Why I am voting Don Perata for Mayor of Oakland

So, I told you guys yesterday why I am not voting for Jean Quan or Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor. Today, I’m going to tell you why I am proud to be voting for Don Perata.

I like Don Perata

I should probably start out by saying that although it took me a while to come to a decision about the Mayor’s race, it was never because I bought into that whole “anyone but Perata” thing. I admire Don Perata. I have admired him for many years.

The fact that he works for the CCPOA does not bother me. When politicians retire, they become lobbyists and political consultants. They all do it. Before Ron Dellums returned to Oakland to run for Mayor, he was a lobbyist for defense contractors and prescription drug companies. There were many reasons I thought that Ron Dellums would not make a good Mayor, but that wasn’t one of them.

I know that it really bothers some people. And to them, all I can say is that if it upsets you so much, if you think it’s more important than his record and his platform and his ability to lead Oakland, well, then you probably should not vote for him. It’s not like I’m some huge fan of the prison guards union either. But for my part, I don’t begrudge people for needing to make a living.

Maybe that’s because of how I grew up — my father is in the oil business. He became a geologist because he loved rocks. And he got into oil because he had a family to support. Where I’m from, lots of people are in this industry, and growing up, it never occurred to me that working in energy made you a bad person. But since I came to the West Coast 13 years ago, I have gotten more earfuls than I would have imagined possible about how everyone in the oil industry is completely evil and soulless. But you know what? I spent my whole life growing up surrounded by people who are part of it. And most of them are very nice people who do good things for their communities. So I’ve learned not to make broad judgements about people’s character based on their careers.

The fact that Don Perata eats dinner at Oliveto using campaign funds? That also doesn’t bother me. When it comes to the way public money is handled? I believe that is absolutely sacrosanct. But campaign donations? I don’t care. That’s not my problem. If Perata’s donors don’t like the way he’s using their money, they can stop giving it to him.

The Raiders deal? That doesn’t bother me either. Yeah, it was a bad deal. But the fact is, every single City Councilmember and every single Supervisor at the time supported it. The press supported it. And people were clamoring for someone to find a way to bring the Raiders back. When you have been in public service for decades, you are inevitably going to have made some bad calls. That’s just life. And what matters to me is not whether someone has ever made a mistake (because the only way to have an error-free record is to have never done anything), but whether or not they are able to acknowledge when they’ve made one and learn from it so they can do better in the future. And Don Perata has done that.

So while I know those are big issues for some people, I just wanted to say right from the beginning that they never have been for me.

It’s a tough State

One thing that has been really striking to me over the course of this election is learning how many people are just completely tuned out of news about the State.

I mean, I’m not like, obsessive about State politics or anything. But I do try to keep up with what’s going on. I read the Sacramento Bee RSS feed. I subscribe to some State blogs. And while there are plenty of people engaged on the State level who have legitimate beef with Don Perata based on policy disagreements (and I respect that), that is not, for the most part, what I have been encountering around here. What I have been running into is person after person who is convinced that they hate Don Perata and that he was bad for the State, but knows absolutely nothing about his record. I mention this because I think that one’s perspective on Don Perata is very different if the only things you know about him come from reading local stories about the FBI investigation or listening fearmongering from supporters of other candidates.

So if you don’t follow the State, I have two things to tell you. First, you should immediately start listening to the Capital Notes podcast from KQED California Report Sacramento Bureau Chief John Myers and Capitol Weekly’s Anthony York. You can listen to it on your headphones on the bus, it only takes half an hour a week, and it is by far the easiest way to keep yourself in touch with State politics. Second, it is rough up there in Sacramento. The two-thirds vote requirement to get a budget has created a truly insane situation where the minority party has all the power when it comes to spending, and because the budget is the only thing they have power over, the hold every other thing in the whole damn State hostage to it.

A tremendous legislative record

And ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger came to office, he has been submitting budgets that rob transportation, education, and social services. And Don Perata has been there fighting to protect these things that I hold dear. It took compromise, leadership, and concessions to get budgets passed. And he did it. It wasn’t always pretty, and the results weren’t always great, but he took the hand he had been dealt and did what he needed to do to get the job done.

And Don Perata has been there on issues I care about.

When the Governor decided he wanted to put tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure bonds on the ballot, and came up with a plan that was all about building dams and highways in the Central Valley, Don Perata stood up and fought to make that package work for cities and the for the environment. And it was hard, and it took months, and it took compromise, but it happened.

And we got Proposition 1C, which funded affordable housing, emergency shelter, down-payment assistance for first-time homebuyers, environmental remediation to support urban infill, and high-density, transit-oriented development. We got Proposition 1D, which funded badly needed upgrades to school and university facilities. We got Proposition 1E, which protected watersheds and wetlands. And we got Proposition 1B, which provided funding for air quality improvements at urban ports and public transportation. These things matter to me.

I care about the environment. Without Don Perata, we would not have AB 32. (For those who aren’t aware, AB 32 is landmark climate change legislation that mandates dramatic greenhouse gas emissions reductions. It is a huge deal.) You think that getting that passed was easy? You think everyone liked it? Well, obviously not, since they are trying to get rid of it on the ballot right now! At the same time, although to less fanfare, Don Perata also authored successful legislation to create emissions standards for electricity used in California (i.e., make your energy cleaner).

I care about public transportation. When Bay Area public transit agencies were bleeding, Don Perata made sure that operations funding was a part of RM2. Again, this is a big deal. Nobody ever wants to include operations money in anything!

And I care about Oakland. And Don Perata has been there for Oakland. Whether it’s stepping in to help save a skate park or supporting literacy for Oakland school children, Don Perata has consistently remembered the people he represents and delivered on the home front. He got us the money to build Mandela Parkway. When we were struggling with the sideshow problem, he changed State law to help. When violent crime in Oakland skyrocketed, Don Perata stepped in to bring people together to look for solutions, and then went out and raised the money to do something about it.

Local Issues

So, for me, my initial reluctance to support Don Perata was never an issue of being dissatisfied with his work on the State level. Rather, I was concerned how that would translate to Oakland. After all (and yes, I do realize there are big differences between the two, chief among them being that Sacramento is a hell of a lot closer to Oakland than Washington DC), that didn’t work out so well the last time around. I thought he had been a good leader of the State Senate, but wasn’t sure if that would make him a good Mayor.

But after watching his campaign for the last several months, I feel confident that he knows what Oakland needs and is prepared to lead this City in the right direction. I agree that we need to prioritize health care and green industry when it comes to business attraction and job creation. I agree that we need to improve our partnerships with schools and not decimate our police force. And I agree that we need to take a hard, line-by-line look at the budget and stop just endlessly chipping away at every damn service this City provides. If we keep doing it the way we have been, there’s going to be nothing left.

I read through his questionnaires for the Sierra Club (PDF) and Make Oakland Better Now!, and I agree with what he has to say. I watched his responses to the Great Oakland Public Schools video voter guide, and I was impressed by those as well.

I know that a lot of people criticize him for not going to all the debates, but honestly, that doesn’t bother me. The number of candidate forums this year was truly ridiculous. If it was me, I wouldn’t have gone to them all either. He went to (I think) nine of them, which is more than the total number of Mayoral candidate forums there even were in the last election. And I personally don’t find these forums with a ridiculous number of candidates particularly useful. The answers are such short sound bites that you don’t really learn anything.

His reluctance to spend every night at a candidate forum mostly attended by supporters of one candidate or another (there tend to be not very many undecided voters at these things) might have bothered me if Don Perata had not made himself accessible to voters in any other way. But that’s not the case. He held eight large, widely advertised public events where he stood up there for an hour and a half and answered unfiltered questions from anyone who wanted to ask. So I just don’t see how you can reconcile that with this thing people keep saying about how he doesn’t want to talk to voters. I mean, to me, that seems a lot more informative. And I really appreciate that he did that, especially in comparison to certain other candidates who only have events where you have to pay to hear them talk.

What Oakland needs

Oakland needs a leader. We need someone who face problems head on. Not only does Don Perata have a long history of doing exactly that in Sacramento, he has also demonstrated a willingness to to it here. Of all ten candidates running for Mayor, Perata is the only one who has actually put out a proposed package of budget cuts. I don’t think all of them are the right thing to do, but I think that many of them are, and I have tremendous respect for the fact that he did it when no one else has been willing to. It takes courage and leadership to put your ideas out there and open them up for criticism like that.

Oakland is in crisis. It needs a leader. It needs someone who is not afraid to make hard decisions, or to make cuts that are unpopular. It needs someone who can pull together the votes for tough decisions, and Don Perata has many years of experience doing exactly that.

I want Oakland to grow, so I want a Mayor who can attract development and will support it. I want someone who is willing to make priorities about the budget and about our core services and stick to them.

The Best Mayor for Oakland

I have no second thoughts about this decision. I don’t feel any hesitation about it. It took me a long time, and a lot of thought to get here. But I want to be absolutely clear that my vote for Don Perata is not a hold my nose choice. No, Don Perata is not my fantasy Oakland Mayor. I want our very own Cory Booker. But you can’t always get the fantasy. In fact, usually, you don’t. And I do believe, based on his record and his vision, that Don Perata will be a very good Mayor. And I definitely believe that he is by leaps and bounds the best of the choices we have.

Don Perata

I don’t expect all of my readers to agree with my choice. My opinion is just that — the opinion of one person. I like to hope that I’ve earned enough respect from my readers over the years that you’ll at least take my thoughts into consideration as one of the many factors you consider when making a decision. I do think that it would behoove everyone to try to put the endless vitriol and half-truths being spread by Jean Quan and Robert Gammon and take an honest look at Don Perata and his tremendous record of tangible accomplishments.

I know my readership includes many devoted Rebecca Kaplan supporters, and you know what, I sympathize. I really, really do. Like I said yesterday, I wish so much that I could vote for her and feel good about it. Her energy and her optimism and all of that is very appealing. I spent months trying to find a way to convince myself that she could be an effective Mayor, and looking at her record, I just couldn’t do it. If you’re already sold on her, well, I don’t have a lot of hopes about convincing you to change your mind — after all, having been a Kaplan supporter myself, I know what it’s like to have drunk that kool aid. So, you know what? Go for it. Make Rebecca Kaplan your first choice. But I really hope you’ll consider marking my guy number 2.

One final note

So. I have something I want to say in anticipation of comments.

The decision to support Don Perata has been very difficult for me personally. Not because I personally feel bad about it (see above), but because I have taken such incredible amounts of shit for it from people I know, almost all of whom are supporting Rebecca Kaplan. People I thought were good friends won’t even speak to me anymore, and those who will seem to feel like my support for a candidate they don’t like entitles them to say all sorts of horrible, nasty things about my character and my values, and…well, it has just been really, really hard for me.

And you know what? I’m sure I’ll take more shit for it here. But all I can do is what I believe is right. And I believe that Don Perata is the best person to be Mayor of Oakland.

If you want to ask me honest questions about that, I welcome them. I do have limited time, but I think that this is important, and I know a lot of people are predisposed to be against Perata, and I want them to open their minds. So I will do my absolute best to answer any questions and respond to any comments that indicate genuine curiosity and invite honest debate.

But if you want to leave some nasty comment about my integrity, or craft some ridiculous elaborate conspiracy theory about why I would support Perata — well, you know what? I can’t stop you. But I’m going to say right now, just so we’re all clear, that I am not going to dignify any comments like that with a response.

I have been putting myself and my opinions out there for public criticism and debate for more than four years, and I have given tremendous amounts of time to trying to help Oakland move in the direction I believe it should go. And I think that, through my work, I should have established a certain level of trust — if not in my judgment, then at least in my integrity. And if you disagree? Well, if my history isn’t enough to convince you of my honesty of heart, then there’s nothing new I can say that is going to.

188 thoughts on “Why I am voting Don Perata for Mayor of Oakland

  1. Jim Ratliff

    V., as the enthusiastic supporter of the League of Women Voters of Oakland I know you to be, I’m surprised that you don’t address the exploitation of the loophole in the Oakland Campaign Reform Act that allowed the campaign-spending cap to be blown up.

    I think you’d have to agree that an examination of the amount of money Perata raised and the speed at which he spent almost up to the cap demonstrates that he knew a group that supports him would trigger the loophole and, indeed, that he was relying upon that to happen.

    Does that give you no pause?

    Just for the record, I disagree strongly with this endorsement but I certainly respect your sincerity and the huge amount of thought you put into this (and into just about everything you write).

  2. CitizenX

    While I respect your opinion, I don’t agree. The biggest issue, in my mind, is his on-going, close relationship with the the current City Council. If one subscribes to the belief that the City Council is the problem, then it is a big leap to think that Perata is the solution. Will he get things done? Yeah, I think so. Will he get the right things done? That is the question.

  3. ralph

    There really isn’t much more to say other than Don Perata is my choice for mayor. You are my one and only pick.

    Don has the courage to lead when others would rather let the voters decide or not make a decision at all.

  4. mary

    i appreciate what you have written regarding who you are and are not voting for. i am wondering who are your 2nd & 3rd choices and why. are you willing to share that? thanks!

  5. quinn

    There’s definitely too much character assassination in politics today. It seems to have “trickled down” from national politics to the local level. But people who sling mud end up covered in dirt.

    Thanks for your thoughtful analysis, V. As you said, it takes courage to put your ideas out there. I’m learning a lot from reading this blog.

  6. Justin

    Excellent, V. Well-reasoned and it’s clear you made an informed and serious choice. Here here! Perata 2010

  7. Mike Hardy

    I won’t say whether I agree or disagree – I still have some more research to do

    But, this site is one of the few blogs I read regularly, and I rely on it for good primary source information links and secondary source information from you with integrity even if my concerns aren’t yours and I disagree.

    I believe the integrity is there and I really appreciate the work you put into the city and the site.

    I’ll also say most of the commenters here are fantastic, even in the disagreements – there’s some really good primary source info batted around here and that’s the stuff good decision-making’s based on. Thanks most (but not all!)

    I don’t do anything else for the city right now, but I do take my voting seriously so all this info is important to me.

    Thanks V

  8. Karen Bishop


    It is difficult to stand up for your beliefs when people give you shit for it or friends are lost. Since we are coming down to the end of the political season, I wanted to share some final words.

    I was really ticked off about the Joe Tuman blog. I really didn’t like it and I still don’t. But I’m not going to try and counter point you on Perata nor pitch for my candidate. I wanted to say you expressed yourself and this forum allowed me to express myself. I had some great debates with other people and read some great comments. Overall, I learned a lot and am now hooked on local politics.

    I appreciate how hard it was to create this blog and to maintain it. So thanks V. and good luck to all the candidates. Maybe I will see you around City Hall.

  9. jarichmond

    I just want to thank you for writing up such detailed and well thought statements about the candidates. I think it’s terrible that you’ve taken so much heat for it from “friends” and associates, but I have a great deal of respect for anyone who would still be willing to stand up for your opinions and make the case as thoroughly as you have.

    Are you still planning on writing up endorsements about the other measures on the ballot? I’d still be interested to at least hear your thoughts about some of them.

    Hope that the pneumonia (or whatever other affliction it turned out to be) is calming down now!

  10. JennyM

    Thanks, V. You’ve said it better than I ever could. I support Perata and have attended his community clean ups. I’ve even met a few of his former students at these events (all grown up now!), and they told me that Mr. Perata was the best teacher because he got them engaged in the community. They realized that their participation mattered. I really feel that Perata’s career in public service started sixteen years before he was in politics — when he was a teacher.

  11. Thomas Loker

    Excellent and well reasoned arguments! I also support Don although I do not live in Oakland.

    Your article was one of the best I have read recently. I have come to know Don Perata over the past few years as we have worked hard on a number of reforms to help the underserved in Oakland and throughout California.

    I am more of a conservative than republican, but I am registered as republican and I have found his approach to any issue focused intensely on the pragmatic not ideological or special interest driven. As I got to know him I have found his integrity to be of the highest caliber in all of our dealings. He clearly h had the interests of Oakland at heart as he has pursued this office.

    I find it interesting that people bring up the FBI investigation that took so long, kept negavitisms in the press for years, and in then end w dropped with no legal actions. How many of his detractors could withstand such investigation and scrutiny and end up with nothing for the law to sue us for?

    I can only speak of my experiences and opinion and in both cases I strongly support him!

  12. A

    Kudos for elucidating your reasoning on these three frontrunners. You’ve convinced me to look harder at voting for Perata and not Kaplan. (Already had made up my mind not to put Quan down at all…)

    Thanks for all the hard work V!

  13. Gregory McConnell

    As one who has felt the sting of V’s sharp wit for leading the crack team that supported Kerry Hamil and misspelled homicides turning it into “homocides”, I must say that this is the best blog out there and your integrity is beyond reproach. Anyone who states the contrary is full of BS.

    This series of articles on the candidates was excellent. The biggest problem in Oakland is that it does not have leadership that can get things done.

    I believe Don can get things done.

  14. Colin


    I’m disappointed. I didn’t expect to agree with you, but I’m surprised by what you’re willing to gloss over in your support for Perata. You seem to dismiss any suggestion that he’s ever engaged in corruption because, I guess, you think only a Quan supporter or – god for bid – Robert Gammon could belive that. But the FBI didn’t choose to investigate him because Bush was in office, they decided to investigate him because there were ligitimate issues in the way he was doing business. You don’t bring it up. I assume it’s not an issue to you, but I don’t understand how that could be.

    The problem with Perata working for the prison guards isn’t that he’s a lobbyist – that’s a little distasteful, but you’re right that it does happen all the time. The problem is that he shielded them from budget cuts when everyone else was getting cut and then took a consulting job from them for which he gets lots of money and does nothing.

    Then there’s the money laundering. It’s hard to call it anything else. You obviously don’t think that exists, but I cannot fathom why and would be curious to hear you explain it. The rent and housing shuffle with his son, the long-running Staples payoff scam… None of that is an issue for you. The Hope Campaign in particular really sticks in my craw – using a cancer funding group as a front (and it’s hard to consider it anything else) is particularly cynical coming from a cancer survivor.

    As far as your examples of what makes him a great and effective leader go:

    Without Perata there most likely would have been AB 32. I paid a lot of attention to that bill and at no point did he do anything that made him seem central to it passing. Arnold would have gotten it through with or without Don. Nunez was the person putting in the leg work on the Democratic side of the isle, not Perata. And while there is currently an attempt to repeal it, it has never stood much chance and is clearly sponsored by out-of-state interests. It was and will continue to be a hugely popular bill in CA.

    The fluff about the budget negotiations you link to is all fine and well, but at no point did he manage to get a budget in on time or that wasn’t padded out with unrealistic math. I would hardly cite those as an example of his strong leadership. Yes, the situation in the senate is ridiculous and the Republicans deserve far more blame than the Don, but that doesn’t make his failed budgets an example of him working hard to reach tough compromises, especially when those compromises only result in get-out-of-town budgets that need to be revisited 6 months later. And I think Don can take a large share of the blame for the fact that only radical republicans get elected – he’s been a frothing advocate for gerrymandering since the first day he got into office.

    The video you link to saying Don has a plan and nobody else does? It doesn’t show that. It shows Don standing in front of cameras with a stack of papers in his hand saying “there’s money all over the Oakland government that could be used to pay cops.” While I believe there is a lot of validity to that argument, everyone says the same thing at election time and yet these savings never appear. He also claims that the mayor’s assistant is the same thing as a city council member, which it’s obviously not (hint: one works for the mayor, one is a city council member). Bonus points on that video, though, for him working up a lather about money being shifted back and forth through departments – the pot has never looked so indignant when discussing the kettle.

    One other thing: I don’t support Kaplan because I drank the koolade as you suggest, and I’m not predisposed to disliking Perata. Your characature of those you disagree with doesn’t exactly encourage civil disagreement. I came to my opinions the same way you did – by spending a lot of time and researching the issues. I think you deserve respect for your opinions, but I’d appreciate it if you not deride me for mine.

    All of that said, I do hope that if your candidate wins that you are right and I am wrong. And that your friends come around. I’m opposed to Perata until November 3rd, then I’m in favor of whomever is Oakland’s next mayor.

  15. Chuck

    Wow, V. I’m sorry to hear things got shitty and personal. That’s uncalled for.

    Thanks for this great series of posts. I don’t agree with all of it. Or even most of it if we’re just looking at conclusions. But regardless, I feel more certain about my views as a result of having my choices questioned. Kaplan’s still my #1 and I’m now certain I don’t have a #2.

    The thanks is entirely sincere, though — I find in this particular piece some reasons not to be totally bummed if Perata does end up winning. I appreciate your taking the time to explain that to me :)

  16. mfraser

    1. Good government issues require a willingness to throw down on those principals, at least when there are enough issues over a long enough period of time to show a candidate has a deep and abiding problem with fundamental concepts of fairness and playing by the rules. Yes, I agree it can’t be an issue all of the time, but between the revolving door with the prison unions, huge multi-million dollar deals to friends (that do come at the expense of the public treasury), and what appear time and again to be pay-to-play politics, just understand that the critical mass is far, far more than with any other government official in the recent history of California. One person I know who I greatly respect and who’s been involved in litigation on environmental and civil rights issues for decades concludes that “Perata is the most corrupt politician I’ve ever seen, by far.” Not having been watching local and state politics that carefully for the last 25 years, I have to accept some third party information at some point. The people I know who are most informed also feel that while Gammon’s articles on Perata are complained about, if these articles were lies, the party he comments on could and would win lawsuits on some of these stories. The fact that the stories stand unrefuted says something substantial. Do you think Perata doesn’t have the guts or resources to sue EBE and Gammon if they were false stories? To take one very small story, but big to me, the kind of person who would send their donors to back Marcie Hodge, who I don’t believe for a second those folks really want or think can win, is for the worst and most cynical of purposes of splitting the minority vote and confusing them, pushing Quan and Kaplan and perhaps Tuman off of their ballots. I can see no other reason for those folks to support Hodge with large donations.

    So yes you can apologize for or dismiss individual cases, but if you don’t pull the trigger on refusing Perata in this election, I believe you are saying that you won’t ever really stand behind any good government principals you might hold, that any such hand wringing is all talk. For me the critical mass is far too great, indeed, I challenge you to name a single person for whom it is even close to this bad a record of demonstrated issues – I’d rather accept someone honest who has a learning curve, like Tuman or Kaplan, and take my chances.

    2. Perata has a long history of involvement with the exact same budgetary issues that have been bankrupting the city and the state, and all on the wrong side. He’s been pushing for far more liberal compensation and retirement policies. Is that because he’s implicitly paid off or just because he really values them? To me it doesn’t really matter – he has had about the biggest hand in making current budgets and policies for the state, and where are we – nearly bankrupt, and getting worse. For the same reasons I didn’t want the architects of the national financial catastrophe put in charge of cleaning it up (and how’s that gone for us? I’d say not so great personally), I would never want Perata involved; as far as I’m concerned we are in crisis to a large measure specifically because of him and his policies. This issue trumps everything else, and by large measure, and his performance on state employee compensation has to me been nothing short of a complete disaster for the taxpayers.

    I admit I don’t know the details of specific issues like Mandela Parkway, but to me his failures on the issues of good government and absurd compensation for state employees that seem the largest and most important to me vastly outweigh some limited successes, successes I must point out that are almost always seem to be intertwined with property deals and the like that are just excuses to transfer yet more public funds to his family, friends and patrons. If this is the best we can come up with, I say let’s declare bankruptcy now get it over with and start over.

  17. Frank Castro

    V – I respect your opinion and what you have done with this blog. It is easy to see how you arrived at your decision once you decided that ethical behavior wasn’t a prerequisite for you when it came time to make your decision. How can we entrust the City to a career politician with no moral compass? Do you really think that Perata will handle public funds any differently that he handles campaign contributions? I think his misuse of campaign funds is a very telling barometer. That’s why I’m voting for Tuman.

  18. ralph

    On pay to play, I believe Kaplan is at the top of that deck. Unless one came with checkbook in hand, her meet and greets were a closed party affair. People without ducats need not come.

  19. Karen Bishop

    I decided to do some research on the issues that V. raised in her blog.

    Regarding AB32 the climate change legislation. V. states that without Don Perata we would not have this legislation. Here is a very interesting article authored by the environmental law center at U.C. Berkeley on the history of AB32. Don’s name never shows up. Don was not the author of this bill it was Fran Pavley (although Don was part of a team trying to get the law passed). In addition this scholarly article states that AB32 almost didn’t pass because the democrats were duking it out with Schwarzeneger over some language in the bill. The bill passed 30 hours before the session ended almost losing the bill. According to this article it was the intense media pressure that helped get the democrats to compromise and get the bill passed.

    If you have the fortitude to read this highly technical article you will see that AB32 only came about after the many, many years California worked on ever evolving emissions and climate change legislation that came before AB32.

    The father of many bills that successfully passed that preceded AB32 (AB4420 and AB1771) was Byron Sher. He successfully passed legislation back in 1988. Even before that California began this work in the 1960′s and 1970′s when it won the right to have more stringent emission standards than the federal standards.


  20. Mary Hollis


    As I said on your Kaplan piece, I agree with your Perata endorsement.

    But may I also ask, like my namesake Mary, who are you advocating Perata supporters rank as numbers two and three, given the tactical importance of such choices under ranked choice?

    Seems to me this election may be decided by the second choice elections.

  21. Karen Bishop

    A little background on the Oakland sideshow problem. Perata co-sponsored a bill with Assembly Member Wilma Chan and proposed by the City of Oakland. It was titled the Ukendra Johnson Act of 2002. It allowed officers to impound cars for 30 days for reckless and dangerous driving and excessive speed. Few cars were actually impounded under the law (25 cars to be exact). The City of Oakland failed to keep statistics on the law’s effects and the law expired. Perata authored the 2007 law, which passed and the sideshow law was re-enacted.

  22. Karen Bishop

    As I mentioned in a previous post Don Perata did support the 2006 Statewide Propositions, specficially Prop 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D and 1E. These were for the very things that V. mentioned in her blog and very worthy Propositions. However he used over $2MM of the Hope2010 Ballot Initiative contributions to help make sure that Props 1A – 1E passed. The contributions collected from Californians to help put Hope 2010 on the ballot and fund cancer research was diverted to help pass these propositions.

  23. policywank

    The appearance of impropriety is not actual impropriety. That seems to be the key point that so many of those who dislike Perata are unable to grasp. You may decide that you don’t like the appearance and don’t want Perata in office because of it. I guarantee you that if there had been actual violations of the law, that FBI investigation would have yielded indictments. Chances are none of you have ever been on either side of the investigative resources that the FBI and a federal prosecutor can bring to any issue. Even when you’re innocent, trying to fight them can often bankrupt you. It’s part of why federal attorneys have such high conviction rates. For most people, it is infinitely easier to take a plea on some small, technical charge than to fight. The simple fact that no one involved did that in the Perata case speaks volumes to me about there being no actual crime.

  24. RdwithCypress

    More Conflict of Interest discovered in CEDA. Arthur Young gets preferential treatment from City Employees! I cannot believe how gutsy these guys in CEDA are. NO ETHICS!

    Prime blight abatement contractor for CEDA pays piddling permit fees for personal residence
    October 27, 2010
    CEDA Building Services staff gave preferential treatment in permit fees for an addition to his personal residence to Arthur Young, owner of Arthur Young Debris Removal Service, the number one contractor used by CEDA to abate blight. Building Services records show that in 2008, Young paid only $353.66 for permits to build a 2,361 square foot addition to his home at 13811 Campus Drive. By contrast, permit fees for a comparable project — a 2,700-foot home at 556 Fairbanks, in 2006 – cost over $17,000, or roughly 5% of the estimated cost of the project. Had Young been charged this more-customary percentage, his permit fees would have totaled in the thousands.

    To see the rest of the story got to:


  25. Karen Bishop

    somehow my post on a correction to the skate park didn’t post — The skate park I mentioned above is the one and the same V. mentioned. It appears Don Perata was part of a team that helped keep the skate park permanent.

  26. Joseph Debro

    Those who are politically active in Oakland politics have challenged this writer because of my support of Don Pirate for Mayor. My response is I support him because he is the best person for this job at this time. The conservative Oakland Tribune and the progressive weeklies are all opposed to Don Perata.The Tribune disparages Don, because they claim he is ethically challenged. Our current mayor has few ethics problems. I argue that most politicians are ethically challenged. The political profession requires its practitioners to do what it takes to get elected. Their highest priority is to get elected.

    I am not comfortable with some of Don’s relationships. I have been highly critical of some of his actions. No person is without warts. I am not looking for a saint to be Mayor of Oakland. If Don were a lawyer none of the actions for which he is being vilified would ever come to light. Most of our politicians are lawyers. They are allowed to hide their relationships behind lawyer client privileges.

    The city of Oakland needs a leader who is decisive, pragmatic, courageous. and politically well connected. Don Parata meets those requirements. I cannot defend Don’s ethics, or the ethics of others in this race. As a voter I am not seeking Oakland’s most ethical person. I am looking for a leader who can stop the killings. I am looking for a leader who can grow the tax base and balance the budget. I am looking for a leader who can improve the quality of the Oakland public schools. I think Don Perata is that person.

    In 1995, I alone stood against the ill-fated Raider deal. Which Don Perata was paid to support. He and I fought in the newspapers and on the TV over this issue. All 14 elected officials at the county and the city supported this deal. As we all know it was a very bad deal. We as taxpayers are still paying. It appears that most of its political supporters have been forgiven, except Don. None of the people who are now running for Mayor would take a public stand on this issue. All of the newspapers who now oppose Don, supported this disaster. Most elected officials who voted for this deal have been promoted.

    Over the past thirty years, I have opposed Don on many other issues, just as I have opposed Jerry Brown. I now think this is their time. They are both ideally suited for the jobs they seek.

  27. 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.


  28. len raphael

    Agree w PW on the fbi investigation. When the feds get rolling, they deploy massive resources of investigators and attorneys, wire taps, subpoas, document requests that will turn up evidence that you wore the same pair of sox for two days in a row, 3 years ago.

    The other aspect is that once they get rolling, they can’t stop quickly even after they realize no law has been broken.

    There’s too much political pressure on them, which they themselves usually have created to justify their investigation, so they’d lose credibility with the public if they stopped too soon without any proof of wrong doing.

    All of which is to say, the fbi would have turned up prosecutable wrong doing if there had been any, and the fact that they kept investigating for 5 years doesn’t imply that Perata was guilty of anything.

    -len raphael

  29. We Fight Blight

    Thanks V.

    There is a reason you are the number one blog in Oaktown–well-reasoned, informative, and honest.

    We Fight Blight also supports Don Perata and think he is the best candidate for the job. We like that Don has a commitment to core services, including public safety, and a willingess to cut non-public safety jobs before going after police. He is tough, committed, and can roll up his sleeves and get the job done.

    Many of the Perata detractors point to the FBI investigation and are all too willing to convict Perata even though the investigation was dropped. It’s easy to sling mud. But does it stick?

    We Fight Blight appreciates you providing a thoughtful assessment of each of the candidates. After reading your blog, our decision to cast only one vote for Don Perata has been reinforced.

    As you have pointed out Jean Quan has driven the City to the point of bankruptcy and is an apologist for crime. Rebecca Kaplan lacks true leadership qualities and has not been able to bring home the bacon. And Joe Tuman is an unknown quantity with little political experience.

    We need someone who can make the tough decisions and who can work with the City Council to generate consensus on core issues of major concern to Oakland. Don Perata has a record of achievement unmatched by any other candidate.

    V. Any idea who Don is considering as the City Administrator? A critical task for any new Mayor would be working with the new City Administrator to replace Department Heads and possibly Deputies who may be at will employees with new staff who are committed to making changes and carrying out the Mayor’s vision.

  30. len raphael

    JD, I can agree with many of your points. I found myself voting for Jerry despite knowing full well he was the co-enabler of many of our States budget problems.

    point of info: wasn’t there also one local cpa who also opposed the Raider’s deal? do you remember his name?

    I met him at the time and he told how residents and council members essentially threw rotten tomatoes at him for speaking up against the deal. Which is why it’s funny now for voters to criticize him for carrying out the council’s mandate to bring back the Raiders at any price.

    -len raphael
    No on Q(an)
    Yes on P(erata)

  31. mfraser

    John Adams on Corruption:
    “The nature of the encroachment upon American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer; it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity and frugality become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole of society.”

    From Common Cause, a little information that would predict Perata has odds of about 32 to 1 of wining:

    “In, California, the candidate who raises the most money wins 97% of general elections.
    Most races aren’t even close from a fundraising viewpoint — 86% of winners raise more
    than five times what their opponent raises.
    California’s money-driven elections can be compared to three other states which have
    implemented full public financing for legislative campaigns: Maine, Arizona, and
    Connecticut. States that have full public financing, also known as Fair Elections
    programs, see low disparities in spending between winning candidates and their
    opponents, with two-thirds of candidates outspending their opponents, and by much
    smaller ratios than in California. Just a third of the races featuring a candidate who
    outraised their opponent by a greater than five-to-one ratio (usually in uncontested races)
    and overall winning candidates raised 29% more than all their opponents combined in
    public financing states. In California, by contrast, winners raised more than double what
    all their opponents combined raised.
    Even when winning candidates do have a financial advantage in public financing states,
    the funds come overwhelmingly from public funds and private contributions of $250 or
    less. So, to the extent elections are “bought” in these states, they are bought by small
    donors and the public at large. However, in California, 96% of the funds raised came in
    amounts greater than $250 – an amount affordable to only a few wealthy interests.
    In short, California elections are bought much more often and easily than elections in
    states with public financing, and the ones doing the buying comprise a narrow slice of the
    electorate who are unlikely to represent the interests of ordinary voters.”


    And just to answer the total BS that Perata raises so much money b/c he has grassroots support…. almost all the money is from corporate execs and lawyers, not grassroots support. I’m almost certain Quan and Kaplan, and maybe even Tuman, have more actual grassroots funding.

    “The Coalition revealed yesterday that it spent $137,000 supporting Perata’s bid for mayor, according to its own finance disclosures.

    The group has paid for television spots as well as mailers. Paul Kinney, a longtime Perata associate, is being paid to run the committee.

    The coalition was originally being funded by the law enforcement groups, including the prison guards’ union, which employs Perata as a political consultant. The latest disclosures show large donations from longtime Perata supporters in the East Bay. As an independent expenditure committee, there are no limits on contributions.

    Jon Reynolds of Reynolds & Brown, which is building a big housing development near the Oakland Estuary, kicked in $10,000. James Falaschi, a real estate developer who’s done projects in Jack London Square, plunked down $25,000. T. Gary Rogers, a former Dreyer’s Ice Cream executive, threw in $10,000, adding to the $20,000 he’d previously put into the coalition.

    Another political action committee, called Oakland Jobs, is also dumping money into the effort to get Perata elected. The group, funded by businesses and real estate developers, reported that it has spent a total of $114,000 on surveys, consultants and mailers.

    The Perata campaign has $147,000 to spend but had unpaid campaign debts of $184,000. His donations come from businesses, law firms, unions and individuals like former 49ers executive Carmen Policy, who kicked in $700. Perata also loaned his campaign a fresh $90,000.”


    I believe the simple and obvious truth, for anyone who remotely believe in principals of ethics in government and good government, you will get what you paid for. For those who didn’t pay, don’t worry, I expect that you will.

    •“The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference.”
    –Bess Myerson – View Quote Details on “The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our…
    •“Money and Corruption Are ruining the land Crooked politicians Betray the working man, Pocketing the profits And treating us like sheep, And we’re tired of hearing promises That we know they’ll never keep.”
    –Ray Davies

    Modern history is replete with examples voting in direct opposition to what they believe are their most closely held principals. In the mid term election of 2010 nationwide, American’s who were economically brutalized by the Bush economic policies and lack thereof, after giving their primary electoral alternative just 22 months to right the ship of wrongs, will almost certainly return the congress to the hands of those who in the fall of 2008 roughly half of all Americans blamed for causing the crisis, the Republicans. For reasons beyond certain explication, Americans vote against their own interests time and again, often against compelling empirical evidence that the person they are voting for will serve interests which are decidedly contrarary. It is paradoxical and quixotic, but Thomas Frank claims that whatever disadvantaged Americans think they are voting for, they get something quite different:

    “You vote to strike a blow against elitism and you receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our life times, workers have been stripped of power, and CEOs are rewarded in a manner that is beyond imagining.

    “It’s like a French Revolution in reverse in which the workers come pouring down the street screaming more power to the aristocracy.”

    Good job original poster. I welcome the unfolding of history and how that compares with your vision of what you think you will get. As sure as having 5X the money in corporate funding buys the win, this win will buy you only grief, and while I say that with near certain knowledge, being right will nonetheless bring me no satisfaction.

    I suppose I should welcome the outcome of a Perata Mayorship, as I almost certainly benefit more than you do when the closet Republican who a-la-Bush does an occasional large scale handout to quell the foolish masses prevails, but I really don’t welcome it as in the end I put my values above my economic interest and decidedly above concerns about short term efficacy or stability. Ironically, I guess we really are both just voting against our own best fundamental interests. If that’s true, you best hope my side prevails!

  32. game over = Perata 1 - Field 0

    Has Joe Tuman ever been to East Oakland? Does he Know Where 105th and Topanga is? Check below the 580 for Lawn signs. See how many Tuman, Quan or Kaplan signs there are. Perata is the only candidate that has support below the 580, where half the city lives and thus will win in a landslide.

  33. mfraser

    And to stress what is most important in all of this:

    “In, California, the candidate who raises the most money wins 97% of general elections.
    Most races aren’t even close from a fundraising viewpoint — 86% of winners raise more than five times what their opponent raises.
    However, in California, 96% of the funds raised came in amounts greater than $250 – an amount affordable to only a few wealthy interests.
    In short, California elections are bought much more often and easily than elections in
    states with public financing, and the ones doing the buying comprise a narrow slice of the electorate who are unlikely to represent the interests of ordinary voters.”

    JUST REMEMBER “and the ones doing the buying comprise a narrow slice of the electorate who are unlikely to represent the interests of ordinary voters”

  34. mfraser

    Hey Chuck -

    Just saw your comment. Yes, things got very shitty and personal and uncalled for – read the piece on Tuman, a super nice guy who is running to make his community better, not to line one’s own pockets (guess who), or as a springboard to a larger office (guess who), or because of a love of being involved and attention no matter how disasterous for all that person’s involvement is (guess who). A guy who committed to cut the Mayor’s salary nearly in half, which none of the others would come close to committing to.

  35. RdwithCypress

    Good God! I couldn’t have said it better myself Fraser. Nicely done! You are 100 percent on this posting! I understand from a very reliable source that Perata’s campaign will break a million dollars. Quan has only spent around 400k? You have to ask yourself one question. Why would anyone spend this kind of money to have a Job that pays so little? WE NEED TO LIMIT CAMPAIGN FINANCE TO LEVEL THE FIELD. The system is FKN broken. PERIOD!

  36. mfraser

    Oh it pays great if you work it right. Mr P made what, between 500k and $1M last year, without an office? Pays just great when all is said an done.

    And thank you.

  37. RdwithCypress

    Len and We Fight Blight,

    Horse Shit! I am a Sr Executive in Internal Audit and Compliance for a multinational Public Company. I report directly to a board of directors and I am the Chief Audit and Compliance Executive and have been in many fortune 500 companies for many years.

    The FBI can only catch the dumb fraudsters. The smart one’s get way with everything because they don’t leave a paper trail. Just because Don didn’t get handcuffs doesn’t by any means mean he is not totally corrupt. By the way, how many politicians were found with the cash in the fkn freezer and walked? NO WAY, Don is super bad for Oakland make no mistake about it.

  38. RdwithCypress

    We Fight Blight, yea whatever. As long as Oaklanders are okay with having the Code Enforcement Cronies take property from average families using the illegal blight code and giving it to rich developers. I guess that is one way to clean up blight. The truth is that the City Employees have over enforced the blight code to line there pockets with gold. Arthur Young Debris Removal, DeSilva and on and on…. This is truly bad policy. No business or investor wants to be subjected to this crap. That is why we have blight.

  39. len raphael

    RD, i’m guessing here but wouldn’t violation of public finance laws be a much lower burden of proof for the FBI to get a conviction than financial fraud?

    RD, whom do you support for Auditor and why?

    -len raphael, temescal
    Yes on P(erata) for mayor
    Yes on K(ilian) for auditor

  40. RdwithCypress

    We fight blight, be careful how you respond because there a lot of people in Rockridge and Montclair who were just abated for the most absurd blight in the world. A lot of connected people were force to pay fines fees and penalties for nothing more than a small bush growing in their front yard. It is absolutely am revenue mechanism just like parking enforcement. Our City should be helping not hindering

  41. Max Allstadt

    OK, everybody. Picture in your head the profile of a candidate:

    He’s a former leading legislator from the East Bay who leaves office and becomes a high paid lobbyist. Then he returns to Oakland and runs a campaign for Mayor that outspends all the other candidates. His campaign message light on specifics, and big on image. He focuses on using his out-of-town, up-ballot fame to cast himself as a proven leader.

    Sound like anyone you know?

    You remember what happened the last time Oaklanders voted for a guy like that? We got Ron Dellums – the mayor who never showed up.

    But guess what? If you haven’t figured it out yet, the profile above also describes Don Perata.

    And for my second act, here’s a little list I’ve compiled for you all! It illustrates a little problem Don Perata has had during this campaign…

    MGO Democratic Club:
    Perata was scheduled to speak, but no-showed, and didn’t even call to cancel. Confused guests waited for him for over an hour. The MGO Club had even paid for a larger room than usual.

    Oaksterdam University’s opening gala:
    Perata publicly announced he’d be there, his expected attendance even made it into the mainstream press, but he didn’t show up.

    100 Black Men of the Bay Area’s First Mayoral Forum:
    Perata cancelled with 48 hours notice, after confirming that he’d be there weeks ahead.

    Pro Arts Gallery:
    Perata cancelled twice. One time, moments after an email announcement of the event was sent out, prompting an embarassing follow up email less than an hour after the first. The other time, he didn’t show up and didn’t call to cancel.

    Khadafy Foundation For Non-Violence:
    Perata was a no-show to their annual Gala, without calling. The event raises money to help the families of homicide victims.

    Airport Area Business Association:
    Perata was a no-show to a luncheon where he was supposed to speak. He did not call to cancel.

    Mayoral Forum on Jobs hosted at Beebe Memorial Church: Don said he’d come, he didn’t show up.

    Pastors of Oakland Mayoral Forum: Didn’t show up.

    East Bay Young Democrats Forum: Didn’t show up.

    West Oakland Mayoral Forum – Didn’t show up.

    OUSD Mayoral Forum (Don didn’t show up to talk about your kids. That was today!)

    …And this isn’t even a complete list folks.

    Oakland already has a mayor who doesn’t show up.
    Vote for Don Perata if you want another mayor who doesn’t show up.

  42. Oaklandlifer

    Thanks to everyone for such good information and to the forum host for making this enlightening discussion possible!

    Having read these last four threads thoroughly, I appreciate the many knowledgeable posters and all the time such an esteemed and informed group took to share your collective research and thoughts. Echoing some earlier comments particular thanks to mfraser who brings such a scholarly insight and clarity of perspective to the discussion. I found your reasoning compelling and impressive. Nicely done and I concur that you have real talent. You helped remind me of the larger picture and I thank you for that.

    Thanks again to all the wonderful folks of this forum and to VS for provocative and important discussion. I wish that all Oakland voters cared as much as you all do, as if they did I’d feel more confident we will all right. I hope when this is done we can all pull together in the same direction.

  43. puhleeze

    that some people are given little pause about corruption or ethics disgusts me. equating lack of jail time with innocence is a farce. thinking don perata would be “our” crook is like petting an alligators tongue.

    diverting money and staff meant for cancer related work to fund a campaign isn’t clever… it’s evil.

    intentionally thrusting funds into a campaign using a loophole to gain unfair advantage and putting marcie duh hodge into the mix to dillute the minority vote… cynical and assholish.

    i’m waiting for a response from a perata supporter re: ethics/corruption. don’t confuse that with the law or a conviction or we’ll have to bring OJ up.

  44. Karen Bishop

    I would like to respond to a few posters:

    We Fight Blight – From reading your posts I’m sure you are well intentioned, hard working folk in North Oakland who care about the neighborhood. There are derelict homes and land with absentee landlords and this makes for a blighted neighborhood. I’m sure your group works closely with City Hall to improve your neighborhood. But what you are refusing to look at is the consequences of your actions. Neighbors are ratting each other out. The blight laws don’t allow the offenders to clean up the violations within a reasonable amount of time. The City goes right to fines and hire their approved vendors who charge exorbitant fees which further escalates the financial problems of the owners of the properties. Have you read what Rdwithcypress wrote that a property owner committed suicide because of the way CEDA behaved?

    The solution isn’t in the short run with code enforcers running around fining property owners. The solution is in the long run with the City expanding its tax base so that the entire city thrives. Then we will see the rundown properties sold, fixed up and the neighborhood will be lifted up as money will go into neighborhood programs to lift up those neighborhoods.

  45. Karen Bishop

    For those people who dredge up the FBI investigations:

    All of the posters who have recently complained about Perata’s ethics aren’t even using the FBI investigations as part of their current complaints. The current questions include: the expenditures from the HOPE2010 Cancer Research (millions going to influence outcomes and not funding cancer research); The rumors on how Perata is helping to bankroll Marcie Hodge’s campaign to split the black vote; the constant no shows to public events — no shows even after he promised to attend and did not even had the courtesy to cancel in a timely manner.

    I think mfraser’s quote from John Adams is spot on. And one of the comments above is spot on about how we Oaklander’s keep thinking the high profile leaders who are retired or termed out will save us with their political savvy, has not turned out well for Oakland in the past and it won’t going into the future either.

  46. Karen Bishop

    And to the poster who believes Joe Tuman has not been in East Oakland. I can guarantee you Tuman has been in East Oakland. He has been quietly talking and meeting with black leaders, including the pastors and preachers. In a recent radio interview he talked about his deep respect for the men and women he met in East Oakland, West Oakland and their hard work in improving the neighborhoods. Joe Tuman really touched me as he talked about how he was humbled, how some of the ego he has (which all leaders have) had to be put in check when he saw that commitment and hard work coming out of some strong women. It was really a moving interview.

  47. Oaklandlifer

    From Common Cause, a little information that would predict Perata has odds of about 32 to 1 of wining:

    “In, California, the candidate who raises the most money wins 97% of general elections.”

    I am still reeling from the profound implications of this statistic. Thank you for framing it in terms of the insurmountable odds. It is truly a daunting declaration of what almost seems to be insurmountable forces for the most heavily greenbacked interests. It truly is like getting a spin at the roulette wheel isn’t it?

    I can’t help but feel this lays bare that Perata and co likely view the citizen voters as total dupes, almost like keystone cops running around bumping into each other in those old silent movies. It is daunting, but I find it inspires me to fight a little hard as well.

    32 to 1. Incredible. It almost makes all the polling and pontificating by us and the press all seem to be almost a welcome diversion by the master planners, and us going like lambs to our predetermined slaughter. After reflecting on this through the night I discouraged, sadly and distinctly discouraged.

  48. Karen Bishop

    Want a great laugh to get you through your day?


    Marcie Hodge – what a tool. She claims she doesn’t even know Perata very well. She should, he helped finance her campaign when she ran for the Peralta Community College Board. And when SHE FINALLY decides to file her list of campaign donors for her current run for mayor, I believe we will find people attached to the hip to Perata who have donated.

    And finally, my last comment on Marcie Hodge. I’ve heard her speak at 2 forums. Let me tell you what she did. In the 1st forum she stood up on multiple occasions, couldn’t verbalize her thoughts very well. At one point she stopped, looked at the audience and said “you people scare me”.

  49. RdwithCypress

    Ralph, The public finance laws are not enforceable by the FBI. They are the domain of the Fair Political Practices Commission, FPPC. Unfortunately the FPPC is a arm of the State Attorney General’s office. This really sucks because Jerry Brown who is best buddies with Don Perata is our Attorney General. I am a life long Democrat but I will never vote for Jerry again because of the mess he left in Oakland.

  50. RdwithCypress


    Thanks for your posts above. In Detroit where there was a bigger blight problem than anywhere else in the country, the city uses redevelopment dollars to buy foreclosed properties fix them up and sell them. The even help the new owner with interest free loans etc. If you get an abatement in Detroit you have 30 -45 days to fix your problem without any fines fees penalties or special assessments. In Detroit, they offer people due process. They have 4 full time hearing examiners that listen to 40,000 appeal hearings a year. In Oakland you get very excessive fines fees penalties and special assessments. The inspector and his manager are the cop, the judge and the jury. Oakland Municipal code promises due process, however there are thousands of abatements and the city only grants about 6 appeal hearings a year. This equals denial of due process. In my opinion this is not legally defend able because both OMC and the state housing code guarantee an independent appeal process. The situation is ripe for corruption and unfair practices. Too much power in the hands of city employees that don’t even live in Oakland and no real oversight or governance to the process

  51. RdwithCypress

    One more vent!

    Oakand redevelopement dollars that should be used to fix the blight problems instead are being floated to outside developers to build, Luxury Condo, like the Ellingtion & PPD Or to insiders like SunField development of Orinda, who builds grocery stores for Foods, Co. Millions are going to these cats who are all warm and fuzzy on Don Perata

  52. V Smoothe Post author

    Well, Colin, I’m sorry that you thought I was being disparaging — that wasn’t my intention.

    Regarding the CCPOA, I don’t think “shielded them from budget cuts” is a fair characterization. At the very least, it tells only a small part of the story, making something very reasonable sound sinister. The fact is, I agree with Don Perata and Dave Cogdill and fifteen other Senators whose districts include correctional facilities and also the federal receiver that public safety positions, including correctional officers, should not be paid $5.15 an hour or whatever the Federal minimum wage is these days. I agree that it is not to anyone’s benefit to have the staff working without a contract.

    The situation with the State prisons is immensely complicated, and quite horrible, and Don Perata has been on the right side. He has been a strong advocate for parole reform for years.

    In 2006, he actively supported a prison reform package that included early release for non-violent offenders, but the votes just weren’t there. More prisons was a major priority of the Governor, and while I personally think that prisons are awful and find the idea of building new ones incredibly distasteful, I also don’t know what else the State was supposed to do.

    With prisons operating at over 200% capacity and a system that is 4,000 guards short of being fully staffed, you are creating a situation that seriously endangers the health and safety of inmates. And as much as I believe that we need to have fewer people in prisons, I also know that Don Perata didn’t create that problem, — voters did, and most voters are resistant to the idea of releasing prisoners early and you just can’t get the votes for that in the Legislature. So until we can figure out how to get people out, we have a moral obligation to find a way to keep them safe while they’re in.

    When the prison reform deal was finally reached, it’s not like Perata pretended he was happy with it. But something had to be done to relieve the situation, and he took what he could get. There are political realities to consider, and I think it takes strength and leadership to put up unpleasant votes because something has to be done.

    Was the agreement great? No. Nobody ever pretended it was. But it was better than what the Governor had proposed — fewer beds, an emphasis on beds in rehab and re-entry facilities. If you watch Perata’s floor speech before the vote, I think it’s pretty clear he’s not pretending that he’s happy with the solution. But he makes a cogent case for why it’s necessary too.

    And he followed up after, blocking bills that would add sentencing enhancements, pressing the Governor for parole reform, pushing for change on the parole board, and demanding action on prison safety. So based on his record and the facts, I have a really difficult time buying this whole conspiracy theory about how he is just a tool of the prison guard’s union. If he were, I don’t see why he’d be supporting Prop 19, which they are adamantly opposed to.

  53. RdwithCypress


    It has occurred to me that Marcie is not interested in winning Mayor. I believe she is trying to get name recognition for the opening that will be Nancy Nadel’s council seat in 2 years.

  54. V Smoothe Post author

    Colin –

    You can call it “glossing over” if you wish, but regarding the FBI stuff, I just don’t think that if after a five year investigation, nobody can produce an indictment, then there’s probably not anything there. The Staples thing does not bother me. As I said in my post, I just don’t care what people do with campaign money. The chief counsel for the legislative ethics committee said that what he did wasn’t against any rules. His party says that the investigation was a witch hunt, and even Republican leaders called it a clear example of prosecutorial abuse.

    Regarding the budget — it is simply inaccurate to say that under Perata’s leadership, budgets never came in on time or were subject to constant revision. Over the last two years, we have grown accustomed to a never-ending budget cycle (much as we have in the City) and budgets that are filled with scored savings that everyone knows will never materialize. But that is a new development, and didn’t really start until 2008 — it was not the case for most of the decade.

    Regarding Perata having no role in AB 32, or AB 32 being widely popular and inevitable, that is also simply not the case. There was serious disagreement about major issues. The Governor, under serious pressure from the business community, was insistent on including a provision that would permit relaxation of emissions limits if it was decided they would have a negative economic impact, effectively rendering the entire thing meaningless. Additionally, there was serious dispute with respect to who would be responsible for implementation.

    For a time, it looked like a very real possibility that the bill would expire without action, and the Legislature was only able to reach an agreement the day before session ended. And the Democrats won out on both the issues I mentioned above, and no, that would not have happened without Don Perata.

    I’m glad that you feel so confident about Proposition 23 failing, but many environmental groups throughout the State disagree with your assessment. And while I’m very happy that recent polling indicates that voters are turning against it, that wasn’t the case as recently as a month ago.

  55. Mry

    Thank you V. There was never a doubt for me that I was voting for Perata, but I’ll be honest that it was a lesser of the evils choice. I will consider selling my house if Quan wins, and I’m not totally comfortable that Rebecca can pull it off. You have made me comfortable with my choice, I’m sorry that pisses people off that are close to you. But that speaks more to their character than anything. Thanks again.

  56. V Smoothe Post author

    Regarding Hope 2010 — I don’t think everyone who has brought it up seems to understand what it is. It’s not a cancer research fund. It’s a ballot measure committee that Don Perata has maintained for many years. Politicians maintain these committees to raise money to support ballot measures. Perata’s prodigious fundraising for the committee was instrumental in the passage of the 2006 infrastructure propositions.

    Most recently, he has used it to place a measure on the ballot that would place an additional $1.00 tax on each pack of cigarettes sold, and the money would go to fund cancer research. I do not plan to vote for the measure — I am not opposed to increased cigarette taxes, but I am not inclined to vote for any new State taxes that do not go to the General Fund.

    In any case, the Committee was successful in collecting the over four hundred thousand signatures requires, and the initiative has qualified for the 2012 primary election.

  57. V Smoothe Post author

    Jim –

    I am an enthusiastic supporter of the work of the League of Women Voters, but that doesn’t mean I agree with all of their positions. I know that many people feel differently, but I have never thought that expenditure limits have much of a point.

    Don Perata did not break any laws by exceeding the spending limit after an independent committee had done so, and I don’t think that any illegal coordination was necessary to anticipate that one committee or another would do so. The fact is that the law was written that way, and I just can’t get upset about people doing things that are allowed under the law. Personally, what I found more disturbing was the attempt by Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan to change the law a month before the election.

    Maybe I would have more sympathy about it if I believed the other candidates would behave differently were they able to raise that much money, but I just don’t think that. I understand that some people feel strongly about spending limits, and those people should probably not vote for Don Perata. But it has just never been something that I was able to get worked up over, long before I decided I was supporting Perata for Mayor.

  58. V Smoothe Post author

    Mary –

    I wasn’t planning on marking anyone for #2 or #3. There just are not any other candidates in the race that I can feel good about voting for.

  59. len raphael

    Max, i scanned your post, read the “His campaign message light on specifics, and big on image. He focuses on using his out-of-town, up-ballot fame to cast himself as a proven leader” and immediately thought Jerry Brown.

    I voted for JB then and held my nose and voted for him as govenor now.

    Many of the people who decry Perata’s ethics haven’t done didly to encourage and financially support competent local politicians. I’m not referring to Max.

    If all you do is pay attention at election time and even then don’t shell out your money and solicit money from your neighbors, plus devote days of your time, then no surprise we get the choices we get at election time here.

    I’m not discussing Kaplan, Tuman, Harland because they lost the chance to be viable as of two months ago. And no, I don’t think any amount of money would have elected Kaplan this round. A couple of hundred thou might have elected Tuman or Harland, maybe.

    Quan’s is the only viable alternative based on her polling numbers.

    So the choice comes down to the honest, hardworking incompetent Quan who epitomizes the the so called progressive socially conscious Hills upper middle class coalition with the non profit activists of the flats and Perata, the ethically challenged competent candidate who epitomizes the politician who plays the political contribution game like a virtuoso.

    My belief is that that Quan, Brunner, Nadel, Kernighan, IDLF self styled progressive coalition has marched us straight into our mess. No denying Perata helped set that in motion years ago by helping Brunner and IDLF get elected. Now he has to fix the mess, just like Jerry B has to fix the state budget mess he played a big role in creating years ago.

    We can monitor and deal with the negatives of Perata. But it will take years, maybe decades to fix the damage that Quan is fully capable of doing by cutting police ever lower, and leading us right into unplanned messy emergency bankruptcy like she did at OUSD.

    -len raphael
    Perata for Mayor
    Kilian for Auditor

  60. Daniel Schulman

    V Smoothe writes

    “I personally think that prisons are awful and find the idea of building new ones incredibly distasteful, I also don’t know what else the State was supposed to do. “

    In my mind the obvious answer is comprehensive sentencing reform and rehabilitation. You know something called Prop 5 that was torpedoed last election season by the California Prison Guards Union.

    For me, the question of Don Perata all begins and ends with the California Prison Guards Union. In the middle, there are important policy issues that seem to be neglected in this discussion. These include his pushing for a local half-cent sales tax (yes, I know Quan & Kaplan aren’t pure on this issue), his weird fixation on KTOP even though it has its own funding streams, and doing away with boards and commissions. He has flip-flopped on the Public Ethics Commission, but I believe that is the only one that requires non-trivial funding.

    The California Prison Guards is not just another union or lobbying group. They were the ramrod behind three-strikes and a host of other policies to increase number of sentences and sentence length. Going to war and Incarcerating our fellow human beings are the two worst things government does in the name of the people. The fact that they are both sometimes necessary is no excuse, but a call-to-action to do better as a society.

    The prison guards turn this on its ear as they see larger number of prisoners as a form of job security and more power to their group. As their highly-paid representative Don Perata benefits from the misery of others. When people tell me they don’t have a problem with Perata working for the prison guards, I ask how awful does a group have to be before it is not ok to take their money.

    V Smoothe did make a detailed assessment of all the candidates and concluded Perata is tops. I know it is easy for V and others to dismiss my position when I say that Perata’s working for the prison guards means he doesn’t even meet minimum qualification for my consideration. However, other groups made as detailed and comprehensive comparison as V, and found Rebecca Kaplan to be the superior candidate.

    If he is so great on environmental matters, why did the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters chose to endorse Rebecca Kaplan over him?

    If he is so effectual, why did Oakland Tribune panel find him lazy and unprepared when they chose to endorse Rebecca Kaplan over him?

    If he is so right on issues, why did the policy-wonks of the East Bay Young Dems choose to endorse Rebecca Kaplan over him?

    While I certainly respect V Smoothe and work with her on a large number of issues, I am proud to have my name listed with these groups and others in our mutual endorsement of Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor.

  61. Oakland Resident

    Daniel: for your final questions, I would submit the following:

    1) Although our local Sierra Club chapter endorsed Don Perata with a #3 choice, the answer to your question could be as simple as this: “politics” – they may not have even wanted to endorse Don Perata at all, but could not ignore the facts that V Smoothe has outlined so effectively here, that of all the candidates running, only Don Perata has a TRACK RECORD of achieving environmental wins, on a scale unprecedented in this race – AB32, Bio-Monitoring http://gov.ca.gov/index.php?/press-release/4173/ , and other landmark environmental protections – http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/newsroom/other-news/other-news/major-environmental-bills-pass-california-legislature. And he IS the only candidate in this race to receive the state Sierra Club’s Byron Sher Award for Achievement in Environmental Protection by a Public Official http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/site/?q=node/1991 So, the only thing I can guess about our local Sierra Club’s endorsement choice is it boiled down to perhaps politics of personality or style. They simply liked Rebecca’s personality or style more – it couldn’t POSSIBLY be by comparison of record!

    2) I can’t even respond to your point about the Oakland Tribune’s endorsement – SERIOUSLY?? The Tribune has the temerity to call ANYBODY lazy and unprepared? Well, if that does it for you, then I’m not sure there’s much I can say about this one.

    3) The East Bay YOUNG Dems endorsement? Ummmm…you’re kidding, right? First, they are YOUNG Dems – isn’t their purpose and charter to support the growth and involvement of YOUNG Democrats (of which Rebecca may be the youngest – at least by affiliation – didn’t she just change over from the Green Party about 2 years ago?). Then of course they would choose to support one of their own. What could that POSSIBLY mean in terms of who is best qualified to serve as Mayor?

    Finally, two last points on the whole prison guards thing – one – I challenge anyone to read then-Senate Pro-Tem Perata’s letter to Governor Schwarzenneger and tell me if you still feel as though Don Perata didn’t fight for the very reforms many of you speak of as necessary in our prisons. In fact, it was Don Perata’s leadership in dealing with the Gov’s prison reform package (AB900) that kept it from being just a spending spree on building new prisons – he insisted on phasing it in two stages, and only AFTER the system achieved a set number of benchmarks, would the Governor be able to touch the money to build more prisons. http://www.pacovilla.com/?p=31694

    Second, for those who think that Don Perata was so cozy with the prison guards before he left office, you should check out their vicious attack ads they ran STATEWIDE during the Prop 93 campaign


    They poured millions into the effort to defeat a Proposition fully supported and backed by Senator Perata. Doesn’t seem like a “cozy” relationship to me.

    Fact of the matter is that since Don Perata began working with/for the prison guards union (CCPOA), they have adopted policy positions that are a radical departure from their past of simply lobbying for more guards and more jobs. They have a new focus on rehabilitation and reentry services (“New Directions” from their website: http://www.ccpoa.org/issues/ccpoa_on_prison_reform). Now, I am not going to make the logical fallacy trap of post hoc ergo propter hoc and say that it is BECAUSE of Don Perata’s work with them that they are headed in that direction – I honestly have no idea what exactly it is he does for them, but can imagine he brokers meetings, offers advice, all the things that “consultants” generally do. I do know that this is something that I personally have weighed in my own thinking and analysis.

  62. Karen Bishop

    As I have been discussing the Hope2010 Ballot Initiative, I have understood it to be a vehicle to get enough signatures on the ballot to tax $1.00 per pack of cigarettes to fund future research on cancer and to use the money for anti-smoking initiatives. While I might not have always stated it that way each time I posted about it, I never thought it was a vehicle to directly fund cancer research.

    I am glad HOPE2010 got enough signatures to get it in front of the voters. But if that was all HOPE2010 was supposed to do (and it didn’t cost much to do it) why raise over $12,000,000?

    It is not true that HOPE2010 has been around for years. It started in late 2005. And while I will defer to policy experts in this matter, I highly doubt this is the normal thing or morally ethically thing to do: raise $12,000,000 on Hope2010, contribute money to all sorts of campaigns including influencing the outcome of Prop 1A-Prop 1E; attempt to recall Jeff Denham (no matter what your political persuasion is); fund a senior citizen nonprofit in Alameda and a host of other charitable causes that have nothing to do with getting $1.00 tax per pack of cigarettes on the ballot or cancer research.

  63. Dax

    Will the Don Perata who takes over as mayor, be the same Don Perata who was doing the bidding of Mercury Insurance in the legislature?

    Just wondering if that episode was just a anomaly that we should overlook?

    Clearly the legislative proposal that Don Perata put forth for Mercury Insurance would have directly harmed a great many Oakland residents.

    I find it difficult to reconcile that effort with a person who wants to be mayor for those same residents who would have been harmed.

    Anyone care to give me a explanation of that action by Don Perata…

    I’m still undecided.

  64. Karen Bishop

    In regards to AB32, I don’t believe it was noncontroversial or a done deal. There are competing interests on emission controls, global warming, etc.,

    I did acknowledge that Don was part of team to help AB32 pass. But to suggest (at least the way I interpreted prior comments about his role in the passing of AB32) that he led the efforts or that without Don the bill wouldn’t have gotten passed I don’t think is true.

    I think Don, and everyone, should acknowledge that Don came to AB32 with a history of successful legislation behind this bill that allowed the bill to pass. California has been in the forefront of protecting the environment. And I wanted to point out who was the author of the bill. Some people might have thought it was Don Perata but it wasn’t. It was Fran Pavley.

    So while I’m glad Don helped to pass AB32, I think we have to put this piece of legislation in perspective.

  65. Karen Bishop

    Dax, I’m glad you raised that point because that reminds me of the Ameriquest political contributions to Don’s campaign several years ago and Don’s opposition to laws that would have been pro homeowner as it relates to foreclosure laws. I’m not an expert on that so if others have more information that would be very helpful.

  66. J

    Well done V, I too voted for Perata for much of the same reasons you will or have. I believe he’ll do more for Oakland than any of the others.

  67. Colin

    Yes, rich powerful people never get away with crimes in this country. The FBI knows who runs all of the mafia families in this country, what they make, how they hide their money, and in some cases where the bodies are buried. Those guys aren’t still walking around because the FBI doesn’t know about them or hasn’t tried to indict them, it’s because it’s extremely hard to assemble enough evidence to indict people and they don’t want to take on cases they could lose.

    Just because someone hasn’t been convicted doesn’t mean they aren’t acting illegally or unethically.

    Once again, following your links shows them not to be convincing evidence of what you’re saying. When you say “His party says that the investigation was a witch hunt”, your link points to an article written by someone who worked for him:
    Not what I would call an impartial source. Or credible – he seems to think that Tan Nguyen down in Orange County shouldn’t have been indicted for sending out deceptive mailers and then lying about it:

    And when you say “Republican leaders called it a clear example of prosecutorial abuse”, you mean a retired republican said that in an article with a byline from Don Perata:
    See Don’s name at the top? Bonus points for this article saying dismissing charges against Ted Stevens was a good idea.

    You’re right in what you’ve said about Hope 2010, but you’re leaving out some significant details. Like the money was raised to put the ballot initiative on this year’s ballot (hence the name). And that they’ve done no work to that end, instead only collecting signature for 2012 – something they’ve spend an awful lot of money on. That money wasn’t spent on the people standing in front of the Safeway gathering signatures, though, it was spent on consultants. Coincidentally, a lot of the consultants being paid to do almost nothing on the Hope 2010 campaign are also working for Perata’s election campaign. Some of them are even volunteering their time for the campaign – which is easy because they’re not actually doing anything as consultants on the job they’re being paid for, and they are in the same office as Perata’s election campaign. The whole campaign has functioned as a way to pay people to work on his reelection campaign without having to file it as such. Here are some articles on the subject:
    Or this:
    in which a Perata representative claims that allegations about this have left Don feeling personally hurt, and that the mailers that everyone in Oakland got are going to go out to the rest of the state and it’s just a coincidence that they started going out in Oakland first. That was February. No other mailers went out. They don’t even have a website.

    So money goes into a state campaign that doesn’t really exist and coincidentally pays the salary of volunteers for Perata’s mayoral campaign. That’s money laundering. I doubt it could be successfully prosecuted, but that doesn’t make it legal or ethical or anything less than slimy. I’m not sure how this is okay with you, V. Based on other things you’ve said, it might be because you have a laissez faire attitude about people donating to campaigns – it’s their money, let them do with it what they want and if they don’t like how it’s spent they shouldn’t give it anymore. The problem with that is that giving politicians large chunks of money often leads to undue influence. In this case, people who give Perata money know they’ll get something back for it. It’s the difference between being hired and elected. I can’t believe I’m trying to explain this to you – you’re obviously bright and you understand it on some level, but you’re okay with it. That’s what I don’t understand. Maybe you think all of these ethical issues are just coincidental or fictions created by Gammon and that he doesn’t even push the limits of legality. I don’t know. Even people I know who are voting for Perata think of him as crooked, something you don’t seem to.

    And you still haven’t convinced me that Don had anything to do with AB 32 getting through, and I’m confident in my knowledge about the process of getting that bill through. You could have put ANY democratic leader in those negotiations and it would have gone through. Show me anywhere that details his involvement or evidence that he did anything out of the ordinary to get it through. Something that any democratic Senate pro tem wouldn’t have done. Sure, he sat down in a lot of exclusive meetings on the subject, but that was part of his job at the time.

    Budgets: 24 of the last 25 have been late, and the phrase get out of town budget was invented to describe some of the gems Perata put through. Not sure why you think that only started in 2008 or that Perata was never involved in a dubious budget, but history says otherwise.

    I know everyone who comes to this blog will dependably get out to vote – you’ve put together a really important place here, V, for which you deserve unending credit – so I’d like to encourage everyone here to start a get your friends out to vote campaign. Even if they do vote for Perata.

  68. mfraser

    To think that the prison guard union would require a candidate for city mayor to be in lockstep with them on all statewide propositions is too absurd an idea be called plausible since I don’t think any Mayoral candidate could possibly significantly effect voter opinion. Perhaps even more basically, the CCPOA is certainly more sophisticated than that, and wouldn’t want to unnecessarily tarnish the image of local candidate they obviously favor and Oakland clearly favors prop 19. In short, Perata is a non factor on their campaign against prop 19, and they are well aware that in Oakland going against it could be a blow to their candidate. The apparent assumption that they are consistent in all their efforts to influence the political scene is a new one! I don’t think I’ve ever heard that argument before…

    Similarly, to suggest that prison guards either have to make $100k or more PLUS benefits and retirement packages that reward youthful retirement OR be paid $5.00 an hour is an argument so flawed it’s hard to no where to begin to respond. This false dichotomy of suggesting either they must be paid peasant wages or be among the top few percent of wage earners in the state is similarly not rational even on its face. Making 20%, 30%, or 40% less are all perfectly viable choices, just for a few more plausible ideas.

    If you are interested in some reading about the basic of how badly we are now off as a result of these union contracts, and how extensively the three major unions control politics statewide, here is some material:

    Here’s a broad overview of the three major unions and their history and influence-

    In 2006 prison guard base pay had increased to about $60,000, with about 2,400 making more than $100,000 because of overtime

    Here’s a recent piece on their finances -http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/10/23/2129576/12-million-verdict-hits-calif.html

    Here’s Willie Brown being honest about this on the first of this year, that almost the entirety of our state and local shortfalls and deficits are due to outlandish levels of compensation that have been dolled out (by guess who):

    Willie Brown
    Posted on January 5, 2010 1:45:14 PM PST by GVnana

    “If we as a state want to make a New Year’s resolution, I suggest taking a good look at the California we have created. From our out-of-sync tax system to our out-of-control civil service, it’s time for politicians to begin an honest dialogue about what we’ve become.

    Take the civil service.

    The system was set up so politicians like me couldn’t come in and fire the people (relatives) hired by the guy they beat and replace them with their own friends and relatives.

    Over the years, however, the civil service system has changed from one that protects jobs to one that runs the show.

    The deal used to be that civil servants were paid less than private sector workers in exchange for an understanding that they had job security for life.

    But we politicians, pushed by our friends in labor, gradually expanded pay and benefits to private-sector levels while keeping the job protections and layering on incredibly generous retirement packages that pay ex-workers almost as much as current workers.

    Talking about this is politically unpopular and potentially even career suicide for most officeholders. But at some point, someone is going to have to get honest about the fact that 80 percent of the state, county and city budget deficits are due to employee costs.

    Either we do something about it at the ballot box, or a judge will do something about in Bankruptcy Court. And if you think I’m kidding, just look at Vallejo.”

  69. Colin

    Oakland Resident,

    Not sure why you think the CCPOA was involved in the No on Prop 93 campaign. It was about rejiggering the way our state term limits work and had nothing to do with prisons. Why would they get involved?

    Also, you might want to read up a bit on the East Bay Young Democrats. It’s a pretty solid and well-informed group, and being young isn’t what drives their political engagement.

  70. We Fight Blight

    RdwithCypress and Karen

    While we do not disagree with the possibility of rogue City staff improperly enforcing the blight ordinance, we don’t think you should throw the baby out with the bathwater. The blight ordinance is an important tool for local government to ensure property owners maintain properties. This is critical for public safety, crime reduction and maintenance of property values. Blight in this case are conditions such as abandoned properties, broken windows, peeling paint, deteriorated roofs, abandoned vehicles, overgrown weeds, and garbage onsite. This is distinct from a code enforcement action wherein a property owner has constructed an improvement without proper permits or has done so inconsistent with the building codes.

    RdwithCypress you seem to believe that a great deal of blight enforcement is being done improperly and that fines are imposed right out of the gate. That is simply not our experience. Having worked on hundreds of blight cases, we have found that property owners are given time to remedy the identified blight–sometimes several years. Those who have legitimate excuses or difficulties in meeting the requirements of the ordinance are often given multiple time extensions to comply. We have some properties on our list that have been in the queu with the City for over four years. When a property owner is unwilling to work voluntarily to remedy the problem, the City uses other mechanisms including cleaning up the property themselves and placing a lien on the property. In cases where the property owner wants to fix the problem, but does not have the financial means, the City has worked with them to identify methods to secure resources such as low cost loans that can be repaid upon sale of the property. Of the hundreds of cases we have been involved with, only one has resulted in a fine and then a lien being placed on the property because the property owner refused to address the problem in any fashion.

    Blight enforcement is largely a complaint driven process. People in the community complain and the City responds, investigates and then requests the owner comply with City law. Sometimes it is neighbors who complain, sometimes it is homeowner associations, sometimes it is the crime prevention councils. Blight affects everyone. The only other method we see for addressing blight is to have the City staff walk block by block and identify each blighted property and request the property owner comply. Given limited staff resources that’s just not going to happen.

    We believe blight enforcement, fines and liens are necessary to ensure property owners are compelled to comply with the law. We do not think fines should be used as a revenue generating mechanism, but as a deterrent. Otherwise, withou fines or liens the ordinance is toothless.

    Blight enforcement is but one mechanism to address economic development in Oakland and to stem the loss of foregone revenue because of depressed property values.

    We often hear some say that the blight ordinance should not be enforced on those who do not have the financial means to comply. Would they also say that the financially challenged should not be prosecuted for crimes, or traffic violations, or not be required to have their kids in school? Where does that line of reasoning stop. There are plenty of financially challenged people who are responsible property owners and do not create a nuisance of other neighbors. We do believe the City should have a range of options for financially challenged homeowners to secure funding to comply. But the ordinance must be enforced across the board regardless.

    In all honesty, we would be interested in knowing the specifics of cases that you feel there has been overzealous enforcement. Like you we believe there has to be due process and an opportunity for residents to reasonably object should they feel the City staff are doing something improper. See our current expose regarding the illegal removal of street trees by Brooke Levin http://www.wefightblight.blogspot.com/

  71. Oakland Resident

    Colin: re: East Bay Young Dems – from what I can find out from their own website:

    the EBYD are a VERY new (bylaws adopted on August 16, 2010) – although their “accomplishments” page says they have been around for five years – still very new in my mind, VERY young (18-35 years old), and their biggest accomplishment seems to be monthly social mixers. NOT the stuff that inspires confidence in their ability to address the very real, very serious issues facing Oakland

  72. Max Allstadt

    Apparently nobody has anything to say about my epic long list of events and debates that Perata didn’t show up to.

    Nor does anyone have anything to say about the multiple times Don not only didn’t show up, but said he’d show up and didn’t call to cancel.

    No rebuttal to that. Because it’s all TRUE, and the no-show, no-call incidents are completely unforgivable. Ron Dellums may be invisible, but he has much better manners about it.

    I have no assistant to do my scheduling. You know what I do when I can’t make an appointment? I pick up my phone, and I call and say I won’t be there. And I may not be as busy as Don Perata, but my dance card is quite full most of the time.

    The first time Don Perata ran for office, I was a fetus. I’ll be 35 soon. One would hope that Don would have learned by now that you do not no-show without even calling to important events, ESPECIALLY when you’re THE ONLY scheduled speaker at those events.

    @Len Raphael:

    As far as who’s “viable” goes, I’ve heard from multiple sources who’ve seen tracking polls that say that this race is too close to call.

    Everybody’s viable. This is the most competitive race Oakland’s seen in a long time.

    Even without seeing polls first hand, it’s pretty easy to figure out that this is a close race. Perata’s lead has shrunk every time a new public poll has come out.

    Election polls almost always stay on a trend. The line moves one way on the graph, it rarely zigzags noticeably. Plus, Perata has so much money that he must be doing tracking polls. If the polls showed him improving, he would release them to the press. He hasn’t done that.

    This is a nailbiter, folks. Anyone can win. Nobody knows the outcome.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I told someone I’d SHOW UP this afternoon and help them out. I must stop typing so I can SHOW UP.

  73. FloodedByCEDA

    OK WeFight Blight, here is an example of overenforcement.
    Blight inspector Steven Johnson has fined me $48,000 for “the crawl space has been excavated and a concrete floor poured”. Another city inspector has inspected my basement and the city has admited the work was not done. The city’s informant has also admited she lied. I have 4 appeals pending since april 2007. The city refuses to schedule an appeal hearing. Part of the fine has been collected on my tax bill. The city continues to ignore complaints of sewage spilling onto my property from adjacent properties. the case number is 0700992. The city has filed a notice of substandard building with the alameda county recorder. (no appeal hearing allowed) Antoinette Renwick will not respond to my Email.

  74. Dax

    Two more glossy mailings from Quan arrived yesterday.

    Saw a TV ad from Perata last night

    No mayoral candidate has come to my door.
    Saw Quan’s husband about a month ago while he was dropping literature to a neighbor’s house.

    Wait… wait… I hear the mailman’s truck …
    Hold on, I’ll see what he is bringing today, Thursday.

    OK…. today’s haul…

    #1) Official Sierra Club voter guide.

    OMG, what a ugly organization they’ve become. They say Vote NO on Prop 20.
    Guess they want to guarantee that we’ll never get a fair chance to vote for members of congress.
    Sierra Club, more than willing to sell-out my right to have fair reapportionment and a real vote, just so they can protect their incumbent congress members.

    Makes me want to vote against any candidate they recommend.

    No on 20?…. OK, You suck Sierra Club

    Anyone who wants fair elections will vote YES on Prop 20 and NO on 27..

    #2.) item in the mail

    YES ON L….. to raise my parcel tax another $195 or whatever…

    The brochure mentions NOTHING about a tax.

    That is a “pay-cut” for me folks…NO!

    #3) item in Thurday’s mail.

    California Democratic Party official endorsements
    They say….
    NO- on Prop 20
    YES- on Prop 27

    YOU suck, Democratic Party, trying to keep party hacks in control of the reapportionment process.

    (mind you, I am a registered Democrat for the past 39 years)

    Vote YES on Prop 20
    Vote NO on Prop 27…

    Common Cause supports a yes vote on Prop 20 and a no vote on 27.

    Democratic Party makes me sick in their support of the status quo.
    Thank God we’ll have open primaries the next time around.

    #4 item in the mail…

    Hidden Quan flier saying Don Perata is a crook. Tiny printed name of Jean Qaun in the text.

    #5 item in mail…

    Yes on Measure W….

    Sorry, but I’ll vote NO because they fail to disclose to the voter that it will cost us $1.99 per month.

    Not disclosing that key feature is the same as lying to the voter.
    You hide, you lose my vote. Dishonest.


    #6. ) Kaplan for Mayor…

    Glossy….tells of Trib endorsement, but says nothing about anything…

    as brochures go….its blah


    #7. ) From some candidate named Harley Davidson, but unclear what office he is running for.

    I guess they are trying to sell me a motorcycle.
    I have no idea why. I’ve never owned a motorcycle or ever looked at buying one.

    Apparently I’m also a Veteran.
    I’d better check my old 4-F draft card.
    Seems they’ve given me a $350 off card if I buy a new motorcycle.

    OK…….that is today’s mail haul.

    Votes shifted…….NONE
    Except to make me more inclined to vote against all Democratic candidates as punishment for the party trying steal away our right to vote…
    By favoring a NO on 20 and along with a even more deceptive Yes on 27….

    That attempt by the Democratic Party makes me furious….

    What a bunch of creeps….
    Trying to overturn our vote only two years ago where we said we wanted a new method of redistricting.

    UGLY, UGLY, UGLY is their devious actions on this.

    OK……perhaps I’ll call each mayoral candidate and ask their position on Prop 20 and 27….

  75. ralph

    You are a man after my own heart.

    No on L. OUSD is currently taking $1000 of my hard earned dollars. Now, they want another $200 for a measure that the teachers don’t support. Vote No on L and you will do well.

    Vote YES on Prop 20
    Vote NO on Prop 27…

    In all honesty, I am a little peeved that the frontrunners advocated that all candidates be included at the forums, and judging by the look on Randy S.’s face following the Kaiser forum, I am not the only one. Did any of us benefit from hearing Hodge et. al.? The set up was a complete waste of time. But for the fact I could roll out of bed and be at the forums w/in 5 mins, I probably would have skipped the majority of them.

    Going forward, when we have a large number of candidates, we need to apply some stds for these forums.

  76. Max Allstadt


    I agree about the forums. But that says nothing about how Perata’s total flake-outs on events where he was supposed to be the only speaker. What I listed above was not just debates and forums. Take out the forums and it still paints an unimpressive picture.


    As for the Democratic Party, on Prop 20 and Prop 27, of course they want to keep as much power as possible.

    I happen to agree about no on 20, but my vote is more “not yet” than no. We don’t really know what the redistricting reform will create yet, so I’m willing to say that we should wait until we see in-state results before we bump the process up to managing federal election districts.

  77. Karen Bishop

    Randy S. is full of himself and I dislike members in the media acting as though they get to decide how many people are too many at the forum. If we didn’t have IRV, we still would have had a crowded field, then we would have narrowed it down to a couple and then voted again. So either we had 10 people at forums early or we had 10 people at forums later. It really doesn’t matter.

    I think reporters, bloggers, everyone should not opine about who can and cannot or who should and should not attend. Let people stand on their merits and the nuts are revealed and the cream rises to the top.

  78. We Fight Blight

    Flooded by CEDA, thanks for the example. However, what you describe appears to be a code enforcement action and not blight enforcement. CEDA staff do work on both code and blight enforcement. Ironically, Steve Johnson is one of the City inspectors we have complained about for not enforcing the blight ordinance.

    Our experience is that these issues are never as straightforward as your post suggests.

    Was any part of your crawlspace dug out and concrete poured by anyone without a permit and/or inconsistent with the planning and building codes? Did you inherit this problem from a prior owner? If not and no work was undertaken, then the simple solution was that when you got the notice from CEDA alledging a code violation, you simply had to respond and show them the space to verify that no work had taken place inconsistent with the planning and building codes.

    On the other hand, if work was undertaken by you or a prior owner without appropriate approvals, you would have to pull a building permit and possibly a planning approval depending on the use of the space, assuming approvals could be issued, pay the additional fees for an after the fact permit and then get the work signed off by a building inspector. Case closed.

    How exactly did the City come to fine you $48,000? You normally don’t get to $48,000 with one letter from the City alleging a violation. It sounds as if you are omitting some very significant steps/actions by the City or yourself?

    If your story is true as you have painted it, have you complained to the City Administrator and/or the City Attorney about the City failure to schedule the appeal hearing? Have you sought the assistance of your City Councilmember in getting the matter agendized?

  79. Patrick M. Mitchell

    Ultimately, I am voting for Don Perata because I am absolutely sure that Jean Quan would be the figural nail in Oakland’s coffin. And based on current polls, Mr. Perata has the best chance of beating her. Sad that it has come to this…it’s kind of like a “Saw” movie.

  80. FloodedByCEDA

    WeFight Blight Thanks for asking.
    Nadel’s staffer Starks has pointed out “it is VERY INCONVIENENT” for me to keep asking for her help.
    Lindheim refers me back to Mr. fielding, who doesn’t have time to see me.
    My basement remains unalterd from the “two story with basement” described in city records. some ashes even remain on the dirt floor from when the lot was cleared in 1906 before the current building was built.
    $48,000 and some change is a total of 11 liens Johnson-Renwick have now admited they filed by accident (11 seprate accidents).

    I wouldn’t be supprised to hear Johnson is doing no work at all after he was directed to attack me and then got caught.

    I have heard I am being attacked because I exposed problems with the sewer rehab program.

    This is the tip of the Iceburg.

  81. ralph

    Can’t speak to the events where Perata was the only scheduled speaker? But on the plus side, unlike Kaplan, Perata did not require you to deposit large sums into his coffers to attend his events.

    There are metrics which can be used to whittle down the field.

    On the EBYD, their recommendations are about as useful as Ron Dellums. Seriously, the first and primary consideration for their endorsement is age.

  82. Karen Bishop


    Metrics sounds like a code word for keep the incumbents and well connected in politics and the new comer can go home and pound sand.

  83. Max Allstadt


    Kaplan didn’t turn anyone away at the door at any event, regardless of their ability to pay. She started her campaign later than everybody else and needed to raise money from small individual donations.

    Perata didn’t need to charge people on the street because he already had piles of money from wealthy out of town business interests.

    @Patrick M. Mitchell,

    Consider voting Kaplan 1, Perata 2. In ranked choice voting, if Kaplan is eliminated, Perata gets your vote to block Quan. That’s what I did.

    Also, there is no “recent polling” all the public polls are weeks old and all of them came out before Kaplan landed 5 newspaper endorsements in a week and got a bunch of free evening news airtime in recognition of that.

  84. len raphael

    Kaplan is definitely learning the ropes of being a California pol.

    The 148k from movie guy could have made a big difference if it had come in before the absentee ballots arrived. But then RK still would have needed a makeover to appeal to broader section of voters who often go on superficial impressions.

    What seriously bothers me, in a different way than than the Prison Guard thing bothers Perata haters, is the California Nurses Assoc spending 66k of their members’ due on an election whose result would have 0 impact on most of the nurses who paid for it.

    And yes it bothers me only because my spouse is a dues paying CNA member and despite the CNA’s wierd rationale about how a Kaplan win would help “progressive health care” and that many Kaplan supporters are union members (CNA would have no idea if that were true or false).

    -len raphael, temescal

  85. Karen Bishop

    Where in the world did the CNA come up with the belief that a Kaplan win would mean progressive health care for Oakland?

    Karen B.
    Lower Hills Resident
    Joe Tuman For Mayor

  86. len raphael

    Michael L. their political director and Port of Oakland commissioner, must have decided Rk was a good long term investment. Which in turn means CNA thinks she’ll be up and out of Oakland in a few years.

  87. ralph

    The LWV uses good decent metrics to determine who should be invited to a forum. If people want everyone to hear each candidate speak at each forum, then we should not expect anything more than a sound bite and frankly we should not require candidate attendance at all of them.

    When I was still an undecided, I wanted to attend Kaplan events, but at least once and I think twice, I was told that I had to pay to attend. As a result, I attended just one non-pay event. Other candidates were very clear that no one would be turned away for lack of funds. Tis a shame Ms. Kaplan valued the dollar more than she valued engaged people.

  88. ralph

    With less than a week to go before election day, I am not sure what this back and forth will achieve.

    You once liked Perata. You got a new horse.

    I was once undecided. I am now firmly in camp Perata.

    I am officially out of the back and forth game with you and Naomi. I may still give Len a beatdown on Kilian, but I am audi 5K with you and NS on the mayor. :)

  89. We Fight Blight


    Interesting lawsuit. However, there is little to no evidence to support the claims of widespread abuse with the intent of revenue generation. Arguing that cities of comparable or larger sizes do not collect as much in code enforcement fines is one thing, however linking that statistic directly to allegations of widespread abuse is another. There may be valid reasons why the City of Oakland collects more fines than other Cities. Perhaps that will come out in the trial. What is troubling is the allegation of illegal transfers to the general fund. That is highly problematic and perhaps indicative of the City’s wild west approach to managing its (our) resources. In any event, it will be interesting to see how this one turns out. We certainly agree that if people feel our city bureaucrats are abusing their discretion and authority that the courts can provide relief. Our hope is that Don Perata, through wise selection of a strong City Administrator, will do some housecleaning and send some Department Heads and their Deputies packing.

  90. Karen Bishop

    Dear WeFightBlight,

    Can you give a little background on Wefightblight. Is this the work of the woman who is pictured on the blog? Is this the work of an organized group of people with a list of names? Do you ever identify yourself by name or names?

  91. len raphael

    Looking back and ahead, I don’t see how limiting the number of candidates at any of the forums would have increased the quality of the info the “viable” candidates wanted to give us about how they would handle the budget, economic development, and their spending priorities.

    Kaplan is sort of an exception in that she can go on for hours on the minutiae of how she’ll put this form online and automate that procedure. But then that level of detail is
    unintentionally misleading; you figure out where RK stands on the forest because she’s describing each tree in detail.

    The viable candidates wanted us to chose them based on appearance, warmth reputation, experience, endorsements but not what unpleasant decisions they had planned for say dealing with the budget.

    They know voters don’t vote for bad news bears.

    None of the top 4 polling candidates could debate worth a darn. Kaplan knew policy but was mediocre speaker when she strayed from her script; Quan sputtered when criticized; Perata ignored criticism. Tuman could speak but used lots of fillers and generalizations because he didn’t know much policy.

    I continue to believe that IRV put the kabosh on candidates attacking each others’ positions and records. It’s only been the last week or so that negative mailers have come out from candidates.A month? since the first negative mailer came out from one of Perata’s PAC’s.

    Negative is good. Much better than the pablum we heard from the candidates for months. Perata didn’t miss anything from skipping a bunch of the forums.

    The moderated forums would have been better if the moderators were better prepared and were allowed to cross examine.

    As it were, it was the second tier candidates who contributed some of the best energy to the forums by criticizing the viable candidates’ platforms and records.

  92. Karen Bishop


    This is the first time I’ve ever agreed with you (mostly, as I’m ignoring your comment about Tuman). I think you are spot on with your analysis. I found the moderators weak, unorganized and asked some of the same old questions. I enjoyed the forums and one reason was the energy of Arnie Fields and LL.

  93. Karen Bishop

    V Smoothe’s criticism of Joe Tuman:

    “When asked what he would cut in the budget, his response is that he doesn’t know:

    I don’t know what I will cut yet; that will be subject to what I find in the audit.

    I’m sorry. How can you possibly think you deserve to be Mayor in this time of complete fiscal crisis and not have thought of a single thing to cut in the budget?

    Don Perata’s comment about budget cuts from today’s Oaklandlocal.net interview:

    Prior to taking office, Perata intends to assemble a group of financial experts to assess the city’s current fiscal state. “I don’t think anyone in City Hall has any idea of whether we are close to bankruptcy, insolvency, whether we can make it through next year,” Perata says. “So, I want to have these people (the experts) to create a scenario and say to us ‘Ok here is where it is. This is what your debt is. These are all your fixed cost. These are what your labor obligations are.’”

    Tuman said it with less words, the only difference I see — just sayin.

  94. Karen Bishop

    >>From Oaklandlocal.com interview with Don Perata:

    “As mayor, Perata plans on having daily meetings with all department heads that will report to him.

    “And I am going to ask them, what did you do yesterday? What are you going to do today? Then I am going to leave the office and drive around for hours and I am going to see that they’re getting done what they said they were going to do.”

    In addition, if he gets into office, Perata is going to ask all the department heads for a three-year, five-year and capital plan – “So, if they’re going to lead their departments, its going to be very clear what they’re leading,” he says.”

    >>V’s criticism of Joe about leadership:

    He also has some strange ideas about management:

    I will not fall victim to the micro-management curse, which would only lessen my effectiveness as Mayor, but I will insist on regular meetings with department heads that will require them to present me with firm, verifiable data as to capacity of their department, including a history of the performance of their employees, from the most senior managers to the lowest worker…Once a reachable goal has been agreed upon, I will insist that daily progress reports be sent to my office and will presonally review each such report.

    He’s going to demand detailed data about every single employee in a department and then make department heads write him daily progress reports? In what universe is that anything other than micro-managing?

    >>The only difference is Joe can make it happen and he won’t be wasting money on gas spying on his employees like Don Perata is suggesting.

  95. len raphael

    Karen, none of the “viable” candidates have heavy management experience.

    Nope, Joe’s stints don’t count towards running a 3,000 person city.

    Perata at least has closely watched executives at both county and state levels; so he should have at least learned how to how to select good managers. Judging by his successful campaigns and fundraising, I would say he does.

    Quan on the other hand, has never worked closely with a good exec. Hmm, she was around for part of the Bobb city manager time?

    The guy she helped select to run OUSD, Dennis Chaconas was a good educator but a terrible manager. We all know how good he was with money. He is listed on her latest mailer as an endorser.

    -len raphael, temescal

  96. Karen Bishop

    Well you know Len, Perata has never managed before either, not in this capacity. He has his own staff up in Sacramento. He is the head of ballot initiatives.

    Joe worked within a public university system for over 20 years having to work with union members, students, colleagues, and administration. To me, this experience is no less important or less significant as Perata’s experience.

    In my measure of things it is more significant. Has anyone ever dealt with university staff and all of its competing constituents? It can be brutal. Believe me only the strong survive in academia.

  97. Dax

    Some discussion above of the California Nurses Association.

    Little realized by the general public is that the CNA has been taken over by a element that has aims and a agenda which goes far beyond anything to do with nursing.

    They are more of a political organization than even the CTA is.
    At least when I look at the CTA’s point of view, while I know quality “education” is their second priority, at least the teachers compensation and benefits seems to be their main goal. Of course much of the public still seems to think the CTA’s main goal is good education.

    Now, coming along in a stealth manner is the CNA. There is still a huge reservoir of good feelings and admiration for nurses.
    But the CNA policies over the past 10 years have gone well beyond what is best for nurses and patients.
    I don’t know what general nurses think, but on the few occasions I have talked with CNA leaders and representatives I go away wondering who is in charge and what their agenda is.

    I now begin to look for their position, as I do for that of the CTA, and then my first reaction is to vote in the opposite direction unless the issue has real merit.

    They fall into the “protected” class of California.
    They vote for positions, as does the CTA which safeguard their place and their compensation, even though they don’t accord the same thoughts and considerations to other working people.

    Protected groups… CTA, CNA, Prison guards, lawyers, doctors.

    All protected from the pressures most other workers face. They are protected by licenses needed, tests past, and boards and certificates.

    I once asked the CNA if it wouldn’t be fair for all workers, such as those in construction and such to be accorded the same legal protection from unfair competition by undocumented workers, being that the CNA was taking a position in support of not having E-Verify being required.

    Their answer was almost embarrassing.
    They said while virtually zero RN’s were illegal because of the checks and licensing, that to have a similar procedure for other workers would be too bureaucratic and costly. That nurses were special because they were more highly trained and educated.

    Thus, regular workers would just have to suffer from unlimited competition and take it, but they should not get the same protections that nurses count on every day.

    CNA position to other American workers…

    “Let them eat cake”…

    It wasn’t just their position that bothered me, but the attitude of their representative, not having even a care for the construction worker who was trying to make ends meet as his wages were being undercut.

    Meanwhile, the nurses were striking for a wage increase putting them well over $100,000 per year, while facing zero competition due to their ability to enforce their rights to keep others out of their positions.

    Its amazing to me, the logic some protected organizations can come up with to explain why they are special and why others in society need not get the special treatment they do.

    BTW, I’ll be voting against Tom Torlakson precisely because he is the lap-dog of the CTA for the position of California School Superintendent.
    We don’t need another rubber stamp of the CTA running the schools.
    CTA feels even the worst teacher deserves exactly the same pay as the exceptional teacher as long as they show up most days and are breathing.

    4 days until the Oakland Mayoral election.

    Dax still completely uncertain who he will vote for.
    More than willing to sell my vote….

    Oh not for money, but how about for a job?
    Heck if Perata or Quan would offer me a job I’d swing the entire neighborhood in their favor over the next 4 days.
    225 houses in the immediate streets.
    Probably 400+ voters.
    I’ll bet I could swing 50 to 100 in a certain direction that they otherwise wouldn’t have taken or….gotten them to the polls when they otherwise wouldn’t have voted.

    Need 100 extra votes, let me know.
    Willing to take any city job.

  98. RdwithCypress

    We Fight Blight,

    Read this:

    October 22, 2010

    Michael Kilian
    5290 College Avenue
    Oakland, CA 94618

    City of Oakland
    Public Ethics Commission
    One Frank Ogawa Plaza, 4th Floor
    Oakland, CA 94612

    Dear Mr. Purnell:

    With respect to this complaint and the specific facts of the complaint, it is as follows:

    The City of Oakland is not following its own Oakland Municipal Code, 15.04.025 Appeal. The difference between appeals filed with respect to liens placed by the CEDA, Building Services Department , Inspection Services Unit and the number of hearings held since 2007 reflects a denial of due process.

    Pertinent to a Public Document Request these are the Appeals filed and acknowledged in the Tracking Logs provided;

    2007 – 521
    2008 – 389
    2009 – 520
    2010 – 118 as of March 2010

    The individual who made the request for the Tracking Logs was also provided with digital recordings for 2008 and 2009 and was provided cassette tapes for 2005 through 2007. The individual was able to covert the cassette tapes to a digital format. What was learned was that all the public hearings consisted of these:

    2005 – 7 hearings
    2006 – 3 hearings
    2007 – 3 hearings
    2008 – 8 hearings
    2009 – 10 hearings
    2010 – 2 confirmed

    It is my assertion that the difference between appeals filed and the number of hearings held since 2007 represents a denial of due process. This denial of due process is, in my opinion, not legally defensible.

    October 22, 2010

    City of Oakland
    Public Ethics Commission
    Page 2 of 2

    How did this happen…

    Please find attached an example of the City not following municipal code.

    2607 Seminary
    12/12/08 – Inspector makes field observation regarding *exterior* of building.
    1/14/09 – John Stewart, Principal Inspection Supervisor, denies 1st appeal submitted by property owner
    1/15/09 – Inspector informs property owner that he MUST provide access to interior or City will obtain warrant
    1/29/09 – Inspector declares property substandard
    3/20/09 – Property owner submits 2nd appeal
    4/7/09 – Sandra Smith, Administrative Assistant, denies 2nd appeal
    5/28/09 – Administrative hearing held with SD Rine. http://www.auditoaklandceda.com/web_media/2607%20Seminary%20Ave.WMA. This is really painful to listen to. The property owner is not a native English speaker. The hearing examiner makes no effort to accommodate the interpreter. The inspector’s allegations do not appear to represent real Health and Safety violations. SD Rine tells the property owner that in the US, when people buy a house they are required to bring it up to whatever the new code is.

    6/15/09 – Final Order received from Hearing Officer. *Appeal denied because owner’s contention that the heavy fines are preventing him from making improvements to the property is not an acceptable excuse for not completing the work.* Heavy fines assessed.

    What you have here with respect to liens and the Inspection Services Unit is the exercising of an informal Appeal system that operates outside of the Oakland Municipal Code. What we have here are Inspectors making decisions as to which property owners are allowed to make Appeals. I also have some real issues with a hearing system that does not accommodate non-English speakers.

    To my initial point: the City of Oakland is not following its own Oakland Municipal Code. Yes, I do have an issue with management cascading from the CEDA director to the level of the manager of Inspection Services.


    Michael Kilian

  99. RdwithCypress

    We Fight Blight,

    Read this:

    October 22, 2010

    Michael Kilian

    City of Oakland
    Public Ethics Commission
    One Frank Ogawa Plaza, 4th Floor
    Oakland, CA 94612

    Dear Mr. Purnell:

    With respect to this complaint and the specific facts of the complaint, it is as follows:

    The City of Oakland is not following its own Oakland Municipal Code, 15.04.025 Appeal. The difference between appeals filed with respect to liens placed by the CEDA, Building Services Department , Inspection Services Unit and the number of hearings held since 2007 reflects a denial of due process.

    Pertinent to a Public Document Request these are the Appeals filed and acknowledged in the Tracking Logs provided;

    2007 – 521
    2008 – 389
    2009 – 520
    2010 – 118 as of March 2010

    The individual who made the request for the Tracking Logs was also provided with digital recordings for 2008 and 2009 and was provided cassette tapes for 2005 through 2007. The individual was able to covert the cassette tapes to a digital format. What was learned was that all the public hearings consisted of these:

    2005 – 7 hearings
    2006 – 3 hearings
    2007 – 3 hearings
    2008 – 8 hearings
    2009 – 10 hearings
    2010 – 2 confirmed

    It is my assertion that the difference between appeals filed and the number of hearings held since 2007 represents a denial of due process. This denial of due process is, in my opinion, not legally defensible.

    October 22, 2010

    City of Oakland
    Public Ethics Commission
    Page 2 of 2

    How did this happen…

    Please find attached an example of the City not following municipal code.

    2607 Seminary
    12/12/08 – Inspector makes field observation regarding *exterior* of building.
    1/14/09 – John Stewart, Principal Inspection Supervisor, denies 1st appeal submitted by property owner
    1/15/09 – Inspector informs property owner that he MUST provide access to interior or City will obtain warrant
    1/29/09 – Inspector declares property substandard
    3/20/09 – Property owner submits 2nd appeal
    4/7/09 – Sandra Smith, Administrative Assistant, denies 2nd appeal
    5/28/09 – Administrative hearing held with SD Rine. http://www.auditoaklandceda.com/web_media/2607%20Seminary%20Ave.WMA. This is really painful to listen to. The property owner is not a native English speaker. The hearing examiner makes no effort to accommodate the interpreter. The inspector’s allegations do not appear to represent real Health and Safety violations. SD Rine tells the property owner that in the US, when people buy a house they are required to bring it up to whatever the new code is.

    6/15/09 – Final Order received from Hearing Officer. *Appeal denied because owner’s contention that the heavy fines are preventing him from making improvements to the property is not an acceptable excuse for not completing the work.* Heavy fines assessed.

    What you have here with respect to liens and the Inspection Services Unit is the exercising of an informal Appeal system that operates outside of the Oakland Municipal Code. What we have here are Inspectors making decisions as to which property owners are allowed to make Appeals. I also have some real issues with a hearing system that does not accommodate non-English speakers.

    To my initial point: the City of Oakland is not following its own Oakland Municipal Code. Yes, I do have an issue with management cascading from the CEDA director to the level of the manager of Inspection Services.


    Michael Kilian

  100. ralph

    if it is a job that will swing your vote, then you may want to consider that Kaplan girl. if she becomes mayor, then there will be at least one open position in the city. competition may be high.

  101. Dax

    Ralph, Thanks for the info.

    Yes that position may come open and being “at-large” I won’t have to move and face “carpet-bagging” charges like certain other council candidates.

    However, when applying for that job, I may not call it the job “that Kaplan girl” held.

    Just guessing, but there may be a few sensitive types who could take offense.

    Better to not make any age/maturity references and just stick with the safer “that Kaplan gal” instead.

    What do you think?

    Similarly I always refer to Don Perata as that “experienced statesman” rather than the often used “moribund manipulator”

    You know, you can’t be too careful with language these days.

  102. 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.

  103. Dax

    Mail haul update, Friday Oct. 29

    Well, lots of “slate” mailers, direct to the waste basket.

    For Mayor

    2 from Kaplan
    1 from Quan

    I’m starting to worry about Don Perata.
    Has he run out of money?
    Only 1 mailer in the past week.

    OK, here is my running total for the past few weeks.

    Quan 11 mailers
    Kaplan 3 mailers (all in the last 3 days)
    Perata 4 mailers
    Hodge 1 mailer about 3 weeks ago
    Tuman 0
    Others 0

    I’ve seen 1 Perata TV ad
    None for the others.
    I think I’ve had 1 call from a live Perata caller (which infuriated me when he hung up after I simply asked why I should vote for Don)

    Also, a door to door visit from Quan’s supporter about a month ago. (Her husband)

    Thats the tally from Dist. 7 in the hills.
    Very few lawn signs around here.

    People in this part of the district don’t really know much about Quan, so these flyers may be her whole story.
    They’ll have to weigh that against what they like or don’t like about Perata.

    I think lots of them are flip-able even at this late date.
    Makes me wonder where the supporters are walking neighborhoods.
    I guess my neighborhood is actually the most remote in Oakland.

  104. ralph

    I believe Becks can offer you some insight into lack of lawn signs. (see comment in V’s Victoria post)

    Today, the mailman skipped the box and just dumped a bunch of flyers in front of my door.They filled an entire recycling bucket.

  105. CitizenX

    Colin, it appears, in the one flyer, that Jean Quan is standing with her arms crossed and blocking the police car. Seems to be a recurring theme. LOL.

  106. Mary

    Thank you for your thoughtful analysis and for helping me to more clearly sort out for myself the reasons that I too support Don. I have known and worked with him for many years. I have agreed and disagreed with him on many issues. And if I really want to get something done I know that Don is the person to rely upon. People who are critical of groups and causes that have received support from Don should stop and think about just how lucky Oakland will be to have his support on a daily basis. It’s about time somebody who knows how to get the job done will be working for Oakland!

  107. Dax

    Not sure where to put this since it is never discussed in the mayor’s race or in any of Oakland public forums.

    No, we discuss jobs, jobs, jobs, endlessly while quietly avoiding the reality of the story that will appear in Saturday’s (physical) Tribune and CC Times.

    Its about a man in San Leandro. He could just as well be any of several thousand men in East Oakland.

    Prior to now, his story has almost been forbidden in Bay Area newspapers.
    However since the widely respected Pew Hispanic Center has just published their report it is suddenly acceptable to mention what everyone has known, but a subject which local politicians make believe does not exist.
    (The Emperor Has No Clothes)

    All I can say is its about time that this man’s situation is able to be discussed.
    As I mentioned in a earlier post, this is the man the CNA cares nothing about.
    This is the man no city council members or mayoral candidates will mention even though he lives right there in their district.

    No one supports him. He has no groups voicing his problems.
    The CNA etc. have other causes and he is unorganized, dilute and spread out.

    Were the CTA, or the CNA or the other powerful groups faced with his conditions, they’d be at the local and state leaders offices, camped out and unwilling to be moved until they were promised new legislation.


    The man no one cares about. The Bay Area press cares more about the environment of some endangered salamander than they do about this man’s economic environment.

    He is unseen. He is no one.

  108. len raphael

    Colin that attack of the 50 foot Pat K is a classic. Wish i had one to add to my collection.

    Didn’t you mean Dukakis on the tank?

    -len raphael
    Yes on P(erata)
    No on Q(uan)
    Yes on K(ilian)
    BB the big lie

  109. mfraser

    Len says: “Perata at least has closely watched executives at both county and state levels; so he should have at least learned how to how to select good managers. Judging by his successful campaigns and fundraising, I would say he does.”

    Given that with Perata we are talking about someone who I would allege has largely sold his soul and favors of county and state treasure for about 2 or 3 cents on the dollar to his friends and patrons, I actually find it surprising he gets so little in return. Given that most of us believe the money he’s received is quid pro quo for favors given and received, I’d hardly consider that a sign of ingenious and effective fundraising. Add up what he’s handed out on our behalf – billions? For him to get only $1M in return, and maybe another $1M in ‘free’ union labor (ignoring of course that the highest levels of compensation for public employees of basically an state in the union – excluding THAT compensation – and noting that the labor is ‘free’ to him but very costly to every taxpayer), well, $1M cash and $1M in in-kind labor is pretty paltry, and I actually bet he’s a little steamed about it.

    I just think people aren’t looking at the scale of what happens on these deals; someone donates $25,000 or $50,000 and gets a $40M contract to build a road – what incredible, unbelievable return on investment. And since it’s all just ‘understood,’ and I’m sure there is never a smoking gun conversation, it’s all technically legal.

    Similarly, if he is in the lead still it’s only by a smidgeon. Given a campaign spending more THAN ALL NINE OTHER CANDIDATES combined, that is pretty sorry on the success meter, don’t you think? Shouldn’t he be getting 2/3 or more of the vote? Remember that from Common Cause stats I posted, if you outspend your opponent by 5 to 1 as he has roughly done to Quan – the apparent 2nd although I think that might be shifting and there are no recent polls – anyway, if you outspend by 5 to 1 you should have 32 to 1 odds of prevailing! THIRTY TWO TO ONE, based on the evidence of past races. So given how close this has become, I’d give those jokers a D- or an F if I were their employer. You may think he’s doing great – I bet there’s been some ass kickin’ going on.

    A monkey should be able to spend more than all nine other candidates combined and prevail. Just remember that given what he has spent (including his closely affiliated PACs) Perata’s opponents should have only about a 3% chance of prevailing! I think we’d all give his odds of defeat as stronger than than just 3%, so that speaks volumes about his crews relative efficiency and success.

    I also wonder how this apparent gambit to have his key cronies fund Hodge to split off the minority and flatlands vote will play out – I’m not convinced that is gaining him anything net-net, as I think he’s just as likely to fall of the ballot as Tuman, Kaplan or Quan.

    If Tuman had raised another $100k to $200k, and spent it wisely, I believe he’d be in a clear lead, as he is picking up a huge percentage of the people who get to know him, further demonstrating the real weakness of the other three ‘leading’ candidates. The real question for Tuman is just if enough people have really gotten to know him. I still think that just with his grassroots efforts, and while doing about 2% to 3% of the total spend, while a long shot, he’s doing incredibly well on capturing 2s and 3s, and every day that passes he gains a bit more and keeps moving up.

  110. Karen Bishop

    mfraser, I have to wonder if Perata’s campaign is similar to Whitman’s. Spending way, way more than your opponent but still losing. Perata really confuses me. The public forums I’ve been to where he has shown up, he doesn’t strive to shine or stand out from his competitors. He looks bored. The one held at Kaiser, he scurried out really fast after the debate. He didn’t press the flesh, hang around and talk. It was weird. You would think someone who has statewide stature, all of this great experience and desire to be the next mayor of Oakland, would act differently.

    So then I start thinking it must be a test. Perata is seeing how stupid or desperate the citizens of Oakland are. He must be thinking “these suckers, I don’t have to do much and they will still vote for me. How far can I take this and still win.” So if he does win he knows he has us in the crosshairs. He will be selling Oakland and his family and friends will be counting the cash.

  111. mfraser

    I assume you are being a little facetious!

    If there are 80,000 folks who vote, and maybe a couple of thousand total (probably less) who attend one or more of the Mayoral events, that’s only maybe 2% to 3% of the voters. Again, that figure is probably on the high side, AND most people attending are probably already sold on their candidate of choice. Similarly, a lot of us posting comments are probably trying to sway voters to our point of view, aren’t we? In the same vein as with the Forum type events, the truth is probably very few who are posting on here were or are open to changing their view, protestations aside (remember V’s insistence about how ‘genuinely’ interested in Joe’s positions she was? Then when it turns out she lambasted him for what she thought were errors in his assumptions about how jurisdictional responsibility for foster care falls and it turns out as I documented that Joe was in fact right and she was in error, does she go back and rethink her position? I saw no evidence of that.).

    My point is that I think that a modern campaign is won for the most literate of the audience with the mailings, articles and ground efforts and contacts. I’d guess that Perata’s advisors don’t think more than a few percent of the total vote was related to the Forum events, and even the newspaper endorsements only somewhat more impactful than that. So, given that view his incentive to participate agressively in such events ends up being pretty darn nominal.

    I repeatedly point out the Joe’s surge shows the true, deep weekness in the other campaigns. The other three have been at this for many months, and really even before they declared by a fair bit as well I would guess. So for him to in about 2 months time to have any chance at all of capturing say 15% or more of 1st place votes is jaw dropping, and just indicates how uncompelling most of the general public finds the other candidates. They also all keep trying to ignore Tuman’s campaign, hoping that by ignoring him he halts Joe’s steady erosion against all 3 of them. As I’ve informally polled friends and colleagues(and lobbied them of course to at least list Joe somewhere in their top 3), a fair number are open to listing Joe, and have very minimal commitment to any of the other candidates (or to Joe probably, to be fair). Rank and file voters aren’t paying a lot of attention to the race, don’t even know most of the candidates, and certainly aren’t wedded to the top 4 in a certain order the way the various vested parties, myself included, might like people to think.

    Camp Perata thinks, I’m sure, that the boards and the Forums and even newspaper coverage are largely noise, although the newspaper coverage perhaps the most important of those 3, but even there, very little coverage overall has happened as you know if you’ve been checking with any regularity, and most voters aren’t spending but seconds glancing at such stories. Bottom line from their view is that the marketing efforts and ground campaign are far, far greater in importance and impact, so they don’t much care about the rest of it, no matter how focused on it we may be. Even worse, I really think team Perata does believe it mostly is about name recognition and that the STRONG majority of voters no basically nothing about the candidates, including the one’s they vote for. A cynical view, and disturbingly, quite possibly largely correct. In the end this barrage of TV ads for Perata may have guaranteed him the win. You and I are hoping enough voters are looking deeper to overcome those large numbers of extremely casual voters.

    It’s kind of like talking with a marketing consultant; talk with a radio / tv person, and they will tell you it’s all about that. A direct mail person will think it’s all about those sorts of pieces. An internet person will tell you it’s all about internet and pay per click type ads, social network sites, etc. In truth it’s some mix of all of these and ground campaign and press and forums, but the million dollar question is what mix. Team Perata is telling you with their prioritization as measure by where they spend their dollars and time that Forums and blogs are of very little impact or importance. We shall see – I think they are making a number of wrong bets, but still, their massive dollar driven assault is hard to overcome.

  112. mfraser

    p.s. everything I’ve just laid out demonstrates and supports that Joe is getting a far greater ROI, as far as converted voters, for both TIME and MONEY invested than any of the other three candidates, by a very large measure, with Kaplan in second I would guess but maybe half or a third the ROI that Joe Tuman gets, and Quan in third. Perata has BY FAR the worst ROI, having to spend 10x as much per voter to convert, but he has so much more to start with from the parties who have vested interests. For them the ROI on converting voters isn’t actually expensive at all, for as I mentioned, the invest maybe $25k to $100k, and get many millions in return, or with the prison guard and public employee unions, they received BILLIONS, so in return they are willing to give what to our election are relatively large sums just a ‘thank you,’ and it shows future politicians that if you participate in the backslapping club, do your part, and you WILL be taken care of. For Perata’s core supported, if they really thought they HAD to donate 5x or 10x more to make it happen, they’d probably do that as well, as again the returns are nothing short of astronomical. Let’s hope and pray they miscalulated on this one!

  113. Karen Bishop

    I forget sometimes that most people who vote for mayor won’t attend a forum. They won’t spend a lot of time thinking about all the things that has been dissected on the blogs. I ran into a neighbor last night and asked who he was voting for mayor. He said Perata and I asked why. He stated name recognition.

    The thing about Perata is he was born and raised here in the bay area, he has represented this area for a long time and he is in line with the liberal/progressive thinking of the majority of voters. Although he doesn’t have strong endorsements, someone mentioned to me (and it appears to be true) that the local news media doesn’t have the power they used to now that the Oakland Trib and the CCTimes are not locally owned.

    I would love to see an in-depth survey on how voters came to their decision on their vote and what media sources were important to their decision making.

  114. len raphael

    Use of the evil PAC’s, including paying consulting fees to relatives and sending money to other candidates is widespread.

    LA Times piece on Barbara Boxer and her consultant son Doug, aka “historical relevance Doug” from the creative legal doctrine he devised to approve the Nik Nak application before the Oakland Planning Commision.


    -len raphael, temescal
    No on Q(uan)
    Yes on P(erata)

  115. Navigator

    Perata is already showing signs that he will sell Oakland out to out of town interests. Perata is willing to hand over the Oakland A’s to San Jose without as much as lifting a finger. It seems that Lew Wolff and John Fisher have taken notice and have contributed $25,000 to Perata’s campaign. This is a very bad sign folks. We can all see the potential of a waterfront ballpark when we look across the Bay to AT&T Park and the San Francisco Giants. Perata will facilitate Lew Wolff’s and John Fisher’s 500 million dollar investment in downtown San Jose while Jack London Square continues to struggle to attract foot traffic. This speaks volumes about Perata. We need a Mayor who will fight to keep businesses and cultural institutions in Oakland. We don’t need a Mayor who will roll over for $25,000 so that downtown San Jose can gain from Oakland’s loss. This is wrong. This should frighten every Oaklander. Under Perata Oakland becomes a police state without any amenities, any foresight or any hopes for the future.

  116. mfraser

    Scale matters. Show me other statewide polititicians who do it to the degree Perata does. Certainly not everyone does it; in this Mayoral race Tuman has not taken money from the unions and has no independent PAC supporting him. I know your position is Tuman is irrelevant; I don’t agree, and even if he doesn’t win, voters who put him #1 may decide the election, and I think they care about this issue more than your average voter. Demographically I should be a Perata voter, and I got nuthin against an older white guy running; if he were not so severely ethically challenged I might well be putting him #1, or at least voting for him in some capacity.

    If you succeed in electing the guy who is most effective at looting the public treasure, I’m curious how you will feel a few years from now… (assuming you aren’t an insider who will directly and personally benefit – then I guess you would be saying ‘you go!’ the more he loots). This other success you speak of may well be illusory, and I addressed you efficacy point in campaigning; that is just a brute force funded by outsize donations from people who will directly benefit. $1M in campaign contributions is chump change if you can loot a city of close to $1B annual spend (incl schools), and for workers donating a few days to campaign work for a guy who slides you outsize compensation is a bargain as well. Those aren’t ‘free’ workers, they are definitely paid in any other than the most literal sense. They probably don’t even for the most part like Perata on most issues, but they are pocket-book supporters, which can nonetheless be a highly motivated crowd.

    On this efficacy point, I will keep reminding you he’s got outside people donating the vast majority of his funds, and even while having more than all other campaigns combined, hasn’t been able to pull decidedly away – that gives him the worst ROI of any campaign, so if you really believed in ROI and efficacy, you’d vote for Tuman. He has the best demonstrated ability to work on a shoestring. Perata is the opposite, always spending more and more and more and helping drive the state into the crisis that it’s in. Tuman has the best ROI by a factor of 10.

    Finally, if you tell me ‘oh, but he’s so effective at raising money,’ I’ve already answered that given how tainted most of the money is. I bet he’s not even in first place in local, non corporate money, maybe even behind Kaplan and Quan. He has no secret pool of money to tap, so if you are right he will be ‘effective’ at raising money, that will just mean effective at raising fees and taxes.

    Perata’s Oakland will be police and fire and almost nothing else, but the backroom deals and give aways will continue. When Perata is done with Oakland nothing will be left but a gutted shell.

  117. mfraser

    Oh, and just wait to see what he does to the libraries. That will get about the same treatment as the Ethics Commission!! (which he wants to disband – haha! Yeah, he’s ‘rethought’ that decision – yeah right!) There will at least be some retributive justice for Perata voters, I expect. Only seems right in the greater scheme of things given the pretense he has of the ‘law and order guy.’

  118. Daniel Schulman

    Len, I think it is awful that you throw Doug Boxer into a discussion of Mayoral candidates just to take a cheap shot.

    Yes, I disagree with his position on Nik Nak, but I am fully convinced that Boxer was trying to do the right thing. Have you ever watched a Planning Commission? Boxer and the other commissioners volunteer huge amounts of time and in general provide well-informed decisions.

    BTW he is listed on your candidate’s website as an endorser.

  119. We Fight Blight

    Doug Boxer is a politcal hack whose liberal heartstrings were plucked by the owners of Nick Nack and the Oakland Black Caucus. Doing the right thing? You gotta be kidding us. Doing the right thing is minimizing the number of liquor stores in Oakland, not granting someone a special privilege to operate a liquor because of his sad story by fabricating a rationale that does not exist in the law. His actions were pathetic and downright lame particularly since he is an attorney and should have known better.

  120. Karen Bishop

    Some criticism of Perata focuses on his selling Oakland out by letting the A’s go to SJ, Fremont or where ever. But you know what, I would rather see the A’s leave then beg, plead and throw millions to keep the A’s here. Lew is a very wealthy businessman and makes money from developments. Plain and simple he wants to make money on any deal he makes. Baseball is big business and we shouldn’t forget that. Lew can’t make the money he wants where the A’s are currently located until there is a big retail shopping restaurant boom where the stadium is located or we throw a ton of money at the deal.

    If I’m not mistaken Quan wants a ballpark in/near JLS. To me, with the lack of businesses and people downtown to support JLS businesses, I think a ballpark down there is a boon doogle. Why do we have to be like San Fran and have a waterfront ballpark? We need to build up the infrastructure of downtown first before we think about those types of projects.

    I know sports is the glue that holds so many cities together. But I would rather not give money to Lew or anyone to keep the sport’s teams here and focus on other things to make Oakland great.

    We could get sports back in Oakland after other priorities are met. So while I criticize Perata for so many other reasons, I won’t criticize him for allowing the A’s to leave.

  121. len raphael

    Daniel i pointed to the LA Times article on the Oakland voters beloved Boxer’s use of PAC’s to show that Perata is only better at raising money via PAC

  122. len raphael

    Daniel i pointed to the LA Times article on the Oakland voters beloved Boxer’s use of PAC’s to show that its hypocritical to blame Perata for doing the same thing as other successful pols who don’t catch hell for it from Oaklanders.

    Also the article noted that in practice most PACs are used to channel money to other candidates and to other PACs.,

    Then when i read about the large role played by Doug Boxer, I couldn’t resist mentioning it because of the parallel with Perata’s PACs paying his son’s firm for consulting.

    As for Sen Boxer endorsing my candidate Perata, I never subscribed to the theory that I’ll support any supporter of my candidate. Politics and bedfellows being what they are.

    Brunner’s endorsement of Perata doesn’t make me a supporter of her 10 years of failed leadership on the city council.

    for an attorney who heads up the Planning Commision to either be so ignorant of land use law or more likely so willing to ignore it, as Boxer did with his “historical relevance” finding direction to the planning staff might be business as usual here but I don’t have to like it.

    len raphael,temescal
    Stop Q(uan)
    by voting
    Yes on P(erata)

  123. Dax

    Saturday Mail Haul….

    Kaplan 1 (repeat of same brochure)
    Quan 1
    Perata 1 (actually from the OPOA with a smiling Dom Arotzarena)

    You know, every time I see Dom saying “put those resources into re-hiring police officers” , I can’t help but look at Dom and wonder why he is still on the force when he obviously couldn’t work a regular patrol job. Seriously, how can he be kept on the public payroll when he can’t pass the physical standards?

    Why does the OPD pay for a union representative to do only union work?

    Or does he do other work?
    Obviously he can’t do normal police patrol.

    Now, offsetting that brochure is the Quan brochure.
    A very well done brochure in many respects.

    However when I read the Quan list of supporters I am troubled.

    Her list seems to be a who’s who of all those current and past leaders who have led us into the current mess.

    I see for example, past OUSD Supt. Dennis Chaconas. I remember when he was first hired with all his big ideas and all I could think from his sayings and photo was that he looked like deer caught in the headlights of a train coming at him at 80 mph.

    Well, he got hit by that train.
    Now he is endorsing Quan.

    Am I suppose to take that as a reason.

    Why not take a mayoral seminar from Ron Dellums while I’m at it.

    Or how to run a ISP from AOL
    Or how to create new products from Poloroid Camera Co.

    Still undecided out here…

    I’m probably the last one.
    Perhaps someone will come to he door and convert me with a 20 dollar bill.

    Or how about a pizza Tuesday evening?

  124. RdwithCypress

    My friend who lives in Rickridge received the email below from someone on his block yahoo group, and I was able to get permission from the writer to re-post on the Abetter Oakland Blog.

    I am sorry to send a second political email to the group. But I feel this is an extremely important matter.

    I know that many of us on the block remember the chaos, panic, and anger we experienced when some of us got the false, or in some cases actual but unwarranted, blight citations issued by CEDA and/or Public Works (part of the same umbrella organization) as a result of blank forms being given to a private citizen or a Building Services inspector colluding with a neighbor when the citations were unwarranted.

    As a result of that experience, I’ve become very involved in helping to uncover and expose massive corruption within CEDA. Some of you have been informed about this through choosing to stay on my mailing list. But I am now writing to the block as a whole to inform you that Michael Kilian, candidate for City auditor, has been instrumental in helping with routing out the CEDA corruption. By contrast, our current auditor, Courtney Ruby, has not only missed the corruption but failed to act on it when it was reported to her.

    In fact, CEDA abated one whistleblower’s house a “substandard public nuisance” and scheduled it for demolition – without ever having set foot in it – as a result of her reports to Ruby. All of this went ignored by Ruby, who has an obligation to protect whistleblowers.

    The corruption going on within CEDA – which is detailed on the site linked to below – is in my opinion the worst to occur in our city, or even arguably any city, in a long time. A citizen lawsuit has been filed against the city administrator and other high City and CEDA officials for violation of the state constitution and other state and local laws, alleging that CEDA has inflated its fees and ramped up its lien process in order to balance the Oakland budget on the backs of blameless homeowners, some of whom it has forced into foreclosure. CEDA also now stands accused of damaging nepotism, kickbacks, and more. Its head of Building Services recently resigned in the face of these accusations.

    Michael Kilian, who is not yet our auditor, is doing something about this. Courtney Ruby on the other hand, who holds the office, not only has done nothing but has ignored the information and evidence after being handed it.

    Please vote for Michael Kilian for auditor.

  125. Pamela Drake

    As for me, it’s really basic. I can’t vote for a crook who is also a bully. I would say “anybody but Don”, but I have a good choice in Jean Quan. She’ll be the hardest working mayor Oakland will ever have. She’s also very honest. We don’t always agree, but I can trust her to do what she says she’ll do and her actions are always well thought out.

  126. ralph

    Seriously Cypress, your “email” appears to be some less than clever attempt to post the same unsubstantiated claims. If you have issues with CEDA, then I suggest you create either your own blog or website.

  127. RdwithCypress


    This is real corruption in Oakland. Furthermore, the email is from a real Oaklander. This person has suffered as I have from real harassment and absolute abuse from the city as has almost all of the people on her block. I am sorry you are annoyed but if you knew the details of this case, and we have thousands similar you would not be so coy. The corruption at CEDA involves multiple collusion and complete lack of any governance. It is bad so please bear with me. We are trying to do whatever we can to bring some son light on the problems. Please email me directly so we can talk offline. I will share with you if you do. It is bad. RdwithCypress@aol.com

  128. ralph

    Cypress posts the same thing in every thread. The website does not have real audit evidence and Cypress has not been able to provide real audit evidence.

    Things I do not like – people claiming something is racist because they can, people calling something corrupt because they can, people who cry wolf. I detest the use of most, many, thousands etc because more often than not they are used as fluff words. If you had actual knowledge of corruption you would be able to cite the actual incidents and tell us why. You haven’t. Your constant spamming the threads with unrelated material is growing old.

  129. RdwithCypress

    We Fight Blight,

    As to your earlier comment about the Law Suit.

    State law requires the fees to be in line with CEDA costs, and they’re not; and that the money is being transferred out for other uses. That’s enough to imply intent. Too much going in (illegal), too much going out to illegal purpose. there’s no other conclusion to be drawn than that of intent.

    CEDA as ramped up Code Enforcement and the lien process just as they have parking enforcement. They are trying to balance the budget on the backs of Oaklanders. If you don’t believe me see the video of Walter Cohen admitting the transfers to the general fund…. Video is ½ way down the page.


  130. RdwithCypress

    Ralph have you gone nuts? Why do you thing a high level CEDA Executive, was escorted out of the building (Renwick)? Are you kidding me? The corruption in CEDA is real. It is not over yet either. God forbid this should ever happen to you. I realize how fare fetched it sounds but it is all true…. You may not believe now but you will soon.

  131. ralph

    Yes, when I was knee-high to a grassshopper, my mother told me never to engage in a conversation with a crazy person. Yet, here I am engaging with a person who is, for lack of a better term, crazy.

  132. Naomi Schiff

    I am supporting Jean Quan for Mayor, and Don P. is not in my top three. His propensity to look out for DP before any other entity removed him from my consideration. His wilingness to take big sums of money from absolutely anybody is worrying. But most of all, I can’t believe it makes any sense at all to hire another oughta-be-retiree–HE WOULD BE THE FOURTH ONE–musical chairs player in the mayor’s office.

  133. RdwithCypress

    Okay Ralph, you have shown your true colors. We will see who is right. You wouldn’t be so bold if you had been a victim of the corruption. Ask Arnie Fields, who is running for Mayor as a result of the abuse. Or talk to any of the thousands that received 1000 dollar a day fines from Ceda for nothing more than over grown grass. i can show examples from the city’s permit tracking system. Via sunshine ordinance we have a terminal set up.

    You should read the following.

    Logical fallacy also known as argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the validity of a premise to a characteristic or belief of the person advocating the premise.
    [1] The ad hominem is a classic logical fallacy

  134. RdwithCypress

    Anyone want to know the Arnie Fields story?

    He had a dream to rehab the Lincoln Theatre on 7th street. He and his wife purchased it and started to work out the permits. Apparenty the city didn’t like the idea of saving a historic theater where everyone from BB king to Green Day had played. So, the city sent in the nasty code inspectors. Arnie was almost arrested trying to keep them off his property. His lawyers kept him out of jail, but the City sent in Arthur Young and tore it down anyway. Then they charged him 1/4 million on his property tax bill to pay for the demolition. It was out and out WRONG! I believe the city had its eyes on the property for a transit center. After all it was just across from West Oakland Bart.

    As the city was preparing to demolish West Oakland’s Lincoln Theater in the mid-1990s, Fields saw an opportunity to preserve a building he considered an historic landmark. Already established as a real estate broker and the owner of several properties in Oakland, he purchased the theater in 1995 for $250,000, saving it from immediate demolition. With the theater as a starting point, Fields gradually built up a nucleus of properties near the intersection of 7th Street and Peralta, which has now grown to include Revolution Café, as well as a barber shop, several residential units, some office space and a warehouse. With his wife Lucy, Fields worked to establish the area as an officially historic district with protections against unwarranted demolition.

    Even with this protection, however, the Lincoln Theater was ultimately demolished in 2005. “I was extremely depressed,” Fields says. He claims the demolition couldn’t have occurred without the help of corrupt judges, who “brought city attorneys into chambers, but not my attorneys. I’ve never seen that before.” The episode laid the foundation for a longstanding enmity between Fields and Oakland’s Community and Economic Development Agency (CEDA), which is responsible, among other things, for enforcing Oakland’s housing and planning codes and fighting urban blight.

    Hey Ralph,

    I wish this had happed to you MF

  135. ralph

    I thought I was out. And I am going to stick to being out, but with all due respect, the residents of Oakland have no one but themselves to blame for the Ron Dellums Error. The man did not want to run. He had no business running. It was clear to this outsider that he had no business being a mayor; yet, the people of Oakland voted for him.

    You might as well be saying I was robbed by one black person so all black people rob. Candidates, like people, should be evaluated on their own merits.

  136. RdwithCypress

    Here is some proof for you Ralph!

    Go to page 5, to see The property owner committed suicide; his wife and children were forced to move; the pool had stagnant water so CEDA had it back-filled, rather than calling Alameda County Vector Control to handle mosquito abatement the City paid Desilva $13,000 which ultimately got paid by the property owner! Don’t forget DESILVA CONTRIBUTES TO AND SUPPORTS DON PERATA!

    See page 5 inspection notes to verify intent! Then go to page 7 for confirmation that back fill was done! Link below


    This caused the widow to be completely financially ruined Is this how you want your city to behave? Really Ralph?! You have had these links for a long time. You claim to be a CPA auditor but did you really do the work?

  137. len raphael

    Pamela, because Perata is a public figure you can call him a “crook” and not get sued by him for slander/defamation.

    If you know something that he did was illegal you owe it to your fellow residents to detail your charges and your evidence, or shut up.

    The posters here about CEDA are making similar very serious charges, but in their awkward way they are at least giving us what they believe is the evidence to support their allegations.

    You don’t even try.

    -len raphael, temescal

    Yes for Perata

    No for the hardworking incompetent Quan
    (factual basis previously submitted)

    No on BB; the big lie is alive and well

  138. RdwithCypress

    Hey Ralph,

    Want me to keep going. I have hundreds of these terrible tragic cases I can post. Maybe you would like to reconsider your comments. I am a executive level professional auditor who has been working on this for 2 years.

  139. FloodedByCEDA

    Ralph, You sound like a mouthpiece for our city council. Fields is not the only Mayorial candidate that has been stung by CEDA. At least two of them have been hit hard. Thousands of oakland property owners have been extorted. Most of them have been run out of town (mean banks forclosing when homeowners can’t pay their fines). Some haven’t and the lawsuits are starting to roll in. Building inspectors are reactivating their contractors licenses with their loss of city employment on the horizon. Rummors and sightings of State and Federal investigators at 250 Frank Ogawa plaza abound. Several of my close by neighbors, the church up the street..all abated by CEDA. City council looked the other way and called constituents who complained crazy while they used millions in ill gotten revenue to balance the general budget. The cat is out of the bag now…..Oakland taxpayers hang on tight to your wallet!

  140. RdwithCypress

    Should I keep going with audit evidence Ralph? I hope you are reading this Rebecca Kaplan, owner of the “Blight Ordinance” They are not using it as you intended.

    How about this one, In this case CEDA placed liens against both the current and previous owners even though the current owner abated the condition in good faith. The inspector notes “CASE CLOSED” but the liens have not been released. The previous owner filed an appeal which was denied by CEDA and never went before an independent examiner as required by OMC. Currently CEDA is still trying to collect fees and penalties against the bank, because the bank foreclosed on this guy! CEDA has not released the lien in spite of abated condition.

    See page #3 AUDIT NOTE A for “CASE CLOSED” but See note B “lien filed anyway”!?


    Do you need more Audit evidence or workpapers Ralph?

  141. RdwithCypress

    Don Perata’s top campaign person is;

    Anne Willcoxon, the wife of Michael Willcoxon, attorney for DeSilva Gates Construction.

    Let us spell it out :

    Perata supporter Oliver DeSilva, owner of the company and doing business as Gallagher and Burke Inc., is the number-two Public Works contractor, according to the 2007 Low Bidder Response Analysis. DeSilva is based in the Dublin/Pleasanton area.

    Gallagher & Burke Inc. 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 that is was batch-Ayed.

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


  142. Oaklandlifer

    I have decided Perata is not a good fit for values. I have a technical question. If I like Kaplan and Tuman best but can live with Quan, am I hurting Quan’s chances if I list Kaplan and Tuman first and second? I’m speaking of if it is under any circumstances possible voting for Kaplan and Tuman means that my vote won’t get counted for Quan when the final stages of counting are happening, as I’m now convinced I do not want Perata to prevail.

    I thank you kind posters.

  143. Daniel Schulman

    @Oaklandlifer the simple answer to your question is no you won’t hurt Quan’s chances against Perata if you vote for her third and Kaplan/Tuman in the top spots.

    The more complicated answer would also include saying that at least one of your choices needs to make it to the final iteration.

    This website has a demo and some pretty good explanatory material on how all of this works

  144. Oaklandlifer

    Thank you Mr Schulman! I guess what I’m asking is could a winner be called before it gets down to the final two candidates? Would those votes which are for the third place candidate then be irrelevant? As a mathematical question I’m concerned that a winner is called before it is down to the final two. I don’t explain as well as all you kind people do, so I hope that is clear enough. I’ve decided after several days of reading a meaningful vote against Don Perata is what is most fitting to my values.

    I appreciate your thought.

  145. Oaklandlifer

    I am so sorry, but to try again, isn’t it possible that to count against Perata for definite certain, I need to list Quan as second and choose between Kaplan and Tuman for my first place? That is how it seems to me since as I understand it the drop out and reapply the dropped out persons vote on candidate at a time.

    Mr Schulman? Can you tell me with certainty placing Quan third won’t make my vote not count against Mr Perata if a winner is declared when there are 3 still remaining? Thank you again.

  146. Judith Heimler

    WeFightBlight, Ralph, et al,

    I am the Rockridge resident who forwarded the email to RdwithCypress yesterday about voting for Kilian for auditor because of the CEDA thing. I received it from a friend on the next block from me. It is real, although the gist of the situation there may have been slightly lost in translation.

    I have spoken to my friend who wrote the email for more details and it is not true that almost everyone on her block was cited or harassed by CEDA, only a handful of them, and the harassment consisted only of getting the citations. But it was for petty things like slightly overgrown bushes or grass and they were threatened with $5000 or $1100 fines, depending on which citation they got, and liens if they didn’t pay.

    Some of the people who got them were frightened and felt extorted (the word my friend used). This happened during the summer and I remember her saying she was worried about being mugged on the street but now the city was mugging her in her own home and she no longer felt safe anywhere.

    She said CEDA appeared to be acting with absolute power over homeowners without anyone apparently above them. Her appeal was thrown into the trash according to the building department clerk when she went down there, who she said laughed at her.

    She said the inspector made his own decision not to fine her in the end but this is possibly because she was very active in defending herself and other people on the block. She said he made it clear he could and would have fined her thousands of dollars if he had wanted to. There seemed to be nobody acting over him.

    This is all I know but I can get more info if anyone wants it. I’ve been only a reader here so far, but when I saw the accusation that the email was phony I decided to jump in.

  147. Daniel Schulman

    @Oaklandlifer Yes. If there are three candidates remaining and Perata has 50% of the vote plus one, it doesn’t matter where your current choice is.

    Imagine you are 1 of only 100 voters. In the following examples, you switch your first and second place from Kaplan to Quan:

    Example A
    51% Perata
    28% Quan
    21% Kaplan

    Example B
    51% Perata
    29% Quan
    20% Kaplan

    Under both scenarios, your vote effectively doesn’t matter because 51 other people voted for Perata. You cannot effect those 51 other people.

  148. Dax

    I’m out here on Sunday morning still unsure as to how I’ll vote on Tuesday.

    Now, I like to watch elections.
    Quite aside from how I’ll end up voting on election day, I’ve been making some observations about the various campaigns.

    I don’t know what the last poll showed, but from my perspective, seeing the mail, the door to door walking, and the TV ads, I’ve got to say, that Quan is running a much better campaign than is Perata.

    Of course I do not get the physical Tribune newspaper so I don’t know which ads are running there.

    I don’t understand the Perata campaign.
    He is suppose to have the most funds by a wide margin.

    Where is that money? I’ve not seen much of it at all.
    From my house and TV viewing, I’d be thinking that Quan had double the funds to spend.

    How can I have seen so little of Perata and so much Quan (mailers)?

    They always say, “follow the money” but I can’t seem to see Perata’s money.

    Were I a neutral voter two months ago, I’d have to think I’d be voting for Quan.
    Better quality mailers and there was actually a person who walked my neighborhood (her husband).

    Is the Perata campaign just avoiding certain neighborhoods or spending far more in some areas than others?

    My neighborhood votes in high percentages.
    Seems unlikely that Perata would want to ignore it.

    Whats up?

    Am I going to get a 20 page mailer from Perata on Monday?

    Comments from any Perata supporters.

    PS…. If you remember from a earlier post, I did get that one phone call (non-robo) from a actual person.

    To refresh your memory of that call…
    He calls, during the ball game, and quickly asks if I’ll be voting for Don Perata.

    I say that I’m not sure since I have questions about the candidate’s views on things like pensions.

    He responds that he doesn’t know about that.

    OK, so I ask him a simple question.

    “Why should I vote for Don Perata?”

    HE *^%#** bleeping *%&** HANGS UP ON ME!!!!!
    To which I shout out in my kitchen a vocal “F__K YOU”…..

    Really pissed me off.
    I call the Perata office from the number on one of their mailers…. box full…..

    I call the next day trying to determine who they have making their calls…. unsure.

    I suspect the caller was from a hired out of state outfit who is just being paid $10 per hour in Kansas or Utah.

    So whats up with the Perata campaign and their dollars?
    Is someone just pocketing the campaign money?

  149. Oaklandlifer

    Thank you Mr Schulman. Your examples helped clarify for me very nicely. You are a gentleman and a scholar!

  150. ralph

    Perata has been on the television. I dump mailers almost as fast they arrive, but I would say that Quan pieces exceed Don’s mailer and any positive Quan mailers combined. (Quan’s hit pieces without establishing why she would be a credible mayor make me less likely to consider her as viable.) Both Q and K seem to be exceeding K.

    There is only one candidate, as far as I know, who is paying people to call. It is not Perata. The thing about calling is each individual who calls has reasons for why they are calling on behalf of a candidate, and to be honest, it is nearly impossible to be able to answer all questions residents have. And not all callers give good phone.

  151. Dax

    Viewing from afar, and beginning from the start of September, I would say that Quan, Kaplan, and Tuman would all have gained percentages. I find it difficult to believe that Perata would have gained his fair share of the undecided.

    Of course, depending on his original lead and the number of undecided at the time of those earlier polls, he could still be leading even if he didn’t gain any significant votes.

    I’m guessing there are more anti-Perata voters than anit-Quan voters.
    Thus as Tuman and Kaplan are finally eliminated, it would seem Quan would gather more of their votes than would Perata.

    Seems like the #2 votes will decide this election. I can’t see Perata exceeding 40% on the first round.

    How about 38% Perata, 32% Quan, 19% Kaplan, and 11% Tuman, after the bottom 6 candidates are eliminated.

    Then where do the Tuman and Kaplan votes go? Perata needs 12% and Quan needs 18%…
    So she needs a 60/40 split of those votes to end up at 50/50 with Perata.

    Can she get 61% of the #2 Tuman and Kaplan votes?

    I know some Tuman supporters will find the suggestion that he will only get 11% as unbelievable, but having been around many elections, supporters get all caught up in their own expectations even without any real world city wide polling to back it up.

    I can tell you, in my area, Tuman won’t poll anywhere near 10%. He is barely known as a candidate in East Oakland flats and hills areas.

  152. Karen Bishop

    Good question Dax. I met several people today talking about voting strategy. From the people I talked to who are voting for Joe, they are not going to vote for Quan or Perata. Some people are voting for RK #2 and others aren’t going to choose a #2 or #3. I’m voting #1 for Tuman, #2 is still undecided (but not Quan and not Perata) and #3 is staying blank.

    This will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

  153. Dave C.

    “I’m voting #1 for Tuman, #2 is still undecided (but not Quan and not Perata) and #3 is staying blank.”

    Seems that Kaplan is your only viable (oops, I used that word!) option for 2nd choice, because it’s unlikely that Tuman will be eliminated before MacLeay, Candell, Harland, Hodge, Fields or Young.

    It certainly will be interesting to see how this shakes out. As far as I know, no polls have been publicly released for about a month now. (I’m not counting things like the Oakland Seen survey.)

    Speaking of RCV, does anyone know whether all the voting data (including uncounted 2nd- and 3rd-choice votes, etc.) will be released after the counting? If could be pretty interesting for someone to crunch all those numbers in various ways.

  154. Dave C.

    Karen: Upon re-reading, it occurs to me that you probably meant that you are undecided between putting Kaplan as #2 or leaving #2 blank. In which case my own comment doesn’t really apply. Still curious, though, whether you meant that you might put a name other than Kaplan, Quan or Perata as your #2…

  155. mfraser

    Karen, I would encourage you to consider choosing between Perata and Perata for #3. The only remotely viable candidates you want are Tuman and Kaplan, and I’m in the same boat. But the beauty of the ranked choice voting is that we can effectively take the top four and scratch one. While for me the ‘veto’ would go to Perata, if for you it is Quan, then do that – put Perata third.

    I think you have to ask yourself, what if it comes down to that final vote, and yours is the deciding one? If Tuman and Kaplan are off the table, don’t you have SOME preference between Quan and Perata? What if it is your vote that could have decided this, and you didn’t choose?

    While you might have strong objections to both, I think you have more than enough to choose between them even if it is the ‘lesser of two evils.’

    I hope you will figure out which one you don’t want, and choose the other!

  156. mfraser

    Dax, while I would hope you are right that Perata hasn’t really gained much of the undecided vote, the sad truth is that the tremendous ad buy his tainted money has enabled him to afford is probably making some difference. I won’t repeat the whole argument, but just remember that Common Cause stats for Calfornia for recent elects say that if one candidate has 5x or more money, their odds of prevailing are 97%! If my math is right that means others would win only 3X out of 100 in these circumstances, or roughly speaking his odds are about 32 to 1 given his huge spending advantage. That would suggest he probably is picking up a lot of the ‘name recognition only’ voters, and I think those voters make up a majority of the total voting electorate in Oakland.

    If you are assuming most voters are reading any articles or blogs or discussions – well, unfortunately I don’t think voting patterns bear that out.

  157. Hayden

    I have mixed feelings regarding Don Perata. On the one hand, he is a sleazy, ethically-challenged guy. On the other hand, he might be “our” sleazy, ethically-challenged guy. I.e., he could be a power for helping the city get on the right track.

    I see him as too beholden to powers from outside Oakland who do or affect business here (e.g., DeSilva, Signature Properties, etc.). Hey, I’m happy those folks are doing business here–I wish they’d do more–but I think Sen. Perata’s ties to them will likely lead him to act in ways that benefit him and them more than the City.

    On the other hand, would his ties to those folks lead to some deals that are just not-as-good-as-they-could-be, where with other candidates, we’d get nada?

    One “leadership” example I felt somewhat familiar with, the Mandela Parkway reconstruction, came about after much local struggle with Caltrans–when I’ve talked with some of the folks involved in that, Sen. Perata’s name didn’t come up. His sponsoring of a bill to help fund the work, and in a time of better tax revenues, seems expected, rather than an example of strong leadership.

    It is concerning that he has skipped a number of events–and in some cases, hasn’t even canceled. I’d like a mayor who will expend some shoe leather on the job. I think, similar to Mayor Daley of old, he may work within existing (and exclusionary) webs of influence in ways that other candidates are less likely to.

  158. Karen Bishop

    I’m not sure if I’ll even vote for a #2. But like you mention mfraser I ask myself: shouldn’t I fully participate and rank my three choices so at least I have one vote to influence the outcome? Tough decision. My ballots are still sitting on my coffee table and I’ll make that decision at the last minute, right before I drop my ballots off at my polling place.

  159. Karen Bishop

    Hayden, I’ve talked with some people who are struggling with the same questions you are about Perata. One of the things I tell people who ask the same question: Dellums came to the mayor’s office because so many people thought his long term record in office and his Washington connections were going to help Oakland get the goodies. Look where that thinking got us. That was the same exact thinking that went into getting Brown in office.

    Re: Mandela Parkway. You’re right Perata got funding but wasn’t some who championed the project. From further research it appears the City of Oakland screwed up by not working on the funding part while working on the design and logistics of the parkway. They turned to Perata to get help with the funding.

  160. Karen Bishop


    Factual: In 1998, CFPPC (California Fair Political Practice Commission) found Perata violated campaign finance laws and he was fined $4000.00.

  161. Karen Bishop

    RdwithCypress, Floodedbyceda:

    After reading the information you posted, I believe there are serious problems in City Hall and there needs to be serious changes in how CEDA operates. It will come from hard working, long suffering people, like yourself, who won’t give up the fight. It sounds like more and more people are getting involved and it will be a tough slog but things will change (I hope they do. And if RK gets into the mayor’s office people are going to have to put tons of pressure on her to backoff her revenue/fighting blight plan).

    However, can you please tone it down. Ralph isn’t the enemy. If you keep ramping up the anger and continually dump long diatribes on the blog, people will start to ignore you. So you are hurting your case in the eyes of public opinion, not helping your case.

  162. ralph

    Can someone explain to me why developers supporting Perata is bad?

    Kaplan is huge on Transit Oriented Development. Since there are no large scale developers in Oakland to develop these projects, who do you think is going to bring us this TOD?

    Quan wants to provide social services but she needs an expanded tax base to get money to offer these services. She wants to create workforce housing. How do you think she is going to do this without developers?

    There is no harm in having developers from within the region do work in Oakland. They will be conducting business in Oakland. They can also hire Oakland builders.

    If you do not like Perata fine but please try to have a reason. Each of the top 3 candidates want to bring development to Oakland. There are no large scale developers in Oakland.

    Why are Oakland residents so parochial? I can’t see where this narrow minded focus has been beneficial for the residents.

  163. mfraser

    Karen, I think not using all three votes would be a mistake. Because you have to have a majority of the vote to win (see earlier post by Dan Schulman and the videos on ranked choice voting), I don’t see any scenario where you would be ‘wasting’ your vote to mark all three. I am taking to top four, not listing the person I least want, then listing the other three in the order that I most prefer them. For me Quan is #3, but I think it is very important to list a choice between Perata and Quan, whatever your choice, or you are effectively not participating in what most polls indicate will be the final two.

    If you prefer say Tuman and Kaplan as I suspect, once it is down to Quan and Perata if it comes to that, if you haven’t listed one of the two then your ballot isn’t in play on that final, deciding vote. It really doesn’t make sense to me that everyone wouldn’t be taking the top 4, deciding who they least want, then listing the other 3 in order as you most want them.

    If you are thinking you are at risk of wasting your vote, please list a scenario, as I don’t think one exists.

    If the real choice is Quan or Perata, don’t you want to participate in that? If you don’t list either, you ballot will just be ignored on that final choice.

  164. mfraser

    I will tell you why it is bad from my perspective, Ralph. Perata has a history of providing quid pro quo for those who have supported him. This has generally been a tiny fraction of a cent on the dollar, but sometimes a penny or two. So I believe this translates into preferrential treatment on getting contracts, contracts that are at inflated rates, secret information passed to friends (such as the piece of property that the city could have bought for a few hundred thousand, then was bought by a developer right before the city moved on it, then the city paid $1.5M!). In cases of secret information a crime may have been committed, but in most cases Perata is such a ‘trusty soldier’ for the developers that no specific deal needs to be offered; it is understood that there folks with reap huge benefits.

    Yes, this goes on anyway to some degree, but the degree of these things does matter, and those of us who oppose Perata believe his history of what appears to be quid pro quo deals with developers, with unions, in everything, is on a whole new scale.

    Yes there are some problems with Quan and Kaplan (but not with Tuman I note, and that you don’t mention him), but the scale is entirely different and the issues are obviously different as well. Personally I have a base line minimum standard of ethical conduct, and on every level Perata gets a poor grade in my book. Therefore he is my least preferred candidate.

  165. ralph

    So, mfraser, it is not that it is outside developers that bother you. You would not like Perata if the developer lived next door to you. You are troubled by perceived questions of ethics.

    Then clearly you will not be voting for Kaplan either. When the MJ people proposed to her that the industry be taxed, she, on multiple occassions, decided that they should not be fully taxed because they came to her with the proposal.

    I suspect Quan is out for you because she gave her friends in the non-profits a $4MM raise during a recession and laid off actual employees.

    So you have Tuman as Number 1. I recommend Perata for on deck with no one in the hole. When Perata brings business to Oakland at least those business and property owners will pay taxes. When Kaplan brings business to Oakland she plans to make up the tax shortage on your hard effort. Quan just wants to funnel your tax dollars to non-profits.

  166. mfraser

    As I said I’m disturbed by some things related to Kaplan and Quan, but you ignore the question of scale. Perata has in my view sold out billions in taxpayers funds to his patrons, for fractions of a cent on the dollar, overall. With Kaplan and Quan disturbing things have happened on occasion, and bad decisions; with Perata it appears to me a fundamental mode of operating. The very fact he raises so much more from these large dollar donors is a big sign to me of things to come.

    I think you are being disingenuous to act like you don’t understand the issues here. For reasons that I don’t understand Oakland voters support those who violate basic principles of good and ethical government, but I only have my one vote, and can try to bring more attention to this issue. I have a friend who was for many years one of the largest Bay Area developers, and he shared with me that this understood quid pro quo is how much big development gets done. He maintained he did not participate, but said it cost him a lot of project that he wouldn’t. He talked about all of this occurring in the most devious of ways as a fact, and said something to the effect of, “all the information is out there, and it doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots, but people just don’t do it. The size of these deals is beyond what most people can fathom, and they think that if you aren’t convicted you didn’t do it. But of course only the very stupid people would ever get caught, because if you are remotely sophisticated you don’t ever have an explicit conversation – it’s just understood.”

    As voters we can hold politicians to a higher standard than ‘are they convicted of actual crimes,’ and that is what I choose to do and to try to convince others to as well.

    But take heart; if someone outspends the other leading candidate by 5 to 1 or more, their odds of wining are 32 to 1, so I think you will get what you are asking for.

    p.s. I like development work to go to in town firms, of course. Any other preference would make no sense.

  167. ralph

    Mfraser, it is not that I ignore your claims but absent concrete evidence that something improper has happened what is there to discuss. You are going to hold to a position that if there is smoke there must be fire. Why should I engage?

    Just out of curiosity who are the Oakland based developers building large scale retail and TO development?

  168. mfraser

    Well, we could engage in a 50 post exchange, and I could detail all the various deals that we know about, and you would keep saying the evidence is circumstantial and there is no conviction.

    First, we don’t even know why there is no conviction, and it may be it is NOT lack of evidence; there were statute of limitations issues.

    Second, in the end you are going to use a standard of Court conviction, which I don’t think is appropriate to ethical conduct issues. In the end, Perata has more questionable deals and seeming quid pro quo cases than anyone else in the state. So if you dismiss that out of hand, you are saying you set the bar of proof so high that nothing but a conviction matters to you (does that even matter to you, in truth?).

    I can forgive 1 or 2 such situations as bad judgment and perhaps coincidence; a dozen or more major deals and perhaps more, well beyond my personal point of pulling the trigger.

    In truth most voters agree with you, and at this point in time even CA Common Cause seems on virtual life support, with no major activity. If you are a developer, or stand to directly benefit, I guess it makes sense for you to vote and throw your support that way. If you are a regular home owner, I think you are going to see a lot of corrupt activity that will upset you, if you aren’t blinded to it; that will have been your choice.

    Maybe Perata has turned a corner and suddenly cares about his reputation and legacy. I doubt it, as I don’t think someone changes tactics and strategy readily after 20 years in the businesss, but if he wins I hope for the best.

    Yes, I agree we aren’t going to change each other’s minds, which is why I thought your question was fundamentally rhetorical.

    p.s. you are correct there are almost no large scale developments going on anywhere in the Bay Area right now.

  169. ralph

    The honest question I am asking is point me to specific examples of Perata wrongdoings. I don’t need a 50 post exchange. I only ask for honest examples of so-called “questionable” deals. I don’t have the long history with Perata as others.

    PS: the question is not about large scale development now. the question is who are the large scale developers based in Oakland.

    I would argue that Oakland could have some of these businesses located within the city if we more business friendly ala Pleasanton and Bishop Ranch.

  170. mfraser

    Ok, I will assume the question is in good faith. Now a preliminary question is using Gammon as a source. I don’t know why you wouldn’t as using a high standard of proof before discounting someone, know that as far as I can tell Perata has never won a suit against EBE or Gammon. I know some pretty high powered attornies, and one has taken free speech cases all the way to the CA Supreme Ct (and won). I asked him about Gammon, and he said that while he doesn’t follow all of Gammon’s work, that he does know that if someone with the werewithal feels your piece defames them, they can and do sue you. Perata of all people has a ton of financial resources, and if Gammon made up these pieces from thin air, or really an specific details, he could lose a major judgment.

    The truth is there is very little quality investigative reporting these days, and so the fact there aren’t more articles in general speaks to that, and not that these results aren’t replicable.

    The largest issue for me and the one with the largest dollar amount is Perata’s receipt of money from the state police and from the prison guards’ union. As leader pro-tem of the Senate, Perata was one of the handful of people controlling the state payroll negotiations. You can see where that has led – compensation is up between 30% and 100% depending on the positions in question, and the state is quite literally going bankrupt over the issue, as are most counties and cities. Even now, the gains were so large that in simple appreciation the State Prison Guards’ union spends about a quarter of their lobbying related resources on Perata. That is a hefty thank you, and if you look at the fact they now make double what the prison guards in other states make, with several thousand now making between $100k and $200k, it is easy to see why.

    Similarly, in the local election, you see the Perata won’t commit to trying to force down compensation for fire and police, even though I don’t think 1% of the people in Oakland think average total comp should be $180k for police and $150k for fire, double even what our STATE average is. This is all an obvious quid pro quo, and classic cronyism.

    During his entire time as Senate pro-tem the process for decision making was anti-democratic and lacked any transparency:


    This corruption of process below is unacceptable to me:


    Here are some details on Mercury Insurance. See the bottom for a bit on Perata – you can look up the originals to see more. Also see the conversation with the lobbyist and the legislator – I love the circuitous path of such discussions, and the careful attempts to not say too much.


    Here’s a little more by way of specifics on that:


    So, on and on. I’m not even listing most of the stories by Gammon, some of which are horrific, and as I said, I don’t think they should be discounted out of hand, as other sources I trust confirm the basics and more importantly that Gammon and EBE would be sued for defamation if they couldn’t support their stories. If you really are open minded, just go to EBE and put in Perata to search their site for the 20 to 30 plus articles.

    Right now sorry little Oakland is too small for Factcheck.org to review this, and Common Cause CA generally only deals with the propositions, not individual candidates, but I hope they can be convinced to at least let us know in the future who ‘ethically failed candidates’ are. Perata would be at or near the top of that list for CA I believe.

    If Perata isn’t corrupt, then no politician in CA is corrupt if they aren’t indicted / convicted, and that is too loose a standard for me.