Oakland on Forum with Michael Krasny

If you didn’t feel completely depressed about Oakland’s government already, you certainly will after listening to yesterday’s show. Of particular note is around the 34 minute mark, Chip Johnson asks David Chai when the search for Edgerly’s replacement began, and even with some forceful pressing, of course gets absolutely no answer. Although he got a big laugh from me when, in response to Chai robotically repeating over and over again “We will have a seamless transition,” he interjects “Not if I can help it!”

Also, if you listen to the whole thing, you’ll get an opportunity to hear yours truly. Other highlights include a call from Patrick McCullough. And you’ll get to hear, unbelievably, David Chai trying to claim that Ron Dellums is responsible for Oakland’s downtown revitalization. (Chip Johnson also calls bullshit on this one. Johnson, BTW, was just totally awesome during the entire show.) Chai also says repeatedly on the program that homicides are down! We are currently at 65 homicides this year, compared to 50 last year. That is a 30% increase!

Today in Montclair has more.

UPDATE: Oakland Focus is now reporting there’s a rumor going around that Edgerly has been placed on paid administrative leave.

UPDATE #2: Now confirmed that Edgerly is on administrative leave until July 31st. Acting City Administrator is, who else, Dan Lindheim. Does this mean I don’t get to write my planned post on him, “Worst CEDA Director ever” for Monday? Eh, I think I’ll do it anyway.

14 thoughts on “Oakland on Forum with Michael Krasny

  1. PaulineZ

    I am new to your blog. Where does someone leave a comment such as: Read the June 27 Montclarion editorial page for David E. Mix’s letter on disputing the LLAD, ending with “…I…hereby protest and contest the LLAD vote tally…”

  2. V Smoothe Post author

    Pauline –

    In general, I prefer that comments be relevant to the subject of the post, so in the case, the best thing to do would probably to do a search in the search box for “LLAD,” which would get you this post, and leave the comment there. But as long as people their comments respectful of others and civil, I’m happy to give commenters leeway to talk about whatever they’d like to. So here is fine.

  3. oaklandhappenings

    V, I will watch it when I have a bit more time. I will say this, however: Dellums needs to learn to talk with the media, and stop putting David Chai in speaking positions that he can NOT handle.
    Chai may be a spokesman for Dellums, but that does NOT mean that he should speak for him 99.8% of the time! Maybe 40-50% at very most. Dellums obviously doesn’t like talking with the media, and Chip Johnson must make him want to pee in his underwear (assuming he wears any)– intimidating him to the limit!
    Advice to David Chai– if you can’t give a reasonable answer, resign, and let Dellums speak on his own; advise NO ONE to be a spokesperson for him, unless they qualify as a better mayor than him.

  4. V Smoothe Post author

    Chai is almost unbelievably at bad defending the Mayor’s performance. One caller on the program said “I started out with a very favorable impression of Dellums and have retained it until I’ve been listening to this program this morning. Mr. Chai is doing his employer no favors at all.” Although, in fairness to Chai, as a friend said to me yesterday “Karl Rove couldn’t spin Dellums’ BS.”

  5. Patrick

    I listened to the Forum show and heard David Chai quote the FBI report and state that homicides were down from last year – but I had just read on this site that the numbers were up. What is an Oaklander supposed to do when the spokesperson for the mayor goes on the radio and simply lies?

  6. V Smoothe Post author

    Homicides in Oakland were down from 2006 to 2007 (although aggravated assaults were up 11%). But from 2007 to 2008, we’ve seen a huge increase – 65 this year as of July 25th, whereas there were 50 as of the same date last year. Aggravated assaults are currently up 9% from last year.

  7. DontBotherDelores

    I listened with surprise to the interview.
    I watched with dismay over KTVU report.
    Shocking, most I find is that David Chai didn’t come to be Chief of Staff as a policy wonk or some constituent liasion. O no, his career has been in the field of political communications.

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE2DB123FF936A15754C0A9639C8B63

    If his history is as a press aide to the Clinotn’s, the the NYC Council and to Newsom why isn’t he better communicating on behalf of the mayor. Or is it that no one can sell that the emperor has no new clothes.
    That’s all.

  8. Dustin

    Paid administrate leave? Isn’t that exactly what you suggested on KQED, V? Is Dellums now taking instructions from you? The city would probably be a lot better run if he started.

  9. V Smoothe Post author

    David –

    Flattering (and frightening) as that idea is, I’m sure that I’m far from the only person in Oakland who thinks that paid administrative leave is the most appropriate action with respect to Edgerly. In fact, Councilwoman Pat Kerighan just sent out an open letter saying that she has been urging the Mayor to do just that.

  10. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Omigoodness. I just listened and I want to scream. Actually, I want to print out the forms to start the recall process. David Chai should have just admitted that they hadn’t started the process because they thought she might stay until Dec 31 – not July 31 – and that since this happened, all had agreed to step up the search process.

    And taking credit for development in Oakland? Uh, that was all started before him.

    Wanting to get to 803 police officers, saying that you ARE going to get 803 police officers, and reality are very different things. Give me a break.

    I’m more convinced that a recall is warranted. *I* freaken voted for him and I’m pissed.

  11. Ethan

    Pauline Z:

    In regard to LLAD and the jerryrigging of the “votes” from the Port of Oakland, I pulled this off http://www.orpn.org/LLAD_B06 (written by Charlie Pine.)

    City Tampered with LLAD Tax Vote

    The City of Oakland gave a privileged property owner – the Port of Oakland – extra votes in the recent mail ballot on a proposed increase of the Landscape and Lighting Assessment (LLAD) tax.

    ORPN previously reported how the City rigged the LLAD vote with outlandish determinations of how much “benefit” one property or another receives from park maintenance, tree trimming, and street lighting. Although a flagrant violation of any democratic standard, it is not automatically illegal.

    However, citizen activist David E. Mix has uncovered outright vote tampering. The votes of homeowners, apartments, and other properties were weighted by the proposed increase in their LLAD assessments – but the Port of Oakland’s vote was given extra weight at its total proposed assessment. Port votes were simply manufactured out of thin air.

    Instead of votes reflecting approximately a proposed half million dollar tax increase, the Port cast nearly three times as many votes: 1.4 million. Meanwhile, each homeowner vote was typically weighted at 67 or 72, the amount of their proposed increase, not their total proposed assessment of 169 or more.

    Port of Oakland got votes for its entire proposed assessment, while single family homeowners got votes only for the proposed increase in their LLAD tax.

    With the City’s vote tampering, the LLAD “passed” by 400,000 votes. The Port was given about 850,000 illegal extra votes, all dutifully cast for the tax increase. Without the tampering, the LLAD increase was defeated.
    How we verified the vote tampering

    California law governing assessment districts like the LLAD requires, “The ballots shall be weighted according to the proportional financial obligation of the affected property.” (California constitution, Art. XIII D, section 4e) City staff stated, “If the ‘yes’ ballots received, weighted by the assessment increase amount, exceeded the ‘no’ ballots received, weighted by the assessment increase amount, the City Council could impose the LLAD assessment increase at the June 17, 2008 City Council meeting.” (June 17, 2008 memo)

    Kernighan and Rest of Council Refused to Listen

    David Mix raised the vote-tampering issue at the June 17, 2008 meeting of the city council. Councilmember Pat Kernighan replied with contempt, “Recognizing that Mr. Mix opposes every single bond issue that’s ever happened, and has sued us many times, and I have many reasons to doubt what he says, I do think it would be good for the public to hear our attorneys or staff talk about why this vote was proper and accurate and legal.” In fact, the tally was improper, inaccurate, and illegal.

    The same councilmember Kernighan worries that the Dellums-Edgerly scandal is eroding “the public’s faith that there is any accountability at all in city government.” (San Francisco Chronicle, June 29, 2008) Exactly, except councilmembers are worried only about public perception, not the reality.

    Who masterminded the vote tampering?

    * Councilmember Quan, smarting from voters’ defeat of a LLAD increase in 2006, took the lead in pushing a LLAD increase this Spring.

    * Dan Lindheim, formerly in the mayor’s office, then head of the community and economic development agency, and now acting replacement for city administrator Deborah Edgerly, is believed to have worked out LLAD deals with the Port and the school district.

    * Francisco & Associates tallied the vote on City contract. The firm dutifully reported a tally based on vote tampering. Outsourcing of democracy does not work.

    * Kernighan and the city council as a whole refused to see the evidence of vote tampering.

    City Hall specializes in tax-grabbing and failure to deliver promised services. Oakland officials are desperately trying to put the scandal of city administrator Deborah Edgerly behind them. They have violated Measure Y, the so-called violence prevention tax, again and again; residents have yet to see the additional police promised in 2004. Now councilmember Kernighan simply sneers at a resident who objects to the tampered LLAD vote.

    Council Always Demands More Taxes, Delivers Less Service

    Instead of providing an adequately staffed police force of 1,100 officers and other basic services, City officials tap the treasury to reward their favored supporters with giveaway grants and contracts. Every election seems to bring yet another tax proposal, named for a basic service but actually used to free up general fund money for political pork. Oakland winds up with half a police department and threadbare basic services, including reduced gardener staffing for parks, the supposed benefit of the LLAD assessment.

    Oakland voters rejected a LLAD tax increase in 2006 and again this year. But in this city, democracy and the law are hard to find.

    Unless something is done quickly, Oakland residents will soon pay more money to the City as a result of the city council vote rigging and tampering. The city council has a choice. It can admit that voters defeated its proposed LLAD tax increase and rescind its order to collect the tax increase. Or the council can force a lawsuit, suffering immediate exposure of City Hall’s contempt for democracy while it waits for a judgment that indeed collection of an increased LLAD tax is illegal.

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