Oakland New Year’s Resolutions

Aah, I love the end of December. It feels good to reflect on all the things I didn’t accomplish and promise myself how I’m going to do so much better next year. There’s nothing quite like a clean slate, a whole untainted year ahead of you with all the potential in the world to be great, accomplish something noteworthy, or put some of your worst qualities behind you. I’ve resolved that 2009 will be the year I finally quit smoking and get a driver’s license. But what about our elected officials? I know that settling on a goal can be tough, and I’m nothing if not helpful, so I’ve listed a few suggestions below:

  • Ron Dellums: I will comes to terms with the fact that a “strong Mayor” form of government means something, and in Oakland’s case, it means very specifically what Oakland voters amended the City Charter to say in 1998. I will accept that just because I personally am not impressed with what the Charter says about my duties, that doesn’t mean strong Mayor hasn’t been implemented, it just means that I don’t like what it is. I will stop constantly talking about how I am spending my time working to “streamline” the government to make myself an all-powerful dictator with no checks on my whims whatsoever, because it’s really actually kind of creepy. I will also eliminate the words “unprecedented,” “innovative,” and “revolutionary” from my vocabulary.

  • Pat Kernighan: I will remember that people elected me to be a legislator, not a nanny, and I will keep my opinions about the morality of television shows and music lyrics to myself instead of trying to impose them on 420,000 people.

  • Jane Brunner: I will read my agenda packet before all my meetings. If I don’t have time to do so, I will just keep my head down and be quiet. I will not waste an hour of everybody else’s time asking rudimentary questions about what’s going on.

  • Rebecca Kaplan: I will not let down all the people who supported my campaign because they thought I would make informed, rational decisions by pursuing stupid things that have failed everywhere they’ve been done, and that Oakland has done before, but abandoned because it didn’t work. Like a land trust.

  • Desley Brooks: I will recognize that even though it’s exceedingly frustrating to be like twenty times smarter than anyone else on the dais, that doesn’t give me license to be totally nasty to everyone else all the time. I will embrace my burden, and make a point of being extra patient with those I view as intellectually inferior to me from now on.

  • Ignacio De La Fuente: I will either get the City of Oakland to adopt a 311 system and GPS, or I will find something new to talk about all the time.

  • Larry Reid: When a vote doesn’t go my way, I will take it like an adult, and just type furiously on my Blackberry instead of storming out of the room in a huff.

  • Jean Quan: I will realize that I’m not anywhere near as smart as I think I am, and also that it doesn’t hurt to listen to what other people have to say. I will not condescendingly lecture public speakers about how they didn’t bother to read the documents relating to a subject, scold them for daring to come to the meeting in the first place, and then give a speech where I get virtually every single fact I assert totally, 100% wrong.

  • Nancy Nadel: I will work really, really, really hard to make my chocolate business successful. And once I succeed, I will do all Oaklanders a big favor and resign from the City Council.

  • John Russo: I will always remember that seatbelt laws are for everybody.

  • Courtney Ruby: I will start doing all the parts of my job delineated in the City Charter, even the ones that aren’t exciting enough to get me in the newspaper. Like reviewing major expenditures.

  • And a bonus – every blogger using WordPress: I will take that creepy and distracting falling snow off my damn page.

What about you guys? Any special resolutions for 2009?

19 thoughts on “Oakland New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Joanna/ShopGirl

    V – you’ve accomplished SOOOO much. How many more people know what’s going on at City Hall (or not going on)? So many more than in recent years, that’s for sure. We now have more than one or two sources to go to for news. We have quite a few great blogs to learn about various aspects of Oakland.

    While 2008 did suck (for me, at least), I’ve got my hopes that 2009 will be way better. Actually, I fear it will get worse before it gets better, but at least we’ll see change in 2009. Or so I hope, optimist that I used to be.


  2. Erin Battlefield

    Some more suggested resolutions for V Smoothe!

    - I will stop acting like I am the only person who understands how Oakland should be run and all problems in the world in general solved. I will at least pretend to have some humility.

    - I will stop moaning endlessly about the stupidity and awfulness of Ron Dellums, not because it’s not true, but because it’s effing tiresome.

    - I will create a constructive blog that is uplifting to read, and that is not based on the tired old conflict mentality of “I am the only reasonable person in the universe, and everyone else is a raging mental patient – even when I am raging and wailing, I am doing it for an understandable reason, unlike everyone else, because everyone else is an idiot”.

    - I will listen to people who disagree with me, and consider the revolutionary notion that I might have something to learn from them.

  3. Coolhand Luke

    Internet beefs never cease to amuse me. Maybe we need to institute a blogoaksphere fight club at the end of each month? Just an idea.

    I have a resOlution for the Town:
    -That we all realize that Oakland Public Schools are not horrid, and that they only improve if we invest in them. I will not enumerate the challenges because we are all well-versed in the nay saying, but I will say that strides have been made in several schools and that growth must continue. I am an OUSD alum, as is my father and grandfather, and we all were well served by it. Will the district spearhead change?? No. But I have witnessed coalitions of students, parents and teachers change so much within schools lately. Yes there are exclusive AP programs, but there are also burgeoning arts, drama and sports programs at many Oakland schools that offer an intriguing educational experience to a broader population of students.

    I personally pledge to tell some of these success stories over at http://www.38thnotes.com, but I would like to ask Oaklanders to remember the promise that lies in public education. Oakland public schools will not change by themselves, but with parental and community involvement they can and do change for the better.

  4. dto510

    Hehe, V walked right into that. But Erin, don’t forget that there are many Oakland blogs out there with different perspectives and different areas of interest!

  5. Chris Kidd

    Hey Max,

    Can your new year’s resolution be to bring back the Thunderdome? I think we could all use some nerf-bat-therapy in the coming year. Navigator vs. V in a battle royale. $5 a head and the proceeds could go towards bribing those mean old SF journalists into saying something nice about our city for once.

    I resolve to post more. I’ve kinda disappeared the last few months…

  6. MVSC

    Go V! I’m glad you are out beating the drum and making folks pay attention. Thank you for a great year of informed reporting + insights.

  7. Mike Spencer

    Resolve to keep reminding our leaders of their priorities and to really work in the City’s best interest. And to keep V churning out this wonderful outlet!

  8. Skip

    D Brooks?…”I will recognize that even though it’s exceedingly frustrating to be like twenty times smarter than anyone else on the dais”… Is she next in line to be the Supreme Commander of Oakland?……. rather haughty for a Politician…… How can she possibly relate to the citizens?

  9. len raphael

    wb interesting to get more background and analysis of all our council members.

    eg what does make db run? in some of the public hearings she comes across as very smart but off kilter. does she have consistent political goals or is she always improvising?

  10. John

    My “public” resolution for 2009 is to try and be more civil and respectful toward others when discussing and debating the issues. This comes from knowing that I don’t always do so and that I sometimes regret the tone used when I disagree with someone or make a point.

    It also comes from understanding that there is always a way to make a point or send a message that does not denigrate the other person, an understanding which I don’t always maintain. I think it is helpful also to remember and acknowledge the human dimension of all our interactions and that we all really want the same thing – to be happy.

  11. Coolhand Luke

    I will also try to act in accordance with John’s resolution. I get a bit too heated defending East Oakland. My apologies guys. Happy New Year for real by the way!

  12. Max Allstadt

    I’ll add my approval to your resolution too John. There are a few issues where I’ve certainly gotten sarcastic enough to be divisive, and as a matter of fact I think on a couple of occasions it’s been directed at you.

    I won’t stop wisecracking, but I’ll certainly be more aware of where the line is.

    My resolution is to stay focused on the issues and projects I really care about. There’s so much going on that distraction is a huge risk. So expect no more blog comments from ol’ Max when the topic is unrelated to art, growth, fun, or West Oakland. Even then I’ll be sparing. There are things to get done. Pontificating gets in the way.

  13. Brian T

    My resolution (concerning city affairs) is pretty simple: to attend a San Antonio NCPC meeting and to become more involved in my neighborhood.

    V, great job! Keep it coming in ’09.

  14. Erin Battlefield

    dto510, absolutely. And I actually appreciate this blog a great deal. But a posting that specifies one’s own character shortcomings as smoking and not having a driver’s license, and then goes on and on about how awful and terrible these other people are, was, as you pointed out, totally asking for it. I guess I was curious to see if V can take it as well as give it, because someone who can’t is really just a big queen :)

  15. Huanmic

    I just recently moved the area about 3 months ago, and I’d like to be more involved in the community, so starting 2009 I hope to contribute my opinions and participate in local government. Good luck to everyone, I hope you will see more of me.

  16. Ingvard

    After six years working in Oakland managing 2 apartment buildings {61 total units} I have came to the realization that it’s not the gang bangers,car jackers that I fear most, it’s the pieinthesky elected/uneleted city “servants???” that are most feared, and need to be put in their place. Being told in 2004 by city “workers” that the measure Y parcle tax was chump change for the owner of the buildings that I manage,
    Thank you for this forum