Apparently giving a response to efforts to recall embattled Oakland Mayor Jean Quan after her bungling of the Occupy Oakland effort, her husband Floyd Quan wrote an email that has many Oakland insiders up in arms.
The basic read of has Mr. Quan calling for the removal and replacement of the Oakland City Council, and with a form of what he calls “direct democracy” via neighborhood organizations, like the Montclair / Oakland Democratic Club. Many have taken the email as Mr. Quan retaliating for the recall effort.
Here’s the email posted “as is”:
The idea if neighborhood assemblies is exactly what the Town Halls were meant to be; we did 8 of them with the last being the biggest, almost 600 people at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center. It you see this is as a alternative power structure, so be it. The ideas of issues that flowed from these are the basis for us to work on as priorities for the city, neighborhood by neighborhood.
We wanted to use these to judge the next group of canididates for council next year.
Could these eventally replace the council in that neighborhood meetings could become a direct form of democracy using the NCPC approach ? Of course they could . It could begin with the budgetting process going forward.
But starting all over again does not REQUIRE rejecting everything we have in the meantime. It requires sophistication in building the new community within the old one. That is why we ran Jean for Mayor and that is what we are trying to accomplish. All of these proposals are up for discussion and trying out. The whole purpose of Block by Block Orgnanizing network is the beginning of this new type of organizaition in each neighborhood: based on block by block. The Inside work within the government must serve the outside work: the building of block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood organiatization to activate ALL residents of Oakland to govern themselves. We just celebrated our first annivesary the same night as the city council meeting.
I think the vision of both movements is very similar.
However if Jean is recalled this will suffer a big setback. The situation at City Plaza must be resolved soon. There must be some form of meaningful negotiation so that the larger goals can be worked out together. The GA’s can keep on happening at the plaza observing the time limits. The sleeping overnight can occur somewhere else; or decamping and coming back together can and should continue.
The idea itself is an undemocratic overthrow idea. But more important, the email itself was ill-advised. Why Floyd wrote it, I have no idea.