Omar Benjamin has notified the Port of Oakland Board of Port Commissioners that he is retiring from his position as Executive Director of the Port of Oakland, effective immediately. Acting Executive Director Deborah Ale Flint will continue to direct the Port’s key business plans and growth initiatives while overseeing the Port’s day-to-day operations.
The investigation by the Port’s outside counsel into expense reimbursement practices and policies is continuing. While that investigation proceeds, James Kwon, the Port’s Maritime Director, remains on administrative leave.
The Port has plans to discuss additional developments regarding policies and oversight at its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, November 15, 2012.
Sad news as Omar has successfully steered the Port of Oakland through a massive economic downturn, made sure the Port was at the forefront of technical change, and made sure to assemble a top-flight management staff.
The whole strip club investigation is stupid and misguided. The reason for the expenditures made by some Port Of Oakland Officials is because representatives of the companies they do business with also pick those clubs and spend their own money at them. Plus, those same tenants pay Omar’s salary and keep the Port of Oakland’s lights on.
What’s the Port going to do? Is it going to say “Oh, we don’t want you to pay us landing fees or terminal use fees because your execs like to go to strip clubs?” Nice try there. Such a move would wreck the Port of Oakland as we know it.
Heck, even some of the SEIU workers who were complaining about the strip club expenses go to some of the same clubs. In fact, it’s a fair bet some of them will be out at one or two of them this week.
What’s so not funny about this is that it’s so totally ‘City of Oakland Gossip Mill’ stuff that people get involved in who have nothing going on in their lives, so they have to pick at the far more interesting lives of the folks who run the Port.
The Bay Area media, which has covered this in way that shows how desperate they are for sustaining bucks, got the deal wrong. The Port Of Oakland gets revenue from its aviation, commercial real estate, and maritime businesses. It does not use local tax dollars.
Did you hear that?
Yet, with all of this, the stupid coverage of the Bay Area media has included comments like “Your officials are using your tax dollars at strip clubs.” Well, folks, it’s not your tax money at all. All of this crap is the product of a totally lazy Bay Area media hungry for ratings at the expense of the truth.
It’s too bad Omar stepped down. He should have stayed and fought the media, and the other officials who are conducting this stupid, wrongheaded, politically-motivated investigation that solves no problem, pisses of execs and tenants, and has nothing to do with any tax dollars used. Not one bit.