Education in Oakland

Archive for the ‘Mayor’ Category

The Lies That Matter

Posted by novometro on February 9, 2007

Guest Blogger: Priyanka Sharma-Sindhar

Why is it that some lies are so much bigger than others? I’ve been watching the amount of media attention Gavin Newsom’s affair has been getting, and frankly, I’d much rather the same amount of attention was showered on something that actually affected the lives of more than 10 people. I understand why more people would care about this affair than just Newsom, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, and Alex Tourk. He is the mayor of one of this country’s loveliest cities, he is good looking and wealthy, and yes, he did have sex with his friend’s wife who also happened to work for him (that makes for a good story). That might be a lousy thing to do. But things happen.

If it is “an asshole thing to do,” as a friend put it, there are a lot of other things that qualify as “asshole things to do”.. and everybody’s doing asshole things. Besides, I’m a strong believer in seperating people’s personal and professional lives — and so long he didn’t fail at his job, it still isn’t affecting more than 10 people.

What, however is a big deal, in my opinion, is….. fake handicapped parking permits. Yes, I’m sure you’re saying ,”What?” But please, why does someone’s sex life matter more than the dozens of lies that I see hanging from the rear view mirrors of cars and SUVs that no handicapped person is driving. These cars block the best parking spaces in downtown Oakland for hours. So, if someone’s really handicapped, or if someone wants to park legally in the area– by actually feeding the meter coins every hour — they’re going to be very frustrated.

And towards the end of the day, I often see someone very healthy (they may have other health issues, but obviously none that impair their walk) walk to their car, get in without much effort, and zip away. And we’re talking about Mercs, BMWs, and other gorgeous auto creations. Surely, they can afford to park in the garages across from their office buildings? Or maybe that eats into the car payments?

And these fake placards, I promise you, affect more people than some politician’s sex life. Some cities have set up teams of volunteers who cite parking permit offenders. We need to do so. A walk down Broadway and/or Franklin will convince you.

When I was growing up, I often heard people say a white lie is better than a thousand truths. Now if you want to know what a white lie is — it’s one that does no one any harm, that preserves peace, and perhaps even helps someone. Maybe the doctor that issues these fake health certificates thinks he’s helping someone. But he’s hurting a lot more people than he’s helping.


Posted in Going Out, Mayor, NovoMetro, Oakland, Opinion, Politics, San Francisco, Traffic, Traffic Stuff | Leave a Comment »

Won’t You Take Me to…

Posted by novometro on September 15, 2006

In some quarters, Oakland is known simply as “The Town,” but for people with friends in the right places, Oakland apparently has another name. Maurice Himy, a local businessman with ties to Mayor Jerry Brown and Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, dubbed Oakland “Moneytown.” That was before feds arrested Mr. Himy Wednesday on extortion and public corruption charges in connection to a city contract to auction surplus vehicles. Of course, according to the public official involved (Mr. De La Fuente), Mr. Himy corrupted no public officials. “I know I did nothing wrong,” Mr. De La Fuente told the Oakland Tribune, which reported the story today.

Posted in corruption, Crime, Mayor, NovoMetro, Oakland, Politics | Leave a Comment »

Fast Links

Posted by novometro on August 1, 2006

Oakland Pols Open Campaign Books. Dellums’ bookeeping appears sloppy.

Posted in Mayor, Oakland, Politics, Ron Dellums | 3 Comments »

East Bay Atlantis

Posted by novometro on June 20, 2006


Anyone watching the Al Gore global warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” at the UA Emery Bay would have had the uncomfortable experience of seeing large swaths of the East Bay, including the theater they were sitting in, vanish under water on one of Mr. Gore’s Power Point slides.

The camera didn’t linger on the image for very long, so it was difficult to see exactly where the new shoreline would sit if all the ice in Greenland were to melt. But a closer look can be found at this site. It’s a disturbing picture. Lake Merritt is reunited with the bay. Almost all of West Oakland is submerged. Emeryville joins Atlantis.

Often, there is something perversely thrilling about a good disaster map. One that shows the wake of devastation should a meteor the size of a Volkswagen Beetle strike Manhattan, say, or one that outlines the range of a North Korean missile. They are compelling because we know the calamity they illustrate is unlikely to actually happen. But we should look at this map as public officials and citizens in New Orleans ought to have studied maps showing the ruin that would follow a category 5 hurricane hitting the city.

Mr. Gore says that in the next 50 years, it’s quite likely that sea levels could rise high enough to turn downtown Oakland into an island, if manmade carbon emissions are left unchecked. That makes the new mayor’s plan to make Oakland a “model green city” all the more relevant.

Ron Dellums usually casts his plan to promote green businesses and technologies in terms of the economic benefits that would accrue to the city. He is right. Venture capitalists are pouring billions of dollars into alternative energy. Oakland’s own Clean Edge, which studies the alternative energy market, predicts that so-called clean energy technology market will grow from $40 billion last year to $167 billion by 2016.

There’s more than just money involved. During periods in the nation’s history when Congress has been unable to pass legislation opposed by corporate interests, cities have served as incubators for ideas that ultimately become federal law. Chris Rhomberg, a sociology professor at Yale, and the author of “No There There: Race, Class and Political Community in Oakland,” points to the various labor law movements in the United States which have urban origins.

As long as the United States remains one of two industrialized nations not part of the Kyoto Protocol, it will be up to cities like Oakland, which will pay a stiff penalty for ignoring climate change, to act.

Posted in Development, Mayor, Oakland, Politics, Ron Dellums | Leave a Comment »

Six Months and Counting

Posted by novometro on June 19, 2006

"What's going on?" asked a woman with luggage at the hotel lobby's information desk. Even an out-of-towner could tell that this was not a normal Monday morning at the Marriot City Center Hotel in downtown Oakland.

Ron Dellums was talking in the lobby to a handful of supporters and staff before entering the hotel banquet room where some 300 well-wishers and media had assembled to see Oakland's new mayor celebrate the 16th win of his nearly 40-years in politics.

Standing with his wife, Cynthia, in front of the crowd, Mr. Dellums repeated many of the pledges and slogans he made during the campaign. Oakland will be a global green city. Oakland will go forward together. He called for the city to embrace its diversity and for citizens to treat one another with dignity and respect. But he did say three interesting things, that if not entirely new, were at least not included in most of his speeches.

1. He called on the current mayor, Jerry Brown, to reconsider a recent appointment to the Board of Port Commissioners, and allow Mr. Dellums to put his own choice on the board.

2. Mr. Dellums also asked Oakland voters to read the city charter, and consider whether or not an initiative granting the mayor veto power should be placed on a future ballot.

3. One comment that stood out for its concreteness was that he plans to use some of former mayoral candidate Ron Oz's ideas regarding policing Oakland when he tackles the city's rising homicide rate. Mr. Oz, a former police officer, won two percent of the vote against Mr. Dellums. More on Mr. Oz in a later post.

Meantime, there will be six more months of normal Mondays as Jerry Brown transitions out of City Hall even more than he already has. (The last press release on his official mayoral website dates from January 2005. His last blog post was published on October 25.)

Mr. Dellums said Monday that his campaign only got started in the last few weeks of the election. He beat Ignacio De La Fuente, with less money and much less time. The 180 days he has until he is sworn in should be plenty of time to turn his campaign into the beginnings of his administration.

Posted in Mayor, Oakland, Politics, Ron Dellums | 1 Comment »

Dellums’ Day Dawns

Posted by novometro on June 17, 2006

While on the stump, Ron Dellums was fond of saying that Oakland is big enough to matter, and small enough to fix. Now he will have his chance to show that Oakland can be a model city, and he is the person for the job. Even Oaklanders who voted for the other candidates have reason to be optimistic. During the course of the campaign, critics charged Mr. Dellums, not inaccurately, with being vague. But there was something absurd about the idea that more than two decades as a Congressman was not suitable training for City Hall.

In an endorsement for Ignacio De La Fuente, the San Francisco Chronicle made the silly claim that Mr. Dellums would make a better Secretary of State than Mr. De La Fuente, but Mr. De La Fuente would make the better mayor. This is in a city where some neighborhoods greet patrol cars with the same warm welcome that Sunni insurgents in Fallujah show Marine Corps humvees. Forget the yawning class divide between the hills and the flats. If Oakland doesn’t need diplomacy, what city does?

We have high hopes for the Dellums administration, and look forward to covering it.

Posted in Mayor, Oakland, Politics, Ron Dellums | Leave a Comment »

Can’t Buy Me Love

Posted by novometro on June 13, 2006

There is probably no constituency more troubled by the possibility of a runoff race between Ignacio De La Fuente and Ron Dellums than the cash contributors to both men's campaigns.

Another five months on the stump will cost more money than both candidates have in the bank. And passing the hat will be harder a second time. That will be especially for true Mr. De La Fuente, who started raising money two years ago, and finished with only a third of the vote.

According to campaign finance records, Mr. De La Fuente had $183,000 on May 20, and Mr. Dellums had $148,000.

Both candidates have agreed to a voluntary spending limit of $346,000, which works out to $0.70 per Oakland resident. But when you consider that only 75,000 people voted for mayor last week, the cost per vote becomes considerably higher. Mr. De La Fuente, who started raising money for the race two years ago, shelled out $252,000 during the course of the campaign and won around 25,000 votes. That's about $10 a vote. Mr. Dellums, who entered the race in October, paid less. The former Congressman garnered 38,000 votes after spending $240,000, or $6.30 per vote.

If Mr. Dellums fails to tally 50 percent of the vote when all the ballots have been counted, there will be a runoff election in November, and both candidates will be able to spend a fresh $346,000. But with Mr. Dellums narrowly missing an outright victory, it will not be easy for Mr. De La Fuente to convince potential donors that a contribution to his campaign is a wise investment. Local nabobs looking for some juice in City Hall will also be thinking that the majority of the 10,000 votes that went to liberal City Councilwoman Nancy Nadel are likely to go to Mr. Dellums in November.

But there is something heartening in all this. Whether you back Mr. Dellums or Mr. De La Fuente to replace Jerry Brown, this election is proof that money can't buy every political office in California.

Posted in Mayor, Oakland, Politics | Leave a Comment »