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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Election 2012

Re: “Endorsements Part I: Vote Kaplan and Yes on Measures B1 and S and Props 34 and 37

Congratulations on your journalistic courage in recommending a "No" vote on A1. Among the many reasons for opposing this measure is the fact that it's almost impossible to follow the money. Should A1 pass, funds will be spent by the zoo operator, the East Bay Zoological Society, any way it sees fit since the provisions of the measure are riddled with loopholes and the society does not have to abide by open government protections for the public. Special tax districts such as BART, EBMUD, the East Bay Regional Park District, etc. must have publicly elected boards of directors and abide by the Brown Act and the California Public Records acts. As a private non-proft corporation, the society has a privately selected board, and does not have to abide by either of the aforementioned open government acts that allow the public to "follow the money."

As a previous commenter noted, the Society has failed to file required financial documents with the City so that the public can see how its money is currently being spent--in other words, we can't follow the money.

Nor will those interested in following the money spent in the campaign have an easy time of it. The colored mailer that the EB Express mentions appeared without a disclaimer which is the way that the public can track campaign expenditures through the Fair Political Practices Commission. Without a disclaimer, there's no way of knowing how much an "informational" mailer with strong campaign overtones cost or, more importantly, who is paying for it.

On Thursday night at a Piedmont League of Women Voters forum in response to a question of how much the society was spending on its campaign, Director Joel Parrott responded "1 million dollars." Beyond the obvious contradiction of asking the public to pay for "needed repairs" to its animal enclosures while bankrolling a mega-spending campaign is the more obvious question of who's funding this campaign? Huge chunks of money are being dropped into it without the public being able to "pierce the veil, " as the FPPC likes to say.

The question remains that if Measure A1 can generate $110+ million of public money to fund any zoo expansion project (and all legal analysis shows it can be), what special interests might benefit from those development projects? And, are those special interests tied to the campaign funding? The only way of finding out is to follow the money--something that, in this case, is exceedingly hard to do.

7 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Laura Baker on 10/13/2012 at 1:27 PM

Re: “Berkeley at a Crossroads

The Third Quarter 2012 Manufacturing Report from Cassidy Turley shows a 2% vacancy rate rate for Berkeley, even better than the 2.9% previously cited.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Patrick Sheahan on 10/13/2012 at 7:26 AM

Re: “Who'll Replace Jane Brunner?

Terry, thank you for bringing the non-filing to my attention. Our well respected election accounting firm of Henry Levy & Co had timely finished the report and sent it to me for approval. I emailed my approval back to them and expected they would file it the way another election accounting firm had done for me in a different race. Levy & Co thought I was hand delivering it to the Clerk. They will file it on Monday.

re my new age "negativity":

I haven't checked it myself, but I'm told that no one has won a local election here in 4 decades without the support of either OPOA (police), OFFIA (fire fighters) or the SEIU.

It's not the moral weight of those organizations as much as the impact of their "independent expendidures" and their "volunteers" who do phone banking and door to door work.

You've heard about Citizens United. Maybe Amy Lemley hasn't but her campaign manager, Larry Tramutola certainly has. As long time consultant to Don Perata, and currently to Jane Brunner and Ignacio De La Fuente (as well as most other Oakland incumbents), Larry knows a few things about independent expenditures.

If it looks like their annointed candidate needs help, those organizations, as well as OAKPAC (Chamber of Commerce), OBA (Oakland Builders Alliance), EBRHA (rental housing) etc. will pay for an additional mailing, radio ad, flyer etc.

If you are OPOA or OFFIA or SEIU it is a hecka good investment to spend 40 or 50 grand on a mailer for your candidate Amy, Richard, or Dan in this last push to Nov 6th because just protecting the high pensions for another couple of three years until we hit Chapter 9 = millions of extra retirement income to your members.

So no, it's not several $1,300 of direct PAC contributions that impair the objectivity of your future elected officials. It is the indirect expenditures and the "volunteer" assistance that are worth big bucks because are not subject to the already high $100,000 campaign funding limits.

(Yes Virginia, it takes 100k to win just a District 1 election)

In Richard Raya's case, there are the free "volunteers" available from Oakland Rising and possibly Ella Baker Center to help his campaign. If elected, he'll be voting on which non-profit gets money and which starves.

(btw, I'd have to check, but I've read that Federal campaign laws limit direct contributions by companies and unions that have contracts with the Federal govt. Oakland forbids contributions by private companies with contracts, but allows public service unions with contracts to make direct donations.)

I'll bet you two FREE hot dogs or vegan kabobs at our Sunday Oct 21st Free Lunch Meet and Greet for Len Raphael for City Council that at some point in the next couple of weeks there will be a combo of independent expenditure and "volunteer" labor made by some of those groups to support Lemley, Raya, or Kalb.

David, I'm not following your logic about my respect for the Green Party candidate.

Len Raphael
For City Council District 1
4521 Telegraph Avenue, Original Kasper's Hot Dogs flatiron building

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Leonard Raphael on 10/12/2012 at 10:51 PM

Re: “Endorsements Part I: Vote Kaplan and Yes on Measures B1 and S and Props 34 and 37

I have 18, count them 18 parcel tax assessments on my property tax bill totaling over $700 per year. This for a small 1 bedroom condo in Oakland. NO MORE PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENTS.

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by George Bailey on 10/12/2012 at 7:47 PM

Re: “Endorsements Part I: Vote Kaplan and Yes on Measures B1 and S and Props 34 and 37

Only a fool would vote for the pandering law breaking Rebecca Kaplan...

6 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by George Bailey on 10/12/2012 at 7:42 PM

Re: “Ignacio's Successor

Heck even in Downtown Oakland there is no retail that is open late a night except for Feelmore510. I open late b/c you have to be the first to set presedence if there is to be a scent of change in the air. Attracting major retailers with substantial tax benefits / incentives? Small businesses are opening all the time in Oakland yet there is 1 central business assistance center at the City of Oakland that is NEVER engaged since Mr. Mike McPherson died. Nor is the art council ever engaged. I do not know. Public safety is always #1 yet so distant collectively for every community.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Nenna Feelmore Joiner on 10/12/2012 at 7:00 PM

Re: “Berkeley at a Crossroads

Thanks for this fascinating analysis, Mr. Gammon. Should be required reading for Berkeley voters.

Anti-growth activists in West Berkeley have been claiming a 2.9% commercial vacancy rate for at least 3 years. Odd that it never varies, by even a tenth of a percent.

18 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Tor Berg on 10/12/2012 at 4:49 PM

Re: “Berkeley at a Crossroads

The selective portrayal of a mostly abandoned block of Fourth Street belies the vacancy rate of 2.9% in West Berkeley, perhaps the lowest in the region. The stretch referred to does not have a lot of street life, but apparently Mr. Gammon did not bother to look inside the buildings to see all that is going on.

The missing part of the Peerless Lighting story is that Doug Herst sold the company in 1999 to Acuity Brands, who moved the manufacturing to Mexico.

The reference to 1,500 jobs lost refers primarily to manufacturing jobs, and ignores the fact that jobs lost have been more than replaced by new jobs, reflecting the shift in the overall economy. See the Office of Economic Development report to the City Council, June 12, 2012.

Measure T has no provisions to provide affordable artist space or workforce housing, nor does it mandate any green building standards such solar panels. If Mr. Herst chooses to provide these in his project that is fine, but does not justify entitlements for 75 foot high buildings where the height limit is 45 feet.

Councilmember Moore, whose campaign contributions come primarily from development related sources, talks about the fit with the City's Climate Action Plan, while The City's Environmental Impact Report contradicts this assertion by identifying traffic and pollution impacts that undermine the Climate Action Plan.

Mr. Gammon goes on to belittle the opponents of Measure T, calling them a "small but vocal group", "afraid", "anti-growth". If Mr. Gammon bothered to look at the public record he would would find hundreds of residents and businesses who have argued for development that is compatible with the scale and character of a thriving West Berkeley. Many opponents have taken care to explain that their position is not anti-development, and is for appropriate growth.

It appears that Mr. Gammon did not bother to actually talk with opponents of measure T, instead relying on information provided by the spokesperson for Mr. Herst. Mr. Gammon's piece reads as developer's promotion, rather than the serious analysis that Measure T merits.

10 likes, 17 dislikes
Posted by Patrick Sheahan on 10/12/2012 at 4:00 PM

Re: “Endorsements Part I: Vote Kaplan and Yes on Measures B1 and S and Props 34 and 37

The Oakland Zoo should not receive any additional public monies until they account for the over $40 million they have received. The Oakland City Auditor is investigating the matter as a result of this information:…

The East Bay Zoological Society's agreement with the City of Oakland requires reports on the expenditures of funds received from the City. The City has received none of these required reports from the Society.

Vote No on Measure A1.

4 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Ralph Kanz on 10/12/2012 at 3:36 PM

Re: “Alameda's Council, Up for Grabs

Thanks, Steve Tavares, for this article. Thanks, Councilmember Santos! For more information on my candidacy, please visit my web-site:

/s/ Tony Daysog, Alameda City Council candidate

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Tony Daysog on 10/12/2012 at 2:47 AM

Re: “Endorsements Part I: Vote Kaplan and Yes on Measures B1 and S and Props 34 and 37

On Measure S, your paper ignores well-documented facts in favor of impression and emotion. The facts show very clearly that sit-lie has not worked. It seems your paper refused to even read the measure--it states very clearly that state and local laws already exist to deal with encampments on sidewalks. And that the city lacks police resources even to enforce already-existing laws. And that using police to further enforce sit-lie laws would diminish police attention to more serious crimes. Read the measure on the ballot. This is what it says. Yet the Express chooses to ignore these facts. Why?

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Chris Cook on 10/11/2012 at 3:13 PM

Re: “Endorsements Part I: Vote Kaplan and Yes on Measures B1 and S and Props 34 and 37

Zoos are bad Knowland is good, see it on Amazon Streaming

0 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by David Millett on 10/11/2012 at 2:27 PM

Re: “Berkeley at a Crossroads

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.

4 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Editor on 10/11/2012 at 8:44 AM

Re: “Who'll Replace Jane Brunner?

Ive been following the race, signing up for all the candidates emails and stuff, following the news and email listsm and I've been totally put off by Len's negativity. Yes, some candidates have contributions from unions, but what Len doesnt mention is that the max contribution is 1300 from them and 700 from individuals. You just cant raise tens of thousands of dollars, like Kalb, Raya and Lemley have, without support in the community, with a little help from unions and others. You need lots of contributions from lots of different sources, which is a good thing, if you ask me. It diffuses the influence of any one contributor and shows broad support. I may not like all the candidates, but I dont believe that they can be bought off that cheap.

And, Len, when are you filing your financial disclosure form for us to see where your money is from and where its going? As you probably know, it was due last Friday. You and Brandt--rock throwers both--are AWOL with this simple legal requirement.

5 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Terry Christian on 10/11/2012 at 7:06 AM

Re: “Alameda's Council, Up for Grabs

cambra appears to be the candidate with common sense; i hope the voters will support and elect him to the Council-I am surprised to see Daysog running again; I guess he just does not give up-good luck to him also and I presume he will run for Mayor some time in the future-

Posted by Tony Santos on 10/11/2012 at 5:46 AM

Re: “Endorsements Part I: Vote Kaplan and Yes on Measures B1 and S and Props 34 and 37

I am with the East Bay Express on this one. My votes are for: Rachel Kaplan, Sean Sullivan and Yes on 37!!! #unapologetic

6 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Ambessa Negus on 10/11/2012 at 5:05 AM

Re: “Endorsements Part I: Vote Kaplan and Yes on Measures B1 and S and Props 34 and 37

There is a very strong argument to vote NO on Prop 34, even if you're opposed to the death penalty. Passage of the proposition will automatically end the appeals process for all convicts presently on Death Row. Convicts will spend the rest of their lives behind bars and no longer have the ability to prove their innocence. Please vote NO on Prop 34.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by John Seal on 10/11/2012 at 12:05 AM

Re: “Endorsements Part I: Vote Kaplan and Yes on Measures B1 and S and Props 34 and 37

The reasons provided as arguments to vote no on A1 are striking for their weakness. Somehow, the Express knows that the zoo receives "plenty of taxpayer funding". Sounds like Romney taking on Big Bird. And complaining about a glossy mailer. Gosh, the audacity. What I most don't understand is the negative tone being applied to the Oakland Zoo, when it is truly a gem of the City, and the recipient of much local support.

2 likes, 14 dislikes
Posted by David Cohen on 10/10/2012 at 11:52 PM

Re: “Who'll Replace Jane Brunner?

Interesting, the negativity that both Don MacLeay and Len Raphael feel compelled to share with us. Mr. Raphael, for example, needs to impugn the integrity of Kalb, Brandt, Raya, Link, and Lemley because they don't agree with him. And Mr. MacLeay needs to comment that the candidates with more connections and cash are getting more space in the article. No wonder these guys have become buddies.

1 like, 5 dislikes
Posted by David Cohen on 10/10/2012 at 11:41 PM

Re: “Who'll Replace Jane Brunner?

At tonight's Forum at College Prep the Green candidate, Don Macleay, stepped up and announced his support of repealing the personnel section of binding arbitration. He's earned my second choice for his integrity, even though I don't agree with his position against adding more police. I'll chose integrity over campaign promises every time.

We need Dan Kalb, Craig Brandt, Richard Raya, and Don Link to do the same.

Then Amy Lemly can show us her independence from her Oakland Police Association money.

Len Raphael
Candidate for District 1 City Council
4521 Telegraph Ave (Original Kaspers Hot Dogs)

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Leonard Raphael on 10/10/2012 at 10:32 PM

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