I’m voting FOR Rebecca Kaplan, not AGAINST Kerry Hamill or Don Perata

16 Oct

I’m getting fed up with the Bay Area mainstream media. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but all of them have completely missed the boat on what the Rebecca Kaplan vs. Kerry Hamill race is really about.

Over the past week, the Chronicle, East Bay Express, and Bay Guardian have all depicted this race in essentially the same way, as the progressive outsider vs. the Perata-machine backed candidate. I understand that this makes a nice, simple story that fits into a few hundred or thousand words and doesn’t require the reporter to do much investigative work, but that’s not what the race is about.

So I wanted to make something clear – I am voting FOR Rebecca Kaplan, and not against Kerry Hamill or for that matter, against Don Perata or his political machine. I actually have no problem with Kerry Hamill. I think she cares a lot about Oakland and would make a fine city council member – I don’t think the city would crumble (anymore than it already has) under her watch.

But unfortunately for Kerry, she’s not just running against a decent opponent. She’s running against one of the most intelligent, committed and creative people I’ve ever known.

As Max mentioned over at Future Oakland, Rebecca Kaplan is the type of person that literally carries the Oakland budget around with her. Rebecca’s the type of person that remembers everything – don’t be surprised if you hear her cite a traffic study from 2002 while discussing transit issues. Rebecca’s the type of person who is eager to not only do her job as a council member but also who looks forward to sitting on various regional transportation boards, where Oakland theoretically holds much power, but where our current representatives have been uninterested in wielding this power.

Rebecca Kaplan is exactly the type of person I want to serve me and the rest of Oakland on the city council.

And I’m not the only one. I would be surprised if any Oakland candidate has ever received support from such a wide variety of groups and individuals. Rebecca is endorsed by the Central Labor Council and several unions, but she is also endorsed by business groups, including OakPAC, the Oakland Builders Alliance, and the East Bay Small Business Council PAC. She’s endorsed by the Democratic Party, Sierra Club, California Nurses Association, and several local reverends, AC Transit and BART Board directors. She’s even endorsed by the only Republican member of the Alameda County of Supervisors as well as the two most liberal supervisors.

So when Robert Gammon argued that somehow Rebecca Kaplan would be owned by the groups that have endorsed her, I honestly just laughed. Please, tell me how all of these groups, that often vehemently disagree with each other on key issues, will own her?

They won’t.

But the reason I’m not voting for Kerry Hamill is not because I’m worried that she’ll do whatever Perata tells her to do. So I was frustrated that the SF Bay Guardian spent the first half of their endorsement of Rebecca raising the specter of the Perata machine. Honestly, there’s no need to do this. Rebecca Kaplan holds her own, and I have a hard time imagining a candidate I would choose over her.

So don’t believe what the mainstream media tells you. Do your own research, or even better, stop by the Kaplan headquarters at 1915 Broadway and take a look at the diverse and enthusiastic group of volunteers phoning for Rebecca.

And on November 4th, go out and vote for Rebecca Kaplan, and not against Kerry Hamill.

3 Responses to “I’m voting FOR Rebecca Kaplan, not AGAINST Kerry Hamill or Don Perata”

  1. Jim Street November 5, 2008 at 11:33 am #

    It looks more like a national career launching itself in Oakland at the expense of a local politician.
    Great politics, like great art, is produced by natural talent and love country and not personal ambition and training.
    Democracy works because it allows the people to govern themselves by electing representatives who resemble themselves, not because it allows ambitious, career politicians to exercise the science getting elected.
    Don Perata, competent politician that he is, is not best characterized as a director of “a political machine” but as a very intelligent amateur politician who was voted into office by people who knew him personally, supported him because he was “like them” and who asked him to represent them; and who has learned the art of doing politics in California.
    My suspicion is that various groups of outsiders have recently come into Oakland and have decided to elect Rebecca Kaplan because she represents them. Kaplan has a much better grasp of the methods of professional politics than Hamill and has succeeded in impressing many people who aren’t like her to vote for her also.
    I repeat, democracy is not about expertise and ambition it is about the people electing intelligent, creative amateurs to represent people like themselves.
    Kerry Hamill would have represented Oakland as it is now and I fear Rebecca Kaplan will represent Oakland as she and other ambitious activists think it can become.
    Utopianism will never die and those who try to point it out it’s ego driven, self-deluded excesses will be always be labeled with scurrilous names.
    The vote has been cast. Long live democracy. Long live local politics.

  2. Becks November 5, 2008 at 7:24 pm #

    Jim – do you have any idea what you’re talking about? Nearly everything you said is way off base.

    Who are these outsiders that have come into Oakland to elect Rebecca Kaplan? Really? That’s such an absurd accusation.

    I was Rebecca’s first volunteer and I’ve lived in Oakland for several years. Nearly everyone I met who volunteered for her campaign has lived here for a long time. And more importantly, we all plan to live here for many years and know that Rebecca will help improve this city for years to come.

    Also, it’s offensive to call Rebecca an amateur. She’s represented us on the AC Transit board for 6 years and has initiated several important projects there. She also has a breadth of other relevant experience. And she certainly did not run an amateur campaign.

    I’m not going to bother going on because it’s pointless. The people have spoken and have voted for Rebecca because she is the best one for the job. I’m confident that Rebecca will prove your accusations wrong.


  1. End the week with links: Endorsement edition « FutureOakland - October 24, 2008

    […] veritable slew of blogs endorsing Rebecca Kaplan for City Council indicate that the front-runner is […]

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