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Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Call this sour grapes, since I was the other candidate whom Ms. Roberts trounced in the election. But the legions of well known public officials and the boards of the biggest Oakland municipal unions, got exactly the hear no evil, see no evil City Auditor they wanted.

In Ms. Roberts, they had someone unknown and unconnected to most of Oakland, who had lived all her time in Oakland in a gated hills community and commuted thru the flats to get to SF or Emeryville. They got someone completely dependent on their endorsements to get re-elected.

Background: Much more so than in the local district races or even citywide races such as Mayor which get decent media attention, the endorsement of the Alameda County Democratic Committee is essential to winning in low information race. That endorsement gets you on the relatively inexpensive mailing pieces Endorsed by the Democratic Party.

And most voters assume that if the Democratic Party endorses one candidate, then the other candidate must be a Republican, Green Party, or Peace and Freedom. In fact, the local branch of the Democratic Party had endorsed me over Ms. Roberts, but likely a few phone calls were made, and the full County Committee unanimously endorsed Ms. Roberts. In a prior interview, the politically influential Fire Fighters Association had flatly told me that did not want an Auditor on record calling for public discussion of city employee retirement benefits. The Police Officers Association board told me they would not accept an Auditor who both supported greater police accountability (Im still the Treasurer for the Coalition for Police Accountability, aka Measure LL) and questioned high police disability and overtime pay. Ms. Roberts, bless her, probably didnt even know what the issues were.

Most voters reasonably assumed that Ms. Roberts was the better candidate because she had years of experience as an auditor, where I was merely a CPA tax accountant with years of participation in Oakland civic and community activities. Hey, everything else being equal, theyd be correct.

The media never had the time to explain to voters that the City Auditor doesnt perform audits. The Auditor hires an Assistant Auditor who manages the staff of field auditors and others. The Auditor sets goals, selects some of the audit areas, and communicates findings to the public and Council.

I asked a TV reporter at a mayoral election event why no Auditor race coverage. She answered that her boss gave her 3 minutes of airtime to cover the Mayoral and all the Council races. 0 for Auditor race. The media did not bother even to verify the resumes of either candidate for Auditor. And the only checking that the City Clerk does is make sure the Auditor candidates have current CPA or management auditor certifications. People do more background checking on their dog walker.

But what made me laugh at one of the first forums were the words from Ms. Roberts surrogate, the Berkeley City Auditor. How Ms. Roberts must be the better candidate because even though she didnt know much about Ms. Roberts, she knew a lot about me. How I had been politically active for years. How that meant Ms. Roberts would be objective, not partisan like me.

Ms. Roberts took that cue and made her complete ignorance of Oakland into a strength, not a weakness. In the poorly attended, few public forums in which we both spoke, Ms. Roberts smoothly repeated the mantra how she would apply objective, scientific audit methods to determine which areas needed to be audited. That didnt work so well going to door to door, or face to face with voters when people asked for specifics, but the media swallowed it whole. It wasnt just the East Bay Express who endorsed Ms. Roberts; it was also the former Oakland Tribune.

Ironically, more than a few voters told me I was too combative and angry to be effective, while Ms. Roberts was so even-tempered and mild.

Posted by Len Raphael on 10/12/2017 at 2:08 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

"Not long after Roberts arrived at City Hall, the office's work slowed to a crawl" This is not unintentional. Roberts knows she only has one job - and that's to not rock the boat - dont investigate the city contracts (and upset the unions), don't make enemies with the mayor or city council members, and you can sail into office again with 80% off the vote. This is what she promised in 2014 - not to rock the boat - and she was endorsed by all the special interest groups.

But then how do you manage competent people working for you who feel they lack a sense of purpose or direction? Make them feel that the problem is them.

Posted by Clarence C. Johnson on 10/11/2017 at 9:40 PM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

All indications here are of a presentable, plausible... incompetent. And the electorate put her there in desperation to "throw the old rascals out".

The question becomes, how do we avoid a repeat performance?

Wait... Why is a critical function like this politicized (elected)? That MAY be a key question to answer in not getting another one like this.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 10/11/2017 at 9:31 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Chief Made False Statements About ICE Raid

I share the concerns about blurred lines. I'm also concerned that accurately reporting shortly after the action, the information available to the Chief at the time of the report (and it DOES seem ICE may have been... Less than truthful. That's sarcasm, for the sarcasm impaired) is considered by EBX and the Oakland Privacy commission to be grounds for an internal affairs complaint. It sort of looks like a witch hunt.

It's very easy to armchair quarterback three weeks later; Especially when a known Oakland hot button issues and are used to spur action. "Sex trafficking condoned by OPD" may well have been seen has she NOT supplied the officers.

EBX, DBG, figure out which side you're playing on. It's clear to me this is purest demagoguery and does nothing but further divide the community and further aid and abet ICE.

Posted by Bruce Ferrell on 10/11/2017 at 9:00 PM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

I know who I am NOT voting for. She needs to go ASAP.

Posted by Celeste B on 10/11/2017 at 8:15 PM

Re: “East Bay Children's Book Project Is in Peril

Most people have no idea how important EBCBP has been for children, there is no comparable organization in the East Bay. Every once in awhile there will be a media story about some group that gave away 100 dictionaries or whatever, ok great, but nothing compared to the many thousands of books they give away every month, really high quality books, with almost no media attention. I spent years bringing their books and others to the kids living in Oakland's homeless shelters, the kids were always so happy and excited.

Posted by Todd Pratum on 10/11/2017 at 1:54 PM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

This is nothing. I once worked for the president of a college back east who was a control freak like Roberts. All the deans and asst deans had to get the president's permission to do anything, short of blowing their noses. They had to submit a memo for each action and wait for him to respond, which could take weeks because of all the memos that piled up on his desk. He had them in neat piles, about 3 reams' worth per pile, 14 piles in all. And if there was a single typo in a memo, the pres would return it to be corrected, after which it went to the bottom of the piles and would have to work its way up again.

Posted by Mike Bradley on 10/11/2017 at 1:13 PM

Re: “Oakland Develops New Approach to Fixing Dangerous Intersections Faster

Mr. Johnson -- you're right that many neighborhoods across Oakland could benefit from similar treatment. OakDOT has road safety projects in the works across the city, including the area of 8th and Fallon streets in West Oakland, Fruitvale Avenue in the Fruitvale district, the BRT project connecting East Oakland to the Lake Merritt area, and both 69th Avenue and 98th Avenue in East Oakland. We will be making additional announcements as those projects produce results in the coming weeks and months. More to come!

--Sean Maher, OakDOT

Posted by Sean_Maher on 10/11/2017 at 11:26 AM

Re: “Oakland Develops New Approach to Fixing Dangerous Intersections Faster

Lots of neighborhoods could benefit from this kind of treatment.

When we have pestered the "Department of Transportation" however,
they are refused to deal with us.

Uptown and downtown, maybe. The rest of Oakland, like East Oakland, forget about it.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 10/11/2017 at 8:13 AM

Re: “Wooden Table Cafe to be Oakland's Home for Argentine Treats

This is wonderful!! Good luck!!! We are a small yerba mate company in Maryland... the word is growing on how delicious the treats from Argentina are!! Good luck! We hope to one day, come and visit! www.lovefromargentina.com

Posted by Ana Goldseker on 10/11/2017 at 4:33 AM

Re: “Oakland Develops New Approach to Fixing Dangerous Intersections Faster

This looks like a major improvement. I'd love to see something similar done at the mid-block crosswalk on Lake Park Avenue.

Posted by Ken Katz on 10/11/2017 at 12:09 AM

Re: “Copper Spoon to Replace Art's Crab Shack

First time at Copper Spoon last night. Wow! What a great place! Atmosphere and drinks were great, but the Lamb burger was out of this world! I'd reccomend this to anyone who like great food at a reasonable cost.

Posted by Somerset Bassett on 10/10/2017 at 4:18 PM

Re: “Alameda's Boichik Bagels is a Game-Changer

Sorry, but this isn't a "game changer" if the business owner doesn't actually have a business location. Delivery only? Might work for some, but not for MOST. I'm from Jersey, so trust me - we NEED better bagels here. But for now, places like Beauty's offers a pretty good product. None the less I welcome the increased competition, so long as there is an actual STORE. My life is way too complicated to try and order bagels for delivery. Sorry - but the current business model works best (going to a shop to purchase bagels, breads, pastries, etc.).

Posted by EB Pride on 10/10/2017 at 10:17 AM

Re: “Blade Runner 2049: Making America Dismal Again

Of course you and most of your readers don't want to explore our current situation.

That's why you go to the movies.

Posted by Hobart Johnson on 10/10/2017 at 10:08 AM

Re: “Bang Data Joins the Resistance

Great article. Love Bang Data and everything tney represent. Their music nakes you feel alive.. Always great to catch a live show.

Posted by Nikki Surette- Daniel on 10/09/2017 at 10:26 PM

Re: “Oakland Approves 'Safe Havens' for Homeless Camps and Services

I think it's a good idea.

Posted by Monica Ruiz on 10/07/2017 at 9:30 PM

Re: “Mexican Alternative Band KINKY at Cornerstone

Nice sound.

Posted by Monica Ruiz on 10/07/2017 at 9:25 PM

Re: “Oakland Police Hold Secret Ceremony Honoring Several Officers Accused of Mishandling Celeste Guap Sex-Crimes Investigation

Call the police for help..... not a chance.
Don't need them shooting at me. If you got bad meal from a restaurant you would not go back. Boycott the police. They are about violence and fear. It's that simple.

Posted by glenn Scott on 10/07/2017 at 1:15 PM

Re: “Oakland Approves 'Safe Havens' for Homeless Camps and Services

Two sides to a coin here. On one side, helping these folks with sanitary facilities, better shelter, etc. makes good humanitarian sense. Great!

On the other side of the coin, the blight of these encampants is destructive to the safety of the community, the willingness of people to conduct business nearby as well as property values for those that are not homeless. These actions make Oakland an attractive haven for the homeless which will only grow the population and put us in a death spiral.

One solution to consider is for the City Council members to locate these homeless encampments in their front yards. They will be providing the space for a compassionate solution and ensure the encampments are dispersed throughout the city and not become little ghettos in areas that will be invetiably destined to be "out of sight, out of mind."

And, of course, the members of the Council will experience first hand, the social, safety and economic impact of fostering the growth and development of these encampments. They will "live in the shoes" of the merchants and citizens that live nearby and they can even move in to the encampments.

A total 360!

Posted by Michael Good on 10/07/2017 at 12:33 PM

Re: “Loving Vincent, and Perhaps Murdering Him, Too

the spectacle of the film is at first nearly overwhelming. But, once one gets used to seeing the Vincent mode on a constant level, it is a pleasure to watch. The conjecture over Vincent's cause of death is quite plausible and the doctor's forensic analysis of the wound's initiation...not done by Vincent's hand...is very compelling. The course of Armand's journey following Vincent's path is not at all tedious...but very enlightening as drama and as narrative. All rings true for the viewer and makes this film a joy and hopefully a success in all ways for its creators. loved it.

Posted by Perry Johnson on 10/07/2017 at 7:48 AM

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