Who’s the developer candidate for District 3?

So I’ll preface this by saying I don’t really care that much about campaign contributions. I prefer to judge a candidate based on what their positions will mean for everyone in Oakland, not by the few people who might get rich off those positions.

Anyway, I’ve been a little upset lately by the rumors flying around that Sean Sullivan is the developer candidate, and even more disturbed by the rumor that these rumors were being pushed by Nancy Nadel. I preferred not to believe that, trying to think the best of her. But now that she’s left a comment here saying that Sean is “financied by the developers” and suggesting we “look at the sources – look at his FPPC statement,” I guess the time has come to do just that. I will say that I am very disappointed in her accusations and find the attack very low.

Below are Nancy Nadel’s and Sean Sullivan’s reported campaign contributions from real estate investment, property management, construction, and development interests.

I have Sean Sullivan’s statements from November 10, 2007 through March 24, 2008, so the following contributions reflect a longer time period than those listed for Nadel.

  • Madison Park Financial, property management company: $600
  • HFH Central Station Village, LLC, development firm: $600
  • Dogtown Development Company, LLC: $600
  • Kathleen E. Kuhner, CEO, Dogtown Development Company: $600
  • Caldecott Properties: $300
  • West Oakland Associates: $600
  • Francis Rush III, Management, Rush Property: $600
  • Rusty Snow, Owner, Snow Property Co: $600
  • Peter Sullivan, Managing Partner, PSAI: $600
  • Total: $5100

I do not have Nancy Nadel’s disclosure statements from the previous year, so everything listed here is from 1/1/08 to 3/17/08. I don’t know if she raised any money beforehand or not.

  • Matthew Hallinan, Property Manager, Ballyhallinan Properties: $100
  • Jeanne Myserson, President and CEO, The Swig Company: $500
  • Rick Mariano, R.S. Mariano Interests (real estate, self): $500
  • Tom McCoy, Owner, BBI Construction: $600
  • Charles Hahn, Owner, Charles Hahn Entertainment, LLC: $350
  • Kennard Perry, Chief Investment Officer, The Swig Company: $500
  • Moses Libitzsky, Investor, Self (Libitzsky Property Companies): $250
  • Robert J. Bond, Principal, Bond Companies: $250
  • Lynette Lee, Administrator, EBALDC: $100
  • Britten Shuford, Co-Managing Partner, Pacifica Capital Group: $600
  • Wayne Jordan, real estate investor, Jordan Real Estate Investments: $600
  • Jabari Herbert, Developer, Capital Stone Group, LLC: $100
  • Rosa Deanda, Administrator, PCC Logistics: $600
  • Abdel Zaharan, CFO, PCC Logistics: $600
  • Total: $5650

Although Sean Sullivan has somehow gotten a reputation as the developer’s candidate, both candidates have received a significant amount of contributions from the development community, and in fact, Nancy Nadel reported slightly more money from developers and more unique contributions from developers over a shorter time period. Sean’s developer contributions are mostly from small, Oakland based companies, while Nadel’s are more from large out of town, and in some cases, out of state companies.

Of particular note: although Nancy Nadel has repeatedly said that she wants to protect the Lake from high-rises, she has received a significant amount of money from Swig, a San Francisco developer that has submitted applications to build two skyscrapers, one even taller than the Emerald Views project, equally close to the Lake, immediately behind the Kaiser Center.

So there you have it. Do what you want with the information, it isn’t all that interesting to me, but I felt like the record needed to be set straight. I won’t say that contributions are irrelevant, but it’s important to have the full picture. I encourage everyone to examine the candidates’ websites, where they can explain their positions more completely. Sean Sullivan‘s website lays out a very detailed platform explaining his positions on issues ranging from development to youth to business attraction to transparency in government and so on. Sean also has some video of his comments at the League of Women Voters candidate forum on his website.

I also encourage concerned voters to get out and talk to the candidates about their worries. There will be an opportunity to do so this Sunday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 at the First Christian Church on 111 Fairmount Avenue. I believe that all the District 3 candidates and all the at-large candidates will be there.

Related Posts:

24 thoughts on “Who’s the developer candidate for District 3?

  1. Max Allstadt

    Thank you V. A rebuttal was necessary. And I’m glad you kept the tone mellow. I’m really tired of all the nasty crap I’ve seen in the last two days about Quan, Killian, and Mario. I’m trying to tame my own tendency to rant too.

    In my work/live campaign, I made a big effort to avoid hysterics, and it worked. I’ve backslid into angry guy mode a couple times since then, but no more. Just my opinions, perhaps raw, but never too sharp from here on out.

  2. condodweller

    I am not surprised by this. Nancy says she is an environmentalist, yet wants to reduce height and density in the downtown core where we need high density and height. SHe says she is anti-crime, yet she writes support letters for known neighborhood criminals. Everyone knows Nancy is all spin, all talk, no action.

  3. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Thanks V – since most of us don’t look at the FPPC statements, it’s good to know that someone does and it is interesting to see who has received what monies from whom.

    I like Nancy. I think she’s a wonderful person. But I think it’s time for a serious change on City Council, and since I live in District 3, that’s where I’m going to vote for change, along with the At-Large seat (haven’t decided that one). I’ve said for a long time, and even published in my final _Jack London News_ that it was time for a new District 3 Representative. She says she’s not the developer candidate, but she is, IMHO. She didn’t fight hard enough for BETTER developments during her tenure on the Council. Despite the mudslinging thrown at me, I’m not anti-development at all, but I would like to see BETTER development. Oak to 9th is a great example. Add more ingress/egress and public transportation, add taller buildings and take away the squat ones, and add deeper green space and I’d be perfectly fine with that development. I’d love to see the 9th Ave terminal saved, but I can’t see how the current proposal is truly viable despite what numbers the developers are passing around. Jack London Square is another example – and I hope I’m proven wrong on that one, because nothing would please me (or my property value) more than for it to be a huge success with all the retail space filled and thousands of people wandering the Square like it used to be in the late 90′s.

    I like Sean. I hope that he will do a really great job. He’s also a customer of mine and got on my case (lightly) when I commented previously that I was a “tad concerned” that he might be in the back pocket of the developers. I’ll risk further wrath by saying that his relationship with Signature is of great concern, because I know that Ghilmetti has done a LOT for Covenant House and I think he has strong reason to be thankful to Signature. But on the other side of the coin is the Oak to 9th Project and I honestly believe it could/should be a better project for all and I sincerely hope that if (when) he’s elected, that Sean will help make the project better and not just rubber stamp it as it is the way the current Council has done.

    I will also go further out on a limb and say that Sean ran for a Board seat on the Jack London District Association when Covenant House was first moving into the area, but didn’t bother to show up for the meeting when the vote was to be held – and he wasn’t elected because of that. That concerns me. Maybe (probably) he had something more pressing that kept him away, but he never explained. Obviously he’s WAY more involved in this political endeavor and that’s why his campaign sign is in my store window. Like others, I hope that he keeps his communication door open and will LISTEN to what his community has to say. And not just listen with one ear while it goes out the other ear, but give serious thought to what people have to say.

    I’m voting for Sean Sullivan. We will undoubtedly keep him on his toes!

  4. Max Allstadt

    I’ve heard that before, Josh Abrams-(Autobot).

    But I also hear news agencies say they aren’t releasing this or that because of kids.

    Just curious.

  5. josh abrams (

    Well i think it usually applies to children who are victims of or accused of crimes, they don’t hesitate to show kids frolicking in opened fire hydrants during the summers. That said these kids are probably not old enough to be smoking and should be in school (I used to live in the building I think they are in front of – popular otech cutting class hangout)…

    I like autobot… but its more a nom de guerre – I wouldn’t have to use it if i didn’t fear retaliation for my views :)

  6. ip.69.22.123

    Recently spotted – Rebecca Echa Schneider aka V Smooth – huddling in a corner on the phone at Sean Sullivan’s headquarters. Oakland insiders have known for a long time that she is a tool of the developer interests in Oakland (just read back on some of her posts here). Is she trying to keep her identity a secret at Sean’s campaign?

  7. Max Allstadt

    How is an open forum a tool for anything but the free exchange of ideas?

    When V says stuff people disagree with, they have ample opportunity to fire back. I actually really wish that there were more coherent and educated voices of disagreement on this site. I want to see fact by fact rebuttals of V’s posts from time to time, just to see how one might construct the other side of the argument. There’s some, but not enough.

  8. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Actually, I thought ip.69.22.123 was pretty funny. Who cares? So she was on the phone at Sean Sullivan’s campaign HQ. Uh, so? She’s been very up front in saying that she is on Team Sean. Let’s face it, we’re not all going to ever agree on everything related to development, but I don’t see how she’s a “tool of the developer interests in Oakland”. And yeah, we do read her blog, that’s how we’re reading your comment. ;)

    Hello? Clueless? This is one place where it would have given your post more credibility to have your real name…. and who knows? Maybe you’re one of the developers that is using Nancy as your “tool”.

    Comments like that certainly don’t help Nancy, if that’s what you were trying for.

  9. Chris Kidd

    So V is the nefarious “tool” of some evil developers? Then tell us, oh omniscient ip.69.22.123, is she an investor in deals to come? Is she a consultant to their super-duper-evil construction plans? Is she a property owner who’s looking to develop her land into a high-profit vehicle? Please, rational minds want to know!!

    Is it so hard to believe that people might actually think direct investment can help improve a city? Agree or disagree with her (and I have my share of disagreements), it’s irresponsible and close-minded to just insist that everything she does is to further the machinations of some shadowy-backroom-developer. It only shows the bigotry and narrow range of your views if you think that someone who disagrees with you is just the puppet of someone else.

  10. V Smoothe Post author

    Sean Sullivan reported $10,769 total in the period from November 10, 2007 to January 31st 2008 and $8,124 total in the period from February 1st, 2008 to March 24, 2008, bringing his total to $18,893. Nancy Nadel reported $19,656 in the period from January 1, 2008 to March 17, 2008 (again, all the information I have for her). So that would make the proportion:

    Sean Sullivan: 26.99%
    Nancy Nadel: 28.75%

    Once again, Nancy is a little higher, but the difference is basically negligible. Developers give money to City Council races. Developers are more involved in City politics than the average person, so they’re more likely to get involved in the race, and since they tend to have a lot of money, they can afford to give more. I will also point out that what’s in the interest of a developer is not so simple as votes of yes or no on a project, most of which don’t even go to the City Council. Issues like crime, for example, are of particular concern to developers because they aren’t going to be able to sell houses if people are afraid to live in them.

    22% of Nancy Nadel’s total donors are from District 3, 38% of Sean Sullivan’s are. I could go on with donor math until the cows come home, but as I said before, I really don’t feel that donations are the best way to judge a candidate. I really do encourage everyone to attend the All Candidates Forum on Sunday night if they can. And there will be more forums in May, which I will publicize when their time comes.

  11. Ms. Blue

    RE: Developer money

    Matthew Hallinan is not a developer. He manages this property. He is a longtime progressive activist.

    Lynette Lee is a NON-PROFIT developer. EBALDC builds housing for low income Oakland residents.

  12. dto510

    EBALDC builds market-rate units as well as “affordable” housing for “moderate-income” families, and has multiple city contracts to manage and develop property. Mr. Hallinan is an heir to a real estate fortune, owning a very large amount of property in San Francisco. They are just as much a part of the real estate industry as everyone else on these lists. If we are to make distinctions between developers, the disclosure forms make it clear that Sullivan is favored by local developers, and Nadel by out-of-town developers.

  13. V Smoothe Post author

    I state clearly in the post that I am including real estate investment and property management in the list. If Matthew Hallinan were to be removed from Nancy Nadel’s list, then by the same logic, we’d have to remove Caldecott Properties from Sean Sullivan’s list.

  14. Max Allstadt

    This is so inane. Really, who the hell is going to do anybody any substantial favor for 600 bucks? I mean really, let’s envision the following conversation in a council member’s office:

    Developer: Hi there Mr./Ms. Councilmember. I really need this plot of land re-zoned so I can build condos on it and make a 4 million dollar profit.

    Councilmember: Well, I’m not so sure it’s what’s best for my district…

    Developer: Remember that 600 bucks I gave you for your campaign last year?

    Councilmember: Oh yeah, silly me, I forgot I was forever in your debt. Consider the rezoning a done deal. Do you want fries with that?

    Seriously, what the hell? The entire premise of this “issue” is ludicrous. V, why focus the comparison when the initial accusation was the silly part.

    I mean if Sean or Nancy cared enough about money to be bought, don’t you think their cars would be a little nicer?

  15. V Smoothe Post author

    I would hope that anyone reading the donor list and the answers to subsequent questions in the comments would reach the conclusion that this whole exercise is somewhat pointless. I’ll answer questions if people want to ask them, but I would much prefer we focus on what the candidates have to offer District 3, based on both their platforms and their records.

  16. Ralph

    i think what would bother me more is a candidate who did not have the support of real developers. oakland needs development and if developers think a particular candidate can bring the changes necessary to promote development then i am all for that candidate. if Mike G of Signature is behind sean then i will sleep a lot easier. Signature has committed to revitalizing Oakland and if residents think that is a bad idea, I would suggest that start a compound in Montana.

    san francisco has it straight development is good. everyday i hope bart to work and there is no shortage of construction in soma.

  17. bwo

    …trouble is that the folks that believe twisted logic and campaign lies do not read blogs. this information needs to reach a much wider audience through fliers and posted notices. if sean sullivan is the “developer’s candidate”, then perhaps nancy nadel is the “criminal’s candidate”…