Your choices for Oakland Mayor

Mayor, Mayor, Mayor. Everywhere I go, people want to talk to me about the freaking Mayor’s race. Who is running? Who has a chance? Who has no chance? How will IRV impact the election? So-and-so should team up with so-and-so and ask their supporters to make the other one their number two vote. Who will have the ability to make this or that happen?

Get a grip, people. The election is not until November. There will be plenty of opportunities to fret about who is going to be Mayor over the next seven months. Elections are a pain. I don’t see what the point is in starting them any earlier than strictly necessary.

But since everyone else seems eager to talk about it, I thought I’d offer a little rundown of your choices, as they stand today. Keep in mind, of course, that there are still like thirty weeks before the election and several months before even the filing deadline.

Don Perata

Don Perata

Don Perata was an Alameda County Supervisor in the 1980s and early 1990s, then went on to serve in the State Assembly and then State Senate until he got termed out.

Why he’s running:

President Obama said “Yes We Can.” So we can in Oakland. It’s the mayor’s job to set the tone, provide the answers and make city hall work. A mayor doesn’t blame. He listens, assesses and assists. A mayor doesn’t offer excuses. He makes government work so there are no excuses needed.

I want to be mayor of Oakland to help get this city back on track and reach its full potential. If Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Portland and Houston can, so can Oakland, with its tremendous natural, cultural and social resources, and above all, its wonderful, generous people.

What he wants to do:

Um…it’s hard to say, actually. So far, there is no “issues” section on his website or anything else that might indicate a platform. According to a recent blog post, he seems to think that we can solve the budget crisis by getting rid of Boards and Commissions? I don’t know. It’s unclear.

Learn more at:

Jean Quan

Jean Quan

Jean Quan currently represents District 4 on the Oakland City Council. Previous to that, she served on the Oakland School Board from 1990 to 2002. She left the School Board for the City Council in 2003, just in time to not have to deal with the State bailing out the District after it spent like $60 million it didn’t have. Now she chairs the Oakland City Council’s Finance Committee.

Why she’s running:

Having served two terms on the Council, I know that we can take this community-based politics to the whole city, which is why I’m running for Mayor. I truly care about what happens in Oakland and proudly stand on a solid record of fighting for our schools, our libraries, our youth and our neighborhoods. Oakland needs and deserves visible, hands-on leadership, and I have the on-the-ground knowledge, the leadership experience, and just as important, the passion the job of Mayor demands.

What she wants to do:

At one of her “Jean Quan for Mayor” coffee events last fall, she summed up her motivations to the group by saying that she wants to be Mayor so she can fix the schools. Huh. Education is still listed as one of her issues, but she has added to the list ethical government, neighborhood safety, community and economic development, and a greener, healthier city:

It takes a partnership between neighbors and the city to make Oakland safe.

Jean authored Measure Y, which funded 63 more police officers on patrol in our neighborhoods and expanded community-based crime and violence reduction programs. She expanded after school programs to help keep kids out of trouble and worked with residents to shut down drug houses and crime magnets.

Jean knows that fighting to prevent and reduce crime must be the city’s top priority.

Learn more at:

Don Macleay

Don Macleay

You gotta love the fact that the Green Party managed to dig themselves up a candidate whose two big things (or at least the things he has been most vocal about so far) are that he loves free parking and hates the bus.

Macleay worked as a machinist for 19 years and now owns a computer services business. He has two kids, one in OUSD and one in college.

Why he’s running:

The job of mayor involves having a vision for what is possible. It means convening and listening to visionaries in our own community, and harnessing their talent. It means supporting and empowering people in our community to create enduring solutions to problems, and together seeking positive opportunities for the future.

As mayor I will be a hands-on manager and leader. I will be a tireless advocate for the basic rights and wellbeing of people in our City. I will fearlessly create a transparent form of City government. I will take a pro-active—not reactive—approach to managing our City’s fiscal crisis. And, I will create accountability at all levels of government for service excellence to our citizens and businesses.

What he wants to do:

As Mayor I will set priorities to examine and solve some of our most pressing issues:

  • Social Issues: substance abuse, homelessness, parolee recidivism, and truancy need to be acknowledged and confronted through aggressive community involvement, sustained action, and on-going support.
  • Economic Growth: is realized when we set priorities that properly support public safety and security, encourage creative and meaningful business and employment opportunities for citizens, and develop housing for the most vulnerable members of our city.
  • Infrastructure and Development: planning and capital projects need to enhance our City’s communities and business environments in ways that best serve the majority of our citizens and businesses.
  • Fiscal Responsibility and Governance: requires being responsive—not reactive—to Oakland’s fiscal crisis by aligning resources where they are most needed, and benefit the majority of our citizens. It also requires disciplined planning and forecasting of the future growth of Oakland into a viable, sustainable, and safe city.

Learn more at:

Greg Harland

Greg Harland grew up in Oakland, went to Merritt College, has owned clothing stores, a computer business, and two restaurants. Now he’s retired. He has an entire page on his website about how evil Don Perata is.

Why he’s running:

Greg’s interest in becoming Mayor of Oakland is motivated by a strong desire to solve the persistent problems of Oakland.

What he wants to do:

Besides bring 40,000 new jobs to Oakland, he offers:

We must restore our police department to be an effective organization. As of this writing, our police force has been reduced to 770 sworn officers. The optimum number for a city the size of Oakland is 1050. With our current state of high unemployment, and a police department operating at only 64% of its optimal strength, high crime is inevitable.

As Mayor, I intend to rework the budget so our police department is operating at 100%.

Learn more at:

Terence Candell

Terence Candell

Terence Candell is currently executive director of Candell’s College Preparatory Academy, a Christian school in East Oakland. He has worked in education as an administrator and a teacher.

Why he’s running:

Oakland is a beautiful and an enjoyable city. However, there are those who do not want to enjoy this city, but wish to destroy it. There are other cities for them. This one isn’t it. Please leave. For those of us who wish to stay, who wish to enjoy the privilege of living in our city, what can we do?

Work with me. We must work to restore Oakland to the greatness we
once enjoyed! We must take very specific steps, which embrace social
and economic opportunity for our youth and for our seniors!

What he wants to do:

I will provide a brighter future for our youth, and a safer and
enjoyable city for the elderly, disabled, disadvantaged and even
the advantaged citizens of the City of Oakland. I will create a
functional and profitable marriage between business and the city.
As your mayor, Oakland can and will be a better place:

  • Socially
  • Politically
  • Economically
  • Culturally

Let’s leave a better legacy for our children and young adults! Let’s provide them with opportunities and activities of which they have been deprived for the last twenty years! It’s about time!

Learn more at: But be warned: it plays music on like every page!

Maya Dillard Smith

Maya Dillard Smith

No website yet, but I thought I should include her on the list since most articles about the election do mention her name. And she does have a Facebook Page.

Maya Dillard Smith is an Oakland native. She used to be chair of Oakland’s Measure Y Oversight Committee and now serves on the Oakland Fund for Children and Youth Planning and Oversight Committee. Additionally:

Maya knows municipal government. She served as senior advisor to San Francisco Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom overseeing $350 million across 14 city departments. Maya was instrumental in consolidating, aligning, and leveraging resources to protect core services in the face of San Francisco’s historic budget deficits topping $500 million. Maya also led the development of San Francisco’s first ever comprehensive violence prevention strategy resulting in double digit reductions in crime and violence. She worked closely with law enforcement and community based organizations to implement the strategy with a real focus on prevention and quality of life issues. Maya’s work included economic development, job training and creation, education, housing, youth development and community building.

Why she’s running:

We ALL deserve a leader that is 100% committed to put Oakland First! – someone who is willing to work hard to unite Oakland’s diverse and changing neighborhoods; a leader who is informed by the people and ready to shake up City Hall with bold, decisive action. I am that leader. Lets STAND TOGETHER for OAKLAND.

Learn more on: Facebook.

Okay, so there you go. What do you guys think? And remember, the election is still seven months away. So the list will almost definitely change between now and then.

41 thoughts on “Your choices for Oakland Mayor

  1. MarleenLee

    I can’t believe Jean Quan is citing Measure Y as one of her accomplishments. Hardly. Everyone should be aware that her campaign literature at the time said that Measure Y “guaranteed” a police force of 803. Now we have 770. For much of the time since the passage of Measure Y, the City was well below that number. For a while it was even under 700! For more of her lies quoted verbatim, check out my blog. If fighting crime has been one of her top priorities, why isn’t she insisting on compliance with Measure Y? Why did she approve of decisions that have allowed the size of the police force to plummet?

    Oh, and the City doesn’t run the schools, the school district does. So making “education” a priority should be the job of the Superintendent of the school district and the school board, not the mayor.

  2. Andy K

    Candidates will claim anything as an accomplishment in Oakland – the voters for the most part don’t pay attention to the details, or specifics of records.

    All that seems to matter is name recognition, and to some extent endorsement.

  3. livegreen

    I’ll agree with Andy on this one, and I hope this year is different (hope springs eternal). I put the front-runners as DP, JQ, and MDS. RK joins that list if she runs.

    All have plenty of pros & cons. This race is wide open. Like many I don’t like the idea of Don seeking a retirement job in a City that is hard to govern and that will take him a year or two figuring out. + I have no idea what he actually wants to do.

    JQ knows where all the bodies are buried, all the staff & managers, and it should take her a shorter time to start putting plans into action. On the other hand her plans don’t seem to include the middle class, she wants to build more AH while Medium Income housing doesn’t figure into her policies, and she has been weaker on Safety issues than she advertises (or her safety supporters like Nick V. seem to be willing to admit). I’m also curious about her Economic Development plans?

    MDS is very knowledgeable and very smart on the one hand, for example she warned the City Counsel that if the fund were raided for Police Recruitment, it would speed up the date the Fund runs out of money. On the other hand she seems to be against OPD and for social justice so strongly that even something that might even remotely have a chance of threatening that (whether or not it actually does) she will be against. For example, on KQED she recently came out against the Chief’s proposed Gang Injunction and agreed with the ACLU that it is racist. (& in this case a GI will actually help struggling, honest low & medium income families & their children).

    She now works for Youth Uprising and, while YU is reputed to have some excellent programs, they seem all-to-ready to stereotype most OPD officers as being racist, in part maybe to help attract and keep local youth.

    In order to wade through these positives & negatives (which all candidates will have) it will be important to hear their specific proposals for Oakland. Not just vague campaign generalizations.

    Since specific proposals seem to attract the greatest criticism it will be interesting to see if any of them are bold enough to even try…

  4. Dax

    Well, one thing seems clear to me.

    If you want the candidate who is most likely to keep Oakland “on track”, then I’d say Jean Quan is that person.

    Now, you have to decide what keeping Oakland “on track” means to the city.

    I heard her at the Finance meeting a couple weeks ago responding to the huge deficit predictions in the pension system.
    She seemed to be of the opinion that no drastic action was required and that further reports and discussions are the right direction.
    Contrast that with De La Fuente suddenly waking up and waving red-flags.
    (btw, both council persons voted for the original 35% retroactive boost in city pensions back in 2003-2004)

    No idea of what Perata’s opinion is on this issue, but Quan seems to be headed towards no immediate action.
    Never mind that there is no financial issue anywhere near as dangerous for the city’s future.

    Did anyone read the Stanford PERS study released yesterday.
    Words like “crippling” “staggering” are used to describe the future impact of pension costs.
    On a relative basis, Oakland’s cost are even greater than those the state faces.
    You see, most state employees are still at 2.0% credit for each year worked, while Quan and De La Fuente both voted for a 2.7% rate (35% increase).

    And God bless them, they made that 35% leap in pensions “retroactive”…

    Thus, hidden from the public, Quan & De La Fuente both voted such that a 30 year employee due to retire only a couple months later, simply postponed retirement for 60 to 90 days, and then instead of getting a 60% pension for life, it was magically boosted to 81% for life.

    That 21% boost (a 35% increase over the 60%) jumped their $50,000 pension to $67,500 for life.
    Think 20 years plus for that pension and you quickly see that Quan gave out golden parachutes of $350,000 for a person in that position. A $350,000 gift that was never part of their 30 year contract. Simply put a complete gift of city money. Imagine hundreds to thousands of $150,000 to $600,000 gifts being handed out and NEVER being reported in the local newspapers.
    But of course, all readers here were aware of it, right? uh…right?

    Now, folks, Jean Quan (and others) voted for this give-a-way of Oakland city funds.
    Yet now she covers her eyes hoping against hope that the pension costs (she imposed) won’t sink the city. She is in denial. At least De La Fuente has seen the horror ahead. Decades of 50 to 100 million coming directly out of the general fund to pay for the pension shortfalls.

    The pension horrors on the horizon make the 100 million causing the takeover of the Oakland schools look like child’s play.

    You can be sure this issue isn’t going to be discussed in the Oakland election.
    Because there is no answer that doesn’t involve tons of pain, and massive admissions of guilt.
    Bad news no one wants to hear. Not even Perata.

  5. livegreen

    DAX, you are such a pessimist, Oakland and union hater. (All unions, public, private, library, teacher, shopping clerks). I bet you shop at Farmer Joe’s.

    If you’re anti-union and anti-pension, then you’re anti-worker. & Workers and Unions built this City and Country. They’re what created our middle class. Therefore you cannot criticize them, no matter how much money they make. After all they make less than the bankers who ruined this country, and before that ruined the private pension system. & you’re siding with the bankers (who got us into this mess) over the working-stiffs who are fortunate enough to still have pensions.

    You are wrong, they are right. & This is what the Politicians are afraid of.

  6. Daniel Schulman

    This post highlights the major failing of Instant Runoff Voting — one that few people if anybody brought up during the recent brouhaha — I find it difficult to find even a single candidate in the above list that I feel comfortable with my vote, let alone three that I would willing to put any kind of check-mark next to.

    We either need better candidates or the current ones will have to work harder to appear capable of the job.

  7. Dax

    “I bet you shop at Farmer Joe’s. ”

    Hmm, I always have a problem getting this straight.

    We’ve got Trader Joe’s and Farmer Joe’s or is it Farmer Joe’s and Trader Joe’s… one is good and very cool, and the other is a union busting organization, but I can’t remember which is which, so I don’t know which one to boycott.

    One gives out plastic bags which I can reuse for garbage and the other uses paper bags which I forget to reuse most of the time.
    BTW, have you ever seen anyone win that $25 weekly prize? I think I’ve entered about 100 times but nothing so far.

    I’ve tried to do the math ( I like figures) but can’t come to a solid conclusion about my true annual chances. For example, if 120 people check out per hour and 20% of them bring a bag to reuse, then over about 14 hours we have about 350 entries per day or close to about 2,500 per week. So if that is true and the winner gets $25.00 then the value per entry is about 1 cent.

    Looking at it another way, if I enter every other week, and my (above) odds are about 1 in 2,500, then its gonna take me, at 25 entries per year, about 100 years to win “on average”.
    Still, it looks as though my median or average waiting time to win my $25.00 is gonna be about 50 years.

    Of course, my figures could be wrong as the individual clerks are unclear on the data needed to do the calculations. Some even look at me as though I was odd when I ask for the facts.

    You know, if some of the Oakland City Council members, especially on finance, would do equal due diligence on their multi-million dollar decisions as I do on my $25.00 shopping bag recycling prize, then Oakland might not be in the financial mess it now finds itself.

    What do you think? Do you think Quan, Reid, or De La Fuente could figure out their odds of winning that $25.00 shopping bag prize….or the odds that their 35% pension hike would destroy the city’s finances?
    Do you really think they have the math skill inclination to do such?

    Or do they rely entirely on whatever the staff puts in front of their face? The very same staff that also got the 35% pension increase.

    Come now, they are professionals. I seriously doubt self interests would influence their work.


  8. Brad

    Hey Marleen, I didn’t know Maya Dillard Smith helped you in the Measure Y lawsuit. She certainly takes credit for your victory!

  9. Bruce Nye

    V Smoothe writes:

    “There will be plenty of opportunities to fret about who is going to be Mayor over the next seven months. Elections are a pain. I don’t see what the point is in starting them any earlier than strictly necessary.”

    Almost any other time, and any other election, I’d agree. But we’ve been hearing Oaklanders stressing out over the question of who the next mayor will be for at least a year. There seem to be two reasons. First is the absentee mayor. Second is this communal feeling that we are on the brink of a major opportunity (rock start police chief, different approaches to crime, etc.) while likewise on the precipices of disaster (budget crisis, pension bombshells, etc.). For the first time in memory, an awful lot of Oaklanders who have shown little concern before are really anxious to know who the next mayor will be and what he or she is going to do about all this.

    Andy K writes: “the voters for the most part don’t pay attention to the details, or specifics of records. All that seems to matter is name recognition, and to some extent endorsement.”

    Well, with the increased interest in the mayor’s race, people who know something about the issues (as do many of the regular ABO commenters) have an opportunity to do something about this. LIke, for example, by demanding that every mayoral candidate be prepared to tell us what he or she is going to do about the most important problems facing the city.

    In seven months, candidates are going to make an awful lot of public appearances. And we can all make a difference by not allowing any candidate to speak in public without committing to exactly what that candidate will do about public safety, the city budget and city accountability and what there is about the candidate’s track record that shows he or she is qualified to succeed in those areas.

    So in that sense, the long campaign season presents us with an opportunity to force candidates to talk about what matters. And then endorsements and potholders and booths at the farmers’ markets become less important.

  10. Ralph

    LG, I hardly knew ye. We need to abolish unions. By preserving jobs that could be done more efficiently by technology they force us to allocate resources to the least product use. Pensions are crippling us, yet union heads seem to be completely oblivious to the danger ahead. They seem to think the gravy train is going to keep on keeping on. They need to wake up and smell the coffee. Absent pension reform our best bet is the early end of life for city employees.

    By the way, unions did not build this city. This city was built on Rock-n-Roll.

  11. MarleenLee

    Brad – where are you getting your information? Where is she taking credit for that? By the way, I do give Maya credit for highlighting some of those Measure Y abuses. She is the one that took the lead in getting the MYOC to vote against Dellums’ patently illegal $7.7 million Augmented Recruitment Program. She also invited me to come speak before the MYOC to update them on my suit – and then the majority said they didn’t want to hear from me and sent me away. It always seemed to me that she got thrown off the committee for not just sitting there like a potted plant, the way the rest of them do.

    But I also remember a year or so earlier, when I first came to speak before the MYOC (before I filed suit, I think) and nobody ever spoke (except Sanjiv) and she shouted me down the second I hit my two minutes. It was unbelievable! No speakers! And she just shouted me down. I doubt she remembers that.

  12. oakie

    Personally, I’d like to be able to vote to eliminate the mayoral position. Go back to a real City Manager (Robert Bobb was great, so was Henry Gardner). Then we can be run by the Seven Drawfs. That would be much more fun to watch.

    I can speak a bit about Farmer Joe’s, a locally owned and operated wonderful store (as opposed to the Southern California huge corporate chain, Trader Joe’s). An employee was fired for stealing. He went to the union (UFCW) and they started a campaign full of falsehoods and nastiness. The day they launched the campaign by taking over the parking lot (a mere 5 months after the Fruitvale flagship second store opened), our dear Jean Quan was out in front leading the march to shut the store down. She had not even bothered to contact the owners to get their side of the story before she stepped out in front to sabotage the store. And, btw, I never heard her actually go after the Walmart store in Oakland, which is indeed a detestable abuser of it’s employees.

    Go to the FJ’s and talk to the employees—all the brouhaha is all bs. Instead of reaching out to the owners who invested heavily to provide a much needed service, she leads the march to protect thieves from being dismissed from a locally owned mom and pop.

    And now that she’s running for mayor, she now claims she helped bring FJ’s to the Fruitvale location. This is totally false, and she knows it. She is an unadorned liar.

    And then there’s Perata. A pox on both of their houses.

  13. len raphael

    Dax, unfair to single out our cc for failing to do the math before they voted for gold plated retirement plans when most every other largish West Coast city did the same thing.

    But I’ll bet each of them did the math on their own retirement. Do you have the time to do roughly figure out what each of the present incumbents gained from the pension upgrade?

    Bruce, aren’t you concerned about getting smeared as a tea partier if you advocate people going to the orchestrated media and community events and asking loaded finance and tax questions? Doesn’t bother me a bit, enjoyed living in Oakland flats for almost 40 years, invested my life savings in this town, so I’ll follow your suggestion and call in to radio shows, show up at community meetings.

  14. livegreen

    Len, This brings to mind one of my parents telling me (& I’m probably not the only one here): “If someone told you to jump off a cliff, would you?”

    Just because other CC’s in other cities didn’t isn’t a good reason. Also Oakland has much poorer residents and a lower tax base than SF, SJ, NYC, etc. yet CC and City workers want similar pay & benefits?

  15. Ralph

    “a solid record of fighting for our schools, our libraries, our youth and our neighborhoods…”

    I’m sorry JQ but you are not running to be head of social services. You are running to be the executive leader of a large bay area city. Your key responsibility should be developing an infrastructure that allows businesses and individuals to reach their full potential. Your policies should result in additional resources for the city, new business, and the ability to make improvements to your pet projects. Absent a plan to grow the revenue sources, there is no way on god’s green earth you will achieve your goals.

  16. EastLakeLover

    Jean should’ve had her picture taken in her district. Last time I checked Lake Merritt is in D2.

    What DM wants to do:
    “Infrastructure and Development: planning and capital projects need to enhance our City’s communities and business environments in ways that best serve the majority of our citizens and businesses.”

    Since bicyclists and bus riders represent the minority of citizens say bye-bye to support for bike infrastructure or BRT.

    To me all the campaign speeches sound the same: “I want to fix Oakland.” Okay, tell me how in detail and leave out the colorful speeches. We get that enough with Dellums.

  17. Dax

    Between 2002 and now, Alameda, Albany, and Emeryville managed to resist the change and remain at 2.0%. BART also is at 2.0%, as are most of the state employees.

    However, between 2002 and 2006 the following cities joined in on the Great Pension Rush of the decade.
    Like hungry ice cream lovers at Fentons, they dug in and ordered the triple scoop cones. Now and in the future, the general funds of these cities will all suffer, however I believe most of them are not run like Oakland, which is barely functional even without pension problems.

    Now, the most curious point, which I do not know is the following:

    How many of these cities who boosted pensions, ALSO made all the boosts retroactive such that “all prior years worked” were counted in as under the new boosted rates. I should call around to see if any other cities resisted or were legally able to only pay the higher rate for future years only.
    Thus leaving a 30 year employee with only perhaps 1 year at 2.7% and 29 years at the original agreement of 2.0%.

    I’ll check it out.

    Alameda, 2.0% @55
    Albany, 2.0% @55
    Berkeley 2.7% @ 55, 1/15/03
    Dublin 2.7%, @55, 8/20/05
    Emeryville 2.0 @55
    Fremont 2.5% @55, 8/11/02
    Hayward 2.5 @55, 8/26/02
    Livermore 2.7 @55, 10/3/03
    Newark 2.5 @55, 1/1/04
    Oakland 2.7 @55, 6/19/04
    Piedmont 3.0 @ 60, 1/1/04
    Pleasanton 2.7 @55, 12/7/02
    San Leandro 2.5@55, 7/1/02
    Union City 2.5@55, 6/5/06


  18. EastLakeLover

    Even though Emeryville is at 2%@55 they’re still hurting. They’re considering a 2-tiered plan and/or making employees pay their own pension contributions, currently city paid. (Thanks V, for your previous post on this topic!) Hmm, I wonder what the candidates stand on this?

    @oakie-“Personally, I’d like to be able to vote to eliminate the mayoral position. Go back to a real City Manager…”

    Emeryville is governed by a strong City Manager arrangement. The mayor is basically a city council member, who is voted into the role by the other council members. The CM has more power than the mayor, but is an “at will” city staffer who can be booted out by the council at anytime. This seems to work pretty well for Emeryville. I don’t know how well it would work for a bigger city though.

  19. len raphael

    LG, our cc incumbents and retired members (when was the last time any incumbent was defeated?) will tell you they had to stay competitive to keep talented employees from leaving for other cities.

  20. Dax

    “our cc incumbents and retired members (when was the last time any incumbent was defeated?) will tell you they had to stay competitive to keep talented employees from leaving for other cities.”

    Isn’t this amazing logic. It started with one foolish city and spread like the plague with each successive city using the same logic. “if we don’t raise our pension, then those other cities who have will get all the prime Harvard, and MIT employees who would otherwise come to work for us. Additionally if we don’t raise our pensions match cities x, y, and z, then all our top managers will flee to those other cities.
    So one by one most of the cities followed each other off the end of the wharf.
    Or is it the bridge your mother warned you to not jump off because everyone else was doing so?

    Financial numskulls, 95% of which could never make a payroll in the real world.

    Of course it never hurts to have EVERYONE in the proceedings ALSO getting their own pension under the new raised system.
    De La Fuente
    (uh, don’t forget what Kerrigan’s job was at that time, working for a council member)
    Who else…. Heck, even Jerry Brown is a beneficiary from the 35% boost.

    and the staff who recommended such.
    Also the city manager.

    Everyone except the citizens of Oakland benefited from the 35% boost in pensions.
    Can you imagine the glee that some 30 and 35 year employees felt when they discovered after happily working for a 2.0% rate, they overnight got boosted to a 2.7 percent rate, having put nothing extra into the system.
    Like I said, if you were a $100,000 a year employee who had worked for 37 years, expecting to get a generous $75,000 yearly pension, you suddenly got a $99,900 pension for life. You live from 60 to 85 and you just got a $622,500 Golden Handshake courtesy of our ever generous City Council.
    “Thank you very much Oakland, now I can go on an all expenses covered 20 day cruise every year with my wife, I just love Oakland”

    Retroactive contract adjustments… which just happen to only work “for” more generous pensions in good times, but which can’t be used for “less” generous pensions in hard times. A one way street.

    I still wonder, how many folks here were aware of the 35% pension boost when it was implemented,,,, or when it was up for consideration?
    I don’t remember it ever being a issue in the Tribune.
    Imagine, the greatest financial decision ever made and it wasn’t even news.
    Or am I wrong about that?

    Or did you ever hear about the one they used to boost Library salaries?
    I wondered how the budget had suddenly gone in to deficits so soon after a new library tax was imposed. The head financial guy at the library said, well, the budgets would have stayed in the black, but went wacky when they decided to match the salaries of all the highest cities in the Bay Area.
    So of course after making all those raises, they couldn’t afford books etc.
    Thus a second extra new measure on the ballot to bring in much needed funds so the poor library could afford the books.

    The first job of the Oakland City Government is to keep the jobs filled, and the taxes sufficient to keep everyone working. Job ONE…is the organization taking care of its own… and by “its own” I don’t mean the citizens.

  21. Rhys Williams

    The article’s suggestion that “According to a recent blog post, he [Don Perata] seems to think that we can solve the budget crisis by getting rid of Boards and Commissions”, is misleading.

    Don was making a point that City Hall doesn’t seem to know what it is spending and at the very least, every dollar should be accounted for before asking taxpayers for more money.

    If you want to hear more from Don Perata, you can ask your own questions directly at forthcoming community meetings. See the ‘events’ section on his campaign website for more details:



  22. We Fight Blight

    Our choices are indeed limited. Hopefully, during the next 6-7 months we can collectively demand from these candidates specific ideas on how they will manage our fiscal crisis and grow our tax base without raising taxes, how they will ensure public safety, how they will rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and how they will promote and encourage revenue generating enterprises. Importantly, highlighting past decisions and past performance and demanding they be accountable for their actions will also be important. All too often we hear platitudes and generalities with vague ideas that sound good, but have little substance when you peel back the layers. Also key is understanding who are the team members of your candidate. The success of the Mayor is highly dependent on their team–who they surround themselves with and who they want as key administrators and managers at City Hall becomes critical in carrying policy changes forward, establishing and maintaining progress on our priorities, and changing the organizational culture at City Hall.

    In my opinion, it is not too early to begin vetting these candidates. Many people have stated over and over again that Oakland deserves what it gets. We voted for our current City Councilmembers and we voted for our current Mayor. We have found that our City Council and Mayor have not been very effective in managing our fiscal crisis and providing core local government services to the public. So whether we like it or not, collectively we are part of the problem. Collectively, we elected Ron Dellums because he sounded good.

    Just like we do our due diligence before buying a house and inspect it from top to bottom, we need to do our due diligence of the candidates and inspect them and their ideas for leading this City from top to bottom. Hopefully Oakland will not be seduced this time.

  23. MarleenLee

    Brad – yeah, that’s pure puffery from Maya. Guess she’s practicing to be a politician.

    Speaking of lying politicians, here’s my favorite quote of all time from Jean Quan (Oct. 10, 2004 Tribune):

    Despite the concerns, the money raised by Measure Y will be used to expand the department to 802 officers, Quan said. “All of us have to run for re-election — none of us would break such an obviuos promise,” Quan said.

  24. livegreen

    Thanks for digging that up Marlene. I’m not always a fan of Charly Pine, but he does dig up behind the scenes dirt. Here’s one about Maya’s connections to Youth Uprising & Mayor Dellums while she was Ok’ing M-Y money be given to them without competitive bidding:

  25. Andy K

    Reading through all these comments, and looking at the candidates positions on their websites, and knowing about their back grounds….man, what crappy choices we have. How is it so?

    Don’t know much about Greg and Terence – they are my first 2 picks at this point.

  26. Mike Spencer

    Could not vote for any of the “regulars” for mayor, especially someone like Jean who has presided over or sat silent during some big messes of the last decade or so. Please run, Rebecca Kaplan.

  27. Mike d'Ocla

    “Could not vote for any of the “regulars” for mayor, especially someone like Jean who has presided over or sat silent during some big messes of the last decade or so. Please run, Rebecca Kaplan.”

    Yeah, except for the fact that Kaplan seems to be the only CC member with both common sense and leadership skills. And we need more, rather than less, common sense and leadership on the CC.

  28. Patrick M. Mitchell

    @Mike d’Ocla

    While I understand your point about Ms. Kaplan being a moderating force on the CC, the bottom line is that much of her potential effectiveness there is diminished by the incompetence she is surrounded by on the dais. I think she could be more effective overall as Mayor. That being said, I also must agree with what Mary Hollis said. The next Mayor is going to have the budget of Damocles hanging over their head. Better to let someone else take that fall and then swoop in over the charred remains.

    I can also now see why Cottony is considering another run. In the current group of candidates, he falls middle of the pack.

  29. Mr Ron Perazzo,sr

    Mr.Batts If theres no money For ShotsFired Progam =
    Sub Contract it out to Security Corp, Like Braudview Home Surveillance Web cite
    Push Mr.Dellumes or the Gov’n for Public Surveillance Web Cams at all Bart -
    A.C.Transit Hubs “Like Eastmont Mall Top-Bottom, 73′internat, 90-th
    and 98′th to Catch all
    Crime on Tape ,along with the Home and Storefront Web Secur Cams Phone for Court Cases Jail Time ,And Go After GangTagers To REPAINT The Walls or
    Sub Contract Transit Undercovers to Prv’Secur Co’s with lic to car’ spra,stun vest,
    Let them confront the Gangmembers and Rat them out and get paid for bring
    them in for jail time. Remember they dont like being Flimed hurt there pocket bk.
    thank you for hearing from myself.
    mr.ron perazzo,sr

  30. len raphael

    Ralph, i gotta agree w you about Dellums. As my mom would say “it could be worse”.

    Dax, i’ve read the trib for past 28 years and don’t recall anything in it about retirement plan changes. If it was there, it was probably a one liner on page 11.

    Which brings up the difficulties of publicly doing due dilligence on the candidates as Bruce, WFB, and others suggest. Without a critical press or highly engaged electorate, it would be simple for candidates to give a sound bite or just wrong answer to most questions that the electorate would understand. Maybe the exception would be the League of Woman Voters forums. So people should join L of WV. I did.

    Maybe a parallel effort sb made to support and mold the views of some of the less well known candidates such as Don M. towards what you prefer. Those candidates are in a good position to ask tough specific questions in public forums if supporters do the research for them. Before you write them off as not worthy of your vote or time, try emailing or talking to them, and following up with a modest monetary contribution.

  31. Brad

    LG, wow, that really is great digging. The part about Lenore Anderson* seems a little less sleazy, but the part about how Maya Dillard Smith’s Measure Y committee gave (or approved, or declined to fuss about, or whatever it is they do) a no-bid, no-oversight grant to Youth Uprising at or around the same time that a non-profit partially controlled by the executive director of Youth Uprising hired Maya as a “Development Consultant” is the kind of stuff that may or may not be illegal or unethical but which certainly makes the public cynical about government.

    The implication that Charles Pine seems to be making is that it looks like a corporation (Youth Uprising) using a “dummy” or “shell” corporation (Center for Young Women’s Development) to pay a bribe to a government official (Maya Dillard Smith) in exchange for a benefit (the no bid, no-oversight grant). We have no way of knowing if that’s really what happened, but Charles Pine is right that it certainly looks suspect, at least at first glance. And the appearance of corruption is often just as damaging as actual corruption.

    The fact that Maya Dillard Smith was hired as a “Development Consultant” – i.e., a person who shows you how to raise money – is the part which puts it over the top, at least appearance-wise.

    *I say the part about Lenore Anderson doesn’t seem sleazy because I don’t really get what Charles Pine is trying to get at. And also because the Mayor’s Office, Lenore Anderson’s employer, responded to Charles Pine on behalf of Lenore Anderson. From Charles Pine’s post, it doesn’t look like Maya Dillard Smith or Youth Uprising’s executive director Olis Simmons responded to this particular allegation from Charles Pine.

  32. livegreen

    I think this type of thing is why Marlene took the M-Y backgrounds to the PEC. Don’t know if she new or mentioned this specific example when she did, but it would certainly boost her case.

    Re. CP’s point about Lenore Anderson, it might not be illegal, but it is worth pointing out the Nonprofits do have the same backroom deals that other interest groups do who are often accused of using the same type of things inappropriately (from the unions on one side, to businesspeople on the other)…

  33. MarleenLee

    Several of the MYOC had overt conflicts of interest, working for groups that were receiving Measure Y funds. It stinks to high heaven. But the conflicts are likely to continue in the future. The issue about the no-bid contracts is actually the bigger issue, and I’ve raised that in my most recent lawsuit.

  34. Mike d'Ocla

    MarleenLee, two days ago, on the OPD: “Now we have 770. For much of the time since the passage of Measure Y, the City was well below that number. For a while it was even under 700!”

    The OPD report I heard last night at the Citizens Police Advisory Board said that the sworn officer count as of 4/1/10 was 776. The report also said that the Problem-Solving-Officer positions are currently fully-staffed.

    If you are taking the city to court, which is an expense to all of us, you probably will improve your popularity by keeping your facts updated.

    I think it’s great that Batts has fully-staffed the PSOs. Batts’ consultant Scott Wilson spoke of expanding the PSO model to the whole of OPD.

    Batts is also working hard on improving dispatch; he’s hired 11 (of 18 planned) new dispatchers and has put one of his best officers, Lt. Banks, in charge of dispatch. We are already seeing dispatch times shorten; in my neighborhood I’ve seen reports in the last couple of weeks on our email lists that OPD has arrived in five to seven minutes after calls were put in about suspicious behavior.

  35. MarleenLee

    Mike: I’m not interested in being “popular.” I’m not running for mayor. Or anything. The reports regarding staffing are generally a month or two behind actual numbers. For example, the report prepared for the Public Safety Committee for the February 9 meeting reflected staffing numbers for December 31, 2009. Those numbers were 780 officers. According to another document presented to the Public Safety Committee on March 23, 2010, the attrition rate is 4.8 officers per month. Therefore, between December 31, 2009 and today, we would have lost nearly 15 officers, and would be at 770 or below. I get all my numbers from the City’s own documents. The Measure Y positions may well now be filled. You can thank my litigation for that fact. But the general police force is well below full staffing, and will drop down to around 715 by next year because the City has failed to hold academies. That’s the main point of my lawsuit. I totally support Chief Batts in what he’s trying to do. It’s not his fault that the rest of the City won’t authorize academies.

  36. livegreen

    Marleen, Isn’t the No-Bid Contract even bigger when the M-Y Chair is affiliated with the organization she’s approving grants for? Doesn’t one compound the other?

  37. Barry K

    Hey Marleen, allow me expand on the JQ MY quote. Reposting this to the MSIC group can lead to banishment by order of the Chairperson of Propaganda.

    “Measure Y Takes Aim at City’s Crime
    By Heather MacDonald, The Tribune, October 10, 2004
    “A measure with only more cops or one with only prevention programs won’t win,” said Councilmember Jean Quan (Montclair-Laurel) , citing a number of polls. “If we don’t compromise, we’ll get nothing.” Despite the concerns, the money raised by Measure Y will be used to expand the department to 802 officers, Quan said.
    “All of us have to run for re-election — none of us would break such an obvious promise,” Quan said.

    From Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Election_ promise
    An election promise is a promise made to the public by a politician who is trying to win an election. They have long been a central element of elections and remain so today. Election promises are also notable for often being broken once a politician is in office.
    Elections promises are part of an election platform, but platforms also contain vague ideals and generalities as well as specific promises. They are an essential element in getting people to vote for a candidate. For example, a promise such as to cut taxes or to introduce new social programs may appeal to voters.
    When promises are to be broken, all politicians know it is best to do so at the start of a term. Thus the first budget is the one most likely to see unexpected tax hikes, or slashed spending. The hope is that by the time the next election occurs in three or four years time the anger of the electorate will have faded.