100 thoughts on “
Open Thread

  1. OnTheGoJo/Joanna

    A few things.

    First, if you don’t regularly read Zennie Abraham’s blog, you should at least check out his video of the steam train that went through Oakland this week. I had it all set on my calendar, but of course customers flocked in right when the whistle started blowing. (#&#(&%#)%. Plus, my view of the train is blocked by the new parking garage. (#&%(#%*%#. Oh well, at least I get to see it on video!


    Last night’s party at The Ellington was a huge success. Someone mentioned “recession” and the response was – “give free food and free booze and anyone will show”. I have my eye on unit 911. Or 1211 if it’s the same unit a few more floors up. But of course I’m not moving… I’d have to redo the kitchen all over again.

    Another great quote from the evening came from Attorney General Jerry Brown. I don’t have it verbatim but it went something like this:

    “Walls. I don’t like walls. But I guess people like walls.”

    Priceless! I have to agree. After almost 10 years without walls (well, very few of them), I can’t imagine living in a condo. But as condos go, I was impressed.

    I missed the Central Estuary meeting the other night, so I’m looking forward to hearing a recap from Chris Kidd… (many apologies, had a HUGE mess from a last minute customer and didn’t get out of here until after 7pm and was then too exhausted and annoyed to even think about driving to a meeting.)

    Happy Friday!


  2. len raphael

    (repost of 4/23/09 Don Link on yahoo opd re recruiting search for new police chief. this looks hecka better than prior City recruiting moves:

    first from the City community NCPC liason?

    “On Apr 23, 2009, at 5:13 PM, Lopez, Marisol wrote:

    Dear All:

    I am emailing you on behalf of Mayor Dellums.� As you may know, we are in the process of� recruiting a police chief for our city and Mayor Dellums would like for you to have an opportunity to meet with the recruiter, Mr. Bob Wasserman.� Mayor Dellums feels that it is important to have input from a diverse group of people that is reflective of many perspectives.� To that end, I would like to know if you are available to meet with Mr. Wasserman on Tuesday�April�28th, 2009 at 6pm in the Mayor�s Office.� If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 510.238.3120.”


    info about Wasserman can be found at http://www.policeforum.org/upload/2009%20Leadership%20Award%20press%20release_262182854_3252009094255.pdf

    That web site has some interesting topics in its free document section. http://www.policeforum.org

    -len raphael

  3. californio

    Heads up, in case you haven’t gotten mailers for the May 7 meeting RE: Broadway Retail Corridor, formerly known as Auto Row, at First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway. This is one of the most important areas in Oakland to develop in a new way so we don’t end up with another no man’s land that was, is, auto row.

    The link,


    is “under construction,” like much of Oakland gov’t.

  4. Ralph

    and for those concerned that those nice new owners at the Ellington won’t have a place to store their crap, be not dismayed, for apparently each unit comes with a storage lockers the size of the elevator.

  5. SF2OAK

    About Sanjiv-

    Quite honestly if Mr. Handa was not there challenging the board we the public would not know as much as we do. I am thankful and grateful for his service. Recently he pointed out that there are fewer public meetings and the board is paid more than any other city w/ over 100k residents- now with our budget mess it is intolerable-I sure don’t respect the Oakland electorate for putting the same people back in office after failure. I sure don’t mind if they are paid (even highly paid) But they owuld have to be effective for me to agree- and that is the point- clearly this is not an effective board there is fraud waste and corruption being paid for by the taxpayer. The fact is is that if Ms. Nadel & Board were doing their jobs Mr. Handa’s comments would seem trivial and possibly abusive but that is not the case at all. A question of fairness comes up- the board members speak for as long as they want but free speech is limited to maybe 2 minutes a shot for the public and less when the board consolidates meetings and agenda items which they have increasingly done. Clearly the board does not want public involvement and instead of saying Mr. handa you are correct or I will look into that there goes comments by Ms. Nadel, Brunner & Mr. IDLF saying they are being abused. If anyone is being abused it is the citizens and taxpayers of OAK.

  6. Patrick

    It was embarrassing watching Nadel make that statement – and IDLF’s comment about “people’s so-called freedom of speech” was mind blowing. I, too, am thankful that Mr. Handa is front and center that these meetings. It amazes me that the City Council would go on-record with such a public rebuke to a man who frequently points out not only irregularities but downright illegalities in the Council’s dealings, while “compromising” with the extortionists defending Measure OO funding. The air must be mighty thin up on that dais.

  7. V Smoothe

    Well, the fact that about half of what Handa says (for example, the two assertions in SF2OAK’s comment) is outright false doesn’t do much for public information, and his abusive tenor is certainly not improving civic discourse.

    While I don’t think reading from a self-help book was necessarily the best way to communicate the point, I wholeheartedly agree with the message of Nadel’s speech, and I’m glad someone finally said something.

  8. Max Allstadt

    I wrote Nadel an email to support her taking a stand, actually. Personally, I lean toward mocking Handa rather than chastising him. One of these days I’m going to sneak up behind him and put a Viking helmet on him while he’s speaking. Or perhaps I’ll project the ghost of Ralph Brown on his bedroom window…

    In all seriousness though, where does Sanjv Handa get his funding to stay afloat? The “east bay news service” doesn’t exist as best as I can tell. All his talk of transparency and corruption, and we have no idea what ulterior motives he may have.

  9. Ralph

    I personally wish SH would fall by the wayside. Here is what I hear, when SH comes to speak, For the record, I am SH, EBNS……blah, blah, blah…

    I can only imagine what council is thinking…

    NN: chocolates, must sell more chocolate
    JQ: children sure do love me
    LR: is it too much to ask for a brother to get some police in his district
    JB: can’t these clocks move any faster
    DB: you know beneath that gruff exterior, IDLF is kinda cute
    IDLF: if i were mayor i wouldn’t have to listen to this crap, glasses on a woman sure are sexy
    RK: I ran for this
    PK: I am kinda tall

    If only SH would pick and choose his battles.

  10. livegreen

    Re. SH’s funding, one theory I heard was that minutes of the meetings are so poor (no stenographer is used, and if minutes are recorded they’re often not turned into anything public or even for the CC), that the CC might ironically pay SH for his minutes.

    I’m curious about the basis for this, but it is intriguing. I’d also like to know why the minutes from the meetings are so poor, often entirely absent (from both CC meetings and Advisory Committees), and who has responsibility for recording them.

  11. V Smoothe Post author

    What? That’s not true at all. Complete minutes (recorded by the City Clerk) as well as full recordings are made of every meeting, and they’re all available to the public.

  12. OnTheGoJo/Joanna

    I actually like Sanjiv. (I hear you groaning!) He may go overboard a fair bit, which unfortunately has the result that many people have stopped listening to him. I’ve never quite figured out what he gets from it. Lawsuits won? If so, why did he win? Because the City was wrong? I can’t figure out who he’s providing news to.

    I don’t know what his percentage of right and wrong is – they should answer his questions when he asks. I wish he’d continue his dialog on a blog where people could respond and discuss. He does have a photographic memory.

    I finally saw the video of NN basically telling him off, but has anyone on Council tried talking to him and/or perhaps considered amending the laws so that “abuse” of public speaking (as they see it) doesn’t happen?

    He used to call the City out on not providing information in a timely manner as required by law, and honestly, I agreed with him. If they’ve improved some of their processes because of what he’s had to say, isn’t a positive improvement worth some of the excess stuff he throws out there?

  13. OnTheGoJo/Joanna

    PS to Ralph. I’ve felt like Council was thinking that more than half of the times I’ve dared to speak in front of Council. I know quite a few people who swore they’d never speak in front of Council (or Planning Comm Mtgs) again because they didn’t feel like they’d even been given the courtesy of having been listened to.

    Public comments are often a joke because Council has already made up their mind. Not always, but often.

  14. Ralph

    OTGJ, I would tend to agree with you about public comment. maybe council is receptive before they get to a vote, but on vote nights I really don’t think there is much you can say to sway them.

    One terse email from NN made me realize just how little the constituents mattered. I emailed her concerning my thoughts on Measure OO to which she replied – I am giving the children money, only thing i love more than thugs are children so you might as well stop emailing me because they are getting yours.

  15. Max Allstadt

    Re: public comment and councilmember responsiveness:

    As far as responses from councilmembers go, I actually get pretty fast responses from many of them. I think the key is this: Make it short. Don’t bug them too often. Make it about something that matters. Say something they haven’t already heard.

    Sometimes massive amounts of emails on the same topic change the course of a council vote, but don’t expect a personal response, because again, they’ve heard it already.

    In recent weeks, regarding things that have really REALLY mattered to me, I have gotten responses in under 24 hours from Kernighan, Kaplan, and Brooks. Desley Brooks actually called me in response to an email within an hour or so, and she’s done so in the past too.

    As for public comment, the same holds true. If you want them to listen, say something they might not have heard before. Make a habit of it, and you’ll get more eye contact every time you’re at the podium. I think boredom is their enemy more than anything else when they’re in session. Hours of hearing arguments they’ve already heard must get draining as all hell.

  16. Almer Mabalot

    I had some thoughts about Oakland’s popularity in terms of crime. Now I don’t know much about 20th Century, Los Angeles, but can you compare Los Angeles’s major crime problem in the early 20th Century with Oakland’s crime problem? What I am trying to figure out is, how long did Los Angeles endure these crimes, and how did they decrease it dramatically. (I know for a fact that it took some time for it to decrease dramatically).

  17. Almer Mabalot

    I had some thoughts about Oakland’s popularity in terms of crime, and Los Angeles’s early 20th century crime problems. Now I don’t know much about Los Angeles history in crime, but can you compare Los Angeles’s major crime problems with Oakland’s crime problem? What I am trying to figure out is, how long did Los Angeles endure these crimes, and how did they decrease it dramatically. (I know for a fact that it took some time for it to decrease dramatically).

  18. OnTheGoJo/Joanna

    Have you seen http://spot.us? I stumbled upon it after seeing a dto510 twitter regarding someone looking for funding on a story about potholes in Oakland. (The story was fully funded before I could donate.) I love this idea of supporting writers on stories they pitch.

    In fact, if you’re on Twitter, I highly recommend dto510′s posts. I think I heard about it here. Anyway, it’s fabulous and I’m constantly seeing story links for info I didn’t know about and probably wouldn’t otherwise know about. http://twitter.com/dto510

    I wrote a neighborhood newsletter for two years. Had I had this kind of info back then, it would have been incredible.

    Too bad the Tribune can’t reinvent itself as a true City paper with neighborhood info, just like a small town paper.

  19. SF2OAK

    V. regardless if the two assertions that I quoted from Mr. Handa are perhaps incorrect- but I would bet they are not off by a long shot- that is that the CC meets less and is paid more. it’s entirely possible that I misquoted him. Do you know for a fact that 1/2 of what he says is false or is that just a guesstimate? His tenor is commensurate with the outrageousness of the CC. I cannot believe that NN wrote to a constituent, “I am giving the children money, only thing i love more than thugs are children so you might as well stop emailing me because they are getting yours.” The CC deserves a lot more abuse than Mr. Handa could ever heap on them in his limited time and again I am thankful to have him present & speaking at every meeting. I cede my minutes.

    Who the F would vote for Nadel if they saw that quote? Well Oaklanders returned her to office after 2 miserable terms. Are you people out of you F’ing minds?

    V. I think you should be and we as citizen taxpayers should be outraged at the inept CC (and the mayor), and I think you’ve showed you are. I can’t say I’ve ever heard the CC actually rebutt Mr. Handa or engage him and I do believe that some of his ideas have merit.

    I would be overjoyed if Mr. Handa was funded by lawsuits brought against the city for what he claims are illegal actions by the CC with regard to all sorts of good government/open government procedures. Those will be some of the best uses of my tax dollars.

    Oakland floated for a while when the economy was good but now we see who’s swimming naked and the CC have spent like drunken sailors and not saved for the rainy day that is upon us. The CC is a shameful group that imo has perpetrated a massive fraud on all taxpayers.

  20. OnTheGoJo/Joanna

    SF2OAK, add to your NN knowledge that when asked during a Jack London District forum for the District 3 Council race if she would be representing all of her District, or just parts of it in West Oakland, she acknowledged that they were her pets because they need her. We don’t have people of color (uh, really? Looking around the room I saw a rainbow of colors) and we have money (some, but not all!) so she doesn’t see that we need her.

    Why anyone voted for her is beyond me. I campaigned against her even before we knew who she was running against.

    As for Sanjiv, I was a tad bit shocked that he supported the Uptown surface parking lot today. I’m going to ask him about that.

  21. SF2OAK

    She is just a shameful pol. Why did anyone vote for her 3 times no less. It shows the power of incumbency but maybe the stupidity of Oaklanders.

    As for the parking lot, I’m with you a bad idea but that is opinion not fact it just happens to be right ;)

  22. Ralph

    2 b fair to nancy, i may have paraphrased a bit. her exact words were as follows: “Prior to the election in the council meeting, Jean Quan and I were the only ones who proposed an alternative and worked out a compromise but the rest of the council voted against it….I think Jean and I have been pretty consistent.”

    This was in response to a Feb email asking that she support a repeal of Measure OO.

    But lets be honest, Nancy’s pet projects are thugs, kids, and the land west of 980. So, my interpretation was not far from the truth.

  23. Steve Carney

    Pat Kernighan said “The miniature golf idea is just not financially viable” at the CEDA committee hearing today regarding the proposed Uptown parking lot.

    If the City leased this valuable land FOR FREE to a miniature golf operator, I wonder if the operator couldn’t make a profit in 3 years? It would be interesting to put out an RFQ to build and operate a golf course (or any any recreational use on the site) and see if any reputable operators responded.

    Given that the City will not make any money from the parking lot (staff report says it would, but Jane Brunner argued the revenue projection is too rosy and parking lot revenue is unlikely to exceed cost to build and maintain it), it makes sense for the City to lease this space for free to promote a use that is more compatible with the continued resurgence of Uptown than a surface parking lot.

  24. len raphael

    gotta laugh to hear city council members get fiscal discipline religion this late in the deficit cycle, considering all the boondogles, subsidides, grants, pay raises, costly ordinances etc. they’ve promulgated over the years.

    they want a placeholder, not something that will create a constituency.

    btw, an artsy peewee golf course would continue the oakland tradition of the one that used to be on Telegraph, near Alcatraz. (was it a vestige of Idora Amusement Park).

    -len raphael

  25. len raphael

    SH does seem to be getting more eccentric, off on odd tangents, but I’m grateful for his reporting, however inaccurate it sometimes is, because there’s often no one else bearing witness to obscure city meetings and decisions. until the rest of us find the time to afford to go to more hearing or figure out a way to support people who do, SH is one of the best we got. (But good thing we got V and some others to correct him.)

    MA, i’d be shocked and amazed if SH was anything other than a full time unpaid gadfly.

    -len raphael

  26. Jim

    Sanjiv Handa seems to be everywhere. I see him on Piedmont Ave a lot. He has been after the owners of the broken newspaper racks to get them fixed. I see him take pictures of bad sidewalks and dilapidated buildings. I ask him a question about the budget or some other city action and he seems to be up to date.
    He is confrontational. I was at the first meeting of the Kaiser Hospital expansion plan. I remember him telling the council member’s staff they had to properly notify people about the project or the would be sued. (Why the council members weren’t there themselves makes me wonder.) I don’t think there is anything wrong with what he does except I think there are many people here who have their own agenda and guys like him stir the pot.
    I understand he has newsletters with paid circulation. I never have been able to get one of them from him. I talked to somebody who has and he said they are pretty thoroughly written.

  27. Max Allstadt

    I don’t know anyone who’s seen any product from the “East Bay News Service”.

    If they exist, and if it’s a long-running newsletter, one would think that Mr. Handa would use old versions as marketing tools.

    What does it cost?
    How many issues a year?
    Can I see a sample?
    A recent sample?
    Any testimonials available from happy subscribers?

    This site gets thousands of hits a week from politically interested Oaklanders. I wonder if Sanjiv or any of his subscribers are reading this, and if they might answer any of those questions…

  28. Kent

    I see Sanjiv on Piedmont Ave. too. It’s my neighborhood. I think he likes dining here or maybe he lives around here. I’ve seen his newsletter once in my entire 4 years living here. That was in the Kerry House. I bet he dropped it there himself.

    Sanjiv is a smart guy, but as Nancy Nadel suggested, probably has psych. issues that he is channeling into his verbal attacks. Either way you cut it, he’s a public nuisance. For every good point he makes he makes 2 or 3 bad ones. The negativity he spreads around has an untold effect on the public officials we are hoping will fix some of the problems we talk about so much on this blog.

  29. We Fight Blight

    Whether you like him or not, a gadfly like Sanji Handa plays an important role in questioning policy makers and making sure the City Council knows there are people with long memories watching and recording their decisions. He may not be 100% accurate, but then who is more accurate Sanjiv Handa or the City Council? I have read and heard numerous times that our City Councilmembers are quite loose with their facts and distort the truth either intentionally or because they simply do not know any better. Until one actually reads his newsletter, perhaps judgement about its quality should be reserved.

    Regarding Nancy Nadel and her pathetic, over-the-top rant about emotional abuse: she is a paid politician. Critiques and negative comments about City Council’s poor decisions come with the territority. That’s part of being a politician. Her little rant was a distraction and a waste of taxpayers money. Rather than focusing on important policy making issues, she chose to vent her personal feelings about Sanjiv with her psyco-babble in a public meeting. If you noticed, only Ignacio agreed with her. Other Councilmembers seemed just a little put off or even amused by her rant. On some level it seemed rather childish.

  30. Max Allstadt

    It’s not about whether or not I agree or disagree with Mr. Handa’s views. Sometimes I agree with him, particularly about public notice issues.

    The issues I already raised have still not been answered.

    Do any of this blog’s 3000+ weekly readers have a recent copy of Mr. Handa’s newsletter? Because I’d like some evidence that it exists. I’d also like to know what it costs and what it’s circulation is. Do the numbers add up to enough revenue to support Mr. Handa, who is most often seen hanging out in Rockridge? And if his newsletter isn’t supporting him, who is?

  31. dto510

    Unfortunately, Mr. Handa is just as loose with the facts as the politicians he criticizes. He also has some pet issues that are very distracting and unproductive (for example, he seems to hate transit and think the city should do nothing but subsidize car parking, and regularly makes false claims about downtown transportation and housing demand), and is a major source of the myths about city government that get repeated in the newspapers. While I agree with him that the city does a terrible job of sticking to long-term plans, and should be more forthcoming with the public, his rants do not help move the discussion forward and turn off many people who otherwise would be more engaged in city politics. Also, the sheer amount of time he takes up in public meetings is unfair to everyone else who attends.

  32. livegreen

    On another note it looks like we’re catching up to last years murder count.
    Yesterday the Tribune reported Oakland is at 35 compared to last years 40:


    This morning two more murders were reported:

    That brings the total to 37, and closing fast. This also puts in jeopardy the Mayor’s claim to a 30% decrease in Homicides this year (made on the Mayor’s Public Safety Plan, as V linked to above), and dated only a few days ago.

    On a related note OPD has 32 Investigators in Internal Affairs (covering 800+ officers), and 19 for the ENTIRE city of Oakland and it’s 400K+ citizens. This includes 10 for Homicides, 8 for Robberies, and 1 for Burglaries (that’s right, 1 investigator for all the Burglaries in Oakland…I wonder what his/her caseload looks like?).

    Now how is it possible for this # of Investigators to cover all the cases for our City? (and esp. if Investigations is to be an effective deterrent). What % of cases are actually solved?

    And who is going to argue before the Judge overseeing the NSA that the Citizens of Oakland are not being served by the NSA as it is now administered?

  33. Max Allstadt

    Yeah, and like a lot if EBX features, light on the fact checking, and a lot of unsourced claims. To prove Sanjiv’s newsletter exists, we have to see a recent copy, and copies going back a few years too. Where are they?

  34. OnTheGoJo/Joanna

    dto510, if the amount of time Sanjiv “wastes” at public meetings is unfair to everyone else, then they need to fix the rules so that one person can only use X of minutes overall at a meeting.

    My feeling is that he has always used every second available to him because it’s the only way his comments can make it to public record. If Council were to respond with answers to what he has to say, then maybe more people would respect him less. But I have to tell you that many folks who aren’t involved in these blogs or other political issues have told me that when I asked them to get involved with just one meeting and they saw him, he was actually inspiring to many. Some of us are more jaded and tired of hearing it because maybe we don’t agree with what he has to say and having heard him enough times, it does make you wonder what he gets out of it.

    I gave Sanjiv $299 in Dec 2006, but it was more in support of what he does in calling the City out on what they do wrong (specifically noticing, which was an even bigger problem back then) and not so much about getting updates from him. I just went through old emails and found one bulletin he sent out in Dec 2006, which I forwarded on to V to send to you or to post.

    Back when I edited/published Jack London News, he was always quite helpful to me in getting info I was seeking. I was stuck at work most of the time so I couldn’t go out and do real reporting during the regular work week. With the Mingles problem specifically, he was helpful in providing background info that the City was unwilling/unable to provide.

  35. Dave B.

    I’ve been to one Planning Commission meeting and was indeed, inspired by Mr. Handa. He is one of the few people that takes local politicians to task. The politicians are public servants remember? He seems to know the ins and outs of city government than most people.

  36. len raphael

    MA, what diff does it make whether SH makes a nickle out of publishing a newsletter or never gets a single issue out?

    if there were more residents active in questioning council members in public, and SH was taking time away from them, I might feel differently.

    -len raphael

  37. len raphael

    LG, on the IA investigators, what’s the breakdown by sworn officers vs civilian; and by rank?

    Thought Russo and the council finally embraced replacing sworn officers with civilian investigators. Was that tabled officially or “on hold because of the deficit”?


  38. Max Allstadt


    If I knew Handa was making real money off a real newsletter, or if I had evidence that he was independently wealthy, it would make a difference. I’d be less likely to believe some of the rumors that are circulating regarding where his money comes from. No job, no verifiable source of income, nobody’s seen his newsletter in how long… How does he eat, pay rent, and have time to spend 12 hours a day at city hall? Show me a newletter and maybe I’ll stop wondering.

  39. OnTheGoJo/Joanna

    Max, have you tried asking him? And really, why is it any of our business?

    Are you upset that he might be suing the City and winning? I’d think that too would have to be public record, but maybe they know how to hide it? Maybe ask Courtney Ruby?

    It’s no more my business why Sanjiv speaks, than it is his business how I make my money and how I spend my time.

    I’m sort of shocked that this is so important to you.

  40. livegreen


    I haven’t heard anybody taking serious action on that. Part of the problem is they’d have to have investigators familiar with law enforcement, investigations, IA, and the NSA. I haven’t heard, though I’d love to, where such people would come from, if not either law enforcement or lawyers. (Though there are a lot more of the latter unemployed now, hiring them instead of officers probably wouldn’t save much money).

    As with proposals by many politicians, Russo proposed a general concept with no specifics. And since he’s given OPD the problem to manage, he can also leave the problems with them to figure out.

    Bottom line is somebody should be. And if they can’t somebody should be talking to Judge Henderson about how to help the citizens of Oakland get enough Investigators to help solve crime and act as a legitimate deterrent.

    It should not be the NSA -OR- the Citizens of Oakland. It should be the NSA -AND-the Citizens of Oakland. That’s not OPD’s fault. That’s the fault of how the NSA is being managed with nobody speaking on behalf of Oakland Citizens.

  41. Ralph

    Max, breathe let it go. If they are rumors why even give them a nickel of consideration. I can’t say I didn’t wonder the same thing myself. But then what was it going to change. I will still think that he is a bit of a nuisance. And unless council institutes the SH/PH time limit rule, he will still be a bit of a nuisance with his own interpretation of the truth. :)

  42. Max Allstadt

    I just find it odd that a self-styled bastion of transparency and accountability is himself so mysterious.

  43. len raphael

    MA, i think you’re jealous of SH :) ( or maybe i am. ) having the time to do what he obviously enjoys doing plus serving a useful public service.

    LG: what the heck, i called Judge Henderson’s office and asked his aide if he took email. She said no, but gave me her official email address and said she would pass my email on to Judge Henderson. I’m hesitant to post his email address w/o asking his aid if ok, but his office phone number and snailmail address is public info:

    Thelton E. Henderson
    United States District Judge
    Curriculum Vitae

    United States District Court, 450 Golden Gate Avenue
    San Francisco, California 94102

    (415) 522-3630


    LG: Why do you say that competent civilians, say recent law school grads, would cost as much as veteran sworn officers? They could be hired on say two year contracts, with basic benefits but no retirement benefits. Might not have to pay OT :)

    -len raphael

  44. livegreen

    Len, Good idea to call the Judge. I don’t think the only qualification is law degrees. Again, they should probably have some experience re. law enforcement, IA, investigation procedures, and the NSA. I don’t think acquiring that range of experience happens in a short period of time, though I could be wrong as i also don’t have experience in any of those areas.

    Another idea that had been floated was retired officers and/or attorneys…

    Another issue is bias: potential investigators would have to show they’re not overly pro or anti police. So any nominees would have to have a track record that can demonstrate competence and impartiality. (Something that’s harder and harder to find these days, though as this blog proves, not impossible…).

    Even if there are potential nominees to free up IA investigators, I think it will take time. The short of it is, we need some Investigators back helping deter crime against the citizens of Oakland RIGHT NOW. If they can’t satisfactorily investigate crimes and make arrests, OPD cannot be an adequate deterrent. And that’s one of the main reasons we have so much crime in Oakland, esp. in the Flatlands…

  45. len raphael

    LG, i can’t believe that having cops are the most impartial people to investigate civilian complaints against cops. That was an implementation decision made by Jerry Brown and presumedly Chief Tucker. Probably to comply with the letter of the NSA while making nice to the cops.

    But i suspect Marleen was right when she said don’t assume that any of our officials is pleading w Judge Henderson to modify the NSA to free up some investigators. The judge’s aide was a little surprised that anyone would be asking for reconsideration on behalf of an entire city and not their brother in law.


    -len raphael

  46. V Smoothe Post author

    I’m going to try to write a post about this soon, but the short answer here is that the Department opposes civilianization of internal affairs. This issue came before the public safety committee yesterday.

  47. len raphael

    Callng Oakland pols hacks is not fair. i didn’t realize it, but the term “political hack” refers to a politician who puts aside his/her ideals for personal gain. Incompetent, inattentive, cynical, burned out, out of touch, unrealistic are phrases that come to mind, but other than the funding the projects of one’s supporters, approving pay raises to unions who turn out the vote for you, and normal cross referring law firm business that goes on in a relatively small city, outright extensive corruption (Mmme. Edgerly the possible exception) seems to be rare in modern day Oakland. hmm, might have to ask SH what he thinks…

    -len raphael

  48. Ralph

    I anxiously await a post on this internal affairs. For those of us late to the party, can we get a recap. I really don’t get this civilianization of internal affairs. Is IA not a police dept staffed by police officers. Where do these civilians come into the equation? Are they some sort of external body that has a right to question the PD investigators. Can someone HABO?

  49. SF2OAK

    REgarding Mr. Handa- the fact is he is not a public servant. Max I really don’t understand your thinking that you have a right to know (and if you’re not demanding by rights then you are insisting by way of SH’s credibility) anything but what Mr. Handa wants to share about his personal life. And I expect a higher level of truthfulness from our public servants so critics have said Mr. Handa is incorrect 1/2 of the time about the same as CC – well I doubt he has any staff, nor does he have a higher obligation for getting to the truth which seems to be a problem for CC, and this problem is our problem. CC & Mayor have lied, misled, obfuscated on so many things now that the wolf (creditors) is at the door citizens should not be too happy. We are approaching a 25% deficit situation, no one on CC seems to be demanding more be done with less- whereas they should have been spending the flush times with improving efficiencies and reducing headcount. Oak needs more transparency so anybody could call Mr. Handa on his “false” assertions OR the CC false statements. The fact is we cannot because getting documents is a full time job, and CC has staff as do all departments.

  50. John Klein

    Changing the subject slightly, here’s a quick Measure DD update:

    Below is a link to pictures taken this morning showing the new walkway along the Lakeshore Ave. section of the lake – it just opened for public use today. The intersection at Lakeshore Ave. & El Embarcedero is getting a signal light.

    There’s a lot of activity at the Boat House area, also. They are pouring the concrete for the parking lot today and crews are now working on the interior of the buildings.


  51. Ralph

    JEK, thanks for posting. I am going to go for a run later today. Out of curiosity, is the surface around the lake concrete? I am really hoping for something with more give.

  52. Max Allstadt


    I am indeed insisting by way of Handa’s credibility. That’s exactly what I’m doing.

  53. MontclairOak

    Anyone going to the Oakland Partnership Summit Agenda tomorrow? This Chamber event starts at 7:30am (b-fast) and runs all morning.

    There’s quite a lineup of business speakers and Mayor Dellums is speaking and leading a session about the U.S. stimulus package and how this may impact the regional economy and Oakland Partnership.

    It would be great to hear from anyone who attends this confab tomorrow. Here’s a link to the proceedings:

    Event Page – http://www.oaklandpartnership.com/2008%20Hot%20Topics/Summit%202009.htm

    Schedule PDF – http://www.oaklandpartnership.com/2008%20Hot%20Topics/OP%20Summit%20Agenda%20as%20of%204%2027%2009.pdf

  54. KenO

    Ralph i’ve jogged it recently and it seems all CONCRETE

    i hate to but 1/3 the time im on grass or dirt

  55. MarleenLee

    Len – I don’t remember ever saying anything about the NSA or the possibility of getting it modified or how it ties up investigators or Oakland officials contacting the judge etc. I really have never looked at the NSA or analyzed its impact on OPD resources.

  56. Mike Spencer

    Hi V,

    I was wondering if you get a community affairs section going on this here web site, promote good causes and such. For example, our very own Oakland Warthogs hs rugby club is having a yard sale next month. (We have lost our sponsor and are looking to go independent.) Just food for thought, in case you didn’t have enough to work on already….I bet ABO attracts more eyes than any other Oakland site..

  57. len raphael

    Invite response from the new and existing OHA board members.

    This is a crosspost from yahoo opd by someone whom many of you revile for being anti development. Before you attack that person, it would useful to hear from OHA.

    Is Tanya Pitts, our most recent board member available for comment?

    “The likely, almost “under the radar” purchase of the “Courthouse?
    Condominiums” project at 2935 Telegraph by the Oakland Housing?
    Authority for one of their own public housing projects may be an?
    unusual twist in the saga of the approved but unbuilt condo projects?
    all over Oakland (with so many in Temescal,) but it may be not be the?
    last. If OHA’s got a shopping list, there’s government money out?
    there for public/low income housing, and there’s not a lot of?
    competition at the moment!

    A large, Dallas-based developer, Trammell-Crow Residential (TCR),?
    bought the Courthouse Building (site) and got approvals from the?
    rubber stamp Planning Commission for 142 market rate, 5 story, owner-?
    occupied condos in a “high-end” building. They even completed an EIR.?
    Then the market went south, the condos didn’t happen, and the?
    Courthouse Building was unsecured and allowed to be stripped and?
    blighted. TCR has just applied for a demo permit for Courthouse?
    Building, and is going forward with transferring the cleared site to?
    the OHA, with which it’s in a “binding contract.”

    Sound familiar? Temescal is full of approved/entitled/for sale?
    unbuilt condo projects, many 5 stories or higher, some with over 100?
    units. “Kingfish” Condos at the gore of Telegraph and Claremont.?
    “Civiq” at 51st and Telegraph. The “Creekside Condos” at Global?
    Video. “Contrada” at 4700 Telegraph. 4801 Shattuck. All approved, all?
    waiting to happen, Global Video stripped and blighted…

    The almost totally secret sale of the Courthouse project by the owner?
    of the site, TCR, wouldn’t have even come back before the Commission?
    if TCR hadn’t balked at paying more mitigation money to the City.?
    Even so, 3 of the 4 commissioners at the meeting didn’t think there?
    was any difference between yet another Oakland Housing Authority?
    project in the flatlands (5 stories, 115 units, 34 3 bedroom, low-mod?
    income, no designated on-site management company) where’s there’s?
    already a surfeit of housing projects, and the market rate condos?
    which were originally approved two years ago. Many of the OHA?
    properties in Temescal are better maintained and tenants are better?
    screened, but only after lawsuits (including one by City Attorney?
    John Russo) and years of complaints and monitoring by neighbors. OHA?
    has been bad for neighbors, bad for tenants who need safe housing.

    Unlike private developers who can’t get bank loans and who can’t?
    build condos for an already saturated market, OHA is applying for and?
    getting stimulus and tax credit monies for low income housing?
    unavailable to private developers and paying rock bottom prices on?
    their real estate shopping. If the OHA does decide to move up?
    Telegraph, don’t expect to get any advance notice–the chief?
    development officer of OHA told me they were deliberately “flying?
    under the radar” with the Courthouse project to avoid controversy.”

  58. Frank Snapp

    Sanjiv Honda is one of the few Oakland citizens who is actually somewhat conscious of what is going on. If one were to say, “hey, give the City Council props when it does do something right.” then I would agree Mr. Honda is not really doing this. However, I consider it a fascist concept to suggest that because Mr. Honda focuses on what needs to be fixed that he is somehow an abuser. The more preposterous supposition in Ms. Nadel’s rant is even the faintest HINT of the idea that a titular and arguably NON-representative (workers and the majority economically, the working poor and lower middle-class of Oakland) council is in any way a “victim”. Give me a break! It is the workers who are the victim and Honda is one of the few who has appropriate urgency or torque and persistence in dealing with these criminals in our City Council and they are ALL criminals who do absolutely everything they can to support NON-SUSTAINABLE status quos that are the norm, but are not sustainable again, around capitalism. I always support Sanjiv Honda and always will. I’ve never heard him cross the line. Is he focused on the negative, YES! Does he use a bit of ad hominem? Not really. He could be said to use ad hominem, but his usages are always accurate and really, in my opinion, considering the absolute NON-functionality of the City Council do NOT go far enough.

    The entire City Council government of Oakland, MUST be replaced with a full citizen and City employee (NON-MANAGEMENT) mandatory participation run system–all soviets or grass roots–direct democracy. No more titular hierarchies of hoardings. We citizens have all the solutions that those tied to big business, the wealthy and other progress preventing stalwarts of the establishment do not have. Any defense of the poor wittle City Council is by sheep who are also selling their souls to the man. Screw that noise!

    Sincerely yours,

    Frank Snapp
    Geurilla Gardener
    North Oakland

  59. Ralph

    Now for something completely different, I hope that when the city does get around to increasing the downtown density, I hope they bld with car share in mind. If I wanted to, I could access the available carshare opptys near me. However, I would end up walking dark and desolate streets to get home. Had it been available in my bldg, I probably would have just gotten rid of the car.

    The city needs to offer incentives to develop housing with less than 1:1 parking and carshare. And the car share options should be appropriate for the bldg – not just Prius, Insight, but also BMW, Acura, Lexus h, etc.

  60. Scott Law

    Did anybody see the Tribune front page article yesterday (sunday ?)


    Apparently , the Bey crime syndicate is still active, forming a
    “Your Community Cafe and Bakery”.. complete with three
    “members” in a felony assault case being charged. A frightening story of paroled
    felons run amok once again.

    Thanks to the indefatigable Chauncey Bailey project there is still visibility to tracking the vestiges of this group. No word from politicians or police brass

    Last sentences in the story tell it all…

    “The bakery opened for business in January with Jamall Robinson as its CEO. Joseph Jamall Robinson, 23, also known as Jamal Bey or Yasir Hakeem Azzem, also was charged in the 2005 liquor-store vandalism case, although the charges against him were dropped in 2007; a police report related to that case indicated he had done security work for a firm associated with the bakery…….

    Asked whether any other former Your Black Muslim Bakery associates are involved with the new cafe, Robinson replied that Bey IV’s mother, Daulet Bey, “bakes our products. “… She’s a very nice lady.”

  61. John Klein

    Yesterday, we had open government – today, the only thing open at City Hall is the back door – for lobbyists. Last night, the Public Ethics Commission dismissed my complaint regarding four members of OBA and their lobbying activities. In doing so, the PEC completely gutted Oakland’s lobbying ordinance to the extent that there no longer is such an ordinance in Oakland.

    While commission staff found that some parts of the complaint had no merit, they also found factual and legal issues related to two allegations of lobbying warranting further inquiry. The PEC, however, rather than pursuing these complaints, instead found that the definition of a lobbyist in the ordinance is too vague and ambiguous to enforce. Well, actually, they were flogged into this conclusion by a room full of attorneys, architects, and consultants – lobbyists – complaining they don’t know what a “salaried employee, officer and director of a corporation” (the law) is…even though most of them are just that: salaried employees, officers, and directors of corporations. Go figure.

    In any case, the PEC bought it and concluded that the ordinance is too ambiguous to enforce and that it doesn’t provide sufficient notice to the public for individuals to know whether or not they were subject to the ordinance, if they should register as a lobbyist, and if they should disclose their contacts with elected officials, etc.

    The result? Even though there are legitimate lobbyist issues and instances of lobbying local officials, Oakland’s ordinance is too weak to do anything about it. And it will stay like this until someone – the PEC and the City Council – does something about it. This is a giant step backward for open government in Oakland. In the meantime, the back doors to City Hall are wild open.

  62. Chris Kidd

    John, it’s beneath you to try and shoehorn your moral outrage into a poorly-crafted ordinance. To cling to the notion that the ordinance is anything other than terribly ambiguous and poorly written just looks like sour grapes. Your gripes should be able to stand alone of their merit rather than relying on something so absurd as to require anyone and everyone who talks with a city official to first register as lobbyist if what they are there to talk about would affect them or any organization that they may be a member of, even if their discussion is unrelated to that organization.
    If you’re going to nail someone to the wall, do it the right way.

  63. John Klein

    KC, I did it in the exact manner provided by the City of Oakland and City Council and using the PEC. The outcome is that no one should think Oakland has any kind of lobbyist ordinance, registration, accountability, etc. It clearly does not.

    I presented very simple, straight forward and rather clear-cut instances of lobbying which the PEC decided that Oakland’s ordinance could not deal with. I don’t buy it and am not satisfied with the PEC’s call on this. The PEC never dealt with the fact that the individuals I called out are officers and directors of corporation other than OBA.

    The PEC only dealt with the nonprofit issues raised by the OBA aspect. But, when these people met with Council members and senior staff, these individuals were, at the same time, officers and directors of private, for profit corporations whose personal, for profit business interests are completely aligned with those of OBA’s “business league” status. The whole volunteer nonprofit board member argument was nothing more than an “artful dodge” that worked. The PEC definitely could have followed up on this, but chose not to, so now we have no lobbyist regulation in Oakland – none.

  64. Max Allstadt


    You were wrong, your claim was frivolous and retaliatory, and the Ethics Commissioners are sane. That’s why you lost. To a unanimous vote. A unanimous vote cast by people appointed by two mayors with radically divergent philosophies. You lost last night because for a precious brief two hours, a small part of our system worked exactly the way is is supposed to.

    The lobbying ordinance is horribly and vaguely written. Worse, it addresses the wrong side of the lobbying issue.

    The problem is not the behavior of lobbyists. The problem is the behavior or politicians. When a politician hides the degree of influence a lobbyist has exerted, the politician is the villain. When a politician avoids transparency, and when the unelected political forces in this city use this lack of transparency to their advantage, the politician is the villain.

    The politician is the person in this interaction who is elected by the people to uphold the public trust. The law needs to change to make politicians accountable for creating transparency.

    Unfortunately, the people who write laws… are politicians. Let us hope that the City Council has the courage to accept that they are responsible for transparency. Let us hope that they have the courage to vote to sanction themselves and their peers when they attempt avoid transparency.

    John, I believe the current law enabled you to waste our city’s time with a vendetta against a political adversary. I believe that the same law would enable others to waste the city’s time pursuing a vendetta against people who happen to be your political allies. It is a recipe for arbitrary and unending conflict between hundreds of activists, which would create an arbitrary unending farce at Ethics Commisson meetings.

    Please John, get over your failure to inflict damage on your adversaries, and realize that what happened last night was a victory for this city as a whole. We have an opportunity to create a new and effective transparency at City Hall. I sincerely hope that when this is all over, we have a good new law. Then, even you will be able to claim that you had a role (accidental and ludicrous) in helping this town find better ways of doing the business of government.

  65. John Klein

    Max, your calling my complaint a vendatta does not make it so – just easy and convenient. The fact is, I did not lose, the PEC found the ordinance too ambiguous to enforce, not that my allegations had no merit – there is a big difference. Commission staff found that the allegations related to entitlement extensions and meetings by developers with City staff about the CBD rezoning did “raise issues of fact and law.” I also still feel the Septemeber 12, 2008, meeting with Chang, Reid, and De la Fuente is susceptible to a complaint. I fully intend to pursue these under the existing ordinance.

    The PEC mentioned a “moratorium” on complaints but that is not possible because it is a law and the Council would have to repeal it. In any case, I expect it to take many months before the ordinance is fixed. In the meantime, if I have evidence of additional lobbying, I will certainly file complaints.

    As I said, the non profit volunteer board member argument was nothing more than an artful dodge – the participants of the lobbying activities I pointed out were, and still are, salaried employees, directors, and officers of corporations exactly as defined in the ordinance. On this, it is unambiguous.

    Vendetta, damage to advesaries? Max, it is an adversarial system… friends don’t file ethics complaints against each, silly boy. Adversity makes the whole system operate. The trick is to not take it/ make it personal.

  66. John Klein

    Carlos Plazola,

    I just want to say to you that the way you withdrew your PEC complaint regarding Mayor Dellums and the hiring of Dan Lindheim was one of the most positive and inspiring public comments I have heard at a City meeting in many years. You showed true poise and character at that moment and it should serve as a model and example for all of us.

  67. Max Allstadt

    John. Dude.

    You were one of two voices in a room who didn’t either speak the ordinance itself or vote to dismiss the complaint. One of two voices, in a room where over 20 spoke.

    The second voice that I refer to was Sanjiv Handa.

    In his remarks, Mr. Handa called every chamber of commerce in the United States “Prostitutes”, and topped it off by saying that the Brown Act was equally important as the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

    You aren’t exactly standing on solid ground here, playing Quixote alongside Sanjiv Panza. Democracy happened, and you lost. Move on.

    Maybe instead of figuring out how to file complaints against your adversaries, you should invest some energy in thinking up a new ordinance that would bring about the transparency you ostensibly started this fight over in the first place.

    As for Carlos, yes. That’s called being a good winner. right on.

  68. John Klein

    You are right, I lost this battle. It is embarrassing and it feels like sh*t. My bad; although I mean what I say about the artful dodge…I can’t believe the PEC fell for it.

    I think you are incorrect to blame me for wasting staff’s time, though. There simply is no other way to test the viability of a law like this without putting it to work. Maybe people have known or claimed to have known that the lobbyist ordinance is too vague, but nothing ever came of it. By forcing the situation where the City must enforce it was the only way to make something happen.

    I have already been in touch with three council member office about this and one agrees completely that the ordinance is too vague and that it doesn’t include nearly enough people and organizations with regard to registering and reporting.

    Yes, the lobbying ordinance must be better, including:

    1. Real time, online reporting and disclosure on a weekly basis, not quarterly.

    2. The City Clerk needs to certify any exemptions, rather than the individual claiming the exemption. Now, the individual simply does not report and must be challenged, as I did, in order to know that the exemption has been claimed. This is the “fox guarding the hen house.”

    3. I agree with your idea that City officials must have a role in reporting who they are meeting with. This will require council members to keep their calendars and notations…something some council members currently are unwilling to do.

    4. I’d like to hear more about jurisdictions that impose a fee on the registration of lobbyists. I was somewhat surprised to hear this and equally surprised that Oakland does not collect a fee like other jurisdictions (probably the result of enterprising lobbyists here in Oakland…) :-)

    The bottom line remains, however, that Oakland now does not have a lobbyist registration law, this is not a step forward nor make it a good day unless you are a lobbyist. It is a huge step backward.

  69. Max Allstadt


    You’re right! I acknowledge completely that testing laws is in now way a waste of the Ethic’s Commission’s time. I take it back. You didn’t waste anybody’s time. You did drive a bunch of people a little nuts, and I don’t think anyone should go through the ringer just for petitioning the government for redress of grievances.

    I wholeheartedly encourage you to stay engaged as this ordinance undergoes essential repair or even reconstruction.

  70. Carlos Plazola

    I do not try to dodge laws. I have willingly registered as a lobbyist for many clients.

    But a bad ordinance is a bad ordinance. And I will stand the ground that volunteer directors and officers of non-profits, including non-profits I may disagree with, should NOT have to register as lobbyists. We have to make it easier for people to participate in democracy. Not harder.

    All of this said, one very good thing came out of all of this, and I encourage everyone to get behind it: Max Allstadt’s idea which is so simple that it’s brilliant: that elected officials should be responsible to disclose who they meet with, when, and about what, and held to a higher standard than us non-electeds.

    I will happily continue to follow rules and regulations that are clear, and where everyone is held to the same standard. However, the ones that should be held to the highest standard are those who choose to run for office and hold the public trust.

    It is unfortunate, if not somewhat comical, that we, in the community, should be wresting over holding each other accountable, while our elected leaders don’t have to report diddly about their meetings.

  71. OnTheGoJo/Joanna

    John – thanks for the updated photos! By the time I’m back to being able to walk around the lake, they should be finished.

  72. Mike d'Okla

    I hope you will continue to post information about the selection process for the new Oakland police chief. This process will need constant monitoring by the citizenry if it is not to be screwed up as usual by the electeds.

  73. Becks

    Just a reminder that the BART board meeting on the Oakland Airport Connector is tomorrow morning:

    What: BART Board Meeting on the Oakland Airport Connector

    When: Thursday, May 14th @ 9am (TransForm recommends showing up by 8:30 if you’d like to get a seat in the Board room; if not, there is an overflow room.)

    Where: Kaiser Center – Third Floor, 344 20th Street in Oakland

    And if you’re not fired up about this yet, check out my blog post about BART staff’s astroturf campaign.

  74. ConcernedOakFF

    In case people haven’t already heard, the Oakland Fire Department just laid off 12 Firefighter Candidates that were less than 2 weeks from graduation from our Fire Academy. They had the longest Academy in history, more than 5 months, at a cost of almost 1 million dollars. Now they are being let go with little prospect of a future job.

    This is only part of the story, a large part of it has to do with the fact that former Chief Dan Farrell (the chief who instigated the application mosh pit last year) knew that there were not going to be spaces available for these individuals when the class began, but choose to hire a Non-Paramedic class anyways, even though the Oakland Fire Department is short more than 30 Paramedic positions.

    A complete and total waste of money, and one that the Administration should have to account for.

    I sincerely feel bad for the individuals that were released, and hope that they can find employment elsewhere.

  75. Patrick

    V – have you heard of Jing? http://www.jingproject.com

    It allows you to take video of live action (you highlighting, moving your cursor, etc.) on a computer screen, while also capturing audio (you talking into a microphone). It allows you to include a link on your website to the video which they host. AND IT’S FREE! One was just sent to me by my mortgage refinance guy, showing me how all of the figures were derived on the closing statement. Really, really cool – and nuch of the information you present is with graphs, charts and documents (that many of us are not completely familiar with), it might come in useful when you’re trying to explain a point regarding, say, the budget. Anyway, when I saw it I thought of you.

    If you’re interested, I could e-mail you what my mortgage guy sent me so you can see it in action.

  76. Ralph

    Can someone explain to me like I am a 5 year old why the street lights on Broadway between Grand and 25th have been dark for the past few nights? Did the city seem to forget that 2 of the hottest new restaurants to hit Oakland are located located at Broadway and Grand? It would be nice if potential patrons could find the restaurants.

  77. freddy

    Can some explain to me why Broadway in front of the new Japanese restaurant now seems to serve as a parking lot? Cars in the right lane 2 or 3 deep sitting with their hazards on – or not – and cars more or less parked in the left lane as well?

  78. John Klein

    Measure DD Update,

    There’s a lot of activity going on along Lakeshore today. They are pouring a really long section of new sidewalk in front of Oak Knoll Park up to the 18th Street pier. They are also putting in the new sidewalk in front of Gold’s Gym on Grand Ave.


  79. Navigator

    Great pictures. I was under the impression that they were going to extend the park into the street and eliminate one lane of traffic on Lake Shore. Looks like that’s not going to happen with the sidewalks poured in that location. If that’s the case, what exactly are we gaining? I know we get a new path by the Lake and a wider sidewalk. Is THAT it? I was hoping for a little expansion of greenery towards Lake Shore.

  80. Almer Mabalot

    Really great. After the sidewalks, boathouse, and the new bridges are finished. Than I can run around the lake for the first time. It would be great if they repaved the streets in and around Lake Merritt. It would attract a lot of retail to Downtown approximately towards Lake Merritt.

  81. East Lake Biker

    Lakeshore and Lakeside will be paved with brand new bike lanes (yay!). That will happen last after the park work is done. Lakeshore will still get a road diet: it’ll have parking on both sides, bike lanes and one traffic lane each way. The curb will stay in the same spot. It had to do with cost.

    I’m really waiting for work on the 12th St dam to get started. Once again there are $ issues.

  82. Almer Mabalot

    So the project on the bridge/street reconfiguration near the KCC and Courthouse are still in need of money in order to proceed to working on it?

    Boy, Oakland is getting a lot of redevelopment projects going. More are still on the way, and even more are pending due to financial issues. But one thing that really needs redevelopment and refocused attention are that of East Oakland. It is a huge residential area and If Oakland refocus on redeveloping East Oakland than I’m sure it would really make a huge difference on Oakland’s image.

  83. John Klein

    I am not fully “in the know” about the funding at 12th Street for the really big piece of Measure DD. But, I do know that money is NOT the issue there. It’s just taking a very long time to plan and implement the changes.

  84. Patrick

    Agreed, Almer. East Oakland contains the majority of our city’s population, but receives the least attention. There are so many beautiful but on-the-cusp areas in East Oakland, if the City actually spent a little money over here, it would not only improve Oakland’s image, it would improve Oakland’s tax base. There is only so much Uptown to go ’round.

  85. John Klein

    Measure DD Update: http://tinyurl.com/o8g5v4

    It includes the interior of the Boat House and sidewalk work on Lakeshore this week.

    Someone asked about the expansion of park land on Lakeshore, that was eliminated and I’m not sure why. In any case, I’m getting a little uneasy about the among of park land, i.e., dirt, that is being covered by new sidewalks. The sidewalks are nice, of course, but some seem very wide and in some places they seem redundant or unnecessary.

    I’ll be checking in about this with the Measure DD community group for more info. There is still a rather long stretch of sidewalk to install between 18th Street and 12th Street and I’d like to see if we can save more of the “dirt.”

  86. dto510

    Um, the Lake totally needs really wide sidewalks. It’s not pedestrians’ fault Oakland cancelled expanding parkland (without notice?). Fight with the cars for dirt, please, not joggers and walkers and strollers.

  87. len

    Opening line in a nyt article today “By firing its actuarial consultant last week, the New York State Legislature shone a light on one of the public sector’s deepest secrets: All across the country, states and local governments are promising benefits to public workers on the basis of numbers that make little economic sense.”

    what Oakland, SF, San Diego, State of Ca did in greatly improving retirement benefits was done by state and muni’s across America in the 90′s. In NYS, retirement plans would routinely be scaled back, and then reinstated jut before election time because of the clout of state and muni unions. Many of those govts didn’t even try to reduce police/fire retirement benes.

    When i had read the acturary’s report attached to Oakland’s financial statements, which estimated costs for funding medical retirement benefits (and was it also the discontinued OPD retirement plan?), i assumed that the actuaries who wrote those letters were held to the same standards as actuaries evaluating non public retirement plans. Time to revisit those projected costs.

    -len raphael

    -len raphael