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Recent Comments

Re: “County Election Results Released Friday May Be Erroneous

Max and all, I believe if you all did any ground work on this campaign, then you heard what I heard until the very end: "How does this RCV work?" Why were people asking this? Because the education effort was piss-poor. Compare Oakland's education effort to SF's when they first instituted RCV and you'll see what I mean. A failure in leadership to say the least. That's on the education front.

Now let's talk about RCV, in general. We're hearing that many people did not mark a second or third choice, while others did. Some people didn't know how it worked, so they didn't mark a second or third choice. Some people didn't know how their second or third place votes would affect the outcome so they didn't dare go there. Meanwhile, others marked their 2nd and 3rd place choices, so they got more voice in the outcome. Is this democracy? And did RCV really lead to a more civil discourse? I don't think so.

Now, let's run correlation studies between income/education/ethnicity/language and how many people marked their 2nd and 3rd place votes, and see how this plays out. Do any of you RCV-advocates volunteer to do this? I didn't think so--no more than you volunteered to raise the money for education.

It is what it is. Let's just be honest about it. RCV is lame.

Posted by Carlos on 11/05/2010 at 9:48 AM

Re: “County Election Results Released Friday May Be Erroneous

And this is precisely why the Oakland Builders Alliance came out in opposition to Ranked Choice Voting. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And we were promised by the council members who pushed RCV that education would be adequate and would not leave out those with limited English. In fact, the education effort was horrible, with a high percentage of voters unaware, through the very end, on how the ranked choice voting process worked.

The very same people and organizations that pushed Ranked Choice Voting, including the East Bay Express, run for cover when it comes time to accept responsibility for the poor job done in educating the public. In my opinion, RCV did more to marginalize voters than it did to empower them. Go figure.

Carlos Plazola

Posted by Carlos on 11/04/2010 at 9:56 PM

Re: “BREAKING NEWS: Big San Francisco Money Enters Oakland Council Race

I have hesitated to respond up to know, but I figured it was time to set the record straight.

Gammon, this is precisely the reason why I have such distaste for you. And let it be no secret to the readers that you and I have a feud, but Libby and I DO NOT.

Frankly, I believe you do a great disservice to Oakland by writing inaccurate information, constantly. Consistently, you pick your side, write your story, and then seek your facts. You sling mud at people who disagree with you politically. The unfortunate thing is that for Oakland to move forward, we have to start basing our decisions on facts and data, not the kind of hysteria inspired by your writings. You are guilty on the left of what the ultra-conservatives do on the right--attempt to influence public opinion by spewing falsehoods.

Now for the truth. Libby and I have often disagreed on issues, and we have also agreed on issues. We have different world views, different life experiences, and different politics. But to say we have a feud is simply a lie, and really irresponsible of you.

Let's see. Libby is saying we don't have a feud. And I am saying we don't have a feud. So, why do you get to say we have a feud? hhhmmm.

Just months ago, she and I had a very nice lunch together and talked about Oakland and politics, and we agreed to keep things peaceful when she ran. We have. And regardless of who wins in District 4, she and I will continue to have peaceful discussions about Oakland over lunch, I'm sure, despite your efforts to create division.

As I often say to you: Shame on you, Bob Gammon. I question your ethics for using the power of your pen to marginalize voters in Oakland by misinforming the public, by slanting stories to your favor, by not even trying, at all, to tell all sides of a story. But from what I hear from real journalists, it is not a secret that you are not considered a journalist in the journalist world. And as to why I didn't call you back for comment on this story: Because I know that by the time you call me, your story is written, and you only call to see if you can spin my words to suit your spin on the story, as you've done many times.

To shellee888: Here's the ironic part: I represented a company that wanted to move their operations to Oakland, so they bought a lot and fenced it. Some weeds grew, and the city sent them a blight warning. The company called me and within days I was in Building Services informing them of our intent to abate within 7 days. They logged it into their computer. But before these 7 days, Building Services put up a fence, cleared the weeds themselves, and fined my client over $15,000, sending a strong message to my client not to do business in Oakland. And all they wanted to do was move their company to Oakland. I protested to the city administrator's office. They admitted wrong-doing by building services, and waived the fees.

I then facilitated a deal that led to the company opening on Foothill Boulevard instead. The company is FAMSA, and they bring hundreds of thousands of dollars to Oakland in taxes per year. At least on this one, I was able to prevent our over-zealous blight inspectors from chasing away a good company through their overly-ambitious fine program.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely impatient with BS--be it from the City of Oakland, or from Bob Gammon, and I don't hesitate to let people know. In my opinion, we should all be impatient, with things that are broken in Oakland.

Posted by Carlos on 10/30/2010 at 8:05 PM

Re: “Tip of the Iceberg


1. I'm not saying you encouraged Klein to file the complaint. I'm stating as fact that you encourage his type of divisive, petty behavior by writing with such hyperbole and exaggeration. While it may help you sell advertisement, it does a disservice to Oakland. I encourage you to read the Code of Ethics of the Society for Professional Journalism:

2. Regarding your always writing things as if there is always something sinister happening, you do it so often and at such a level, that I really think you have psychological issues that need to be resolved. I could list out your exaggerations and lies here but I don't want to give them any more life than they deserve. Again, you do a disservice to Oakland in this regard as well.

3. Regarding your interpretation of the ordinance not being overly broad: Who asked you? You're theoretically a "reporter", not a lawyer. Thank God you're not in charge of protecting my civil liberties. You're writing style suggests you're a self-righteous, narcissistic, egomaniac, which tend to make for good dictators, but not good arbiters of rights of freedom. So, I'll pass on debating you on what makes sound policy, and I'll leave that for my lawyers to debate with the city's lawyers.

4. As for the law being used as a weapon, a vaguely-worded law, which the lobbying ordinance is, is a dangerous thing. It allows for abuse, which is why laws are supposed to be written with clarity and precision--to prevent the enforcers of the law, from using it to target one person or group. Or to prevent vindictive and petty actions by one group or person toward another. This is where laws should not be written so they can be used as weapons. Lawsuits are a completely different matter.

5. Regarding Chen, you assumed I knew of it and wrote as such in your hit-piece. It is my understanding that "assuming" is not part of the code of ethics of journalism. Who monitors your actions? More and more, you are losing credibility as a journalist in the greater Oakland area. People now speak of your articles as "trash, hit pieces". People no longer take your writings seriously, because they don't know what is truth and what is fiction. And in doing this, you not only do a disservice to Oakland, you do a disservice to yourself.

Happy Holidays,


Posted by Carlos Plazola on 12/20/2008 at 10:14 AM

Re: “Tip of the Iceberg

Gammon, the point we were making is that the ordinance is too broadly-written. Because it was so poorly written, it becomes useless as a regulating tool because everyone becomes a lobbyist. It becomes, instead, a political tool to use against ones opponents--which is what Mr. Klein did, and you helped encourage.

That you chose to present a complex situation--that even the Public Ethics Commissioners recognized has a lot of gray area--as somehow sinister, is a testament to your own lack of ethics in journalism. But I understand your job is to sell advertisement. Unfortunately, it does a disservice to Oakland.

There are a lot of people working very hard to improve our city. Whether or not I agree with their viewpoint, I, at least, respect their commitment to put in sweat-equity to improve our city. Perhaps, someday, you will join us. We need all the help we can get.

And for the record, I knew nothing about J. Bair's complaint about Ms. Chen. And still don't. I've requested the file.

Posted by Carlos Plazola on 12/19/2008 at 7:32 PM

Re: “Tip of the Iceberg

Actually, Gammon and Klein, you're both wrong. A direct communication with an elected official CAN mean speaking in front of council. In fact this is how the City Attorney's Office has chosen to "broadly" interpret the ordinance, as was recently communicated to me and my representatives.

Furthermore, the ordinance does not stipulate that the individual has to be a member of an "incorporated" organization, but rather simply a part of an "organization". What does this mean for you, Mr. Klein? It means under the current draconian interpretation of the ordinance, you are a lobbyist. As is Sanjiv Handa, and thousands of other Oaklanders.

So, though you opened this can of worms, Mr. Klein, and you exploited it, Mr. Gammon, my attorneys will be challenging the current ordinance as a violation of our constitutional rights to petition the government for redress of our grievances, and as a violation of our right to Free Speech.

And we will win.

Carlos Plazola

Posted by Carlos Plazola on 12/19/2008 at 2:55 PM

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