Len Raphael 
Member since Oct 22, 2011

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Recent Comments

Re: “Oakland Councilmember Desley Brooks Alleges City Attorney Failed to Competently Represent Her in the Elaine Brown Lawsuit

Mary Vail's point is that in other situations requiring competent legal advice and action, City Attorney Parker has not provided stellar legal counsel to the City. Not likely she performed any better in this case. What puzzles me is why Parker didn't contract this out to a law firm better qualified to defend the city and Brooks? Saved a few hundred thousand and cost a couple of million.

(on the topic of competent legal counsel, who did the legal review of the Tagami contract which left us fighting rear guard battle to keep coal trains out?)

Posted by Len Raphael on 10/12/2018 at 11:59 PM

Re: “Oakland Unified Spent $134,000 on No-Bid Bus Contracts for Its Budget-Strapped Sports Program

Clarissa Doutherd needs the support of Oaklanders in the broadest sense:
regardless of your school district, regardless of whether you have school age kids, even if you just have a business here but live elsewhere.

The pro-charter groups will help her opponent with laser-focused money and endorsements.


Posted by Len Raphael on 08/29/2018 at 9:28 PM

Re: “Oakland Unified Spent $134,000 on No-Bid Bus Contracts for Its Budget-Strapped Sports Program

The last +3 decades of OUSD school board members speaking to their constituents blame Prop 13, bad accounting systems, the high percentage of kids requiring more resources, and declining school enrollment whenever OUSD runs into financial trouble. More recently they added ex Supt Wilson as a contributing cause also.

Most of the listeners nod their heads in agreement about Prop 13 and bemoan the high cost of living in Oakland driving families out.

It's not that those things aren't true, because they are.

But I can't help thinking that the incompetent budgeting, lack of competitive bidding, failure to over charter schools, overstaffing admin positions at HQ has been going on for years. Exposed now like the trash dumped in lakes that shows up during droughts.

If you're in one of the Oakland districts with an OUSD board seat coming up for election this November, don't vote for any incumbent or past board member who doesn't take a large chunk of responsibility for letting OUSD finances fall apart. Ask them specifically what they will do differently. Seriously consider newbies even though they are "inexperienced."

"Inexperience" in the right candidate means they won't accept business as usual at OUSD.

Posted by Len Raphael on 08/28/2018 at 8:10 PM

Re: “Oakland's BayTech Charter School Violated Multiple State Laws

I thought OUSD Board had reached its low point failing to oversee ex Superintendent Wilson spending textbook money on hiring his buddies, but this dereliction of fiduciary duty by successive OUSD boards predates Wilson. If OUSD financial oversight of the many other charter schools is just a fraction as bad as it was of this one, OUSD deserves to be taken over by the state. Again.

Posted by Len Raphael on 08/27/2018 at 12:22 AM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Defends Record Against Five Challengers

Wouldn't RCV work at cross purposes with partisan organizations backing their candidates for local office? Block to Block tries/tried to create an partisan group but so far hasn't risen above the monied election noise.

No polls yet? I'd guess that Schaaf already has over 50% of likely voters. Will be difficult in a non-presidential election year to get those unlikely voters to vote.

Posted by Len Raphael on 08/26/2018 at 6:30 PM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Defends Record Against Five Challengers

Hobart, until the distant day when Oakland is not a one-party town with a couple of other vastly weaker ones, making local races partisan won't change anything. As it is, most local voters think the candidate for dog catcher endorsed by the County Democratic Party is the only Democrat running for dog catcher and all others must be Republicans, Greens, or Peace & Freedom.

What the County Democratic Committee could do but of course won't, is stop endorsing candidates for non-partisan offices. That would force people to think a little more the candidates instead of just looking at the Democratic Party slate mailer.

Posted by Len Raphael on 08/26/2018 at 11:26 AM

Re: “Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Defends Record Against Five Challengers

Measure X that former Mayor Brown got passed aka "Strong Mayor" charter amendment, requires the Mayor to either have the technocrat skills to be a competent chief executive of a city with a billion dollar/year budget or be a very good judge of people to select the technocrats to serve as City Administrator and department heads. Ideally, Mayor would be both.

Mayor Schaaf has been about average in those abilities compared to the last 15 years of Oakland mayors. Which is to say not so good. I could see how that would make a former city employee like Gary wish for the good old days of a strong City Manager.

If you evaluate each of the candidates as if you were considering hiring them for a job, none of them have either the experience or training to do the job.

Many of them make great activists. But CEO's ?

Sounds like Elihu Harris has learned some things from his less than stellar service as Mayor and Peralta College District head.

Goals/vision is very important but implementation will be extraordinarily difficult if a Mayor is going to use her/his vision to actually influence Oakland's future. Leadership is a large part of that, but even a total replacement by the next Mayor of key people in powerful positions such as the Port Commission and the Planning Commission can only make micro changes of direction forced by massive worldwide economic forces and a national political climate where Oakland will get substantially less Federal funding in years to come.

Schaaf for all her faults sincerely tries to bridge the vast differences in income, wealth, economic opportunity, education, race that exist here. That she's not very effective at it is as much a result of the vast differences in Oakland as it is her own background and abilities.

Posted by Len Raphael on 08/24/2018 at 9:33 PM

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