UPDATED: Oakland election results

MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE: I never got around to updating this post with those Friday afternoon numbers, but you can check them out here if you like. We’re still going to have to wait a while for final results.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: The preliminary RCV results are up. Jean Quan wins. Numbers here. More updates soon.

FRIDAY UPDATE: Here are the results for all the local races as of Friday morning. If you want to see the old results that I had posted on Wednesday, you can view them here (PDF). The Registrar is planning on running the ranked choice algorithim today so we can see what the results look like with that in place. However, since not all votes will have been counted yet, whatever we see today is not a final result, and it is important to keep in mind that it could change.

Here are the results for all the local races as of Wednesday morning at 9 AM. 100% of precincts have been reported, but the results will continue to change slightly as provisional ballots and late absentees are counted and so on. See updates on the returns on the Registrar of Voters website. Find results for statewide races at the Secretary of State website.

And, hey! Big congratulations to Robert Raburn! We are getting ourselves an awesome new BART Director. I am so excited!

Oakland City Races

Oakland Mayor

  • Don Perata: 35.13%, 27,610 votes
  • Jean Quan: 24.30%, 19,099 votes
  • Rebecca Kaplan: 20.82%, 16,365 votes
  • Joe Tuman: 11.95%, 9,390 votes
  • Marcie Hodge: 2.41%, 1,891 votes
  • Terence Candell: 1.79%, 1,405 votes
  • Don Macleay: 1.33%, 1,043 votes
  • Greg Harland: 0.88%, 689 votes
  • Larry Lionel Young, Jr.: 0.72%, 567 votes
  • Arnold Fields: 0.60%, 468 votes

Oakland City Council, District 2

  • Patricia Kernighan: 67.09%, 5,915 votes
  • Jennifer S. Pae: 32.69%, 2,882 votes

Oakland City Council, District 4

  • Libby Schaaf: 42.23%, 5,909 votes
  • Jill Broadhurst: 22.45%, 3,141 votes
  • Melanie Shelby: 11.39%, 1,594 votes
  • Daniel Swafford: 11.31%, 1,583 votes
  • Clinton Killian: 5.79%, 810 votes
  • Ralph Kanz: 4.15%, 581 votes
  • Jason Gillen: 2.59%, 362 votes

Oakland City Council, District 6

  • Desley Brooks: 65.39%, 5,396 votes
  • Jose Dorado: 20.89%, 1,724 votes
  • Nancy Sidebotham: 13.39%, 1,105 votes

Oakland City Auditor

  • Courtney Ruby: 67.49%, 42,838 votes
  • Michael Kilian: 32.03%, 20,328 votes

School Races

Oakland School Board, District 4

  • Gary D. Yee: 69.18%, 8,692 votes
  • Benjamin Visnick: 30.46%, 3,827 votes

Peralta Trustee, Area 3

  • Linda L. Handy: 53.83%, 4,068 votes
  • Mónica Tell: 44.62%, 3,372 votes

Peralta Trustee, Area 5

  • William “Bill” Riley: 68.81%, 11,929 votes
  • William J. Mattox: 30.21%, 5,237 votes

Ballot Measures

Alameda County Measure F

  • Yes: 62.61%
  • No: 37.39%

Oakland Measure L

  • Yes: 65.06%, 49,183 votes
  • No: 34.94%, 26,415 votes

Oakland Measure V

  • Yes: 69.80%, 52,166 votes
  • No: 30.20%, 22,571 votes

Oakland Measure W

  • No: 56.68%, 41,788 votes
  • Yes: 43.32%, 31,932 votes

Oakland Measure X

  • No: 72.06%, 53,037 votes
  • Yes: 27.94%, 20,562 votes

Oakland Measure BB

  • Yes: 70.35%, 51,456 votes
  • No: 29.65%, 21,689 votes

Special District

BART Director – District 4

  • Robert Raburn: 46.27%, 24,327 votes
  • Carole Ward Allen: 35.15%, 18,478 votes
  • Monique Rivera: 17.53%, 9,216 votes

AC Transit Director: At-large

  • Joel B. Young: 71.01%, 131,176 votes
  • Ellis Jerry Powell: 27.92%, 51,584 votes

AC Transit Director: Ward 4

  • Elsa Ortiz: 47.27%, 19,919 votes
  • Dollene C. Jones: 30.41%, 12,816 votes
  • Nancy M. Skowbo: 21.36%, 9,003 votes


Superior Court Judge, Seat 9

  • Victoria S. Kolakowski: 50.28%, 119,148 votes
  • John Creighton: 48.71%, 115,428 votes

197 thoughts on “UPDATED: Oakland election results

  1. Livegreen

    Go Robert!

    I couldn’t believe the Tribune and Chronicle both endorsed the incumbant (much less saying she would b better at balancing labor costs with operations). Wonder if they did any research?

    Anyway, no longer a worry!

  2. Max Allstadt

    Regarding ranked choice voting in the Mayor’s race, here’s what I think after discussions with people in the know…

    1. Ranked choice voting tends to produce first round winners that don’t change. Perata probably won.

    2. I’m almost positive that Quan can’t catch up to Perata. In the Chamber of Commerce Poll, Kaplan voters 2nd choices tend to go to Perata by a reasonable margin. Tuman voters second choices split mainly to Perata and Kaplan.

    3. Kaplan could very possibly pass Quan and come in second. Tuman’s second choices will have few Quan votes. Also, Among the 6 no-chance candidates, Kaplan probably picks up more 2nd choices than Quan.

    4. The only remote possibility of Perata losing is if Kaplan passes Quan and picks up two thirds of Quan’s second and third choice votes. This is very unlikely, but not completely impossible.

    So yeah, Quan definitely doesn’t win. Kaplan has a shot at coming in second and a very very slim shot at winning. Perata is 95% likely to have won.

    So V, do tell, the other day when you emailed me and said you thought Kaplan was going to come in fourth, was that based on actual data you’d seen, or were you just being a meanie and trying to psych me out?

  3. Patrick M. Mitchell

    According to Jean Quan, a poll conducted on her behalf indicated that she received 2/3 of all second place votes. Between them, Perata and Quan had 59% of the vote, which leaves 41% for everyone else. 66.6% of 41% = 27.31% which, when added to her current 24% pushes her to 51.31%. I love fuzzy math!! This, of course, assumes the poll was accurate and that her second place votes were consistent among all the candidates.

  4. Dax

    Election results… observations.

    Gender bias in city council seat voting?

    Well, look at the 3 city council races.
    Add up the total votes for males and compare that with the votes for females.

    A 6 to 1 ratio. Obviously a gender bias is operating. How else could all male candidates be limited to less than 17% of the votes.
    Once this is exposed in the Trib, I expect male support groups to be marching on city hall. Protesting at the League of Women Voters events. Blasting Quan, Kaplan, Barbara Lee, Brunner, Nadel, Kernighan, Schaaf, Brooks, Hayashi, Hancock, etc for creating a anti-male political atmosphere.

    When will the discrimination end?

    Now, on other matters.

    Surprise at OSUD Measure L getting 65.24% yes votes.

    To get the 66.7% needed, they would have had to switch 1,057 NO votes to YES votes. Really not that close.

    Tuman got almost exactly the percent of votes I expected.

    Of the other top 3 I thought Quan would do a bit better. Perhaps Kaplan’s push ate into her votes.

    I thought it would be more like the following.
    Perata 33%
    Quan 27%
    Kaplan 20%

    That would be a 6% spread between Perata and Quan.
    The reality is that it is a 11% spread.

    I don’t think Quan can make up a 11% spread in ranked choice voting.

    Only a concerted PLOP campaign could have created enough direction to have kept Perata from gathering what he needs in the subsequent rounds.

    But PLOP never got going.

    (PLOP = Please Leave Off Perata)

  5. Max Allstadt

    Thanks Ralph. It’s not all my thinking, mind you, there are others who did a lot of that math. Not the Kaplan campaign either, by the way.

    I’m super stoked about Raburn. Memo to Bob Franklin and Lynette Sweet: Pissed of transit advocates are a credible threat. You might want to listen to TransForm more closely over the next two years.

    The big deal of the day, though, to me, is Vicki Kolokowski. A close race, hard fought, and won. And a big step forward for equality.

    I also happily welcome Libby Schaaf to next year’s council. We can expect great things from Libby.

  6. livegreen

    Like Ralph, I don’t disagree with Max’s assessment. The one addition is possibly a slight write-in bump for Jean from Chinatown, but that probably will be very ltd.

    What will also be interesting is the Mayor-Council-Budget/Measure dynamics. We’ll have a Council that voted for OPD cuts, Measure X goes down, & Perata supported by OPD.

    So how will the Council work out their cuts with Perata (encapsulated in the Brunner/Perata dynamic)?

    Is OPD still the only office on the line, or will it be shared across the board by all employees/ departments?

    Will it result in only service cuts, or will there be an attempt to first cut salaries/benefits? (First proposed by politicians, then with the unions deciding if they’ll all contribute or throw their younger members under the bus for their own benefit?).

  7. Max Allstadt

    I’ll also add that all the public polling I saw suggested these trends:

    Perata losing points at a moderate pace over time, Kaplan gaining slowly,
    Tuman gaining very slowly,
    and Quan stuck in the mid 20s.

    If the trends were continuing through election day, the late absentee votes and provisional ballots would reflect the trend. That would reinforce the hypothesis that Ralph, Livegreen and I are all now agreeing on.

    According to various news sources, there are a LOT of uncounted ballots. Probably not enough to change everything, but enough that some of the closer races might turn around.
    Measure L might win, for instance.

  8. len raphael

    Would appear to confirmation of Perata strategy of focusing on East and West Oakland with field workers and TV ads, and letting the higher turnout Hills and Rockridge/Temescal area fracture into various camps.

    Kaplan knew she had to reach african americans and latinos, but didn’t know how to do it and probably couldn’t have done it this round.

    Don’t you think Kaplan would gave gained an additional 10 points from a combo of Quan and Tuman if she had gotten a makeover?

    The trim athletic well dressed look of Tuman made him look more “mayoral” than Kaplan.

  9. Chris Kidd

    The big question now: The Tuman/Broadhurst/anti-BB/anti-establishment folks got shut out in this election. Do they take their marbles and go home? Or do they use their 2 week long burst of furious political activity as a springboard to become more comprehensively involved in Oakland’s coming policy battles and tough budget decisions?

  10. Max Allstadt

    Len, I think Perata’s two biggest winning strategies were way simpler than what you’re suggesting.

    Big winning strategy 1: Outspend everybody by a huge margin.

    Big winning strategy 2: use the endorsement of famous statewide democratic candidates in a heavily democratic city.

  11. Dax

    Perata “Big winning strategy #3″

    — Don’t appear very much, and use your photo in a limited fashion so folks don’t get a good look at how worn out you appear.

    Notice Don Perata was the only candidate to fail to place his photo in the Sample Ballot and Voter Information Pamphlet.

    It is just very hard to take a photo that makes Don Perata look “fresh”.

    Jerry Brown looks like Don Perata’s son by comparison.

    I’m sure Oakland voters weren’ t looking for another worn out retread. Thus the low profile tactic.

  12. Dax

    My vote?

    I outlined it earlier.

    #1 vote… Terrence Candell

    For his contributions in keeping mayoral forums interesting and for his imaginative proposals.
    (Toll booths for those entering Oakland)

    #2 vote… Tuman

    Because he was a somewhat viable candidate who wasn’t involved in the prior mess. Although as I predicited, he would only get 10 to 11 percent of the vote.

    #3 vote… the only one that counted.

    I excluded Kaplan from consideration after I found out she has no progressive credentials, as she was in full support of Prop 27, stealing away our chance for fair reapportionment. In lock step with mainstream Democratic Party hacks.
    At odds with the picture she tries to put forth as being a agent of change.

    So I dumped her from consideration.

    That left me with only Perata and Quan.
    Very difficult to reward either of them.
    So I voted for the one most likely to make the “trains run on time”.

    However as was the case in history, those credited with “making the trains run on time” often actually didn’t deserve credit for any improvement that took place

    See SNOPES


  13. V Smoothe Post author

    Just to clarify, since I don’t think it is apparent from reading that post. Affordable housing at the Transit Village is not a subject for consideration at the Planning Commission meeting tonight. The item tonight is about the street map and the parking garage.

  14. Manuel Garcia, Jr.

    V. Smoothe,

    I discovered your excellent web-site very recently (via a Perata bulk e-mail), and I appreciate the well-reasoned and clearly written commentary by V. Smoothe.

    I cannot compete with the experienced political observers here on knowledge about Oakland; but I am happy to learn from all your discussions. Since ignorance is never a barrier to pontification, I, too, have some opinions on the election results. The people in this forum are most likely to find the errors and omissions in my analysis of the mayoral race, given here:


    Again, thanks for the web-site, all the factual information, thoughtful analysis, and enthusiastic readers’ opinions.

    MG, Jr.

    “In politics the choice is never between good and evil but between the preferable and the detestable.” — Raymond Aron

  15. len raphael

    MG, i’ll should send you a pic of my pit wearing his “Pits for Perata” t-shirt.

    But, i doubt if Perata is expecting any great help from the state. That well is dry.

    -len raphael, temescal

  16. Born in Oakland

    I agree Max. I also note that some ballots have the same candidate in more than one place….wonder what happened to those ballots….voided?

  17. Max Allstadt

    I’m pretty sure nothing gets voided.

    As for the TellFi poll, I can’t judge the accuracy of it ’cause the explanation of the methodology is not clear.

    The only thing that’s clearly a mark against the accuracy of the TellFi exercise is that it’s old, 7 weeks before the election.

  18. Karen Bishop

    Born in Oakland, if you are asking what happens if someone picked the same mayoral candidate as their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice, I’ve read that your 1st choice counts and then you’re 2nd and 3rd choice is voided.

  19. CitizenX

    If your first through third choices were for, say, Arnie Fields, your second, then third choices would get tossed, as the candidate would already be eliminated (at this point, after the first round). If you voted 1 to 3 for a finalist (i.e, one still around, when one of the candidates breaks the 50% barrier), then the “system” would have no reason to ever consider your second or third choice. Bottom line — voting for the same candidate for all three choices is a waste of time.

  20. CitizenX

    The TellFi poll analysis looks a little off to me. They were dividing the number of votes by the total voters and coming out with a “winning” percentage under 50%. If you divide the number of votes by the “continuing ballots”, you’ll get a winning percentage of 52.3% , in Perata’s case. If one selects three “losers”, who drop out in the earlier rounds, one’s vote should no longer be counted in the denominator. Sorry, too much coffee today.

  21. Max Allstadt


    After trying to figure out how to “game the system”, it became very obvious to me that it can’t be done.

    It was also silly to think that the system could be gamed at all: RCV is more than 100 years old, it’s not that complicated, and far more mathematically inclined people than most of us have tried to figure out if it can be gamed, long before RCT came to Oakland.

    So what it boils down to is this: if you rank 3 candidates in the order you prefer them, you are most likely to get what you want, and most likely to empower yourself as a voter.

    When Terrance Candell told his supporters to vote for him 3 times, he was telling them to throw away two opportunities to make a difference if he was eliminated.

    When Don Perata told his supporters to vote for him as a first choice and no one else as the second choice, he was telling them to throw away two opportunities to make a difference if he was eliminated.

    The only difference is that Perata definitely had tracking polls showing that he was going to come in first, so knowing that he wasn’t going to be eliminated, his suggestion wasn’t actually damaging to the power of his supporters’ votes.

    But only a strong finishing front runner can do that. And it doesn’t help with voter education for the next election one bit.

    Candell’s insistance on all three choices was way more offensive to me. By implying that something better happens if you vote for the same person 3 times, he was miseducating his supporters. By insisting they all vote for him 3 times, knowing full well he’d be eliminated, he was asking his supporters to disenfranchise themselves.

    Having looked at Ranked Choice closely, and having looked at how to “game the system”, I’ve concluded that the most empowering thing a voter can do is vote their conscience, and fill as many choices as their conscience allows.

    And that has changed my mind about RCV. I like it now. I prefer it to the old system. And I also don’t think it’s too complicated to understand.

    Here’s the most concise explanation I’ve seen:

    Not exactly the most complicated thing in the world after all.

  22. Max Allstadt

    Also, it looks like RCV isn’t what’s going to make this election a weird one. The huge number of late absentees means that close races could flip.

    Officially, only 3/4 of the votes have been tallied. My ballot is among the 1/4 that hasn’t been added to the posted total yet. It’s mind boggling to me that they can’t accept late absentees in the same way they accept ordinary ballots.

  23. CitizenX

    “So what it boils down to is this: if you rank 3 candidates in the order you prefer them, you are most likely to get what you want, and most likely to empower yourself as a voter.”

    That is all that people really need to know about RCV. Vote for who you want and make your choice heard. It is a little baffling that so many voted to implement RCV, but so many don’t understand how it works. Guess the same could be said about a lot of ballot initiatives, though.

  24. len raphael

    Do we have stable totals by precinct, so we know what turnout was like compared to previous off year elections and to obamba november. probably no way to tell if the marijuana props brought out younger voters.

  25. Dax

    From the Chronicle today..
    Quan rested her hopes on being listed second by virtually all the other candidates’ voters, in an “Anyone But Don” campaign. But Latterman said voters don’t often follow such advice.

    What? I mentioned a PLOP campaign here but never saw anything about the “Anyone But Don” campaign.

    Who was in on that ABD cause.
    Quan and who else?

    How much effort was put behind it?
    1% of overall effort? Or more?

    I never saw it mentioned in any brochure .

    Could they not have seen that a serious effort was going to be a essential requirement if that PLOP/ABD was going to work…
    And that it was almost certainly the only way any candidate was going to make up ground in the ranked choice process.

    Were these types of questions never given serious consideration.
    Because without such, what Quan’s people were really telling themselves is that they were going to get more #1 votes than Perata in the first round.

    Is that what they really thought?

    Especially even more curious as to what Kaplan thought was her road to victory.
    Or didn’t she care and her real reason for running was a future legislative office.

    And Tuman, I mean, why did he run?
    Certainly he couldn’t have pictured a win.
    Even Candell isn’t that delusional, well at least not about a mayoral victory.

  26. Sid

    Perata took money from the police union as a “consultant” and promised to hire back the laid off officers. How is he going to keep this promise, unless he shuts down every other city facilities? The problem is, the police union has refused to pay in any money to their pension system, while other city employees pay 9% of their salary. The City has 50 million deficit right now. How is he going to manage this mess?

  27. Max Allstadt

    Dax, here are some theories for your questions:

    Kaplan ran because she wanted the job, and her path to victory would have consisted of Perata and Quan raising each other’s negatives with attacks, She had higher positives and lower negative impressions than either of them going in to the race.

    I also think she ran because her starting position was relatively safe. If RCV does not create a miracle over the next two weeks that puts her on top, she’s still the council member at-large.

    As far as her path to victory, it worked out exactly as expected, but not fast enough. Her poll numbers kept climbing. The current early count is higher than any poll taken before the race.

    All this adds up to yet another reason that there isn’t a big downside to running and losing for Kaplan. Win, she’d be the mayor. Lose, she’d be At-Large council member, but with more friends and allies than before. It didn’t have to be in preparation for a run for higher office. I think it was more likely calculated as a no-lose situation where her ability to be effective in her current office would be enhanced.

    Incidentally, I think Oakland should have all of it’s elections in the same year, so that everyone has to give up their seat to run for another office.

    Right now, Districts 1,3,5,7, at-Large and the City Attorney can run for Mayor without leaving their jobs. Districts 2 4 and 6 can run for City Attorney without leaving their Jobs. It’s kind of an arbitrary set of advantages to set up.

    Also, I think Joe Tuman ran thinking that he had a slim shot at winning in an anti-incumbent, anti-politician climate. I also think he figured that even if he lost, he’d dramatically enhance his academic and pundit career. I will be very surprised if he doesn’t write a book about the campaign.

  28. Dax

    I suspect the police will end up giving up the 9% contribution and try to get some small pay raises left in place.

    A little known fact is that there may be several early retirements due to a provision in the pension plan.

    If you retire now, the “city paid” contribution is added to your salary for the pension calculation.

    Thus a, 28 year officer who retires now will get a pension of 84% times $100K plus $9K , or about $91,560 and he will collect it for 27 years.

    Total pension about $2,472,000

    If he waits 2 years and his pay goes up to $105K or $108K, his pension will be still be based on that earlier $109K he had two years before, because the city paid employee share of the pension will no longer be in place. So he will get a pension of $98,100 based on his 30 years.

    But he will be on that pension for two fewer years.

    So his total will be 25 x $98,100 or about $2,452,000.

    Thus he will collect $20,000 less in total pension over his lifetime.

    Why not retire earlier and enjoy two more fully functional years.

    This will also help the city by having more expensive officers leaving, and replace by less expensive officers.

  29. Max Allstadt

    Just out of curiousity, demographics-wise, it appears that Police salaries put cops squarely in an upper-middle class lifestyle, able to live in a single-income household, own a home, and have their spouse possibly be stay-at-home.

    Have cops always been afforded a lifestyle like this by their salaries? Have they stayed in the same place while non-government employed people who have middle class professions have been repeatedly screwed and forced down the ladder? Or have cops become richer over the years?

  30. Fran

    Fact is, RCV behaves like plurality, that is, more people voted against the winner than for them.

    In the TellFi poll, there were 1436 voters. Perata had 637 votes at the end, which means 56% of the voters voted AGAINST Perata.

    If you juts use the number of people who had Perata/Quan, then there will always be someone who has more, or the majority between the two. Using this logic, if you go one step further and eliminate Quan and redistribute her votes, Perata received 100% of the vote.

    Prediction – the winner will not have the majority support of the people who came out to vote, as previous required by law in the traditional Oakland elections.

  31. The Boss

    Max -

    One thing of interest in that regard is this: I specifically remember a few years back the police union making a big deal about cops having to live outside Oakland and commute here because the cost of living here was so high.

    Now, maybe that’s an artifact of the housing bubble. But, you’re definitely right that such a complaint doesn’t seem to square with their salary and benefit packages.

  32. Dax

    Max, Police and fire compensation packages have outpaced inflation and placed those police and fire personnel several steps up the economic ladder.

    *Compensation– to include salary, vacation, holidays, benefits health, dental etc, pension plan, other retirement contribution plans, etc.

    Now, you will constantly hear “but the price of houses have skyrocketed”….
    Sure we had a few years from 2002 upward to 2006, and now we are back to 2002 again. Everyone has gone through that cycle.

    At 2002 prices (or less) the house component of one’s expenses has not so greatly outpaced inflation, and we can’t forget that everyone in the community has gone through the same increases.

    I think the more telling data would be the overall compensation package of the typical police sergeant now and in 1990, 1980, 1970, and 1960 relative to others in society who were on par with them decades ago.

    Currently it costs the city about $185,000 to keep a police officer’s compensation paid.

    Look around at what other jobs have that level of compensation and also have a waiting list of quality people willing to do the job. Same or even much more true for firemen.

    During the past 20 years cities got into a compensation battle with each other.
    Especially after the legislature passed new laws enabling pensions to be jacked up.

    Sure they risk their lives, but at some point a city can only pay so much. They simply can’t pay any higher salary, or more benefits or future pensions without slashing everything else in the city.

    Policing is a extremely difficult job, but to a degree it should be governed by the same laws of supply and demand that set most other salaries in the world.

    As to living on one salary, with the bread winner being a police officer. Sure it can be done, but people in any profession who make that choice don’t necessarily live at the lifestyle that all the other two income families do.
    Decades ago, many people didn’t expect the lifestyles that have become common today.

  33. Dax

    Max, You know, I didn’t fully answer your main question.

    I think both are true.
    People in the middle class have been moved downward a bit in the past 20 years.

    Police officers have been moved up a fair amount.

    I would say there is much more of the police moving up than the others moving down, although the past 3 years have made the others moving down more pronounced and noteworthy recently.

    But, regardless of what everyone “deserves” or thinks they deserve, the real question is what can a city and its citizens afford.
    Right now, we can’t afford the current levels of total compensation that are in place.

    CANNOT AFFORD IT… The money isn’t there., unless the other residents pay more from their declining income, thereby further increasing the disparity between police and other citizen’s income.

  34. Livegreen

    Dax, Sorry but u lost me on the two fewer years after they worked two more years…

    Two fewer years with the city’s added contribution I understand, but nit two fewer years total…

  35. Livegreen

    I agree entirely with Dax’s last statement. Yes salary comparison’s show other cities are paying high for Officers and other public servants. But given Oakland’s tax base and average family income of about $45,000 we simply cannot compete with San Francisco and other cities that have much higher per capital incomes.

    Doing so not only makes it unaffordable, it also sets up the nuclear arms race that we’ve seen in the salaries and benefits of CEO’s and University Chancellors. Except it’s across every pay scale of our City government.

    Oakland’s ability to pay, namely our budget and average family income, needs to b part of the basis for compensation.

    And doing so might even encourage/incentivize the City to build it’s tax base, instead of decreasing it by building almost all the Affordable Housing for the Bay Area, and almost nothing for the Middle Class

  36. ralph

    I believe Dax was making an assmuption about how long an individual will live. You can buy 2 additional yrs of retirement by leaving early. If you retire after 30 yrs, does not change how long you will live. Thus only 25 years of collection.

  37. len raphael

    Max, for the bay area as a whole, 75k to 150k is a middle class family of 3, not solidly upper middle. That gets you a condo in Walnut Creek, not a townhouse, not asingle family home in close by nice burbs.

    At the upper end of that income it gets you single fam house in San Leandro in a safe neighborhood, that doesn’t need a bunch of work.

    In oakland it gets you a single fam house, in ok but spotty area that needs 100k of work, occassional gunfire, and awful schools.

    if you want cops that combine flatfoot, psychologist, emt, paralegal, then you have to compete with similary whitecollar jobs in entire bay area. if inhouse accountants make 65 to 75k, 100k base is what we have to pay or restructure the job to use more lower skilled cops. My hunch is that will buy John Burris a nice townhouse in London.


  38. livegreen

    On KQED today the guests (on opposite sides of the argument) mentioned that the Pensions are untouchable in Municipal Bankruptcy, & have seniority over everything else including bond debt.

  39. len raphael

    LG, might need the help of teaparty congress if that’s how it comes down in the courts. do you have the link to the recording?

    regardless of the pension outcome, was there consensus on retirement medical benefits? 600Mill is nothing to sneeze at .

  40. len raphael

    max, in case you haven’t noticed, this is a hecka expensive part of the country, even post melt down. it’s more expensive than the NYC outside of fancy parts.

  41. ralph

    LG, previously agreed upon pension benefits are “sacred.” However, at least one cit has renegotiated terms for current employees (see Baltimore City PD) who did not have a certain number of yrs of service.

  42. len raphael

    would be interesting if a teaparty congress’ worship of state’s rights would overcome its antipathy towards unions if it comes down to congress extending the rules of private sector bankruptcy to muni bankruptcy. ie. that pensions are high priority but not sacrosanct.

  43. V Smoothe Post author

    26 does not impact the government’s ability to assess fines, permit fees, or user charges. You can read the State Legislative Analyst Office explanation here.

  44. Max Allstadt

    I dunno, but I saw a lot of boards on windows downtown a minute ago.

    Great. We had a riot. Then we had a verdict riot. Tomorrow maybe we get a sentencing riot. And then there will be an appeal riot, and an appeal verdict riot, and an appeal sentencing riot.

    And then a few years rest before the parole hearing riot. Arg.

  45. len raphael

    wonder how many new ngo’s have sprung up around Grant’s death and the trial?

    If the residents of this area put half the creative energy they put into starting up and running ngo’s into for profit business, we’d be Silicon Valley.

  46. Dax

    ” 75k to 150k is a middle class family of 3,”
    “not upper middle”… “That gets you a condo in Walnut Creek”,

    Could you put a dollar figure on that condo?

    ” gets you single fam house in San Leandro in a safe neighborhood”

    Also I need a dollar figure at today’s rates of mortgage interest.

    “In oakland it gets you a single fam house, in ok but spotty area that needs 100k of work, occassional gunfire, and awful schools.”

    On this one especially, I’d like to know what you are thinking, as I am very aware of prices in various Oakland neighborhoods and the relative safety of those areas.
    How much does it cost to buy a house in Oakland that needs $100k of work, and that gets occasional gunfire?
    Say, 2,000 square feet?

    How about that same house in a safe neighborhood without occasional gunfire and a grammar school that gets a 7 or greater ranking?

    “if you want cops then you have to compete with similary whitecollar jobs in entire bay area. if inhouse accountants make 65 to 75k, 100k base is what we have to pay or restructure the job to use more lower skilled cops.”

    If we want to compete….

    If we want to compete, how about we put out a market driven compensation offer instead of jacking it up and then turning down 99 out of 100 applicants?

    And don’t limit it do just salary. Good gosh, salary only makes up about 55% of the police officers compensation.
    You need to look at the entire package as well as the normal solid nature “not” losing the job.

    Whether its police officers or firemen, you can’t tell me Oaklands compensation is driven by the market, certainly not today’s market.

    If you remember, back a few years, well before this recession, OFD offered about 18 positions and got near riots when over 8,000 lined up for applications.

    Please supply a few of those requested items so we can all see if we are talking about the same reality.

  47. Max Allstadt

    Len, we have a lot of NGOs in this town, but we also have a police accountability problem that is totally real. NGOs that do effective work in addressing the problem create real value.

  48. Dax


    ” previously agreed upon pension benefits are “sacred.”

    While I agree the law will back that up, I really dislike the use of the word “sacred”

    Here is why. How come it is sacred to lock in changes that extend forever into the future for that given employee, WHEN only years earlier the city made prior changes that “retroactively” include all prior years of service. How come the changes can be made to include past years, when we also had a “sacred” agreement?

    In other words, the “sacred” idea only seems to work in the favor of the city employees.

    A truly fair system, would at the very least, have given the 2.0 —> 2.7 percent increase in 2004 to only those years from that date forward.

    But if you include all the prior years of service, then it seems you should be able in say 2012, say that all future years will be done at the old rate of 2.0

    The optimal and fair practice would be to have given them the 2.0 they agreed for from say 1980 to 2004, then switched to 2.7 from 2004 until say 2012, and the due to fiscal problems given them the prior 2.0 from 2012 until they retire.

    A mix of years, that reflect reality, rather than all prior years jacked up to 2.7 and of even greater insult, not being able to reduce the next 20 or 30 years back down to a fiscally sound 2.0% …

    For just a foolish mistake, the city is punished 30 years in reverse and 30 years into the future.
    Any employee who was working in 1970 or works until 2040 is locked into the higher rate for all those years.
    One city council mistake and the city must carry the burden for 6 decades.

    The retroactive feature essentially works in both directions, only to the benefit of the employee and fully to the detriment of the citizens.

  49. Karen Bishop

    “if you want cops that combine flatfoot, psychologist, emt, paralegal, then you have to compete with similary whitecollar jobs in entire bay area. if inhouse accountants make 65 to 75k, 100k base is what we have to pay or restructure the job to use more lower skilled cops.”

    Not necessarily. People have different skill sets and either can’t move into a different job due to lack of educational requirements, or they are not suited for that type of job.

  50. Karen Bishop


    Joe didn’t needed to run for mayor to enhance his career or to write a book, if indeed those two things were important to him. Academics use their years of experience and prior published pieces of work as cache to get a book deal. He wanted to be mayor. He will remain involved in Oakland politics — in what capacity I don’t know.

  51. Livegreen

    Len, It was on Forum, just go to their page on KQED and look for the program w State Pensions in the title. But they didn’t mention much else about Bankruptcy.

    The only other item of interest, I thought, was all the recent concessions the Unions made in State budget r for future employees.

    The rest of the time was spent in the usual Unions vs. Wall Street argument, etc.

  52. len raphael


    Haven’t listened to it yet. Neither of the two guests were muni bankruptcy attorneys, and one of the guests from SEIU would have a powerful reason to rule out agressively pushing the envelope of muni bankruptcy law.

    Would be more useful to hear from someone at Orriick Harrington, a law firm which seems to make money both from representing Oakland and many others in bond offering, as well as (not sure but maybe) served as bankruptcy attorneys for Vallejo. Better if there were law firms that didn’t have an existing relationship with Oakland, but it’s probably a small world of muni law law firms.

    We should see if we can invite one to write a background piece for ABO.

  53. len raphael

    Whatya bet, somewhere in a back of many national Democrat’s minds, there’s just a smidgeon of doubt growing that Hilary would have made a much more effective President than Obama?

    Obama had the intellectual powerful vision, but scant experience making political deals with opponents. He also tended to listen mostly to people in coastal state urban areas who shared his values and goals.

    Kaplan as Obama; Perata as Hilary.

  54. len raphael

    Listening to the kqed audio on CA pensions.

    When the SEIU guy stated that “no one is more supportive of improving efficiency than government workers” I knew this was going to be an objective source of info.

    SEIU guy totally blames poor govt service on insufficent staffing :)

    The SEIU blames Wall Street and real estate financial crash for 100% of the problems saying its entirely a result of stock market losses.

    To the extend many states and cities have totally unfunded post retirement medical benefits that never had stock losses because there were no funds to have losses. But neither the moderator nor the anti SEIU person mentioned that.

    SEIU guy opposes raises current employee retirement ages but conceeded it was legal to negotiate that.

    The kqed moderator parroted Quan’s line about bankruptcy raising a city’s borrowing interest rates as if it were one of the laws of physics. No one asked for the proof of that.

    The non union guest, Marcia Fritz, stated that in bankruptcy pensions take priority over bond service. That sounds right for general obligation bonds but not the revenue bonds which make up a big chunk of Oakland’s d.ebts. We need better info on that.

    The guest opposing the SEIU guest, opined that we’d need to see investment returns of 18% for many years to pay for existing state pension obligations.

    Overall rating of the discussion: superficial. moderator to uninformed of issues to question his guests.

    -len raphael

  55. V Smoothe Post author

    Len, I wrote a long post about municipal bankruptcy over a year ago. It contains many links to further information. I recommend you go read it. I know that it is a tempting thought that bankruptcy is some easy answer to Oakland’s problems, but the fact is, it just isn’t. It is a devastating thing for a City to go through and no, it does not absolve a city of their obligations to their employees.

  56. len raphael

    V, i had read your post onthat and have since talked to Vallejo activists. Unless you know of some recent muni bankrupcty filings that pushed the issues of pensions and/or of post retirement benefits, then it is not settled how a fed bankruptcy law will rule on those. no reason to think a fed judge would treat non pension benefits the same as pensions.

    And very possible, that a city or group of cities (or employees) would appeal an unfavorable barkruptcy ruling to Supreme Court.

    Lastly, bankruptcy laws get changed by congress. A big change for personal bankruptcy just a couple of years ago.

    As far as i can tell, the changes are effectively retroactive to debts that existed before the change, but I’m not an expert on that.

    Regardless of how well it works or not, an unplanned bankruptcy would be much be more painful and less productive than one that was planned. If we sit around waiting for Congress to bail us out, the mother of all stock market/real estate booms to come roaring back, or a two tier emplyee compensation system to fix everything, then we will be forced into bankruptcy after we run out city buildings to sell to the RDA or private developers; and revenue streams to moneitize.

    Smarter, richer cities than ours have been forced to the edge of bankruptcy, ie NYC

    NYC was saved by being the richest city in the world and by a Wall Street that needed it. So they arranged the financing and forced fiscal reforms.

    Oakland is not too big to fail.

  57. V Smoothe Post author

    Len, Congress has limited control over what rules they can make with respect to municipal bankruptcy due to the Constitution.

    Your entire argument for municipal bankruptcy being a way to escape pension obligations is based on the notion that you think that Oakland could push the boundaries of the law to do something that nobody has ever been able to do before. I don’t think that is a reasonable solution. And having spoken to a number of people who have lived and worked through such a bankruptcy, I can tell you – it is NOT something you want to happen in Oakland.

  58. len raphael

    V, how about us finding an academic attorney who specializes in the topic to write a piece on this. there must be someone on one of the bay area law school faculties. Much of the info we get is after the fact and affected by the self interests of the people telling us the choices. (no, i don’t mean you).

    and even if we don’t want it to happen, we need some hard non scare tactic facts, legal cost estimates, effects on borrowing costs, etc. to weigh against say the cost of severely cutting all city services or passing a >1,000 parcel tax.

    Did the people you talked with specifically say that retirement medical benefits could not be reduced in bankruptcy?


  59. len raphael

    Isn’t it a matter of degree of severity and for how many years and which services.

    eg. 30 years of severe cuts without bankruptcy vs 10 years with bankruptcy

    also while we’re doing that, would lenders see us as a better risk under bankruptcy than outside of bankruptcy? that’s not as obvious as Jean Quan thought.

  60. len raphael

    the unions have been pushing for this for a couple of years. i always figured that if it were important for the unions to thwart bankruptcy filinigs this way, they knew something that the SEIU guy on the kqued wasn’t saying.

    My guess is that medical benefits are not protected by state constitution and so aren’t protected by a fed constitutional argument about state’s rights.

  61. len raphael

    Karen, Joe says he’s sticking around to help Oakland. He’s connected to legal academic circles.

    After the election results are final, (yeah i know he still thinks he has a slim chance), ask him to write an op-ed piece about the pro’s and con’s of bankruptcy and lawsuits to force the unions to give back vested pension and or medical benefits. He hinted that was his January strategy but never said that.


  62. livegreen

    Why can the Pensions offered by Private Businesses be rescinded in Bankruptcy but not
    Municipalities? Constitutionally, what’s the difference?

  63. Dax

    In todays jobs report, they state the average weekly pay is $780.

    Look at Oakland. 52 weeks x $780 gives you annual pay of $40,560 average.

    Try to find out what percent of Oakland city jobs pay below that $40,560…
    And don’t even think about counting the cost of the full benefit package compared to what most Americans get.

    Better yet, figure, what is the Oakland city average salary…
    $65,000? $75,000 even before benefits and the huge pension.

    Again the USA average is $40,560.
    When I hear Oakland city leaders talk about jobs, they always throw out the $100,000 figure for total compensation for typical Oakland employees.

    Across the nation I don’t think adding on the total compensation to the $40,560 average would bring that figure over $55,000, or about 55% of what Oakland’s average total comp is for average employees.

    Granted, Bay Area salaries are higher than the national figures, but not that much higher. Say, add on 20% to the $55,000 and you have $66,000 compared to Oakland’s $100,000 total comp.

    Even adjusted for the area you still find Oakland’s total comp at about a 50% premium.
    Furlough days only begin to bring the city workers down towards appropriate pay.

  64. John Gatewood

    Not sure what this really means but the unofficial ranked choice voting results show Jean Quan winning. Once you go to this link, scroll all the way over to the “Round 10″ column and it shows her pulling ahead once Kaplan is dropped. However it is unofficial and more importantly it doesn’t say how many ballots remain to be counted.
    Here is the link –

  65. livegreen

    Yeah, just saw this in the Trib. If it holds, that would be a pretty amazing come from by behind. A first for ranked choice?

  66. krutchco

    On Ranked Choice Voting Results –
    The results are still unofficial – but pretty eye opening to see what a difference the RCV system makes. Many news outlets were acting as though Perata as Mayor was a done deal – and commentators (albeit from Perata’s camp) were saying it was mathematically impossible for Quan to take the lead. However, Kaplan voters broke 3 to 1 for Quan over Perata.

    Oakland North is reporting there are 15,000 ballots countywide left to count, while the Tribune is reporting over 100,000 ballots countywide left to count.

    Since Quan’s lead is under 2,000 votes, the lead could still change hands, but my bet’s that she’ll hold onto her lead among late absentee votes.

    Oakland North reported that the AC registrar expects to announce results Monday afternoon.

  67. Dave C.

    It’s really astonishing. Of the 26,333 votes Kaplan had in the penultimate round of counting, about 3/5 went to Quan, 1/5 went to Perata, and 1/5 didn’t end up going to either. Assuming that the Quan lead holds up, any Tuman voters who put Kaplan 2nd and then left their 3rd choice blank have lost all right to complain about anything Quan does as Mayor, in my opinion.

  68. livegreen

    The Trib says about 100,000 absentee left to count. That’s a lot. If that’s accurate this things totally up in the air. This is a real nail biter…

    Either way it shows a pretty evenly divided City. The next Mayor should act as such.

  69. Rich

    Ranked Choice voting 10th round? WTF!

    4 candidates with a significant number of votes. 10 rounds to sort it out. How is 10 runs better than a run-off election?

  70. Rich

    Ranked Choice voting 10th round? WTF!

    4 candidates with a significant number of votes. 10 rounds to sort it out. How is 10 rounds better than a run-off election?

  71. Karen Bishop

    It looks like there are only 10,000 ballots left and they are county-wide, not all from Oakland voters. So it is still a nail biter.

  72. Dave C.

    Perata is toast. There’s no reason to think the uncounted votes will skew significantly toward Perata, is there? If there are 15,000 uncounted votes county-wide, then fewer than 10,000 would be Oakland votes. He’d have to win something like 2/3 of them in order to overcome an 1876 vote difference. Ain’t gonna happen. Then again, maybe lightning can strike twice in the same spot…

  73. Dax

    Came in from my walk.

    Amazing ….

    Until I can examine it further, I will only say this, what I said before the election, in my area, East Oakland hills, Quan was much more represented in mailers and was the only one with lawn signs of any note.
    Plus, the only one to have anyone walk the area, — her own husband.

    I’d like to see the votes from this one precinct.

    I don’t know about anyone else but I really think I only ever saw or heard one Perata commercial. Very few mailers from him.

    Given what he spent, I just saw none of it in my neighborhood. Perhaps he focused elsewhere.

  74. ralph

    do you not have a television? granted some of the commercials aired during the day, but Perata had a heavy air presence.

  75. charlie s

    At the risk of a little simplication, it seems there were two groups of voters – the Don Perata voters and the Anyone But Don Peratas who split their first choice between Jean Quan, Rebecca Kaplan, Joe Tuman and others. The consequence is that many of us who voted for Tuman or Kaplan have — inadvertently? unintentionally? — elected Jean Quan as mayor.

  76. Karen Bishop

    I watch quite a bit of t.v. and I only saw one Perata commercial, last Saturday. I heard that he had heavy t.v. presence but I didn’t see it. Was there one or two channels that he focused on?

  77. mel

    charlie, the only way you could have voted for Quan – directly or indirectly – is if you listed her as one of your choices. If you voted for Tuman or Kaplan and for example didn’t list a 2nd or 3rd choice, then your one vote counted for someone who didn’t make it to the last round.

    The simplest way to look at it is to add up all the transfer votes for the candidates. Quan essentially got 20,000 2nd or 3rd choice votes throughout the 10 rounds while Perata got only 9,200.

  78. Livegreen

    “Dave Macdonald said that he would have preferred to wait until all the vote-by-mail provisional ballots were processed and counted before running the ranked-choice program, but at least the preliminary figures provide a snapshot of how ranked-choice voting works and ‘where things currently stand.’ ” -Tribune

    Question: With 15,000 votes from AC remaining to be counted, how the hell can they start the IRV? How can they even divy up Kaplan’s or even Tumans to know who came in 2nd or 3rd with it that close?

    Is there a good explanation for this? Otherwise it looks pretty sloppy & this won’t be over Sunday. Kaplan and whoever comes in 2nd might have grounds for a lawsuit…

  79. Dax

    I agree fully with Karen when she said

    “I watch quite a bit of t.v. and I only saw one Perata commercial,”

    I am also a person who would pay attention to the commercial, how it looked, what the message was, how Don looked.
    Certainly by the second time I saw it I would be analyzing it.

    I don’t know where you were seeing it, because I didn’t .

    My only thought is that lot of shows at night I don’t watch.
    We also had the NLCS Championship and the World Series. I don’t recall him on those.

    I also watch as much non- 2, 4, 5, 7, and 11 as I do those channels.
    Probably even more of others except for the news.

    Did he ever run commercials on KTVU during the 10:00 PM news?

    I really can’t recall more than 1 Perata commercial, seen once.

  80. ralph

    Dax, Karen,
    I watch TNT, TBS, FX, ESPN channels. Perata commercials aired regularly on these stations. They aired early, late, middle of the day and I think during a Monday Night game.

  81. mel

    “Whatya bet, somewhere in a back of many national Democrat’s minds, there’s just a smidgeon of doubt growing that Hilary would have made a much more effective President than Obama?”

    Yeah, and I’d ask those folks in the peanut gallery to provide me a list of what exactly Hillary would’ve accomplished that Obama hasn’t. Healthcare/Insurance Reform: Didn’t Hillary try to help her husband get that passed? Obama actually delivered. Financial regulatory reform, student loan reform, stimulus, economic stabilization – Hillary would’ve done that and then some, eh? I’m sure Congressional Republicans and Blue Dogs were more eager to work with her than that usurper Obama.

    Folks who think like that seem to suffer from the “perception gap” that I spoke of regarding crime; their assessments are based more on emotion and latent stereotypes than on actual outcomes.

    Besides if “experience” is your thing then Tuman should be nowhere near consideration for mayor while Quan would be just perfect.

  82. Karen Bishop

    that explains it then, b/c I don’t normally watch those channels. Now if he was on the food network, I would have seen Perata a lot :)

  83. livegreen

    Further to what I said earlier, with 15,000 votes across Alameda County yet to be counted let’s assume roughly 1/2 for Oakland.

    In the 8th Round Tuman’s 12,821 votes were reallocated & Kaplan picked up the most, 4,361 (about 1500 more than Jean or Don). Going into the 9th Round Jean has about 2,000 more votes than Kaplan.

    Whatever the # of Oakland votes among those 15,000 uncounted (whether it’s 5K, 6K or 7K votes), divided up among 3 candidates, that’s enough to impact the election.

    Any of the first 3 candidates could still win this…

  84. ralph

    I am not sure I agree with your math. I believe you are overestimating the uncounted Oakland ballots, but that doesn’t make much difference.

    Assuming that the ballots follow the same distribution pre-IRV, then Perata gets 34% and Quan gets 25%. Then assuming that the rest are redistributed based on IRV, Don still does not pick up enough to close the gap.

    I could be wrong but I think my math holds. What I did not anticipate when Max and I were projecting earlier were the number of Kaplan followers who would go Quan and the number Tuman followers who would drop out.

  85. Karen Bishop

    Thats how it looks to me also LG.

    What I find interesting is the column called exhausted votes. Not all of the candidates (who were eliminated) votes transferred. Look at Kaplan there were 5700 votes that appear to be undistributed to the remaining 2 candidates. Are these ballots where there were no #2 or #3 choices selected by the voter?

  86. livegreen

    There’s no way to predict which city the 15,000 outstanding (as reported) apply to, or who they voted for. & I’m not making any predictions (for or against anybody). All I’m saying is it’s too early or unpredictable to tell, & even Kaplan still has a chance.

  87. mel

    “Mel, whatza “latent stereotype”?
    is that like a latent fingerprint?”

    Perhaps figuratively, but literally ummm no. A ‘fingerprint’ is not a ‘stereotype’. Is the term “latent” confusing? Try “underlying.”

  88. Dave C.


    A lot of those 5700 ballots are probably ballots where a voter had put Tuman or another eliminated candidate as #1, and had put Kaplan as #2 or #3. In other words, those 5700 are the ballots that had Kaplan as either 1, 2, or 3, but not Quan or Perata. Some of them may have had #2 or #3 blank, but not necessarily.

  89. Dave C.

    I love how the top item on the “News From Elsewhere” list is still “Perata’s lead seems insurmountable.” Just goes to show how important the word “seems” is as a journalistic hedge!

  90. Max Allstadt

    I still hold out a little hope for Rebecca.


    Because Oakland is precisely the kind of town that’s so fucked up that three people could win the election before it’s over.

  91. V Smoothe Post author

    Apologies for not being able to respond earlier. I do not have good access to a computer right now. As far as the new results go (I updated the post with a link to them earlier this afternoon, look at the very top of the post to see it), it is worth noting that they are preliminary. My understanding is that there are about 15,000 total ballots left to count. If that is true, and if the votes in those ballots were to break exactly the same way that the votes already counted have broken, Perata would likely still win the election, although it would be very close. It totally depends, though, on how many of those are Oakland ballots. The more Oakland ballots there are left to count, the stronger Perata’s chances, assuming that previous patterns hold exactly, which, of course, there is no reason to think they will. My understanding (which I admit could be wrong) is that we are expected to have a final count by Monday.

    However, who knows how those votes are going to go. There is clearly a very high chance of Quan winning. Either way, I think Oakland will survive. Hell, we got through four years of Dellums. At least Jean works really hard, right?

  92. Dave C.

    I don’t get that at all. If the uncounted ballots break the same way the counted votes have broken, how could it lead to a different result? My brain hurts just thinking about it! Maybe it’s time to take out a pen and paper and actually do some math.

    I assume that they will have to run the whole IRV process over again with the uncounted ballots included, right? Because as Livegreen points out, the early rounds of counting could theoretically be affected by the new ballots—Kaplan could overtake Quan, for instance, although I wouldn’t count on it. It sure would be dramatic, though, if Kaplan ended up overtaking Quan and then overtaking Perata. Wheeeeeeee!

  93. mfraser

    I agree with you Dave that the statement isn’t sensical; if the remaining uncounted ballots break the same as the prior ballots, the result will be the same. Perata was ahead 3 to 2 on 1′s only, and trails slightly after all non-exhausted ballots are counted, hence he underperforms on 2′s and 3′s. If the ballots ‘break’ in the same percentages, the results would be, well, exactly the same, just extrapolated out across a larger number. In fact for Perata the *opposite* of the statement has to happen in that he needs them to break *differently*, with him doing better than he did on this initial wave of ballots as far as 2′s and 3′s, or he’s done and loses by 2+%. In short, they broke 51-49 for Quan, so he needs to have the remaining ballots, if they are only about a sixth or whatever of the total, to break heavily his way for him to win. If he’s behind by 1,800 votes, and 10,000 remain, he needs the remainder to break 60-40 for him, approximately, for him to make up the 1,800 votes that he’s down (6,000 to 4,000 of 10,000 would of course make up 2,000 votes and give him a win by a couple of hundred votes). If they break his way but only but a couple of points, he ends up losing because the number of ballots remaining is far less than the number already counted.

    Here’s some interesting info on statewide CA voters from 2003:
    ‘Given the number of absentee ballots and the increasing propensity for voters in California and elsewhere to choose
    this voting method, we some basic questions: Who are absentee voters,
    and are they different from polling place voters? To answer these questions,
    we fielded a statewide survey of absentee voters in the days before the October 7 recall election, asking respondents why they voted absentee, their partisan and ideological preferences, demographic characteristics, and other relevant questions. We find that absentee voters do
    not differ significantly from the overall state electorate in terms of their vote preferences, despite being older and better educated. For example, 56 percent of absentee voters in our survey voted “yes” on the recall, compared with 55 percent for the entire state, according to official

    Here’s a link to an interesting paper on this issue, but the bottom line is that there is no conclusive data, and remember that absentee voting has been trending up, so whatever small leanings one might have been able to discern from prior elections, with so many more folks joining the absentee ballot crowd, that prior data doesn’t really apply anymore anyway.


  94. ralph

    My simple math tells me that you do not need to re-run the IRV. I think Rebecca needs to grab about 2100 more 1st ballot votes than Jean. If this happens, I bet $s to donuts that Camp Quan has Kaplan on deck. Thus, I can understand while Max is keeping hope alive.

  95. mfraser

    I agree with that Ralph, AND I don’t see why she even needs that to happen on first votes; if Tuman did well on these ballots, and all the other also rans, she just needs to pick up the 2100 ballots from those other ballots, even as 2′s and 3′s, before the race drops from 3 candidates to 2 candidates.

  96. Manuel Garcia, Jr.

    Dave C. is correct, one has to run the RCV counting algorithm from the beginning using all the ballots.

    This is because later rankings (or “rounds”) depend on previous rankings; and any specific ranking depends on the actual total population of ballots tallied. With a different population of ballots (that is to say a larger one, including those not yet used) it is possible that the sequence of eliminations (of candidates) will change in the early rounds.

    This is because the candidates with the least votes are eliminated first, but with numerically few votes to a candidate’s name the “error” represented by not including (say) 10,000 ballots could be as large or larger than a trailing candidate’s total.

    So, with the new total ballot population subject to the algorithm, a possibly different order of eliminations and thus somewhat different re-distributions can occur.

    An “error” or “gap” of about 1900 votes (what separates Perata from Quan) could easily be covered or shifted when the population (of about 98,000) is increased by 10,000.

    What is interesting about RCV, and makes it near impossible to “guesstimate” the final result, is that the algorithm involves a repetition of: a simple counting operation which leads to a ranking, then the elimination of the lowest ranked candidate and a re-distribution of those votes to the remaining candidates. Subsequent numerical results (for a round) depend on the previous RANKING, and then that resets the “do loop” for the next simple numerical step, etc.

    With 10 candidates there are thus many possible sequences of early eliminations; in this case it was obvious that Kaplan, Quan and Perata would be the last to be eliminated (they each had many votes), but it was impossible to guess the order of earlier eliminations (low vote candidates), and it was impossible to guess the re-distribution pattern (splits) for those minor candidates (the splits for the ballots that had these candidates as #1).

    My guess is that the program that performs the algorithm is quite fast (seconds, maybe minutes), and the hold-up is simply accumulating all the data (scanning the ballots into an electronic data base). So, as a math exercise one can run and rerun the program as the data increases — perhaps eventually suggesting the final result; and to gain experience with “how much” of the data one actually needs to get the eventual solution.

    But, as a civic function (i.e., voting) it is mandatory that the fullest population of ballots be included as the data for a run of the algorithm, so as to minimize doubt about the result.

    Perhaps the simplest math statement to make about vote counting is simply that a final result should only allow for a number of “uncounted” votes that is significantly smaller than any “gap” between the final two contestants.

    Whatever error remains in the counting of votes must be of insignificant magnitude compared to the result (the winning edge).

    Excuse the prolixity, but RCV reminds me of decision theory and Bayesian analysis (choice ranking), which I studied in college.

    As a practical matter I would say that the results of this RCV will probably be seen to accurately reflect the sentiments of the electorate AT THIS TIME, and so actually does eliminate the need, expense and bother of a run-off (if held without much delay, before people can change their minds).

    Whether the sentiments of the electorate are the most intelligent for a good civic outcome is another matter. I don’t think RCV distorts the consensus of the electorate. For better of worse, whatever “we” get from RCV will be what “we” thought we wanted.

    Obviously, the biggest problem with democracy is that other people besides “me” get to vote, so we don’t always get the “right” answer. (Doesn’t everyone feel this way?)

  97. len raphael

    Not impressed by IRV’s contribution to participatory democracy. The only plus is that it evens the funding playing field by eliminating a runoff campaign.

    Other than that, it discourages candidates directly criticiizing each other’s platform, it encourgaes the use of PACS do the criticizing, and it gives voters the impression that voting is a computer card card game. That re-inforces the separation that many residents have from civic involvement.

    The cost of that disengagement offsets the disadvantages of physical runoff elections.

  98. John Gatewood

    Ranked Choice Voting doesn’t, “discourage candidates directly criticizing each others’ platform.” It discourages them from stupidly criticizing each others’ platform. What I mean is it reduces the chances of the election degenerating into a mud slinging match because every candidate must think strategically about getting not just 1st choice votes but 2nd and 3rd. So when they do criticize another candidate’s platform they need to do it in an intelligent enough manner so as to not alienate those voters who would pick them as their 2nd or 3rd choice. I can see how this kind of strategy could be viewed as constraining but haven’t we had enough of campaigns dominated by personal attacks and jingoism? I have.

  99. len raphael

    John, this campaign went to the opposite extreme, where the “viable candidates” barely acknowledged each others presence, let alone directly contrasted how their platform differed from their opponents or how their opponents’ public service record contradicted claims of suitability for being mayor.

    without that, voters were left with PAC attacks, rumors, but mostly media impressions of character and personality.

    eg. Tuman stated he had a plan to negotiate down all employee compensation. Did any of the other candidates publicly ask Tuman to state what that was?

  100. John Gatewood

    Actually having a field of 10 candidates had more to do with what you are describing rather than RCV. Even though Oakland is in a major media market and a city of 400,000 we do NOT get the kind of coverage that SF gets. Meaning not a lot of local news stations devoted much time to interviewing the candidates or much coverage at all of this race. So people’s exposure to the candidates was limited to forums where all 10 participated and has been stated previously by others really didn’t allow for much of a gave and take between candidates. Furthermore only one candidate had a lot of money to spend on advertising, Perata. BTW I saw his ads constantly on MSNBC. Kaplan had a few ads on MSNBC too. Frankly 4 years ago the mayoral race lacked the kind of substance Len is looking for and we did NOT have RCV so the issue isn’t RCV but the candidates and their campaigns.

  101. Colin

    Just saw this headline on Terence Candell’s website:

    “This is a victory for Oakland.”

  102. Dave C.


    Even if they could tell immediately from 1st-choice votes that the newly-counted ballots will not change the order of elimination or the final result, my guess is that they would still be legally required to re-run the algorithm from scratch with all ballots included, in order to get official results which they can certify (and in order to reduce the likelihood of any sort of legal challenge from a losing candidate).

    I really wonder why they bothered to run the ranked-choice algorithm on the counted ballots, when they knew full well that there were X-thousand uncounted ballots remaining. I happen to believe (I could be wrong) that the result is very unlikely to change even if as many as 15,000 uncounted ballots are added in, but why do the preliminary count at all if you’re just going to have to re-run the algorithm and release revised numbers a few days later?

  103. Janet Somers

    I just tried to post a comment about RCV (my first comment here), but it’s not showing up, for some reason, even after about 10+ minutes.

    In any case, I want to add that it’s possible I am misunderstanding RCV. My understanding is that the lowest first-choice candidate is eliminated first and his or her votes redistributed according to whoever voted for him’s second-choice votes.

    Unfortunately, the “helpful” video does not cover the case when there are more than three candidates, so I can’t know if ALL the candidates besides the top two contenders have their second-choice votes then counted, rather than just the lowest one each time. In the case of the video, with three candidates total. those two are the same.

  104. Colin

    Votes get counted by the registrar before all ballots are registered during every election, and there’s no basis for suing the registrar over it. If there are 1000 ballots in an election, you can stop counting once a candidate has, say, 600 votes (majority plus 10% safety) and you know who’s won. That’s why there’s no more counting going on in the District 2 race.

    The issue isn’t who got how many votes, it’s who got enough votes.

  105. Janet Somers

    OK, I’m fairly sure now that my first post went into a black hole so I will try again.

    I have constructed an example of voters’ second choices not being counted because their first-choice candidate did not rank low enough in the first round, and where their second-choice candidate, if their votes had counted, actually had more second-choice votes than the the candidate who got the second-choice vote counted.

    Here’s the example.

    The setup is 4 candidates – P, Q, K, and T – and 10 voters, V(1) through V(10).

    Suppose that in the first round you get, for first-choice votes,

    P = 4

    Suppose V(T) is the voter who voted for T and V(K1) and V(K2) the voters who voted for Q as their first choices. After round one, only T is eliminated as a candidate (if I understand the algorithm correctly). Suppose V(T)’s second-choice vote is P. P wins.

    But this happens even though V(K1) and V(K2)’s second-choice votes may both have been for Q. In effect, Q had more second=choice votes but gets none of them counted because K (who has nothing to do with Q) didn’t rank low enough in the first round.

    To simulate an actual runoff election, RCV could in the case of a tie simply eliminate ALL but the top two contenders and distribute EVERYONE’s second-choice votes. The results could be very different.

    In the case above, V(K1) and V(K2) are in effect penalized because their first-choice candidate did not rank LOW enough. This goes against my intuition of what is fair.

    Please poke holes in this logic if you see any.

  106. Janet Somers

    p.s. I just noticed a minor flaw in my example. You need to make it 11 voters and P getting 5 votes in the first round. After that, P gets V(T)’s second-choice vote and wins with 6 votes. (In my previous example, he only wound up with 5 votes, which is not >50%.)

  107. Karen Bishop

    Yes Marleen, Candell’s school is called Candell College Preparatory Academy, Inc. and his university is Candell University. Tuition at CCPA is $500.00 per month and $150.00 per month at CU.

  108. Dave C.


    You’re right that a scenario like that could occur. It’s one of the features that distinguishes our “instant runoff voting” from a true runoff election, in which all voters know who the two top vote-getters are, and then get to choose between the two.

    As for whether it’s unfair, that’s probably subjective. Every voter has a single vote in play at any given time, which is one way to define fairness. In your example, it’s sad for Q and K voters that their candidate didn’t get as many votes as P, and that they couldn’t convince T(1) to put Q or K as T(1)’s 2nd-choice vote, but c’est la vie. And note that in your example, P still would have won 6 votes to 5 even if K(1) and K(2) had their 2nd-choice votes for Q counted, so even if they feel like they’ve been penalized because their candidate was too viable, the result of the election would not have been changed even if their 2nd-choice votes had been counted.

    I was told yesterday that Cambridge, MA has an even crazier ranked-choice system for electing their City Council. (All seats are at-large, and voters rank their preferred candidates from 1 to 9—then 2nd-choice votes are distributed by a somewhat arbitrary system which depends in part, as I understand it, on which ballots happen to be counted first. Nuts! I could have been misinformed, but that’s what I was told, and the Cambridge Election Commission’s website seems to corroborate it.)

  109. Jim

    It would be better to have a runoff election between the top two candidates.

    A lot of people aren’t aware that it is possible for the candidate with the most direct votes to lose the election.

    I can’t imagine a presidential election divided between four candidates,say, where one of them with about 20% of the vote becomes president.

    But I can imagine a second election where all of the people who vote are aware that the winner of the second election between the top two vote getters will become president.

  110. mfraser

    First, it’s entertaining when in post E-day discussion the Perata advocates complain about how we didn’t get to hear enough from the major candidates at the forums and the like, when *Perata* was the one insisting that he wouldn’t do forums with a more limited number of candidates! I for one have no sympathy; if he does in fact lose, I believe a fair analysis will find that the fault was of course in the main with the problem areas of his resume on ethics issues, but also in his ‘name recognition all the way’ strategy. The vast majority of his advertising spend was on hit pieces and his silly TV ads which just said “Believe in Oakland” and had pretty pictures, but didn’t give the voters credit for perhaps wanting to know some reasons of greater substance why he might be the best candidate. I also believe we will eventually learn that the donors for Hodge were Perata donors, and if true, there is no plausible explanation that isn’t a truly cynical race card play to attempt to force other candidates off the ballots of certain flatland communities, not to mention a ‘dumb as dirt’ way to spend money in this election (‘ ‘ as Desley Brooks described Hodge). Even with all the challenges he faced I still think he still would have won with a different, more substantive approach; it was puzzling to me as it unfolded, but I was happy for the terrible blundering by his campaign managers.

    Second, good luck Jim getting RCV overturned. I think most of us think it helps keep tainted money from completely deciding every election, is more democratic, and essentially is a form of runoff, it’s just a much faster and less costly one. It’s also more inclusive, allowing less affluent voters to participate more fully and equally. Traditional runnoff style elections favor not only the more monied candidates (and usually more tainted as well in my view), but also the more affluent voter as less well off voters have an additional hurdle to being counted that may be more daunting for them than for those with greater means. The French regularly use runnoff elections, and in almost every case the second election has much lower turnout than the first, supporting these points just made. There is no objective ‘right way’ to do this, but I think the most democratic and inclusive way is what we now have, so to me those points make it the better and most legitimate system.

  111. mfraser

    @Jim, to more directly address your point about 20% of the vote become the winner, that happens with runoff voting as well. Imagine a two-step RCV system that only did two ’rounds,’ the preliminary and a final. That would have put Quan against Perata, and the only difference would have been a lengthy and costly interim campaign. Even if we had that actual runoff election, both candidates would have only received 35% and less of the voter previously, and the exclusion of the other also rans is just another form of arbitrary exclusion. Nothing would have changed in the case of runoff election – the truth is they both would be preferred first by only 1/3 or less of the electorate. Roughly 40%, mainly Kaplan and Tuman voters, would still be selecting from their second or third or fourth choice candidate.

  112. mfraser

    Has anyone discussed noticed how Perata’s push for people to only list him might have actually hurt him with 2nd and 3rd place voters? If you were considering Perata, but say you wanted Tuman or Kaplan first, if you bought the logic of the Perata campaign, wouldn’t you just have ONLY voted for Tuman and Kaplan, and excluded PERATA when otherwise he would have received your 3rd place vote (which of course would be a full vote for him at this final stage of the process!).

    That’s another reason I think this campaign was handled so poorly by the Perata folks. If he was going to get a 1st place vote from the voter anyway, what freakin difference should Perata care who that person puts 2nd or 3rd, even if it’s Tuman or Kaplan or even Quan? The fact they apparently did very much care only convinces me more of what numbnuts they are, as they should have been doing what Quan did, and courting Tuman and Kaplan voters hard. Perata effectively said “put me first or don’t vote for me.” Well, he should have been more careful of what he asked for; indeed, I think his own moronic ‘strategy’ is what killed him if indeed he loses.

  113. Janet Somers

    Newbie having ABO navigation problems

    Can someone give me some hints about how to navigate this site? On the top right, the first few words of each “latest comment” are links, but only on rare does clicking on the link take me to the comment/post in question. More often, it dumps me out at the top of the original article, after which I have to first scroll all the way down to the bottom of the article, and then through all the comments below it (usually many, many screenfuls), and then click on “show all,” and then scroll all the way down through THAT, and then finally, nearly out of breath, hunt (sometimes in vain) for the comment I thought I’d clicked on in the first place.

    V, do you have to create these links for each post, and do you perhaps do it only selectively? Or is the site buggy?

    I’m a newbie here and far be it from me to criticize the venerable ABO; however: this is very cumbersome! Not to mention: awkward, time-consuming, counter-intuitive, non-user-friendly, etc. etc. etc. (Far be it from me…:)

    Is it possible, V, at least (if you can’t create links for each post) to make posts appear, as they do in most blogs, in reverse chrono order, so that you don’t have waste all this precious internet time scrolling and hunting – time which could be otherwise squandered actually reading and/or contributing?!!

    I’m finding it so cumbersome and time-consuming that I want to give up on the site, even though I find the discourse very interesting here.

    Please clue me in if I’m just clueless.

  114. Dave C.

    Janet, I have the exact same problem. V just recently redesigned the layout of the website, and that is when the links to the comments stopped working properly. I’m pretty sure the problem only occurs when a comment is higher than the 100th comment on a post. The links to the first 100 comments seem to work just fine. I’m using a Chrome browser. Not sure if the problem exists on all browsers and operating systems, but it probably does since it seems to be a problem with how the links are structured.

    There is a clunky workaround if you’re interested. You can click on the link, then go to the address bar of your browser and add /all-comments/ (including the slash marks) to the URL between the date and the part that says something like “#comment-373437.” If you go to that amended address then it should bring you directly to the comment you want. Possibly not worth the trouble, but it may be easier than all the clicking and scrolling that we have been doing! Hopefully this little bug in the new design will get fixed at some point…

  115. V Smoothe Post author

    Yeah, you can’t click directly through from the “recent comments” if the comment you want is on the second page. I decided to paginate the comments due to a tremendous number of requests from readers. I probably won’t switch it back unless I get a larger number of requests to do so.

  116. Max Allstadt


    The notion that a candidate who gets 20% of the vote can win in RCV is just plain incorrect.

    Second and third choice votes are votes.

    As far as analysis of the results goes, it pretty much confirms what we knew all along: More people in this city really like Perata than really like Quan, but way more people in this city really hate Perata, and a lot of people can tolerate Quan.

    I don’t fall into those demographics, but they are real, and the election results so far represent the people’s mindset.

  117. Karen Bishop

    Did anyone read the LA Times about how much Meg Whitman paid her chief campaign strategist Mike Murphy? She paid him $90,000 a month. What I find so interesting, not even counting the staggering amount of money Mr. Murphy received in compensation, is that he was paid so well and how bad his strategy was.

    I mention this because I’m wondering if Perata suffered the same thing as the Whitman Campaign, paying way too much for strategists or gimmics (or thinking money would solve the problem) and not connecting to the people.

  118. Janet Somers

    V, what was the reason people gave for wanting the comments to appear on two separate pages? What is the advantage of that?

    It seems to me the inability to link to a comment – *especially* if it’s on the second page, making that especially cumbersome and time-consuming – may cancel out whatever benefit there is from having two pages of comments.

    I suspect you’ll get more complaints about this. My hunch is that people (like Dave) are putting it up with it because they think it’s just a temporary bugginess. Now that they realize it’s a “feature not a bug,” perhaps more people will ask you to change it back.

    After all, if you can link directly to a comment, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the comment is on the first or second page. You can just jump to it.

    My two cents.

  119. Janet Somers


    The amounts people are paid rarely seem to have much to do with their competence, in the political as well as many other arenas.

    Just look at Wall Street… Executives bounced from company to company, garnering million dollar salaries and bonuses and raises with each move while leaving a trail of ruin behind them.

    Nobody will remember how much this particular dipshit was paid. Later he’ll probably boast that he ran the campaign.

    I’m struck lately by what little impact facts actually have on the average citizen, in virtually every facet of life – even assuming they can get the facts.

    That was my pre-caffeinated thought for the day.


  120. Max Allstadt

    @Karen Bishop

    I think Don Perata made an earnest attempt to connect with the people. I also think he’s quite good at it. Actually, he’s far better than Quan at that. But time was his enemy.

    When I met Don Perata for the second time, he remembered the first time we met, he remembered my pet issues, he remembered my name. And he walked into the room straight towards me because I had forgotten to give him contact info the first time we met, and he remembered that. The man has a clear talent for direct, one to one campaigning.

    But Quan, who I’ve met half a dozen times, and who I’ve spoken before at City Council dozens of times… she never remembers me. However, she’s had over a decade of on boots on the ground outreach in Oakland, and Perata has only done that sort of outreach during his re-election campaigns.

    Time on task beat talent. It often does.

  121. Dax

    Run excellently, Perata’s campaign could have won this election.

    However the stunning Ranked Choice twist that took place was decades in the making.
    Lots more people really dislike Perata.

    Across the street from me, a elderly couple.
    The husband viscerally dislikes Perata and I imagine his wife also carries some of that, but is not as vocal.

    My sister, who lives in Alameda, viscerally dislikes Perata as does her husband.

    These people are way beyond simply disagreeing with his positions. They really dislike the man.

    Perata may be a “victim” of our decades long guaranteed incumbent re-election system where legislators can afford to really anger a good portion of the voters and still gain re-election.
    Once in the legislature, Perata never had to face a competitive race.

    This led him to place more importance on building power in Sacramento than in winning friends back home.

    If you Google – Perata and Mercury Insurance, you will find this practice in full effect.

    10,900 Google hits on one of Don Perata’s most shameful acts.

    Don Perata was more than willing to sell out his own constituents in order to gain the support (money) of a huge player such as Mercury Capital.

    These are the types of acts, done by legislators who feel untouchable, that gradually build up a feeling of near hatred in so many voters.

    I have no doubt, that if Don Perata had needed to be more considerate of the people in his senatorial district over the years, that he would have held his lead in this ranked choice process.

    I actually made him my #3 choice, but it was a very difficult decision given his ethics and past dealings. Others weren’t so forgiving or willing to compromise.

    Simply put, his past sins caught up with him. Bad karma and the wheel of life played out in RCV.
    That, far more than any campaign blunders, account for his apparent loss.

  122. len raphael

    Did hear Quan say that her lead meant that voters disliked Perat and nothing about them liking her? I must have imagined that. Can’t picture Quan not putting a positive spin on the facts to self promote.

    -len raphael, temescal

  123. len raphael

    What did the voters say about raising taxes and cops?

    I was but shouldn’t have been surprised by how badly X lost, considering no public official or group supported it.

    i can understand the phone line tax failure. That clearly was a tax that even voters who never paid city taxes would feel every month when they faced paying the phone companies they already hate.

    Have to think that X results would have be much closer to the Measure L narrow defeat if it had prominent pols active support, and campaigns by a combo of say Library supporters, Kids First, and all the unions.

    That’s exactly what will happen in next year or two unless our next set of officials figure out how to get much easier access to RDA funds.

    Marketed right, to tap into the BB approach, make the residents choose between laying off a couple of hundred more cops and closing libraries and parks/rec, take away that language about passing some of the increase thru to rent controlled tennants then our leaders have an instant 50 to 80 million more bucks, for good or for bad.

    -len raphael, temescal

  124. len raphael

    Did voters affirm Perata, Kaplan, and Tuman on increasing the number of cops to at least 900 and reject Quan’s explicit position that police staffing was not high on her list of priorities?

    I’m thinking that combined with the BB win, the voters were saying they wanted more cops. But was Kaplan clear on that or was she saying different things to different constituencies?

    Seems to me I saw it on some of her mailers but not others.

    Any impressions of where her campaign volunteers stood on cop staffing levels (not on cop pay)?

    -len raphael, temescal

  125. len raphael

    Max, I can relate to Quan’s name retrieval issue. That’s why I’ll never become President.

    It’s her arithmetic that concerns me. Doesn’t have to be great at mental math, a calculator is ok in her position. What I don’t understand how the combo of BB and 650 cops paying in 9% will prevent reduction in force of at least a couple of hundred cops if the projected “non structural deficit” is 50million $

    Did Quan have any other ideas about getting 50mill more very quickly, or is she assuming the deficit is less than that?

    -len raphael, temescal

  126. len raphael

    The person who asked how they could volunteer for city boards raises the question in my mind why we give so much weight to the public service of someone like Quan who was an unpaid board member of OUSD for 9 years, and then based on reports of how many hours she put in, vastly underpaid as council member.

    People who can put that much time into unpaid/underpaid public service are either independently wealthy or have an understanding spouse with a very secure job. If i wanted to be mean spirited, I’d also say they were very inefficient.

    Suppose they could be gardening or volunteering at homeless shelters, but they chose public service. I’d say hospice and shelter volunteer work shows more of the spirit I’d like to see in politicians.

    -len raphael, temescal

  127. Max Allstadt


    It’s not even just name retrieval. The difference between Perata and Quan’s ability to remember details about individuals they’ve met only a few times is a staggering difference. V’s experienced the same thing, I think.

    When I campaigned for Rebecca at the Laurel street fair, Quan’s constituents would mention this problem as one of the reasons they were considering Rebecca. At the same time, day to day, week to week outreach by Quan to her D4 constituents is a huge part of why she was able to maintain a positive reputation.

    A complicated mixed bag of FAIL and WIN all around. When the results are final, I oughta right a blog about that.

  128. Dax

    Newscasts have been promoting the release of the final Oakland results this afternoon.

    However a release from the Alameda Co. Registrar of Voters is now saying they won’t be having a full RCV update.

    Today they will only release the #1 vote results.

    That won’t explain much, unless, we see Kaplan’s votes jumping up closer to Quan, or some huge change in Perata’s percentage.


  129. Karen Bishop

    for some reason I can’t get the link to work properly. If you google “rcv software alameda county”, the pdf document shows up as the 2nd item on the search.

  130. Janet Somers

    Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh! Took me 30 seconds to get to the comment in question.

    Here’s a link that works.

    Thank goodness they came to their senses. What were they THINKING before, to even consider starting the 2nd and 3rd choice algorithm before all the ballots were in? What kind of idiots are running things over there? Oh, wait, this is Oakland…

  131. Dax

    I saw Jean Quan on the news.

    She is confident, but I also got a hint of arrogance in her comments.
    As though she is the one in charge now.
    It didn’t play well.

    I wonder how she will act when she becomes mayor.
    I’ve heard very little from her in the past so I am not familiar with her personality.

  132. Janet Somers

    Quan’s arrogance and obliviousness stood out for me in the one encounter I had with her. It was a citywide block captain’s meeting during the time she was pushing N – or was it NN? so many measures they’ve run out of letters and had to start doubling up…

    Anyway, she had shown up at the meeting just to push her N, or NN, agenda, which as I recall had something to do with funding her pet institution, the Chabot Observatory. This was a time (and when is it not?) when we were in dire need of more cops, and she wanted to pass this stupid Chabot Observatory tax, and the Neighborhood Watch crew, or whoever was in charge of this meeting, actually gave her the floor.

    During a break I went up to her and asked her why N – or NN? – was so important. She told me, “We need it to balance the budget,” in the tones one would use to talk to a kindergartener; tossed the hair out of her face like an egomaniac movie star; and continued on her hurried-important way, just totally brushing me off, as if her ridiculous explanation was enough to satisfy me.

    Maybe I’m guilty of jumping to conclusions, but it told me all I needed to know about her.

    I’ve found out more about her since then, of course, and think she’s barely qualified to lead a girl scout troop, let alone the City of Oakland.

  133. len raphael

    Second hand I’m told by one of her contemporaries that JQ was a maoist during her ucb third world movement student protest days. Very emotional, cried alot.

    Hey, maybe her personality changed.

    it’s another facet of what max described: a consumate politician might turn on the arrogance, but wouldn’t get relected if comes across as cold, imperious.

    Perata was portrayed as arrogant not for his demeanor or one on one attitude but for some of his actions.

    Quan is an amateur who never had to face a tough campaign before.

    Wouldn’t it be a sweet irony if the truly arrogant politician was the anti-Perata.

  134. len raphael

    Perata cultivated the image that he was a tough sob who’d whip this city govt into shape, but judging by my few brief visits to his campaign hq, I got a very different impression of his management. much more laid back. don’t know whether that’s good or bad for a mayor, but not the public image.

    besides her innumeracy, what rubbed me the wrong way about Quan was her holier than thou, i’ve worked selflessly for the city for years, i’m honest, i never make mistakes attitude.

    But just maybe that Robespierre attitude is what’s needed for her to change Oakland’s bureaucracy. Some of that old guillotine spirit.

    My bet is that she’ll won’t get any cooperation out of the council and won’t be able to rally the city behind her to push the council to her back her.

  135. livegreen

    So Jean moving her hair out of her face is “arrogant”?

    I’ve often not agreed with Jean and find she does some behind the scenes actions (when it supports her own ideas), as she’s often criticized Don for, but I’ve also found that she is approachable in person & so is her staff. & at times when she’s disagreed with me.

    Of course a defense of unfair character assassination of Jean does not mean she doesn’t deserve criticism. Nor is it a critique of Don, who is approachable too given the right circumstances.

    But fair is fair, and reading “arrogance” based on swiping her hair out of her face seems unfair.

    My critique of Jean (& here I agree with Len) that she doesn’t believe Oakland needs more Officers, and that safety can be improved only with more M-Y & OFCY programs.

    I agree these will contribute I just happen to think we need more Officers too.

    There’s plenty to critique Jean about on the issues, without reducing it to personal insults.
    Much as V pointed out for Don.

  136. janet somers

    Throwing hair out of face: Yeah, it was arrogant as hell. You had to be there. And it was in the context of answering my informed question in a completely patronizing manner, giving an answer that was patently untrue (that a tax to benefit the Chabot Observatory was needed “to balance the budget”), and then rushing off, full of self-importance.

    You had to be there. And it’s not a personal attack. It’s how she deals with constituents, which is a legitimate concern. V’s word “dismissive” stuck a chord with me. Describes Quan’s attitude perfectly, IMO.

    My post didn’t address the issue of the cops. That seems a no-brainer: she’s an anti-cop pollyana who’s gone on record as saying thugs are motivated by unemployment, and she seems to believe “anti-violence” programs are the great panacea to our problems.

    I think someone should look into the Oakland Uprising grant by the City. Was she instrumental in pushing this through? (After which they donated $17 K to her campaign?…)

  137. janet somers

    p.s. Gestures can be arrogant. Flicking a thread off one’s suitcoat, checking one’s fingernails, throwing hair out of one’s face, all that…arrogant, unacknowledging and dismissive. And Len’s word, imperious. I like that, too, and think it describes her. I’m afraid of what she’s going to do now that she thinks she’s holding the reins. She doesnt care about constituency

  138. janet somers

    sorry, did it again – meant Oakland Rising, not Uprising. (I can’t seem to get the connection with Uprising out of my head…wonder if the relationship is intentional…)

  139. Born in Oakland

    Hot off the press “Quan wins.” I will, of course, support her because she is going to have to make many very unpopular decisions in order to get us out of our hole. Perata would have made a better villain but as Quan feels the heat she will warm to the task.

  140. Dax

    Can you believe what the Perata campaign’s political consultant is saying…

    From SF Gate–
    “The Perata campaign’s political consultant denounced the ranked-choice process.

    “It’s a travesty that a candidate that wins 78 percent of the precincts and leads by more than 11,000 votes (after first-choice votes are counted), with a margin of nearly 10 percent, loses the election,” consultant John Whitehurst said. “In any other contest it would be a landslide win, not an election loss.”

    Ranked-choice voting, he said, “is an injustice, and Oakland will pay the price.”

    Sorry pal, but you are a political consultant.
    You knew the rules before Perata even entered. Obviously you took the wrong approach to the election.
    You were out performed by the other side.
    Enough of the sour-grapes.

    BTW, one of the TV stations said Perata will dispute the outcome in his press conference tomorrow.
    That should be good. I can’t imagine him doing so. This election was not razor thin, it was over 2,000 votes.

    I’m not thrilled, I had Perata as my #3 choice. So he got my vote. He lost.
    Fair election from what I can see.

    If you don’t like the system the people voted for, change it.

  141. Dax

    Hey, I have a curious question which I raised weeks ago, but which I now see mention of again.

    Look at this from SFGate comments..

    “elect an uneducated, amateurish nonentity whose entire resume is a fiction. Zero education. No college. No training in business.”

    Now back a few weeks, after reading Quan’s website, I called the campaign office.

    I asked about her education. On her website, it only indicated the following.

    “My husband, Floyd, and I met as student activists at UC Berkeley in the middle of the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s, and we helped found Asian American Studies”

    So when I called, I asked if and where she had gone to college? The site made it sound like she had gone to UC, but didn’t say so exactly.
    So I asked. I was transferred and asked again. I never got a clear answer.
    I wasn’t sure if they were trying to hide something or mislead people.

    So I see the comments person saying she never went to college.

    Did Jean Quan ever go to, or graduate from UC Berkeley? Yes, No?

    Not that you need to go to college to be a good mayor, but I’m curious about her past.

  142. Karen Bishop

    Her bio suggests she attended UC Berkeley and Yale. There is no mention that she graduated from either institution.

  143. Dax


    “Her bio suggests she attended UC Berkeley and Yale.”

    I think the key word you used was “suggest”.

    I’m starting to think my call to the Quan office a few weeks ago was quite possibly a attempt at diversion on their part.

    Here is the bio I see….

    “Jean helped found Asian American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and studied Chinese at Yale University in China.”

    Helped found does not even indicate that a person is a student, let alone graduate.

    Studying Chinese at Yale University in China may be more like those special programs they have at Harvard, where you go for a short time for some special program. As little as a couple weeks or so.
    Has nothing to do with being a normal student or graduate.

    The following, a caption under a old photo of hers that appears on another website.

    “Jean Quan in her college days at UC Berkeley, a photo that was published in the “Asian Women” Journal, the first of its kind I believe on Asian American women.”

    OK, I give up.
    Can’t find a thing about her true education.
    Makes me suspect they were trying to hide something.
    Seems they are very complete about the education of her children in amazing detail.

    Yet they neglect anything concrete about her own education.

    I suspect she, at most, attended UC Berkeley only briefly.
    I suspect that the Yale in China was just some short program, perhaps a few weeks or a month or two.

    Fair to play your best cards in advertising, but at some point it goes into the area of deliberately being misleading.

    Does anyone know the truth about her education?

    I mean, did he graduate from high school?
    If so, where?
    Did she attend any college courses as a accepted student? Where, when?
    Did she graduate from any UC campus or any other institution?
    Did she go to Yale in China for more than 4 weeks?

    Anyone know?

  144. Karen Bishop


    Quan has a Quan for Kids section on her website. I just found it and read it. She never states she graduated from UC Berkeley. But she does specifically state “I attended college at UC Berkeley on scholarship”. She talks about being part of the Asian Studies program. And then she also states “After my college years” where she talks about the work she did with unions.

  145. Dax

    Karen, sounds like she bailed out before graduating and never returned.

    We don’t know what “on scholarship” means.
    Could be anything from a full ride to a $250 helping hand.
    She could have attended 1 year or 3 years.

    I have to believe they are attempting to NOT let us know the full truth, whatever it may be.

    In those days, especially if she was all into changing the world, she may have just left to organize union politics or something.

    Just wish they’d say.

    I’ll assume two things.

    #1, She never graduated from any college or university.
    #2, The Yale in China course was no more than a 4 week program.

  146. Karen Bishop

    She might of left college to help put her husband through medical school and raise children. That was common back then. But I don’t know.

  147. ZeroTech

    Seriously, how could she, as a student, have “helped found” the Asian Studies dept.? That sounds ridiculous. I know someone who’s a faculty member in that dept. and will see if I can get the scoop.

    Meh. Look what we’re stuck with now. Why didn’t we ask these questions BEFORE the election?

  148. Mry

    @Janet, that was my experience exactly. I’m trying to remain positive, but I feel like we are doomed. I’m embarrassed that she is our mayor.

  149. V Smoothe Post author

    Um…I think people should chill out. I don’t specify “graduated” on my bio either, but I did, in fact, graduate from the excellent college I attended. I have no reason to believe that Jean Quan did not graduate from UC Berkeley. And if she didn’t – well, people should probably verify that with actual records before running around saying she didn’t.

    And the Oakland Rising stuff people were complaining about earlier today – um, look. I do not have the energy right now to get all into it and dig up all the links and everything. I’ll try to do it tomorrow. No promises. But seriously. Everything in the world is not some big conspiracy. I don’t know what exactly what Oakland Rising’s deal is, but lots of organizations have C3s for some purposes and C4s for advocacy, and it doesn’t mean there is some elaborate money laundering scheme. We had to hire someone to do RCV education.

    Anyway. The IRS checks that shit out. You have to be ridiculously careful.

  150. Downtown_Celeb

    It’s really comical and disappointing, at the same time, to see two supposedly bright and intelligent public figures – Mr. Perata and Mr. Boxer – say they are confused by RCV. It’s so completely disingenuous. Yeah, sore losers…

  151. Karen Bishop

    V if your resume or bio doesn’t say you graduated from your “excellent” college then you are the only one. People who graduate from college are generally proud of it (as they should be because it is a huge accomplishment); and employers want to know to help decide if a job applicant is qualified under their qualification standards.

    Dax raised an excellent point (question) and we are just bantering it back and forth. In this information age when you google and can’t find a public figures academic credentials, then something could be behind that lack of information.

    However much we are talking about it (which is legitimate and no one is saying definitively either way) I’m not going to be against Quan if in fact she didn’t graduate from Berkeley.

    What I do get from reading her bio from several different sources is she is immensely proud of her two children and she worked hard to get them to graduate from college. And she is very in tune to the needs of immigrant populations, their dedication and hard work and their unique experiences in America. And she wants to tell the story from the immigrant perspective. I find that very admirable and she was part of the radical 60′s-70′s that brought sweeping changes throughout college campuses in America. There is much to admire about reading her bio.

  152. ZeroTech

    If she didn’t put her actual degree on her resume, and just said attended, she didn’t graduate – I’d bet on it. “Attended” is a red flag on a resume. I wonder if the school will verify degrees or attendance.

    I don’t care if she graduated or not. But if she didn’t, I’d like to know why – did she drop out or was she kicked out? And what’s that hype about founding the Asian Studies Dept.? The person I know who’s on the faculty of that dept actually had a big Tuman sign outside her house. I will check her out about Quan.

    Re V and the conspiracy theory about Oakland Rising: It’s not a conspiracy theory. It was very strongly hinted at by Matier and Ross. I think it needs checking out. And separately, I’d like to know if Oakland Rising has any connection with Oakland Uprising. And third, is Oakland Rising a 501C3?

    I’m pissed now, about this whole election.

  153. Naomi Schiff

    I don’t know anything about Jean’s college days, but I am about the same age. It was common not to graduate, although I did manage to do so. A full nine months after I left I got a certificate with Ronald Reagan’s auto-signature on it. Nobody I knew attended the graduation ceremony. The last 2 or 3 years I was there, my UC campus (though less wild than Berkeley) was shut down half the time due to protests, strikes, the Kent State murders, a political suicide, police misconduct, and a couple of campus invasions by outraged marines. My final project in the relatively apolitical art dept. was a large series of photos of cops in riot gear, for which I had way too much material. It was a distracting and bewildering time to be in college. Lots of people never officially finished.

  154. V Smoothe Post author

    No, folks. I’m sorry. This line of conversation is not acceptable. Until you can produce any evidence giving you a legitimate reason to believe that Jean Quan is being dishonest about her education, you need to stop saying she is. It’s ridiculous.

    Similarly, unless you can produce actual evidence that suggests that Oakland Rising did anything untoward, you need to stop accusing them of doing so.

    I have an extremely liberal comment policy here, and generally allow people plenty of freedom to say whatever they want. But I refuse to allow my blog to turn into a place where crazies come to spread nonsensical conspiracy theories. Go take that shit to SFGate.

  155. ZeroTech

    Well, V, I’m very surprised, and will leave, never to return, after this post.

    These are not accusations: they are questions and suspicions. And these are public officials, and the public has a right to know whether they lie or lied about things.

    I’m really shocked that you find this thread inappropriate. Like I said, I’m outta here.

  156. ralph

    So, this morning, I rolled out of bed and realized it was Veteran’s Day, a whole 9 days after the election. People if you had concerns that would have changed your vote about any of the candidates, the time to ask was 10 days ago.

    And I am going to throw out a theory, one does not need to be part of the faculty “to start” an academic dept. I could be wrong maybe Naomi can chime in but I seem to recall hearing stories of “militant” blacks taking over admin bldgs on college campuses in the 60s. One ofthe outcomes from these protest were new Afro-American studies dept. Seems like other underrepresented groups could fight for a department.

  157. Dax

    Simply put. Regarding the questions about Jean Quan’s education.

    About 2 weeks prior to the election I called her office and went through 2 people trying to get the answer to a very normal and appropriate questions.

    I asked the questions after going to the campaign web site as directed by her campaign staff.
    I then called back, still having questions after reading the web site and her bio.

    All I have done here is raise the very same questions I did when I called her office TWICE. I never got a complete answer to a very common and basic question.

    A question so normal and simple that it would be part of ANY job application.

    I will in the course of the next few weeks find the true answers and report back.

    I don’t suspect anyone will object to the true facts being posted here.
    Then there will be no need to refer to the questions as..

    “crazies come to spread nonsensical conspiracy theories”

  158. V Smoothe Post author

    Dax, if you’re so concerned about it, I suggest you contact the schools in question and ask them. When you have actual information, you are more than welcome to report it back to everyone here. Until then, I do not see any point in continuing this particular topic of conversation. And frankly, I don’t see why anyone would care about this at all.

  159. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Although it’s clear by a separate post that I’m not a Quan fan, who cares if she graduated or not? College experience from a couple + decades ago is meaningless at this point.

  160. Dax

    While I agree regarding a “degree” and could give you countless examples… Bill Gates, Steve Jobs… it was just something I was curious about.

    The fact that a person is asking the question does not imply that if they find out x or y, they are suddenly going to condemn the person.
    Everyone here is acting like a simple question about the mayor-elect is an attack on her character or ability to govern.

    Its just a question. I will find the answer.
    That simple.

    BTW, on those same calls to her office, prior to the election, I was much more concerned about her plans for pension reform for the 2,700 “miscellaneous” employees that Oakland has.

    On that question also, I never could get a straight answer, and to this day I have no idea about what she intends to do regarding that pressing issue.

    So you see, I was not focused on the “college” issue at all. It was secondary and more of a curiosity than anything.

    Now, I remain curious, especially since it seems to be rather unusual for people to be so sensitive about it even being discussed.

    It is what it is. If she is no different than Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, etc. then what is the big deal about knowing it.
    You don’t think I’d vote for Bill Gates regarding intelligence or ability, compared to either Quan, Perata, or Kaplan?

    This is hardly a “birther” type issue.