is frustrating and there should be a better way of disseminating information. But as the payroll audit indicates the problem is not with the auditor, the City Administrator was clearly defensive and did accept responsibility.

  44. Daniel Schulman

    Well a bit of an alternative forum, but did anyone attend last night’s special Public Ethics Commission battle royale on Perata’s financing?

    I was unable to go, so I would greatly appreciate a recap if anybody was there.

  45. Audit Oakland CEDA

    Thanks, Max. Point well-taken. I mean to express my agenda, my points, my opinions, my observations, not to alienate. But you have to admit it’s not entirely unusual to become a little paranoid in Oakland.

    Ralph, any rudeness on my part has no excuse. I apologize.

    I am married to a VP of Internal Audit. I have strong opinions about what the city auditor should do.

    I have dealt directly with Yew because I am auditing his work myself. Since he is not elected he doesn’t answer to me and he is reticent to provide GL data or allow me any access to the GL. Ruby, on the other hand, should welcome feedback from a constituent. Her most recent response to my request for a meeting to discuss my findings: “the information you provided… do not warrant a meeting.” And, of course, I was referred to the Whistleblower Hotline for employees.

    Who wants a copy of my findings?

  46. ralph

    It is perfectly understandable why Mr. Yew is not providing you documents. If your job duties do not require access to these documents, then Joseph is under no obligation to provide you access.

    With respect to your findings, for Ruby to meet with you, I suspect she would sufficient documentation to substantiate wrongdoings. Just showing potential violations doesn’t always work. She has limited resources and must conduct certain audits. Absent real evidence, she may not have the time.

  47. Audit Oakland CEDA

    Mr. Yew is sitting on public data. CPRA requires him to share it. I am not showing potential violations; I have done complete audit and investigation.

    Ralph, will you please look at the evidence on my site? Since I have been so successful at obtaining public records and I do have actual data (PTS, GL), I am not winging it or merely inferring.

    Michael Kilian has looked at my findings. He has stated that he found my evidence compelling and said he “cannot let go” of these issues.

    Finding #1: The City is bolstering the budget with Code Enforcement revenues. Supporting documentation: GL for Fund 2415; OMB overhead allocation rates; PTS invoices. CEDA allocates $24 million to Building Services (Fund 2415) as a revenue target and recovers that annually from a mere 2,000 property owners. Building Services revenues exceed actual costs incurred. Fund 2415 pays three City Attorney’s salaries. Fund 2415 writes checks to the school district. Fund 2415 buys tamales. The list goes on and on.

    Since 2005, there have been only 30 appeal hearings for property owners who have been sited for violations of the Health and Safety Code by CEDA Code Enforcement.

    For those not familiar with the law, in California excess permit fee revenues are required to be use towards future permit fees, thereby reducing them. Code Enforcement may only recover costs incurred from “summary abatement” and any revenues generated from code enforcement “may not be levied to the general fund.”

  48. ralph

    I don’t know what public data that you think Mr. Yew is withholding but I will agree to disagree with you on this point.

    Your data is only useful if it informs. I have viewed your website a few times. Your audit workpapers are incomplete. What you want to do is cite the rule. Select a sample of transactions to test. Test the transactions against the rules. Document your findings, identify risks and quantify.

    I’ll be happy to look at the data after you have performed those steps.

  49. Audit Oakland CEDA

    All of those elements are there, if not in a perfected format. I do keep working on that. The rules are cited in Legal References under Resources. My sample identification, the methodology are all there. The findings are listed. The risks are perhaps not as well spelled out as they should be, except in terms of the individual property owner’s exposure to loss. When I find a case of legal due process, I will let everyone know about it.

    Meanwhile, you have not made a comment, Ralph, on the findings. What do you think about what is going on in the building department?

  50. ralph

    There are standard workpaper procedures used to document an agency’s compliance with rules and procedures. Your workpapers are deficient in this area. Accordingly, I am unable to opine on your findings.

  51. ralph

    I am trying to be more helpful to web people trying to do something positive. Back in the day we used 12 column paper, today you have the benefit of MS Excel.

    I have not specified how to prepare your workpapers, not because I don’t want to, but because it just seems like a hard thing to do in this forum, at least for me. I suggest you find someone who can help you with workpaper documentation so you can compile your findings in an easy to understand presentation.

  52. len raphael

    thought i’d see all the candidates in the flesh, so i went to the Kaiser and listened from the standing room only group at the back.

    When perata is good, he is very very good. he came across as very experienced and confident without being overbearing. he was confident to the point where he could comfortably point out that a bunch of Kaplan’s platform points were basic good management from a strong competent mayor.

    He’s right. I’d say that too many years of no management from Ellihu, Jerry, and Ron; and bad micro management from incompetent city council has brought us to a point where we think the most basic city government practices are revolutionary.

    i think my candidate, Harland came in second to Perata, but I’m wouldn’t be biased.

    Kaplan and Turmin seemed stiff, especially Kaplan.

    Kaplan has learned from Quan that if you don’t want to or know how to answer a question, make up your own question to answer. Drummond asked Kaplan how she’d deal with the almost 2 Billion retirement related obligations and Kaplan went off on how she’d meet the much smaller current operating deficicit. Just completely ignored the question.

    On police stuff, Kaplan is rapidly moving to the right, emphasizing her opposition to the cuts. Gotta give her credit for going with the flow of public opinion.

    Kaplan even managed to get a dig on Perata, but got the number wrong. Something about 20 Mill we’re still paying because of the Raider’s deal. (Oakland is only paying half of that).

    Quna was just wierd giving her gobblegook answer to how she’s really providing neighborhood policing at the same time as she’s laying them off but clearly staked out her position as the champion of social programming.

    if i heard her correctly, she now opposes the starbucks parcel tax that she put on the ballot. what’s up with that?

    i came expecting to hear Tumin as some kind of very polished public speaker conversant with budget and police details. Not. He gave a half baked plan to balance budget with early retirement and hiring back the same employees. Similar to Kaplans and similarly devoid of numerical data to fact check their promised benefits.

    I would guess that if we encourage a whole slug of employees to retire early, our Calpers pension contribution will jump up, offsetting much of the cost savings.

    Tumin did say he had a plan to pursuade the unions to take cuts in compensation, but he wouldn’t tell us what it was because he taught a class at UC Biz school on negotiation where he always advised students to not tell em your plans ahead of time. Yeah, sure, he’s got a plan.

    But my award for most improved candidate goes to Lionel. He’s making my favorite education reform, centerpiece of his platform: bring back vocational ed to OUSD. Good to hear it from an african american Oakland resident because any white person saying it would have been laughed out of the hall.

    footnote: poor Marcie Hodge bravely attempted to explain how pension obligation bonds worked. she ran out time about a quarter of her way thru.

  53. len raphael

    Perata is definitely my strong second choice. I’m not too worried about his corruption because he’ll have a bunch of FBI agents checking him out from time time.

    if he wants to go on to higher office, and i get the impression he loves elected office, he’ll have a strong incentive to reverse his reputation for making a buck for his friends and family from his connections.

    and i’m very sure that he’ll be able to manipulate the dozens of special interest groups he works for against each other. there is plenty of recent precedent for officials who rode to power ont the backs and pocketbooks of unions to turn on them when the public demanded it.

    Obama and the teacher’s union is a good example.

    I also get strong impression he’ll screw the non profits in favor of public education if he can.

    -len raphael

  54. len raphael

    Valerie, I assume all long time politicians are crooks. The question is whether he can do more good than harm. Compared to Quan’s honest incompetence and Kaplan’s naive microsolutions, I’d say yes.

    Quan and Kaplan are also incapable of kicking the asses of the Oakland bureaucracy which is mired in racial divisions between latino and black and white, reverse racism, and just plain old inefficiency. Kaplan is too nice. Quan actually believes her own bs about what a big happy richly diverse city we are. It is true is many ways, but not within the city’s workforce. Just today a younger latina was describing to me the internicine warfare in OUSD between older blacks and latinos.

    Perata is enough of a hard ass to tell the city employees to cut bait or get out. As would Harland or Tumin.

  55. len raphael

    Valerie, to be specific, I would never rely on people with lots of degrees and very little real world experience to run Oakland.

    Tumin and Kaplan would never have gained the skills that are not taught in schools but are needed to manage people who come from a wide range of backgrounds.

  56. We Fight Blight

    Quan or Kaplan. You gotta be kidding? Perata, if he and his family really were corrupt, don’t you think the FBI would have tagged him by now. Lot’s of mud but it doesn’t seem to be stikcing.

    Maybe we need a good old boss to clean up the mess that is Oakland. Quan or Kaplan are not gonna do that. They are simply going to get us deeper into a quagmire. At least Perata is going to support police as a priority. Oakland needs a strong police presence to encourage growth and economic development as a way to increase the tax base and provide the revenues for basic city services.

  57. len raphael

    Overall, opening the forum to all candidates didn’t reduce the amount or quality of info we got about each candidate. Unfortunately, that’s not saying much.

    It had the benefit of several candidates emphasizing the need for the next mayor to use the bullly pulpit to improve schools here.

    To that add Lionel Young’s specific proposal for bringing back vocational ed. The more that’s brought up in public discussion, the easier it will be for OUSD to implement without being accused of racist tracking.

    Marcie Hodge was the only candidate to even attempt to explain our hundreds of millions of $ of Pension Obligation Bonds that come due next June. The only other candidate to even mention the bonds was Greg Harland’s comment that it’s so huge we have no alternative to refing it.

    Joe Tumin gently alluded to the huge retirement obligations but wasn’t about to volunteer to hang the bell on the cat’s neck when all the other candidates completely avoided the biggest fiscal problems.

    Before the forum we got all worked about about the pro’s and con’s of limiting the number of candidates. A complete red herring as it turned out.

    That easy avoidance of answering the hardest most complex policy issues is the fundamental flaw in the LOWV forum format. It does not allow the journalist to probe or tell the candidate that she/he did not answer the question.

    The complex issues fiscal and others can be adequately addressed in a forum format but the LOWV should have released the complex issue questions to the candidates and the public ahead of time. That would have given the audience and the candidates time and expectations of in depth answers.

    -len raphael

  58. len raphael

    Kaplan made some changes to her platform. Most good, one not so good. She moved to the center on police staffing levels, emphasizing how dumb it was to allow the layoffs. She adopted Harland’s recommendation that we fund an office to take advantage of the Federal enterprise zone tax credit program as is done profitably by much smaller neighboring cities. All good.

    But then she added a disturbing proposal to increase the blight enforcement by CEDEA. WTF? even before the allegations surfaced about CEDA abuse of blight enforcement as a source of revenue for the city and for certain employees, we had the whole parking fine fiasco.

    The temptation of Oakland govt to use fines and penalties to raise revenue inevitably will lead to abuses and voter anger. Kaplan should let that idea die still born.

    -len raphael

  59. len raphael

    Even Arnie Fields had something wacky but thought provoking to contribute:

    his adaptation of the broken window crime prevention theory, Singapore style:

    strictly enforce the anti litter laws in Oakland. start programs in elementary school to institute pride in keeping oakland clean. wierd, but wierdly, i think it’s worth doing if it doesn’t cost much. But first we have to repeal the Oakland law against political signage on public property. :)

  60. ralph

    Last night was a better than expected forum. While I tend to forget what the various candidates say, I like that they are adding to discussion.

    For example, LL had a point re business attraction. Businesses like to locate in places where they can find an educated workforce. They also like places that have amenities that an educated workforce likes. Also, we need to be honest not all kids are going to attend college we need to provide them alternatives. We need to find their motivation and inspire them along those lines. We need to expose the young.

    It is telling that Zuckerberg picked Camden for his generous gift. We need a mayor who is going to shake things up.

    Kaplan’s position on the police has been consistent. This was the first time I’ve heard her mention her alternative plan for the police in a widely attended forum.

    You heard Quan correctly. She is not voting for the measure she authored. I think all in attendance noted the significance. Judging from the boos when the question was asked, I don’t think anyone in attendance was in favor of the tax.

  61. Dax

    I was unable to attend or view the proceedings.

    I am curious about what if anything Terence Candell had to contribute?

    Normally he adds spice to bland gatherings.


  62. ralph

    Mr. Candell was holding court at Laney College or so I was told. There is a group at Laney which needs his leadership.

  63. livegreen

    What were the candidates proposals about how to maintain OPD staffing AND pay for it? (Without the taxes).

  64. Dax

    Yes, did anyone dare suggest the police officers take less pay for a while so that fellow officers might continue employment?

    Oakland, NO, San Jose, NO, AC Transit, NO

    Public employee compensation is like a ratchet wrench, it only clicks forward.

    Am I the only one who thinks the AC Transit local union president Claudia Hudson, puts forth one the most arrogant images possible?

    How come the press fails to ever mention that the AC Transit benefit package equals 85% of base salary.
    About $48,000 per driver JUST for benefits.

    Health care for a driver with a family.
    $1,800 to $2,100 per month tax free, plus another $200+ for dental.

    Instead, what we hear in the news is service cuts, service cuts, laying off 90 drivers, and the poor riders moaning as though the AC Transit Board is evil.

    It would seem the union cares little about either the riders or the lower seniority employees.

    Duplicating the police/fire layoffs in Oakland and San Jose.

    The “new normal” reality has not yet entered the mindset of these public employees. After all, just ask any of them, “we deserve it”, regardless of the ability of the city to pay for it.

  65. len raphael

    Greg Harland was the only person to say he supported the parcel tax. As he put it “reluctantly supported” it.

    I completely disagree with Greg on this but completely understand why his excellent grasp of the city’s financial situation leads him to say we need that tax.

    The difference between he and I on the tax isn’t the need for the tax, but his optimism that the voters and leaders of Oakland would not squander the over 50Mill$ of additional tax revenue on feathering the retirement nests of city employees and funding ineffective pork barrrel anti-violence scams.

    Give the council 50 to 80 million of revenue is like handing out free crack in certain parts of East O.

    We will absolutely need a large parcel tax increase, but not till we get our financial dreck together.

    -len raphael

  66. len raphael

    Dax, Perata is not evil. He’s a pol who started out idealistic, made too many compromises along the way to the top, and dipped his hand in the opportunities that came along.

    to say he’s any more corrupt than say Hillary Clinton or the many former Republican and Democratic legislators who sell their lobbying services.

    Certainly no worse than Doug Boxer and his paid for advocacy of Indian gambling in Marin.

    And as for the Raider’s deal, many smart oaklander’s are still smitten by professional sport economic fantasies.

    Our entire illustrious city council vetted the Raider’s deal including Perata’s fees.

    Bottom line: Anyone but Quan. She is a scary mix of financial innumeracy with hills warmed over 1960′s progressive baloney. The prospect of her becoming our next mayor will make me go out and volunteer for Perata.

    -len raphael

  67. Dax

    I just got a mailer from Marcie Hodge in the mail.

    Nothing special. Just the standard listing of the problems and that she would do something about them (not really saying what)

    So my questions are…

    1) Why is she running with little chance of success? (and with the embarassing news about her Peralta credit card abuse still in people’s minds)

    2) Is this really about a future race and is just a way to keep her name out there on Oakland “city” issues?

    3) I live in District 7 and am wondering if anyone in other districts is getting a Marcie Hodge mailer?

    4) Could this be just some pre-advertising for the expected open seat for city council next year, as Larry Reid has indicated he probably won’t run again?

    I simply don’t believe she has either a message as a mayoral candidate, nor any hope of being in the top 5.

    Lots of other candidates clearly don’t have a chance, but several of them seem to have a message or specific idea to put forth.
    Marcie Hodge seems to have neither.
    Hence my suspicions of alternative motives.

  68. ralph

    I believe Tuman suggested that either the officers take a pay cut maybe 10% or we hire new officers with a completely new pay and benefits package or some combination of the two. I think this Tuman guy and Kaplan have some good approaches to the police issue. I also think DP is sopping ‘em up with a biscuit.

    Handing out free crack is handing out free crack it doesn’t really matter where one is. A crack addict is going to act a certain way.

  69. Dax

    Len, you say—
    “Dax, Perata is not evil. He’s a pol who started out idealistic, made too many compromises along the way to the top, and dipped his hand in the opportunities that came along.”

    “to say he’s any more corrupt than say”

    Len, my post said nothing about Perata being either evil or corrupt.

    My post regarding PLOP was merely speaking about the tactics needed by the other candidates if they wanted to beat him. I mentioned no issues at all.

    I think its interesting that one should take exception to something that was never mentioned anywhere in my post.
    That may say more about Perata’s image than anything could.

  70. len raphael

    Dax, my apols. mixed your post up with another one.

    what is your take on Perata re how he’ll deal with our retirement obligations, gold plated employee compensation, and allocation of scarce resources.


  71. Dax

    On pensions, he’ll go two tier with new hires going back to the prior 2% and perhaps to age 60.
    It will sound good, but will take decades to have any impact.

    On compensation, he won’t roll back pay, but may slow any increase.

    On benefits, he may throw in a few more employee contributions on health care and perhaps cut 1 holiday.
    Perhaps keep some furlough days.

    Anything beyond that will only be done if forced to the mat by NO MONEY and no ability to either float a bond or raise more taxes.

    He will do the minimum possible to existing employees.
    He will allow attrition to do most of the work, as the workforce will gradually go down.

    Meanwhile people around him will make money. Private interests etc.
    Expect his son to do well.

    I’m not sure anyone will do a better job than him in the actual running of the city, however he will have a anchor around his neck due to his endorsement from the OPOA.

    There is no savior in this race.
    Perhaps someone who can “make the trains run on time” is the best we can do.
    I question some of the others ability to make the trains run on time.

    I don’t think he has any love of Oakland.
    What else would he do for the next 8 years?

    I am uncertain whom I will vote for.
    I almost always vote for the underdog when someone is a favorite.
    If only to keep the favorite from thinking everyone really wanted him.

    We may get Perata, but I hardly believe many people consider him a ideal candidate.

  72. len raphael

    Weakness of the LOWV and the MOBN format is that Tumin and Kaplan can state they have a plan to balance the deficit (they got fuzzy on what’s the 5 year operating deficit, the structural deficit, and the true deficit) with encouraging early retirement and hiring replacements at lower pay, but because they don’t give any numbers for their projected total cost savings there is no way to fact check their plans.

    To evaluate that, you would need actuarial calculations for the effect on our Calpers contributions, plus projections about both cost of the incentives and about the type and probability of the employees likely to take early retirement. Basically about as easy to fact check as the soundness of Arnie Field’s litter program as a way to reduce crime.


  73. len raphael

    re how Perata will handle the retirement obligations and over compensation situation. As I’ve noted nhere are more and more examples of local Democrat officials across the country, including Obamba, throwing their public union supporters overboard when faced with fiscal and performance realities and taxpayer ire.

    Perata is nothing if not an astute reader of the voter’s mood.

    -len raphael

  74. RdwithCypress

    Okay cops cost money but what really costs money is not having enough cops, since Salary Expense for OPD is dramatically expanded by all the over time. This is where I am confused about the debate. No candidate actually spoke to this fact. The overtime numbers are ridiculous.

  75. RdwithCypress

    Let’s talk about Kaplan admitting on the record that she would illegally generate revenue through blight enforcement. Let’s talk about the current policy of placing liens for over blight. These encumbrances on the property including the sub standard public Nuisance “prospective liens” encumber the title so that the owner cannot get financing to abate the condition. Furthermore the property owner cannot sell the property for FMV. The city is actually causing more blight with this bad policy. No wonder no one wants to invest in Oakland. No wonder our property values are depressed. No wonder there is so many empty houses deteriorating.

  76. ralph

    Overtime is a balancing act. It is no different than a private sector employer who uses contractors / temps to fill staff needs. It is often cheaper to use either OT or contractors in certain cases as neither incur benefits that accrue to regular employees; and it is easier to stop using OT, contractors than it is to eliminate full-time employees. Hiring more cops may or may not save the city money. What will most likely happen is you see some decrease in OT (but to fully understand the OT, one needs to examine OPOA’s contract), increase in salary, and increase in pension obligation.

  77. RdwithCypress

    Ralph I agree with your comment on defined benefit liability which is a problem, however almost every cop I see on the salary breakdown is making over double their annual. I have never seen this in the private sector. Never in a 25 year career in fortune 500. Never. It is not right you must agree… Look at the numbers they jump right out. There is no excuse for it.

  78. ralph

    I don’t agree. You are comparing an apples to oranges. Can OT be reduced? Yes. How?

    1) Increase the education level of the residents.
    2)Change some of the minimum hour requirements.

    But keep in mind a fully loaded a PO is $188K. If PO OT only averages $125K per officer, what would you prefer?

  79. Naomi Schiff

    I like Dax’s PLOP idea. I was thinking of promoting Perata for #10. He is beholden to big contributors. He has already done way too much harm trying to play with our city’s and our school district’s real estate. There is no basis for assuming he would “get things done” that we actually want “done.” More likely, he’d get some other things done that we don’t particularly want. And: I don’t think we should continue a stupid habit and elect the FOURTH IN A ROW of retreading politicians termed out of Sacto and DC.

  80. ralph

    Do you have a point? You have posted the same information regarding where to find wages twice.

    A direct discussion on police OT is going to lose a number of residents, you included.

  81. ralph

    Isn’t Jean Quan beholden to non-profits and wasn’t her mailer a bit misleading? She knew the Kids First ballot measure was a budget buster but again she employed her favorite mantra, “let the voters decide.” Leadership involves making decisions Ms. Quan likes to punt.

    Ms. Kaplan may be a rookie, but she does seem to be more inclined to make a decision.

    I would like to meet the gimmick people that Don Perata mentions. Best I can tell, each candidate, even those who I fundamentally disagree with, is being thoughtful in his/her approach to Oakland’s issues.

  82. RdwithCypress

    Ralph, The point is OT is off the charts you cannot deny it. Apples to Oranges BS. Salary and OT are what they are. City employees should not be doubling their take home pay using OT. Hiring more cops means less time and a half or double time hours. See the sample below.

    Nguyen Huy T Police Officer Oakland Base: $93,459 OT: $159,435 Other: $32,725 Total: $285,619 Oakland
    Green Lawrence Lieutenant of Police Oakland Base: $125,980 OT: $92,665 Other:$46,346 Total: $264,992 Oakland
    Dunakin Mark T Sergeant of Police Oakland Base: $109,958 OT: $114,577 Other: $37,781 Total: $262,315 Oakland
    Morse Michael Police Officer Oakland Base: $93,930 OT: $124,254 Other: $25,111 Total: $243,295 Oakland
    Kline Brian J. Police Officer Oakland Base: $100,229 OT: $101,345 Other: $38,449 Total:$240,023 Oakland
    Karsseboom Eric W. Police Officer Oakland Base: $93,559 OT: $110,599 Other: $34,915 Total: $239,073 Oakland
    Sanchez Juan M. Police Officer Oakland Base: $93,836 OT: $111,357 Other: $26,333 Total: $231,526 Oakland
    Coaston Angela R. Police Officer Oakland Base: $94,402 OT: $80,527 Other: $32,598 Total: $207,527 Oakland
    Cruz Louis N Sergeant of Police Oakland Base: $107,830 OT: $94,700 Other: $29,352 Total: $231,882 Oakland

    This is just a small sample The issue is across the board with OPD.

  83. ralph

    Sgt. Mark T Dunakin lost his life in the line of duty. There is no amount of monetary compensation that can compensate his family for that loss. Being a police officer means putting one’s life on the line daily for your safety. I challenge you to earn a badge and carry a gun. Then ask, what is the fair amount to compensate an individual who could potentially lose his life during a “routine” traffic stop.

  84. RdwithCypress

    Ralph, Fair enough but that is not the point. The point is it is across the board. If you do the research you will reach the same conclusions that I have.

  85. Max Allstadt


    To make you feel a little better about accidentally accusing a dead cop of being overpaid, I suggest you dig up the KTOP video of Terrance Candell making the same mistake.

    He did it in Council Chambers, loudly, and he did it at the Council meeting where 200 cops showed up to protest the council’s decision to lay them off.

    He didn’t realize what he’d said until the crowd went apeshit.

    So yeah, your faux pas? Not so bad.

    As far as the debate footage goes, major thanks to Vsmoothe for the video! And I have to agree with Ralph on his assessment of Kaplan’s performance.

    She isn’t the best public speaker, and as “Annoyed” said above, she is saying the same stuff to one degree or another at many of her public appearances. But that’s because she’s actually got a platform and plans of action.

    I don’t see much more than broad strokes of rhetoric from most of the other candidates.

    Rebecca’s love of specifics is what makes her special. She comes across as a little awkward on the stump, I think, because her obsession with policy. Some politicians put their energy into putting on a good show, and it takes years of practice to master that.

    Rebecca’s been too busy getting to know the details to have had time to develop a truly slick stage presence. I find that very reassuring, frankly.

  86. ralph

    As to the debate, I would like to know if Ms. Kaplan has a plan to attract Silicon Valley type businesses. It is difficult to read between the lines with grow small businesses. Does that mean small retail or does it mean start-up stem cell research company?

  87. RdwithCypress

    I wonder if Kaplan’s statement about cutting red tape as anything to do with Eminent Domain. It sure seems like it to those of use in West Oakland. They say it is for Commercial Properties only, however much of the map is residential or multi family residential. WOPAC would not approve it, but the CEDA Staff is still moving forward. Other cities try to attract business using free permits, or reduced property taxes, our City uses Eminent Domain and charges full fees and revenue streams. See the links below

    The plan:

    The Story:

    The new petition:

  88. RdwithCypress

    The City sent out 7k mailers to notify West Oaklanders about the change to eminent domain law in Oakland. The mailer only spelled out the language change with no mention of the reason for the change or the effect of the change. They used a very old mailing list so the addressee on my house haven’t lived here in 15 years, and believe me when I say they know my address and who lives here.

  89. V Smoothe Post author

    The proposed change in the eminent domain sections of the West Oakland redevelopment plan is simple. It would change the size of projects eligible to use eminent domain so that projects larger than three acres in size would have this tool available, and would allow for eminent domain to be used on commercial properties in the area in between Grand 24th, Market and Filbert.

    The reason for the change is to bring a FoodsCo, a full service grocery store to the area, something that is desperately needed. A petition circulating in West Oakland in support of the changes has gathered several hundred signatures.

    The WOPAC tied when they voted on the amendment last summer, which means the change can only be adopted if it is passed by a 2/3 vote of the City Council.

  90. RdwithCypress

    V Smooth,

    The residence I have spoken with on the ground in the exact location are not pleased. They were never given a voice in this. Most of them never even realized this was happening at all when I speak with them. The history of Eminent domain in West Oakland is terrible. So many churches, homes and local business were displaced for the freeways, and mail center. Whole neighborhoods have been disrupted here and the people here have never forgotten. As far as a grocery store goes, West Oaklanders would prefer internal growth rather than some Big Box Store who is not willing to pay fair market value for the property. The City should stop inserting itself and let the market determine the price for the property. If the city really wanted to help, they would simply give Foods Co. (generic big box store) free permits and property tax relief and leave any transaction to the market. It is my understanding that neither the city or Foods Co. has made any attempt to contact the property owner first. Also, to be clear, there are already several Oakland Businesses in the location in question. These businesses are not a going concern so LEAVE THEM ALONE….

  91. RdwithCypress

    Also, Vsmooth,

    I am on the ground in West Oakland because I live here. I love my Neighbors and my neighborhood. It is our gem. So unless you live here, don’t you dare tell me what my community needs! period!

  92. Max Allstadt

    I do live in West Oakland, and you sure as hell don’t get to speak self-righteously as if your point of view represents all West Oaklanders.

    I am a West Oaklander, and I want a giant grocery store, and I’m fine with imminent domain being part of the process.

    My only concerns are that the store be designed in a way that creates a pedestrian-friendly environment, and in a way that presents no empty blockface to the community. This store can be a catalyst for peripheral growth around it.

    The biggest problem with getting anything done in West Oakland is that we’re stuck with two broad sets of citizens:

    One set doesn’t give a shit about government because they’re too busy just getting by. The other set is batshit about government causes but is all to often so ideological that they can’t get any practical progress done.

    It is utterly infuriating. Give me my grocery store already. I don’t care if it’s owned by a big company. I don’t care if it doesn’t sell macrobiotic hummus. This is so long overdue that we can’t afford to demand everything we want, or we’ll get nothing.

    I want green groceries, and a big variety of them, in the location in question. It’s close to the geographic heart of West Oakland, bike-able, walk-able, bus-able, and easily accessible to the highways. It will likely even attract a certain rarely encountered mythical creature… people from OUTSIDE Oakland who want to spend money INSIDE Oakland.

  93. RdwithCypress


    I apologize, this issue is very close to my heart. I know what it is going to do to all the local markets etc. in my area. Why don’t you send me an email this blog to I would love to send you my phone number, maybe even have coffee. As a fellow West Oaklander I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Seriously, consider it.

  94. RdwithCypress

    Also, Vsmooth,

    I have learned much from your videos and posts. So don’t think for a min. that I don’t appreciate you and your focus and attention.

  95. ralph

    I am all for a grocery store, but your concern is mine as well. I mentioned it to Angela Woodall in quest for info on this subject.

    Until Thursday I don’t think I’d ever paid attn to a FoodCo. As it happens there is one in the Mission on 14th, b/w Mission and Harrison (?). The food and prices are great but the store has an awful design. I pray that is not what Krogers is planning for West Oakland.

  96. RdwithCypress

    I understand that the City has already done the Food Max Eminent Domain thing near San Leandro. I hear the new Food Max over there is about to open.

  97. RdwithCypress

    How about the City actually offers Food Max Property Tax Relief and Free Permits rather than Eminent Domain? Oh ya because they want the revenue and don’t really care what the community would like. There has been no real community outreach. No one in the gray zone even knew about this until it was pointed out. Hell I didn’t even know until I read the SF business times. Hrmm I wonder how many West Oaklanders subscribe to that. Hmmmm

  98. livegreen

    Re. OPD OverTime, it is my recollection there were some questions raised by the Grand Jury in how this was budgeted and controlled. I don’t recall whether the criticism was of smaller specific use of OT, or general more widespread.

    The other way OT saves on the cost of a fully loaded Officer (that Ralph gives) is the cost of retirement and benefits.

    On the other hand, I understand the City Council has complained for years about getting clarity on the OPD budget.

    These are complex matters and might warrant a subject heading of it’s own.

  99. ralph

    The 2005 – 06, the Grand Jury received a complaint from the Oakland city auditor (Smith) alleging that the Oakland Police Department’s (OPD) overtime system was
    corrupt and that certain officers, principally members of the board of directors of the Oakland Police Officer’s Association (OPOA), were improperly benefiting from this corrupt system.

    While the Grand Jury found no evidence of misconduct, the lack of records
    retained by OPD to document how overtime shifts are assigned is alarming.
    OPD’s management information systems need immediate upgrading. OPD’s
    overtime policies and procedures need additional controls to prevent the
    appearance of favoritism in assigning overtime shifts.

    Yet another example of what I consider to be problems with internal control.

  100. Babs

    I just read your post about Greg Harland September 24, 2010 at 10:47 am stating, “Greg Harland was the only person to say he supported the parcel tax. As he put it ‘reluctantly supported’ it”. This is incorrect and if you really want to know the true positions of all the candidates (excluding Marcie Hodge and LL Young) you can find their responses to a well-thought out questionnaire at Make Oakland Better Now – here’s the link

  101. len raphael

    Guess I’ll have to join the minority on this. Use of eminent domain to directly benefit a private enterprise is bad public policy.

    If i recall the supreme court 5 to 4 decision in the bridgeport ct case held in favor of using eminent domain in a similar context, but the backlash led most states except CA to enact legislation limiting it’s use to blight and taking for public use.

    The end result of the Bridgeport govt action was a bust: the development was always marginal and couldn’t attract financing even with the assistance of the seizure in keeping land costs down and speeding up the acquisition process. I think (but would have to check) that this was just before the credit crash.

    Call it a coincidence, but there are economic reasons unsubsidized private groceries fail in ghetto areas. There have been what, two or three attempts at the location near the Acorn project.

    In effect, by using eminent domain, the city is using it’s vaunted powers of economic foresight to pick winners and losers rather than let developers duke it out with land owners.

    If you want the city to get into the grocery business, just do that straight out and find an operator. Be prepared to give them a deal even better than we gave Uptown.

    -len raphael

  102. RdwithCypress

    Thank you for your comments Len and Ralph,


    It really goes to show you. Local businesses in West are constantly being put under the CEDA microscope. Fined & Liened for everything from daily graffiti to surveillance to anything the city can muster up. Believe me when I say, Oakland is not friendly to small local businesses. Redevelopment has been planning this project quietly in the back ground for years.

    There has been almost zero outreach and input from those in the actual Neighborhood. Everyone I speak to down here is appalled. Out of town employees are making the decisions about what is best for our community.

    Let the market free determine price. If the city would like to help the project then they should give free permits and property tax relief not insert themselves into the transaction.

    There are so many empty warehouses down here in West, why are they planning to build this where there are already viable profitable businesses actually employing Oaklanders?

    Also, if you look at the Map, places were they say they want to use this for commercial only, has many residences included. Places where they say nobody lives is false. When the City wants a residence, they simply use Code Enforcement and Blight to force the owner out. It is not at all above board.

    Wasn’t there something about OPD overtime records getting shredded? Reminds me of Andersen.

  103. V Smoothe

    RdwithCypress, the West Oakland Redevelopment Plan already allows for eminent domain, and it can only be used on commercial properties. Residential properties are not eligible for eminent domain under the current Plan, nor would they be eligible with the amendment. I don’t have any problem with people opposing the use of eminent domain, but I do have a problem with people who say things that are completely untrue in order to generate fear. Virtually nothing you have stated so far about this proposal is true.Get your facts straight or take it elsewhere.

  104. len raphael

    Isn’t it CA state law that prohibits use of eminent domain for residential property? don’t know if only single family or all residential.

    To me that’s a distinction based strictly on political considerations.

    Telling a small business owner that the location of her life’s work doesn’t deserve the same rights as the place she eats breakfast and dinner and sleeps is silly.

    Telling the employees of a large business equally so.

    Tell me the land in question is vacant, but then you get in to saying the city knows best for everyone how to use that land.

    If the city had it’s collective head screwed on straight, it would use its planning powers of persuasion to give a strong nudge of encouragement to the owner of the Pleasant Valley Safeway land to sublease to a mixed-use operator/developer. But no, its too timid to risk litigation over that.

    -len raphael

  105. RdwithCypress

    Vsmooth, let me ask you a question. Does having a rental unit require a business licence with Oakland? Is is possible that the city considers this commercial? I just cannot figure it out, because the land they have identified in on the map include all kinds of residential properties that are occupied? Also, many viable businesses are on the map. I am not trying to invoke fear but I do questions why these areas are show as eminent domain candidates on the map? It is a contradiction that I cannot get my head around. I think we should leave the code alone an not change it to make it easier to use eminent domain.