Letters for the week of October 15, 2014 

Readers sound off on Oakland's District Four, the Berkeley soda tax, and Courtney Ruby explains why she should be elected mayor.


"From Siegel to Parker," Election 2014, 10/8

I'll Get Results

I appreciate your ranking me among the top seven candidates in the race for mayor. Much has been said about how hard it is to distinguish between so many candidates. I started this campaign with a pledge to tell it like it is. So here it is: I am the only candidate for mayor who's taken on City Hall and gotten results. 

As city auditor, I've held local government accountable. For every dollar I spent on audits, I saved six. I led the fight for mandatory ethics training and forced the city to refund millions in overpaid parking tickets.

My top priority is safety — because we need leaders focused on better policies, not endless politics. I will hold City Hall accountable, generating new funds without new taxes through mandatory management audits of every department to pay for vital services, such as hiring more police officers.

Accountability should start at the top — that means no raises for top managers without results. And I will send every large city contract out to bid — with local hiring and living-wage requirements — to increase efficiency.

Together, we can fix this mess we call the Oakland city government. I know, because I've done it before. I took a deeply troubled city agency and made it a model of accountability, transparency, and results.

From one of the worst to one of the very best — we can do it. I did it with the auditor's office and I can do it at City Hall.

As city auditor, I am the leader of a city agency. But my most important job is being a mom. I've got two incredible young boys — and I want them to grow up to be safe and successful young men in this city.

They deserve — we all deserve — a government as great as our city. That's why I'm running for mayor.

Courtney Ruby, Oakland


"In Oakland Hills Race, a Battle of Ideologies," Election 2014, 10/1

As a District Four property owner and a proud parent of a student in our only public middle school, I am aghast that Jill Broadhurst seeks to represent our district when, by her own actions, has done us harm. Specifically, she is part of a large group of mostly white upper-middle-class families from the hills schools and Crocker Highlands that, rather than fight to make the local middle schools better, decided to start their own charter school, taking many families of similar demographics with them.

Their actions have resulted in declining enrollment at Montera (the District Four middle school), and have diminished the pot of fundraising money that goes to ensure that all students have extra resources that the Oakland Unified School District can't provide. If she wants to lead our district, perhaps she should have started by fighting to improve the middle school (whose population is much more reflective of Oakland), rather than harm it by zapping its resources and bolting.

We all know that property values increase with good schools. Jill Broadhurst has done nothing to help with that.

Having attended a recent candidate forum, I was very impressed with Annie Campbell Washington's grasp of the issues and plans to make changes. Broadhurst seemed to me to be a closet Republican explaining that she does not favor raising taxes, which is why she is not in favor of the ballot measures that would do so.

If you care about someone that represents all of District Four, and not just the hills, vote for Campbell Washington. Broadhurst presented an "us against them" platform — beliefs evidenced by her support of the charter school, which has had detrimental impacts on the district she seeks to support.

Jennifer Berg, Oakland

Here's the Truth

Annie Campbell Washington equals Jean Quan. That's all you need to know.

Frank Castro, Oakland

Campbell Washington Is Not Quan

I am a lifetime member of the Sierra Club and actively work in my land use law practice for the environment. I also work for neighborhoods. Annie Campbell Washington helped my own neighborhood recently with a major, nagging problem and got it solved.

However, I have kept an open mind in the District Four race because people I respect felt confident that Jill Broadhurst was a good and honest candidate. If it is true that Broadhurst used the Sierra Club and its logo untruthfully, that is a major factor in my mind and should be in every Oakland voter's mind, as well.

From my twenty-plus years of experience with politics in Oakland, our neighborhoods are almost always at the bottom of the barrel when up against major developers; private schools; and politically active, wealthy contributors to campaigns. The last thing the neighborhoods need is a councilmember who puts himself or herself first and us last. At least we should get a fair shake downtown and our interests should not constantly be behind personal and political gain.

Unless Broadhurst has a very good explanation for what happened with the Sierra Club (which I doubt), I support Campbell Washington. From what I have seen in my practice, her involvement with Jean Quan was minor and she is not Quan. Her other jobs are just as important to consider, and we should get reasonable consideration from her.

She has a reputation for standing up and refusing to be swayed by the dishonest practices that constantly occur in City Hall. Please join me in putting our interests on an even keel with those who are more powerful than us, and who usually "get their way" no matter the inequity of the situation. 

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