Open Thread, now with announcements

A place to discuss things I haven’t written about. Also, Rebecca Kaplan fundraiser and municipal wifi meetings.

  • Do you want to learn more about Rebecca Kaplan? You have a chance next Tuesday, when the Oakland Builders Alliance will be holding a fundraiser for her.

    155 Grand Avenue, Suite 100
    Bank of Alameda
    Tuesday, September 23; 5:30pm – 7:30pm

    This is an excellent opportunity to learn about Kaplan’s plans for Oakland. Since it is a fundraiser, donations will be requested. Please give what can, the race is going to be tight.

  • I personally don’t think we should be pursuing municipal wireless right now. Maybe you agree with me, maybe you don’t. In any case, the City wants to know what you think. They’re holding focus groups in each district. Two already happened, but if you missed those, you still have a chance to make your voice heard:
    • September 22, 2008, 5 PM City Hall Hearing Room 1
    • September 22, 2008, 7:30 PM, Dimond Library, 3565 Fruitvale Avenue
    • September 23, 2008, 7 PM, North Oakland Senior Center, 5714 MLK
    • September 24, 2008, 6 PM, Clinton Adult Education, 750 International Boulevard
    • September 25, 2008, 5:30 PM, West Oakland Senior Center, 1724 Adeline
    • September 25, 2008, 7:30 PM, Eastmont Substation, 2651 73rd Ave.

    If you attend, you will be entered into a drawing to win an iPod shuffle.

Oh, and the old open thread is here, in case you want to refer back to a discussion there.

89 thoughts on “
Open Thread, now with announcements

  1. Rebecca Kaplan

    Invitation: United Democratic Campaign
    Oakland Headquarters Grand Opening Party!

    Campaign to elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Ticket

    Sunday, September 21st. 2pm

    1915 Broadway, (@ 19th St.) Oakland

    Speakers include Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Assemblymember Sandre Swanson, and more.

    Snacks, socializing, action.

    More info available at:

    A flyer for this event (PDF format) is available online at:

  2. len raphael

    time to start coming up with concrete budget cuts and not wait for the pols.
    especially considering that whatever our pols project for the deficit, the real deficit is going to be at least 25% higher because of the credit disaster tax revenue effects on real estate development and business expansion. not to mention my favorite white elephant, unfunded employee medical retirement benefits. -len raphael, temescal

  3. Navigator

    A letter to Nancy Nadel and Oakland City Council regarding the ongoing graffiti problem in downtown Oakland.

    Dear Ms. Nadel & Oakland City Council,

    The ongoing blighted conditions in downtown Oakland are unacceptable. Graffiti, litter, and blight, is allowed to fester downtown without any kind of policy change to deal with this problem. Why are Oakland taxpayers subjected to such shoddy maintenance in their downtown? Why is litter allowed to accumulate at bus stops on 14th & Broadway, 13th & Broadway, and along most of downtown? Why are traffic control boxes, traffic signs, newspaper racks, garbage containers, parking meter boxes, etc. allowed to remain blighted by graffiti? Why is litter allowed to accumulate east of Broadway on 15th Street, 16th Street, 17th Street, 19th Street, etc.? Why are citizens going to the main branch of the Oakland Public Library subjected to a blighted strip mall building directly across 14th Street, with torn awnings, and graffiti on the walls? Why is the graffiti on light standards, graffiti on utility boxes, graffiti on garbage containers, and graffiti on traffic signs allowed to fester directly in front of the Main Library? Why is “PE$T” allowed to soil downtown at will? Why is this delinquent, along with many other knuckleheads, allowed to destroy what others work so hard to build in downtown Oakland? Why are these vandals allowed to dictate to the citizens of Oakland what type of downtown environment they will be subjected to?

    Do you folks drive or walk through downtown? Is this acceptable? Where is the Oakland Police Department on this issue? You hire more cops at a huge cost for what? This isn’t rocket science. You folks can’t even accomplish the basics of providing your citizens with a well maintained and litter free downtown. It’s time for the City Council to sit down with Chief Tucker and come up with a strategy to deal with these vandals who trash downtown with impunity. How many vandalism arrests have the Oakland Police Department made so far this year? The best way to save money on maintenance is to have a no tolerance policy on vandalism. You’re already paying the cops to enforce the laws, you shouldn’t have to pay public works employees to clean up after law breakers as well. Public Works employees ideally would be dealing with regular maintenance based on weather and environmental factors, not cleaning up after delinquents determined to deface every surface in downtown Oakland.

    It’s a shame that despite having an opportunity to capitalize on the new residential and commercial development downtown, the City of Oakland instead fails to protect the investments made by corporation and individuals and allows these vandals to create an unpleasant environment for businesses and their customers. In these uncertain financial times, it would be difficult to sell these units under pristine conditions, adding blight and graffiti to the equation makes it that much more difficult. Shaw Plaza, at 22nd and Broadway, sits blighted as Signature Properties attempts to sell condos across the street. The new office building at 21st & Franklin sits empty as graffiti mars Shaw Plaza and other businesses across the street. Commercial buildings up and down Broadway are vandalized at will. The YMCA is now blighted with graffiti. Sears is now a magnet for graffiti thanks to the new bus stops at Berkeley Way. Even the Paramount Theater has graffiti on the rear of the building. A new business on 7th & Harrison in Chinatown has large graffiti on its roll up security door. A large warehouse building “Acorn Supply” around 9th & Castro has twelve foot graffiti visible from the 980 freeway. This is so sad. And then we have communities like Walnut Creek who know what it takes to create an inviting environment suitable for business attraction. Downtown Oakland should be as well maintained as Walnut Creek. How is Oakland ever going to attract businesses and retail when it can’t even keep its downtown free of litter and graffiti?

    Unfortunately, Oakland has no leadership. Mayor Dellums seems to be a sleep at the switch. Nancy Nadel allows these conditions to fester without coming up with a policy and working with the police department in order to come up with an aggressive and comprehensive policy to stop this vandalism. Perhaps,other Council Members, like Mr. De La Fuente can show some leadership on this issue. Every Council Member from all of the districts in Oakland needs to get involved to make sure Oakland is able to maintain its downtown. The condition of Oakland’s downtown has an effect on how every resident in every district perceives their city. It’s imperative that you all work together to set a policy to deal with these vexing problems. If this vandalism is allowed to go on with impunity Oakland will continue to suffer with a reputation of a dirty, unmaintained, third rate city. You need to take this issue extremely seriously. This is something which can be addressed and rectified with some leadership. Thank you.

  4. Max Allstadt


    I heard someone ask once, “Is graffiti art, or crime?” Silly question. The answer is it can be either, neither, or both depending on where it is and whether it’s beautiful or just a territorial pissing.

    I have a simple initiative that would help with the graffiti issue. It involves learning from two other parts of the Bay Area.

    In SF, in the Mission, there are murals everywhere. Many in the very same style that the best graffiti artists are known for. In Emeryville, every electric box has been decorated by the same artist.

    Now these areas have more cops than we do, for sure, but part of what protects them from Graffiti is respect. Taggers don’t tend to tag on top of works they find impressive. There is a building in West Oakland, for example that is covered with a huge water and fire motif, and it rarely gets any graffiti.

    So what do we do in Oakland? For starters, we should get the Cultural Affairs Commission to collaborate with Public Works, EBMUD, and PG&E to create a simple, inexpensive procedure for artists to legally paint utility boxes. I have a great deal of details on how to do orchestrate this and make it symbiotic, but I’ll save space and just say this: The more we fill up blank walls under 8 feet tall with art, the less graffiti we’ll see. What’s more, even if we do see graffiti as we walk around Oakland, our eyes will be cured a little bit as soon as we see the next mural.

  5. Navigator

    Max, I agree, I’m all for murals. However, much of the stuff that we see downtown is pure vandalism and blight. These selfish delinquents go around sketching their marks like dogs marking a fire hydrant. I’m tired of seeing “PE$T” “KAMOS” “KAKE” “HAP” “STUEY” blighting every surface in sight. They mark public property and private property. These knuckleheads should be arrested for degrading the quality of life for Oaklanders.

    We can’t afford a blighted graffiti marked downtown. What we see in downtown now is not conducive to enticing businesses, residents, or visitors to downtown. I’ll make some distinctions here. City Center, Old Oakland (with the exception of the back wall of Le Cheval) and Frank Ogawa Plaza look pretty good. Broadway, Webster, and Franklin are a disgrace, as is the lower area of Telegraph from 38th Street all the way to 16th. The old buildings inn the Produce District are marred by graffiti. Areas of Chinatown like 7th & 10th streets are marred by graffiti.

    Other cities seem to know how to deal with this problem. Chicago, for example, has a huge downtown which is immaculate. Boston has a very well maintained downtown. DC does a good job, and Manhattan keeps its main thoroughfares looking good despite the incredible amount of foot traffic. Locally, downtown San Jose is well maintained, as is Walnut Creek here in the East Bay. Why does Oakland settle for blight? Why does Oakland settle for mediocrity? The Oakland Police Department needs to run a sting like the San Jose Police Department did recently and arrest “Kamos” “PE$T” “KAKE” “STUEY” “EVEL” “HAP” and all of the other knuckleheads defacing every square inch of Oakland.

  6. Max Allstadt

    well, again, as far as the murals go, there’s an honor among thieves thing that makes murals effective protection most of the time.

    In NYC, if I remember correctly, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) pay to regularly paint over tags. This, over time, actually reduces the number of tags.

  7. pedestrian

    Come on, when was the last time you saw a new “KAKE” tag?

    Main point well-taken, however.

    Also, why does the dirt (that should be a flowerbed) next to the gray building on 17th and Alice smell so bad?

  8. Navigator

    J Dabs,

    I wonder why Oakland went from 6th most sustainable in 2006 to 9th in 2008? Also, what’s wrong with the water quality in Oakland? I was under the impression that EBMUD water was some of the best water in the Country. San Francisco scores very high on water quality, and somehow Oakland’s water is rated very low? Also, Oakland is rated 48 for natural disasters, but a city which was almost completely destroyed in 1906 and is connected to the mainland via two bridges and an under the Bay BART tunnel, gets a 47 for natural disasters?

  9. Navigator

    pedestrian, come to think of it , you’re right. I haven’t seen a “KAKE” tag in a while. How would you know this since that’s the ONLY tag that I mentioned above which hasn’t been seen prominently recently? You’re not “KAKE” are you” If you are, I’d like to know what gets in the mind of someone that requires them to vandalize public and private property and show total disrespect for their community? It would be interesting to find out what makes these vandals tick. Is it low self-esteem?

  10. Navigator

    Also the “Once Oakland gets its crime rate under control, it could be as desirable a place to live as San Francisco ” comment shows an ignorance of crime statistics in areas of each city. There is certainly more crime in San Francisco’s 47 square miles than in Oakland’s 56 square miles. Also, in areas frequented by visitors, office workers, theater patrons, civic employees, (in short “downtown,”) San Francisco has a much higher rate of crime within those square miles. Sure SF has more people but you can play the crime stats game anyway you want. I’m more interested how much crime there is in a certain area like a neighborhood, an intersection, a downtown, or within a certain measured area. The number of people living in the yuppie apartments nearby don’t effect my relative safety. The number of crimes in the area do. The comment regarding Oakland’s desirability is stereotypical and lazy.

  11. TonyWKoo

    I am absolutely DISGUSTED by the city of oakland!!! Having been a resident for 23 long years, I have been ashamed to announce to others that I’m from Oakland.

    1)CRIME-Oakland needs to do WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to STOP THE KILLING AND ROBBING….PERIOD. No one should have to fear for their lives or their possessions in a civilized city. The police and the city needs to step up and use more Singaporean style of justice to put real fear in the minds and hearts of criminals. OBVIOUSLY, this IS NOT HAPPENING. Criminals couldn’t give a rats ass about killing and robbing.

    2)Get more business. Nothing works without money. No jobs, no new taxes, no infrastructure, no police or fire dept, no schools, nothing. Do EVERYTHING it can to get businesses into Oakland. (And don’t give me that bullshit about hiring this many blacks or this many latinos).

    3)FORCED HIGH QUALITY MANDATORY EDUCATION. In todays world, if you don’t learn, if you can’t learn, if you don’t want to learn, you’re shit out of luck. You’ll end up competing with the illegal mexican immigrants for low/no skilled jobs. You want to make more money to help Oakland? FORCE EDUCATION. High school, college…people NEED knowledge, skills and education to do more higher paying jobs.

    Enough bullshit folks. Let’s roll up our sleeves and really get to work!

  12. astttor

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  13. TonyWKoo

    Let’s just face facts folks. Oakland IS A DUMP! When I tell people I’m from Oakland, it’s like I just told them I was from Compton!


    Unfortunately, in all my years in Oakland, the opposite has been true for all three of the above. Kids learn that getting an education is “being an Uncle Tom and selling out”! Kids learn that looking like/being a “Gangsta” is something to strive for! Kid are no longer taught what’s the right and wrong thing to do!

    Just what the fuck happened to this city???

  14. James H. Robinson

    That’s simple: long time residents like TonyWKoo let Oakland stagnate. It’s going to take new residents gentrifying Oakland to bring about change, just like in any other industrial American city.

  15. TonyWKoo

    Yeah, you’re right. For too long have I sat around while all this shit has been happening. And from the way that the current residents have been acting for the last 6 decades, something really isn’t going to change. This city needs a strong government that doesn’t have to answer to an ignorant and undisciplined democratic system. That’s right, I said it….Oakland is a prime example of democracy, gone wrong. The people will rule themselves. Great job folks.

    Are you REALLY willing to do what it takes to clean up Oakland? Are you REALLY willing to endure what needs to be endured to improve this city? Or are you going to just sit around and complain about how “society” has done you some great injustice, as more and more of your businesses get robbed and fewer and fewer people even want to step into your city?

    Would I be willing to do something about it? Hell yeah! I’d run for mayor today if I thought I had a chance! Will I win? Hell no….this city needs a good kick in the ass, but no one wants to bend over.

  16. J. Dabs

    Hey Navigator -

    “I wonder why Oakland went from 6th most sustainable in 2006 to 9th in 2008? Also, what’s wrong with the water quality in Oakland? I was under the impression that EBMUD water was some of the best water in the Country. San Francisco scores very high on water quality, and somehow Oakland’s water is rated very low? Also, Oakland is rated 48 for natural disasters, but a city which was almost completely destroyed in 1906 and is connected to the mainland via two bridges and an under the Bay BART tunnel, gets a 47 for natural disasters?”

    It’s a relative ranking, first of all. Oakland dropped in multiple categories -

    City commuting
    street& freeway congestion got worse
    Oakland’s water supply is tenuous (from far away, depends on snowmelt)
    recycling rate fell for last reported year, and other cities did better
    Housing affordability…oakland got more expensive to buy a house in
    Climate change, city isn’t doing as much as other cities are (didn’t even have a sustainability coordinator for over a year)

    there are a couple other categories but you can see for yourself vs 2006 on and click “overall rankings”

    as for water quality, check here-

    Oakland had 18 pollutants in tap water tests conducted between 1998-2003, including 5 over EPA’s weak “health-based” limits.


  17. TonyWKoo

    1) Keep streets safe and clean. Impliment SEVERE penalities for criminals (rapists, robbers, murders, vandals, thieves, etc). Put some real FEAR into them. However, put more money to ensure that the investigatory component is as effective as possible (we don’t want to punish the wrong people). I’m taling about public canings and executions.

    2) Force education. Today, any kind of white collar office job requires the ability to deal with information. (Just look at what you do at work. What are you actually making??? What do you actuall produce??? Reports, emails, spreadsheets, presentations, data entry, etc).

    All the high paying jobs all require the ability to gather, learn, understand, process present INFORMATION. That’s why college grads get paid more. Employers know that college graduates know how to learn and use information!!! We have to force education. This will increase productivity and Oakland’s economy. And with a better economy, everything improves. Again, SEVERE PENALITIES for not being educated.

    When nothing else seems to be working.

  18. Max Allstadt


    Good luck with number 1. Maybe you can get Lee Kwan Yew or Lee Hsien Loong to move to Oakland and start a charismatic dictatorship disguised as a city state.

    Oh wait, they already did that, somewhere else, and even they have had to moderate their position over the years in order to maintain good relations with countries that believe in silly things like freedom of expression.

    As for severe penalties for not being educated, we already have that covered. It’s called poverty.

    When nothing else seems to be working, you have suggested about the most unworkable ideas I’ve seen on this blog in months. I get that you’re frustrated, but that’s no reason to go on an emotional rant and suggest we use fascism to solve our problems.

    You can talk about using force all day long. But ultimately, the greatest asset a politician or government can have is this: The ability to know the limits of their power. Everything you have suggested is laughably beyond the limits of any democratic government.

  19. TonyWKoo

    Tell that to the parents, spouses, and children of those who got killed needlessly. Go ahead, I’ll give you $1000 cash if you can honestly “enlighten” them of your “insight”.

    Killers don’t give a fuck about democracy.

  20. Max Allstadt

    Killers don’t and apparently neither do you.

    Please specify precise criteria for your $1000 challenge. Propose a neutral party to officiate. If your terms are not as ridiculous as your fascist ramblings, I’ll sign on and enjoy taking your money.

    If you aren’t interested in pursuing this challenge, I’m done with this conversation, because it really seems like you’re either out of touch with reality, or that you just enjoy being provocative. Neither of those possibilities makes for worthwhile discourse.

  21. J. Dabs

    Max, Mr. Koo is simply saying that ignorant people mired in the “culture of poverty” mostly respond to proportional force. Haven’t you watched Mad Max?

    I rented it this weekend. Interesting to watch.

    Yes, poverty and especially relative inequality, can feel painful, if you decide not to make yourself better. What is lacking is economic development and a strong affinity for education.

    Instead, some east and west oaklanders persist in going for Homer Simpson/Sarah Palin mediocrity. All just to merely oppose the “mainstream” of go-getting, education and so forth. And you and I enable them by saying “oh it’s not your fault, it’s whitey’s fault” or some such. It’s okay if flatlanders fail/die/stagnate, because they are black.

    It’s not that education is necessary for everyone’s success — but it is for most.

  22. J. Dabs

    Max and Tony, check this out

    Stacy Peralta, former skateboarding icon turned documentary filmmaker, spent 15 years wanting to make the film that eventually became Made In America. An examination of gang life in South Central, Los Angeles, the film combines historic footage and interviews with current and former gang members, as well as activists and experts. Peralta has an adrenaline-inducing film-making style that effectively communicates the drama of the situation, but what is ultimately most praiseworthy about the film is Peralta’s ability to excavate humanity from gang members just by treating them, well, as humans.

  23. TonyWKoo

    Interesting…and if I win? What do I get other than your utter humiliation? What do you say that we actually televise this little….encounter? $1000 vs nothing….very well then.

    Oakland City Hall. Date? I’ll have to check when the City Council next meet. Make sure that there are plenty of cameras. It’d be worth the $1000 just to spread my views to a larger audience. But given Oakland’s reputation, I’d probably get lynched by an uneducated and ignorant portion of the “democratic” population. We’ll bring in some folks from all around the bay, and we’ll present our thoughts as to how to improve the situation of Oakland. What do you say?

    Wake up Max, Oakland has been a war zone for quite some time now with all of its residents paying the price. You can wave your flag of democracy all you want. It’s not going to bring back loved ones or feed single mother homes. It’s going to take strong leadership…something it’s never had before.

    Criminals have to be FORCED not to commit crimes. No excuses, at least not in the short run. No, they don’t give a fuck about anything. So now, make them give a fuck about THEIR own safety, for a change.

    As for poverty being a punishment, sorry, it doesn’t sync well enough. You have to apply the punishment right as the offense is committed. Not years or decades after.

    Oakland has traditionally been a blue collar city, and that’s exactly why it’s in so much trouble right now. Oaklanders need to get educated….BADLY.

    Economic is like this:

    On one island a guy makes 5 coconuts a day.

    If he can now make 50 coconuts a day, he’s now 10 times wealthier. Oaklanders need to learn that you can only make more coconuts today by learning the latest growing and harvesting techniques.

  24. Max Allstadt

    Democracy won’t bring back loved ones, but strong leadership will? Tony, I think you’re coconuts. Maybe if you go “make a coconut” you’ll feel a little abdominal relief and stop crying for blood in a town that’s seen enough already.

    J Dabs, I live in West Oakland and I’m up to my ears in this neighborhood’s trouble’s every day. An 87 year old woman was murdered on my block last year. You’re absolutely right about economic development and respect for education being a huge part of the puzzle.

    I also used to skate a little bit in the 80′s so I’m definitely interested to see what Stacy Peralta has accomplished. That film is on my list. Now that many more black kids are starting to skate, skateboarding is becoming a force for multiracial friendship among urban youth. Maybe Peralta caught on to that direction? I hope somebody does. It’s a trend that can definitely be employed for all kinds of good.

  25. TonyWKoo

    Max, I can’t possibly believe that you would actually have the nerve to criticize Singapore, given that you live in Oakland. Do you know just how well Singapore is doing in the world? I’d pick to live there any day. At least, they don’t have to worry about getting mugged and killed when walking the streets at night. And over there, if you’re caught with drugs, they hang you, no questions asked.

    Oaklanders should put up signs,

    “If you commit robbery, rape or murder, WE WILL KILL YOU!!! -City of Oakland”

    And it’s not about the actual killing that’s going to stop crime. It’s the FEAR of the punishment that will do it.

    People really shouldn’t have to worry about their personal safety. They should be focused on their lives…their jobs, their families, their health….but not their safety.

  26. Chris Kidd

    Tony, you and Huey P Long should hang out. He seemed to espouse a lot of the ideas you’re suggesting. I wonder what happened to that guy….

  27. Chris Kidd

    You know Tony, you’re right. I DEFINITELY remember Ghandi saying “If you commit robbery, rape or murder, WE WILL KILL YOU!!!” That musta been why they whacked him.

  28. TonyWKoo

    Maybe he should have.

    Chris, if you don’t the balls needed to do what needs to get done, then at least step aside so that others can do it for you.

  29. James H. Robinson

    Here’s what I’ve done. I bought a new townhouse in East Oakland. It is in a redevelopment area along MacArthur Boulevard. When I bought the townhouse, I paid some of the highest transfer taxes in the Bay area. I pay my mortgage and all the taxes that go with it. I became the first president of the HOA and I have attended a Neighborhood Watch meeting and hope to get my development involved. I am also about to pay a special assessment to turn my development into a gated community. And oh yeah, I vote. I vote in local elections as well as the national ones.

    Gentrification is what Oakland needs. Lifelong Oakland residents I have encountered seem to be blinded by the past and don’t see the changes happening the present, nor what is coming in the future. For example, how many Oakland residents realize that overall crime had decreased? How many of them know that the 2008 murder rate is roughly the same as 2007, which was lower than 2006? How many realize that not only is Eastmont Town Center surviving under new ownership, the place is being renovated.

    Also, lifelong Oakland residents I have encountered can be provincial and myopic. They act like Oakland’s problems are unique to Oakland. I lived in Washington, DC in the early 1990′s, near the end of the crack wars, back when Mayor Barry was in jail for smoking crack. DC has improved GREATLY since then, and so can Oakland.

    Oakland needs some new folks. Those folks will bring change.

  30. TonyWKoo

    James, while I admire your activism and enthusiasm in improving Oakland, I’m not sure if gentrification is the ultimate solution. With an influx of a more affluent group into Oakland, the poor and disenfranchised are not simply going to disappear. They’ll just get moved around to even poorer and worser parts of Oakland. Pushing these people into a corner is not the solution. They have to be equipped with the tools and knowledge to truly become more productive citizens themselves. We can’t simply give up on them. They’re not really going anywhere anyway.

    A real investment in time and money needs to be made for the poor and demoralized. We need to teach people how to use computers. How to surf, research, and learn on the internet. We need to teach people how to use basic software like MS Word and Excel. We need to do these things and more…but we may need to start with something even more basic, like teaching reading and math skills. Oaklanders need to do their best and give what they can to invest into their own community.


    That’s the ultimate answer to Oakland’s problems.

  31. Ralph

    james – speak on brother. i too remember those days when 5th & Mass Ave was always a makeshift gathering for the society of professional women. Today you have MCI Center. Back in the day, I never saw “Smitty” in Columbia Heights but today “smitty” is all up in there. Oakland needs vision and people who buy into the vision. Are you with us or against us?

  32. Max Allstadt


    I lived in Singapore for 5 years, during one of it’s strongest periods of economic growth. They’re rich, sure. The also had ads on nationalized television telling people to have more babies. Those ads had actors of Chinese descent. They also had ads telling people to “stop at 2″ kids. Those ads had actors of Malay descent. Also, while I was there, the only credible opposition candidate to Lee Kwan Yew was brought up on fabricated charges and had to flee the country. So yes, they have a lovely mass transit system…

    As for violence, part of the reason I think you’re such a coconut is that I have actual experience with violence. I live in a scary place. The kind of vigilante bullshit you’re espousing is unrealistic. Violence is unpredictable. Violence committed by people who are untrained or inexperienced is more unpredictable. You don’t just walk out your door and beat up a thug without creating a cycle of reprisals.

    Frankly, I think you’re all talk. If you want to start doing some of the stuff you’re suggesting, I would say “go ahead”, except that I think the likely outcome would be that you’d end up hurting the wrong person, or getting yourself killed.

    And you’re wrong about fear too. If thugs and junkies were afraid to die, they’d be in another line of work. If the man who got high on crystal meth and murdered my aunt with a .40 calibler handgun was afraid to die, I’d still have an aunt. The killer would still have a jaw too. He tried to blow his own head off after he killed her.

    Fear won’t help, Tony. It’ll only make it worse. Ten thousand teenagers are already afraid and that’s why a few of them will pick up guns today, and why one or two may use them.

    And with that, I’m done feeding trolls for the week.

  33. TonyWKoo

    Max max max…you seem so experienced and wordly, yet still so so ignorant. Who said anything about fear of death? I’m talking about castration, amputations, removal of eyes, noses, ears…there are such things that are much worse than death. But of course, in a society such as this, these things would never be allowed. Such behavior would be “barbaric”…then of course, you also have the option of your city getting more and more unsafe, become poorer and poorer. But again, for “men” like you max who obviously be deficiant in the testicular area, such a tactic would be entirely out of your repritoire.

    Fear my boy…death is easy….life with severe trauma, that’s hard.

    And who in hell did I ever say anything about vigilantism. This has to be government sanctioned. It won’t be a perfect process (it never is), but we’ve got to do the best we can possibly do with what we have. In the beginning, a lot of criminals will be executed and “punished” in one way or another. Afterwards, once the wannabe criminals get the message that we’re serious, crime should start dropping off.

    And as for racism in the system, did I ever say anything about black or white or asian? Like I said, we’ll have to put as much money as it takes to make it as fair as possible. Again, it will never be perfect…but at least, it’ll be a start.

    Good Lord Max, do you really want us to believe that the solution to Oakland’s problems are to maintain a weak and powerless government?

    Oh, and by the way, Singapore still seems like a better place to live and work than Oakland.

  34. TonyWKoo

    I’m just responding to a challenge, that’s all. But the ultimate truth is even the criminals who do what they do…they do it because they don’t know any better. And again, that’s why they need to be educated as to what’s right and wrong, and how to improve their lives, without resorting to crime.

    It’s still all about education, not just in acedemics, but also in morality.

    So how can any of this really be enforced by the government? I believe that it has to be mandated. Ideally, it should have already been done in the home, but if this isn’t the case, then it has to be done elsewhere…people never like to be forced to learn anything…but sometimes, it just has to be done.

    If you don’t take an at risk teen ager and set them right there and then, then you risk the possibility of losing that individual for a lifetime. We have to do what’s right…rather than do what’s easy.

  35. James H. Robinson

    Education is a major factor. One reason why many families refuse to move to Oakland, or move out of Oakland, is sub-par schools.

    But you need people who WANT to learn, you need parents who WANT their children to learn. Remember the cliche, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink?” Even if Oakland schools became slightly less mediocre, I fear that there will be those who refuse to take advantage of those schools.

    Oakland’s top priority should be reducing crime and the perception of crime. Their next priority should be economic development, which should include bringing in new business AND residents. If those two steps are successful, Oakland will have more resources to improve the schools.

    By the way, Oakland is a blue-collar town, but so is much of the East Bay. Emeryville was a blue-collar town, but somehow made a transition. Why can’t Oakland? And isn’t San Leandro a blue-collar town? They might not be the greatest city in the world, but at least they can manage to bring in retail. Why can’t Oakland?

  36. TonyWKoo

    If I have a horse that’s dying of thirst, and if that horse is important enough, then I’d have no hesitation in thrusting a tube down it’s throat and pumping water into it’s stomach, or I can use an IV to feed it with, or I could just simply beat it until it drinks. Draconian? Yes. Extreme? Yes. Effective? Yes.

    But you have to ask yourself…is Oakland worth it to use such extreme measures to save it?

    I suppose you can always pay people to learn…but then, all the Asian and white kids are going to get paid more (at least in the short run)….probably better to punish students who don’t.

  37. Navigator

    James, you make some good points. Gentrification may indeed be what saves Oakland. Oakland has too many people who just don’t care. Simple things like taking five steps to the garbage container near the bus stop is too much of a chore for them. Not vandalizing public or private property is too great a restriction on their self-centered attitudes. Oakland spends millions cleaning up after these uneducated self-centered people who do nothing but bring their city down. Oakland has suffered long enough at their hands. It’s time to bring responsible people who care about their city to Oakland.

  38. Max Allstadt

    Gentrification is a dirty word for a reason. It implies displacement. There can be growth without displacement. Calling for outright gentrification is divisive and also ludicrous in this economic climate.

  39. Rebecca Kaplan

    Good morning. If you missed the City Council At-Large debate (Friday night), but still want to check it out, it will be played again on KTOP TV (Cable 10) on the following dates/times:
    – Saturday, October 4th, 6pm – 7pm.
    – Wednesday, October 8th, 5pm – 6pm
    – Friday, October 10th, 7pm – 8pm

    Today is one month to the election! Best wishes,

  40. Ralph

    well since my bldg was vandalized by some ne’er-do-well and yet another imbecile let her dog poop in my flowers and gave me attitude about minding my own business – i am all for gentrify-ing the undesirables out of the community. very simple if you fail to treat the community with respect then you have got to go or as some say it is time for you to be displaced. and this may sound judgmental but i am seeing it more and more that renters and those who think they will never own treat oakland like the red-headed step child. if you don’t want to be part of the solution, then you are part of the problem and your butt has got to go.

  41. Max Allstadt

    Ralph, I am absolutely for de-asshole-afication. gentrification is not the only way to accomplish that.

    As a matter of fact, gentrification is likely replace one kind of jerk with another. I don’t want anybody telling me what color to paint my house. Nor do I want bands of marauding homeowners banning lawn art. We’re a long way from that over here in Hoover-Foster, but on Trestle Glen, it’s a fact of life. Go for wholesale gentrification and this is where you’ll end up.

    There has to be a middle way. This is why I believe in de-asshole-afication. Getting rid of crackhouses? Not gentrification. Forcing section 8 landlords to maintain their property? Not gentrification. Eliminating affordable rentals through condo conversions? Gentrification. Excusing large developments from adequate affordability requirements? Gentrification. Omitting programs for underpriviliged residents in development plans? Gentrification.

    Fortunately, I actually believe that at the moment Oakland is headed for a fairly righteous balance on this issue. We have enough forces pushing in both directions that the best tack to take is simply to marginalize the radicals on both sides of the issue, and move forward.

  42. Navigator


    Most responsible civic minded people don’t want to live next to people who don’t care, who litter, and who vandalize their community. Being poor doesn’t mean you have to behave like a Neanderthal. I grew up poor, lost my dad at young age, and had a wonderful mother who raised five kids by herself. We were poor financially, but we were rich in integrity, in values, and we knew right from wrong. If people don’t want to behave in a civilized manner, obey the laws, and treat their fellow residents with respect, while following basic rules of decency, then they don’t deserve to live in Oakland. You can call it what you want, but in my opinion, the city of Oakland has been brought down long enough by irresponsible and self-centered individuals who contribute nothing to society other than litter, graffiti, crime, side shows, blaring car stereos, screeching tires, etc. I think Oakland would be a far better place without these individuals.

  43. Navigator

    Rebecca, what do you think we should do regarding irresponsible individuals who trash the city of Oakland? Should the Oakland Public Schools teach civility as part of their curriculum? I’m serious. Many of these kids don’t have stable households and aren’t taught the basics of what’s right and what’s wrong. How about teaching young kids that you don’t throw your trash on the street and you don’t vandalize public or private property. We need to teach these kids respect for others and respect for their city and their community. Unfortunately, many kids don’t get this at home.

  44. Max Allstadt


    I don’t see where we disagree here, except for semantics. I think that it is possible to elevate our level of behavior without class warfare. John Russo’s new program to prosecute quality of life crime is a start. This economy won’t displace bad apples anyway, so we might as well target them directly instead of trying to buy our way out of blight.

  45. Rebecca Kaplan

    Actually, a friend of mine who is an Oakland public school teacher, does teach these types of things, and communications and mediation skills to her students, and ways to solve problems without violence. It seems to be quite effective. Obviously, I would need to learn more about a specific educational proposal before endorsing it, but I have no problem with the general idea that schools should teach “life skills” — which includes respect, self-care, community care, and more. (This can also be in after-school programs as well). In some cases, we also need to ask the question about why, in a certain situation, parents are not available, and also look at ways we can help change that.

    (See, e.g., history of the notion of a “family wage” — that a family should be able to earn enough money to survive on a reasonable number of hours of work, so that there would still be enough time to attend to the other things necessary to build a healthy life. And, in some cases, things like drug re-hab.).

    And, I do think we need to take more leadership against destructive behavior. However, in my experience, destructive behavior is equally likely to come from people in all walks of life.

    George W. Bush was taught to disregard the needs of others, and to take actions that caused harm and death to others, if it met his own needs. His parents failed to teach him at home respect for others. So, I do not start from an assumption about which “type” of people are likely to behave badly. But I am willing to support efforts to change it.

    For example, one afternoon I was walking in downtown Oakland, in a busy commercial area. I came across four young guys in the process of stealing a bicycle. They were probably between the ages of 12 and 15. Many other people were walking past and nobody was stopping or saying anything. In fact, most people were pretending not to notice (despite the fact that it was pretty obvious). So, I walked up to them and said, “what are you doing?” — and they responded, “Is this your bicycle?” And I said, “No, but it seems like it is not your bicycle either.” A couple of them laughed awkwardly for a moment, and after a brief pause, they all walked away.

    From this experience (and more) I conclude several things. On a mundane level: Oakland needs more secure bicycle parking options (including, for example, “bike stations”), especially in core commercial areas, so that we can continue to encourage people to shop, eat, work, and more in Oakland by bike, and not have bike theft cause continued loss to our economy.

    On a broader note, I concluded that, in addition to my support for the deployment of more police, including police on walking beats, to prevent crime, that there are also many crimes being committed which could be prevented by somebody who is not armed. If I could prevent a bike theft, so could somebody else. So, in addition to police, it is worthwhile to also consider being able to have even more patrols through the use of lower-cost public safety personnel, who do not necessarily need to carry deadly weapons, and can still make a difference.

    I also believe that when a location gets a reputation as the place where this kind of theft is tolerated, it is more likely to escalate to more dangerous crimes, because it spreads a reputation as an “easy mark.”

    And, of course, we need to also get to the deeper point of how we evolve shared norms of respect in a community. This is longer-term, but no less important. And yes, it includes how children are taught. It also includes how adults behave, and what kind of behavior is role modeled and taught by adults.

  46. Max Allstadt

    Rebecca, that story about the bike is a great example of how a savvy citizen can defuse crime on their own. There ought to be education for teens and adults alike in how to do just that. We should teach people how to deduce the risk of intervention, and methods of intervening that are both effective and which don’t inflame the situation.

    Of course I have to bookend this with the caveat that it isn’t the only solution, just a piece of the puzzle. We’ll continue to need sworn officers. And more of them. Utopia is not upon us yet, nor will it be any time soon.

  47. Ralph

    On property maintenance, all landlords should be able to recover through rent increase the cost of any repair. Absent my ability to recover, I am going to do the bare minimum to maintain property. Rent control as is must be changed and govt payors should be willing to pay for more than the bare minimum.

    Business owners should be allowed to do with their property as they please. This is a free market society.

    I am not all that crazy about affordability requirements in new developments. Whay should others subsidize you. Why not just build less expensive housing in other areas.

    What type of programs would you siggest for the underprivileged – don’t the underprivileged receive plenty of benefits as is?

    on preventing crime
    while it might be a savvy, the sad reality is most people assume, and rightfully so, that engagement may result in an errant knife to the gut. so doing the math prevent one bike for someone i don’t know be stolen while this same vacants will round the corner and take the next bike or a knife to the gut. not really a tough call. if oakland teenagers weren’t such vacant animals maybe i would.

    but others have seen far worse and no passer-by did anything. in broad daylight on a school day, a woman was mugged at the atm across from the longs on webster. as she screamed for help, her attacker told passerbys that it was a game they played.

  48. Max Allstadt


    The knife to the gut: no. Not in broad daylight, not in front of witnesses. Rebecca made the right call. There was a risk, sure. But assess it, gather your courage, and frankly if you get hurt, you get hurt doing the right thing. Trip the purse snatcher. Tell off the litterbug. Break up the high school fight. It’s called citizenship, and we’ve let fear make it depressingly uncommon. It doesn’t even always take aggression. Rebecca was subtle, and it worked. It’s amazing what carefully chosen words can do.

    Free market? Didn’t Congress spend the last few weeks eliminating that?
    There never was a free market. Power cliques manipulate the rules of the market through the political system. Your right to join a clique and engage in manipulation that favors that clique… that’s as free as it’s going to get. How many pages of regulations affect the market in Oakland alone? The “Free Market” is a wishfully simplistic construct of ideologues, no less ridiculous than “To each according to his need…

    “Why not just build less expensive housing in other areas?”
    Because splitting up class along geographic lines creates increases crime along those lines. Because creating an even spread of the wealthy, poor and middle class is beneficial. Concentrate the wealthy, and they become cloistered and oblivious. Concentrate the poor, and they become hopeless. Concentrate the middle-class and they become stagnant. Mixed income neighborhoods are wonderful things. They alleviate many of the bad tendencies of homogeneous areas. It is a pity that thus far they mainly exist during transitions.

  49. Navigator

    Rebecca, I’m glad to hear that you’re open to supporting basic civic minded education for youngsters in the Oakland public schools. I think this would go a long way to creating more responsible civic minded kids who would be an asset to the city.

    Also, I agree with you regarding George Bush and how different classes and power structures affect our lives in various ways. However, we have to deal with what’s happening in Oakland at the present time. We have the ability to shape Oakland’s present and Oakland’s future. We can’t afford to allow scofflaws, vandals, and self-centered, irresponsible individuals to define “Oakland” to the World. This is something we can control. It’s a relative simple task which would tell people that Oakland is a proactive community which can accomplish the simple straightforward task of keeping the city clean and free of litter and graffiti.

    Let’s concentrate on starting off with small steps in order to get the basics right. We can save the World and environment after we achieve a safe, clean,and prosperous city, where people of every class can live fulfilling healthy lives in peace and harmony. Let’s take baby steps and keep our streets clean and our main thoroughfares graffiti free. Let’s create a pleasant environment in our city conducive to attracting new businesses and residents in order to keep our city growing and prospering for the benefit of all of our residents. Can we all agree on this?

  50. Ralph

    I agree to disagree. The vacants don’t care about broad daylight. If the perp has given up caring and respecting, then it is time to lock them up for a good long time. 15 year old stealing bikes – 40 years minimum. I know they know right from wrong.

    Segregating the classes, i was once an idealist like you, but the reality is the rich can always afford to insulate themselves, so the burden of subsidizing the below earners falls to the middle class. if you can make it work so that the middle class aren’t the only one subsidizing then more power to you. But if you require me to subsidize the low earners don’t get upset when I place restrictions on the price at which the low earners can sell.

  51. ConcernedOakFF

    From personal experiance seeing the poorest of the poor for years in Oakland, in the worst circumstances, I can say this:

    Being a poor person does not mean that you do not take pride in your house, your belongings and your image. I have been to countless homes in the poorest neighborhoods where people are taking care of their things, their children and their lives as best as they can.

    Some of the most disgusting houses and living conditions that I have seen have been in the Hills in wealthy neighborhoods.

    That being said, in many cases, the worst living conditions for children, and even adults in Oakland remains in the Publicly Financed Housing projects that are scattered all over the city.

    The question is why is this? In my opinion, it is because many times people do not care to take care of things that they see no ownership in, that they don’t have to pay for, and that they feel that they are entitled to.

    The BEST thing that can happen to Oakland is to bring OWNERSHIP to bad areas. When people OWN something they take pride in it. That sometimes means helping somebody own something…

    When we give them something for free, no strings, there is no ambition to better their living conditions, because often times that means they will loose their (almost) free housing.

    Tough issue, no easy solution. This is at the ROOT of the American Dream, or lack there of in many cases…

  52. Max Allstadt

    Right on FF. I believe we need to explore different models of ownership in order to do this, but right on. Beefing up the first time homebuyer program would be a start. In this market, the city should be making efforts to encourage people to buy blighted properties as fixer-uppers too. Perhaps specialized fixerupper loans. No flipping though. You’d have to find a way to mandate owner occupancy for a while.

    Ralph, as for 40 years for bike theft, I must refer once again to:

    Frankly I think Ralph and Tony’s endorsements of excessive punishments are more than wrong. They’re red flags of hopelessness. Crime run amok? The first emotional reaction is to go for the iron fist. We have all sorts of indications that this doesn’t work. We already have the highest incarceration rate per capita, and crime isn’t getting better. More of the same won’t fix it.

  53. pedestrian

    Navigator, you’re dumb.

    I walk 7 blocks down 17th every day to work. There are very few things to look at other than dumbasses’ tags. I’ve never committed a property crime in my life. Way to jump DIRECTLY to thinking the worst about someone.

  54. Tony Koo

    ConcernedOakFF, harsh punishments? Why do you think I would endorse such a thing?

    Why is it that some people think it’s OK to commit crime and other people think it’s not?

    Well, maybe it’s because some people have been taught not to and some people weren’t taught at all. I think that’s exactly what it is. If you’re fortunate enough to have parents that have the time and energy to actually teach you good behavior, then you’ll do the right thing. If you have families that don’t have that (for whatever reason), then you’re going to have kids that just don’t know what’s acceptable and what’s not.

    So, what does that mean now? You have people that evidently don’t know what’s right from wrong. They need to be taught (since they didn’t get that education from their families, which they should have). They need to be taught, clear and simple.

    You can try to do it the soft and gentle way, but it may not work…it probably won’t work…meanwhile, people are still getting killed, raped, robbed…etc. So, what are you going to do? How are you going to get these ingorant and uninformed people to learn right from wrong (which they should have learned long ago)? I’m open to suggestions.

  55. Max Allstadt

    Tony, where do you live, roughly? What neighborhood?

    The way we should tackle crime is the same way that worked in other cities. More cops. More walking cops. More broken windows policing. More prosecutions for quality of life crime.

    The police are already doing broken-windows stuff. A friend of mine went to jail because of it. He was drinking a beer on the street, two officers stopped him. He refused to show ID. Guess what? He had a warrant for a DUI, and for trespassing on railroad property (simultaneously). So in spite of the fact that he’s a friend, and in spite of the fact that I felt bad that he had to spend a week in Santa Rita, broken windows worked. They stopped someone for a minor infraction, checked ID, discovered a warrant, and made a bust. This works. It worked in NYC, it’s working in LA, and it will work here.

    So we have the beginnings of broken windows policing. John Russo has implemented quality of life prosecutions, yet again stepping in to provide leadership in a town that’s sorely missing it. That leaves a need for more cops and more walking cops. What to do?

  56. Tony Koo

    So you’re basically saying that there needs to be more police presence, making arrests and therefore, keeping everyone in line (just by their presence and the fact that they will indeed punish crimes).

    Simply put, you’re teaching would be criminals that there are cops who do prosecute. A deterrant? Well, if it works, then it works. But wouldn’t you need many many more cops to walk the streets?

  57. Max Allstadt

    It’s a lot more complicated than that. Walking beat cops aren’t about intimidation. They’re about reconciliation and trust building.

    You keep focusing on the authoritarian side of things Tony. That’s why I asked you where you lived. I suspect that you live nowhere near the truly crime ridden parts of Oakland. Up in Montclair, it’s easy to pontificate about using an iron fist to solve the crime problem. In the flats, we know it just won’t work.

  58. Tony Koo

    I believe that what you’re focusing on is a problem that is much too vast to solve in the short run. It takes years…decades….generations for people to feel like valued members of society. Again, this should have all started in the family…but for many of us…for most of us, we don’t get that kind of parenting.

    People want to feel like they’re worth something, that they’re respected, appreciated, cared for, protected, and even loved. Now, how in the world do you do that??? It takes time….a long long time…

    My methods, while forceful, shows at least that I care, which is far more than most people of Oakland are willing to do.

  59. Ralph

    Perhaps I should introduce you to my friend Hammurabi. Tough love my friend, too many believe in the restoration and rehabilitation. Time outs for bad behavior. That sounds nice in theory but the problem with bleeding heart liberals is they tend to ignore the fact that some people are just bad seeds and we would be doing them and us a favor if we were to show them the love that they so desperately crave.

    love on ya

  60. Ralph

    as to quality of life crimes prosecution – it is about time. i heard this the other morning and I was like thank god – have our moronic elected officials not heard of NYC. i hope that the cops do their part, i was none too pleased when mr. policeman said a certain crimes were a low priority. among these low level crimes – perps smoking weed on the street.

  61. Max Allstadt


    I never said anything about timeouts. Tony called for castration and you called for 40 year sentences for 15 year old bike thieves. Both of those ideas are wildly out of the mainstream.

    As for smoking weed on the street: in NYC that gets you a ticket. And that’s all it should get you. If anything.

    There has been a war on weed for 50 years, and for 50 years, the people winning that war… have been really frickin high on weed. If the billions of dollars and millions of cops can’t beat a bunch of stoned slackers, clearly it’s time to stop trying.

  62. Tony Koo

    I had a friend visit Cuba once. She said that it was wonderful because she could walk the streets at night without worrying about getting raped. I asked her what the penalty was for rape in Cuba. She said it was death.

    But let’s ask some of the women here since they’d be the ones most affected…if it meant that you could walk the streets without worrying about getting raped, would you condone capital punishment for possible rapists?

  63. V Smoothe Post author

    Okay, enough. This blog is about Oakland. If people want to talk about things that Oakland’s government has zero control over, like criminal sentencing, then they need to go do so in an appropriate venue.

  64. len raphael

    Hammill and Kaplan positions on NN (police parcel tax) and OO (kids first)

    just got a phone bank call from Carpenter’s Union. caller stating that Hammil has announced her opposition to Measure NN but not taking a position on OO.

    same caller said that Kaplan has announced her support of NN.

    RK, tell me it ain’t so.

    Has anyone gotten either H or K to take a stand on OO?

    (Alameda Labor Council called me yesterday for Kaplan and against Measure OO. Wasn’t Sharon C. of the Council one of the initial writers of OO? Suppose they figured how many union city govt jobs it would destroy .)

    -len raphael

  65. Max Allstadt


    At the LWV debate, Kaplan said no to OO, but said that she would support NN. Her support for NN was tentative, and acknowledged the misuse of measure Y funds. She said she only supported NN because she expected to win the seat, and thus have a vote that would help ensure NN funds were not misused.

    At the same debate, Len, as a CPA, you might also like to know that Kaplan showed up with a copy of the new budget, which she’s reading cover to cover. And while at that debate, Kaplan did begin her responses with the word “absolutely” a little too often, she also spoke knowledgeably without notes. Hamill was reading off of cards most of the time.

  66. len raphael

    What were RK’s reasoning for supporting NN, albeit tentatively.? concern that funds would taken away from social programming? or perception that she needs to counter KH’s anti crime spinning?

    KH seems to also push spending on anti crime technol, is RK big on that also?


  67. Max Allstadt

    Len I don’t think I can answer all that in detail for RK. CLC has positions on their website though (I’m about 50/50 agree disagree with them). I actually only looked them up because I was trying to figure out what exactly Cornu was all about. I saw her phonebanking at RK’s headquarters recently.

    This particular race is incredibly confusing in terms of politics. DTO’s article on it is pretty interesting.. It doesn’t split on the lines we’ve come to expect. All the more reason to watch as much YouTube as you can on these candidates. My enthusiasm for RK comes from watching her speak, watching her grasp of technicalities. A lot of the reason I keep saying I want Russo to run for mayor comes from this too. RK and JR are just good at thinking on their feet. I think it’s ’cause they really do their homework.

  68. mk

    just thought i might put some input in-
    i’m hearing that hamill is AGAINST OO as well as NN. i’m not 100% on OO but i know for sure she’s against NN. i was glad she finally forced an answer out of rebecca who couldn’t seem to make up her mind. i was at the League debate last week-rebecca did announce her support for NN.

  69. len raphael

    Do RK and Hamill pay property taxes themselves, either on personal residence or rental property. ie. would they personally be affected by higher parcel taxes?

    fosure, a candidates personal financial situation would easily overwhelm the effect of a 270/year plus (if multiple rental or biz units) parcel tax, but one more piece of data to understand the candidates.

    -len raphael

  70. len raphael

    another oakland contest idea:

    guess oakland’s true deficit for 2008/2009 fiscal year. the winner gets a free all expenses paid trip to oakland’s proposed sister city in south africa, Cape Town.

    i’ll guesstimate at 100Mill.

  71. Max Allstadt

    I own one property, and crazy as it may seem, I’m about to acquire another. I’ll gladly play $600 a year for a while if it’s spent as promised. We’re on the verge of a depression, if we don’t have an adequate police force, this town is gonna look like Detroit in the years shortly before I was born.

    The funny thing about this is that these measures will pass or not pass in November, at which point they’ll either be a small component of the city council’s business for a while. They may be kept, repealed at the next election, or defeated in court, but ultimately a small component of the whole picture of the city council. Besides, OO seems spectacularly unpopular for people who don’t own youth service non-profits.

    Why is it then, that Charlie Pine and Len are paying so much attention to these? The vote is about who’s wisdom and baggage you want to pick for the next four years of at-large responsibility. There’s a hell of a lot more to be considered than stances on two ballot measures. Four years of votes. So judge the whole candidate for chrisakes.

  72. len raphael

    M, i contributed some modest $ to RK campaign, and asked for lawn signs to plant (never got them), and will contribute some more because i know how expensive campaigns are and how raising money distorts policy decisions. But that doesn’t keep me from pushing on specific policy issues.

    My point of view on politicians, is that election time in a close race is the point of maximum leverage for the voters. Heck, in oakland with the power of incumbency, it might be the last chance we have. NN is a badly drafted, burdendsome tax with poor controls and vague outcomes. With our deficit and prop 13 restrictions on taxes, the city will need a much larger parcel tax increase next year just to fund basic operations. if NN passes, you will greatly harden the opposition of property owners, including court action, to oppose the one big parcel tax we will need next year.

    That’s why RK should join with her opponent to oppose it.

    -len raphael

  73. Max Allstadt

    Fair enough Len. You have some excellent points there. As I’ve said, NN looks kind of dodgy to me, I just really want more cops. What’s the solution? A better parcel tax measure, with better outcomes? An OO-like set-aside, but for policing (“cops first?”).

    And I’ll bike over and put a sign on your lawn for you this weekend if you want! Just get my email from V.

  74. Charles Pine

    Max dances around Kaplan’s support for NN, but he is right that we should “judge the whole candidate.”

    Okay. She’s obviously bright with words. Now the rest:

    Kaplan displayed crass opportunism when she shafted the Greens by changing to Democrat in order to get Central Labor Council backing. (Please, don’t insult our intelligence with some line about how inspiring Obama is.)

    Hamill and Kaplan had to answer a question about public subsidies for the Athletics. Hamill simply said, no, we cannot give them a subsidy. Kaplan laid out a scheme to give them a public subsidy. Gee, I recall candidate forums where she scored points off the Coliseum sports deals.

    Kaplan is still peddling the Atlanta Ambassadors program, trailing after Jane Brunner on this one. She persists with false claims that they reduced crime in a big way and she ignores the overwhelming police presence in downtown Atlanta, just what Oakland does not have.

    Kaplan has had five jobs in the last ten years, and they’ve been all over the map, from legislative aide for Audie Bock to teacher of adult Torah classes. Sure, a lot of people have a tough time in this economy, but that’s not Kaplan, who has a secure foundation in a trust fund from her parents. The meandering is similar to her talking tough on development when she was a Green to buddying up with Carlos Plazola the developer’s lobbyist now. I see a lack of firm principle except on identity pride, and we are all against Prop. 8.

    Yup, the whole candidate.

  75. Max Allstadt

    Charles, Kaplan’s plan for the coliseum is anchored on making the entire area cash-flow positive for the city. She talks about how the current facilities are isolated from everything but the parking lot, and how eliminating that isolation could capitalize on the flow of spectators in and out of the stadiums by bringing them places to spend money on their way to and from games.

    Kaplan does not ignore the need for police presence downtown and has repeatedly called for more walking sworn officers.

    Five Jobs in ten years is about average for an American these days. I’m 32, and I’ve had 7 since I was 22. I’ve worked as an audio engineer, an architectural firm marketing director, a carpenter, a tutor, and I’ve received grants to build huge pieces of art. If I was an actor, they’d call that “range”.

    And Charles, if we’re talking about buddying up to developers, I again refer everybody to DTO510′s article of last week. The developers are completely split on this race. The ones that are for Kerry Hamill are the larger developers, the ones for Kaplan are smaller and more local. Similarly, the local Democratic Party is behind Kaplan, while those Democrats with ties to Sacramento money (and beholden to it) are behind Hamill.

    As for the Central Labor Committee, remember that there are so many diverse forces behind Kaplan that it’s unlikely for one to dominate. I disagree with Sharon Cornu frequently. She saw me at council when local developers came to speak against her puppet Ada Chan, and as a result seemed rather cold when she ran into me at Kaplan headquarters. It’s a interesting vibe down there to say the least.

    People have faith in Rebecca because she’s energetic, bright, and does her homework. But the coalition is made of strange bedfellows. I think that’s actually a huge positive. Hamill’s coalition has enough shady unrestricted money behind it that I have no idea who she might owe, other than the biggest machine in town, which hasn’t exactly done a great job of late.

    If you want to worry about Cornu owning anybody, worry about the future mayoral candidacy of Jean Quan. If Perata runs, he’ll have great hods of cash. If Russo runs, he’ll have the highest positives and lowest negatives of anybody going into the race. That leaves Quan with only one major advantage, which is Cornu and the CLC, who will utterly own her ass if she wins (if you think Dellums love big labor, look out!.) Lets also remember that neither Hamill or Kaplan mentioned Quan when I asked them for their mayoral picks. If Cornu owned Kaplan for real, Kaplan wouldn’t have said “Russo”.

  76. len raphael

    i have no problem with a bouncing job resume. gives one broader perspective. and no problem with a secure trust fund if that’s true, i see the plus’s of that outweighting the negatives.

    RK does tend to wear something of the idealist theoretical kinda glasses when looking at issues. that’s better than cynicism as long as she adapts to reality on the ground once elected or she’ll turn into another NN.

  77. Max Allstadt

    Len, there are two NN’s involved in this discussion, let’s not confuse people. By idealist theoretical glasses, you mean the pair Nancy Nadel wears sometimes when she’s reading policies at council, right?

    I actually think there’s a fair amount of healthy cynicism in RK.

  78. len raphael

    meant Nancy Nadel by NN. She started out and probably still is an idealist and ideologue. As has been pointed out, she’s got many faults as a council member but economic corruption is not one of them.

    but RK has a tendency like other idealists, indicated by her AC Transit push for RT, to ram down residents’ gullets what she and many other people would say was a social good, but whch many residents would say, not so fast, not so far. The other council members probably won’t see her as a team player.

    I’d still take that over a KH who seems to be way too much vested in the dysfunctional status quo.

    Which of them is better equipped/connected to persuade other council members to make beneficial? That wb a mind merge of RK and KH. :)