Reminder: District 1 Forum tonight

Patrick McCullough will face incumbent Jane Brunner tonight at City Hall for the final installment of the League of Women Voters election forums. The event begins at 7 with the wife of the guy who stole the newspaper versus Wilma Chan for State Senate District 9, followed by District 1 City Council at 8, then by District 1 school board. Unlike other forums, this one will be broadcast live, so if you’re lounging at home looking for some riveting television to help kick off your weekend, tune into KTOP. If you feel like a night on the town, come to City Hall and submit a question of your own, then head down the street afterwards for a nightcap at nearby Cafe Van Kleef, where the totally awesome Oakland band Damon and the Heathens will be performing.

Speaking of forums, check back here tomorrow for part 1 of my recap of the at-large City Council debate!

14 thoughts on “Reminder: District 1 Forum tonight

  1. Max Allstadt

    Damon rocks, and is also a fine upstanding member of the community (though he might disagree!).

    As for McCullough, does he have a prayer? I’m not in Brunner’s district, but in my dealing with her about the live/work thing, I found her uncommonly reasonable for a politician. I had a good chat with her at the East Bay Young Democrats forum, and I really came away happy. A practical woman.

  2. RKaplan

    Thanks for your coverage of Oakland, and for the details often missing in other media.

    Since there is such a challenge filling our police positions, I’d like to add another
    police-recruiting strategy, which I did not have time to include at the Candidate Forum. One of the things I noticed in Oakland’s own police recruitment report, is that people with former military experience are more likely to succeed. Nonetheless, efforts to hire people at the end of a tour of duty are not working, largely because few are being released at the end of a tour (“stop loss” etc).

    However, over the past several years, over 5,000 people have been thrown out of the U.S. military for their sexual orientation. (Anti-gay discrimination, under “don’t ask, don’t tell”). Many have the training and experience Oakland needs, and would likely be interested in living here. We would need to make sure that OPD is really willing to welcome these applicants, but, once we did that, a press conference to announce “if Uncle Sam didn’t want you, consider Oakland…”, and targeted outreach, would likely be affordable and effective.


  3. Jonathan C. Breault

    It might be true (just as well as it might be untrue) that one’s visceral reaction to anyone including Jane Brunner after one encounter could lead one to have a positive feeling. Sadly that is extraordinarily irrelevant in a normal context and when one is evaluating a politician’s competency, rationality, intelligence and overall ability that is a foolish and juvenile methodology. Brunner is abominable. Nancy Nadel and Jane Brunner have a record ineffably awful. And the residual effect of Brunner and Nadel is entirely negative. Ideology without knowledge coupled with abject ignornance compounded by insufferable arrogance. The perfect storm. It is edifying in light of Oakland’s inexorable demise that the singularly obsessive Progressive voter in Oakland is blitheringly content in their ignorant stupor. Oakland is a very unsophisticated town. People are ideoligical without even a semblance of rationality or good sense.

  4. Max Allstadt

    Who’s the worst V? Could you rate them all in order?

    And if Jane’s no good, could I get 5 bullet points on why? I’m about to search your site for more…

  5. V Smoothe Post author

    Ranking the City Council sounds fun, but worthy of a post of its own. Nancy Nadel is, of course, dead last by a mile. Brunner is good sometimes, but frustrates me much of the time as well. I wish I had more time to cover all the Council races in detail, but that’s unlikely to happen. I did have lunch with Patrick McCullough the other day, and I’ll be writing about that next week, as well as, of course, recapping Friday’s debate.

    Quickly, my main problems are:

    1. Incessantly pushing inclusionary zoning!!!
    2. Her complete lack of preparedness. I’m always wishing the City Council would ask questions about the items on their agenda, and Brunner is the only one who routinely does so. Unfortunately, her questions are all like “What’s going on? What are we voting for? What is this?” She wastes time in meetings by being completely unprepared. If she’s too busy with her law practice to skim the staff reports before the meeting, she should have someone on her staff read them and prepare bullet pointed summaries or something. She’s unwilling or unable to put in the necessary effort to make informed decisions, and I can’t stand it.
    3. Her interference with development in North Oakland. The same thing happens with every new Temescal project. The Planning Commission makes some adjustments to the plan, STAND isn’t happy, STAND appeals the decision to the City Council, Jane Brunner makes some arbitrary “compromise” that involves knocking a foot and a half off the top of the building and reducing it by 3 units, then STAND is unhappy as is ULTRA and other smart growth advocates.
    4. She is nowhere on transit. She hasn’t taken a position on BRT.
    5. Bad constituent services. I’m sure some of my District 1 readers will be happy to provide some examples of that one.

  6. Max Allstadt

    Hmm. Interesting. I’ll keep an eye on her preparedness, and watch out for placating STAND. I’m definitely no apologist for developers, but STAND is so silly, so often. What I don’t get is if they’re an oral minority, or if they’re actually speaking for a wider constituency.

    I haven’t really gotten to see this council in action long enough to agree or disagree about Nadel being dead last. I had some awkward dealings with her, but at the same time, immediately after you put up your scathing review of her comments to me, her office started paying attention to me. As much as that one moment put me off, and as much as I think it’s her responsibility to not do things like that, I really wonder what would have happened if that moment never happened.

    I will also note that in your own review of her debate with Sean Sullivan, you were far more willing to concede that she “Won” questions than you were with Larry Reid’s opponent.

    I’m still supporting Sean Sullivan mind you. It’s mainly because I think as a new member, he’s likely to be more engaging and accessible than anyone else on the council. Plus I’ve gotten to know him and I’m positive he’s not over committed to any one interest.

    Who’s your favorite council member then?

  7. V Smoothe Post author

    Well, Nancy Nadel is a seasoned politician. She knows when to do damage control in the face of negative media attention, although I would also point out that while she was willing to try to placate you over the phone, she wasn’t actually willing to help you. As I said in the recap introduction, I picked winners based on how I thought the average, uninformed viewer would view the results. It has nothing to do with which candidate I actually think is better on any individual issue. Most of Nadel’s “winning” answers were lies. Clifford Gilmore…well, he just wasn’t very impressive.

  8. Joanna

    NN has this reputation as a “listener”, or at least that’s what I heard when I started to get more interested in local politics 6+ years ago. At first I did feel that she listened, but over time I’ve really seen that she’s good at appearing to listen, but she goes ahead and does what she was going to do all along. She certainly isn’t taking to heart what she hears. At least she’s stopped saying to those of us in the “rich” part of her District that we don’t need her help. Only the poor in West Oakland need her. I think that’s when I started wanting the Jack London District to cede from Oakland. Hey, it works for Piedmont!

    Parking is a good example of Nancy’s “listening”. She has refused to require developers to add more parking – one building finished in 2006 has less than one parking space per unit – and she has only sort of, kind of supported the mixed-use parking permit plan. Certainly she wasn’t a champion for it. She said she was, but her actions didn’t match up in my opinion. Ironically, several people are supporting her for that very reason. Weak!

    As for Jane Brunner, she’s all about ego and grand standing. She likes to toot her own horn more than she actually seems to put effort into being prepared. I’ve been to numerous meetings and not once have I felt that she read about the issues before they were presented. And funny how she couldn’t originally support the mixed use parking permit idea, while her own Rockridge has a modified residential permit plan that includes businesses. At $50, those permits are considerably less than the new mixed-use permit price of $150/yr. If it ever gets implemented…

    NN isn’t respected by others on Council, which is why I couldn’t vote for her for Mayor. But it’s not like anything is getting done with DoNothingDellums, so who knows.

  9. Max Allstadt

    I guess the point I was trying to make about Nadel and Brunner and actually everybody on the council was this: On forums like this one we have an unfortunate tendency to demonize any powerful figure we don’t like. The reality is that none of these people are demons or idiots or egomaniacs. They’re people trying to do difficult jobs and succeeding or failing to one degree or another at various tasks. I really feel like I need to see a long track record to make an assessment, and I’m new in town so that’s tricky. I’m really glad though, to hear all these different perspectives. I kind of wish I would hear more from people who support the councilmembers I see blasted here so often, if only to broaden my perspective.

  10. V Smoothe Post author

    The KTOP debates will be re-airing regularly during the weeks leading up to the election, and I encourage interested voters to watch them. I think KTOP is channel 10 on Oakland cable, and it broadcasts streaming over the web as well. I will be recapping all five City Council forums. If I can find the time, I’ll do other races as well, but no promises.

    Here is this week’s schedule for candidate forums on KTOP:

    Tuesday, April 15: Forum #3, 3:30 to 6:00 (County Board of Education Area 2, County Board of Supervisors District 4, County Board of Ed District 3, Superior Court Seat 9)
    Thursday, April 17: Forum #4 3:30 to 6:00 (State Senate District 9, City Council District 1, School Board District 1)
    Thursday, April 17: Forum #1 6:30 to 9:30 (City Council District 3, School Board District 3, City Council District 7, School Board District 7)
    Friday, April 18: Forum #2 7:00 to 10:00 (Assembly District 14, City Council At-Large, City Council District 5)
    Saturday, April 19: Forum #4 5:00 to 8:00

    You can check the KTOP schedule every week here.