Why I am not voting for Jean Quan for Mayor

Hey folks. I know I said I would get all my endorsements up on Monday, and well, obviously that didn’t happen. I’m sad to say, it isn’t going to happen today either. I have come down with, like, pneumonia or something, and feel like complete hell. So I’ve been spending my time sleeping instead of writing. I’m going to do my best to get all my Mayor posts up today, and then I’m going to aim for at least one more set of endorsements tomorrow, then another batch on Thursday.

Now that the logistics are out of the way, let’s get started.

Deciding who I was going to support for Oakland Mayor was a very difficult decision for me, and one that took me a long time to reach. For those who are not already aware, I am supporting Don Perata for Mayor. I’m sure people have lots of questions about why, and I assure you that I am going to get to it. But I don’t feel like I can give a complete explanation of why I believe he is the best of the field without also talking about why I don’t think the other candidates are. So please just be patient. I’ll get there.

Out of Touch

From the beginning, I was never thrilled about the idea of Jean Quan being Mayor. I strongly disagree with her on many issues. In particular, I vehemently disagree with her position on inclusionary zoning, a policy I believe is bad for Oakland’s future development and growth, as well as counterproductive to the laudable goal of maximizing production of affordable housing. It bothers me that, although it is clearly time for Oakland to move on, Jean Quan has been so resolute and single-minded about this one tool in the large affordable housing toolbox that she refuses to even discuss other housing related policies. This childish attitude is detrimental to the City.

Jean Quan

Additionally, I have been consistently frustrated over the years with Jean Quan’s dismissive attitude towards the legitimate concerns people have about issues like crime, high taxes, and the burdens placed on business in Oakland. Whether it’s running around bragging that crime is down when it’s actually up or responding to legitimate fears about rising violent crime rates with flip statements like “People get robbed everywhere, even in San Ramon,” or laughing off a proposed doubling of the fee to apply for a cabaret permit with a snide comment like “They can afford it. Cabarets make a lot of money,” Jean Quan just never seems to acknowledge that people have real reasons to be unhappy with they level of service they are getting from this City.

Quan has been a staunch advocate for things like youth programs and violence prevention programs and domestic violence awareness, and I commend her for that. Social justice is important to me, and I appreciate her work on these issues. What bothers me is that with Quan, it always seems to come at the expense of everyone else. The reality is that times are tough for everyone. And you don’t have to be completely destitute and living in the ghetto to have trouble making ends meet. Her relentless support of more taxes, and her totally dismissive “cup of coffee a day” or “just a tank of gas” attitude about imposing them on people all the time is, I think, really out of touch with how much of a burden all these taxes add up to on a lot of people just trying to get by in this city. Taking more money from residents is just not the direction I believe Oakland needs to go.

A hard worker

But then, as I was looking at the field all summer, I could not ignore the fact that Jean Quan appeared to be working for this way harder than anyone else. Although she wasn’t able to raise all that much campaign money, she seemed to be very smart about the way she used it, saving it all up for mail at the end of the campaign. So even though I don’t think she’s demonstrated much of a sense of fiscal responsibility on the City Council (more on that below), the way she was running her campaign seemed to indicate that she can be tight with a penny when she really wants to.

And you know what? I’m one of those people who works really hard at things. And so when I see someone else working really hard, I respect that. I think there’s a lot to be said for just really wanting something and being willing to just drive yourself into the ground to get it. And so I felt that just based on her determination, I owed it to her to give her another chance. So I tried to put all those nagging concerns that I talked about above out of my head and open my mind to the idea of Jean Quan being Mayor. At the very least, I figured, I could count on her to work hard in that office, which is a hell of a lot more than I can say for our current Mayor. And in the end, I see the void of leadership in Oakland right now as a much bigger problem than the threat of inclusionary zoning.

Back to where I started

That lasted a couple of weeks. I crashed right back into realizing that there was no way could I support Jean Quan for Mayor at a Mayoral forum I attended in September. The first question was about what opportunities for job growth in Oakland and creating jobs for Oakland residents. Jean Quan spoke about the need for job training and preparation for young people in Oakland (which I agree is important), but with respect to how we’re going to make sure those jobs exist, she basically said we didn’t have to do anything!

Oakland is going to have jobs over the next decade. ABAG says that Oakland and San Jose and San Francisco will continue to grow in jobs. But the question is who is will get those jobs. There are three great possibilities of clusters of jobs that they’re going to be in Oakland. My colleagues will talk about the eight sectors the Chamber has looked at — transportation, communications, health care, the food industry, the tourism industry. Those jobs are going to be here.

And here we are, right back to that dismissive attitude that I talked about above. I don’t think there’s any guarantee that jobs are going to be in Oakland. Yes, all those industries have potential here. We are well poised for business attraction in a number of sectors. But you can’t just assume they’re going to come. You have to work to bring them. You have to create a supportive environment for the businesses that provide them. And Jean Quan just seems so completely unconcerned about how we’re going to do that. Listening to it just reminded me of all those reasons I was against her in the first place. It’s great to be an advocate for the downtrodden. But you can’t just assume that everything else is going to fall into place on its own.

Not there on the budget

In the end, though, all of these issues are secondary to the budget. I don’t know if people realize what a crisis the City is in. But it is really bad, folks.

And Jean Quan just is not good with the budget. Oakland’s budget is unsustainable. While Quan loves to blame the deficit on the economy in like, every single one of those absurdly long newsletters she sends out, the fact is that Oakland has had budget problems for years.

Quan is fond of talking about how she believes Oakland should have a five year budget. That sounds great and everything, but the fact is, we’re already supposed to have a two-year budget, and as well as know, that has been completely out the window for the past two years. The Council is constantly meeting to cut the budget and making a new cut to this program or that. It has been band-aid after band-aid non-stop for two years. At one point, we were basically operating on a two-week budget. And Jean Quan makes the budget! So I just cannot imagine why anyone would expect it to be any better with her as Mayor. We’ve seen how she handles the City’s finances. She does it by basically not dealing with them.

Quan appears to be operating under the delusion that eventually the economy will get better, and then we just won’t have anything to worry about anymore. But that’s not true. The City of Oakland has not been operating on a sustainable budget the entire time she has been on the Council. There are deficits basically every year. Even she says so!

When Oakland was in the middle of the biggest tax bonanza it is likely ever going to see, bringing in a storm of transfer tax revenue, not only, did the Council, with Quan leading the way, not put any money away for when times got worse, they managed to spend almost all of the reserve that already existed. And when Jean Quan was asked about how they could have possibly let that happen, did she acknowledge that spending like that was a mistake? No! Instead, she dismissed it, saying “It’s not like the money was stolen.

The one time in the past eight years that the City did have a suprlus, did Quan advocate using it to pay down debt, which would be the fiscally responsible thing to do? Of course not! She spent it.

A history of fiscal irresponsibility

And this, of course, is not the first time this has happened on Jean Quan’s watch.

Who can forget January 2003, immediately after she joined the City Council after 12 years on the School Board, when OUSD suddenly discovered that they were in such deep financial crisis due to overspending that they were literally going to run out of money to pay people. You know what happens when a government body can’t pay its bills? Bankruptcy. The only reason OUSD was able to avoid bankruptcy was because Don Perata got the State to bail them out to the tune of one hundred million dollars.

It wasn’t news that the School District’s finances were badly managed. They knew. Or, at least, they should have. They were warned. In 2000, the Board received a comprehensive audit of the District by the state Fiscal Crisis and Management Assessment Team (ironically, the Board only consented to the audit because of pressure from Don Perata, who also secured the funding for it), in which OUSD failed every single category, including finance, where it scored a whopping 4 on a scale of 10. The report even went out of its way to note that “the district [...] could face financial peril because it may have overstated student attendance records”. As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened.

Did Quan make sure the School District followed up on the urgent recommendations of the audit? No. In fact, the School Board ignored most of them, and in some cases, did the opposite of what they were told.

And now, not only does Quan still refuse to acknowledge her role in OUSD’s crisis, she has the audacity to try to blame it on Don Perata! It’s truly incredible. I mean, people make mistakes, and if you have a long record of service, it is pretty much inevitable that you will have made some bad calls at some point. But a real leader is willing to admit when they’ve done something wrong, and learn from their mistakes.

Jean Quan has not done this. Instead, she seems determined to repeat the same mistakes all over again, this time with the City. And that’s the kind of leadership I can live without.

34 thoughts on “Why I am not voting for Jean Quan for Mayor

  1. DontBotherDelores

    But she’s going to take the city back block by block…I’m not sure from whom? And who is she going to do this work? The current city staff can’t even take the corners back from old mattresses.

  2. Daniel Schulman

    V what is Perata’s position on Inclusionary Zoning?

    The only forum I was at where that question was asked – the Progressive Left one – was one of the many that Perata opted out of.

  3. MarleenLee

    “Jean Quan is not good with the budget” is quite the understatement. Don’t let those folks who bashed you on the Tuman piece deter you from telling us how it is. Or at least, your opinion of how it is. On the “cup of coffee” comment, I thought it was Jane Brunner who came up with that one. In any event, I like drinking good coffee, but I think a dollar a day is way too much to pay for coffee. Not to mention an understaffed police force.

  4. V Smoothe Post author

    Dan –

    Well, not being Don Perata, I don’t want to put words in his mouth. But my understanding of Perata’s position, based on his response to the Sierra Club questionnaire, is much like mine – that inclusionary zoning is not an effective tool for affordable housing creation, especially now with the real estate market being so bad. Instead, he prefers focusing on devoting affordable housing monies to tools like down payment assistance, deferred payments, and forgivable loans to help with home ownership opportunities, as well as a focus on providing affordable rental housing for low and very low income households.

  5. CitizenX

    I predict, by the time everyone chimes in, this may set a record for the number of comments on a post. There are just SO MANY reasons not to vote for JQ.

  6. CitizenX

    And…you gotta wonder if now JQ will post an “I’ve been endorsed by abetteroakland.com” on her website. LOL.

  7. Peter

    Well, I’ve been enjoying your blog and interested in your opinions on the race. I have always found everything informative and at least aware of a big picture. And then I read today that you’re supporting Don Perata! I have no issues with your takes on the other candidates so far, but if you want thinking people to take you seriously, please explain that first! I know you’re not a native so you don’t know how deep his malfeasance and corruption go, but I also know you’ve been around long enough to see the many red flags. Unless of course he’s paid you as well (I don’t believe he has, but he sure has bought votes before!)!

  8. David D.

    The OUSD would have been better off going into bankruptcy, then the court appointed receiver could have ripped up employment contracts. By engineering a state funded rescue plan, the district has been slower to return to fiscal health than it would have under BK. Perata did it so his union constituents would continue to be paid. This is not to say that Quan’s performance was anything but abhorrent.

    I agree that Quan does not have to tools to fix Oakland. However…

    God is too busy to run for mayor.

  9. Reginald James


    Perata didn’t bail out the schools. He bailed out on OUSD.

    “The only reason OUSD was able to avoid bankruptcy was because Don Perata got the State to bail them out to the tune of one hundred million dollars.”

    Actually, when Bob Gammon was at the Trib, he reported on series of phone logs that linked Perata, Jerry Brown, Randy Ward and FCMAT before the state takeover.

    According to the NotDon.org website, “…Don Perata caused turmoil in the schools, pushing the district towards bankruptcy by blocking any means for the district to save itself. … Although there is no “smoking gun” evidence in the articles that presents absolute proof, the articles lead to the reasonable conclusion that the real purpose of the state takeover was an attempt to push the sale valuable district property to real estate developers.”

    Interestingly enough, many of the same players are now in position at Peralta, as the colleges have been threatened with a state takeover.

    I’m just hoping we can keep the “L” in Peralta.

    Source: http://notdon.org/perataandtheschooltakeover.html

  10. V Smoothe Post author

    Reginald, I linked to several newspaper articles from reputable reporters who do not have bizarre personal vendettas against Don Perata in the blog. I encourage you to read them if you want to understand a little more about what actually happened with the State receivership. Perata actually fought (although was ultimately unsuccessful) for the State to permit the District to retain its Superintendent in charge of academics while under receivership.

  11. Karen Bishop

    I’ve spent so much of my energy on supporting Joe Tuman and picking apart RK I haven’t spent too much time on Quan. The one thing that stands out is she scowled at me when I tried to hand her Joe Tuman literature. To be fair to me, I was handing out literature to a crowd of people. When I realized it was JQ, I apologized with a smile, but I just got the the famous scowl.

    I believe in her sincerity, desire and her work ethic. I haven’t picked my #2 or #2 yet, I just don’t know.

  12. Daniel Schulman

    V, are the responses to the Sierra Club questionnaires available anywhere? I heard they were very detailed.

    Based on the candidates’ responses, I believe they endorsed

    #1 Rebecca Kaplan
    #2 Jean Quan
    #3 Don Perata

    I wonder which of the questions & answers lead them to rank Perata below even Quan.

  13. Dave C.

    I don’t know if the Sierra Club compiled them in one list anywhere, but googling reveals pdf versions of many of the questionnaires:




    I seem to remember Kent L. from the Sierra Club mentioning that Tuman never returned the questionnaire, so that probably explains why I can’t find his…

  14. Oakland Resident

    Regarding his position on affordable housing/inclusionary zoning, although Don Perata didn’t attend the recent housing forum, he did send a staffer to pass out handouts of his responses to the questions, which I have to assume were sent out to the candidates ahead of time. Here is a transcript of those answers:

    1. Affordable housing production / creation
    Candidates will have 60 seconds to answer this question
    Oaklanders face homelessness, unstable housing, overcrowding, and sub-standard conditions, and thousands of renters pay more than 50% of their income on housing. As mayor, what is one specific action you would take to promote the development of affordable housing for the lowest-income Oaklanders?
    Like many of the most serious issues our city faces – violent crime, chronic unemployment and underemployment, failing schools – the foreclosure crisis affects the most vulnerable citizens of our community in a disproportionate way: a recent study by the Urban Strategies Council identified almost 3,500 OUSD students who are at risk of being impacted by foreclosure. That’s nearly 10% of our public school kids who face the very real possibility of finding themselves and their families homeless or with limited housing options. In a down economy like this, I’m not going to put my faith in pie-in-the-sky hopes that all of a sudden we are going to have an influx of development that we will be able to carve out set asides for affordable housing. That is one tool in an arsenal of affordable housing options, but I just don’t buy that its our most viable on at this point in time. I support options such as the Oakland Community Land Trust – the underlying principle there being taking the glut of foreclosed property we have on stock and transforming it into affordable housing options, including first time homebuyer and lease to own programs for our most at-risk families.

    2. Protecting emergency housing services
    Candidates will have 60 seconds to answer this question
    As long time Oakland residents continue to face severe displacement pressures there is a continuing need to protect and expanding funding for critical city services that can increase housing security for Oakland tenants and homeowners. Specifically what is your commitment to protecting funding for the city’s Rental Assistance, Homeowner Counseling, Emergency Home Repair and Access Improvement Programs?
    Oakland has a rental assistance program that we contract out to a non-profit, ECHO (Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity) with expertise and strong community ties and that is able to leverage our investment to work with both landlords and tenants to provide a valuable service for families faced with temporary but serious financial emergencies and help create payment agreements that keep families in their homes. I am unequivocally committed to supporting cost-effective measures like this that enable us to maximize the investment of tax payer dollars while providing critically necessary services and support to Oakland families in crisis. In principle, these are exactly the types of community/government partnerships that I have long advocated and supported, and I would continue to leverage government resources and the bully pulpit of the Mayor’s office to assure that such programs have the resources they need to get the job done.

    3. Tenants and foreclosure
    Candidates will have 90 seconds to answer this question
    Approximately 60% of Oakland’s residents are renters, and as foreclosures continue to rise at dramatic rates, more and more previous owners are becoming renters and the percentage of Oakland residents who are renters is steady rising. As you know, the City of Oakland has a number of local ordinances that protect renters, but that are not followed by landlords, property management companies, nor banks that take over as landlords. As a result, many Oakland renters are not able to take advantage of the rights that they have and are often forced to live in uninhabitable conditions, face utility shut offs, harassment and at worst illegal evictions. As mayor, what are your plans to improve code enforcement to assure that the rights of tenants are protected and their right to stay is upheld?
    Part of the responsibility of political leadership is building bridges between disparate parts of the community you serve, and creating both opportunity and incentive to recognize the shared plight and common dreams between those members of the same community. I have spoken often during this campaign about the need for a Mayor who can carry the message to Hiller Highlands or Montclair that a disproportionate amount of our limited city resources needs to be directed to the areas of our city that need them the most – that I am the only one, in fact, who can and has worked among and with leaders in the flats of Elmhurst, Sobrante Park, Acorn and Ghost Town with the same ease with which I have worked with community leaders from Sequoyah, Crocker Highlands and Piedmont Pines.
    I would work closely with both tenants rights groups as are represented here tonight, as well as with landlords and their advocacy groups to build proactive, not reactive solutions to these challenges. I would support and highlight those landlords and landlord groups that respect both the letter and the spirit of our tenant protection ordinances, and use persuasion and strict enforcement for those that don’t. In addition, for banks that are practicing illegal or immoral treatment of Oakland renters or homeowners, I would use the power of the purse and the bully pulpit of the Mayor’s office to force them to correct their behavior. The city has millions of dollars on deposit with a variety of banking institutions. Any of those that we find violating tenant rights will bluntly be threatened with the withdrawl of our funds. There are plenty of banks that we can do business with that will have a much more community-friendly approach if we send that clear message.
    When Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to cut services to persons with disabilities living at home, I took him on publicly. I demanded to know how the national president of the Special Olympics could do this. I produced a television ad that was aired exclusively in the governor’s Brentwood home neighborhood, challenging him to rescind. He did. That’s the kind of leadership I bring to the fight!
    4. Neighborhood blight and foreclosure
    Candidates will have 120 seconds / 2 minutes to answer this question
    Neighborhoods continue to deteriorate as the number of vacant, foreclosed properties grows. Will you commit to expand Oakland’s ordinance that fines the owners of vacant, foreclosed nuisance properties $1,000/day to cover:
    Vacant, Multi-Unit (more than 4 units) Buildings
    Commercial Properties
    Vacant “Notice of Defaults” commonly referred to as the Bank’s “shadow inventory?”
    Since the great number of vacant properties has led to an increase in real estate speculation across areas of east and west Oakland, if elected, will you commit to working with organizations in this room to meet face to face with speculators who have purchased large numbers of vacant, Bank Owned Properties to support recommendations by community groups to ensure a portion of those homes go toward lease to own and/or long term, affordable rental housing for working families?
    There are two separate questions involved here. Taking the first, as to whether I would commit to expanding Oakland’s ordinance that fines the owners of vacant, foreclosed nuisance properties at $1,000 a day – it should be noted that it was under my leadership as Pro-Tem of the California State Senate, working closely with the expertise, guidance and support of one of the groups in this room – well, the predecessor of the current group ACCE, which used to be ACORN – led by the tireless work of Anthony Panarese and a host of community-based leaders including Ms. Dorothy Hicks from right here in East Oakland, that we were able to successfully pass SB1137 that put that foreclosure relief bill on the books. Governor Schwarzennegger came here to Oakland to sign the bill into law. We started out with a bill that was provided even greater levels of support and protection for homeowners and tenants, but as Anthony I am sure can attest, we had to fight tooth and nail against Wall Street pressure to completely gut the bill, and wound up with a level of support and protections we simply did not have before. I am proud of the work we did on this bill together, and I am absolutely committed to continuing to fight for even greater protections for our community and those that are still the targets of unscrupulous large financial institutions. Blight in our community affects every aspect of our daily lives, and this is true for ALL of Oakland – not just the parts of our community most affected.
    The second question was whether I would commit to working with the groups in this room to meet face to face with speculators that are grabbing large numbers of vacant bank owned properties? As I said earlier, I think that Oakland is fortunate to have the model of the Oakland Community Land Trust and blessed to have the kind of leadership that Junious Williams at Urban Strategies Council showed in pushing this through. I absolutely support this model of converting foreclosed property to affordable housing stock, and would be actively seeking other types of models and opportunities to expand on such efforts.
    5. Transitional housing
    Candidates will have 90 seconds to answer this question
    The fate of Oakland and its young people are intertwined — we believe the unmet housing needs of our City’s young people destabilizes our economy and must be addressed.

 Oakland cannot build a healthy economy without addressing housing instability that undermines young people’s employment and educational outcomes. The reality is that transitional age youth in Oakland are severely impacted by multiple housing barriers. 

As Mayor, working within our severe financial constraints, please detail your commitments to housing for young people. Specifically, there are two questions:

    1. As mayor what will you do to expand shelter beds for transitional age young people? 

    In July, 2008, RCNO – Regional Congregations and Neighborhood Organizations, submitted a report commissioned by the Alameda County Public Health Department. They conducted a comprehensive survey of the faith-based community, with a particular focus on East Oakland, West Oakland and Hayward. The study was commissioned for the purpose of identifying the faith-based community’s available assets for the reentry population, but their findings I think help to inform my response to this question. Among their discoveries: there is a housing capacity among faith-based institutions of almost 400 beds available through local congregations to a population that otherwise faces tremendous housing barriers. Since that survey was taken, I have been informed that additional beds have been identified and the number may be as high as 1,000 potential housing slots. None of the faith- based
    providers receive any public funding for their beds. I will correct that deficiency in city hall. Membership donations and some fees for service supported their housing costs. One barrier that many of these congregations face, however, were code compliance issues for some of their available slots – for example, a member may donate an apartment unit in a building they own, and provide four beds in a two bedroom unit, which may require additional bathroom facilities or other code compliance issues. The churches have indicated a willingness to work with city and housing rights groups to bring units into compliance, but assistance – both technical and financial, would be necessary to help with this task. The fact remains, however that our vibrant faith based community remains an untapped source of possibility when it comes to meeting the housing needs of transitional age youth.

    2. Many of the young people between ages 18 and 24 have little to no credit or work history and tend to have issues with access to housing. As mayor of Oakland what do you plan to do in order to increase access to affordable rental housing for young people between the ages of 18-24? 

    If Oakland has more success with transitional housing, the next step would be to secure practical policies for rental housing for ages 18-24. The Oakland Housing Authority would be the first place I’d look – it has units.
    Those hosting tonight’s forum should be the resource used to establish best practices in this arena. It is errant thinking to assume city staff has either the expertise or commitment to this issue given the many demands and mixed performance to date.
    6. Just Cause eviction protection
    Candidates will have 60 seconds to answer this question
    In 2002 Oakland residents voted to enact Just Cause Eviction protection in the city, to ensure that tenants cannot be evicted without cause or good reason. This important legislation has faced repeated legal challenge from the landlords though the courts have ruled against them in every case. Do you commit to protecting and strongly enforcing Just Cause eviction protection in the city of Oakland if you are elected Mayor?
    Voter approved initiatives must get priority enforcement. Unfortunately, the city’s effectiveness in most instances is poor.
    In these hard and troubled economic times, the Mayor must set clear priorities in housing policies and enforcement. As this and other questions on your survey establish, there are many competing interests.
    Volume alone tells me foreclosures (and subsequent evictions) are the greatest and gravest danger to Oakland residents.

  15. livegreen

    I agree with everything you’ve listed V. However that still does not give me a reason to vote for Perata. I’m very concerned we’re going to have another Mayor who feels he’s too big for the office. Then there’s his investors, who expect a return, and he’s got to manage the prison guard donations to other CA politicians.

    Not to speak of the challenges of managing Oakland without knowing where all the dead bodies are.

    All reasons I’m leaning towards Kaplan, despite her warts (to me, so far, she has less than the other candidates).

  16. livegreen

    BTW, speaking of Sierra Club, here’s a trivia questions:

    What political hack is trying to get the Sierra Club name on their resume to groundwork for their political comeback?

  17. Karen Bishop

    Some of the Sierra Club’s questions make no sense. The question about how to provide affordable housing for 18-24 year olds. In what context? Youth who are transitioning out of foster care? The homeless youth? Just random young people starting out on their own for the first time? College students? And Perata is going to say “we turn to the Housing Authority”.

    I’m also skeptical about how the faith based community can save Oakland. They have limited resources, even Perata stated there are barriers with code violations and compliance issues. I’ve always been skeptical about the quality of the services and qualifications of some of the faith based to deliver services to people in need. I observed one group working with ex-offenders to obtain jobs. I’m being kind when I say the instructors and instruction was lame.

  18. Max Allstadt

    Just a quick comment about the issue of Bob Gammon vs. Don Perata:

    I very rarely see anyone refute the facts in Gammon’s work as being false. When Bob goes after Perata, most of the rebuttals you’ll see are ad hominem attacks on Bob or the Express. And most of them, particularly on the EBX comments, are anonymous commenters.

    Gammon has indeed been writing articles about Perata for a very long time. In a way, I think his style has some similarities to Vsmoothe’s. (you can shoot me later, V! ;->)

    Gammon and V both write content that is loaded with verifiable source facts. They also both tend to use strongly editorial tones when they have concluded that the subject of the article deserves it.

    I definitely thing that Robert Gammon’s body of work is large enough and researched enough that simply saying he has a personal vendetta is not enough of a rebuttal. If you want us to dismiss his accusations, we should expect that you address the actual accusations.

  19. ralph

    One can find a person objectionable and use facts to support that objection. But Gammons makes his attacks personal in a way that V never has. In that respect, I would much rather gets my initials story from V and then do my own research. It is far more likely that I am going to dismiss most of Gammons crap because it is clear from his tone that he has some personal vendetta against certain subjects.

  20. RdwithCypress

    Oakland Resident,

    Please ask the question: what is code enforcement doing inserting itself into tenant landlord issues? Hud is responsible for this, however in Oakland a tenant complaint can cause a perfectly acceptable property owner into financial ruin. Why should code enforcement ever get involved when there is already laws designed to protect the renter.


    Sorry, I have seen too many property owners totally screwed by CEDA because an a-hole tenant was disgruntled. There are so many renters rights laws.

  21. len raphael

    Quan repeatedly rules out using the most powerful lever the City has to extract vested retirement benefit and wage concessions from its employees: the threat of bankruptcy.

    Yet at the same time she’ll admit at the Humanist Hall last week that bankruptcy is assured if we don’t cut retirement costs.

    That’s where it gets wierd. She keeps implying that all we need to do is get the cops to contribute 9% of their base wage towards the Calpers contribution, and we’re safe. That’s maybe 4Mill/year against operating deficits of tens of millions; and structural deficits closer to maybe 80 to 120Mill for the next 20 years.

    We have to plan for a possible bankruptcy so that if we have to, we will be positioned to use the threat of it pre filing, to get the concessions that might eliminate the need for it.

    Or if there is no alternative, and that’s quite possible, you try to plan for it to take advantage of the court protections.

    But Quan’s attititude of denial combined with fatalism would reasonably make the unions think she were just bluffing if she threatens bankruptcy at the last minute.

    That’s precisely the series of events that will make a messy bankruptcy inevitable.

    -len raphael

  22. Naomi Schiff

    I have found that most of Gammon’s facts are correct, when I go to the primary research source, such as campaign contrib. listings showing Perata’s unconscionable financial relationships. Perata is my last choice, because he is not ethical. We really do need an ethical government, with full transparency, with competence, and with independence from those monied Sacramento lobbyists. People are speculating on Oakland’s assets and our real estate, and it isnot going to do Oakland a bit of good.

  23. len raphael

    Naomi, no matter who is mayor there will be tremendous pressure to sell off city buildings, and monetize revenue streams such as parking tolls to keep from going into bankruptcy and meet payroll, debt payments etc.

    If anything that pressure could drop once we’re under court supervision especially if preceeded by an orderly, planned bankruptcy filing.

    Your solution to reducing the risk of our selling our assets at fire sale prices is to chose Quan over Perata.

    Main problem I see with that solution is that Quan’s budget solution is to lay off cops while continuing to fund anti violence and other non core programs, and preserving wages and staffing for parks/recs, libraries and other important but non essential quality of life services..

    Her repeated public ruling out of bankruptcy means and her obligation not to lay off SEIU members tilll last minute ensures that she will put us in a position where we must sell off assets very quickly for whatever we can get.

    Under Quan we are headed for an emergency OUSD insolvency situation that is much more likely to create the very problems you’re worried Perata would cause.

    An emergency, unplanned bankruptcy would make the state takeover of OUSD look good.

  24. Max Allstadt


    I have personal experience with Bob Gammon, because, as you may remember, he wrote an article attacking someone who attacked me.

    What I got from that interaction was exactly what I stated above. I presented Bob with verifiable facts. He found some of his own too. He then put it all together in a piece that was accurate, but also a stinging indictment of Marcel Diallo.

    When I read it, I sent a letter to the express stating that Bob had gotten everything right, except that he had taken a dismissive tone about Diallo’s arts activities, as if they never happened. My message was that a more accurate story would have portrayed Diallo as a somewhat successful arts and music promoter who was also a shady grant hustler and a viscious slanderer. And the Express printed my letter.

    I say it again: If Gammon’s work is so inaccurate, why haven’t we ever seen point by point rebuttals? That would seem to be the easy way to discredit him.

    Of course the catch is that it isn’t easy, because he’s quite factual.

  25. Ken L

    Quan literally made that inane crack about crime in San Ramon the same week that I got held up at gunpoint a few blocks form my house!

  26. RdwithCypress

    DeSilva/Gallagher for Mayor?
    October 27, 2010
    Is a vote for Don Perata really a vote for DeSilva Enterprises?
    Perata for Mayor top-level staff is Anne Willcoxon, wife of Michael Willcoxon, attorney for DeSilva Enterprises.

    Perata supporter Oliver DeSilva, doing business as Gallagher & Burke, is the number two Public Works contractor according to the 2007 Low Bidder Response Analysis.

    Gallagher & Burke recently won a competitive bid between four contractors for a $1.4 million street resurfacing project. The item was never discussed by City Council; it was on the “consent calendar,” meaning batch-Ayed.

    DeSilva, doing business as DeSilva, is the number two blight abatement contractor for CEDA.

  27. RdwithCypress

    Public Ethics Commission complaint filed against City Auditor Courtney Ruby
    October 29, 2010
    AuditOaklandCEDA publisher has filed a Public Ethics Commission complaint against City Auditor Courtney Ruby for failure to protect her against retaliation by CEDA for reports to Ruby about the organization’s misconduct.
    One year ago, Oakland resident Michelle Cassens contacted City Auditor Courtney Ruby claiming ongoing nepotism, kickbacks and other misconduct within CEDA’s Department of Building Services. (Cassens is the publisher of AuditOaklandCEDA.com.)

    Cassens gave Ruby what she claimed was evidence that an individual inspector, Gene Martinelli, had solicited a bribe from Cassens and that the inspector’s supervisors, Richard Fielding, Principal Inspection Supervisor, as well as Antoinette Holloway-Renwick, then Building Services Inspection Services Manager, were protecting the inspector by escalating false allegations regarding Cassens’ Historic West Oakland residence. Cassens reported to Ruby in September of 2009 that Richard Fielding verbally threatened Ms. Cassens with “dire consequences” via her attorney at the time Rob Schantz of Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean.

    Ruby’s office subsequently received evidence from Cassens demonstrating an ongoing pattern of misconduct by Fielding and Holloway-Renwick, including evidence of a close relationship between Arthur Young, owner of Arthur Young Debris Removal Services, the prime blight-abatement contractor used by CEDA, and Antoinette Holloway-Renwick. (For details, see article “Auditor candidate Kilian files nepotism complaint against CEDA top-dog Antoinette Holloway-Renwick.”)

    Ruby has not responded what Cassens says have been repeated requests for a meeting. Now Cassens has filed a Public Ethics Commission complaint claiming that Holloway-Renwick and other CEDA officials she reported to Ruby retaliated against her, and that Ruby failed in her ethical duty to protect Cassens against such retaliation.

    Since the time that Cassens began making her reports to Ruby’s office, Fielding has initiated and Holloway-Renwick has signed off on (1)revocation Cassens home’s Certificate of Occupancy (2)notification to Betty Marvin that Cassens’ residence was scheduled for demolition (3)declaration of Cassens residence as a Substandard Public Nuisance, and, most recently, (4)signing off on several thousands of dollars in invoices as well as a $1200 lien ostensibly for a fence that does not conform with the General Plan.

    Cassens complaint reads, in part, “City Auditor Courtney Ruby has an obligation to protect whistleblowers. She has failed to protect me. Though I am not an employee, Ms. Ruby should have used her authority to intervene in retaliatory practices used by Building Services staff.”

    Cassens and her husband, Gwillym Martin, who has filed a lawsuit against CEDA for misuse of CEDA funds (see article “Expanded lawsuit filed against City and CEDA officials”), are now in the process of fighting the lien. Cassens says several of their immediate neighbors have fences even higher than theirs but have not been cited, and that the lien constitutes clear retaliation.

  28. Barry K

    Under pressure, Lindheim’s office just released the FY2009-2010 Pay-Go (Pork-Go) of slush fund spending by Council Members.

    Check out Jean Quan’s “Get out the Pork” spending. It’s an election year afterall.
    $34,000 to the Redwood Parks Concerts. That pays for a lot of free press! $20,000 for Chabot Space for a kids interactive kiosk. (They can learn that roads aren’t paved in space either.) (Must explain her latest flyer with kids around her at Chabot.) Free press indeed!

    Two years ago, the Alameda Grand Jury said Pay-Go can abused for personal political gain, and, suggested the millions in Council funds be returned to the General Fund, Quan kept spending and spending and spending….


  29. Jonathan C. Breault

    Jean Quan is consistently delusional in her absurd expository remarks about just about anything. Quan is a hopelessly incompetent financial manager and in light of the fact that by some sad and tragic circumstance she has finagled her way into managing the city’s budget Oakland is technically bankrupt. Anyone with a modicum of good sense and a reasonable acquaintance with reality would be repulsed by this fool. Her condescending, dismissive, supercilious and confoundingly dumb persona is simply impossible to disregard. Quan is a charlatan who is completely out-of-her depth and has absolutely no business running anything, let alone the municipal budget. I find it incomprehensible that she was ever elected and it borders on surreal the idea that folks would support her based upon her abysmal, appalling record. Quan literally has no idea of what she is doing but apparently is quite adept at salesmanship as she is endlessly propogating the fiction that she is doing good work. Only invidious, child-like fools would agree.

  30. ralph

    Just got an email from Camp Quan. They are urging me to vote Yes on P24. Clearly Camp Quan understands very little about taxes. Yes the law was poorly written but so was the previous one. Changing the law at the box will require future changes be made at the box. Tax law should be flexible, a yes vote strips that flexibility from our elected officials. Vote No on on 24 and No on Quan.