Nancy Nadel lies in her re-election campaign literature

There’s still almost a month before the City Council elections, and I have to admit, I’m already sick of them. I’m tired of writing about them, I’m bored of watching the candidates all say the same things over and over again at forum after forum, and I’m tired of constantly having to watch Nancy Nadel tell voters things that are just not true over and over again. (Last night at the Old Oakland Neighbors forum, BTW, she once again told the audience that Mandela Foods is opening at the end of the month.)

If you look at Nancy Nadel’s campaign website, you’ll see a long list of all sorts of great things that she’s done for District 3. (Well, sort of. The list isn’t actually all that long, particularly for someone who’s been in office nearly 12 years.) Anyway, it frustrates to me to watch her take credit for this improvement or that project, when the people involved will tell you that she never provided any assistance. But being able to claim responsibility for every good thing that happens in your district appears to be just another one of the perks of being the incumbent, so I deal with it. And it’s frustrating to me to watch her make claims that aren’t true, like telling people she’s creating a new teen center in West Oakland, when the reality is that there is no teen center coming. (Nancy Nadel used $850,000 of city money (PDF!) to purchase a building last fall that she wants to turn into a teen center. But there is no actual funding available, so currently, the building is just sitting there, mothballed, and costing taxpayers something like $18,000/year for maintenance and graffiti removal).

Anyway, it’s one thing to claim that you made something happen in your district when you didn’t have anything to do with it, or to say that you’re working on something that isn’t going to happen, but it’s another thing entirely to advertise accomplishments that simply don’t exist. Look at her position paper on the environment (PDF!).

Included on her list of accomplishments is:

Established new dog parks at Mosswood and Lake Merritt.

Okay. There is no dog park at Lake Merritt. None. The Oakland Dog Owners Group has been trying to get a dog park at Lake Merritt for quite some time, but so far, their efforts have failed. Anyway, I find this amazing. Why does Nancy Nadel think it’s okay to lie like that in her campaign literature? Does she think that nobody’s going to notice? What a sad comment on Oakland’s electorate.

Also, this:

Transformed Jefferson Park into a skate park for youth.

This is just not true at all! Jefferson Park isn’t a skate park, nor is it on its way to becoming one. I went there on Saturday and took pictures for you:

You can’t skateboard there!

That doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of fun things to do at Jefferson Park. You can take a nap on the lawn next to the freeway.

Or play basketball.

Or ping pong.

Or bring your kids to enjoy the play structures.

But it is not a skate park, nor is there even any paved section of the park where one could potentially skate.

Now, it’s true that way back in 2005, Nancy Nadel said she was going to make a skate park at Jefferson Square park. But as with most things she promises, that seems to have been dropped. (UPDATE 5/9/08: Nancy Nadel’s policy aide Marisa Arrona called me this morning to tell me that the skate park has not been dropped, and that she has been working on identifying funding sources for the project for over a year now. She says that the first funding source fell through, and that funding sources are confidential, but that they’re looking at three different funding sources and that the project will be very expensive. This, of course, doesn’t change the fact that the campaign literature claims the project has been completed even though it hasn’t, with the line “transformed Jefferson Park into a skate park,” (as illustrated in the screen grab below), which was the entire point of my post. But Arrona requested that it be updated to reflect that she is working on the park, so there you go.) Nadel’s aide Carletta Starks certainly doesn’t seem to know anything about Nadel’s involvement with the Jefferson Skate Park effort, telling Novometro reporter Ellen Mulholland less than three months ago that she thought someone was trying to raise money for a skate park there. Actually, Oakland’s skate park saga and Nancy Nadel’s role in it is pretty interesting (and depressing). I’ll try to write about that soon.

Anyway…WTF? I find it unbelievable that she thinks it’s okay to just fabricate non-existent accomplishments and use them in campaign literature. Her claims that she created a Lake Merritt dog park and turned Jefferson Square Park into a skate park are indefensible and unethical in the extreme. Nancy Nadel is simply not fit for public office. It’s a very sad reflection on Oakland that we have to deal with this level of moral bankruptcy from our “conscience of the Council.”

Oh, and since Nancy Nadel has altered her City Council website in response to things I’ve written about it in the past, I would not be at all surprised if the lies in question are removed soon. Here’s a screen grab of the page, taken this morning:

UPDATE 5/9/08: As predicted, here’s a screen grab of the page now, taken this morning

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29 thoughts on “Nancy Nadel lies in her re-election campaign literature

  1. Jessica

    Nadel is useless. I contacted her office about safety at downtown bus stops late at night and I was told bus issues should be addressed with AC Transit. It wasn’t a bus issue, it was a safelty issue!

  2. V Smoothe Post author

    But Jessica – Nadel did make bus stops safer – she banned smoking near them. Didn’t you know that secondhand smoke can be just as deadly as a bullet?

  3. josh abrams

    I own a gun and smoke a pack a day – so far haven’t been killed by either one!

  4. Brandon Larson

    Hi there- Just checked Nancy’s website– her page on is down. Her campaign page says “I improved many of our neighborhood parks, including Bertha, Cleveland Cascades, Lafayette, Sensory Gardens, and Willow parks, supported the creation of the new dog park at Mosswood and am working on two other dog Parks.”

    Presumably one is the so-new-it’s non-existent Lake Merritt Dog Park.

  5. Max Allstadt

    Frankly, V, I wish you’d have focussed more on the youth center. It was one of the reasons for the Guardian’s endorsement, I think. Seeing as I own a vacant lot which I currently can’t find money to build on, and which is costing me money, I can sympathize with the situation. But I also go around telling people exactly what my situation is, that I’m waiting, planning and looking for money.

    The youth center is a much bigger scandal than some inaccurate verbiage about dog parks. The youth center is something that’s supposed to create a major impact on the lives of west oaklanders. It’s also a big pile of discretionary funds languishing. It’s a much bigger deal to be fudging about that. Give me the address and you can have some pictures of it. I ordinarily don’t like it when candidates attack each other directly, but Sean Sullivan should let loose on this. He built up a youth center where people didn’t think they wanted it, without public money, and now it’s thriving. It’s a contrast that can’t be ignored.

  6. avis

    Well, Nancy got me on the skate park. I guess I was naive, but I believed that was actually going to come to pass. Even told the 5th grader down the block that I would drive him over there this summer. Guess now I have to tell him we definitely won’t be visiting any skate park this year….Thanks Nancy. Is there no end to what this woman will do to retain power?

  7. Max Allstadt

    There is a skate park in the works for DeFremery park, but at the moment it is a bunch of wooden ramps unassembled behind a fence. I believe there is finally money for it. I met with Nancy Nadel a few weeks ago, and a day later part of the team for the park called me about a meeting. I wanted to volunteer, and get some of the folks associated with Art Murmur to come help. We never scheduled anything concrete, and I haven’t heard back. Still, work in the media is that there’s money for it, finally.

  8. V Smoothe Post author

    Patience, Max, patience.

    In any case, calling Nadel’s claims about having created parks that don’t exist “inaccurate verbiage” really minimizes the issue here. Saying that she was “instrumental in the establishment of the Campbell Village Teen Center” is misleading. Saying that she created parks that do not exist, and that anyone can go see for themselves how they don’t exist is a serious ethical problem. Why does Nancy Nadel think it’s okay to tell such bald-faced lies to her constituents?

  9. V Smoothe Post author

    Avis –

    A skate park is in the works at DeFremery park, but I don’t know if it will get completed by the summer. Novometro ran a good story about the DeFremery skate park project in February.

    If you’re willing to drive out to International and Seminary, you can take the kid to the skate park at the Rainbow Recreation Center which should be open soon.

  10. avis

    Thank you for the info and I am more than willingto drive to International and Seminary. I have some great kids on my block, they told me last summer if they could have anything for their neighborhood they would ask for a skate park and a branch library. Personally, I’d like to see them get both.

  11. josh abrams

    OK, that is the building that had the swimming pool/lagoon in the basement, right?

  12. Max Allstadt

    V, about the dog park by lake Merritt: that’s what I was talking about with “inaccurate verbiage”. From what Brandon Larson was saying, Nadel’s site may have been misleading or deceptive, but not a blatant lie. If there are other parts of her site that Brandon is omitting, then “lies” may be worth while.

    Don’t get me wrong, deceptive language is as good as lying in my book, but I feel like the general public needs to see a statement followed by a diametrically opposite fact in order to say “lie”.

    While we’re on it, she says she supported the Art Murmur. I’d like to know why everybody on the corner of 23rd and Telegraph keeps talking about how she brought the cops out to bust them for having open beers on the street. I don’t know enough about it to know if her coordination of buses to the Murmur really happened, and if it did, if it happened as an apologetic gesture after the rumored booze bust.

    Still, the teen center, the teen center, the teen center.

  13. V Smoothe Post author

    Max –

    Brandon Larson is quoting from a different part of Nadel’s website. I quoted her exact language in the post and also included a screen grab of the offending statements.

    The statements in question, which, as of right now, are still on the website, viewable here, are:

      “Working with you, I am pleased to have:…”

    • “Established new dog parks at Mosswood and Lake Merritt.”
    • “Transformed Jefferson Park into a skate park for youth.”

    These are very clear claims, not open to multiple readings, and it is a fact that there is no skate park at Jefferson Park and that there is no dog park at Lake Merritt.

  14. Nancy Rieser

    The dog park at Mosswood was NOT paid by Nancy’s District 3 Pay-go funds – it paid for by other public monies and was installed by an enthusiastic and competent parks department. Nancy didn’t block it, which was a good thing I suppose. But she didn’t pay for it. She was there at the opening ceremonies and said from the stage that it was a good thing that there a park for dogs to keep them away from people like her “who are afraid of dogs.”

    Dog parks aren’t really on her radar screen, although apparently she has admitted that she understands that there are more households in Oakland with dogs than there households with children. (And of course there are many households that happily have both.)

    We have asked for how much money is left in the budget for the dog park three times and have not received an acknowledgement of the question, let alone an answer. We learned a few weeks back that Nadel’s office had stockpiled the Pay Go money for the purchase of a uninhabitable building.

    Hello empty teen center, bye-bye skateboard and dog parks.

    By the way, the Lake Merritt dog park project was NOT assigned to Parks and Recreation but given to Lyle Oehler of Pulbic Works to oversee. It all begs that question: Why was it assigned to the gentleman who is the project Manager of DD Lake Merritt projects — which included the deforestation of the mature trees and for the deepening and widening of the LM channel (which we now know is impossible)? *

    The dog park wasn’t being paid for by DD money. Not a dime we were told. Perhaps it was to politically “contain” the project and keep it out of reach rather than give it to the Parks Department that would have made a bee-line to put it in the ground and have asked for the Pay Go monies previously promised.

    I don’t know. It’s a guess that’s being tossed around by Lake Merritt dog owners.

    Nancy Rieser
    * By the way, the deepening and widening of the Channel is impossible due to the permanent presence of the Fremont BART tube just inches below channel and then the RR Trestle, EMUD high presseure trunk lines and jet fuel lines that transport fuel from the Port to the Airport at the most narrow portion of the channel, all of which are a foot or so above the water….and at ultra high tide are covered by water.

    We can all “Sail from Oakland to China” the DD project managers used to say. Yeah, if you don’t mind your sailing mask being snapped off at the base or getting your head knocked off by the rail road trestle.

    The EIR contains letters from all the above entities that clearly implied that they were not contacted to discuss feasibiltiy of the project until 5 years after the bond measure was passed in 2002.

    Alameda County Flood Control told the City way before the bond measure was written and passed that the engineering specs were ‘way off and unrealisistic and were dismissed by City planners.

    And don’t get me started about the Metropolitain Boathouse. The restaurant owner still has not signed a lease and, at the Harrioak forum, Nadel said the trees were NOT removed at the restauranteur’s request, which is a 180 degree turnaround from what we have been spoon fed by the DD project managers during the tree tours.

    Hard to keep up with all the shape shifting around the DD projects. The project is broke despite collecting millions and having very little to show for it. There are still no 12th plans. It’s 2008.

    The bond measure was passed in 2002.

  15. Max Allstadt

    Sorry V, didn’t read the screencap. Fair enough.
    But still, 850k is a lot of money for an empty building. I know from personal mistakes that acquiring property is the beginning of making something happen, not the end. But I’m 32, inexperienced, and I didn’t do it with public funds. And I’m gonna make it work too.

  16. ralph

    let me see if i understand just how out of touch Nancy is – Jefferson Park is in a neighborhood w/100s of $380K+ SINK and DINK owner occupied condos and she is touting her efforts to get a skateboard park there. i am no albert einstein but i am guessing the sinks and dins would prefer a dog park.

  17. Barry


    You are right on target about new condos bringing in the need for dog parks. Condo owners in West Oakland most likely aren’t bringing kids with them, but they do have dogs. This is a quality of life issue in a City that issues $300 tickets to dog owners with the termerity to walk a dog on leash in publlc park.

    Not knocking a skateboard park though — my son has a skateboard surgically attached to the bottom of his feet.


    Nadel turned her back on dog owners and skateboaders in favor of unusable, run-down building. Frankly, that’s not a surprise. I am loathe to say this, but, Nadel probably thought that the users of a dog park and skateboard park would be white. For her, it was more natural to buy a symbol of yet another “empty” promise to West Oaklanders.

    As for DD — Dumb and Dumberer — Deliberate Deception — (I think we should hold a contest for the new nickname) — this intentional mismanagement should be grist for the Grand Jury mill. Where did the money go?

    The City should not be allowed to collect from the second series of bonds until it comes clean about how it spent money from the first series. Most likely it went quietly into the General Fund. That, or on contractor kickbacks.

    Best to skip Courtney Ruby — although she is a good investigator. The City has too much money riding on this one (DD was to bring in 200 million) to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Better for them to snort and whine about tax payers turning into tree huggers.

  18. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    The Jack London District has tried to get a dog park as well… or even a children’s park. There are more little ones popping up every day in the neighborhood. We’ve asked NN for help, but she says we already have a park – Estuary Park. Hmmm, a really nice walking path when not wet with over zealous sprinklers, but not really a good place for kids or dogs. While I know a lot of friends that take their dogs there, it’s not fenced in and there’s no poop bags the way I’ve seen at other dog parks. I think the neighborhood association would pay for it if they could get support for it.

    We’re supposed to have the Webster Street Green, but that has never happened. Not enough money. It’s nice that so much is being wasted elsewhere – MFC & the empty “teen center” to name but two. (sarcasm)

    What is Courtney Ruby working on these days? Is it just me, or is she ultra quiet? Did her last brouhaha scare her away from further reporting?

  19. V Smoothe Post author

    Joanna –

    It isn’t just you. Courtney Ruby has been almost entirely absent as auditor. In her 16 months in office, she has not performed a single staff audit (the audit she got all those headlines about last fall was actually contracted out to another company) and has failed to meet all of her obligations as outlined in the City Charter.

  20. Barry


    What contempt. NN knows full well that one can get a huge ticket ($300) for walking your dog in any Oakland park.


    The expenditure summaries from the City get slimier and slimier. Best thing to do is to get all the reports issued from day 1 and see how the numbers change. I quickly eyeballed one item — I have one foot out the door and couldn’t look at all if them. Here is my quick comment using the funky blue sail boat house as an example.

    This is one of two boathouses that actually holds boats that are rented and also houses the Lake Merritt Institute that cleans the lake using a volunteer force.

    At the beginning, it was actually slated for 2 million dollars. It was for nuts and bolts type stuff – improvements long over due. All supposedly set in stone in early reports dated back in 2003 – 2004 or 5.

    Well, that fund was looted and used for the Metropolitan Boathouse, which is MILLIONS of dollars over budget and its contractor — who contributed to NN campaign — intends to go to City council to ask for a 1.5 million more. This report — the link you provided dated March of 2007 — displays only 1/4 of the original money supposedly allocated from DD.

    Slithery. Shape shifting. Sleazy. I am running out of “s” adjectives.

    This report also states that $41,000 was spent on the funky blue Sail Boat house.

    Interesting. ON WHAT? It’s probably a staff salary figure — did DD planners charge that amount back to the City? SOMWone has to pay a planner to go through the steps to bail on the blue boat house in favor of the Metropolitan Boathouse Restaurant fiasco.

    The upshot is this: the cooked books don’t show that the funky blue boathouse — that provides space for children’s sailing lessons and a volunteer program that keeps the wildlife sanctuary lake for FREE — got shafted.

    Kids and ducks don’t vote… and don’t contribute to campaigns, do they?

    I’d be willing to be bet that NN doesn’t see sailboating as a recreational activity that the kids in West Oakland would be interested in. I will say this: the accounting reveals a comfort level with playing fast and easy with public funds.

    Again, the whole mess needs to come under the scrutiny of the Alameda County Grand Jury.

  21. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Was the little blue sailboat house the one where they did some landscaping last year and shored up a rooftop? If it’s the same one I’m thinking of, it’s where the feral cats used to be found. I admittedly haven’t walked the lake but once in the past three months. I used to walk the lake every morning, but it’s sort of sad even though you can see loads of potential.

    I’d like to hear a different take on Measure DD because my partner, Simon, used to go to the Measure DD meetings, but stopped when there was a conflict with the JLDA meetings. I’ve heard through the grapevine that DD is pretty much dead because of various lawsuits (or “A” lawsuit). I know there was one on the trees, but I was in favor of sawing them down because of the information I was given. I honestly wasn’t aware that they couldn’t legally widen the Channel…. just figured that they had done their research prior to coming up with a plan that grand. I DO love the idea of changing the road config in between the Lake and the Auditorium because it’s super dangerous. On our way to the Parkway last night we saw two guys almost get hit. It would help if they’d keep the tube below open – despite how disgusting it gets – but I heard it’s been closed for a few months now.

    Hey Barry, isn’t there a debate on what constitutes a park? I don’t think the Estuary is truly a park – I think you can let your dogs off leash there. Besides, how often do they really give tickets for that sort of thing? I see people walking their dogs off leash all the time and it really annoys me, specifically because of the amount of traffic in our area. I don’t want to see a dog hurt. (and I’m not a dog person)

    Hmmm, but then again, how many tickets have been given for smoking in a no-smoking area?

  22. Nancy Rieser

    Nancy Rieser from O’DOG here — Estuary Park is a park, according to City documents. And people do get tickets from time to time at parks for walking their dog on leash. They are whoppers — almost 300 smackers.

    Plus your dog doesn’t have to be on the ground. Walk in a Oakland park with a toy poodle in your arms and the City of Oakland will be more than happy to lighten your wallet.

  23. Barry

    Hey Joanna –

    I personally know someone who was walking their dog on the sidewalk around Lake Merritt – the SIDEWALK — where it is legal to walk a dog, and her leashed dog moved onto the grassy part for five seconds– to answer the call of nature on a tree, and got popped by a parks cop.

  24. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Okay, that’s cool… maybe. I used to see dog crap all the time at Lake Merritt and people who lived in the area who obviously were taking their dog across the street. In two yeas of walking 5 or 6 out of 7 days a week, I never saw anyone ticketed.

    As for Estuary Park, wow, that’s another shocker, because that’s where everyone I know takes their dog to run because there isn’t anywhere around here.

    And honestly, from a personal perspective, I’d rather see them pee/poop in the unused “park” that’s not a park (imho) than in front of my storefront. But I see that they have no place to go. I will say, the majority are good about picking it up, but there are three or four people who give the masses a bad name by refusing. I’ve tried publicly shaming them to no avail.

  25. Barry

    The crap you see in Lake Merritt park area most likley is goose crap. It looks identical — except sometimes the goose crap that has been cooked in the sun has a edge of white around it. To tell you the truth I don’t know what the white stuff is, but it usually is a tip off.

    Dog owners who walk their dogs around the lake have plastic bags and are responsible.

    The geese? Have you seen them wear diapers?

    Don’t get me wrong — its a wildlife sanctuary. Geese have every right to crap where ever the want.

  26. Ralph

    Those geese must die. Nancy is not good for much but she had some good advice – Don’t feed the geese.

    You don’t give money to street people and you don’t feed the geese