196 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Naomi Schiff

    Ravi: first steps toward accomplishing bank account responsibility by the City of O:

    Check into previous policy regarding banking priorities (this has come up before).

    Request listing of bank relationships for major accounts, through City Council member (s) interested in working on this issue.

    Propose language for an updated policy for City Council discussion and vote, giving priority to using locally-owned or community-supportive banks, and avoiding those whose criminal actions have hurt our country and our city.

    Talk with community leaders who have been leaning on the banks for some years around their lending, mortgage negotiation, and local small business policies, to get a reality check on what is achievable.

  2. Patrick M. Mitchell

    With whom do we bank now? I’ve never received checks from the City, only sent them, so I don’t know.

  3. Izzy Ort

    “Could OccupyO and City Council and Mayor work together to move the city’s bank accounts to responsible, insured, local smaller banks wherever possible, and push on the bigger banks to get better support for jobs, development, and mortgage renegotiations? ”

    I have no problem with moving the city’s bank accounts to “local smaller banks”. I’m going to be participating in the November 5 Bank Transfer Activity by moving funds to a credit union account I will set up tomorrow.

    But what’s this ‘work together” stuff. Since when did Occupy Oakland become either the third branch of Oakland government, or Jean Quan’s new constituency?

    A fawning letter by Mayor Quan to Occupy Oakland that I just received by email has a similar theme. It seems she’s now the Mayor of Occupy Oakland.

    I would venture to guess that not everyone at Occupy Oakland is from Oakland. And not everyone from Oakland agrees with all of the Occupy Oakland agenda, which to the extent it has been articulated, seems to include some off-the-wall stuff.

    I wonder, when the Occupy folks don’t need her, will we Oakland residents get to borrow her?

  4. Aaron

    Cities in Alameda County with their own library systems: Alameda, Berkeley, Hayward, Livermore, Oakland, Pleasanton, San Leandro

    Cities in Alameda County whose city libraries are part of the Alameda County library system: Albany, Dublin, Fremont, Newark, Union City

    Unincorporated areas with Alameda County library branches: Castro Valley, San Lorenzo

    Other cities that rely on Oakland’s library system: Emeryville, Piedmont

  5. MarleenLee

    Occupy Oakland has taken the concept of City leadership bowing to the will of an angry mob to a whole new level. The lesson learned: use brute force and the strength of a mob, violate multiple City ordinances, censor the press to control your message, insult the police and throw bottles at them, censor public speakers by yelling and booing at them if you disagree with them, point to injured veterans (previously the enemy) to get sympathy for the cause, and you will have City officials eating out of your hand. Pathetic!

  6. Naomi Schiff

    Work together in Oakland, to me, means finding agreement on some mutually-agreed measures to improve all of our lives and our city, and perhaps its budget as well, rather than spending so much time arguing and protesting and focusing on process. To change anything on a local level, citizens (including OO citizens) would be well-advised get together to push the officeholders toward constructive steps. One of the instructive things about the Occupy movement is its emphasis on consensus. That’s not stupid.

  7. Andrew

    I also don’t appreciate whoever declared the plaza to be “Oscar Grant Plaza” with a large banner. They don’t speak for me.

    A little earlier someone asked what Ignacio would have done had he been mayor. It’s unfair to suggest he’d be ordering heads to be busted. I believe earlier, peaceable interactions with the crowd by police would have made a big difference. That’s not cracking down, it’s community policing.

  8. Sue

    Occupy Oakland has become Terrorize Oakland. At first I supported them. They don’t speak for me and most of my friends who live here. They suck up precious resources that could be better utilized in Oakland. Money to babysit and clean up after them could have gone towards safety, schools, and social programs. If Occupy O wanted to make a difference they could have gone to DC not a small City that has money problems. Halloween should be a blast down at the Frank Ogawa Plaza. In her short tenure as Mayor, Jean Quan has made a mess and doesn’t know how to fix it because she can’t seem to make decisions and stick to them. That’s what happens with ranked choice voting. The nice person wins, not necessarily the most effective person.

  9. Ravi

    “Request listing of bank relationships for major accounts, through City Council member (s) interested in working on this issue.

    “Propose language for an updated policy for City Council discussion and vote, giving priority to using locally-owned or community-supportive banks, and avoiding those whose criminal actions have hurt our country and our city.

    “Talk with community leaders who have been leaning on the banks for some years around their lending, mortgage negotiation, and local small business policies, to get a reality check on what is achievable.”

    Then do it. Let us know how things go for you.

  10. annalee allen

    The late Frank Ogawa, council member for many years, passed away in 1994 as work was being completed to redesign city hall plaza, city hall, and the new buildings associated with the civic complex. The beautiful plaza we see today is very different from the scruffy depressing area that existed before the ’89 earthquake. The council voted unanimously to rename the plaza in Mr. Ogawa’s honor. He was a man who led by example, was cordial to everyone, sought to find common ground, and worked to make Oakland a friend to the international community through his work with the Sister Cities Program. This, despite the fact that he and his family suffered a grave injustice when they were sent away to a Camp during WWII. I tell his story whenever I lead tours and I’m proud his legacy is reflected in the place we called Ogawa Plaza. With all due respect to Oscar Grant and his memory, I think we should keep things as they are.

  11. Barry K

    (previous thread)
    Naomi Schiff Says:
    October 28th, 2011 at 10:04 am

    “I oppose impeaching Jean.”

    ***That’s good Naomi. No one said “impeach” or heaven forbid let her resign. This is about a recall.***

    “My modest proposal: Could OccupyO and City Council and Mayor work together to move the city’s bank”

    ***That would tie-in nicely to the Municipal ID card program for criminals and others that would also work as an ATM/Debit card from the Bank of Jean Quan? What new poorly written parcel-tax measure will be needed for this disaster? New currency called “acorns” with Jean’s picture?***

  12. len raphael

    AA, that wb wierd for the city to jettison Ogawa.

    Any precedent for renaming a major city feature so soon after the original dedication.

  13. Patrick M. Mitchell

    It’s not weird, len. It’s disgusting. Frank H. Ogawa was, by all accounts, a truly wonderful man. And, he actually lived in and served Oakland.

  14. Naomi Schiff

    Sorry, Barry, used wrong word, tired. Ravi, I don’t think I can do it by myself but I am exploring whether Oakland should revisit where it stores its money, a significant deposit amount I’d think. Note that other California cities are doing this or are being asked to look at the possibility, at least. It is something that some of the activists might be able to help push and have some useful impact. I was trying to think of projects that Occupy Oakland might try to move forward on, and ones where they could conceivably get some useful action out of city govt. Cf also: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/sep/17/opinion/oe-alarcon17 and http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-10-25/bank-protesters-seeking-bans-move-into-city-halls-on-both-coasts.html

  15. Naomi Schiff

    Barry, maybe I didn’t make myself clear enough. The point is that since we are confronted with the actions and energy of people who want to make the economic conditions more fair, maybe there are some steps we could take together that could gain consensus and which would make sense. Perhaps watching where our city money is banked could be one such item. I don’t think it is such a stupid idea that it deserves your angry sarcasm. I try to be civil and I invite you to do the same.

  16. gfw

    Maybe it’s time for Oakland’s political class, including the folks that help put Quan in office, to start reassessing how they approach politics. Mayors aren’t supposed to be activists-in-chief. They’re supposed to manage a large organization in a fair, efficient, and timely manner, all for the public good. Instead of doubling down on the mistakes of the past 6 years, maybe people can learn something? Introspection is a sign of strength, friends, not a sign of weakness.

  17. len raphael

    naomi, whatever happened to the threatened lawsuit by kapland and or seiu against goldman sachs re the 17M ? fee we paid or were going to pay gs to get out of the interest rate swaps?

  18. @25th_Telegraph

    marleen: I actually think your attempt, or was it attempts, to sue the city would make you an ally to the Occupy Oakland movement. It has been my experience that what is happening in front of city hall is more democratic than what has been happening inside city hall. The General Assembly works and seeks 90% approval to any proposal, compare that to rank-choice voting. This is national if not global movement now, and like it or not Oakland is on the forefront. Others have brought up valid points here, all I can say is try bringing them to the GA instead and see what happens. Nobody wants the precious resources of Oakland to go to waste, obviously we have problems that need addressing. That is in part the reason for the General Strike that will take place on Weds. November 2, that will shut down the port of Oakland. This is the beginning of much action, which I for one hope leads to increased accountability of government, and the end of an apathetic voting population.

  19. Naomi Schiff

    Len, I don’t know the answer but will definitely try to ask Rebecca et al about the Goldman Sachs debacle.

  20. Naomi Schiff

    Len, I don’t know the answer but will try to ask Rebecca et al about the Goldman Sachs debacle.

  21. MarleenLee

    29th & Telegraph: Maybe you could explain how OO will help make local government more accountable? I don’t believe that 90% of an angry mob made up of anarchists, communists, mentally ill, homeless people and Alex Supertramps who aren’t even from Oakland is very democratic at all. sorry. The “General Assembly” of this group of largely misfits is not my chosen government, and I will not dignify them with my presence or voice. While I’m certainly not a fan of our current local government either, I am following the legal process to replace them. And I use my real name rather than hiding behind a mask and some anonymous screenname.

  22. annoyed

    25th@Telegraph’s delusional commentary is exactly why I want nothing to do with these people. A bunch of people, many of them outsiders with no connection to Oakland, have come into town and have decided that any new initiatives must go through them. They are the new provisional government led by Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann. How privileged, how entitled, how mighty white of them. Accomplishments to date:

    *Killing small businesses around City Hall

    *Renaming the plaza from a man who served time in an internment camp during WWII only because he was Japanese American and who served this city for many, many, years, to a kid with a long criminal record who got in a fight on New Year’s Eve and was shot to death by the police.

    As far as I can tell, these people have declared war on Oakland and our elected officials are allowing it. Jane Brunner’s self serving comments about how the decision for police action on Tuesday should have come through council was her slimey way to say she wasn’t responsible. Either. None of these electeds are responsible. They are all shocked, shocked, there is gambling at Rick’s. Where was Desley Brooks’ mouth on Tuesday night? She who camped out with these folks? It seems no one who is an elected official is responsible for the clusterfark on Tuesday that turned out to be for blessed nothing because the camp is back. Of all the council reps who should go, Brunner should go first. Get her and her familiar, Dan Siegle, out of here. Their law firm has made a fortune suing Oakland. If this witch is reelected, I vote Rockridge “we don’t want no development here” off the freaking island.

  23. Barry K

    New term from the Los Angeles Occupy movement. What a perfect name.

    I guess bedbugbaggers would be too tough to say.

  24. Born in Oakland

    @Patrick: Frank Ogawa was indeed a truly wonderful man who lived and worked in Oakland. The naming of the plaza after him was totally noncontroversial because he was so admired and respected and deserved the honor.

    I notice that most of the columnists reporting on OO are still referring to the plaza by the official name. This is the only positive thing about all the stories being reported.

    I worry about the action to “close down the Port of Oakland” and what will occur as a consequence of that action. I think the OO “movement” has been co-opted and I fear for all of us who will be left to live and work here when everyone else goes home and the dust settles. I do hold some City officials responsible for allowing the “camp” to occur without negotiating any controls at the outset. There is a difference between living and demonstrating and exercising the right to free speech and eminent domain of City property. Geez, was everyone sleeping when the tent city was erected?

  25. Sue

    Does anyone know how much it has cost the City for crowd control, cleaning the area, police etc. for “OO” movement? I’d like to find out the dollars spent so far. I think the citizens of Oakland need to know.

  26. len raphael

    very rough number i got was about 600 per cop per 8 hours, plus OT, plus equipment and supplies and munitions. That seems low to me but sb in the ballpark.

    also “heard” that it’s up to the discretion of the other city/county/state police depts whether they get reimbursed or treat the mutual aid as “training”

  27. Barry K

    Hi Sue: Also, the costs for trash disposal, porta-potties, vermin control, extra lighting.
    How about the impact to merchants that are losing business? How about City Hall closures; I assume city employees still paid without working.

    Obamaville or Quanville or Quanbaville?

  28. len raphael

    I look at the o/o disaster as just another example of Quan’s incompetence combined with her mind set stuck in the 60′s

    She should either have set up portable toilets, portable kitchens, designated a big section of the plaza for a 1 year encampment, and required police supervision just like any other public area; or she should have made clearly set limits on the stay from the onset and made sure she had enough well trained and supervised cops from the other cities/county/state that all had practiced under OPD rules of engagement to enforce the deadlines while using minimum force.

    Heck, any competent 60′s organizer would have known the health, sanitation, and safety issues that result when a bunch of young people come to what they hear is a “state free zone”. Don’t know if Wavy Gravy is still alive, but he and the Diggers did a better job at Woodstock when i was there, then Quan did decades later.

    At this point her former allies on the left and her critics in the center and center right all want her out. I want her out before she screws up the administraton of Oakland any more than it already is.

    -len raphael, temescal
    Vote No on Quan’s H,I,J
    Recall Quan

  29. MarleenLee

    According to the Bay Citizen, the City of Oakland expected the costs to exceed $1 million. And this was a few days ago. http://www.baycitizen.org/occupy-movement/story/quan-shunned-reverses-occupy-ban/

    So there you have it, folks, your tax dollars at work. With the camp fully rebuilt, and campers emboldened even more. And now they’re asking you to foot the bill with Measure I, not to mention the extra million this stupid election is costing in the first place.

  30. Barry K

    Marleen- Isn’t this just a pretext for a 2012 parcel tax “for services’ that might be an additional $199 per year; with the first year regressive for two years? Quan and certain Council members will again pit the police against libraries and add in all other city agencies and her well funded NGOs. They’ll skip listing who gets funding and claim it to be a fiscal emergency parcel tax.

  31. Ravi

    Just to change today’s flavor in the hope of a possibly positive note: if the Quanster were to be recalled, who could possibly become the captain of the Titanic (at the very moment, in the film, when the stern has risen quite vertical)?

    I think it’s a real question that deserves an answer.

  32. len raphael

    Marleen? isn’t the tentative answer that Desley Brooks is next in line until a new election is held?

    The legal interplays of irv and the recall rules are still getting sorted out.

    at this point the only unofficial legal opinion out there is from a member of the Greens. Worth reading, but no one is saying it’s the last word. Not clear that Gene Hazard initiated recall petition has legal council yet that specializes in election law. Yes that’s the committee I’m on :(


  33. Barry K

    Len, unless a special election is called with the recall, then, we have to wait until June 2012 for the next election. Assuming the City Charter states the Vice Mayor has the “option” to take the helm, we don’t know who that will be. That means we could see Kaplan vs DeLaFuentes fright for Vice Mayor next year?

    Another scenario is a petition drive for another candidate on the same recall election.

    Or, June 2012 recall and a Nov 2012 mayoral election.

    Gene has assured us that Quan can not run again if she’s recalled from office.

  34. len raphael

    Gene inal

    The only legalistic info we have public so far is from a Green’s member. No idea what his qualifications are, so reader beware:

    From: “Donald L Macleay”
    Date: Sat, Oct 29, 2011 6:36 am
    Subject: Recall legal stuff

    The relevant language in Oakland’s charter is “Section 1104. Initiative,
    Referendum and Recall. The People of the City reserve to themselves the
    powers of initiative and referendum and the recall of elected officials,
    to be exercised in the manner prescribed by general law of the State.”
    (online at

    Thus if a recall petition against Jean Quan is successful (either the
    one already submitted or a new one specifically over what the city did
    to Occupy Oakland), there would be a two part ballot, with a yes/no vote
    on recalling the mayor and a second part to vote for her replacement
    (which only matters if a majority votes to recall her).

    The somewhat murky question is whether instant runoff voting (IRV) would
    be used for the replacement portion of the ballot, because the charter
    says recall should be conducted according to the state’s general law. On
    one hand, there are provisions in the state Elections Code that seem to
    say the ballot should just list the candidates to replace the recalled
    official (EC 11322) and that a plurality wins (EC 11385) if the official
    is recalled. On the other hand, another provision (EC 11328) says that
    recall elections should be run in the same way as a regular election for
    the same office, but I suspect that hasn’t been interpreted to require a
    runoff election in cities that use a two-round runoff system (as Oakland
    did prior to the adoption of IRV) if no replacement candidate received a
    majority of the vote.

    As to the timing of the recall election, the elections official has 30
    days after the petition is submitted to determine whether there are
    enough signatures and, if so, send a certificate to the City Council,
    then the City Council has 14 days to call an election, and the election
    is to be held between 88 and 125 days from when it is called. Nomination
    papers are due 75 days before the recall election, so potential
    candidates will have at least 13 days to file after the election date is
    set, possibly as many as 94 days after the petitions are turned in
    (though probably much less).

    /Dave Kadlecek

  35. Born in Oakland

    New demonstration complete with police presence now occurring. Helicopters overhead, sirens in the distance. Live blog on both KPIX and InsideBayArea. Poor Oakland.

  36. len raphael

    Re. Measure J

    Other reasons to vote No:

    1. simply that there is no reason to rush this thru now. It’s not as if it fails, that Oakland has to come up with 45Mill more immediately than it would have otherwise.

    At best, it would be a no interest loan of 3 or 4 million bucks per year that had to be paid back. (at worst, it’s much worse than that).

    We should vote No on J and then tell our council members via email and in person, that we want the Council to come up with a comprehensive, sustainable long term financial plan for an optimistic, a likely, and a pessimistic set of scenarios for the next ten years or so, that includes all retirement obligations.

    if they can’t come up with a viable long range plan we better find that out now rather than in the year 2026.

    2. One lesson that financial professionals and maybe some local government officials learned from the economic events of the last years is that if you don’t fully understand a financial transaction/investment, don’t do it.

    And if a financial maneuver seems like a win win, too good to be true, then it probably is.

    So if you don’t completely feel comfortable with Measure J, the best thing to do is to vote no.

    If it’s really the free lunch that Ms Schaaf and MOBN has convinced Becks that it is, let its supporters fully answer the critics of it.

    -len raphael, cpa
    Vote No on Quan’s H, I, J
    Recall Quan

  37. len raphael

    Brown’s Pension Reform Proposal:
    is what real pension reform looks like compared to Councilmember Schaaf’s phony pension reform.

    I don’t know if it would help us reduce our huge under and unfunded retirement baby boomer soon to retire obligations because it seems to be primarily a “two tier” reform that only affects new hires.

    Would apply to state and local pension plans.


    1. would require 50% employee contributions to retirement, not Oakland’s 9%

    2. retirement age for non safety employees, wb 67 not 55 like we have now

    3. pension wb mix of a 401k and the current fixed benefit plan. Ie. some of the risk of investment losses would be born by employee as in private industry.

    4. pension wb based on average of last 3 years wages, not last year.

    -len raphael, cpa
    Vote No on Quan’s H,I,J

  38. @25th_Telegraph

    Marleen-my name is Matt Iglehart, I certainly did not mean to hide behind anything. Forgive me for using my twitter handle, where you will find my name and profile. I stand by everything I have to say, and I genuinely was reaching out to you and relate to your frustration with the city of Oakland. I can only speak from my own experiences, but I can tell you haven’t been any where near the “Occupation”, and you don’t want to see for yourself so, fair enough sorry to have bothered you. As for ways in which the movement will hold government accountable they are many. The recall or resignation of Mayor Quan is just one, and sadly a distraction from what this is all about. Most importantly what we are seeing is the death of apathy amongst young citizens (old too) and the end of hopelessness, which will hopefully turn into a larger, empowered voting population. But, I could be wrong. Finally I actually understand where you are coming from. I was always taught by my Dad that the only way to change the system is from within. But I ask you this: how’d that work out for you? I also seem to remember you getting some criticism here for wasting the city’s time and money for little gain, yet you pushed on. I certainly can understand how there are some people who feel disenfranchised and powerless by the same system and do not have the resources or education to seek redress of their grievances through a courtroom. Sorry to have bothered.

  39. @25th_Telegraph

    Annoyed- I don’t think I’m delusional, but I may be wrong. But I do think that you have no idea what you are talking about and are clearly carrying a lot of hate in your heart. Maybe you should try Yoga or meditation or smoke some pot. When you say most are not from Oakland you are wrong or lying. Same for when you say killing small business in the area. Not that it should even matter, but I myself am 4th generation Oaklander, and business owner. Most people can’t say that, but I don’t hold it against them. You do make one coherent yet hate filled point about Frank Ogawa, but rest assured the name change is not permanent. No disrespect to Mr. Ogawa but Oscar Grant plaza does seem to be entering the popular vernacular. Wow, I really tried my best to be polite, like when I asked the Police officer not to tear gas me, or the anarchist not to smash stuff up, or the racist not to be such a bigot. Sometimes people are just who they are.

  40. ralph

    One day I am going to look back at this momemt and ask myself, “Why?”

    First, Measure J is not intended to be pension reform. It is a Measure that allows the city to keep an extra dollar or two for libraries, parks and rec and maybe a few other services.

    Second, OO is killing Tully’s. At 2:30 on Thursday, I stopped by Tully’s for a cup-a-joe only to discover Tully’s was closed. The three afternoon employees nowhere to be found. An occupier told me that the mvmt would have coffee tomorrow to which I said how does that help me at 2:30 today. Then he offered it will be free. Again, how does that help me today. So to sum it, 3 employees each losing wages, unable to buy some gator soup for dinner. And some occupier thinking that a coffee tomorrow is worth the same as a coffee today.

    Third, Mayor Quan is not going to resign based on a movement that has no legs and is comprised of a fair number of non-resident individuals.

    Fourth, democracy is hard work. Gathering signatures for a recall effort is even harder. Occupiers don’t leave FOP; it is going to be very hard for them to gather the signatures needed for a recall.

    Finally, if you think the young people on FOP are going to be engaged when this all ends, you are mistaken. The ones who will be engaged are the ones who were engaged beforehand. But the truth is, this past weekend, I encountered many engaged young people and I was nowhere near FOP.

    PS: Len you pension reform needs to look at the full picture; I would do it in terms of overall compensation.

  41. len raphael

    @25th, o/o focusing on accountability of govt and increasing civic engagement wb fine by me.

    Somewhat offsetting that accountability for local government is the perspective of a friend of mine who is active in o/o and long time leftist activist on global, national and state issues.

    The way he looks at Quan is that she’s a bona fide progressive who made a mistake and then apologized for it. He doesn’t think she should be punished for it.

    He went on to say that Oakland’s fiscal problems could all be solved if we totally withdrew from Iraq and Afghan, and taxed the upper 1pct heavily.

    I then proceeded to lecture the poor guy for the next ten minutes on the long history of Quan’s incompetence and why her incompetence is sufficient reason for leftists to join with residents of all points on the political spectrum to force her out.

    He was saying her heart was in the right place blaming Wall Street for our fiscal problems that many cities have.

    I harangued with examples of why Oakland was much worse than most cities and Quan particularly good at blaming her and her incompetent progressive fellow Council Members mistakes on external forces of evil.

    i also pointed out to him that all of the savings from withdrawing plus a good chunk of higher Federal income taxes is going to go to social security and medicare, not to fund the retirement debt of state and local govts, fix their streets etc.

    We can’t depend on national reforms to fix our problems any more than we can expect some dramatic improvement in the economy.

    Seriously, if my goal were were to “radicalize” Oakland residents to the right, I’d oppose Quan’s recall. She will make such a botch of Oakland government that residents will not vote for another leftist mayor for years.

    Residents across the political spectrum should join to recall Quan.

    -len raphael, temescal
    Vote No on Quan’s H, I, J
    Recall Quan

  42. Naomi Schiff

    No recall! Think, Len! You can vote her out at the end of her term, or you can subject yourself to the serendipity of succession. Much better is to work to improve the current situation, not to suddenly have to face the same problems, only with some different person such as Desley or whoever. It is a recipe for chaos, and for nothing getting done for a couple of years at least. The last thing city hall needs is more commotion.

  43. Patrick M. Mitchell

    This morning’s Matier & Ross column is most interesting. Chief Jordan basically calls out Quan on the O/O flip flop and City Admin. Santana says the same thing adding Quan “understands my position”. Quan didn’t throw them under the bus – they really are calling the shots.

    Quan has to go.

  44. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Naomi your post gave me a hearty Sunday morning laugh…”nothing getting done for a couple of years at least.” Is that the downside or the upside?

    A recall isn’t simply about removal of one person from office, it’s also a warning to other electeds and an exercise of our power (lookie what we can do!). Plus, the halfwit City Councilmember who succeeds her will also fail miserably and then we’ll be done with two for the price of one.


  45. Ravi


    I hope that you can reflect on the potential disaster of three more years of Quan’s profound incompetence. A recall will be messy and there is no guarantee that things will get much better very soon, but we cannot continue as things are.

    Quan is so very out-of-her-depth. Please read about what she has been saying and doing all week. Think about it. Think about what a halfway competent Mayor might do instead.

    As Patrick points out, Oakland’s City Hall needs the loudest possible wake-up call. This is the time; if you can’t sense this, then you are as lost as is Quan.

  46. MarleenLee

    Matt – you are wrong, I have been to the Occupy encampment. I took a tour on the Tuesday of the City Council meeting, before attending the meeting and speaking at the meeting. The camp was gross. An eyesore. Looked like a refugee camp.

    As for what Occupy can do for local accountability, get this: I was one of the original signers on the Quan recall petition, and it had NOTHING to do with Occupy. Nothing. Now, of course, the occupiers are jumping on the bandwagon and trying to coopt the recall and claim credit, but the initial effort had to do with the items specified in the petition, public safety being of paramount importance to me and many others behind the effort. And Occupy is having a tremendously deletrious impact on public safety, drawing precious resources away from where they are really needed.

    I say you don’t need to kill the lawn, kill local small downtown businesses or otherwise disturb the peace in order to get people involved and engaged. I did watch your video and apparently you are most concerned about the undue influence big money has on politics. I absolutely share your concerns. However, keep in mind that the Occupy movement is being coopted by the unions – among the biggest and most powerful, monied special interest groups out there. You don’t think unions buy politicians? Do some research.

    And if big money is politics is such a big concern to you, have you written letters to the editor, to your congressperson, joined any local advocacy groups, started a blog, met with your City Council person? Where have you been? There are tons of ways to get involved and try to have your voice heard that don’t involve breaking laws and interfering with other people’s rights and livelihoods.

    So your dad said the only way to change the system is from within? Interesting, given that he was an Alameda County Superior Court judge, from Piedmont. (Are you really from Oakland?) Changing the system from within would imply me running for office, which I have no intention of doing. I wasn’t trying to change things from within. I was trying to change things using legal means, not the brute force of an angry mob. No, things didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, but I do believe that my efforts helped spread the word about government waste, dishonesty and broken promises, and that this in turn will help defeat Measure I. Success is sometimes indirect, and can take a long time. Read V’s recent post on the women’s suffrage movement. Lots of failure doesn’t mean you just give up, but it also doesn’t mean you have to stage a revolution.

    When you tell people who disagree with you on this blog to do some yoga or smoke some pot, you lose all credibility.

  47. @25th_Telegraph

    In general I have always felt recall efforts a waste of time and money. In this specific case if fully support the recall effort, better yet resignation. As Mayor, Jean Quan should be the #1 promoter of a positive image for Oakland. As we all know Oakland already has an image problem, at least in the media. Yet we who chose to live here know that there is a disconnect between that image and day to day reality. All of our problems are not her fault. when she took power I found it insulting that she said something like the people of Oakland need to take ownership of the city. As a property owner I have always taken ownership: painting over tags, doing deferred maintenance, cleaning litter, and human waste. I would even fill the potholes in my street if I could. It has been largely without help from the city and with frustration at the lack of basic services. Nevertheless I always work toward making Oakland better. Mayor Quan has set all of those efforts and those of others back 10-20 maybe 40 years. She needs to take ownership of her own actions. What happened Tues. Oct. 25th was her fault. It was an epic fail of leadership and vision, putting not only the public, but also the law enforcement community at risk, while squandering untold amounts of $ for no gain. She has done possibly irreparable damage to Oakland’s image. I have zero confidence in her ability to lead us forward. I have emailed her and requested she resign in order to save the city the expense of conducting a recall.

  48. annoyed

    Tully’s manager spoke on camera earlier in the week about how she supported O/O and gave them supplies. Her reward is loss of business and possibly her job. I feel sorry for her for being so gullible. It’s just sad to see what sheep people are when they become desperate or become blinded by frustration anger. She may now be living in the tent city.

    As for the Quan recall, people’s attention spans are much shorter than I imagined. The recall effort started before Tuesday night’s police action. O/O had nothing to do with it. Gene Hazard started this recall resulting from Quan forcing Batts out of Oakland. The people behind the recall might use O/O to collect signatures (although I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw one).

    In fact, eveyone is using O/O for their political purposes. The unions down at the Port are supporting the Wednesday shutdown. Michael Moore is mad he didn’t get his photo op with Scott Olsen (whose parents moved him to another hospital. On camera today, I saw the Highland Hospital spokeman say Moore disrupted the hospital with his demands to see Olsen, that the hostipal does not know where Olsen is, and then he delivered a message from the Olsen family to Moore which was to stay away from their son). This whole mess has just brought out the best in everyone. It’s almost entertaining and for once, I’m glad I live in the safety of the ghetto where these brave O/O souls will never set foot.

  49. @25th_Telegraph

    Marleen- first off please forgive me for trying to respond to a personal attack with what I intended as humor and levity. I guess that didn’t come across clearly. Probably what I had originally intended to say to that poster would have been much worse. As I have said I genuinely approached this site and you to engage in respectful,constructive, and informed discussion. I can see now the errors of my ways. You have made some salient points which I agree with, coupled with gross generalizations I can not agree with. Your comment about my Dad, and my residency is of a personal nature that I find to be a irrelevant, and a bit mean natured. You tell me, I was born in Oakland, Both my parents were born in Oakland, My grandparents on my mothers side were both born in Oakland. And I am proud that my great-grandfather G.B.Ratto (even though he was born in Italy) came here and started 2 businesses about 115 years ago. Does that make my argument carry more or less weight? Is there a residency requirement to engage in political discourse, or post on this site? Once again, sorry to have bothered you.

  50. annoyed

    Oh, well. My great grandfather came here in the 1880′s. So what?

    By the way, I knew the old timers who ran Ratto’s in the 1980′s and I’m quite sure they would never support the stupidity going on in this city now. Ratto’s will be lucky if it survives the occupation. All small businesses in downtown Oakland are going to pay for this misadventure. I expect to hear any day that Clorox is moving its HQ. I was against the MTC move, but now I wish them well. Who’d want to be stuck here? If this lasts for long, the tax base of this city will be destroyed.

    If John Russo would run for mayor, I might feel better about the recall but why on earth would he. I cannot think of a single person who could manage the mess we are in. Not Perata, not Iggy, none of ‘em. Iggy and Perata are controled by unions and they are not going to do anything to upset unions, including satisfying the consent decree because OPOA doesn’t like it.

    The reason O/O came here was because they knew we have a weak government and they could establish a compound that would be for the long term. There is no political gain for being here since there are no fat cats in Oakland. This is Oaksterdam, where drugs are plentiful and no one cares if you walk around smoking dope oenly. After all, the Council supported the Cannibis Convention. It is no accident these people ended up here. After the election, I suspect you will see some action in SF. Silicon Valley is in the South Bay. So why aren’t there more than ten people occupying San Jose? These decisions are calculated. Now that Quan has flip flopped, there will be no successful negotiation with these people because they know she is weak and at this point, represents no one,

  51. @25th_Telegraph

    annoyed- that’s my point, “so what” we have no argument there. I can agree with some of you points here. However Do Not speak for my family or presume to know what they would or would not do. Ratto’s will survive this just like all the other riots, strikes, earthquakes, depressions, wars, prohibitions, and inept city governments.

  52. Born in Oakland

    @25th_Telegraph should be welcomed to post his/her viewpoint on this blog. It is refreshing to reflect on a slightly different “take” on what is going on with our City, agree or disagree. We are all a bit edgy this week and taking things too personally (hard not to).

    It is really interesting to me to see just how many of our posters have families who have been around these parts for so long. The paternal side of my family also came to Oakland in the 1880′s/1890′s and the maternal side in 1911 or so. We have a 5th generation native born living with us.

  53. len raphael

    43 Ralph, you know that Measure J is not pension reform, and I know that it’s not pension reform, but that’s not what Libby Schaaf says when she’s cheerleading for her and MOBN’s Measure J.

    Title of her op-ed:

    “Measure J: Pension Reform and Budget Relief That Deserves Your Support!”


    She either is lying or doesn’t understand her own Measure J.

    -len raphael, cpa
    Vote No on Quan’s H, I, J
    Recall Quan

  54. MarleenLee

    Matt, you’re the one who brought up your dad and your residency, not me. I just researched it. I didn’t mean to be mean. I actually find it very interesting to find out who these protesters are and what motivates them. White liberal guilt is certainly up there. Anyway, just got back from my yoga class and I’m feeling more positive. (Seriously). So OO has had a positive effect that I ought to mention – my Halloween costume for tomorrow is gonna be awesome!

  55. len raphael

    Ralph, that isn’t why SEIU and the Firefighters spent the big bucks on that mailer for J.

    They know that J is the opening shot in the Oakland pension war. They are staking out their position thru Schaaf’s Measure J against pension reform and for “smoothing” the burden to younger and future residents.

    Quan, Kaplan, Kernighan, Nadel, and Brunner all support that approach because the alternative is telling the voters now that there is no way in hell we can ever come up with the money that we have promised all of our employees past and present for their retirements unless we make drastic politically painful decisions.

    Did you hear Brunner come down hard on IDLF the other week when he dared to suggest that just maybe the PFRS beneficiaries have to reduce their benefit escalator tied to current OPD compensation?

    -len raphael, cpa
    Vote No on Quan’s H, I, J
    Recall Quan

  56. len raphael

    Re the recall Quan movement.

    As Marleen explained, the petition was submitted by one person, Gene Hazard, before the OO raid. He did not consult with anyone but his close circle. He hasn’t released the actual petition that he submitted to the Clerk so I can only assume it’s similar to the petition a bunch of us signed.

    That’s ok except now the original petition appears to be too limiting and even repellant to be the big tent that’s needed to accomodate the people who want to recall Quan.

    But to repeat: we haven’t seen what Gene submitted. We have asked him to make it public.

    Sure, half the people who are organizing to recall Quan want to co-opt the other half or whatever to help their particular slant on the situation. Doesn’t bother me in the least.

    When Gene Hazard releases the full version of the submitted petition, we can all discuss it and see if it is broad enough for most of us.

    Personally, I just want a petition that states we want to remove her for incompetence and leave it at that. If that means we lose 10 days headstart, so be it if it also means that we have enough consensus to get those 20,000 signatures.

    That is unless someone out there like Kaplan’s backer CNA’s PAC, wants to kick in 100k to pay for paid signature collectors.

    -len raphael, temescal
    Vote No on Quan’s H, I, J
    Recall Quan

  57. @25th_Telegraph

    Wow, I really had much higher expectations for this blog. Thanks to V for providing such good information. Thanks for the words or thoughts from those who would engage in thoughtful dialogue. I will not bore the other readers with my attempts to defend myself. See you at the General Strike on Weds. Nov. 2. You can read my tweets if you care to see my point of view on things.

  58. len raphael

    @25th, you do seem to be a bit thin skinned for oakland tribal politics. :)

    Naomi, has put up with much worse.

    -len raphael, temescal

  59. Oakland Space Academy

    Of course there is a residency requirement for protesting at City Hall, @25th_Telegraph; you must not have been paying attention. Unfortunately, there isn’t a similar requirement to actually collect a paycheck from the City of Oakland.

    There is also a requirement that you write a letter to the editor, join an advocacy group, or meet with your City Council member before gathering to protest. Good luck with that last one though, I contacted mine 3 times when I moved to East Lorin and never heard back. Or you could go to law school and sue the City as well. I assume that is acceptable, I am still waiting for the exhaustive list.

    Annoyed: Want to bet Ratto’s won’t survive Occupy Oakland? Seriously, I’ll meet you there in a year. Name the amount.

  60. SF2OAK

    Where can i sign the Quan recall petition? My bet is that after All the ballot measures go down in flames Quan will have a health condition that will necessitate her resignation for health reasons. Btw Occupy Berkeley is 5 people on Shattuck- last week they were just homeless using the bench, now the same people with a raison d’être.

  61. len raphael

    SF2, patience on the petition. We have to get it legally correct and inclusive. might be ready this tuesday or it might take another ten days or so.


  62. Patrick M. Mitchell

    len, what does it really matter what the petition to recall Quan says – other than it will lead to Quan’s recall? Once she’s out, she’s out…it doesn’t matter whether it’s for malfeasance or stupidity.

  63. len raphael

    Matters to extent it can easily garner enough support to get the required number of signatures comfortably before deadlines.

    Fewer volunteers the more money has to be raised to pay for signature collectors.

    Quan would love to see the recall campaign stumble over wording of the petition. But the wording has to be inclusive or it will be divide and conquer by Quan in true Oakland pol style.

  64. Oakland Space Academy

    Good points Len. I wouldn’t have supported the recall without the events last week. Recalls should be reserved for gross misconduct. Quan disn’t meet that standard until then.

    My sense is that Hazard’s petition won’t fly because it will cite the kinds of issues that reasonable people can disagree on, like the best way to combat crime.

    But a well-worded petition should appeal to people to the left and right of her. And as much as Len doesn’t have a problem using folks to the left, I imagine the OOers don’t have a problem using those on the right. They’d love nothing more than a leader’s head, no matter her politics.

  65. len raphael

    gee, i almost feel sorry for JQ. Here she is crowing about her success at bringing business to the Port of Oakland and she has to choose between shutting it down or putting the smack down on OO again.

    Whatever comes out of it, I can’t see her going on any more junkets to China to promote the port.

  66. Tab

    @ len rafael (CPA) Post #40:

    Jerry’s pension plan calls for workers to pay 50% of the cost of the pension, not half of their salaries, of course. The 9% of salary that (most) Oakland workers pay is half of the cost of the pension contribution, and is matched by the City as such. Your comparison of 50% the cost versus 9% of salary is erroneous.

  67. @25th_Telegraph

    len -thanks, but thin skinned I am not. Actually kinda like a little adversity. I just have some more serious considerations on my mind like how I am gonna convince those hordes of anarchists not to smash shit up. I will discuss issues anytime, any where. After all why shouldn’t I be positive, I live in Piedmont everything is fine;)

  68. len raphael

    Tab, not sure how you got the impression from me that it was 50% of wages.

    Yes Calpers non safety total contrib rate might be about 18% now (don’t have time to search calpers sit now), but for public safety employees it is a much higher rate than 18%.

    More important, is that when Calpers runs out of room to “smooth” it’s investment losses and it adopts a realistic 3.5% investment rate of return for low risk investments, that 18% contribution rate will go thru the roof.

    Under Brown’s proposal the existing employees would have to pay half of whatever that contribution rate becomes. It sure won’t be 9%.

  69. Tab

    I got the impression because you wrote “…would require 50% employee contributions to retirement, not Oakland’s 9%” making a direct comparison between the two, which is obviously a false equivalency, though perhaps an accidental one.

  70. len raphael


    what is the current total contribution rate for public safety employees? thought it was raised about a year ago when calpers actuaries figured out retired safety workers lived longer than expected.

  71. Dax


    It would seem currently that while employees contribute 9%, Oakland contributes another 23.6% for a total of 32.6%.

    If that, the adding of the two, is correct, then 50% of that would be 16.3%, up from the current 9%. Or an additional 7.3%.
    Or higher as the reality of under-funding and lower returns make themselves known.

    Only crazy people ever really thought you could give a employee, working from age 25 to age 55, a 81% pension for the following 27 years of expected life.
    Of course it was going to cost more!
    Everyone knew it. Everyone except those who believed in fairy tales and/or were math illiterate. (the majority of the Oakland City Council and current mayor)

    The rates displayed are based on information in our records as of June 30, 2009. Each rate represents the percentage of reported active member payroll that the employer must contribute to CalPERS.

    Employer Code Employer Name
    828 City of Oakland

    Employer Plan 2011 2010 2009
    MISCELLANEOUS PLAN 2011 = 23.604%, 2010 = 19.885 %, 2009=19.588 %

    SAFETY PLAN 28.561 %, 28.092 %, 27.877 %

    Important Information

    The rates shown are for July 1 of each year; however it may not be the rate in effect for the complete fiscal year. Changes in plan benefits, the funding period, prepayments, or other contract changes may not be reflected in these rates.

    A rate shown as “N/A” may not mean an employer did not pay contributions for that year. It designates that there is no rate in the CalPERS database with a July 1 effective date for that fiscal year.

    ***The rates shown are for employer contributions only and DO NOT REFLECT EMPLOYEE CONTRIBUTION RATES. Some employers may pay employee contributions also, but this is not reflected in the information shown. Employer contributions do not go into individual member accounts, but instead go into the plan fund and thus become available to pay benefits for any member or retiree in the plan.

    The rates shown represent the total actuarially required employer contribution. In some cases, agencies may actually pay 0% during the year, due to prepayment at the beginning of the year

  72. len raphael

    Dax, you’re back too! Need you to post on some of the sites where Libby Schaaf and MOBN led the cheering for delaying funding PFRS, Measure J. Until the Tribune came out against J last week, there were maybe 5 people willing to criticize J publicly.

    Contact me if you can’t find the sites.

    -len raphael
    Vote No on Quan’s H,I,J

  73. Naomi Schiff

    This site seems now to have devolved into the exclusive ranting preserve of a narrow segment of the population. See you around.

  74. gregory mcconnell

    My office will be open on November 2. I will not close down because they say I have to. Protesters have a right to protest and I have a right to remain in business and support my employees and my family.

  75. ralph

    I assume this is only a temporary farewell. It is election season and OO is in full effect. I think people have strong opns on each subject. And recent council agendas have not been sexy.

    This does beg a question, how do you define narrow segment?
    In other news, I wish that the protesters realized that they were preventing good people from earning an honest wage.

  76. len raphael

    re general strike, how many for profit corporate HQ’s or even small branches of same are left here? Clorox, a handful of retail brokerage firms, and retail banks.

    SF or SJ would have had much better targets but then, those cities wouldn’t have had Mayor Quan…

  77. Born in Oakland

    We are donating money to the Alameda Food Bank tomorrow to support those in Oakland who go to bed hungry and are part of the 99%. We have been donating to them since V. held her donation event.

  78. len raphael

    someone on the darker side of OO knew their Oakland geography. The door locks of Radio Shack, Taco Bell, Staples, and Starbucks in the Emeryville/Oakland shopping center were spiked with glue early morning pre strike in order to keep them from opening.

    Employees at one of the stores, who are were younger people of color, after expressing agreement with overall goals of OO, laughed that the Apple store was untouched.

    Theorized that the OO people needed to get their made in Taiwan $500 iphones.

  79. len raphael

    sheesh. way to go Quan.

    This could take 500Mill of advertising to counteract the anti business image of Oakland.

    But no doubt it was worth it, right?

    The irony is that the jobs get created by some of the same 1%. Too complex to explain to the marchers who are just po’d at no jobs and shitty benefits.

    Maybe Quan will float 100 year bonds and hire another 10k people to work for Oakland.

  80. Ravi

    Meanwhile, Quan is in her bomb shelter. And her protege here, Naomi, also underground.

    Why is it that Quan and her clique cannot understand that Oakland’s fragile economy is fragile because they cannot cannot manage ANYTHING well?

  81. Patrick M. Mitchell

    I just got a street sweeping parking ticket. As we’re “collaborating” with the Occupy crowd, can I claim that I Occupied that particular piece of public property and get away with not paying? I’ll disperse when they ask, too.

  82. Ravi

    Patrick, my man, simply contact your City Councilperson and he, she or it will assist you. That’s what they are there for. And if they show the least hesitation, don’t you hesitate to go to the very next City Council meeting, get your speaker card and take your ticket with you. You will doubtless know what to say but don’t hesitate to mention that Oakland parking policy needs to be changed to reflect more progressive political values.

  83. annoyed

    Tully’s was destroyed. I guess that manager who stated on camera how she donated water and other supplies to the occupiers is really happy she did that. A volunteer cleaning up the mess said to me”we did not do this, that’s why I’m helping to clean it up.” Of course, if her happy behind had never come to Oakland in the first place to occupy it, the lovely young men who went on a rampage last night would not be here. One things for sure, every time there is a “mostly peaceful” demonstration, you can bet that there will be a mostly violent riot afterward.

  84. MarleenLee

    Patrick – I recommend you contact the ACLU about how the enforcement of local city ordinances is not “viewpoint” and/or “content neutral,” in violation of of the U.S. Constitution and multiple U.S. Supreme Court case precedential decisions.

  85. Ivan

    The images from last night were quite depressing! I’m riding by those empty (although sometimes newly renovated) store fronts every day, in hopes to see a sign announcing a new business finally coming in, but this new riot… I mean…. peaceful protest… will set this city back another couple of years. Depressing… our image will once again take a huge hit, and deservedly so :(

  86. Ravi

    “Depressing… our image will once again take a huge hit, and deservedly so :(

    Yes, our Mayor Quan is doing her absolute best to preserve Oakland’s image.

  87. len raphael

    on local yahoo groups, most of the people responding to my similar posts about OO, are critical of my position. How I’m missing the point, and how proud they are of Oakland.

    Offline all the responses are supportive of my position.

  88. livegreen

    The peaceful, active 99ers need to find a way to compromise with the Police and let them do their job. Otherwise every rally is going to descend into this chaos which, in turn, will undermine the movement, small business & all of DT Oakland.

  89. Ivan

    Will someone explain to me why these protests and marches don’t take place in Blackhawk, Danville, or wherever the actual CEO’s of the Big Banks & Corporations live. I’d probably camp out there for a couple of days too!

    I don’t understand, so please someone enlighten me!

  90. livegreen

    Better yet would be the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange. In Oakland, march to force the City & UC to divest itself from Wall Street & invest in Main St. (local small business funds).

  91. Naomi Schiff

    Yay Livegreen! Here’s what I have been suggesting: How about moving as many city accounts as possible to locally-owned banking institutions? Currently major account is at BofA. Both BofA and Wells refused to answer the city’s question, when submitting their proposals, about how many Oakland homeowners they were foreclosing upon (presumed answer: lots). City received a proposal from a smaller bank that said it was doing zero foreclosures. BofA got the job.

  92. Mkilian

    Not a happy camper. I routinely follow the postings in a rabid right-wing website. I like to understand the contrast with my world view and what I consider the tinfoil crowd. This was posted today on that website: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2802311/posts. It has Phil Tagami holding off a pack of idiots at night from entering the Rotunda building with a shotgun. This is not something that bodes well for Oakland.

    Also I have a meeting on the 8th of the ACFS (Association of Certified Fraud Specialists), Bay City Chapter, that is being moved from the downtown Wells Fargo building, because the president of the chapter is concerned about future violence, to a Pleasant Hill location near BART.

    I am quite concerned that what is happening with OccupyOakland very well may seriously harm the business prospects of downtown Oakland.

  93. len raphael

    what’s happening at the CC meeting tonight with Nadel and Brunner proposing CC affirmation of Quan’s defacto policy of allowing the OO encampment to continue indefinitely?

    -len raphael
    No on Quan’s H,I,J
    RECALL quan.com

  94. len raphael

    Michael, yup, you know it’s bad here when right wing fantasies come true.

    Ready to work on recall yet?


  95. Izzy Ort

    “How about moving as many city accounts as possible to locally-owned banking institutions?”

    I support this in principle, but I wonder how many of those Wells Fargo foreclosures were inherited from Wachovia, which Wells took over because Wachovia was choking to death on bad mortgage loans.

    Now Wachovia didn’t actually make those loans. They inherited them from a bank they bought for 25 billion dollars, when in fact it was worthless. The major stockholders of that bank, let’s call them H and M, pocketed a cool 2.5 billion. That put them in the 1% under anyone’s definition.

    That bank — it wasn’t on Wall Street. It was at 20th and Broadway right in the DTO.

  96. len raphael


    Think this through some more please.

    Not a problem that you and I run into often, but using small banks and credit unions to transact large amount of money is problematic. They simply don’t have the back office capacity to handle it. In addition, there is something to be said for “too big to fail” if it’s the City’s money we’re talking about. Little banks and credit unions are allowed to fail all the time. Up the 250k limits, there is FDIC or CU federal insurance.

    With the city needing to park millions overnight at any given time, it won’t get that protection.

    Then there’s the affect that a successful divesture would have on the stock portfolios held by CALPERS, PFRS, and all those non goverment union and employee pension plans. Are you ready for the implications of driving down the stock values and viability of the big banks and publicly held financial services firms?

    I really think we’d all avoid the unintended negative consequences if you worked for much stiffer regulation of the financial services industry. Unfortunately, both Democrats and Republicans feed at the same trough on that issue.

    But before you leap feetfirst into divestiture and bank account shifting, pause a bit and make sure we can live with the consequences.

    -len raphael
    Vote No on Quan’s H,I,J

  97. Naomi Schiff

    Take a look at the City of San Jose provisions and let me know what you think. They changed their policy, and Alarcon is trying to get LA to do it too.

  98. Ravi

    “Take a look at the City of San Jose provisions and let me know what you think.”

    I did. It appears that San Jose significantly reduced its investment portfolio with B of A. This is not the same thing as removing funds from working checking accounts.

    I think that Oakland needs to look out for itself before it tries to right all the wrongs of the world. Oakland could take on more and higher ethical burdens if it were a healthy, well-run city. But Oakland is not that.

    This principle is often called “physician heal thyself.”

  99. len raphael

    Naomi, if we had the city put a bunch of its short term funds in a small local financial institution that went belly up, it would be devastating to us. Maybe SJ or SF can afford to take that risk. I think we’ve already contributed enough money to bigger causes for now.

    Izzy, that was a funny reminder of our own local major participant in the home foreclosure racket. Herbert Sandler and Marion Sandler, Golden West Financial aka World Savings were pioneers in pushing the ‘flexible” payment mortgages which gave homeowners a choice each month whether to make a payment or add it to the balance. They were right up there with Countrywide.

    btw, the Saunders presumedly made out like bandits from the sale to Wachovia, but even their high level execs got screwed on their stock options when Wachovia tanked because of Golden West bad mortgages.

    It’s not popular to discuss here, but when you see people marching in OO about how the bank stole their homes, you have to make a distinction between people who lost their homes because they refid, took out a bunch of real estate bubble cash and spent it, now can’t or won’t pay their mortgages because their homes are underwater; and people who bought their homes with subprime mortgages with teaser rate initial low rates that zoomed up several years later.

    A bunch of those people were put in those loans even they could have qualified for low fixed 30 year mtges but the lenders and brokers made more bucks putting them into subprimes.

    But a bigger group of buyers bought homes they never should have bought using liar loans with little or none of their own money down, but with their money out for monthly payments. Many of them knew darn well that they were lying on their loan apps. I know people who knowingly did that. Others were ignorant and didn’t read what they were signing.

    The Saunders ripped off the investors in Wachovia stock much more than they ripped off people who took those variable option refi loans, pulled out cash etc. and walked or lost their homes when the bubble burst.


  100. ralph

    Can someone provide a link to the SJ documents? I’d like to know what they did.

    Len, I agree with most of what you say, but I am confused on your point on subprime. Are you saying that subprimes had a low initial term, but shot up to prime + 600 bps. (as an example)

    Frankly, I think the best thing the city can do to help potential homebuyers is partner with Charles Schwab to provide financial advice to people who need it the most. I can tell you who has absolutely no desire to advise home buyers – real estate agents and few of them are in any position to tell you if the bank qual is good for you financially.

  101. livegreen

    Things can be done incrementally without going all in. We have 2 good community banks in Oakland, who are both well known by the City govt. They can support them. & neither does home mortgages, and they’ve already come through the recession fine.

    As far as investment accounts, this can be done without risk. There’s a lot of money invested in SRI mutual funds, & they’re the tip of the ice burg.

  102. livegreen

    Max, How/Why’d you get arrested? Failure to disperse not clear enough, or were you trying to quell some of the more radical demonstrators?

    Obviously you didn’t agree with the more violent demonstrators so just curious what happened…

  103. len raphael

    Naomi, perfectly understandable that city finance people dread spreading their bank accounts across many more financial institutions. It greatly adds to the accounting burden just at a time when they are or should be cutting back staff.

    I don’t know the current situation, but wasn’t not long ago, the city finance people were a year behind on normal reconciling a bunch of smaller accounts?

    Ralph, yes the lenders knew that most people who only qualified for adjustable rate mortgages with very low initial “teaser” rates, or for liar loan aka “no doc”umentation loans were high risk borrowers based on their ability to afford the mortgages once the teaser rates ended or interest rates went back to historical average levels.

    At some gut level the borrowers understood that too except the borrowers had the delusion that many of us shared that the real estate bubble would keep inflating for many more years and then level off instead of bursting like the Dutch Tulip bubble centuries ago.

    The buyers knew their loans were shitty but knew they never could have qualified for better loans because they were high risk borrowers by any measure. They believed home prices would keep zooming up so they could refi into low fixed rate loans when their equity was much higher in two or three years Or they would sell and trade down and come away with cash.

    The lenders didn’t care because the Feds had relaxed rules for their captial requirements, but mostly because the world economy had grown and changed to a point where the entire world was clamoring for a safe place to invest. What better place than US and European housing debt. So the lenders shifted their risk to those investors, many of whom were outside the usa.

    I havent’ seen the data, but I would guess that unlike what OWS and OO are so sure about, that the biggest total dollar net winners were the US and European home builders and older home owners via a transfer of money from those worldwide investors. The second but much smaller transfer of wealth was from those worldwide investors to US and European financial instititutions, owners and employees in the real estate finance industry.

    The rippoff of us and european home buyers was the loss of their often low downpayments plus the excess of their often lower than rent monthly payments plus the cost of improvements they made if any, plus their sweat equity fixing up etc. But monetarily, it was mostly a loss of illusory wealth they thought they had but then went up in smoke.

    Try explaining that to someone who lost their house or who marched in OO, lol.

    Unless you happen to be my former neighbor, a single woman with two sons, in a very modest home on 49th street. She refid her home, put her two sons thru college, bought both of them new cars, and an SUV for herself.
    About 2 years ago, she knocked on her immediate neighbor’s door and handed him her house keys, saying the bank guy would come by that day. She moved into her mom’s house in North Oakland which had no debt and did just fine.

  104. len raphael

    Correct me if i’m wrong, but didn’t the Feds get repaid all of the bank bailout money, even for AIG?

  105. Naomi Schiff

    Ralph, I downloaded a PDF. I will post the SJ stuff as soon as I figure out how I got to it. It was interesting to read it, and not at all over the top or irresponsible. And, our city administrator Santana might just be somewhat familiar with it, as it was done in the last couple of years.

  106. Ivan

    So proud! The vandalism from last night made headlines even in my native country Italy:


    The other 2 Oakland’s things that made headlines in my native country: a) Oscar Grants’ riots (twice); b) HBO series on Oakland gangs. Yeah, we DO have an image problem here if we even have to worry about negative press overseas.

    The link below will show instead the make-up of the people arrested during the protests on Wed (only approx 30/100 out of Oakland):



  107. ralph

    Thank you. I would agree the SJ policy is not over the top. I am naturally skeptical of the claim made about the dollars moved due to this policy, but the policy has a flaw. I read it quickly so I could be wrong but the policy appeared to be punitive. Under the SJ policy, it would appear that the bank with the least crappy behavior wins the dollar. I think LA’s policy encourages banks to do the right thing – sound loans, invest in small businesses etc.

  108. Livegreen

    Ralph, Thats a good point. In SRI parlance SJ’s policy is “negative screening” (more traditional like don’t invest in nuclear or in armaments etc.), where LA’s is more recent & modern “positive screening”, includes only criteria that positively impact the community. For example B-Corps or Double/Triple Bottom Line Co.’s.

  109. len raphael

    Ralph, a city our size does not have have the clout, to do more than jawbone (not the bluetooth variety) banks to lend to a broad type or size of business, unless it happens to be a business owned by some official :)

  110. len raphael

    Ivan, that picture could give Quan some more economic development ideas plus tie into her penchant for international trade.

    She could promote Oakland as a combo anarcho/cannabis tourism destination?

    Several times a year, make it inviting for peaceful protestors to come during the day. At dusk, the fun begins.

    I need help with the concept because i’m an old fogey. But couldn’t we add anarcho restaurants and is there any music for matching clubs etc. ?

    Next we tie into the local foodie movement.

    Oakland Black Flag beer, maybe?

    This could more than compensate for any loss of big corporations avoiding Oakland like the plague.

  111. len raphael

    Born in Oakland, can you provide some kind of backup for statement that Lakeshore retailer locks were jammed early am before the strike?

    Not doubting you, just need something to give skeptical ncpc people who had not heard it. No word from Pam Drake who would know.

    you can email me offline at len.raphael@gmail.com

  112. ralph

    LG, I was trying to avoid any use of the word negative.

    Len, the Lakeshore damage was reported on local news and in some papers, you might be able to google it. Probably more reliable than the tweet that caused black Bloc to go off on WF and a locally owned dry cleaners on Websters.

    $50MM is small but I someone might miss it. The City may also want to look at Banking Development District. City will provide X in deposits if bank will increase activity in underserved neighborhoods. City gets public policy objective and bank meets CRA requirements. We need to spend more time focusing on win-win solutions and less time trying to punish corporate interest. Unfortunately, must Oakland residents seem to dislike and distrust corporate entities.

    Think different.

  113. Naomi Schiff

    I would appreciate any and all ideas on this banking issue. I so want to move the discussion off of the process of how to do protest and policing, and on to something productive and concrete and perhaps even useful. Thanks so much, Ralph for thinking about this seriously. I do think the LA proposal might be a good model. I don’t believe it is yet instituted, however. Would be interesting to hear more on how the SJ one works, or any other towns that have some track record with it over the last two years or so.

  114. Sue

    I work in the private sector and meet with a number of Company CEO’s and CFO’s. I ask if they would move their business to Oakland and everyone said absolutely not.
    I lobbied hard for my office to move to Oakland last year and they chose Emeryville because of the news about crime in Oakland. It’s a guarantee that when the lease is up in 4 years that Oakland will not be considered.

    The Mayor, the Council, City Employees get paid through payroll taxes (business) and other sources such as property taxes.
    Making it unsafe for businesses to operate in Oakland has consequences which we are now seeing.

    When Companies leave the impact is great resulting in unemployment, no healthcare for the unemployed which creates a strain on City services. Small businesses are greatly impacted.

    The 1% is the Mayor and the City Council. Their will be fallout but The Mayor and City Council will still receive their benefits such as pension and healthcare while leaving the City in worse fiscal condition due to bring in their personal political views in running a City.

    Some of the Council members support Occupy Oakland. Instead of a City resolution (which are just words), I suggest the mayor and council propose the following to show that they really support the cause: Here is how they can negotiate the protesters out of Frank Ogawa Plaza

    1. Pension reform: I don’t know what the benefit formula is. Here’s an idea. Greatly reduce benefit formula to receive 8% of comp or less. Cap compensation to salary only – no overtime, no bonuses and PTO. Change formula of years to avg salary of 10 years Or terminate plan and offer 401(k) with a match capping it at a certain $$ amount to make it equitable for everyone.

    2. Pension Contributions are invested in the stock market (Wall Street). If they support the movement, then they should propose to divest and put money in a money market account at a Credit Union. Money Markets yield perhaps 0.25%. Go back to #1 and change the Pension to reflect 100% investment in Money Market which will mean underfunding and termination of the plan because tax payers will not vote any money towards pensions.

    2. Mayor, City Council, Administrators, put protesters, homeless, or unemployed as one of their beneficiaries for their pensions. As a taxpayer in Oakland and paying their salaries, it would be the right thing to do.

    3. Offer free room and shower facilities to protesters by those who support them. That way they can clear the Square and offer a safe place to live. Example, Nancy Nadel, Desley Brooks, Rebecca Kaplan, and Jane Brunner can offer free room and board and shower facilities.

    Do you think any of them would agree. I doubt it.

    My point is, you can’t have it both ways. They want to bring their political agenda into running a City but also want the benefits that are associated with Wall Street.

    The Mayor and Council want to pay for schools, liabraries, safety, etc. and part of that comes from payroll taxes by Corporations who are associated with Wall Street. If you drive business out, then it is likely to bankrupt this City. Certainly Oakland residents will not pay higher property taxes to fund their agendas.
    The protestors have taken over Oakland because Jean Quan can’t make decisons and the City Council is very weak. This isn’t about Wall Street anymore it’s about occupying a City illegally and getting alot of publicity. Every day the public opinion is shifting against them, the Mayor and members of the City Council.

  115. len raphael

    Sue, about an hour ago I asked a neighbor of mine who was supported indefinite stay of OO encampment if he was offering OO people showers at his house that’s only 15mins from dto. He looked at me like i was crazy for suggesting he’d bring them home.

    In many ways what you propose is reasonable but too late. Oakland, like Greece, has been ignoring that’s its been bankrupt for several years now. Oakland has been able to pay its bills by deferring maintenance and not/underfunding retirement obligations.

    That’s why SEIU paid big bucks for a city wide mailer supporting Measure J even though SEIU has no members of its own in PFRS (old pension plan). SEIU officials want to delay as long as possible the day that voters look hard at the long term deficit situation. If voters did that, they’d demand massive concessions now out of SEIU and other union members. That’s the day the SEIU officers get recalled.

    Today’s NYT’s on Greece
    “what is so remarkable about this episode is that it wasn’t so remarkable at all. The reversal at the I.M.F. was just one small piece of a broad pattern of denial that helped push Greece to the brink and now threatens to pull apart the euro. Politicians, policy makers, bankers — all underestimated dangers that seem clear enough in hindsight. Time and again over the last two years, many of those in charge offered solutions that, rather than fix the problems in Greece, simply let them fester. ”

    -len raphael, cpa
    Vote No no Quan’s H,I,J

  116. Livegreen

    -The 2 Community Banks in DT Oakland are among the most community oriented & progressive in the country. They are Community Bank of the Bay & One Pacific Coast Bank. At least one of these is “triple bottom line” (test to OOers: what is this?);

    -Inner City Advisors advises several local SMEs, including Oakland based Socially Responsible companies Give Something Back and Revolution Foods.

    -Pacific Community Ventures does the same and has a VC attached to it (investments incl. Revolution Foods & Niman Ranch);

    -RSF Social Finance is another, located in SF but their President lives in Oakland;

    -There are several major SRI Mutual Funds that are moving from Negative to Positive Screening methods for their investments. One of the most dynamic in this is Calvert Funds, a founder of Social Capital Markets Conference or SOCAP.

    SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) is a minimum floor level of responsibility that, combined with local community investment, investment accounts of Unions, Cities, UC, etc. should b pushed to adopt exclusively.

    Maybe even the Pacific Coast Stock Exchange?

  117. len raphael

    There are people in the OO who are much smarter than Quan, the CC, and OPD brass put together. If Quan et al think they can count on the weather to make OO go away, LOL.

    -len raphael
    Vote No on Quan’s H,I,J

  118. Sue

    I agree on the City switching to Community Banks or credit unions. Some credits unions are not FDIC insured. I have some questions. Can anyone define what the OO mission statement is? Is it going after investment banks, their CEO’s, Boards? Is it going after the 1% who are the richest, is it going after the UC System that pays outrageous salaries to the President, Administrators and teachers while cutting classes and raising tuition? All I hear are a bunch of protesters talking in generalities with no defined mission except
    demonstrating, violence, and closing banks, small business, and the port and potentially putting people out of work.

    If the mission is to close down anything related to Wall Street, then investing in SRI’s is not viable because they are traded on the NY Stock Exchange. The Pacific Stock Exchange closed and folded into the NYSE in early 2000 and is now a Fitness Club.

    I think we can all discuss solutions but nothing will be able to get accomplished until Jean Quan resigns for the good of Oakland. She has lost all credibility. As an example, Naomi trys to move the dialogue but it always goes back to the OO and impact of the movement on this City. Nothing will get done or in the future with Jean Quan as Mayor.

  119. charlie s

    I fervently wish we could expel thuggish brats from the social movements I cherish, including Occupy Oakland. But that’s unrealistic: it can’t be done. Instead, let’s consider Congressional legislation to create a “First Amendment fund,” modeled after national disaster aid and FEMA, to insure poor cities such as Oakland against the costs of political disasters. We must protect the rights of dissidents to protest peacefully, but equally the rights of taxpayers like myself, in a struggling city, not to shoulder the entire financial burden of protest. Otherwise, the growing conflict between property owners and protesters (which is also a conflict within my own self) will distract us all from the real problem, the rise of oligarchy in every aspect of American life.

  120. Ravi

    “Jean Quan resigns.”

    “let’s consider Congressional legislation to create a “First Amendment fund”

    Jesus F. Christ, folks. Disneyland is in Orange County.

  121. len raphael

    is it just this video, or are OO media intermediaries usually women or people of color?


    It is tv worth watching.

    Displays some of the attractive and repellant aspects of oo.

    The speaker at the end describes black block people romanticizing violence.

    quan, kaplan, brunner, nadel, and kernighan romanticize the entire occupation.

    -len raphael
    Vote No on Quan’s H,I,J

  122. gregory mcconnell


    Thanks for your post. I had missed this video. It is OO in its own words and they cannot explain this away by attacking the media for only giving sound bites. I hope Oaklanders watch this and begin to understand the difference between protesting corporate greed and lawlessness in our streets. I have attended many meetings with city leaders and have been told they are trying to negotiate with the occupiers. Looking at this video I ask, negotiate with whom, about what?

  123. len raphael

    ivan, normally I’d go DTO about once a week for Chinese or Japanese, or hardware stores . Haven’t gone since OO and won’t go till the encampment is gone. No pious pleas from OO fans to help them undo the damage they’ve done to DTO will change my attitude on that.

    if they intend to bring the occupation to the hoods, it would be a really stupid thing because the backlash from their day time supporters in Montclair, Glenview, Rockridge, Temescal,North Oakland etc. would evaporate quickly once the scenes in those photo’s get repeated nearby.

    I gave the link to those photo’s to a non-political acquaintence who works in a non-profit overlooking FOP. Her response was yes, accurate.

    I call it shitting in our nest.

    -len raphael, temescal
    Vote No on Quan’s and the City Council’s H,I,J

  124. len raphael

    Judging from some of the interviews on videos, there are some delusional occupiers who have convinced themselves that there were tens of thousands of demonstrators and that they succeeded in shutting down a major city.

    The contrast between the white gal and the first black guy’s was very funny. She spoke of tens of thousands demonstrators, and he mentioned 7,500.

    He was just about rolling his eyes in frustration as she kept on her rant.

    A bunch of them believe their own media image which i must say, probably had half the world believing that OO had shut down a major US city. Funny to think our image to outside world for this purpose was better than it usually is even if it is so out of whack with the semi comatose pre OO reality of DTO.

    -len raphael, temescal
    Vote No on Quan and City Council’s H,I,J

  125. annoyed

    In a way, it would be good if OO came to the neighborhoods. Let the black whatvers tear up Rockridge, and Fruitvale and Piedmont Ave and let’s see all that empathy for them fly right out of the window. Maybe the nimbys in RCPC could run them out of town.

    When this finally does end, it is going to end badly. Again.

    Dellums was not a great mayor but he hired more cops than any mayor in recent years and he hired the best police chief we probably will ever have. Dellums let the cops run the department unlike Brown and this msfit in office now.

  126. livegreen

    Oakland Local reports all Ballot Measures defeated. Considering other cities have passed theirs, & considering Oakland usually passes it’s property taxes, this is a real commentary on the distrust of Oakland City Hall.

  127. livegreen

    Both Oakland Local & O. North blogs have articles on the Tax Measures (O. North also good coverage of the City Council mtg). Nothing in the Tribune or Chronicle. For even the most basic Oakland City Hall coverage the Blogs just made it official: they have better coverage than the tabloid –oops, I mean traditional– media.

    Something V & ABO have long proven in a more in depth way…

  128. livegreen

    Also note the City’s Budget page still has NO update of either the base Budget the Council & Mayor accepted OR the specific Contracts and Concessions they agreed on with Municipal Unions.

    Is THIS the transparency the Mayor and City Council members said they would bring in? Or does “transparency” only a word to be used against opponents during an election?

    I guess there will be some upcoming meetings scheduled…

  129. livegreen

    Thanks V. Couldn’t find them this am when I looked on either the front page or bay area sections (or equivalent).

  130. MarleenLee

    LG – also if you want your news fast, you really need to be on Twitter. The Chronicle reporter posted the results on Twitter within minutes of them being released.

  131. livegreen

    Budget questions:
    -Since the Mayor’s Options were not a Budget, will the City’s current adopted Budget be put into the detailed Budget form of past years?

    If so, when?
    If not, what detail do they & the public have to go by?

    -Have the details of the adopted City Contracts been released?

  132. len raphael

    LG, maybe if MJQ had approved my proposed nomination to the Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee, I could have found out for you.

    Gee, I can’t understand why she didn’t approve it.

    -len raphael, temescal

  133. livegreen

    Thanks for the follow-up on Hodge. & still no info on how she funded her campaign? Politics in Oakland are truly messed up.

  134. len raphael

    There was a successful council member recall in February 1950; and two failures on the same ballot.

    Low voter turnouts were very common in Oakland then, with a few notable exceptions.

    (be interesting to see a chart of turnout over the past 70 years)

    Origins of the interplay and conflict between self styled progressive labor and self style good government pro business reformers can be seen in the political battles of 1930 to 1950′s around public housing, district elections, raising cop and fire fighter pay.

    Fascinating that in the late 40′s the progressives were fighting the pro business machines, but now the burnt out progressives have their machines fighting the pro business reformers without machines.

    That one sucessful recall of a pro business council member was achieved by very high turnout in East and West Oakland black and white working class. Middle class tended to support the pro business group.

    Fast forward to the last Mayoral election and Perata was counting on high black turnout in East O to carry him. Don’t think it happened.

    Heard one theory that he would have pulled that off if he hadn’t po’d some of the black congregations by favoing other congregations.

    Any Oakland political history help wb appreciated.

    -len raphael

  135. len raphael

    Fast forward to Oak to 9th.

    i was not involved, so this is strictly compiled from other people’s accounts and some newspaper reading at the time.

    My rough understanding is that the O to 9th referendum proponents wanted a general election vote to decide whether to sell waterfront land to a large developer, and thus override the Council vote. (ironic that the council was dominated by progressives).

    The referendum supporters colllected the requisite number of valid signatures but lost in court battles at the end brought by the develper and by John Russo on behalf of the City Council.

    It seems to me they lost mostly because they didn’t have the bucks for competent specialized legal council before they submitted their petition to the Clerk for initial certification. But maybe it was just bad legal counsel.

    They also ran close to maxing out theri time b using volunteers instead of paying for signature collectors for most of the signatures.

    Russo attacked them for not using the exact copy of the ballot measure in their petition. Their defense was that they used the version the Clerk gave them ?

    At the end, the Oak to 9th proponents I talked to felt they coulda been a contender if they hadn’t run of money/energy to appeal in the courts. In hindsight, some of them felt that they should have raised money to pay for signature collectors so they could gotten to the finish line much faster than using volunteers.

    -len raphael, temescal

  136. Born in Oakland

    I will ask the question again. The press is speaking of TWO (opposing) different groups managing the Recall Quan campaign. Does anyone have any information/insight into this? Does anyone have a published site to refer to? What is going on?

  137. Ravi

    I’ve heard that there are two separate groups currently gathering signatures and that there is a third, splinter group forming.

    Nice and efficient, Oakland style.

  138. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Sketchy info, but I believe the groups differ on the method of gathering signatures, not the petition itself. If so, they’ll all be using the same petition and forwarding signatures to the petition’s author for remittance. At least I hope so.

  139. len raphael

    Naomi, in the next election cycle, try asking the various campaigns and candidates where their campaign banks? I was surprised that at least on of the political accounting firms insist on campaigns using one of the big banks.

  140. len raphael

    Anyone visit Joe Tuman’s facebook lately? I’m sure V has :)

    Joe issued a mild mea culpa for supporting Measure J. For a rhetoric/communications prof, he sounded a bit Kerryesque. Still, pols admit mistakes so rarely, he should be given a thumbs up for that post.

    His piece defending the right of Quan’s family to meddle in city affairs was oddly legalistic. Went on about need to determine the intent of Quan and her family. Who gives a rats_ about intent in this situation. In matters of state, it’s effect that matters. At best it was inappropriate for Quan’s family to take an active role in OO and closing the port.

    At worst, it was Quan, her family, and her most active campaign supporters working via the post election BBBON playing junior Machiavellian games with OO.

  141. livegreen

    Oakland settles police-shooting suit for $40K


    Can somebody explain to me whether when settling this kind of lawsuit the City does more good for itself (reducing it’s legal costs on 1 case) or more harm? (continues its reputation of settling even cases the City is not at fault on, thereby increasing the # of times it gets sued & it’s long-term legal costs).

    My other concern is that the City indirectly promotes the stigma that “OPD is ALWAYS wrong”. Even when they aren’t.

  142. Born in Oakland

    So I just went to the Official Recall Jean Quan site and was really turned off by the typos (Gene Hazzard’s email address is incorrect in one place), spelling errors and just plain sloppy site. Yikes. It is so important to “present” professionally and this site does not make the grade. Picky picky.

  143. Ravi

    Thanks for the pointer, Born. The entire situation is quite amazing, and a typical Oakland snafu, including the coverage on the NBC Bay Area website. The NBC article which was written by “R. Middleton” is full of significant factual and grammatical errors and suggests that the writer failed to graduate high school, along with his or her editor. The article is sufficiently poorly-written that it’s not possible to understand what the writer is attempting to say.

    Here ‘tis:

    Embattled Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has one official group collecting signatures for her removal, and at least two unofficial groups that have organized. [sic]

    The Official Remove Jean Quan website is active this morning, ran [sic] by Gene Hazzard, an Oakland Post photographer and member of the Oakland Black Caucus. The group has 160 days to collect 20,000 Oakland voters’ signatures. Hazzard’s group edged out two other groups that formed, according to SFGate, because he was too controlling in his methods. [Did Hazzard’s group edge out two other groups or did the other groups edge out Hazzard?]

    One of the groups is led by Gene [sic] Harland, who ran against Quan for mayor last year. [Greg Harland ran against Quan.] Harland told the Gate [sic] that his group is ready to go to court, having hired a veteran campaign lawyer. The other [sic] is [sic] the Committee to Recall Jean Quan and Restore Oakland. [Is this one other group or two other groups?] The latter [sic] will circulate Hazzard’s petition.

    Quan told the San Jose Mercury News, “The last thing we need is a divisive and expensive recall election.”

    The recall election would run concurrent with the next mayor’s race, but whether or not ranked-choice would be incorporated in either runoff. [sic]

  144. Born in Oakland

    @Ravi: When running something as significant as a recall election, correct spelling and grammar and content on a public website are essential elements. I am embarrassed for the team and for us.

  145. livegreen

    Are you saying the petitioners need to be coherent but our politicians don’t? Given many of our politicians policy decisions, management, & contradictions why hold the petitioners to a higher standard than we hold our politicians?

  146. len raphael

    Based on that website hard to tell who’s more incompetent, Jean or Gene.

    Takes one to know one.

  147. len raphael

    I love hearing Quan call a recall “divisive” and “expensive”

    Her doomed ballot measure election cost what, 800k?

    In over 30 years here, I have never seen Oakland residents from the hills to the flats so united on a political issue as they are on the need to kick out Quan and put someone competent in her place.

    Yeah, she called it distracting also. I thought Jerry had concentration problems, but MJQ is right up there. But she takes getting distracted to whole new level by leaving town on the eve of the first OO.

    -len raphael, temescal

  148. len raphael

    Quanomics: “”San Jose is more broke than us,” said Quan, who added the city has a $36 million reserve and no lawsuits holding up the developments.”

  149. Ravi

    I forgot to add that Quan’s greater stupidity probably costs us $100 to $200 million per year, at a minimum. That’s really broke.

  150. len raphael

    I’ll bet you the entire A’s and raise you the Raiders too, that Chuck Reed has a much better handle on how broke SJ is than Quan has on our deficits.

  151. len raphael

    No reason a recall campaign would need a special election, unlike Quan’s recent $800,000 mail-in silliness. Could be timed for a Nov 15 2011 regular election. Extra cost to validate test samples of petition signatures. $75,000 even at inflated City overhead burdened cost?

    Then there are people who say give Quan a chance, it’s only her first year. That’s exactly what many talking heads were telling us for the first three years of Dellum’s regime. He only got better and better.

    -len raphael, temescal

  152. len raphael

    Seems like Quan is going full bore attacking OO now. Almost as if she decided if she couldn’t beat the critics of OO, she might as well join them and outdo them.

    How’s Floyd and BBBON handling this? Grinning and bearing it as the burden for living in a benighted city where the residents have been brainwashed by the 1% ?

  153. len raphael

    Just when I thought the Trib understood the reality of city govt here by their editiorials on H,I,J.


    The standard for worst Trib political editorial is the one prior to the June 2008 council races. They listed all the faults of the incumbents, and then proceeded to say why we should re-elect the incumbents.

    This editorial opposing a Quan recall, is just bizzare.

    Tells us not to blame Quan for the fiscal mess and the underreporting of the depth of the problem created over the past 10 years.

    Accepts her blatant blathering blaming the city’s accounting staff.

    btw, anyone have a link to the State audit reports on OUSD for two years before she led it to the edge of bankruptcy before she jumped the OUSD sinking ship?

  154. livegreen

    Quan & BBBON attacked Batts too. It’s either a deliberate strategy or they’re vindictive people. Or both.

    I saw the Tribune Editorial too. I can think of reasons not to do a recall, but they aren’t the ones they list, & some of them are just not true (like Jean not being involved with or knowing about the problems). Also, some of the comments underneath are pretty to the point &/or funny…

  155. Ravi

    Quan is notably vindictive, according to several people I know who’ve had to work with her over the years. And BBBON is her baby (hers and Floyd’s). So the attacks are both deliberate and vindictive. Whether or not they are strategic is another question. I doubt whether Quan and family are capable of taking any long-term view of any matters, political or otherwise.

  156. ralph

    Just when you thought that Oakland City Council / Finance Committee could not make a more unsound decision along comes Councilmember Brunner’s parking giveaway. There is much that could be said about this proposal beyond its piecemeal approach to parking, but for now I just want to focus on two issue.

    The proposal as originally presented is to provide for a five minute grace period following expiration at block meters. Councilmembers de la Fuente and Brooks both indicated that this essentially penalizes drivers at single head meters. The Finance Committee agreed to institute a policy that states if the driver returns to the car while the metermaid is still in the issuing process, then the metermaid can cancel the ticket. As I watched this on video, my jaw fell to the floor. Was I the only one who just realized that the FC just gave free parking to drivers who use single head meters? With the new policy, only a FOOL would pay at a single head meter. Fortunately, Scott Johnson Assistant City Adminstrator also detected this problem and alerted council who promptly ignored it. I normally do not advocate breaking the law but if council wants to hand single head parkers a gift, you drivers would be fools not to take it.

    On the issue of the block meters, Councilmember Brunner indicated that people felt they were being penalized because their time keeping device” differed from the parking meter. It would be one thing if this were 1961, but this is 2011 and almost everyone has a smartphone with its time keeping capabilites. Thus the driver is not a victim of the merchant’s clock. Second, the block meters are most likely synchronized with the same clock that keeps time on one’s cable, satellite radio, computer and SMARTPHONE. There should be no excuse for why one can not get back to one’s car before the meter expires.

    There is more I could say such as merchants as a whole being poor judges of smart parking policy and lack of supporting evidence to develop policy is normally not a good plan, but I will save that for a later date.

    I will close with this, someone needs to speak truth to power. Councilmember and declared City Attorney candidate Brunner proposed a hugely flawed policy that more cynical individuals would describe as a blatant attempt to appeal to residents across all districts who feel that the city is using parking as a means to plug a revenue, and not to facilitate commerce. But the non-elected leaders in the position to tell her about folly of her proposal more or less bent over backwards to find a way to make it work.

  157. len raphael

    Recall history:

    from the Oakland History Room “There was an even earlier recall election to oust Mayor Frank Mott, lead by the local Socialists, held Monday, August 5, 1912. During a demonstration on the waterfront, protestors (“disturbers” and “orators,” as they were called in newspapers) were roughed up by police. As a result Mott along with a few councilmen, were threatened with a recall action. In the newspapers of the day, there was unchecked fear about the possibility of Oakland ending up with a Socialist mayor as Berkeley had at the time were the recall to remove Mott from office. Under Mayor Mott, the city had enjoyed a period of progressive change. He had reclaimed the city control of the waterfront after years of litigation. According to a San Francisco Post editorial the recall was seen as unnecessary and costly (estimated at $25,000) to taxpayers. The Livermore Herald reported:
    “If these recallers could bring one charge of corruption or mal-administration against Mayor Mott and his commissioners it would be different. But they do not attempt to do anything of the kind. They make their great point of attack that much-abused cry of “free speech,” and all because the Oakland police would not allow a mob of imported and invading members of the I. W. W. to make found and indecent attacks upon the American flag upon the street corners of Oakland.”

    The (only) other recall, which I incorrectly said occurred in 1951, was scheduled March 1950.

    So all Quan has to do is convince voters that she’s another Frank Mott, arguably the best Mayor we’ve ever had.

    -len raphael, temescal

  158. len raphael

    Mott was squarely a 1 percenter and a founder of the precursor to the Chamber of Commerce (come on, Annalee, help us out here), member of the Athen’s Club etc.

    Mott was firmly in the Progressive camp which included many good government business leaders whose definition of progressive meant efficient government without corruption, not economic/social justice of which Quan is convinced she represents so ably.

    i haven’t found confirmation of the recall vote which wiki describes as “initiated by the radical Industrial Workers of the World, on August 5, 1912, with 17,139 voting in favor of keeping Mott in office, and 10,846 against.”

    -len raphael, temescal

  159. Ravi

    Ralph is quite right about merchants generally being in utter ignorance about smart parking policy. And the result is stupid, inconsistent parking policies which only serve to discourage visitors to shopping districts and to maintain a general skepticism about the rationality of City Hall.

    Although I don’t consider myself a cynic, Brunner’s 5 minute parking gift is nothing other than a typical Oakland-elected-official political ploy. Ignore the real problems of the city, and the real inadequacy and inconsistency of parking policy, and toss out a little something which can perhaps bring a little positive attention to one’s self. Like all last-minute, reactive political gaming moves, the five-minute thing is full of flaws.

    Wouldn’t Brunner make a splendid City Attorney?

  160. SF2OAK

    the new parking kiosks are such terrible technology to begin with.One is forced to be a scofflaw at the outset- one must leave ones car and get a paper- at which time one is a scofflaw and not only have I seen people get ticketed my wife is now the recipient of such a ticket- outrageous. Not only that the kiosks are inconvenient for the user- that just exemplifies the customer service attitude of this city- NONE- they show that the taxpayers, shoppers will be mistreated. Of course the counterpoint to that is look at any downtown street and if you don’t see at least 50% handicapped placards I’d be amazed and I never have seen less than 50%- this is the citizens fighting back- I don’t believe that many are handicapped- Furthermore if you have a child in the car what are you supposed to do, leave your child in the car while you get & wait for a ticket or bring the child with you to get ticket, then return to car to place tix on windshield- where is child? Could they not print on the paper exactly how many minutes you have purchased- I know my clock is not synched up with theirs so the pertinent information should be at least on your ticket- it is not. What if you want to add minutes to your purchase – you cannot. Why can’ I use my fast track to park, or a device like a fast track- where I place it in the window showing a meter running that way you exit the car once are all paid up until you stop the device and no need to buy extra minutes. I know these devices exist because I have used them. No it seems to me that what Oakland city council bought was a system designed to make you fail so you will get a $50 regressive ticket- don’t tell me about progressive oakland. The parking situation, from the kiosk to the city administrator’s overpaid felonious nephew, to the rollout of the $2/hr price to even the poor roll out of yesterday’s free parking embody Oakland Government and it is wrong and it needs radical change. Yesterday.

  161. annalee allen

    Frank Mott came from very modest circumstances, had to work to support his family from an early age (so don’t know where the 1% reference comes from). During his 10 years as mayor he brought about many positive changes. After he left office in 1915 he continued to work for the city, on road right of way projects, until well into the 50s.

  162. Ravi

    SF2OAK: You really cracked me up, man. Brilliant. Your tale really sums up Oakland–a city with great, very adolescent intentions, too big an allowance and ADHD 24/7.

  163. Patrick M. Mitchell

    SF2OAK: DITTO. Our parking kiosks are slow, often broken and aren’t in the least bit intuitive. Unlike Emeryville where I shop. Michaan was right. Hate to admit it, but it’s true. I’m happy to pay for parking – really! -

  164. Patrick M. Mitchell

    BUT don’t make it a game. Hmmm…perhaps I should get a handicapped placard like the Oakland public employees.

  165. len raphael

    Annalee Allen, you may or may not know people in Oakland who came from very modest or poor backgrounds to become wealthy but I do. It still happens, even here.

    What interests me is the contrast between Frank Mott and Jean Quan.

    Other than both came from modest means and both faced recalls, the differences are stunning.

    Mott is remembered for twice defeating Socialist candidates. (curious how close the elections were)

    I don’t think Quan would want to place herself in that tradition :)

    Judging by some of what I read only, was that some people opposed his recall because they feared that if he were defeated Oakland would get a Socialist mayor. In a senses there is a parallel here, again Quan wouldn’t want to mention it, that some people opposed the recall simply because they thought his replacement was worse than he.

    I’m sure you know this stuff better than I do. If the sources are accurate that Mott belonged to both the Athens Athletic Club and the Athenian Niles Club, that he and wife were listed in the Oakland Register of 1925, that he founded the precursor to the downtown Chamber of Commerce, and that he owned his own successful real estate company, wouldn’t that qualify him for membership in the 1% club?

    btw, I didn’t see membership in the Bohemian Club, so can I conclude he wasn’t in the top tier of the 1%

    Frank Mott was truly competent Progressive with a capital P. Quan is not even a competent small letter p progressive.

    Oakland Register:

    Biog and fraternal org memberships:


    Among the prominent and representative men of Alameda county
    none stands higher nor possesses a wider circle of friends than Frank
    K. Mott, the mayor of Oakland. A self-made man who, by his
    natural leadership, initiative and unswerving principles of honor,
    has risen from humble station through the several positions of mes-
    senger boy, clerk, merchant, real-estate dealer, member of city coun-
    cil and several times mayor of Oakland. In every capacity he has
    measured up to the highest standards of efficiency and more than
    satisfied the expectations of his friends and party.

    Frank K. Mott was born in San Francisco, January 21, 1866. His
    parents, Peter D. and Fannie K. Mott were from New York state
    and settled in San Francisco at an early day. Leaving school at the
    age of twelve years and working as a messenger boy for the Western
    Union and American District Telegraph Company, his education was
    of necessity very limited. However in a year’s time he had advanced
    to the position of clerk and collector for the company, and he
    remained there for four years, at the end of which time he entered
    the employ of George S. Brown, a hardware merchant of Oakland.

    When he was twenty- two years of age Mr. Mott entered into
    partnership with A. E. Howard and together they succeeded to a
    part of the business. This firm continued for eleven years when
    Mott bought his partner out and became sole proprietor. In Janu-
    ary, 1907, he sold his mercantile business and founded the well known
    firm of Frank K. Mott Company, real-estate brokers, whose extensive
    dealings and manifold improvements have helped so materiallv
    toward a greater Oakland.

    In the meantime, in 1897, he was appointed to the city council and
    chairman of the committee on finance by Mayor Pardee, afterward
    governor of California. In this capacity he served for two years,
    the last year of which time he was president of the council. In 1899
    he was elected on the republican ticket to the council again. Another
    honor was bestowed upon him in 1905 when he was elected mayor of


    Oakland on the republican ticket, having also received endorsement
    of the democratic party and the Municipal League. He was elected
    again in 1907 to succeed himself, being a candidate of all parties.
    Since then two elections have been held, in 1909 and 191 1, and he
    has been reelected both times.

    Mr. Mott is a member of the Nile and Athenian Clubs, and
    is active in Masonic, Elk, Knights of Pythias, Moose and Native
    Sons orders. He has also served on the republican state central com-
    mittee. He is organizer, president and stockholder of the Frank
    K. Mott Company and several allied corporations. He is director
    in the Security Bank & Trust Company and was president of the
    League of California Municipalities.

    Mr. Mott was married in 191 1 to Mrs. Gertrude Bennett.


  166. len raphael

    please correct that to read:
    Frank Mott was a truly competent Progressive with a capital P. Quan is not even a competent lowercase progressive.

  167. annalee allen

    sorry len, I just don’t see it (i.e. Mott in the “1%”). That was then, now is now. How many one-percenters do you know would continue punching a clock every day (after leaving elected office) and come to work in the very city hall they built?
    I am no supporter of the Quan recall effort ~ just putting that out there. I think it is an utter waste of time. And I don’t trust the motives of the organizers. I fail to see how the recall exercise is going to make anything better.

  168. len raphael

    annalee allen, for sure it’s interesting that he stayed on the city payroll after his third term as mayor.

    Don’t know whether he was broke from being mayor for 3 years a la harry truman, or whether he enjoyed being helping the city so much.

    Considering there’s no remaining whiff of financial scandal in my superficial readings, could very well be that unlike was it Capentier?, that he went broke honestly running Oakland at the peak of his earning years.

    I’m curious and will dig into that more.

    Suspicious of motives of organizers of the recall? What do you suspect?

  169. Annalee Allen

    re Mott and his later years, I can only speculate, but I think it just came down to the fact that in those days you just kept showing up and working and earning your pay every week. I once met someone, a nice older lady, who contacted me because of my column. She said she was a young clerk in city hall in the early 50′s and she worked for Mr. Mott. He used to tell her stories about what a scally-wag Horace Carpentier was. It gave me goose-bumps to hear that first hand account about those early town founders we have come to know about. We can also debate as to whether Horace was one of the “1%.” I have some theories on that as well.

  170. len raphael

    Annalee, what’s your overall conclusion about Carpentier? Unmitigated crook or visionary crook?

    Just noticed the Columbia connection, he and John Russo both graduated Columbia College (I was a CC drop out).

    -len raphael

  171. annalee allen

    re good ole Horace ~ I picture him as a young whipper snapper of 26, fresh out of law school (Columbia) and eager to use his education…when he gets to the East Bay. Things are very fluid and no one has a crystal ball as to what the federal government is going to say about the Spanish/Mexican Ranchos in California. He engages with the Peraltas and, through legal maneuvering, throws all the property claims up in the air; and that’s just for starters.

  172. annalee allen

    len ~ before I respond, I better brush up on my Beth Bagwell history and make sure I have my facts straight. btw ~ OHA has announced that the long awaited updated version of her book will soon be available. Required reading for all the Oaklandphiles out there.

  173. len raphael

    Annalee, meanwhile I’ve been torturing the History Room staff. They came up with a possible source for the probate records that would might include a list of Mayor Mott’s assets and debts at death, unless he set up a trust which would give privacy.


  174. annalee allen

    now now Len ~ please don’t torture our history room staff! we need them. Happy Holidays to all, and thank you to V. Smoothe for orchestrating a great Oakland forum.