Oakland Mayor debates, past and present

So, on Wednesday night, I went to the “Green Oakland” Mayoral forum sponsored by the Sierra Club and the East Bay Young Democrats.

I’ll write more about the forum next week, but for those who wanted to attend but couldn’t, I don’t want to make you wait to see what happened. Please enjoy the full video of the event below. I apologize for the somewhat uneven quality.

I’m still digesting the forum from last Wednesday (9 candidates is a lot to process!), so today, I’m going to talk instead about a different Mayoral forum I watched recently. Totally randomly, while working on a project unrelated to this blog, I stumbled across this video of a 2006 Oakland Mayor debate sponsored by the Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club. Of course, I had to watch it. For those find themselves similarly compelled, I have reposted all the video below.

It was kind of strange watching it and being reminded of how different things were just four years ago. Questions covered building the economy, how Oakland should address development on the waterfront (the Oak to Ninth project was a super hot issue at the time), crime reduction, the poverty problem, mitigating the fallout of the Raiders deal, improving opportunities for young people in Oakland, disaster preparedness, and how to better brand the City.

Ignacio De La Fuente went first with the opening remarks, and started off by complaining about the format — apparently, the candidates were all given the questions in advance — and how that leads to scripted answers.

That got me thinking about debate formats. I’m not sure how I feel about giving people questions in advance. I mean, I understand the concern about scripted answers. You want candidates to demonstrate the knowledge they have, and thinking on your feet is of course an important skill. But on the other hand, I don’t really like the idea that the point of a candidate forum is to like, catch people by surprise. Ooh! Gotcha! You don’t know anything about subject X and now you look stupid.

I mean, nobody’s going to be an expert on everything, so if you actually want to know where a candidate stands on something, you might as well give them the time to make sure they have a position and can answer your question coherently.

It’s like how two years ago at the City Council debates the League of Women Voters hosted, they asked everybody if they would support a comprehensive records management program for the City and the hiring of a certified records manager to be in charge of it, and everyone was like “Um, yeah. Sure, I support that.” But it was totally obvious that nobody had any idea what the hell the question was even about. And then of course Jane Brunner spends like two years throwing a temper tantrum about the League’s efforts to get the City to actually create a records management program (this was finally approved in July). And Rebecca Kaplan at a Council meeting in January displayed a distressing amount of contempt for the concept of putting a well-trained professional in the position, going went on about how she doesn’t see any reason why we would need to recruit a certified records manager instead of just picking anyone from the City’s existing employee pool to do the job.

Anyway, I see why people might think that giving questions in advance might result in a situation where statements are crafted to be as inoffensive as possible, but the fact is that if a candidate just wants to dissemble about everything, they’re gonna do it whether they got to see the question beforehand or not. I just don’t really think the goal of a debate should be to find out who is the best off the cuff speaker. Of course, it’s possible I just think that because I am terrible at answering any question without having plenty of time to think about it, and tend to sound like a babbling idiot when people ask me things.

When it was Ron Dellums’s turn to open, he informed the audience that despite apparently having received all the questions in advance, he was “going off the cuff.” Because that’s exactly what everyone wants in a Mayor, right? Someone who has an opportunity to prepare for something, and doesn’t because they think they’re too good for it. I mean, apparently that is what people want, since everyone laughed hysterically and clapped at that line. Oh, and also I guess cause he won.

But really, this is something that has always bothered me about Dellums, and I don’t think I’ve actually ever complained about it here. Crazy, I know. But people are always talking about how impressive it is that he speaks so well without notes, and I have always thought that’s kind of a bunch of bullshit. I mean, yes, he does sound eloquent, but when he does that he just spews all these words and never actually says anything. It’s just pretty sounding jibberish. I mean, this was the beginning of his statement:

Master of ceremonies, my distinguished colleagues, and ladies and gentlemen, it’s both an honor and a privilege to be before you, and I am proud to be before you as a candidate for the Mayor of Oakland at a very significant time in the evolution of life in this City, in this Country, in this world and secondly because this is a significant moment in the civic life of this coummunity.

What the hell is that? It is so many words for saying absolutely nothing. And I know what you’re all thinking. Gee V, you’re one to talk. But while I readily admit that parsimony is not my strong suit, I’d like to think that if I had only had three minutes to make a pitch for something, I could be a little more careful.

Oh, and then at the end, after saying nothing, he complained that that he couldn’t possibly talk about everything he was going to do in only three minutes. So there you go.

But what struck me most about the debate, especially in contrast to the Sierra Club one from the other night, was how dramatically different all the candidates were. Like I said, I’ll get into Wednesday’s forum next week and look in some detail at the way different candidates answered different questions. And some people clearly performed better than others. But overall, at both this forum and the public safety one I went to last month, you were hearing pretty similar answers to most of the questions from all of the candidates.

This one wasn’t like that at all. I mean, Ignacio De La Fuente kept hammering on growing the City’s tax base and economic development in response to like, every question, while Nancy Nadel was all about affordable housing and raising the minimum wage and inclusionary zoning and providing health care for the uninsured and all those sorts of things and how the City has been too focused on improving things for property owners and if she was Mayor, her focus would be on the 60% of Oaklanders who do not own property. Dellums, for the most part, just didn’t say anything. Model city, model city. Oh, and that we’re going to be terrorized by bird flu any day now and that the Golden State Warriors should be renamed the Oakland Warriors and that gas is going to be $10 a gallon soon and therefore nobody will want to live in the suburbs.

On the question about crime, Ignacio De La Fuente was all about how we have to admit we have a problem and need more police and crime has to go down and how the Neighborhood Law Corps is so great. And Nancy Nadel went on this long thing about how the first thing we have to do is figure out how to separate all the different types of crime and then get the State to reform the prison system.

And then there with the question about branding, Nancy Nadel complained that it’s Jerry Brown’s fault Oakland has a bad reputation because he was trying to make Oakland look bad on purpose and that the media is really mean and we need to change our logo to something that has people on it instead of a tree. And then Ignacio De La Fuente was just like, we can improve Oakland’s image by actually dealing with our problems and improving the quality of life here. Dellums, of course was just like, model city.

I don’t know if it’s better or worse to have a bunch of candidates who seem to broadly agree about most things, and then you get to pick the one you think would best be able to implement them versus a few choices with clear ideological differences. I suppose that if you disagree with what pretty much all the candidates we have now are saying, then that definitely sucks for you. One thing I’m definitely sure of. Debates are a lot more interesting to watch when there are clear ideological differences between candidates.

I don’t know. I suppose I don’t really have any grand conclusion about what I learned from watching the debate. I did make me remember why I used to like Ignacio De La Fuente so much, which was nice since I have found him recently to be kind of one-note and whiny. Mostly I just thought it was kind of a fun little break from our depressing current situation to go back and kind of think of how things could have been.

23 thoughts on “Oakland Mayor debates, past and present

  1. ralph

    This was a nice little reprieve. If I find the time, I might listen to the aught six debate. It would be nice hear a debate where candidates have profound differences.

    However, if going on for minutes on end without answering the question is the way to win an election, then I think we can all go home now. And four years later, it is clear that three minutes is more than enough time to talk about what RD did do.

  2. Daniel Schulman

    Wow, how things have changed. That debate only had people who were “generally recognized to be the leading candidates.”

  3. Max Allstadt

    I think the web probably had a lot to do with that, Dan. Blogging on local politics was in it’s infancy and didn’t get started in earnest until around the 2008 election or a little while before.

    Now everybody’s got a blog and everybody’s got an opinion, so all it takes is a little noise and debates feel obligated to include everybody.

    Plus, in an IRV election, it makes sense for the front runner to dilute the second and third place candidates’ voter pool by bringing in everybody who’s on the ballot and trying to run their numbers up.

  4. len raphael

    A 90 year old buddy of mine served on JFK’s and LBJ’s council of economic advisors; and is a lifelong vote the slate Democrat.

    I was complaining about Dellums performance as mayor to him. My friend laughed and explained that Dellums was never the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    Could go on about how his success as a politician says more about the voters around here than it says about him. Much of which continues to this day.

    We choose politicians based to a surprising extent on their speechifying and debating abilities, not their writing.

  5. Steve Lowe

    Well, I’ll just never understand why anyone – or any political cabal – might prefer throwing out roadblocks and snares to reasonable governance, especially when there are little kids out there in our neighborhoods whose need for a more holistic and cooperative effort at City Hall (and 250 FOP) is of the essence. Instead of embracing the Mayor’s Task Force process, any number of folks began deriding the effort even before it began simply because their candidate didn’t win, and therefore the whole idea of a more democratically informed government was somehow suddenly beneath contempt.

    How could that be? The folks who worked on the Land Use Task Force, for example, were from all over the City and had to wrestle with a set of very complex problems, but because they were involved in the most productive and interactive dialogue possible – a circumstance that had not happened before in this City unless you believe that speaker card supplications to one’s superiors is the highest and best means of determining just policy – the most reasonable Recommendations ensued. Encouragement of that kind of Town Hall-like methodology is way rare, even where the “sharpest knife in the drawer” (think cutthroat like Newt Gingrich, the sharpest guy in DC, right?) is supposed to be enabling the process.

    No one, before or since, has ever been able to illustrate how a better, more intelligent system – and one that was more inclusive and fair – than the Task Force process might work. So what are we talking about here with respect to the honorable intentions of Candidate Dellums when he sat through those debates: maybe an overlong preamble? Was that the problem, or was it really the lack of cooperation from Council and subterfuge that can definitely be seen as the hugest contributor to the disappointments of the Dellums years? No one had any problem with sticking him on the plane for Washington and encouraging him to bring back as much of the money that Obama had to give, but the minute after takeoff, all badmouthing began anew.

    There’s other stuff to consider, as always, about the character of any politician, but there’s hardly a soul out there who doesn’t agree on some level or other that Oakland’s internecine brand of political give and take – especially given the pressing needs of the low income populace here – was, and remains, the single most disgusting element of this goofy Burg of Paradise.


    – S

  6. len raphael

    Steve, i don’t follow you. Were you responding to my post or another’s?

    Am i remembering some of your prior posts where you posited that Dellum’s task forces achieved good things, despite many of us who say he was great at setting up task forces and the shits on implementation.

    -len raphael

  7. Steve Lowe

    Steve, i don’t follow you. Were you responding to my post or another’s?

    General dissatisfaction mostly with what I see as Chip Johnsonism, the inexplicable need to disparage Ron even before he became Mayor, a pursuit on the part of far too many bloggers at this site, which I sometimes can’t help but refer to as A Bitter Oakland. Your pal in DC who assessed Ron as not the sharpest knife in the drawer may have heard it from someone who really can tell the difference, but something’s wrong with that assessment when, in the final tally, the milestones of his career speak for themselves. I’m sure Hitler was very impressive and probably the sharpest Nazi of ‘em all, but when there’s no abiding sense of morality, can it truly be said that there was any real intelligence in the room after all is said and done? Surely the kind of intelligence that begat such a terrible time in the history of humankind can’t be described as anything other than rampant immorality…

    But, like you, I’m way frustrated and disappointed that lots of stuff didn’t get done or even percolate over the past four years, yet knowing that much of it was due more to the kindergartner’s code that too many policymakers around here adhere to than any adult managerial process, I just have to think that the soul of this City may be permanently sunk.

    Am I remembering some of your prior posts where you posited that Dellum’s task forces achieved good things, despite many of us who say he was great at setting up task forces and the shits on implementation?

    Well, implementation is the most difficult part of this equation, that’s for sure. I spoke about the Land Use Task Force in my last tirade and how its Recommendation for an Industrial Land Use policy was, in part, thwarted despite the Mayor’s want to make it so. I bring this particular Recommendation up a lot because I was hands-on involved with the people who wanted ILU as much as, say, the farmers in Marin County wanted to pass their Agricultural Land Use policy to stop the encroachment of suburbia into needed pastureland. So, regardless of how you personally feel about such policy, if the Mayor doesn’t have the votes and Council does, how is it that he gets the blame for not getting his policies passed – even when those policies are supported by all the Task Force folks put together? That kind of orchestrated resistance has more to do with power plays than anything else; certainly it has almost nothing to do with helping to make Oakland a better place to live or being in tune with the wishes of the populace…

    So, for me, it’s not because he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer or even a runcible spoon, it’s that the forking politicians see that defeating such a measure only adds to their own ability to negotiate for whatever it is they want: good, bad or indifferent. The clearest indication of this sandbox (or, more appropriately, catbox) mentality was the defeat of Ada Chan’s appointment to the Planning Commission – the first Commissioner ever with a planning degree, no less! And why? Ada, according to various bits and pieces of baloney that were circulated about her, singlehandedly stopped the Mission District from developing, dashing forever the hopes of tens or thousands of San Franciscans in need of whatever it was that her Oakland Council-based detractors thought was handy propaganda. And all this time, there’s the Chron and Chip, bitter because their brilliant San Francisco-based plans – and we all know how much more intelligent folks over in SF are, right, especially when it comes to what best for Oakland – have been sidetracked by obviously the most sheep-like electorate in the country.

    Talk about the sharpest knives in the drawer!

    So what really bugs me most about the failure of support for Ron is that it eroded the ability of the Task Forces to effect positive change: the idea that Oakland, a City that supposedly takes great pride in its designation as the Transportation Hub of the Bay Area but has hardly any transportation staff at all due to the creepy economic sinkhole we’re in, could actually have a Transportation Commission (a Task Force-originated idea that a clueless Council could never come up with if left to its own divisive devices); the idea that we could have a Regional Port Authority (just like fabulous New York City has!) right here in the undeserving, decidedly un-fabulous stepsister City of Oakland (another Task Force Recommendation that has been fought tooth and nail just because a mere study was asked for by a bunch of citizens to see if Oakland might benefit the same way many other cities have); the idea that we might derive at least some small side benefit from the High Speed Rail project into which the federal government is pouring billions of dollars specifically so that it will bypass the East Bay (and instead buying us off with a paltry, already-obsolete-before-its-even-built OAC project); etc.

    All of thise intitatives might have been ours, a fabulous boost to the economy that, whether you love him or don’t, Ron was prepared to take to Washington and make happen via his years of beltway connections – except that the lack of support he received from all the sharper knives around town was crippling.

    Crabs in a bucket is how the proprietor of Everett & Jones put it when she first opened up right across from where I was living at the time, maybe 15 years ago or so, but I was too excited about the opportunities we had to ever consider that she was right.

  8. ralph

    “All of thise intitatives might have been ours, a fabulous boost to the economy that, whether you love him or don’t, Ron was prepared to take to Washington and make happen via his years of beltway connections – except that the lack of support he received from all the sharper knives around town was crippling.”

    And that my friend is the problem. Ron knows not the meaning of the word create. He can suck off the teat until it runs dry, then what. People still don’t have an education, the government is still bloated. At the end of the day you need to build towards something and near as I can tell the only thing that Ron was building to was the restoration of his pension.

    The problem though is not just Ron. Most of the blame should rest at the feet of those who drafted him to be mayor with the balance going to the lemmings who voted for him.

    Ronnie is an ideas person. And the thing about being mayor is it has nothing to do with ideas. It is all about getting **** done. And not big ****, but small ****. Being mayor is simply doing a series of small things and doing them well.

    When a 12 year old is hit by a stray bullet, as mayor, you get out on front of it. When a cop dies in the line of duty, you do not screw up his name. When a city is looking for an identity, you do not hide. If you are not up to the task, then you step aside and let the man go through, let the man go through, let the man go through.

  9. Steve Lowe

    Gee Ralph, I don’t quite understand your logic: Ron came here with the idea of doing nothing and making oodles of money off of Oakland, the town where millionaires all flock to reap its fabulous benefits? Somehow, that doesn’t feel right, even for a lemming like yours truly. All I’m saying is that a lot went wrong, as happens in any administration, but let’s give due credit to what he did that was so obviously an improvement over the various blunders from the past: replacement of a Police Chief who couldn’t make any headway with OPA, replacement of a City Administrator whose department was in a shambles, putting a fenceline resident on the Port Board, etc. And give due credit also to the not-so-loyal opposition for their roles in blocking – purely for political reasons – initiatives from the Mayor’s office, many of which came from the Task Forces themselves, the other half of the Oakland Partnership, the most representative body I’ve ever seen assembled here in Oakland in nearly forty years of being here and observing the shennanigans at City Hall.

    Instead of making lemming ade, as a united town somewhere else in this country might have done, the Limbaugh-like know-it-alls who worship at Chip’s feet because they obviously never had an independent thought in their entire lives did everything they could to ensure the guy would fail. So the real question is: what’s the difference between Rush’s stated wish for Obama to fail and Chip’s stated wish for Dellums to fail? And what, pray tell, is the difference between those two larger-than-life doofuses and those who get a secret thrill when it finally happens – all at once or only in part?


    – S

  10. ralph

    Yes Steve, Ron’s only interest in becoming mayor was to rebuild his pension.

    Ron and Marion B should have been put out to pasture a long time ago. I despised the idea on Ronnie being mayor on GP alone. It sucks that he failed but I never expected him to do well and given that he never wanted the job, he comes as no surprise that he failed miserably. His failure can not even be blamed on the economy he just failed.

    That being said, I will give him credit for bringing in Chief Batts. Outside of falling on his sword earlier this month, Batts is the only thing he has done as mayor.

  11. Kent

    Hey V, THANK YOU for posting the video and even digging up that old one from 4 years ago! You certainly could have cut out that part with me doing introductions at the beginning. I noticed I am good at droning on. Anyways, as to the forum, we hosted last week, I thought it was a success, though it would have been better, obviously, to get away from the 2 minute format. Also I would have chosen to extend the time a little at the end. However, it was unclear when we planned the event that this would be possible. Let’s see how the following forums go. I found Max’s post (before the long discourse between Steve Ralph and Len about Ron Dellums) interesting: have bloggers really had that much impact on public events and discourse? They certainly did on this event. Zennie and other bloggers’ coverage of the whole messy invitations process for our forum did affect our decision making. (and no, it wasn’t Don Perata!) You can read my blog post at http://kentlewan.blogspot.com/ for more of my thoughts on this.

  12. ralph

    From my perspective, bloggers fill the void created when both television and print stopped covering city hall. So, had their still been a local press, I would like to think that you would have reached out to them and they would cover the story.

    I saw Zennie’s stories and can not figure out for the life of me why he thought you thought he was a candidate. But I think that your email is evidence of the changing dynamics in coverage.

    The change is the change. But in some ways I find it bad for society as I think most people are interested in what is happening in their city but absent a press to cover it, people don’t get as much as they once did.

  13. len raphael


    a. my opinion of Chip Johnson is lower than yours. He went from worshiping Dellums to blaming him for everything that’s wrong with Oakland civic society.

    b. Oakland city hall is full of knives that need sharpening. just wave your arms around. My favorite is Doug Boxer, head of Zoning Board, instructing staff to find “historical relevance” in the site of first black man to sale alcohol to african americans in north oakland. or maybe they’re really sharp but think residents are fools.

    b. the high speed rail is just another boondoggle in union and construction company paradise.

    c. offline, can continue discussion of why i think my 90 year retired econ professor ultra liberal has Dellum’s congressional career pegged correctly.

    -len raphael

  14. Dax


    “b. the high speed rail is just another boondoggle in union and construction company paradise.”

    Simply amazing.

    The ridership estimates are easily double or triple what reality will bring.

    In part because the fares will be double what is being estimated.

    The system will never cover its operating costs, let alone any recovery of investment.

    Profitability will always be, just another few years down the road. By the time we get “down the road” all the rail cars will need to be replaced thus setting “break even” another decade later…and later…and later.

    The workforce to run the system will be like a mega BART system, with bloated salaries, pensions, and benefits.
    Think BART, MUNI, AC Transit, GG Bridge Dist.
    Positions as simple as janitors will be paid $50,000 per year with another $35,000 a year in benefits and pension.

    It will never run as fast as predicted.

    Ultimately, except for single occupancy larger autos, it will prove cheaper to drive to Los Angeles, and have a car available.

    Airplanes will continue to be the choice for anyone who values time, or who wants to go to one of the other airport areas.

    It will be more susceptible to terrorist attacks than are airplanes. You can’t guard 400 miles of tracks any more than you can guard our borders.

    Its all about dollars and the profits of those who will build the system.
    Flying along, with juiced politicians, everyone flying under the banner of the environment and global warming.

    You want to know how the true costs, construction, and subsidies will work out?
    Google “big dig” and Boston.

    At least the new SF/Oakland Bay Bridge will have ready made customers to cross its overpriced structure. That will not be the case with high speed rail to Los Angeles.

    I’m surprised the Oakland City Council didn’t think up the idea.
    Skating rink, Mt. Davis, High speed rail

  15. Barry K

    Dax, you’re overlooking the potential of linking Sanctuary Cities by rail. And, with Oakland moving forward with Municipal ID Cards for anyone (criminal included), maybe the card will be the gateway to Oakland’s future. The ID card will pay for transit on the High Speed Rail.
    This will require a new agency within Oakland to coordinate High Speed Rail and ID Cards. All to be paid for with a new parcel tax to help those that aren’t fortunate enough to own their own train.

  16. livegreen

    After watching the clips of the first 3 questions, best answers in my opinion::

    #1: Don Perata & Greg Harland, followed closely by Rebecca Kaplan and Jean Quan, based on a combination of addressing key environmental problems with realistic solutions.

    #2: Affordable Housing in Transit Villages. Well that tripped a lot of people up, giving a 2 in 1 question.

    Almost everyone answered about Jobs or AH, but NOT Transit Villages. I’m totally sympathetic with job creation, but that was not the issue or question asked.

    Thank you Rebecca Kaplan for being the 1 person who came close to answering this (+ tied it in to those other issues everyone else brought up).

    3. Port of Oakland Pollution: Again, Kaplan wins with insightful practical info & solutions the Port can implement.

    Don & Jean are runners up with broader State & Fed policies we can tap into. But can these come through? (Note: Jean had 1 specific proposal about intermodal rail at the Army Base).

    There were several good points by tertiary candidates: Candell: Why haven’t the top 3 already implemented some of their proposals?; Don MacLeay mentioned the Highways, which are not going away, and Redevelopment money. Joe Tuman about the Port leases.

    Almost all the candidates pointed out the current “solution” of putting the burden on the owner-operators (as is the current emphasis) is not sustainable or a long-term solution.

    The Port issue is tricky because it ties into Issues out of our control, that if we try to solve unilaterally might result in lawsuits (like in L.A.) or just moving the source of the problem elsewhere (highways) and moving jobs.

    Kaplan cut through all this with policies we can actually take care of locally at the Port that will not decrease the Ports competitiveness, can still yield results and doesn’t have to be dependent on larger forces out of our control.

  17. len raphael

    It is a foregone conclusion that this election is Perata’s to lose.

    He is widely seen as competent by the most likely voters, over 40 upper middle class and over 50 black middle class.

    Many of the same voters also consider him to be corrupt but it doesn’t bother them.

    Basically the same people who voted for IDLF (except for me and my neighbors) against Dellums, plus many of the older Dellums supporters will now vote for Perata. A good chunk of the older Dellums supporters realize the mistake of voting for an ineffective idealist. They see Quan and to some extent Kaplan as having that same flaw.

    They don’t think about is that Perata is in bed with the unions just like Quan and Kaplan. Maybe they think Perata has so much juice that he now bosses the unions?

    The other sure thing is that not one of the Three Horsepeople of Oakland’s Apocalypse will say diddly about the oncoming retirement and infrastructure financial comets.

    At best it’s a “will take it under serious study”

    The questions you’re asking about how many parking spaces and bike racks should be required on new buildings are lobbing soft balls to the candidates. They can talk geen 24 x 7 as long as you don’t ask them a few simple questions such as:

    1.what will happen to city services in a few years when the baby boomers accelerate their retirements. How can

    2. How will you pay for those retirements and have any money left for basic services

    3. I want to ride my bike to work. How can you promise me that Oakland will be a bike friendly town when I can get killed by my wheel twisting into a pothole.

  18. len raphael

    Had an interesting conversation with a neighbor aged 40ish, spouse is artist, other spouse businessperson, lower upper middle class (i’m guestimating) re why they’re voting for Perata with their eyes open.

    They assume he’s corrupt. They assume he’s ruthless. They did not know about his Raider’s achievement but they just laughed. They assume he’s efficient. They assume he’s only interested in three things:

    1. making oakland safer and fixing the infrastructure so that his contractor andf developer buddies can make a bundle here

    2. either renogiating or refinancing the retirement obligation long enough into the future so that it doesn’t hurt his developer buddies.

    3. moving all the anti-violence Measure away from the ngo’s to OUSD public schools.

    They think he’s rich, powerful, and nimble enough to abandon the unions that made him and jump completely over to developers.

    They think he might be willing to threaten unions with lawsuits, bankruptcy, and outsourcing to try to get concessions on vested benefits.

    (btw, i would think that Oakland could greatly reduce its Chapter 9 exploratory legal costs and same for medical retirement benefits if it joined with a few other big CA cities)

    Asked my neighbor if it bothered them that Perata would probably take the expedient route with the big referral fees of refiing his way out of the obligations for ten years. Did that bother her?

    Nope, hubby and spouse will be dead or retired and out of here by then. That’s for gen xyz to deal with. Maybe the new development will generate enough revenue to fix the problem.

  19. Dax

    “They think he might be willing to threaten unions with lawsuits, bankruptcy, and outsourcing to try to get concessions on vested benefits. ”

    I don’t think this one will be part of any Perata deal. Instead he’ll do worker trade-offs that paper over the problem for 8 years. Sound good proposals, that seem to push the downfall out later.
    Not unlike the pension proposals that the governor is working out.
    A fools paradise if you read Dan Walters in the Sac Bee.

    Besides, Perata Engineering and his son Nick is still in a position to take in more union money for years to come.
    Be it prison guards or subsequent SFPOA or OPOA etc. $400,000 over the past 18 months is nothing to sneeze about.

    However, the logic of that couple is viable. Cover the next 8 years and then leave the city. Makes sense for them.

  20. ralph

    Did I read that correctly? Your neighbor has a spouse and other spouse. So gay marriage was out now may be back in but bigamy is always okay?

  21. livegreen

    Seems like a lot of assumptions they’re making.

    No time to read about the future of their City, so better to infer?