Why I am not voting for Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor

So. Like I said in my post about why I can’t vote for Jean Quan, it took me a long time to come to a decision about who I was going to support for Mayor. And much of the reason that it took me so long was because I was trying my absolute hardest to find a way to reconcile my desire to support Rebecca Kaplan for her energy and ideas with my nagging fear that she just does not possess the management and leadership skills to handle the job. I tried and I tried and I tried. In the end, I just couldn’t find a way to do it.

A breath of fresh air

It’s not uncommon to hear people refer to Rebecca Kaplan as a breath of fresh air on the City Council. And that is true. She is wicked smart and has a genuine interest in the nuances of policy, which is a surprisingly rare thing to find in politicians. She always seems so excited about the many possibilities for finding new ways to do things, and she isn’t all hung up on tired battles from like 10 years ago. It is so refreshing.

Rebecca Kaplan

Late last year, somebody mentioned to me, kind of offhand, about the possibility of Rebecca Kaplan running for Mayor. I thought that it was kind of weird, since I remembered her being questioned about it at a candidate forum during her City Council campaign 2 years ago, and she had been so insistent that she had absolutely no interest in being Mayor, because she was so passionate about legislative work and didn’t want to do anything else. But I thought, hey, people change their minds, and because I had been so impressed with how she had been such a welcome voice of reason on the City Council, I decided I was pretty into the idea. I even e-mailed her to say that I really hoped she would run.

And when I would tell people that I was hoping she would run, they would always ask me things like “Well, do you think she’s ready? She has no experience. Aren’t you concerned about that?” And I would be just be like “But she’s so smart! How hard can it be?”

And, as silly as it seems in retrospect, that was totally my attitude. I loved the idea of instead of Oakland having a Mayor who was not yet another politician coming back to Oakland at the end of their career, and instead was someone young and full of energy. I would look at cities like Portland and Newark, with their smart, forward-thinking, young Mayors, and dream about how great it would be if Oakland could have that too.

I mean, who wouldn’t want that for Oakland? I had this image in my head where, with our very own young gay bicycle pot Mayor, news articles about Oakland wouldn’t be only about crime anymore. They would be about how the City is turning around, and how our fresh new leader is a symbol of all that. And when people from other places thought about Oakland, they would think of bicycles and fun instead of murders.

And when you’re just thinking about how much you want your own version of Sam Adams or Cory Booker, well, it’s really easy to project that onto Rebecca Kaplan. Because, you know, she’s super smart. And she speaks so well, and she’s so charismatic. And she’s such a relentless cheerleader for Oakland, and she agrees with you on all the ways that the City is stupid. It’s really appealing.

Reconsidering my decision

But then, as time went by, and winter turned into spring, and as it became more and more clear that she was going to run, I started having some serious second thoughts. It’s amazing how much your impression of someone can change once you start looking them through a different lens.

When you’re watching one of eight Councilmembers, it’s so exciting to have someone up there saying all these things you agree with, even if nothing ever comes of it. You know, speaking truth to power and all that.

But then, when you’re trying to imagine this person actually running the City, the standards become very different. Oakland is seriously bad shape right now, and fixing it is going to require real leadership. When you’re in charge, it’s no longer enough to just say the right things. You have to actually make things happen. You have to be willing to make difficult and unpopular decisions. You have to be able to build coalitions. You have to be willing and able to craft compromises that, while not perfect, can satisfy enough people that you have five votes to pass them. It feels great to get to say that you voted no on something unpopular. But if you can’t get four other people on your side, then all you have to go home to is an inflated sense of self-satisfaction.

Here’s one example. Last winter, during one of the many budget cutting meetings we’ve had to endure over the last two years, one of the things that came up for cuts was more cuts in the IT department. And when Rebecca Kaplan voted against cutting those positions that provide IT support for the public internet computers at the library, I totally cheered. It was great to have her up there talking about how it’s so wrong to cut IT. But the thing is — she didn’t offer an alternative. And so the IT staff was cut. And now the public internet computers are broken all the time. So at the end of the day, what was the point?

And that really gets to the heart of why I just can’t support Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor. She’s great at saying all the right things. But when it comes time for action, she just can’t seem to get the job done.

An underwhelming record

Rebecca Kaplan has done some very laudable things since joining the City Council. She deserves credit for taking the initiative to rescind Oakland’s century-old “immoral dress” ordinance, as well as partnering with Nancy Nadel to reform Oakland’s outdated cabaret regulations. Both of these achievements represent needed progress in Oakland, and I do not want to minimize their importance.

However. They are also both issues on which there is broad agreement. When it comes to topics that are more divisive, Rebecca Kaplan has not been able to demonstrate an ability to push through reforms. The condo conversion proposal she and Councilmember Pat Kernighan submitted last November was a good idea, and would have generated some much welcome cash for the City. But it went nowhere. When the Airport Connector made it to the City Council, Kaplan was just not able to persuade her colleagues that the project was bad for Oakland, even with all the facts on her side. Her work with Councilmember Larry Reid to pass a vacant building registration ordinance seemed very promising at the time, but now that the ordinance has been in place for a while, it has turned out to be kind of a failure and to not have much of an impact, either in terms of reducing blight or generating revenue.

When it comes to the achievements she does point to, there are some legitimate questions to be asked about their veracity. At every candidate forum I’ve watched, she has boasted about how she removed conditional use permit (CUP) requirements in the new downtown zoning, to make it easier to open small businesses like bakeries and bicycle shops. But when you look at the actual text of the zoning, there is no change in the permitted and conditionally permitted activities between a draft from August 2008 (PDF) and the final version adopted by the Council (PDF). So while I’m very glad those CUPs aren’t in there anymore, I have a hard time figuring out what she had to do with it, since they weren’t in there before she was on the Council either. She often talks about how she’s responsible for creating Transbay bus service after BART stops running, but as I noted back in 2008, there already were all-night Transbay buses. I know because I used to take them home every night after I got off work at 2 AM. Her work did make the service more convenient. But I think there’s a really big difference between creating new service, as she claims and improving something that already existed.

Failure to Lead

So all these things worried me. But I so wanted that fresh, exciting Mayor, and I agreed so much with Rebecca Kaplan’s positions on issues like transit and technology and the like that I just kept trying to push all these nagging fears to the back of my head.

And then there was that liquor store. You know, I don’t expect to agree with every vote of anyone. That’s just not a realistic standard to hold people to. So although I disagreed with Rebecca Kaplan’s vote to allow new alcohol sales in North Oakland over the vociferous opposition of the neighborhood, I wasn’t going to change my mind about supporting her because of it.

But what I do expect, and I think that it is a more than reasonable thing to ask, is that when politicians take a position on controversial items, they offer a justification of their reasoning to the public. There was a tremendous amount of impassioned public testimony at hearing after hearing on this item. And when you are going to sit and listen to all of that and then vote the other way, you owe those people an explanation of why you think you know better than what they said. And Rebecca Kaplan didn’t do that. Instead, we just got some weird rambling apology about procedure. That was a real problem for me, and is not the type of behavior one expects from a leader.

And then the same thing happened with the Merritt Bakery. Now, this one bothers me more. I could see both sides of the liquor store issue, but it is just impossible for me to see the justification of voting in favor of giving a $150,000 loan to a business that was clearly not exercising any kind of financial controls (PDF). Kaplan’s comments about how people want to buy juice while they’re running around the Lake just didn’t do it for me. And that’s when I really started thinking that maybe this whole Kaplan for Mayor thing really was a huge mistake.

The budget

But I felt like it was too late too change my mind. I was already doing some volunteering for her campaign, and I felt awful about the idea of going back on that commitment. And then the budget happened.

You know, I could write a whole long post just about this issue, but I don’t think my typical long-windedness is necessary here. If you’re going to vote against the budget, you have to offer an alternative.

This summer’s budget decision, and the question of whether to lay off police officers was hard and unpleasant. And nobody wanted to do it. But someone had to balance the budget, and it wasn’t going to be easy, and whichever five people willing to put up the votes for it was inevitably going to take a ton of heat.

But making unpopular decisions when there are no good options in front of you and then living with the consequences is part of being a leader. Whoever is Mayor is going to have to do that over and over and over again in the next four years. And Rebecca Kaplan took the easy way out. She had an opportunity to show that she had a better way to handle this, to prove wrong that all those people who said she wasn’t ready or was too inexperienced, and she blew it. That was pretty much the end of it for me.

The last straw

Any lingering doubts I had about whether or not I could feel good about supporting Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor were squashed in July when she brought forward her proposal for a new marijuana tax (PDF).

Now, it should not be a hard thing to do to get a higher tax on marijuana on the ballot in Oakland. And when you own an issue as much as Rebecca Kaplan owns taxing marijuana, there really is just no excuse for not coming in ready with something you know you’re going to be able to pass. But she couldn’t do it.

The whole thing was just such a testament to complete disorganization. First, she submits this proposal for a 8, 10, or 12 percent tax. Then she wants a 4 percent tax. Then she can’t even vote for a 5 percent tax?

I mean, I know that I keep using this word, and I’m sure it’s getting really repetitive, but that’s just not leadership. I can’t understand that thought process, and I can’t imagine how someone who couldn’t handle something as relatively small as this could possibly handle being in charge of the whole City.

I just can’t cast that vote

Like I said before, this has been really hard for me. I genuinely like Rebecca Kaplan. And I do think that she has been a good addition to the City Council. She is full of ideas and energy, and she can talk about ways to make the City better until the cows come home.

But being Mayor is about more than just talking. It requires action, and Rebecca Kaplan just has not demonstrated that she is able to translate all her good ideas into tangible action. She has had several opportunities this year to show that she can do so, and she has failed the test every time.

Something Kaplan says a lot in interviews and in forums is that she’ll be able to get things done as Mayor that she can’t as Councilmember because “A councilmember can suggest and share information, but a mayor can direct that Things Shall be Done.” You get this idea that she thinks the reason she’s can’t seem to do anything is because of the job she’s in. But that’s not why. It’s because she doesn’t look at the big picture of what it takes to put votes together. Yes, Mayor is a more powerful office than that of Councilmember. But there’s nothing magic about it. You still have to make hard decisions and you still have to convince the Council to pass your policies. And if she can’t do that as a Councilmember, I just can’t see how it would be any different with her as Mayor.

So as much as I wish I could support her (believe me — it sounds like a whole lot more fun than supporting the old guy who everyone on the internet hates), I can’t do it. Picking a Mayor isn’t about who is the most likable or who is the most fun or who is the smartest or even who has the best ideas.

It’s about who is the best able to lead the City out of crisis and in a new direction. And I just don’t see any evidence in Rebecca Kaplan’s time on the Council that she is at all prepared to do that. In fact, I see a lot of evidence that she isn’t. Like I said, I think she’s a very good Councilmember, and Oakland needs her energy and optimism. And just because she is clearly not ready to be Mayor now doesn’t mean that she’ll never be. Leadership skills can be learned, and I hope that she grows into them. Maybe in four or eight years, she’ll be ready. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

82 thoughts on “Why I am not voting for Rebecca Kaplan for Mayor

  1. mfraser

    I appreciate that the tone of this is at least more respectful than the Tuman hit piece… If Perata does win, as I admit odds are good that he will, I’m sure you are aware that he has a long history of reciprocating favors to those who support him. I expect in a Perata owned Oakland you won’t be forgotten – after all, that is the deal with Perata, and not with just money, but with opportunities as well. While I can’t and don’t say that is your motive, your star will rise I’m sure, so even if he does loot the city, you will be ok.

    So while great for a small few, it will be devastating for the rest of us, and you need only look at his record and how the state is doing post his leadership to see the truth of that. I will be voting Tuman, then Kaplan, and biting my lip while I then vote for Quan in the third spot.

  2. mfraser

    Oh, you don’t respect Tuman. Well, I’m sure I’m in that group as well. What he has done to not deserve your respect is not supported by your piece, and I think most people who read it know that. But I guess Perata does deserve your respect, even though his long list of misdeads and shady dealings goes virtually undenied. The only question is whether his conduct is legal – the ethical issue from most who look at it is largely beyond dispute (although some sophists here may dispute that nonetheless).

  3. mfraser

    How you conclude you “dislike” Tuman, and now that you lack any respect for him as well, based on attending a few Mayor’s candidate forums and looking at his answers is just so sad. He is a good person who has worked hard and distinguished himself, raising his family and earning the respect of his friends and neighbors.

    Who is more disreputable, Joe Tuman (who there is NOTHING disreputable about) who’s ‘crime’ in your book is not being fully up to speed on the minutiae of Oakland politics and proceedure, or someone who hurls endless insults at his character based on basically no evidence and contrived evidence, and what evidence is provided is demonstrably wrong, including:
    - attacking the wrong police plan
    - accusing him of not knowing foster care is solely a county issue, when I document that you are in fact completely wrong, and it is shared. I also reached a foster care facility that shared with me they receive substantial ‘support’ from the city, though I didn’t feel right in asking them to document what exact form that takes. You might remember his supposed error on this issue is when you know for a fact you ‘didn’t like him.’
    I just think that reflects so poorly on you, and instead of saying you overstepped, you keep defending the indefensible. However, I won’t hijack your discussion with that point, I just felt it should be said once. How you present yourself here is of course entirely up to you.

    Nice way to turn my attempted compliment, though admittedly half hearted, into an extension of the conflict. Regardless, best of luck here and in the future. Again, I expect you will be ‘rewarded.’

  4. mfraser

    I do want to say I very much appreciate your kindness and obvious efforts in providing this forum, and that while I’m sure you don’t like my posts, you leave them up anyway. I think that does display some integrity on your part, notwithstanding my objections about the Tuman piece. Even given my serious concerns about the conduct on this issue, I want to leave on a more positive note…

  5. Colin

    I don’t think Rebecca ever claimed to have created late night transbay bus service, and she certainly doesn’t on her site. What she did was get those buses to go where the BART stops are so that you didn’t have to go to the transbay terminal to catch your ride home. Huge improvement in my opinion and definitely worth highlighting.

    And is there any way to add an ignore feature?

  6. V Smoothe Post author

    Colin –

    Her website used to say that she created new all-night bus service, and she has made the claim several times in interviews. At one point, there was a video on her Council website where she claimed that previous to the launch of this service you couldn’t get back from San Francisco to Oakland after BART closed. Additionally, she makes the claim in her EBYD questionnaire. I’m happy that the site has been updated to reflect a more accurate picture of the achievement. In any case, it’s kind of a minor point. It just always bugged me since I used to rely on those buses.

  7. Karen Bishop

    just my two cents. Some people push our buttons, others we respect and admire, while others we think can do no wrong and we are as emotionally attracted to them as we are emotionally caught up in feeling repulsed toward others. No amount of rational argument will change someone’s mind about a candidate if that candidate is now verboten in your world.

    J.T. is a very successful person and he is strong enough to take the heat. We don’t have to get angry or frustrated with others if they don’t feel the way we do.

    One thing Joe Tuman taught me is no one is going to agree with you all the time. And, when you get turned down, told no or you don’t get what you want, you go back, re-group, try again. At times we have to accept that the way we view our issue or problem is not going to necessarily be the way others see it. You may have to accept it and move on.

  8. Colin

    That isn’t what she says in the EBYD questionnaire either: “On the AC Transit Board I created new late-night service to San Francisco and put bike racks all buses.” I don’t know the details of getting to SF late at night of what kind of service there was so I can’t really comment, but I’m not seeing the dishonesty you’re accusing her of.

    I haven’t seen this video of which you speak, and I won’t believe you until I see it. She does know a thing or two about the transit system in the bay area, and I would be amazed if she put up an out-right lie like that. Because it wouldn’t be an instance of her being uninformed, it would be her lying about a subject she knows well.

    Again, I have never heard her claim to have created this service. I have heard her talk about setting it up to run along the BART route, and all of her quotes in your post from 2 years ago have her saying the exact same thing.

    Minor point? You’re accusing her of lying and I do see that as a big deal. Especially compared to some of the whoppers your candidate has been shilling.

    I really am looking forward to your logic in choosing The Don, by the way. I cannot conceive of any fan of good government being willing to get behind the man, but you are most definitely that, so it’s a little like someone promising to show you a unicorn. Please, let the waiting end!

  9. V Smoothe Post author

    Well, Colin, if you don’t want to believe me, that’s up to you. Becks and I had a disagreement about this back in 2008. “New service” clearly means something different to you than it does to me. I did not intend to accuse her of lying. My point was not to question her character, but rather to say that she has a tendency to exaggerate her accomplishments, and I see this as an instance of that. Since my inability to support Rebecca’s candidacy is entirely based on her record of accomplishments, it seemed relevant to me.

    In any case, if you want it in her own words, this is what she said about the subject in an e-mail to me on May 10th, 2008. “So, when I say I led the effort to help launch the service, the main thing I mean by that is that I came up with solutions to the three main problems that were in the way of the improved service.” That quote indicates to me that she was not disputing that she had made the claim, but perhaps you read it differently.

  10. Colin

    I’m not interested in splitting hairs – especially if it’s taking away time from the post where you tell us why you support The Don. Inquiring minds…

  11. len raphael

    Rebecca would make a great councilmember if she buckled down and worked on crafting important legislation that she got passed. she’s at large so if she has to, she can appeal to the entire city to back her on issues that particular council members balk, if done in a politic way.

    I suspect the composition of our council will have a bigger impact on the next four years than our choice of mayor.

    -len raphael

  12. Daniel Schulman

    My reading of your critique seems to boil down to Rebecca Kaplan is so incredible that she raises expectations to a level where her actual accomplishments do not meet them.

    I am not really sure, though, what you were expecting from a freshman councilmember in her first two years that also happened to have coincided with some of the worse times in Oakland. Were there specific promises/objectives Kaplan set during her election that she failed to meet?

    As you mentioned previous, budget cycles were breaking down to every two weeks. What did her peers find the time to get done during this period. I am not laying that out as an excuse, but a frame of reference. Because I actually think some of the things she got done are pretty good – http://www.kaplanformayor.org/experience. Being known in this town for fun, I am particularly elated with her cabaret reform.

    True, Kaplan had a period of a few weeks where she made some decisions neither of us agree with. However, things have come full circle and Kaplan is making things happen. While other councilmembers seem to obsess on making it harder to open a laundromat, Kaplan is launching new business initiatives. The best example of the beginning of the Oakland Renaissance is her collaboration with Larry Reid to open more marijuana dispensaries and allow for grow operations.

    No two councilmembers fought as bitterly as Kaplan and Reid over the Oakland Airport Connector (OAC). I swear at one point while Kaplan was speaking against this boondoggle, I saw steam coming off of Larry Reid’s head. While Reid has loved the OAC for like 30 years, he has hated marijuana even longer. Thanks, though, to Kaplan’s leadership the two are working together to make marijuana safe, accessible, and a positive influence on the community.

    I don’t agree with her 100%, but Rebecca Kaplan has my full support for Mayor of Oakland.

  13. V Smoothe Post author

    Dan, as I said, I think that Rebecca has done quite well for a freshman Councilmember. But I think that it is also quite obvious that she can’t handle being Mayor. She hasn’t shown any leadership on the budget, and she hasn’t demonstrated an ability to put votes together to get her proposals passed. Those are the two main things that a Mayor needs to be able to do.

  14. ralph

    In addition to the above items, I am most troubled by what appears to be Kaplan’s focus on issues that appeal to the “hipster class.” And I would include myself in that category.

    I can agree with Kaplan’s policies, but I don’t see how the guy in East Oakland feels included in her vision. Heck it was only last weekend that she set up office space in East Oakland.

    Before Kaplan moves up the ladder, she needs to prove that she can build coalitions, reach a broad population, and make unpopular decisions.

  15. James


    In all honesty, the “hipster class” is the group that is ascending in Oakland. I read a report last week that stated the black population in Oakland decreased 25% between 2000 and 2008. For every black person who left Oakland, a white person arrived in Oakland.

    Now, I’m not trying to make this a racial issue (since you don’t have to be white to be a hipster), but I WILL make this a class issue. As someone who actually lives in East Oakland, I can tell you that there aren’t that many folks out here interested in voting this time around. I guess blue-collar workers are either too busy trying to survive to care that much about this election, or too disenchanted from the last election (“Obama didn’t give me grilled cheese, so I won’t vote”). That being said, Kaplan is the only candidate (as far as I know) who has won a city-wide Oakland election in this century. So I’m guessing she is putting that experience to good use.

  16. Daniel Schulman

    V, if you are going to repeat yourself, I’ll cycle too. You have faulty expectations.

    On the budget — Absolutely it is the mayor’s job to lead. It is NOT that of the freshman at-large councilmember. Dellums absence was the problem. Yes, other councilmembers did more on budget issues, and Kaplan could have made more contributions. I just don’t know how much you could expect her to hit the ground running with such a dismal situation.

    On getting legislation though, you point to the OAC and condo-conversion. On the OAC, all the facts might have been on her side, but she was fighting against 30 years of inertia and the promise of $70 million in federal grant money. Dang, are you going to blame Tom Radulovich for not convincing all of the other BART boardmembers that the OAC sucks. Maybe Kaplan picked an un-winnable fight, but she did much better than I ever would have expected. BTW, didn’t your candidate Don Perata also come out against the OAC – what was his follow-through?

    On the condo-conversion, I didn’t really follow this topic. I’ll provisionally grant you this issue, and say you can’t win them all. Maybe someone else has some commentary.

    As a consultant, I’ve learned that the greatest sin is to oversell what you can actually deliver. Maybe Kaplan with her awesomeness committed that sin. Let me be the first to say, Oakland faces challenging times no matter who becomes mayor. Things will get worse before they get better. In order for them to get better, though, we need to avoid the cynicism and divisiveness that would come with Perata.

    We need a candidate who might oversell her awesomeness a little, but as the Oakland Tribune says in their endorsement “best blends intellect, fresh ideas, an ability to work with diverse groups, [and] a clear understanding of city issues.” That candidate is Rebecca Kaplan who I am supporting for Mayor of Oakland.

  17. livegreen

    I understand your point about leadership, V, but sometimes our current batch of City Council members doesn’t listen to anybody. They’re all pretty head strong, even when they’re on the wrong side of an issue.

    Look at the budget compromise: 5 of them agree to their own proposal (raise taxes). Few of them think it will pass yet they wait several months making it worse. 1 immediately comes out against (IDLF). 1 other says she only voted for it because the OPOA wanted it (you see, for both of them, the budget compromise is different than actually voting for the tax). 1 other was initially against it because she didn’t think it would pass, but then when one of her neighborhoods got hit by criminals switched for it, even though it still won’t pass (PK).

    & I’m sure I could find something in here about Jane Brunner (who never comes to meetings prepared, and like the others for a long time didn’t think we needed more police).

    I mean, who could get compromise out of this bunch when they try to paper over their problems, blow them off, can’t make a firm decision, and create a budget “compromise” which they don’t even support the individual parts of.

    I do agree with you about some of Kaplan’s weakness. But her problems are small in comparison to those of the others, while at the same time she has been offering original & workable solutions.

    Of course she’s only running against 1 of those others. So I await your tour de force shortly (drumbeat…), and why we should risk the potential of a Mayor who relishes back room deals and might have other things on his mind than getting into all the gory details of governing.

  18. Max Allstadt

    I’m going to jump in on Dan Schulman’s comment about Kaplan and Reid’s fight over the Airport connector.

    What makes Kaplan special in the field of candidates is her ability to civilly disagree, and her ability to work with everybody.

    I remember Vsmoothe saying in the past on two separate occasions that Don Perata and Jean Quan were both too divisive and polarizing figures to be good choices for Mayor. I agree with Vsmoothe of the past.

    A Perata mayoralty or a Quan Mayoralty could easily be crippled by controversy and factional combat.

    Kaplan simply won’t have that problem. She’s proven that she can transcend it. This city has been beset by icky factionalism for way too long, and I believe Rebecca Kaplan is the only candidate who can lead us out of it.

  19. Max Allstadt

    Also, V, this is a ranked choice election. We all know you’re ranking Don number 1. Who’s 2nd and 3rd?

  20. ralph

    Does it matter how smart you are if you can not accomplish anything? Undersell and overdeliver!

    On the budget, I believe CitizenX pointed out that Dellums did exactly what was required of him as per the charter.

    What I don’t understand is why Kaplan sat on sidelines while the ship was sinking? Honestly, if she had ideas that could have plugged the hole, then she should have been screaming them from mountaintop. Either man-up or step aside and let the man go through, let the man go through.

  21. V Smoothe Post author

    I used to think that was a point in Rebecca’s favor too, Max, until I watched the budget and marijuana tax discussions this summer. It’s easy not to be divisive when you let other people make the unpopular decisions. Watching the debate on the marijuana tax, and how Ignacio had to step up to get the damn thing on the ballot for her made me realize that just because Kaplan is broadly liked doesn’t mean she’ll be able to bring people together in a meaningful way to make progress for Oakland.

    I would love to have someone as Mayor who could be both effective and non-polarizing. Unfortunately, that’s not a choice on the table. If you and Dan think that likability and energy is more important than the ability to deliver results, that’s fine. Then you should both vote for Rebecca. Everyone has their own priorities when casting a ballot, and mine are clearly not the same as yours. It happens.

    As for voting, I wasn’t planning on marking a 2 or 3. I have one choice.

  22. len raphael

    Dan, Kaplan and Kerghn were right on the Lake Merrit condo proposal but completely naive about the resident’s reactions and simply why it appeared to be a special interest piece of legislation.

    Max, when i was in the council audience for one of the Nik Nak hearings, the reaction to Kaplan was not unity, but first confusion and then intensified factionalism among the audience. Again, naivete on Kaplan’s part to think she could just blandly ask everyone to sit down and compromise.

    I’m sure she’ll learn from her mistakes. But it’s a lot safer having her learn in the council then at the Mayor level.

    -len raphael
    No on Q(uan)

  23. ralph

    Perata got votes in the state. Quan got votes on the Kids Compromise and Kaplan can not get them on her pet projects. Of course, if she weren’t too busy trying to please her monied pot interest, she may have been able to put together the votes. As it is, she got steamrolled. So tell me how does Kaplan bring people together. Why am I to believe she will not continue to get steamrolled. Kaplan will probably grow into a more than capable councilmember but right now she needs to prove that she can bring people together to get stuff done.

  24. Max Allstadt

    I think you’re mischaracterizing what happened with the Marijuana tax this summer.

    The fact that Ignacio was the person who brought the measure to the council procedurally at the final meeting before it was passed does not give him ownership of it.

    You know this as well as I do. Things that happen during parliamentary procedures in Council have complicated meanings. For instance, at that same meeting, Quan proposed a lower tax rate that she knew damn well couldn’t pass. She did it to kiss up to the Marijuana community in the audience. That doesn’t mean she had a counterproposal or a better idea. It means she knows how to grandstand.

    Kaplan’s energy and likeability aren’t the only reason to support her, and they aren’t my only reasons. Her mastery of policy, her depth of knowledge on the issues facing Oakland… That’s really what people should pay attention to.

    But don’t take it from me, take it from the Tribune.

    On the Tribune’s editorial board interviews with candidates, reporter Dave Newhouse said, “Kaplan was razor-sharp, prepared beyond belief, and was quick and accurate when pressed for on-the-fly answers.”

    On Perata, he said “The candidate who surprised me the most, but in a negative way, was Perata. He’s considered the front-runner, but his attitude that day was that he already had won the election. Unlike the other three, he leaned back in his chair, offered vague answers, and was sometimes uninformed on city policy. He had to be corrected by council members Quan and Kaplan.”

    And time and time again, we’ve seen the same reactions from other people. I could go on and on with examples, but it would take up too much space.

    The synopsis: when people endorse Kaplan, they talk about how much accurate data she’s got in her head, about how much detail she offers about her plans and about her remarkable energy. And that’s why I endorse her.

  25. V Smoothe Post author

    She didn’t even vote for it, Max! I watched it. It was a mess.

    As for the Tribune, well, I disagree with their assessment. Of course, I disagree with a lot of their endorsements. They endorsed Carole Ward Allen for BART Board and Courtney Ruby for City Auditor. Two years ago, they endorsed Nancy Nadel for City Council. So I would say that in general, it is not a publication that uses the same criteria as I do when evaluating candidates.

  26. Max Allstadt

    I watched it too, V. I was in the room, sitting next to Michael Colbruno as we analyzed all the politicized maneuvering and posturing.

    There were multiple other meetings that didn’t involve councilmembers grandstanding for the cameras and for the Weederati in the audience.

    Allow me to sum up what happened over the course of ALL of these meetings, and into the election:

    1. Kaplan put forth a Marijuana taxation initiative.

    2. Negotiations and boring procedural stuff happened.

    3. The Marijuana taxation initiative is on the ballot, and it’s the most popular tax measure on the ballot.

    Kaplan For the WIN.

    Good night.

  27. len raphael

    Max, sheesh, you actually quotied Dave Newhouse as a political affairs journalist authority.

    The ex sports writer turned feel good fluffy human interest pieces for the trib. The guy whose wife is mugged and he only has some polyanish drivel about it.

    Max, I give your endorsement much much more consideration than that of Newhouse.

    -len raphael
    No on Q(uan)

  28. Dave

    I really wish most people put as much thought into why they can’t support other candidates as you have in this series of posts. I’m dismayed to see that you’re attacked for it by partisans who are for other candidates or against the one you chose to support.

  29. Max Allstadt


    That was one quote of many. I could fill up a lot of comment space with a comparison study of quotes about the candidates. The overarching theme of positive comments in the media on the three leading candidates is as follows:

    Kaplan: Super smart, knows the technicalities of the city, has detailed plans, positive attitude, capable of winning simultaneous support from groups that ordinarily fight with each other.

    Quan: Hard working, experienced, cares about kids/

    Perata: He’ll be a good leader because he’ll be a good leader. Tough. Experienced. Cops love him.

    I really don’t see anybody other than Kaplan getting glowing reviews in the media for their understanding of city hall.

    Other candidates are getting endorsements largely from special interests and high ranking career politicians.

    The media editorials, blog endorsements, and voter impressions from debates seem to be pretty overwhelming that Kaplan is the candidate of pragmatic progressivism and unity. This is what Oakland needs.

  30. Mary Hollis


    Since you know so much more about this stuff than I do, and are willing to invest so much time attending meetings and seeing these candidates work first-hand, your opinion carries considerable weight with me and, hopefully, many others here.

    And even though many of your observations went way over my amateur head, I am gratified that the substance of your judgments echoes what I have also been thinking.

    Kaplan is too new and, as others pointed out, a little too focused on the hip stuff and blue-sky idealistic thinking. I also didn’t like her theatrics at the (last) Oscar Grant riot, and her demurrer at the budget fix.

    Quan is the opposite: too vested in the current mess having paid too big a part in creating it.

    And that leaves Perata. His flaws are known enough but I do see him as someone who can bang heads together, and who also has sufficient clout with the public safety guys to broker deals. He’s battle-hardened and a street fighter.

    Over-simplistic, perhaps, and I don’t pretend to understand all the issues. But the fact that V can articulate both with detail and passion, and reach a similar but much more informed conclusion, is reassuring to me as we approach the finishing line.

    So, thank you, V.

  31. len raphael

    Max, most of the readers of this blog know hecka more about Oakland public policy issues than any Chron on Trib or TV reporter.

    Ok, maybe there’s one person at each of the above who somewhat familiar with the issues.

    Still, you expect us to be impressed by the media journalists impression of Kaplan.

  32. quinn

    My wife is voting for Kaplan and I have been very impressed with her, too. She seems honest, intelligent, and sincerely enthusiastic about taking on the job. However, my first choice is going to be Perata and here’s why.

    The single most important relationship in the city right now (IMHO) is the relationship between the mayor and the OPD. Kaplan made a misjudgement in getting involved with the demonstrations over the Mehserle verdict. It’s one small, symbollic action, but it’s enough to damage her credibility in the eyes of the OPD. Like Quan, she also seems to want to focus on the social justice aspect of crime. While I agree that outreach programs must be part of the solution, we also need someone who is not afraid to crack down on the gangs, possibly even work with the FBI in stings such as the one that lead to Edgerly’s nephew.

    Some people will argue Perata is too cozy with the police union, but if he has the trust and support of our police force, that’s probably more than we can say about the other candidates.

    The perception persists that crime is out of control in Oakiand. We will never attract the investment in our city to create the jobs we need and raise our tax base to fund the programs everyone wants until we change that.

    p.s. I agree with V that Kaplan could make a fine mayor in four to eight years, but I think additional experience selling her ideas and getting things passed on the city council would make her a much stronger leader.

  33. mfraser

    I think the discussion here is missing the point on some of the larger Kaplan issues. Even the pro-Kaplan East Bay Express couldn’t deny that she was substantially responsible, while on the transit board, for negotiating and approving the transit worker contracts that have overextended transit finances so severely and caused dramatic service cutbacks. Perhaps I’m understating this case, in fact; one commentator I believe admits this is a ‘death spiral.’

    Similarly, with the Van Hool buses she was a key player, voted for them time and again (again as even the EBE admits), and then jumbed ship to the Council! So she helped ship jobs overseas, saddled us with expensive and hard / costly to maintain buses, leaves transit in shambles, then bails.

    Finally, she’s favored aggressive parking enforcement, increased fines, and increased escalation of fines, all of which is of course terribly regressive and entirely anti-business.

    These are the real issues folks are concerned about with Kaplan, and of course her lack of leadership success which I do think this piece addresses well, and I learned some things from for not being here to see all of this unfold myself, so thank you.

    Given all this it’s funny to me that pro-Kaplan folks like to keep saying how she isn’t responsible for the unworkably expensive city union contracts b/c she wasn’t actually on the council, when she was even more fully responsible for doing the same darn thing with transit.

    I also just don’t understand how any of these other issues even began to compare to the fundamental questions of past performance on these contracts, when it’s well known those are what is bankrupting the city. Any other analysis is superficial at best, but perhaps its just designed to pander. Everything else, like a couple million dollars in marijuana tax, or cabaret licenses, may be nice, but really is just nibbling at the margins and ignoring the far larger issues, even as reported in the media.

    Folks in this city really like to argue at the margins about the non central issues while often ignoring the most critical and largest points. It isn’t like that everywhere I’ve lived, so I’m finding it hard to understand…

  34. ralph

    Dax, paging Dax, I believe mfraser is calling you.

    It took me a long time to decide on a candidate, but I think quinn’s assesment of what Oakland needs now and Perata’s ability to achieve it is spot on.

  35. Dax

    Ralph, I scroll back to mfraser’s posts.

    Can’t seem to see what you are talking about.

    mfraser seems to be anti-Perata, while I seem to get the impression you are pro-Perata.

    I am still undecided.

    Last night I watched the PBS show on the Seven Wonders of Ancient Rome.

    Included in that was the Caracalla Baths.

    Caracalla , 188-217, Roman emperor (211-17); son of Septimius Severus. His real name was Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, and he received his nickname from the caracalla, a Gallic tunic he regularly wore. He was made caesar in 196 and augustus in 198, but he resented having to share these honors with his brother Geta. Early in his career he revealed his ruthless character by bringing about the downfall of his father-in-law, the political leader Plautianus, through false reports. After Septimius Severus died, leaving the empire to his two sons, Caracalla murdered (212) the more popular Geta and ordered a general massacre of Geta’s followers and sympathizers (including the jurist Papinian). He thus ushered in a reign infamous for cruelty and bloodshed. Caracalla did, however, pacify the German frontier. He also extended Roman citizenship to all free inhabitants of the empire, not out of generosity but to increase his income from taxes in order to meet staggering expenses. He tried to buy popularity with his soldiers and planned an ambitious campaign to extend his father’s conquests into old Persia. When leading an expedition in Asia, Caracalla was murdered by Macrinus, who succeeded him. The famous Baths of Caracalla were erected in his reign.

    Seems Caracalla got some things done, but wasn’t a very moral person. How do you weigh such…

    That was 1,800 years ago.

    People didn’t get to vote back then.

  36. Conan Neutron

    I appreciate that your post is well thought out and well reasoned, I feel that you’ve made the wrong decision though.

    Oakland needs help NOW, not 4 years from now or whatever.

    I have proudly voted for Rebecca Kaplan and I think your reasons *not* to vote for her, are not nearly as compelling as the case you did make.

    Just sayin’

  37. Dax

    Ralph, OK, I see that paragraph and thinking.

    I’m losing steam this morning.
    Property tax bill came a few days back.

    Instead of paying that bill to the Alameda Co. Tax Collector, why don’t I just save the stamp and walk down the block and hand it to the two 100K plus Oakland pensioners nearby.

    Cut out the middle man.

  38. James

    Time for my stupid question of the day: what does the mayor of Oakland actually do? At the state and federal level there are strict deliniations of legislative and executive branches. I don’t see those lines at the Oakland city level. For example, why is the Oakland city council negotiating with the OPD? Shouldn’t that be the mayor’s job? And what value does Perata bring to the mayor’s office? He has not executive branch experience whatsoever (neither do the other two front runners) plus I don’t see any city council or city government experience. Could someone please explain this to me? And why is Kaplan, who has both a law degree and a master’s degree in urban planning, a bad fit for an executive branch position like Oakland mayor?

  39. len raphael

    MF, don’t know what role RK played in the Van Hool fiasco, but probably nothing she could have done about the renewal of the egregious ACT union contracts except to raise a stink that would have prevented her from getting the Alameda Labor Council support when she ran for City Council.

    I thought there are some incumbents on the ACT board who are still beloved by public transit advocates who were on that board pre Kaplan.

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

  40. mfraser

    Will post what I’ve been able to find on the pay and pension question for transit, but not having been here I’d love to have a more first hand account of what occurred. I know the EBE endorsement even acknowledged exactly what I’m saying, but don’t know any of this firsthand. Would welcome and references to detailed accounts of what happened. The EBE seems to be admitting that Kaplan actually took the lead on negotiating these transit contracts. Is that true?

  41. Joanna

    V -

    Long time reader who’s been out of the loop for a while. (Yikes, long enough to give birth – glad that didn’t happen!) I figured that since Dellums had checked out, I couldn’t be bothered to stay involved. Switched my energies to higher education in hopes of figuring out solutions to problems, rather than always feeling frustrated.

    Anyway, when I saw your post today that you were supporting Perata for Mayor, I thought it was a joke. I had to look at your post and today’s date just to make sure you were serious.

    So then I had to read this post. JQ isn’t getting any of my three choices, so that wasn’t a tough call. But I was admittedly shocked about your thoughts on Kaplan.

    In looking at your reasons for not voting for Kaplan, I see that you have some points, but like Dan and Max, I am still going to stick with her as my top choice, if only because I appreciate that she makes more of an effort than anyone else we’ve had in public office in years. No, she’s not perfect, but who is? Okay, so she’s got more flaws than I’d like, but I still feel like she’s the best choice.

    Originally I feared that if she ran, it would leave Council back to it’s old days, but I think some new, fresh blood is slowly creeping in. Too slowly for me, being such a now person, but still.

    Personally, I didn’t appreciate Kaplan’s taking credit for the B (the Broadway Shuttle) because we used to have it and it was a requirement of the Jack London Square Redevelopment Project. I give Simon, Gary Knecht, and a few others credit for that.

    But nevertheless, I’m still voting for her. I hope she can make good on her campaign promises and take your criticisms to heart and hopefully learn from most of them.


  42. len raphael

    J, welcome back.
    Sure hope you made Perata your second choice, since you don’t want to gaze upon Quan’s smiling visage for the next four years.

    -len raphael
    No on Q(uan)
    Yes on P(erata)
    Yes on K(ilian)

  43. We Fight Blight

    Thanks V for the honest assessment. As with you, we believe a fundamental issue related to Nic Nak was one of failed leadership. Rebecca failed to step up and explain her decision on this controversial issue. Importantly, she also failed to engage the lead appellants in any meaningful discussion even though they requested to meet with her several times. We Fight Blight believes Rebecca is simply positioning herself for a run as Mayor in 2014 by getting greater name recognition among Oakland residents. Like you, we support Don Perata. We believe he has the skills, experience and contacts to make fundamental changes in how the city is run. Moreover, unlike Rebecca he has committed to making crime reduction and police staffing his number one core priority.

  44. 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.

  45. matt

    I can’t fallow the logic that Perata’s obvious moral and ethical shortcomings are less troublesome than Kaplan’s leadership shortcomings. By the way Perata’s idea of leadership looks more like political prostitution to me.

    I’m starting to think V wrote this piece as an experiment in reverse psychology. She’s forcing us to qualify our support of Rebecca Kaplan.

    It’s working. The yard sign goes up tomorrow.

  46. 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.

  47. Chris Kidd

    RdwithCypress: Please stop spamming every comment thread with repetitive, unrelated posts about your cause against CEDA. Or at the very least, don’t post *the exact same thing* across multiple threads. There’s a “recent comments” sidebar, so we can all see what you’ve posted.

  48. V Smoothe Post author

    Yes, RdwithCypress. Chris is right. This is spam. If you post the same thing again, I am going to delete it. If you want to copy and paste your PEC complaint, the appropriate place to do it is in the Open Thread, and the appropriate amount of times to do it is once.

  49. RdwithCypress

    I am sorry about that, I had some type of internet problem this morning and even though I clicked post, I could not see the posting. I tried to repost somewhere else. I promise it was not intentional… Feel free to delete the duplicates.


  50. Steve Lowe

    The Don’s Early Blight:

    Let’s see how fast Lew Wolff can pack the A’s bags for San Jose once his favotite candidate gets the key to the Mayor’s office. Actually, this has all been a’brewing since Jerry days when John Fisher bought the A’s with Lew by putting up 80% to Lew’s 20% after Joe Morgan was prevented from by Bud Selig from buying the A’s.

    So, in terms of Rebecca versus Don, tell me which one will fight to keep the team (look what just being in the playoffs does for retail all around Frisco) because its an economic driver, and which one will mimic his political bedmate, JB (Jerry or Jacques, take your pick) and let them silently slip away…

    Could be your vote equals something as simple as that, yes?


    – S

  51. Navigator

    This speaks volumes about Don Perata. Accepting $25,000 from anti-Oakland business people like Wolff and Fisher tells me everything I want to know about Perata. He will sell out Oakland to San Jose in a blink of an eye. Oakland deserves someone who really cares about the city, its institutuions, and its history. Perata is already showing his corrupt side. This is a bad sign folks. If Perata is comfortable giving Lew Wolff an escort to San Jose what makes you folks think that other Oakland institutions and businesses aren’t for sale for the right price?

  52. V Smoothe Post author

    Navigator, Don Perata did not accept a $25,000 donation from anyone. We have a limit on donations of $700. The donation is question was made to an independent committee that supports Perata. He has no power over who these committees take money from – in fact, it would be illegal for him to talk to them about it.

  53. J

    At this point MLB will never give the rights to SJ up to the lowly A’s when the rights are already controlled by what could be the world series champs. In addition SJ doesn’t have anymore funds than Oakland does. Wolff can posture all he wants but his team cant compete with the Giants and the rest of the owners know that, and thats whats going to make the biggest difference.

  54. len raphael

    in recent days, when my cpa buddies want to talk about the giants and i’m bored to death by sports, so i grill them on the money issues of pro baseball.

    the consensus is with J re San Jose.

    but the other part is that Wolff Fischer are simply businesspeople, neither oakland haters or lovers.

    they want to leave oakland because the area can’t support two teams and in particular even the most beautiful new stadium in the best part of Oakland isn’t going to break even unless we literally throw RDA money at the A’s.

    if MLB blocks Wolff from going to SJ, he’ll find another city to move to. Unless you want to give him a free stadium and a guaranteed attendance annual payment.

  55. len raphael

    Kill a tree for Kaplan. I received 3 different Kaplan mailers today, all paid for by the CNA PAC. Excellent disclosure.

    Looks like she’ll spend all the CNA money, but has she disclosed spending of the Hollywood money? Curious if she’s salting that away for her next run or to channel to other races to build influence.

    Which is a point mf misses about PAC money ROI. I haven’t looked, but i would guess that a bunch of the money contributed to Perata’s PAC’s was later given to other candidate’s that it was known Perata supported. His ROI on that subsequent distribution in the form of support when he proposed legislation was huge. To say that he “undercharged” his donors only makes sense if you assume the worst about him and his donors.

    In most cases, publicly held companies make contributions to candidates and their PAC’s to get access; to get an ear. They don’t try to do anything as stupid as trying to bribe.

    In a perfect world, everyone gets lots of ear access by all officials.

    len raphael,temescal
    BB the big lie

  56. Mry

    9 shot at an Oakland night club last night, you can expect more of this under RK. Her plan to bring more nightlife to Oakland needs to have some oversight from the police, which is what
    She has removed. She has good ideas but not good plans behind them.

  57. Daniel Schulman

    Mry, that is completely untrue. Kaplan’s work on cabaret reform has allowed smaller venues like bars to have a DJ and art galleries to have acoustic music. There was no relaxation of police oversight for larger venues like Sweet’s.

    Her other work on allowing a few well -run clubs to be open later than 2am (no alcohol serving) involve extensive police oversight.

  58. ralph

    Alcohol is not always the problem. People with guns are the problems. Sweet’s was hosting a party 600+ party for the 18 and over set. We need police officers.

    Kaplan did not step up to the plate to offer a solution to retain the police prior to the lay-offs. Kaplan blocked the police from performing their duties the night of the Grant verdict. Can we honestly expect Kaplan to get a deal with the officers that does not involve increasing the taxes to the residents. We need a mayor who can strike a deal with the police and solve our budget issues. Perata is that person.

  59. len raphael

    Trying to see how a regulatory approach would work to reduce this kind of violence.

    Don’t see how you can require venues over a certain capacity of staffing metal dedectors or off duty TSA guards.

    Don’t see how more cops on the street would help that much either.

    Suppose the aholes know the odds of getting caught aren’t real high with so few cops, but still doesn’t dto at night get fairly good police coverage?

    Would think that any more of this and the clubs would start competing by how good their security is.

    -len raphael

  60. ralph

    You can require a certain level of security. I think certain venues because of the people they attract will require more security. Alternatively, we shutdown the venues.

  61. Jonathan C. Breault

    I will take your word for it that Kaplan is “wicked smart” although I have seen no evidence that this is indeed true. Kaplan’s ridiculous rationalization for voting to invest $150,000 in a hopelessly mismanaged and out-dated Merritt Bakery was enough for me. That, and her equally lame brained advocacy for a liquor store in North Oakland for which there was not one even remotely coherent justification. When Kaplan announced that folks running around Lake Merritt needed to stop off at the Merritt Bakery for a bottle of juice or perhaps a snack I thought that she was being faceteous. Too bad she was apparently rather serious. Kaplan is so, so, so Not Ready For Prime Time. I may not be “wicked smart” but I have rational good sense, something which Kaplan is indeed in short supply of.

  62. Dax

    News FLASH! 1:55 PM Monday Oct. 1st

    Kaplan paying BELOW California minimum for “paid” callers to voters.

    I was just called by a “paid” Kaplan campaign caller.

    After some nudging and working the person with my charm, I got that person to divulge what they were getting hourly.

    $7.25 per hour.

    California minimum wage is $8.00

    But Kaplan’s organization went outside of California to a state (New York) with a cheaper minimum wage.

    So she is now outsourcing her paid positions to areas outside of the Bay Area and even outside of California.

    With a 12.5% unemployment rate in California and about 17% in Oakland, don’t you think Kaplan could have hired locally?

    Or do you think the extra 75 cents per hour was just too expensive.

    BTW, the callers know nothing about Oakland, or the Oakland mayoral race.
    The don’t know who Perata or Quan are.

    They only, if interrupted, break the script and tell you to go to the website for any real information

    Does Kaplan know her paid callers are getting a wage below what is legal in Oakland?

    Talk about “Progressive” hypocrisy…

    BTW, I am still undecided on my mayoral vote

  63. Daniel Schulman

    Dax, what website did they tell you go to? I don’t think it was Kaplan’s website.

    I believe the paid callers are being funded by an independent expenditure committee which Kaplan has no control over.

    I could be wrong here, I am only a Kaplan supporter/volunteer and not part of her staff, but that is my understanding.

  64. Dax

    Daniel….. They told me to go to the Kaplan website.

    Are you suggesting there is a entire “other” Kaplan website complete with all her positions and proposals?

    I seriously doubt there is a “second” Kaplan website.

    I don’t doubt the calls may be paid for by a independent committee, but I seriously doubt that everyone in Oakland is unaware of what is going on.

    I’m tired of candidates throwing up their hands, saying “I know nothing” about such and such.

    BTW, I did just go to her website and now see she is against Prop 20….
    Meaning that our congressional districts will continue to be gerrymandered for eternity.

    She is starting to look more and more like a political hack.

  65. ralph

    Maybe I have been following this campaign for way too long, but it took me less than half a second to realize that the site Dan referenced was paid for by the California Nurses Assn. They are consistent with their look – check out the banner on sfgate. (she figured out the game)

    I am troubled by her position on Prop 24. I hate ballot box budgeting, and I will be honest I am not exactly a fan on this measure but the better alternative is to vote No so that we stop ballot box budgeting. For an candidate who is pro-business, voting yes on 24 is about as anti-business as it gets.

  66. Dax

    NO, NO, they directed me to the website that would have ALL her well spelled out views and positions.

    Not a website like the one page type you are linking to.

    No, it was her official website.

    BTW, I did go there, and I did call her office.

    They told me she not only was against Prop 20, but far worse, she has come out FOR Prop 27 which is nothing but a shameless grab for power by the incumbent legislators.

    That she would be for 27 suggest to me she cares NOTHING about the voters who only 2 years ago voted for Prop 11, setting up a independent commission to give us fair reapportionment.

    Kapland wants to throw out that commission we voted for.
    Shameful………fully and completely shameful.

    If I wanted some crusty policital hack that would do stuff like that, I might as well vote for Perata..

    Good gosh…. Just this afternoon I am seeing a very ugly side of Rebecca Kaplan.
    New into politics but starting to stink already.

    Shameful…simply shameful….
    Playing right into the undemocratic power grabs by the existing elite…


  67. Dax

    The woman was trying to say, she didn’t know personally, but that I couldn’t blame Kaplan….

    So I went onto other issues such as her endorsement of Prop 27….

    To which the staff member said Kaplan is supporting all the California Democratic Party official positions.

    Seems she has sold out big time.
    A rapidly evolving “hack”…
    The only thing left for her to do is light up a big cigar.

    Bottom line is that Rebecca Kaplan is allowing people to pay below the minimum wages of California to make calls for her.
    Out sourcing her campaign to save money.

    I guess she was afraid to use call centers in India as Oakland residents would catch on to that.

    The person from New York who called me told me several times she wasn’t allowed to tell people where she was calling from.

    In other words, the instructions she got were to FOOL the people of Oakland into thinking they were being called my local residents.
    Fraud, misrepresentation, lying…
    Call it what you like, the Kaplan campaign and its allies are trying to fool the people of Oakland.

    A scam…. an eleventh hour scam being run.

    In my book, this is far more deplorable than a robo call.

    I was rather neutral on Kaplan until this afternoon.

    Still, my vote is undecided, but its going to be very hard to include her in any of my 3 choices.

  68. Karen Bishop


    I called the Kaplan Campaign office and left a message. A woman by the name of Molly called me back and said that Kaplan is not paying workers from New York to call Oakland voters. I asked her if the CNA was paying New York workers. She stated it was illegal for the Kaplan campaign to ask the CNA and that Kaplan has no knowledge of this.

  69. ralph

    I am shocked. How could you not want someone who is not going to bother to read the ballot measure. I mean if the Democratic party said it was good, then it must be good. I mean Kaplan is wicked smart so obviously she must know something that we mere smart people don’t.

    That being said, still looking for guidance on 21 and 25.

    21 sounds good but if it passes, Sac stops funding $200MM and doesn’t collect $50MM in fees, so the true nut is only $250MM gain, not $500MM and I don’t think I have been to a state park.

    25 sounds nice but I like having someone block new taxes.

  70. Dave C.

    Apparently candidates are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t: If candidates coordinate with outside expenditure groups, then people will raise hell about illegal collusion. If candidates don’t coordinate with outside expenditure groups, then people will raise hell about how the candidates are “allowing people” to act on their behalf in all sorts of nefarious ways.

    I understand that robocalls are annoying, but the leading candidates in this race have all done things which strike me as ethically dubious. Seems better just to ignore the annoying campaign crap (mailers, robocalls, etc.) and vote for the person who one believes will most competently carry out the duties of mayor in a way that is consistent with one’s own priorities.

  71. Navigator

    V, Thanks for clarifying that Perata didn’t receive the funds from Lew Wolff and John Fisher directly. That’s true. All we know at this point is that Perata stated publicly that he has no interest in fighting for the A’s staying in Oakland. We also know that after those statements, money from Wolff and Fisher in the sum of $25,000 made its way to Perata supporters. I guess thats all that we need to know.

    As far as Oakland not being a viable location for a ballpark, let’s face facts. The ownership of the Oakland A’s has consisted of South Bay business men who have been trying to move the franchise for over 15 years. Oakland hasn’t had a fair shot to see what it can do since the communitty friendly Walter Haas owned the team.

    You have to look at a MLB franchise as an economic opportunity to spur development in areas which already have the infrastructure in place. Victory Court between Lake Merritt and Jack London Square fits the bill. I would never vote for a candidate who fails to recognize the opportunity for economic growth for Jack london Square and the Oakland waterfront. The problem with Oakland is that we keep electing carpettbaggers who care nothing for the city and who view the job as an opportunity to enrich themselves at the city’s expense.

  72. Mry

    @Daniel, Sweets should have lost their cabaret or at the very least have restrictions placed on it long ago. The police have no say so on this because none of the CC would do anything. So while it was not just RK, I think under her trying to bring more nightlife with less restrictions is a recipe for disaster.

  73. Andrea

    V, one of your comments jumped out at me. Why aren’t you voting a second or third choice? Ranked voting to me seems like instant run-off, and you wouldn’t not vote if there were a separate run-off, would you? Just curious.

  74. Gray


    Thank you for sharing your well-thought out deliberations… I certainly won’t give you shit about your decision! :)

    We do the best thinking we can and at some point we have to make our move. It’s been an exercise for me as well. It’s not easy; the world’s a nuanced place… and gets faster/more complex by the day.

    At the end of the day, I support Kaplan. I have taken to heart what you have pointed out here… and I still believe Rebecca will rise to the occasion. If nothing else, I believe she is willing to listen and adapt. I vibe strongly with her vision and passions; even down to the bicycle and bio-diesel. Better than a suped-up Charger (on 22z!) that gets jacked at 51st & Shattuck. ;) (Obviously I am very thankful the Don wasn’t hurt in that incident, but still… choice of vehicle mirroring self-image, values,etc)

    I won’t go jump out a window if Perata wins. Hell, there’s a lot to like about the guy and we have many common views. I admire the stands he has taken against the regressive forces in our society and applaud his victories. I just couldn’t reconcile (even with V’s lucid narrative):

    1. With his long career, why does he really want to be mayor? Now?
    2. The seeming lack of engagement (or no-show altogether) in policy discussions, debates, etc.
    3. Too many questionable alliances and tactics

    So, in the final moments… Kaplan for Mayor!