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Re: “Watching the Watchdog

This letter reflects the opinion of our active staff members at the Office of the Oakland City Auditor.

We feel compelled to respond to the recent article released about City Auditor, Brenda Roberts, as it does not accurately portray her management style, is one-sided, and relies heavily on allegations Brenda was absolved of. Simply put, we do not recognize the woman portrayed in this article.

We know Brenda to be a professional, caring, intelligent, passionate and compassionate leader. She ensures her staff is well trained, intellectually challenged, and cares about our career trajectories, and overall well-being.

It is a pleasure to work with her. She cares deeply about serving Oakland and makes certain we feel a sense of pride and ownership around our work and audits. She offers guidance and support and encourages us to attend trainings to boost our crucial audit skills required to ensure the City of Oakland runs more efficiently.

Brenda embraces the celebration of milestones (such as the release of audits, birthdays, newly hired team members, etc.) and develops relationships with other departments so we arent working in silos, disconnected from the larger workings of the City.

She also NEVER stops working. Whether she is out in the community at Neighborhood Crime Prevention Council meetings, responding to Whistleblower complaints, attending City Council meetings, or guiding us through audits, her strong work ethic infuses our work. We have produced a total of 10 audits since Brenda took office in 2015. Another 4 audits in OFD, OPD, Public Works and the Public Ethics Commission will be released soon.

Housing, of course, is one of the top issues facing Oakland and our Rent Adjustment Program audit was pivotal in bringing about significant changes to Oaklands housing and rental program. We are proud our Rent Adjustment Program audit was recognized with a Knighton Award and will positively impact Oaklands response to the housing crisis.

Currently, our team is united, thriving and gaining traction. We are honored that Brenda is at the helm of our office and feel lucky to be working and growing with her.

We look forward to engaging in the important work ahead of us, and most importantly, serving this City we all care so deeply about.

Respectfully,
The Office of the City Auditor

Posted by Carlos Hickerson on 10/19/2017 at 3:41 PM

Re: “The Mother and the Officer

Under lawful CIRCUMSTANCES & EVENTS Police must have equipment to 'detain' motor vehicles just as Police 'detain' persons in handcuffs.

Posted by Peter Quinn on 10/19/2017 at 7:17 AM

Re: “The Mother and the Officer

So two officers went up to a car, the occupants tried to run, appeared to be fighting, and had a gun in sight. What are the officers supposed to do? Apologize and let them go?

Posted by Ernest Montague on 10/19/2017 at 7:14 AM

Re: “Activists Hasten Oakland's Slow-Moving Plans to Permit Homeless Encampments

The City of Oakland is a criminal enterprise!
https://www.facebook.com/RealEstateFraudOr…
Regards,
Allen Sanford

Posted by Allen Sanford on 10/19/2017 at 7:05 AM

Re: “East Bay Homeless Campers Accuse Caltrans of Illegally Confiscating and Destroying Valuable Property — and Even Family Heirlooms

BRUCE AND REBECCA

ON MY MIND TODAY IS THE FACT THAT CALTRANS WORKERS CAME TODAY A DAY EARLIER THAN USUAL ...,
AND WHAT BOTHERS ME THE MOST IS HOW THEY TORE OUR HOUSE CAMP TENT UP AND MADE A BIGGER MESS THAN WAS THERE TO START WITH ALSO THE FACT THAT THEY PICKED AND CHOOSE WHAT THEY TOOK .
AMONG THE THINGS THEY TOOK WERE OUR FOOD LOCKERS , ALL OF OUR CLEAN LAUNDRY AND CLOTHES , MY WEAPONS 3 LONG GUNS , 6 LAPTOPS , OUR SOLAR PANELS , HONDA GENERATOR , BATTERY CHARGER , WIRE FEED WELDER AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS TOOLS , AND THINGS I'M SURE WE WILL FIGURE OUT LATER AS WE REALIZE THAT THEY TOOK THEM,
THEY DESTROYED THREE TENTS AND MADE A HUGE MESS THAT LOOKS WORSE THEN ANYTHING WE EVER HAD , WE MAKE A POINT OF OUR CAMP BEING CLEAN AND NEAT AT ALL TIMES AND THAT OUR TRASH IS HAULED OFF ON A REGULAR BASIS FOR THE SIMPLE FACT THAT OUR CAMP IS HIGH VISIBILITY TO THE PUBLIC AND EVEN THOUGH WE ARE HOMELESS WE STILL RESPECT OUR LIVING SPACE AND THOSE THAT HAVE TO SEE IT , BEING HOMELESS IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO LIVE LIKE A SLOB , AND WE DON'T..............
THEY DID LEAVE SEVERAL ORANGE TRASH BAGS OF TRASH THAT WE HAD PICKED UP FROM AROUND THE AREA THAT WE STAY THAT CAME FROM THE PUBLIC THAT EXITS THE FREEWAY NEAR US AND FEELS IT'S ALRIGHT TO THROUGH THEIR TRASH OUT THE WINDOWS OF THEIR CARS AS THEY PHONE IN COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE HOMELESS THAT ARE JUST TRYING TO STAY UNDER THE RADAR OF THE PUBLIC HIT SQUAD THAT THEMSELVES ARE ONLY MISSING 1 PAYCHECK AWAY FROM JOINING US.
ALSO THEY TOOK OUR BED CLEAN BEDDING, SLEEPING BAGS. NOW I'M SURE THEY HAD A GOOD IDEA OF WHAT THE WEATHER WAS GOING TO BE LIKE TONIGHT, AND AS YOU CAN TELL IT'S TRYING TO RAIN AND IS CONSIDERABLY COLDER TONIGHT THAN IT HAS BEEN ,
I HAVE TO GO NOW AND FIGURE OUT HOW I'M GOING TO KEEP MY LOVE REBECCA AND I WARM TONIGHT..

Posted by Bruce Nix on 10/19/2017 at 12:34 AM

Re: “The Mother and the Officer

Once again Darwin Bond Graham shows his bias in reporting and does not paint the full picture. Bellusa was fired from the Oakland Police Department. Sarna had issues, but he was about to eliminate the sergeants position that Bellusa was occupying. As far as Jordan, he should keep his mouth shut. He was the worse chief in Oakland Police Department history. He was Quan's puppet and yes man. How can he say he wanted the internal affairs case, but let a Sarna take over. Is that leadership? No, as chief he was also in charge of the criminal case, but did nothing to ensure it was conducted properly. Jordan had a history of burying his head in the sand when it comes to criminal investigations and pointing the finger at others. Jordan is quick to offer his opinion when a reporter puts a mic or notepad in his face, but lets be real Jordan was "fired" as well from OPD and has an ax to grind. Jordan left on a medical for no heart or spine? I see now he also has no brain.

Posted by Daffy_Duck on 10/18/2017 at 8:20 PM

Re: “In Dissing Oakland, Dubs Owners Are Making a Big Mistake

Chris - Thanks for saying whats on the mind of all long-time Warrior supporters. Those of us that are not just fans, but support the team with our tax dollars and attendance through the long dark years. Home run.

Posted by David Peters on 10/18/2017 at 7:49 AM

Re: “Warehouse Weed Farming in Richmond's Wild West

Richmond Mayor T. King Butt wants to right the wrongs that were done to African Americans during the war years when Blacks were not allowed to live in Richmond.
Consequently, they were forced to live in unincorporated North Richmond. Currently, King Butt wants to annex North Richmond to right those wrongs done to the Black population. However, this is a cover for what he really wants and that is the land for growing cannabis of which Noth Richmond has plenty of because there used to be nurseries there.

Posted by Charles T. Smith on 10/17/2017 at 9:33 PM

Re: “In Dissing Oakland, Dubs Owners Are Making a Big Mistake

Karma will teach them just like its teaching the niners and the Raiders....and the bandwagon fans that "love the warriors" will be just like the niners giving away they seat licences and tickets for the trick or treaters next week....great job Chris!!!!

Posted by Lil Bartholo on 10/17/2017 at 4:10 PM

Re: “In Dissing Oakland, Dubs Owners Are Making a Big Mistake

Unfortunately, the Warriors owners are once again showing that the owners of sports franchises in America are not only arrogant and greedy, but absolutely tone deaf in their relentless search for more and more money. Is it ever enough and will they ever realize that it is the fans that make the whole thing work? The NFL owners are well on their way to killing the golden goose with their greedy desire to add Thursday night football and ultimately expand the schedule. They approved the move of two franchises to an LA market that has shown over and over again that the football team they love is the USC Trojans. I can see the Rams returning, but the insanity of moving the Chargers to an LA market where they have no fans, are not a good team and are playing in a soccer stadium in Carson is mind boggling. At the end of the day, the team the LA fans wanted was the Raiders and they are moving to Las Vegas. Mark Davis has shown nothing but outright disrespect for the City of Oakland and one of the most loyal fan bases anywhere, ever. After appearing in a Super Bowl, Jed York and his ego screwed the 49ers for at least a decade by turning his back on San Francisco and moving into a concrete hot box Santa Clara. The fans of Oakland and the east bay supported the Warriors through at least 20 years of losing and the thanks they get is an announcement of a move to SF as soon as they got a championship team. Not only that, they are trying to screw the city on the way out. I don't know about you, but I believe in karma. It is a powerful energy in the universe that is pervasive in all aspects of the human existence. Yes, even more than money. After a 12-4 record last season and despite Davis trying to placate the fans with the signing of Marshawn Lynch, the departing Raiders all of a sudden can't seem to do anything right. I wonder how much mojo will follow the Warriors to SF? Fan loyalty lasts a lot longer than a maximum 3-5 year run of success any sports franchise can put together. After Curry and Durant decline or depart, will SF give them die hard fans that sell the place out? I seriously doubt it.

Posted by Gary Patton on 10/17/2017 at 4:00 PM

Re: “In Dissing Oakland, Dubs Owners Are Making a Big Mistake

chirs you sound like an asshole here , chill out . we love the warriors

Posted by Sh Sh Boba on 10/17/2017 at 3:08 PM

Re: “In Dissing Oakland, Dubs Owners Are Making a Big Mistake

FYI "Its not even a lot of money for someone like you" is never a persuasive argument, if that is what you are trying to do.

Posted by tonydyk on 10/17/2017 at 3:01 PM

Re: “Another Unnecessary Sports Expense

Scott McKibben was sued along with the Anschutz Entertainment Group for rigging the sale of a newspaper in 2005.

It looks like Mr. McKibben's contract is intended to prevent another potential executive from having any opportunity to uncover what has been done including why O.Co sponsorship of the Coliseum ended in the months before the Raiders announced a move.

Posted by Mari jones on 10/17/2017 at 10:37 AM

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

I guess the Oakland city government could care less, just like they do with the public libraries. Literacy and attending to the more vulnerable members of our society isn't their concern. Why would it be when the tech and real estate industries are more important?

Posted by Vincent Blafard on 10/16/2017 at 11:27 AM

Re: “Will Oakland Adopt a Mansion Tax?

Another approach that would could more effectively address the issues of gentrification and displacement would be a speculative gains tax imposed at the time of sale on properties that have been acquired and resold within a one or two year period. Consider what effect this might have had on Deutsche Bank, which acquired and then resold about 1,000 foreclosed homes in Oakland. Many of them when to investors looking for a quick buck who then "flipped" the properties.

Posted by Vivian Kahn on 10/15/2017 at 9:54 PM

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

I get books for my middle school students from here. It's an invaluable resource for our public school teachers, this will be a huge loss if they dont get a space.

Posted by Haxan Festival on 10/14/2017 at 10:12 PM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Apart from the failings of our current City Auditor, it helps to consider that of the last 4 City Auditors, only one of the them, Courtney Ruby, even came close to scrutinizing the politically powerful. I see her report on pension funding problems the high point of her term in office. The report was issued, Ruby publicized it well, spoke before Council, and that was the end of it. She gave it a good try and then gave up in the face of an unreceptive City Council and an electorate that was more concerned with how to save for their own retirements than worry about how the city would pay for its retirement obligations.

Roland Smith's most controversial audit was questioning the car allowances given to city officials.

Before Smith we had Norma Lau. Ms. Lau was elected to 5 terms in office. People often talk of the "beloved" Norma Lau. A former staff member of hers explained that Norma Lau often told him that to survive as Auditor you have "to go along, to get along." I asked him about the OPD overtime audit I had heard her office performed. He said it was effectively a whitewash.

Interesting thing is that Ms Roberts did hire some very "heavy" internal auditors, such as the former head of Kaiser's internal audit dept. The mystery is why Ms. Roberts would hire someone like that but not give them free rein to do their job.

I'm not sure what the long-term solution is to give our City Auditors the backbone to audit the heck out of city operations and contracts. Making it an appointed position under the City Administrator or Mayor would make any Auditor, even more, risk averse. Making Auditor a civil service position is worth considering but also guarantees the Auditor won't be answerable to the voters. It doesn't guarantee that they'll aggressively audit and earn the trust of potential whistleblowers that their tips won't get sent to the round file. Raising the compensation of the Auditor to that of the City Attorney is part of the solution to attracting qualified candidates. It's a lot to expect a successful CPA or Internal Auditor upper manager from private industry to take a job that pays less than private industry and rewards aggressive auditing with 0 job security.

(MJ, if I got the facts wrong about the procedures of the County Democrat endorsement process, blame my ignorance of the opaque process. I naively thought both of us would go to the full group, and get grilled about issues and platforms. That didn't happen. When Ms. Roberts turn came first, out came something like "I'm proud and gratified to be endorsed by...." and she rattled off virtually every well known elected local Democratic official. Ms. Roberts ignored the questions and repeated something irrelevant about how she supported Women's Rights and Equal Opportunity. I watched the delegates nod their approval automatically. I was disappointed and knew I was a dead man walking, but I kept on campaigning and educating voters about the issues. Plus I enjoyed talking with voters and learning a lot about Oakland issues from them. A couple of years after my route, I went back and ran for a seat on the Dem Central Comm. as a Berniecrat with a platform of requiring endorsed candidates to support repeal of the police officers bill of rights. I had thought people were uninformed about the job of Auditor. I found they were even less informed about the role of the Dem Central Comm. )

Len Raphael, CPA
Temescal

Posted by Len Raphael on 10/13/2017 at 2:32 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Len -

I need to call you out on your statement that the full committee and Democratic Party endorsed Ms. Roberts. This is factually incorrect and you knew this. I pulled her from the consent calendar and this made sense to give you and her an opportunity to make your case. On that meeting I and other members made the case against Ms. Roberts. It just a fact. We are all entitled to our own opinion and you certainly are but not entitled to your own facts.

MJ

Posted by oaklandnow on 10/13/2017 at 12:44 AM

Re: “Watching the Watchdog

Interesting that no one comments that Roberts is doing a good job.

Posted by Naomi_Schiff on 10/12/2017 at 10:59 PM

Re: “How Peet's Starbucked Itself

The Thrill is Gone:
I have drunk Peet's for 41 years. I still remember THE most ethereal cup of coffee I ever drank: Jamaica Blue Mountain, 1981. But I have drunk my last. For years, I lived in Berkeley and made weekly coffee runs to the original Peet's store at Walnut & Vine. The staff was knowledgeable, and proud of where they worked. And no matter where I lived in the country over the past three decades, I ordered Peet's coffee & had it shipped to me. No more. The quality of the coffee has plummeted from the lofty standards of Mr. Peet. And the stores look like they've been McDonalized. I loved Peet's. But the thrill is gone. Mr. Peet would turn over in his grave. DMD

Posted by Dogzz on 10/12/2017 at 8:40 PM

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