Nancy Nadel needs to go. Now.

I met Nancy Nadel for the first time about a week after I moved to Oakland, to a beautiful and perfect downtown apartment, when I went to a meeting I had seen a notice for in the newspaper about retail revitalization in downtown Oakland. The meeting was really weird. It turned out to not be about retail revitalization at all, but a panel discussion about the Uptown development, with some representatives of Forest City, Nancy Nadel, Danny Wan, and a reporter from the Oakland Tribune (I kind of think it was Robert Gammon, but I’m not 100% on that). Jerry Brown came in about halfway through, clearly stopping by from running around the Lake, drenched in sweat, and stood in the back of the room, watching. The moderator kept asking him to weigh in, and he kept declining, saying he was just there to listen. At the end of the meeting, the moderator again asked Brown for a statement, and he went on this really weird thing about how he just returned from a trip to Florence, and he thought it was really pretty with their cute orange roofs, and he’d really support anything we could do to make Oakland look like Florence. Later he approached me and said he liked my bracelet. So bizarre.

Anyway, I didn’t get a chance to ask my question, so afterwards, I went up to my Councilmember, Nancy Nadel, to ask her. I introduced myself and said I’d just moved to Oakland, and wanted to ask about retail attraction in other parts of downtown. She asked me where I lived, and when I told her, she said that I wasn’t in her District, and should go talk to Danny. I said that was pretty sure I was, because I had looked it up on the City’s website, and could I ask her anyway since I was already talking to her. She said no, she was sure I wasn’t in District 3, that if I had questions, I really should talk to Danny, then turned and walked away. Things only went downhill from there.

Just in case anyone reading this hadn’t already picked up on this, I’m voting for Sean Sullivan on Tuesday. And tomorrow, I’ll tell you why you should, too. Today I want to talk about Nancy Nadel, and more specifically, why it’s time for her to go. So here you go:

  • She has the wrong priorities.

As Oaklanders have watched crime skyrocket over the past few years and for the last year have clamored for improved public safety, Nadel made her legislative priorities banning smoking at bus stops and banning plastic bags.

Look. Oakland has serious problems, particularly around public safety. Real problems deserve real policy solutions. Crime is the number one issue here in Oakland, and people deserve at least an attempt on the part of their representatives to address the problem. Nadel just doesn’t get it. See her comments from the Public Safety Committee on September 11, 2007 and then the City Council on September 18, 2007.

And for those who don’t want to view it, here’s what she says. First:

Of course being attacked on the street is a safety issue. But smoking is a safety issue too…We can’t say one is more dangerous than the other.


Exposure to smoke can be as deadly to them as being shot in the street.

No. Just no. I don’t care how much you hate smoking, there is a difference between being exposed to secondhand smoke outside within 25 feet of a bus stop and being violently assaulted, and you can say which is worse. It’s the latter. The attitude is just not acceptable. This is just one example of Nadel’s abysmal record on public safety, but I think it’s a particularly revealing one. We need someone sitting in that seat who has their priorities in order, and Nancy Nadel just doesn’t get it.

  • She does not want to work full-time for her constituents

When she was first elected, Nancy Nadel was a strong advocate of increasing Council salaries to full-time pay, because she felt that it was too burdensome to properly fulfill her duties as a Councilmember while also working another job. I agree with this position, and honestly, I think the City Council should be paid more than they currently are. In October of 1997, Nancy Nadel, then working a second job to make ends meet, testified to the City’s Public Ethics Commission (PDF!) “I’m working constantly, and it’s not healthy. I’d happily leave my other job if I were paid an equivalent amount to work full-time here.”

Being a City Councilmember, making good choices, and really delivering for your District is a huge job. And as everyone who has ever started or run one knows, so is operating a small business. It is completely beyond me why Nancy Nadel thinks that she can devote the necessary amount of time to her City Council duties while at the same time starting a chocolate company. If Nancy Nadel wants to make chocolate and help Jamaican farmers, I think that’s admirable. I really do. But if that’s her passion, then that’s what she should be doing. Even if I had no other issues with Nadel, the fact that she’s starting another business would be an absolute deal-breaker for me. We need someone in this office who is devoted to working full-time for their constituents, and Nadel isn’t. End of story.

  • She doesn’t like the job, and isn’t taking the initiative to bring new things forward.

Like I said before, I know that being a Councilmember is tough. No matter what you do, you’re never going to make everyone happy, and you’re always going to piss some people off. So I understand that it must get really frustrating at times. But when you’ve gotten jaded enough to state publicly “I find limited joy in my work,” as Nadel has, it’s simply time to move on.

At the last three candidate forums I attended, Nadel, in her introduction, said that the reason she’s running for her fourth term is “to bring some long-term projects to completion.” It’s just not good enough. District 3 and Oakland as a whole are burdened with so many problems. We need someone representing us who will constantly bring forth new ideas, new projects, and new initiatives. We need energy. Representing Oakland has got to be about more than finishing what you started.

  • She discourages public input.

It’s so hard to get people to go speak at Council meetings. Seriously. I’m always desperately trying to get people I know involved in City politics, and for the most part, they just don’t care at all. But even when you manage to get someone worked up over some specific issue, getting them to show up to a meeting and wait for hours to speak for a minute on one item is like pulling teeth. So I find it particularly upsetting when people do show up and speak, only to be treated incredibly rudely by the Council, and Nancy Nadel is by far the worst culprit on this. (I know people complain about Ignacio being rude to people, but I swear, I’m sure I watch more Council meetings than most people, and I just don’t see it at all. Yes, he stops people after they’ve gone 10 or 15 seconds over their alloted time, but that’s his job. Personally, I think it’s rude of those people to assume the same rules that everyone else abides by shouldn’t apply to them. But while people are speaking within their time limits, I always find him polite and respectful. At least he looks at you and pretends to listen, unlike certain other Councilmembers who can be seen reading magazines or napping during public comment.)

Anyway, Nancy Nadel is just consistently gratuitously rude to public speakers, and I find it really upsetting. A couple examples from the past year off the top of my head. Of course, there’s the time Max spoke to share his concerns about displacement, and Nancy Nadel responded by telling him that the people in question should just move. Then there was the time during the Public Safety Committee hearing on the smoking ordinance, when a bar owner got up to speak about being concerned for the safety of his patrons and the impact on his business if they were forced to stand down far down the street from his business and out of sight of his security staff at night, and she interrupted him and to grill him and lecture him about how he was currently breaking the law (he wasn’t). After the exchange, two other people who had signed up to speak tried to leave out of fear of what she’d do to them, and I had to beg and plead with them to say and talk. It was terrible!

And it isn’t just with people she disagrees with. For reasons totally beyond me, Nadel seems to feel the need to be similarly rude to people who favor ordinances she supports! Take this exchange, which I found absolutely shocking!

OK, so this poor girl seemed really nervous, which I totally get. I don’t know how many of you have ever spoken at Council meetings, but I’m not someone who generally has a problem with speaking in public, and I find it seriously intimidating being down there and looking up at all of them on that high dais and seeing yourself on that huge screen, especially if the room is crowded and you have all these people staring at you. I’ve done it lots of times, and even though I prepare and rehearse my remarks, every time I get up there, I get so nervous I shake and spend the whole time terrified that my legs are going to give out and I’ll just collapse on the floor like a freak. Anyway, so like tons of people do all the time at every meeting, this girl showed up to speak in support of something the Council was going to pass that night (as did like a dozen other people) and what does Nadel do the second she leaves the podium? Responds with a nasty comment about how someone should inform the girl that they “already did that,” which they, um, hadn’t. It was so unnecessary! Do you think she’s ever going to speak at another Council meeting ever again? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

It’s exactly like Sean said at the League of Women Voters forum (beginning of this video): “We’ll have more citizen participation in this city when we start respecting our citizens who are actually willing to become involved.”

  • She’s a barrier to people trying to make a difference in their neighborhood.

Plenty of my commenters have described here their efforts to get improvements in their neighborhoods, and the resistance they faced from Nancy Nadel. People who want dog parks, stop signs, community gardens, street lighting, permit parking, and so on, all have to fight tooth and nail to get it, with no help, and often, opposition, from their Council office. Maybe more will chime in. But let’s look, for now, at just one example – Bordertown skate park. When a group of people tried to start a skate park in West Oakland, they faced opposition from CalTrans, but with the help of the City, worked the problem out. Although Nancy Nadel ultimately ended up voting for their lease, she did so only after trying to halt the project. Even after Caltrans soil tests found that the low levels of PCBs on the site where within acceptable levels, and that any environmental safety concerns would be ameliorated simply by capping the site, Nadel said that the group should simply give up (PDF!) on the site, because she was building one at Jefferson Park. This was in 2005. As we all know, there is still no skate park at Jefferson Park. Violence prevention isn’t just about police or job programs – it’s also about providing recreation opportunities for our youth. We need somebody in this office who is going to help, not hinder, ordinary citizens who want to improve their neighborhoods. It should be a no brainer.

I could go on and on and on. She’s nowhere on food security and food access. She does nothing for bicycle, transit, and pedestrian improvements. Restoring the Broadway Shopper Shuttle is part of her platform now, but it got cancelled five years ago on her watch! Where’s she been since then? One local activist recently told me he was reluctant to criticize Nadel’s newfound advocacy for transit issues, saying “Yeah, she’s concerned now that she’s running for re-election. Whatever. I’ll take what I can get.” Fair enough. But where’s she been for the last four years? And where will she be once she doesn’t have to worry about getting votes? She chairs Public Works, so you’d she’d be helping with the bike parking problem, but bicycle advocates had to turn to Finance and Management and Ignacio De La Fuente for help!

She cannot see the big picture. She opposed the Council’s resolution in support of a high speed rail alignment that would have benefitted Oakland (which would have almost certainly ended at the Coliseum BART station), delaying passage of the resolution for over a month, until after the MTC had already recommended the alternative route, and when it finally passed, it only did so after she insisted on adding a provision about boring tunnels and undergrounding BART. She can’t even be trusted to stand up for things that are allegedly her priorities. Nadel is supposed to be the City Council’s big advocate of medial marijuana rights. Why then did she vote in favor of selling one of our police officers to the DEA so they can run around busting dispensaries? She voted for it at the Public Safety Committee last November, and again at the City Council meeting in December.

She places ideology over the realities of the market and hard data. Back in 2006, I was corresponding with her about industrial preservation, trying to explain to her about the real problems I, as somewhat working in industrial real estate, was seeing with business attraction for West Oakland. I tried to offer her data about vacancy rates, lease rates, and TI costs, and her response was “If you are working for an industrial brokerage, when the brokerage closes a deal for a housing project on industrial land, you’re making a lot more money on that deal than a purely industrial deal. Your self-interest is an important factor.” Not only was this incredibly rude, it was also ridiculous. One, as a researcher (which I had already explained to her I was), I earned an hourly wage, making no more money on any one deal than on any other. Two, leases are the bread and butter of industrial real estate! Of course the brokerage community doesn’t want to lose the industrial land – if we did, they’d be out of business! But Nadel is so blinded by her hostility to the idea of anyone (gasp!) making money, that she won’t listen to the input of people who work with these issues every day.

She isn’t available to her constituents. She hosts monthly coffee hours to meet with people in Jack London Square, but cancelled over half of them over the last two years. Her approach to governance and Oakland’s needs is simply too abstract. Last week, she was talking about buses, and was saying something about how we need the bus because we’re going to be oil independent in 12 years. No! We need the bus because people need to go places. Not in 2020. Now. She doesn’t care about transparency or public access to government. In 2003, when the City was facing some budget issues, her plan to free up money was to cut the Public Information Officers (PDF!) positions from the police, fire, and city attorney’s office. I don’t even have words on that one! She’s divisive. She can’t get things done. She lies. She doesn’t listen to people. She’s fiscally irresponsible (I’m sure I don’t need to remind my readers again about the $850,000 of our money she spent on an empty building that we have absolutely zero funds to turn into a teen center (meanwhile, we cut funding for teen recreation programs at the YMCA across the street). She does not value oversight, accountability, or implementation. She says she wants to bring jobs to Oakland, but supports a zoning proposal that would hurt our ability to build office space that will accommodate large employers. This could go on forever, but I’m going to have to stop eventually. Now seems as good a place as any.

Look, I don’t think Nancy Nadel is a bad person. I really don’t. She may be really mean to her constituents a lot of the time, but I have absolutely no doubt that she cares, and cares deeply, about helping people in West Oakland. But she is a bad Councilmember, and what she’s doing isn’t helping them, and it isn’t helping the rest of the people who live in District 3, or the rest of people who live in Oakland. It’s like Sean Sullivan is always saying at the candidate forums. Results matter. This is about who can get things done, who can actually help people in need in a meaningful way, and who can best move this City forward. Nancy Nadel has consistently shown that she just can’t deliver on these fronts. And that’s why it’s time for her to go.

41 thoughts on “Nancy Nadel needs to go. Now.

  1. dto510

    Nancy Nadel does need to go. The writing’s on the wall. Actually, there’s a lot of writing on the walls, that’s one reason she needs to go.

  2. nadel_sucks

    nancy nadel sucks. she loves to lie and obfuscate and pump out green tinted mailers to make it look like she’s doing something, but she’s an arrogant bitch who is also stubborn and stupid. she only wants to run for more offices, and thinks she’s owed her position on the council because she’s nancy nadel.

    i had the displeasure of working for her in the past and I couldn’t stand it. She is easily one of the stupidest people in Bay Area politics, and that is saying a lot.

  3. V Smoothe

    I know my post was harsh, but it was also evidence based and I tried my best to keep emotion out of it. People are more that welcome (and in fact, are encouraged) to share stories about difficulties they’ve had working with Nadel, but the most recent comment is over the line and I really hope we can keep the more personal attacks out of the discussion here and instead focus on the record, which is reason enough to oust her. I don’t want to see any more comments like that on this post.

  4. ac

    V Smoothe — thank you for a thoughtful, coherent, and comprehensive post. I, among many, get very angry at the way Nadel behaves and treats us, and I applaud that you were able to write this without ad hominem attacks. I do hope others will share their experiences with Nadel, and explain to observers, by example, why she does inspire such emotional responses.

    I have posted previously about her response to my attempt to get a stop sign in my neighborhood, so I shan’t repeat my utter incredulity at her most recent response.

    I will add only this: I went to a recent candidate forum with the attitude that I would vote for anyone but Nadel — and I planned on seeing who was competent enough to earn my vote. Before the meeting, Sean Sullivan came up to me, introduced himself, and began a conversation with me about what my concerns were. He presented himself as a thoughtful, intelligent, and concerned person, who wanted to meet people in the district and hear from them what mattered. I shall wait (eagerly) to tomorrow’s post to jump more on the SEAN SULLIVAN bandwagon. His style was such a marked distinction to Nadel, who literally stood in a corner scowling, waiting for the meeting to start so she could leave early. Literally, running out. Unlike Sean Sullivan, who approached me again, at the end of the discussion, to see if I had any other concerns he hadn’t addressed. This is someone who not only wants, but has the capacity, to represent me. Unlike, well, …sigh.

  5. Max Allstadt

    You know, as much as I love a Nancy Nadel Hatefest, nadel_sucks’ comments are too aggressive to help this cause.

    Here’s another FACT to throw on the heap:

    Nadel’s most recent mailer has a picture of City Attorney John Russo on it. John Russo does not endorse Nadel’s candidacy. I don’t think he endorses anybody, actually, but I may be wrong. V?

    Even if he did endorse candidacies, would the City Attorney endorse someone who got the city sued over plastic bags? Would he endorse somebody who would have gotten us sued if her colleagues hadn’t talked her out of trying to ban smoking in private residences?

  6. Ralph

    wow! a newcomer like sean has his own 527 in his camp. who knew.

    for all of nancy’s perceived shortcomings, she does seem to work tirelessly to ensure that the residents at the western edge of her district are protected from various pollutants

    what i have never liked about politics is the amount of time people spend putting down the opponent versus speaking about what they bring to the table

    is it true if no candidate gets over 50%, we do this all again in the general election with the two highest vote getters

  7. Max Allstadt

    ralph, in order to be a 527, you have to have money. The web has just brought together a bunch of people who want a new city council rep.

  8. Hayden

    My friend in the eastern part of Nadel’s district said she wouldn’t vote for Sean Sullivan because of his calls to ask her how he could help (I *think* she was joking). He also knocked on her door when he was walking the district meeting voters. He knocked on our door, too, over by the West Oakland BART station. In the 12+ years I’ve been in Oakland, this is the first time I can remember a candidate walking the precincts! I’m sure others must have–maybe they just didn’t make it to my house.

    Separately, City staff I work with used to say that they always wanted Mayor Brown to come to their events, but at the same time they didn’t, because they were never quite sure what he was going to say. Now that he’s AG, we see him around the State Building periodically, often carrying his stuff in a canvas tote bag. He looks mercurial and moves slowly, but at the same time, everyone seems to give him the big hello and he almost always gives ‘em a hello back.

  9. dto510

    Ralph – how exactly does Nadel “work tirelessly to ensure (West Oakland residents) are protected from various pollutants?” It seems like her efforts there are as effective as they are anywhere else, which is to say ineffective. What does she do besides whine? In her 2000 reelection campaign she said she had found a developer for the Army Base and they would help reduce pollution. Eight years later, she’s trying to sell the same oil.

    In an election like this is quite appropriate to look at the incumbent’s twelve-year record. Sean Sullivan, for one, is presenting a positive alternative vision. That’s not what this particular post is about, but he’s certainly doing more than putting down the incumbent.

  10. oaklandhappenings

    Just remember, folks– forward blog entries such as this one to 10 of your friends or acquaintances who will vote for the D3 council member; have each do so for 10 more, and continue the exponential process. That is, until there are at least 100,000 Sean Sullivan voters– or whatever the majority number is over (UHEM!) Nadel voters.
    If V’s evidence isn’t enough to ax Nadel from the council, I don’t what else will–thanks, V.

  11. Ralph

    Max, thanks for pointing that out I was so completely unaware. But thankfully you are on top of it to point out what should have been so completely obvious. Forgive me my transgression for I am just a lowly plebe with no knowledge of the ways of your united states.

    dto510, I only ever here of nanacy talking about West Oakland and the air, what exactly she has done to rectify it I do not know, but she seems to work tirelessly in that regard. I do know that in the entire time I live above World coffee I do recall Nancy there. It would have been nice of someone to actually post a flyer in the building. It would have been nice if she had been reesponsible for some of that clean-up under 880, but I realized some time ago once you cross over 4th on Jacskon you enter D2. So thanks to Pat. Also, why is a 12 yr record more important than say an 8 or 4 year record. Believe me if either Sean Sullivan or Greg Hodge is elected I will gladly toss their butts back to the street if they fail to make substantive improvements to the downtown and uptown areas of Oakland.

    What i do know is this, I have lived in Oakland for a year. I would expect that over 12 year time period downtown Oakland should look different than it does today. where is JB when you need him

  12. Ralph

    if there is a reason to dislike nn, i would go with this – Beware Special Interest attacks on Councilwoman Nadel.

    Special Interest – an empty phrase used to scare the electorate from some great bogeyman.

    Special Interest – any interest that does not align with your way of thinking. (the grass is 4 inches said nancy. No, the grass is five inches said greg sullivan. beware of special interest attacks trying to discredit me says nancy campaign lit. arrrgh )

  13. avis

    V, I enjoyed reading your post about Nancy Nadel and agree with you that it is time for her to go, but I would like to support your comments about speaking before the city council. My husband and I have beem pretty active since 2000 and I have had to get up and speak before the city council more than once and it is never a good experience. Like V, I become nervous and somewhat tongue tied and when the council members are clearly not listening it makes it even harder. A few years ago my husband and I both took a day off work to go address a special meeting of the council regarding sideshows. Our neighborhood had been having lots of trouble with sideshows and our Neighborhood Watch asked us to attend this special meeting and speak to the council. When my turn came I went to the podium and started to speak, I tried to make eye contact with the members, which was impossible to do in many cases. Nadel ruffled papers, Brooks looked like she might be sleeping, but Brunner was the worst, she never once gave any indication that she was even at a public meeting, never glanced at either my husband or me and never once acknowledged ANY of the speakers in any way. I was so angry, I wanted to ask if we were bothering her, but I held my tongue and honestly she was better than John Russo who told me at a public meeting when I complained about crime “if you don’t like the way this town is run, get out of it”. Very nice Mr. Russo.

    Now I really do understand that being a public servant is not easy, you have to try to make everyone happy and of course that is impossible, but you should not be in public office if you cannot show basic respect for your constituents. Just becaues a constituent disagrees with you that does not give you the right to tell them to get out of Oakland or be rude to them in any way. It would be very nice to see some new face downtown, folks who are able to treat others with basic respect, then maybe you would see more residents getting involved and staying involved.

  14. Joanna/OnTheGoJo


    You mention not getting a flyer to let you know that NN would be at World Ground, but I’ll play devils advocate on behalf of NN on this one. She does have a District 3 Yahoo Group – d3oaklanddtownlake – and Carletta Starks sends out weekly announcement emails. Unfortunately, a lot of the World Ground coffee hours meetings get cancelled with 24-48 hours notice – and she’s right, not a lot of people show up. Sometimes it’s the same people each time, and that can be a turn off for those coming to check it out.

    There’s also the calendar that lists the events, meetings, and other dates of importance.

    There’s the JLDA email announcement list that you can get on by going to and signing up. They don’t always mention the NN Coffee Hours, but they try.

    Greg & Sean both would bring a fresh outlook. They’re not burned out. Trust me, I can relate with NN’s obvious burnout because I feel it myself after giving 5+ years to the neighborhood – and that’s at a significantly smaller level.

    Greg & Sean both have opportunities to forge better relations with other Council Members. I’ve seen the Parking Permit Plan originally get knocked down because Desley Brooks wanted $600/year for the permits. That was a deal killer. Had we have had a Council Member with better communication skills that was willing to stand behind us, I truly feel that the permit plan would have happened sooner rather than later. On an upside, we never got the meters we were threatened with over and over. Instead, we ultimately got the support from Jane Brunner, Jean Quan, and Pat Kernighan which is what helped the plan return to council.

    Greg & Sean both have specific plans – whether you agree with them or not – on how to make things happen. Check out their websites and figure out what issues are important. Then, go back to NN’s website and see what her answers are to the same issues.

    The most pertinent part of your post is the very issue of air quality. YES, NN has indeed been very active in working towards cleaner air – but not for her whole District. ONLY for West Oakland. Dozens of times I have begged for air monitoring to be done in the very intersection of your building to get a real answer as to air quality in OUR neighborhood and have always been turned down. 3rd Street is a truck route, it’s 2 blocks from the freeway, a block from the breakdust and diesel fumes of the train station, and 3 blocks from the Port – which is a known huge polluter of the Bay. And what way does the wind blow? From the Bay it flows right through our neighborhood – just as much as West Oakland if not more. So while we might not get the brunt of the freeway pollution, we do get the brunt of the train & port pollution. How is she helping with that? Sean or Greg would be more open to at least looking into whether those claims are valid or not instead of focusing all of their attention on one specific area – West Oakland – of her District, instead of the District as a whole.

    You mention only having lived in Oakland for a year and how after 12 years you’d expect more to happen. Well, I agree. It’s time to make some progress.

    As for wishing for JB, be careful what you wish for! When he lived in the neighborhood things weren’t any better. He was just as absent the last few years as DoNothingDellums is now. In some ways he’s responsible for a lot of what’s wrong (namely the lack of OPD officers) in this town. (imho)

  15. Max Allstadt

    Ralph, you’re weird, but you do have a point about all these little technicalities we keep bringing up. It is more important to stay on the big picture, which is pretty simple: Sullivan is an energetic, engaging man who’s going to work full time on this job.

    As for where’s JB? I wish we could get him back. Maybe we should be circulating a petition to undo term limits along with the one to get more cops.

    Term limits to me are silly the way every body does them. We should have consecutive term limits. You get two terms. Then you have to take a break for a term. If the new guy sucks, you can come back.

  16. Ralph

    it is great that nn has a yahoo group, but unless you know there is a yahoo group you don’t know that there is a yahoo group so why would you think to look for a yahoo group. nn does not push it on her page (in fact last time i was on her page the link to sign up for emails did not work). yahoo doesn’t have find your rep/sen/council/district yahoo group. I can’t even recall how I came to know it existed – I think I was having breakfast in rockridge when someone mentioned a neighborhood yahoo group.

    I am fortunately out of that hell hole known as Allegro at JLS, but I still find it unbelievable that I could have lived there a year and not seen her once. She could have at least knocked on our doors to introduce herself.

    But as to the air quality, it annoyed me to no end that nn spent hours addressing the air quality on the west end but was quite content to let the lungs of the best i can figure, “well heeled” fill w/black soot. I can not begin to tell you how much of that stuff covered my window sill and carpet and anything I stupidly left near the window. I would tell my moms that I now know what it like to be a coal miner and I could have sworn that the pollutants from the train and trucks added two minutes to my mile time.

  17. Joanna/OnTheGoJo


    I live and work in that gunk. I have four air filters going all the time and rather than change the filters every six months as the manufacturer suggests that the filters will last, they often last only 2-3 weeks. Occasionally a month. It is DISGUSTING! And to think that I’ve been breathing it in day & night for 6 years is pretty scary. Add to that another 5 years at night… And for many years we didn’t realize just how bad it was and didn’t get the filters until somewhere between 2004-2005.

    Congrats on being out of Allegro. With Emily running things, it’s been immensely better, imho.

    As for NN not coming door to door, that’s the problem with condo and apartment living. It makes it impossible for anyone to come knocking unless they have an “in”. I’m a tenant, so I was able to put the newsletters out when I could afford the time and energy to deliver them.

    I don’t know how people are supposed to find out about Yahoo Groups, neighborhood groups, and all the various information sources. I still find things that have been around for years. I used to put together a welcome packet for newbies moving into the neighborhood, but I found that more often than not the intended recipients didn’t get them. I wish there was a better way. I wish we had a better OAKLAND paper.

    But on that note, I saw the new Oakbook yesterday and was very impressed! It’s available at World Ground.

  18. beautifulwestoakland

    while i understand your hesitation to post this, it’s an honest assessment of the conditions at hand. trouble is, the folks that need to read this are not reading blogs… i hope this message gets out.

    in my half-decade as her constituent, ms. nadel showed open contempt toward many of her constituents and neighbors at every turn — generally the newer, white constituents (which as the representative of JL-square is not good). i have been in her presence countless times and not once did she seem (1) enthusiastic about her job or (2) to care what her constituents had to say — especially if it did not mesh with her own personal brain-washing…

    we do not live in D3 anymore… but we’re hoping the folks in west oakland wise up and vote for sean sullivan on tuesday.

  19. Brandon Larson

    So today the Tribune published its endorsments. In an act of editorial laziness or sheer blindness, they published this paragraph:

    “IF THERE WERE ever a city crying out for leadership, it’s Oakland. Unfortunately, for the most part, Oakland voters can expect more of the same old, same old from most of the candidates running in Tuesday’s City Council primaries.”

    …and then proceed to endorse ALL of the incumbents. Including our own NN.

    BTW, the “special interest” flyers I’m getting deluged with are highly entertaining. Keep it up, out of town developers, you just may have an effect.

  20. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    And the Tribune is one of the worst papers ever, imho. Their endorsement of all the incumbents says it all. Sigh. Change is good. It can be tough fixing old problems, but it is ultimately for the better. That’s how I’ve always approached change, while I’ve watched others complain incessantly and then refuse to change. Argh.

  21. V Smoothe Post author

    Okay, so I’m having a hard time responding to the critiques about how I shouldn’t be criticizing Nadel’s record, I guess because I don’t really understand the argument.

    I have no formal journalistic training, and no real experience with political writing or campaigning to speak of, aside from writing this blog. So the way I write is primarily informed by the way I was taught to do so in college. There, we had to justify why the person you’re arguing against is wrong before you can explain why your argument was right. So if I want to write about how that E.A. Parsons has erred in assuming that Caesar started a fire in the Alexandrian harbor that destroyed storage warehouses, I have to explain exactly what’s wrong with his logic before I make my case for what I think happened instead.

    I bring the same approach to the writing I do here. I recognize that my style is not traditional for political journalism, but I just don’t know how to do things any other way. Nadel is running on her record, and people should know what exactly that record is.

    When I think of the type of “negative campaigning” that turns me off, I think of misleading representations of a candidate’s work or positions (the way Nadel has tried to paint Sullivan as an opponent of industrial land, which isn’t true) or personal attacks. There is also an issue of tone. For example, I was very turned off by that nasty OakPac mailer about Nadel’s record on crime. While the content was accurate, and was basically all quotes from Nadel herself, the presentation was aggressively nasty and I think detracted from what could otherwise have been a powerful message.

    I really tried hard not to fall into the same trap while writing this post, and keep my work as free of emotion as possible. Nadel’s argument for why you should vote for her re-election is that she has been a productive member of the Council and good for her district, and that we should give her another four years based on her accomplishments. I think it’s really important that someone explains, in a thorough and evidence-based way, what that record really is and why she hasn’t been good for her constituents.

    The case against Nancy Nadel and the case for Sean Sullivan are both necessary to make, although I will say that enjoyed writing the latter much, much more than I did the former.

  22. Ralph

    as i am one who has been a bit critical of the attacks on nn, i will explain my critique of the comments as follows: this isn’t scholarly writing and you do not need to explain what is wrong with nn to portray what is good about ss. (i just realized i can not run for d3 council as my last name does not begin with an r)

    you can make the case for ss, by making the case for ss. once you start assailing nn, i think you do as masb suggested back people into a corner to find a reason to defend her record. and they may even dislike some of what she has done or not done but you inadvertantly find yourself giving people a reason to defend her. and you also may get people thinking about issues where they dislike ss. so now it becomes a matter of who i dislike the least.

    if you stress the positive that ss will bring, then you get people thinking in a different direction. and i just think it does more to encourage positive interaction.

  23. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Ralph, I totally disagree. I think you do have to point out what’s wrong with the status quo, *along with* pointing out why you think the new candidate would be better. I personally think V has done this with class. The ugliness has come from some of the comments, which is completely normal.

    I think V has been very fair in her assessment of the candidates based on her experiences in life, in this District, and with the knowledge she has of the candidates she has to choose from. I’m a tiny bit disappointed that she didn’t get to know Greg Hodge before she got to know Sean Sullivan, because after meeting him and grilling him on the subjects near and dear to me, I *personally* came away with Hodge as my candidate. He did make a smart remark about V, not too happy with how his image was being portrayed and I let him know that he had hurt himself by not talking to her. Ultimately he didn’t sway her to his ideology or his committment to the position. At this point I think there’s no going back and I do agree that V has some very good reasons to be in support of Sean.

    The Oakpac piece was Nasty with a capital N. Whether I was for or against NN, it was not cool and from the dozen or so comments I’ve heard, it backfired against Sean. No amount of telling people that he hadn’t seen it before it went out made any difference to the people that spoke to me about it. That’s a blow for Sean.

    We all come here with preconceived thoughts and ideas, and this blog can help sway us to thinking one way or the other. It’s a pity more even people aren’t reading because I like the fact that there is intelligent discussion. We don’t have enough of that with the print newspaper in town (Trib), nor do people I talk to want to take the time to figure out the whole story. I know I’ve learned the other side on several stories here, and someday I hope to come to some understanding in my head about the whole of Measure DD. My friendship with Sandy Threlfall has me understanding things one way, and then here on this blog I read another side that’s not so flattering. Where’s the real answer to what’s going on? I feel like I’m only getting pieces, which is why I continue my quest to learn more. Courtney Ruby is another subject I’d love to learn more about.

    I got a great story about the school situation from a variety of people involved, and I feel like that story needs to be delved into even more. I got a good piece of info from Greg Hodge and I felt that he can handle budgets and committments. What he hasn’t conveyed to the masses is that his mother has been ill, which has caused issues for him as he has gone back to see her in another state several times.

    But back to V and this blog and negative vs positive writings. It’s her blog so she gets to do what she wants. It’s her point of view. I think it’s great that she doesn’t moderate comments and she does provide links to the research she does – FOR FREE! if you want to know more about something, you can go delving into the links she provides, go to other blogs, your local politician, or other sources on your own to find out more.

  24. Ralph

    I’ve acknowledged that it is v’s blog and thus her rules. I just happen to think the way Oakland Police Officer Association endorsement for ss had me thinking more about voting for ss.

    v was stronger in her denouncement of nn than she was in her case for ss. i think the psychologist argument goes along the line, you may forget everything she said about nn, but you remember she said nn, so when it comes to voting all you recall is a name – the wrong name from v’s perspective.

    yeah, i wish she had more to say about gh, b/c he has yet to respond to my email and anyone who has visited his website knows it is not overflowing with info – but at least now i know why. tomorrow i am going to take pics of d3 and if in 4 yrs i see no change, i will kick the incumbent out.

    problem now is who do i vote for, because lord knows ss has some ideas that i just disagree with and both gh and ss have ideas that i like.

  25. Steve Lowe

    Please, please, whatever else gets discussed on this blog, don’t ask for the return of JB as Mayor of this burg! Those of us who had to endure his alter ego / Mini-Me doppleganger Jacques Barzaghi for almost the entire time of Jerry’s reign can tell you that the next god-awful mistake almost surely to result from such a return to the throne would probably kill off the arts in Oakland forever, finishing off what Jacques was not allowed to complete only because his non-PC penchant for throwing wives down convenient staircases somehow found its way into the press.

    As to the Trib’s endorsement, it is indeed bizarre that, save only for the At Large vacancy, the blanket approval of the sitting Council should come at precisely the same time as the Trib’s usually flaccid commentary has become almost an art form itself insofar as the Newspeak that Orwell described is concerned. If it weren’t for Doonsbury…

    Okay, about Nancy: did she stand up for the Industrial Land Use policy early on when no one else would? Yes. Was she one of the prime movers for MAQIP (Maritime Air Quality Improvement Plan) from which the eventual cleanup of Jack London’s supercalifragilisticpolypolution must ensue? You bet! And which of her colleagues, in deference to the Port of Oakland, was taking the lead there? Gee, I’m remembering now: no one! And then there’s the parking in JLD and maybe a hundred other issues that she took on over the last twelve years on principle even though she knew that the Council majority was more interested in making trades than capitulating to logic.

    Back in the 80′s and 90′s, we all wanted our leaders to stand up for what was right. Nancy did, but somehow that’s not good enough anymore: we’re willing to bet that someone new can do a better job, someone who can sidle up to a longtime OakPAC-blessed dealmaker and expect to come away untainted? Good luck on that!

    Peace out,

    – S

  26. Max Allstadt

    Steve Lowe –

    Did you just say “peace out”?

    I’m all for preserving Inudstrial Jobs. But there are parts of that policy that were horribly inconsiderate. Artists were ignored. All of the effort that went in to building the green space on Mandela Parkway will be wasted. If it hadn’t been for persistent efforts by Carroll Moore, dozens of poor African American families would have had their 1890′s victorians re-zoned as industrial.

    So frankly, the entire process was about as inconsiderate of the needs of people who live in District 3 as it could have been in the short term. Who knows, maybe in the long run we’ll actually see some industrial jobs return to the area. I hope it does. It just could have been put together with a bit more consideration for the people who already live there. Bad leadership is to blame.

    As for “OakPAC blessed”: As I remember, OakPAC’s communications director, Scott Peterson, spoke out at every single one of those meetings FOR industrial preservation. So I don’t get why you have an issue with OakPAC.

    I also think that the vast majority of District 3 residents care much more about crime, food access, and immediate job growth than about industrial land. Steve, do you ever go out walking after dark? Would you feel comfortable walking alone after dark in District 3? Which parts? Would you feel comfortable walking in the preserved industrial land after dark?

  27. Ralph

    hey can someone help me out here? what is this industrial land use that nn is trying to preserve?

  28. Max Allstadt

    It’s not just Nadel, Ralph. There was a large coalition. The idea was that industrial areas of Oakland were being eaten up by residential developers, so by banning all residences in these areas, industry could be brought back to Oakland. They also plan to try to attract industrial business by other means.

    There are all sorts of controversies about this strategy. My main issue was that work/live artists and craftsmen would be locked out of the equation, and many of these people use the fact that they live and work in the same place as an affordability strategy. One rent costs less than two.

    Part of the idea is that high paying industrial jobs are more desirable. But in industrial land, the number of jobs per acre is low, so the economy potentially suffers a net loss.

    There are a bunch of different view points. My feeling is that we do need industrial land preserved, but that the way this was done, it didn’t account for important voices.

    What I find odd about it is that the choice Nadel made was ultimately between which group of rich white businessmen to listen to. Developers, or industrial business owners. Both groups for the most part, with the exception of Steve, do not even live in Oakland, let alone district 3.
    Residents’ voices should matter most, no?

  29. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Steve, Steve, Steve… we’re buddies, and I always enjoy chattering about the neighborhood with you…

    But with all due respect, how can you credit NN for the permit plan? It just happened to happen on her watch. I never felt that she was 100% behind it. Maybe 20%.

    And air quality?! Are you serious? Didn’t we just talk a week or two ago about how our neighborhood is totally ignored in terms of air quality and how many times have we asked that our air quality be measured? That was an issue for O29 as well. All NN cares about is the air quality in West Oakland.

    After being on the “Planning, land use, and zoning task force” for a few months, I had to throw the towel in on the subject. Too many agendas within the task force, despite everyone saying that they would put personal agendas aside. My biggest hope for that group is that Norman Hooks got involved. Now, if you can just keep him involved instead of frustrating the crap out of him, that’s the key.

    Peace out,

  30. Ralph

    residents voices should matter some, but at the end of the day, the city needs to be profitable and at times that will include decisions people don’t always like but are in the best interest of moving the city forward.

    that said, i would love to know what this industry nn and others thought was worth preserving. we aren’t the post-war industrial nation of the 40s and 50s. industry has been leaving cities for years, what are we preserving?

    as for artist colonies, i love them; they are a leading indicator of where rich white people are going to invest oodles of cash for property.

  31. Ralph

    Can JLS, downtown, uptown and the lake secede from the district and form our own district?

  32. Josh Abrams

    I’ve always had this fantasy of the OPD swat team together with the CA National Guard annexing Piedmont by force, bringing their tax-base along with them :)

    That said – Oakland could use some re-districting…

  33. V Smoothe Post author

    The town I’m from was threatened with annexation by the big city next door, and after much fuss, they managed to avoid it, but now have to pay the city like sixteen million dollars for the privilege of remaining independent. If only we could work some of that magic with Piedmont and Emeryville!

  34. Max Allstadt

    Call me crazy, but I think it can be done for real. Without the National Guard or the SWAT team.

    There is a powerful force in Peidmont that just needs a little amplification. That force is called guilt.

  35. oakland Resident

    BBI Construction sent out emails protesting the cities proposed council cuts of Public Works, He is upset because his city funded tree program is on the chopping blocks. How many more millions of the cities budget is Nancy going to spend on funding developers?

  36. TC Smith

    Nadel should be recalled – - she has done nothing to improve the safety of West Oakland or parts of downtown that are part of her district. Driving in the area of Mandela Parkway (side streets) it was shocking to see what was going on……she keeps the area down…..She is also very rude! Time for change people…someone who actually wants to work for their district!