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Re: “Survivor, Oakland City Hall: Power Struggle Led to Expulsion of City Clerk from Closed Session

This is a very timely article due to the fact that Oakland lacks transparency, and has struggled with issues of equity for years. Oakland has paid several high profile lawsuits that span wrongful termination to police corruption. Oakland is lucky to have a City Clerk who can sit between the City Council and the City Administrators without being conflicted or controlled. This helps to eliminate bias and improves public trust. When we start allowing City Officials private spaces to meet without someone to keep a record of the actions, we allow obfuscation of the political process. The public is completely in the dark as to their actions, intent, and policy motivations.

Above I read someone speak on the Clerk having a 10th grade education and found that interesting because it sounds like an attempt to insult Ms. Simmons personally and professionally. Boasting a credential or formal education in an attempt to use it as some type of a trump card is an act of immaturity and likely some form of jealousy. I would respond to that by saying John D. Rockefeller, nor Henry Ford had a high school education and became billionaires and both contributed significantly to the world we live in today. Moreover, Rachel Ray, Dave Thomas, Steve Jobs, Madam CJ Walker, Richard Branson, Michael Dell and several other people worked hard and built legacies. None of these people graduated from high school. While I do not reduce the idea of formal education, because I have plenty (AA -2, BA, BS, MSA, PMP), sitting in a classroom collecting credit hours is not the only way to gain vital experience.

I wanted to add that many of the Ivy league schools offer free online classes now. You do not earn credit hours, but you are able to get a command of the educational materials. Doesn't Ms. Simmons have all of the Clerk designations and certifications, project management education, etc? How can someone stay in a job for more than a decade if they are incapable of doing it? Why did I belabor this point so much? I have a problem with people who think they are better than other because they have a formal education and others may not. It is a divide that has history in my community. Ms. Simmons is from my community and is a beacon of light and hope for others.

In a simple math equation, it takes approximately 120 credit hours for someone to earn an undergraduate degree, and an additional 48 to 60 to earn graduate level credentials. When I looked over Ms. Simmons background it appears she has worked approximately 48,000 hours in administrative positions with significant levels of responsibility managing others, processes, dealing with budgets, organizational restructuring, etc. I couldn't ignore that type of experience unless I was simply immature, foolish or suffering from some form of narcissism, deeply arrogant or just having delusions.

Oakland needs to address the lack of affordable housing and jobs for their citizens, get their police in line, and bring some recreation back for their kids. The last thing we need in the city I love and cherish is for our valuable resources to be squandered harassing the clerk and trying to hide actions from Joe and Josette Public. What I find most astounding about this article is that the City of Oakland wants to control whistleblowers and information that should be public and accessible. Ms. Simmons is the perfect person to be at the table because she has the history of the city, is well versed in the rules and processes and has been a staunch advocate for transparency and public access.

Posted by Mason Cooper on 07/23/2016 at 12:25 PM

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