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Comment Archives: stories: News: Full Disclosure

Re: “What Transparency?


As to the council "not telling anyone" about the new system, it's not the council's responsibility to do so, it's the city clerk's office. And several campaigns told me that they were informed by the clerk's office. So I'd be interested in knowing which campaigns say they were never informed.

But as for councilmembers themselves, they certainly knew about the new system, and yet aren't using it (except for Reid).

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Robert Gammon on 08/15/2012 at 9:30 AM

Re: “What Transparency?

How can the Council buy an electronic filing system two weeks before the filing deadline, not tell anyone about it, and expect candidates to use it?

Posted by dto510 aka Jonathan Bair on 08/14/2012 at 10:35 PM

Re: “What Transparency?

NetFile is easy to use.

I'll be using it for my District 1 Council election reports.

You're absolutely right about Oakland politicians and transparency. It's something they want for the other pols but exempt themselves.

Today I heard a novel rationalization of why some local pols believe the Brown (aka Sunshine Act) is bad law.

The reasoning went that it discouraged candid discussions of policy, thereby "forcing" council members to meet in small exempt clusters to make decisions before larger council meetings. That the unintended consequence of the Act was to balkanize the Council.

The rest of that reasoning would have it that the public doesn't want to see Council members' reason out loud in front of the cameras'. I guess that it makes them look dumb? The salami making theory of government (no one would eat salami if they watched it get made)

My response was that the few times I've seen the Council members engaging in candid discussion was before the recent Pension Bond vote. While I strongly disagree with their final decision, it was refreshing to see them discuss the issues transparently. Yes it did make some of them look less than up to the task of making 250Mill decisions, but at least it felt like democracy.

Len Raphael, CPA
Candidate for District 1 City Council

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by Leonard Raphael on 08/14/2012 at 10:06 PM

Re: “Candidate for Council Has a Troubled Past

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 07/10/2012 at 10:45 PM

Re: “Too Hot for School?

I have mixed feelings about American Indian Public Charter School, two of my sons and a niece attended. My oldest son survived, while my niece thrived and is entering her last year of Medical school with an overall 4.0 GPA. My youngest son was ridiculed, degraded and received an unacceptable punishment so, I removed him from the school. Now that my youngest son has graduated from high school, I know for a fact, he would have been a more productive and confident student had I made him complete Ben's program.

There were many things I did not like about the school, location, Ben's intimidation tactic enforced upon student/teachers/parent, his racists comments, etc., but there were many things I loved about the school. AIPCS's Students cover every chapter in each textbook ,unlike many public schools and completing homework is mandatory. The school's rich academic culture is the reason why the test scores are so high. Do I think Ben is crazy? Yes, but I will say this – many students thrive in that environment! The children respect his passion and opening them up to academic greatness.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Monica Brown on 06/20/2012 at 3:33 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 04/14/2012 at 1:31 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

Well, Approval Voting is a vastly better voting system than Instant Runoff Voting. You can see in Bayesian Regret calculations that IRV is generally the worst of the five commonly proposed Alternative Voting Systems:

Approval Voting is much simpler (uses an ordinary ballot, but just removes the one-candidate limit — so you can vote for as many candidates as you want). It can NEVER punish you (give a worse result) for voting for your sincere favorite candidate, the way ranked systems such as IRV can. And its generally the second most satisfying system according to Bayesian Regret calculations.

Here's a more rigorous comparison between Approval Voting and IRV.

My view is that if Oakland had adopted Approval Voting instead of IRV, the anti-reform forces wouldn't be able to make any credible case in favor of repealing it back to Plurality Voting. It's so simple, they wouldn't be able to claim that people were confused by it. It actually results in LOWER ballot spoilage.

Not that there's any point trying to talk about facts with most IRV advocates. My experience has been that the vast majority of them have no interest in objectively scientifically debating the facts. They seem to have their minds made up, and any attempt to engage them will almost surely be ignored.

Clay Shentrup
The Center for Election Science
San Francisco, CA

2 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Clay Sh on 04/12/2012 at 6:33 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

This is not about 2010, it's about 2014. This isn't about Quan, this is about ensuring voter hear the nuances between candidates in elections with a myriad of similar candidates.

1 like, 6 dislikes
Posted by Daniel Weinzveg on 04/12/2012 at 3:20 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

Good article. Another specious argument always put forth by the anti-RCV crowd is that (as in the Oakland example), Perata "got the most votes". Having the "most votes", however, doesn't win the election, either by the old system or RCV. What wins the day is a majority, i.e., greater than 50%. Perata did not get more than 50% of the vote. The thing I honestly don't get about the anti-RCV crowd is what, in their heart of hearts, is their complaint.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by David Cohen on 04/11/2012 at 11:59 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

@SteveC: Thank you for correcting my wording about the votes. However, the conclusion is not altered. Quan won by ending up with 54,000 final votes from first, second, and third choices - 44 percent of the 122,000 votes cast. Quan v. Perata is one thing; the legitimacy conferred by getting a majority is another thing. Oakland never united around Jean Quan, neither before the election, nor in the election, and certainly not after the election.

At least the vote numbers are public, unlike Mayor Quan's secret poll a year ago that, according to her, showed the Measure I parcel tax was sure to pass (except it was defeated by a stunning 62 to 38 percent), and unlike Mayor Quan's semi-secret 100-block "safety plan."

2 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Charlie Pine on 04/11/2012 at 9:01 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

@Mr. Pine: "All of Jean Quan's votes, from those who listed her first to those who simply filled out their list of three with her name, added up to 44 percent of the voters." Actually, that's not true. If you examine the raw ballot file, you'll discover that 74,860 voters listed her as a first, second, or third choice (even if they listed Don Perata above her), whereas only 65,652 voters listed Perata as a first, second, or third choice (even if they listed Quan above him). Using this as an indication of approval (not that I'm a fan of approval voting, but that seems to be the metric you prefer), and using (as you seem to do) 122,268 total votes cast as the denominator (this includes 2,306 voters who skipped the Mayor's race entirely), Quan was approved by 61.2% of the voters, whereas Perata was approved by only 53.7% of them.

That seems like a majority mandate to me.

11 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Steve Chessin on 04/11/2012 at 8:30 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

@Mr. Walker: RCV would not have caused Ralph Nader to be elected, even if he were everyone's second choice, and even if we used national RCV to elect the President. With only 2.74% of the vote (see…), he would have been eliminated along with the rest of the minor party and independent candidates. The race would still have come down to Gore or Bush.

6 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Steve Chessin on 04/11/2012 at 8:08 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

@JimL: There was no head to head race between Perata and Quan nor any other pair of candidates. RCV calculations are not a race. Only people who think every voter has a time machine believes they are.

No one questions that Quan won fair and square under the RCV rules. The problem is that she never got the legitimacy of a majority vote. That might be okay for someone who performs well in office, but most people see that Mayor Quan has been a disaster.

RCV is pseudo-reform championed by machine pols. Instead, take a look at the current presidential election in France. The country has plenty of parties - unlike the de facto one-party regime in Oakland. France has a free-for-all vote vaguely like our primary, then a runoff a week later. That system here would probably get you the turnout that a June primary does not produce.

3 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Charlie Pine on 04/11/2012 at 7:48 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

@Mr. Pine: Even if your numbers are correct, it doesn't mean much. Since Perata instructed his voters to bullet vote, it artificially reduced Quan's #2 and #3 votes. Your statistic is meaningless. The fact is that in the head to head race, Quan vs. Perata, Oakland voters preferred Jean Quan to Don Perata. RCV is a series of runoffs, done with one ballot. In the final runoff round, the last round, where it was just Quan vs. Perata, Quan beat Perata. That is 100% democratic.

10 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jim Lindsay on 04/11/2012 at 6:13 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

I saw this on the Internet, so I am not sure if it is a story or an op-ed piece. It certainly reads like an op-ed. But if so, it is poorly researched. Ranked choice voting has been tried in many other countries and several municipalities in the United States, some of which have kept it and some of which have dropped the system. Both the advantages and disadvantages are well known. The advantages are that you have to campaign to all voters and build coalitions. The disadvantages are not the one's you list here about voters being disenfranchised, but the exact opposite. Most voters think that they have to vote for every office on the ballot which is why the vast majority cast ballots for races like library boards that they know nothing about. What happens with ranked choice is that the candidates who are well known don't get a vote from their opponent and the risk is that a crazy person can be elected with second and third votes. To use an oversimplified example, in the Bush/Gore Presidential race, there would have been a reasonable chance of Ralph Nader becoming President because he would have been both sides second choice. In New York City they tried ranked choice back in the 30's and elected two open communist's and one open fascist to their city council over two elections. There are always some crazies that make it, but ranked choice leads to more. The question is if forcing politicians to not be nasty and to campaign for everyone is worth the tradeoff. No one thinks Jean Quan could have won under the regular elections and many think she won because Perata was left off the most ballots as the frontrunner. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? The city needs to decide.

4 likes, 11 dislikes
Posted by George Walker on 04/11/2012 at 9:29 AM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

Tramutola's "academy" is a scam to avoid paying its workers a decent wage. Just another way Larry and his side-kick Dan make sure that, win or lose, they walk away with their own pockets stuffed with money.

16 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Gerry Divens on 04/11/2012 at 8:43 AM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

If you are interested in become a "Tramutola Disciple," please visit

6 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by Daniel Weinzveg on 04/10/2012 at 9:50 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

Quan and Perata each had their strengths, weaknesses, and blindspots. That's what they were ready to take to the mayor's office. Having more votes wouldn't have made either one a better mayor or solved any of Oakland's problems. Trying to get rid of RCV is just another distraction. Time and effort is better spent dealing with real problems and real solutions.

22 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Ron Goom on 04/10/2012 at 9:48 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

So Perata and his boy Tramatola want to go back to the old way? Of course! Tramatola makes less money with fewer elections, and Perata is still crying because he lost. Rank Choice Voting is much better than the old way -- a primary in June and a possible runoff in November. In the old days it led to endless electioneering, huge pressure to raise a ton of money, and viciously negative campaigning. That is NOT more democratic! We do need to let people rank more than three choices, though. Mend it don't end it!

21 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Jim Lindsay on 04/10/2012 at 8:46 PM

Re: “Ranked-Choice Voting Attacked in Oakland

All of Jean Quan's votes, from those who listed her first to those who simply filled out their list of three with her name, added up to 44 percent of the voters. When someone winds up with less than a majority, she lacks a mandate to govern - and when she demonstrates in her first year that she is incapable of governing, city government is left with no legitimacy.

7 likes, 22 dislikes
Posted by Charlie Pine on 04/10/2012 at 8:15 PM

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