Election blog posts worth reading

20 Oct

I’ve been wanting to write more about the election, particularly the mayor’s race, for weeks now. I even brought home all the Perata and Quan mailers my co-workers brought to me daily over the past weeks (I just re-registered so I haven’t been getting political mail) so I could scan some in and write about them. But after working all day on campaigns and phoning some nights, it’s been hard to motivate to write about the election (it took me a week to write my endorsements post!).

Luckily, other bloggers have written some excellent pieces, some sharing the same thoughts I’ve been having, but written much more thoroughly or eloquently than I have the capacity for right now. Here’s a taste of what’s being written about the election in the blogoaksphere. All of these posts are worth reading in full (and most of them are very short) so please click through.

V Smoothe wrote an awesome post yesterday – “Joe Tuman doesn’t know Jack.” Like her, I’m shocked at how many people I talk to who are enamored with Tuman – many of them are voting for him for their second choice. V Smoothe pulls back the curtain and explains why Tuman isn’t qualified to be mayor – he doesn’t know what neighborhood service coordinators are, what he’ll cut from the budget (he says he’ll figure it out when he’s mayor), or how golden handshakes work. V concludes:

Someone recently told me that they think of Tuman as this year’s Ron Dellums. And as soon as I heard that, I was like OMG, that is exactly what he is (minus the long and admirable record of public service, of course)! He’s a really good speaker, he condescends to his audience, says absolutely nothing, can’t be bothered to learn anything, and yet somehow, people are entranced. I didn’t get it then, and I don’t get it now. Don’t make the same mistake a second time, folks. Vote for a minor candidate who has no chance if you want to, but at least pick one who does their homework.

If you’re even considering voting for Tuman, please read the whole post before doing so.

dc at Fragmentary Evidence writes about one of my other favorite candidates to complain about – Jean Quan in his post “Truthiness in Advertising.” He shares a photo of a Quan mailer that I’m sure every regular voter has seen by now that touts her endorsements by several newspapers that endorsed her for second or third choice and questions this mailer:

This is just one more unexpected complication of our new Instant Runoff Voting system, where we forgo primaries and instead rank our top three choices on the ballot, with 2nd- or 3rd-choice votes only coming into play if one’s 1st-choice candidate is eliminated during the vote-counting process… Even though the Tribune recommended putting Quan as third choice (behind Kaplan and Tuman) and the Guardian recommended putting Quan as second choice (behind Kaplan), Quan has been boasting on Facebook and Twitter, and now in these mailers, that she was “endorsed” by the Trib and the Guardian. This mailer takes that misleading claim beyond those niche markets and into the mailboxes of thousands of potentially low-information voters who won’t bother to look up the actual editorials to see what they say.

I have mixed feelings about this mailer. I can understand why she did it, and there’s no lying involved, but this practice shows me the real power behind a sole endorsement. A lot of Oakland groups struggled over whether to do ranked endorsements this cycle – probably about half did and half didn’t. The benefit of only endorsing for first choice is that a sole endorsement can’t be misconstrued.

On to a more positive note, and leaving Oakland momentarily, A Progressive Alamedan wrote a glowing endorsement of Robert Raburn for BART Board (who if elected will represent not just Alameda but also most of Oakland – east of Broadway and south of MacArthur):

Robert has been a tireless transportation advocate and expert from his Ph. D. training through his recent activism, working with me and Lucy over the years in his capacity in the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. He was instrumental in getting the bike station and the parking garage at Fruitvale BART, both of which I have found invaluable whenever I head over to San Francisco. He’s also been involved in the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency, helped replace the “world’s shortest freeway” in Oakland, and chaired the Measure B Citizens Watchdog Committee.

Robert is the kind of guy who shakes things up and gets things done. He has gotten unanimous endorsement from the Sierra Club, and has lately been racking up endorsements from the City of Alameda Democratic Club (of which I am a member) and other clubs in the area.

Anymore election blog posts or news stories worth reading? Please share them in the comments.

19 Responses to “Election blog posts worth reading”

  1. Zoe Robinette October 20, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    What a wonderful commentary on the mayor race in Oakland! Thank you for taking time from your schedule to write!

    Earlier in this blog, I asked a rhetorical-leading question about the option of voting for ‘one candidate’ thinking it might spark interesting dialog on the lack of information on such an option available to Oakland voters. I find the public education process and literature about voter’s options in this election lacking.

    I absolutely agree with your eloquent synopsis on Quan’s mass mailers! You really said it all. However, I will respectfully disagree with your comment that Quan was not lying in her mass media endorsement ploy. You said it, we know why she did it; however it doesn’t make it honest or forthright, as important ‘qualifiers’ on those endorsements were intentionally omitted, which I believe is called lying by omission. Business people are held to strict guidelines in this regard for public protection of course. It may be that the public just expects the same from those who may be in the position of governing their city.

    Perhaps in the future, should Oakland decide to keep the rank choice voting and endorsement process candidate ethical guidelines and more voter education on all of their options could be established. Thoughts?

  2. Myles Blackwood October 21, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    Probably a little bit over a month ago, I thought Truman was a hack. But, before being rash about these things, I decided that it would be best if started doing my own analysis of what’s been said, and comparing my top choice at the time (Kaplan) with each of the other candidates.

    After being a little bit bummed out that I actually *liked* what Tuman had to say ( I didn’t want to like what I’d found- I promise) I started considering my original assessment on the guy.

    So, after reading over your friend’s blog, I very quickly made note of a few things which weren’t actually accurate about HER claims. (And, please, don’t get me wrong- I’m not trying to start some random internet fight with my virtual neighbors within the same city that I live in. Life is too short for THAT kind of crap.)

    I am, however, asking that you actually do some investigation for yourself on the matter of Tuman’s bid for mayor. I think that you might be a little bit surprised at what he DOES know about the city, and I’ve pointed out a few things on your friends blog to that effect as well. (and hopefully I haven’t offended anyone’s sense of opinion on that end either. I just pointed out a few facts that were over-looked by accident, I think)

    Yet, of course, we’re all entitled to our own opinions. I just don’t like facts that aren’t accurate.

    That won’t keep me from enjoying occasionally reading through a blog that I enjoy reading which usually pertains to things I like about Oakland.

    That’s my $0.02.

    So- thanks for sharing this perspective on Oakland political stuff and such. I like what you shared on the BART Board person, so I’ll actually take a deeper look at this Robert Raburn fella you’ve suggested. He looks like a good one for certain.

    • Zoe Robinette October 21, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

      Interesting comment, “I was bummed that I actually liked what he said…” – you found him intelligent and articulate. That’s ok; he has a theoretic knowledge of city government and has the ability to articulate what he sees.

      Conversely, Kaplan has a well rounded intellect, background and education, coupled with her working knowledge of city government and the experience to get it done. She also has a great ability to articulate what she has done and what she will do in the future. We can count on that from her as our next Mayor.

      Having taught in university for 10 years and worked with Fortune 100’s for the next ten years I can attest to the leap from theory to working knowledge. it is always easier to talk it than it is to walk it.

      I am linked to this thread and do enjoy reading everyone’s thoughts and opinions– that is what makes this just so much fun! I hope you don’t mind my adding my 2 cents!

      November 2, 2010! Let’s get out the voters!!

      • Myles Blackwood October 21, 2010 at 6:56 pm #

        heh- don’t get me wrong. I was for Kaplan, but then changed my mind on the basis that I see her doing that thing that drives me nuts about career-minded politicians.

        Yes, I agree- Kaplan is well educated and intelligent; and, I don’t ever want to take that away from her by my comments. I have no doubt that she’d succeed at any task she was given, but there was something *missing* from the words she chose, or the way that she painted her vision that has me putting her in 2nd- which isn’t a bad place to be. hell- she’s got enough spunk to get her name on the ballot and sway other people’s opinion- and that’s worthy of mention to say at the very least.

        However, after seeing Kaplan and Joe side-by-side on stage talking about what they had a vision of for the future- there was one thing that really stood out as a blaring difference between the two of them.

        When asked the questions that were asked of each of them, I’d noted that the manner in which each of these two fine candidates spoke made a huge difference in my shift of opinion.

        The difference that I’d noticed was this:

        Kaplan spoke a message that provided a “vision” (my emphasis on the word vision, not Kaplan’s) of what she thinks Oakland needed in a variety of ways that didn’t clearly ever get defined. In essence, this well educated, bright, funny, very likable person failed (for me) to provide something that leaders tend to have- clear and concise plans to what needs to be accomplished.

        Tuman, however, spoke in a manner which portrayed clearly defined plans of action that would involve working within the framework of the Oakland City Charter- particularly where it requires the office of the Mayor (as well as City Council) to do so.

        And, as I’ve learned in all of my political studies and participation over my 38 years of life- usually, it’s the most simple, yet concise messages that make the difference in the political campaign process.

        For example: President Obama’s campaign “Yes we can”.
        It’s a very well worded, positive and aspiration forming innuendo wrapped around a single word that continually got shouted over and over and over throughout his brilliant campaign. That single word: “Hope”

        Now, I’m not suggesting that what I know of Tuman is even of the same measure as President Obama. I am, however, suggesting that like Obama, Tuman not only knows Political Policy and Theory, he’s quite good at it. It’s in the very manner in which he speaks.

        I think that both he and Kaplan would do wonderful things in this city, only… there wouldn’t be much shuffle butting around in City Hall with a person who professionally speaks and analyses complex systems of structure in an effort to better societies as a whole.

        Kaplan on the other hand, would remain a very valuable asset to Oakland with her strength and education in Urban Planning. I think she’d make a kick ass City Administrator and I totally think that she could take that position hands down unchallenged.

        But.. that’s just another of my $0.02. 😉

        I’m just happy to be a part of the process.

        Don’t forget to vote! Nov. 2

  3. Karen Bishop October 21, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    V. Smoothe’s blog about Joe Tuman has gotten a lot of press. I responded to her blog and called her out stating I feel that her emotional reaction to Joe says more about her than it does about Joe. And she never did dispute my commentary.

    She is not keeping an open mind about his ideas. V., you and others don’t want to like him and are repeating stories and comments without investigating the veracity of the comments. Joe never said he didn’t know what Neighborhood Service Coordinators are and this is an urban myth that is getting bigger and bigger every day.

    Please, instead of repeating stories you’ve heard, why don’t you check it out yourself. There are plenty of events where you can meet Joe and ask him questions. He is very accessible.

    I think people are afraid to really believe in Oakland and the possibilities of the City. They are afraid to reach out and believe in someone who has the intellect, integrity and the fortitude to turn Oakland around for the better!

    I’m voting for Joe Tuman!

    • V Smoothe October 21, 2010 at 10:00 am #

      Karen, I have seen Joe Tuman speak in person six different times. Every time, I found him to be completely clueless about the City. This assessment was bolstered after reading his lazy and ignorant responses to his questionnaires.

      I understand that people like you and Myles don’t know very much about the City either, so that’s probably why the things he says sound good to you. But the fact is, he’s just wrong about everything.

      • Karen Bishop October 21, 2010 at 11:24 am #

        Thank you V for your comment. I would greatly appreciate your providing me with one example of how Joe is wrong. Please give me a topic, how he is wrong and what would another candidate say that would make it right.

        It is so easy to say to anyone you are wrong. But without communicating your opinion as to what is specifically wrong, then it is your credibility, the accuser, that makes you suspect, not the one being accused.

        I challenge you V. to give me something specific.!

        • V Smoothe October 21, 2010 at 11:25 am #

          Karen, I wrote 3500 words about all sorts of things he is completely wrong about on my blog. Go read it.

      • Myles Blackwood October 21, 2010 at 7:38 pm #

        You’re right. I don’t know much about Oakland, despite the fact that I worked in Oakland City Hall until a better paying opportunity came along for me.

        So, to make a claim about me “not knowing” about Oakland, would take away my ability to remember any of the following things, which actually happened:

        I recall hand delivering documents to the various offices of city council, the mayor, the city attorney or the city administrator which would help inform them of decisions that they’d have to face in the near future.

        My having the experience of nervously answering the phone by mistakenly saying “City Attorney’s Office” only to have a somewhat befuddled John Russo on the opposite end, who was very quick to point out that the fact that he WAS the City Attorney.

        My limited knowledge of Oakland would take away from having brief conversations with Sam, the evening security guard in City Hall who is just one of the friendliest people on the planet, or with Maurice, the security guard in the front of the building who happens to enjoy watching a good boxing match on occasion and mutters under his breath a little bit when people don’t read signs that are clearly placed to provide the information that they need to have in order to keep him off their back.

        I don’t know enough about Oakland to even have knowledge of the individual walking around City Hall all summer who works for the Whitman campaign and the types of records he was accessing from the City clerk.

        And, my limited knowledge of Oakland didn’t, on rare occasions, afford me privilege to have a random crossing of paths with a surprisingly kind and friendly Chief Batts who often spoke first with a very generously sincere “hello” and an accompanying smile to compliment it.

        You’re right. I’ve only been in Oakland for two years, and therefore have no knowledge of anything within the city that I live and wish to see prosper.

        Look, I’m not really in to pissing in any one’s sand box.

        You took a cheap shot by suggesting that I don’t know much about the City, because I can tell you for a fact- I probably know more about its inner workings and relationships than you do.

        But- I’m not one to suggest that having lived in a city longer than someone else gives any other person’s opinion any validity when they’ve expressed opinion that has facts which support the contrary view of those expressed opinions.

        That said, I’d shake your hand for sharing your opinion on the matter of what you think about Tuman, you do have a right to have your own opinion. However, I might suggest doing a little more homework on someone before making a judgement call about their being “clueless” because it would seem that in this case, you’ve been wrong about someone else’s knowledge of the City, twice.

  4. Karen Bishop October 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    I did days ago. I read every word. But this comment you made sums up your attitude toward Joe Tuman:

    “. . .So that’s when I decided I didn’t like Joe Tuman — about 10 minutes after I first saw him. . .”

    • Becks October 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

      People often make quick judgments about politicians. I know V and I assume if that after that, Tuman had been brilliant and showed he has a deep knowledge of the City, V probably would have written the first debate off to nerves.

      But he hasn’t. He talks in platitudes and I haven’t seen evidence from him of any solid plans to fix Oakland.

      And none of his supporters chiming in here or on ABO have provided specifics of what he’d do (at least that I’ve seen, but I tuned out of the ABO thread after reading a few dozen comments).

      • Karen Bishop October 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm #

        Joe gave specific examples on how to get more police officers (retiring police officers who are close to retirement, hiring them back part time, reducing the starting salary for new recruits). That is a specific example. Joe has talked about working with the School District even though he knows there is no formal relationship with the district. He has talked about ways to reduce truancy by using police cadets (who are young) to help with this problem.

        Joe has talked about the long term nature of fixing the budget including increasing private sector employment (both large and small retail); He has talked about being a leader by example and giving back the entire pay raise Dellums gave himself; He has talked about being more involved as Mayor (being a strong mayor) and making sure the City Administrator carries out his agenda (Joe’s) and how dept heads must be held accountable. I could go on and on with more specifics.

        For all those who won’t vote for Joe, I respect your opinion. I obviously don’t feel the way you do and don’t have those negative views of Joe. I believe him to be sincere, smart and capable.

    • Daniel Schulman October 21, 2010 at 1:08 pm #

      Karen were you ever able to get more details about his business experience?

      • Karen Bishop October 21, 2010 at 5:10 pm #


        Joe stated that he ran two family businesses in which he was responsible for payroll and other functions of a small business owner. He mentioned he had a consulting company. I didn’t ask him how long ago, the names of the companies or how long he had those functions. I feel comfortable that he has business experience. It’s his 25 years of experience as an educator, his experience working for a state institution (and his political commentary) that has informed Joe and helped shape him and his opinions. Those are the credentials that are the most important to me. Along with what I feel is someone who has the utmost integrity.

        I know others disagree about Joe and pick apart everything he says as well as mock him. Reasonable people will just have to agree to disagree.

  5. Naomi Schiff October 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    I’m not a Tuman booster, but I fail to understand how Ms. Smoothe finds Perata a better candidate. There’s no evidence, at least, that Mr. Tuman is taking large sums of money from people who probably should not determine public policy in Oakland. Can’t say that about Don! One thing about a long track record like Don’s is that we can see the results. It is not a pretty picture.

  6. Karen Bishop October 24, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    Naomi, I agree. I hear that Perata will get things done — well that is just a repeat from a newspaper article. And even the article didn’t go into detail on that opinion.

    Also, I find it interesting that politicians who don’t even live in Oakland have lent their support to Perata without ever interviewing the other candidates. I have to ask myself why would Diane Feinstein support Perata? I think it is unfair for national leaders to step into a local race.

    Also for those who are on the fence about Perata, you should really look at the ethical concerns swirling around him. I posted a comment on Oaklandlocal and won’t repost here. But to summarize I did some research and found that Perata was fined $4000.00 for violating campaign finance laws back in 1998. He is being accused on doing it again this year in his bid for Oakland Mayor. On top of that if you go to the Secretary of State’s website and check out how the Hope 2010 ballot initiative money has been spent you might find it interesting that Perata’s Committee spent $2MM on other ballot initiatives that have nothing to do with cancer research.

  7. Naomi Schiff October 24, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Or, for those curious about the “coalition for safer california” funds likely to be spent on the mayoral campaign on behalf of Perata (look for more shiny mailers! listen for robocalls galore! don’t expect any cutbacks in cop pensions!) you could review its listing at the Secretary of State:


    This features hunks o cash from prison guards, police unions, the infamous Lily Hu, developers of Oak to Ninth, among others.

    • Karen Bishop October 25, 2010 at 7:33 am #

      It’s amazing Naomi how some people who have been in power for so long are able to get people to contribute millions of dollars and then they spend it with impunity.

      I found something very interesting on the sending patterns of Hope2010 (the cancer research ballot initiative that Don Perata is supposed to get on the statewide ballot in 2012). This committee spent $110,000 to try and recall Jeff Denham, a U.S. Congressman in District 19. District 19 extends from Modesto to Fresno. Hope2010 also contributed $50,000 to Avalon Village, a senior citizen nonprofit in Alameda. They even paid $25,000 to Ignacio De La Fuente for his services as a campaign consultant. There are many more charitable contributions that has nothing to do with cancer research.

      Of the $12,000,000 raised by Hope 2010 since 2006 only $500,000 went to cancer research, $2MM went to support highway transportation, education, disaster preparedness as well as emergency shelters. Again probably worthy causes, but has nothing to do with cancer research.

      This makes reasonable people begin to wonder what is Perata up to?

  8. Zoe Robinette October 25, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    Beginning to wonder? Naomi, thanks for reminding us about the Denham powerplay; he showed Denham that he would stop at nothing when it comes to a vote. Wonder if Denham would have changed his voteon the budget in 2007 if he had it to over again?

    Many know exactly what Perata is up to but they may not be aware that in 2008 after his co-sponsored Prop 93 failed to pass [which would have given him a longer run in the senate] he was hired as a lobbyist for the largest lobby in the state; he fails to list his current job as a lobbyist on the ballot, wonder why–lol? Do they know that he also filed papers with intention to run for California Board of Equalization 2010 before he hopped into this race. And he calls this his dream job? Dream on….to win this dream job he and his team have spent 1million dollars. Forget about those campaign spending limits!

    I voted Kaplan and it is my hope that the 62% of voters who supported her city council at large seat, show up at the polls and do that again 2010!

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