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?
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.