Oakland Mayor Jean Quan can rest now. The effort to recall Mayor Quan is officially dead (along with the website photo that gives her green lipstick) according to its originator, Oakland’s long-time enabler Gene Hazzard.
Gene sent a text pointing this blogger to his official website called “removejeanquan.com” and two letters posted on Friday May 11th, (yesterday) which officially called his attempt to gather signatures to place a recall vote on the November ballot, over. Gene writes: “I am officially informing you that the Committee was unable to collect the requisite number of signatures required to prepare a ballot measure for the November 2012 election calling for her removal.” Mr. Hazzard points to a “climate of confusion” caused by competing signature efforts as the reason for the failure to reach the objective of over 20,000 signatures needed to trigger the establishment of a November ballot initiative.
Here are the letters, starting with this one reporting that Gene and his charges were “unable to collect the requisite number of signatures required to prepare a ballot measure for the November 2012 election calling for her removal.”
Madam City Clerk LaTonda Simmons
City Hall One Frank Ogawa Plaza Oakland,
May 11, 2012
Ms. Simmons: As the authorized individual for the proponents for the Committee to Recall Mayor Jean Quan, I am officially informing you that the Committee was unable to collect the requisite number of signatures required to prepare a ballot measure for the November 2012 election calling for her removal.
May 14, 2012 is the designated date for the submission of 19,800 signatures.? This number will not be achieved.
Proponent for the Committee to Recall Mayor Jean Quan
And then there’s this letter, one thanking those who helped Gene during the time of his tireless signature collection work. (And if you think using the term “tireless” is in some way sympathetic to Gene, you’re correct. Hazzard’s efforts made Mayor Quan at least think about how to be a better elected official, and that benefits all of Oakland. Moreover, Gene did work on this night and day, so the use of the word “tireless” is appropriate.)
Dear Circulators and Supporters:
May 11, 2012
As the proponent for The Committee to Recall Mayor Jean Quan, I would like to THANK all circulators and supporters for your effort in the signature petition drive to prepare a ballot measure calling for the removal of Mayor Jean Quan from office.
Although, we were unable to achieve our goal our mission did not go unnoticed.
It was unfortunate however, that there were multiple petitions[and in my mind ]was purposely intended to create a climate of confusion for the voter ; one petition which was unauthorized, because the individual leading the circulation effort never received a authorizing letter from the office of the city clerk(which was required), and whom subsequently suspended their circulation effort for which the media gave a lot of coverage Many voters thought all petition drive efforts had ceased.
The other petition was able to be advanced because the office of the city attorney made a determination based upon a California Supreme Court decision in 1933[Morrow v. Board of Directors of Imperial Irr.m Dist], the Supreme Court reversed a lower Court decision; the lower Court had denied the circulation of a second petition because of the theft / lost of 647 initial signatures which were never found.
So there was a legal cloud in this instant matter cited above which was not the case for The Committee To Recall Mayor Jean Quan Petition(there was no legal cloud) thus,the city attorney should never have allowed the proponents of this competing petition to be circulated, once again creating a climate of confusion for the voter, where no petition would be able to be successful.
Mayor Quan will continue to show her ineptness and our city will continue to plummet into a fiscal abyss under her leadership. Is this what Stand With Oakland means?
The Committee to Recall Mayor Jean Quan
Gene Hazzard V. Quan, Greg Harland, Ken Pratt, and Nancy Sidebotham
The work to recall Mayor Quan started before last October, 2011, and brought together a number of Oaklanders with different issues against Quan. The October 25th Oakland Police And Law Enforcement violence against Occupy Oakland protestors pushed the recall desires into high gear, just as Hazzard, Oakland entrepreneur Greg Harland, and Oakland business owners Ken Pratt and Charlie Pine, and Nancy Sidebotham all joined together to start work on the recall of Jean Quan.
However the team collapsed because Hazzard did not want to take the advice of Harland and Pratt on a number of issues, and rather than work to iron out the problems with Gene, Greg Harland, Ken Pratt, and Nancy Sidebotham led a new effort to make a new recall petition, and then hired The Sutton Law firm to get the Oakland City Clerk and the Oakland City Attorney to both reject the written decision that they already made to allow Gene’s effort to be the official one.
The Oakland City Attorney’s office did not make any effort to reverse its decision, and the Oakland City Clerk’s Office was quick to reiterate its stance that Gene’s recall design was the official one. Eventually, the City Attorney’s Office allowed the existence of two official recall designs, rather than one, leading to the confusion Hazzard pointed to in his letter.
Sadly, and I’ve pointed this out to Greg Harland, the disagreement broke along racial lines, with Gene, black, versus Harland, Pratt, and Sidebotham, white. Hazzard felt that they were trying to hijack his effort, but to his credit, never pointed to race as the issue in this instance.
On January 12th 2012, Gene gave me this video interview:
The question is, could Gene have received the required number of signatures if he had more time? The answer is, and I’m not quoting Mr. Hazzard, he needed two more months.
Gene Hazzard Doesn’t Like Mayor Quan
Aside from the official “grounds for recall” placed on the website for the “Recall Jean Quan” committee, this blogger must report that Mr. Hazzard has asked him to tell readers that he thinks Mayor Quan is, and I quote, “A liar and a cheater.” I disagree, but there you go.
Gene and I have a deep, deep disagreement over his reasons for this assertion about Mayor Quan, but if you want to understand the genesis of the Quan Recall Process, it’s important to report. Gene Hazzard questions everything from when Mayor Quan graduated from Cal-Berkeley to her Block-By-Block program, which I’ll get to later below.
On the Cal issue, the source Gene points to is one I question because, as any attendee of Cal knows, the Cal bureaucracy is famous for screwing up important student documents. It happened to me, and I walked on June 14th, 1987 at Wurster Hall, and in the same Master Of City Planning class and ceremony that my friend and former Oakland Interim City Manager Kofi Bonner did, as well as other DCRP grads who are friends to this day. Cal actually lost the check I gave them to file my thesis called “A Theory Of Decline, The American Institution In The World Economy, and leading to a major, years long nightmare of talks, meetings with chancellors, and other crap I had to go through, that the late City Planning Graduate Admissions Secretary Kay Bock eventually worked to protect me from before she passed on. But in my case, my grades from all of the departments I took classes in for Spring of 1987 were never sent to Sproul Hall for processing – I discovered that in the mid-90s and had to refile them myself, and that was a separate problem from the way my thesis was (not) dealt with. I told Gene that my situation should be a warning that his dislike for someone’s way should never cloud how he looks at a situation, because he would look bad, and in this matter of when Mayor Quan graduated from Cal-Berkeley, I do side with Mayor Quan. If there’s something about her graduation that was not properly reported, Cal must correct this. Moreover, Jean Quan says she met her husband Floyd at Cal, so why even touch that is beyond me. Leave it be.
On the 100-Blocks program, Gene says that Quan got the idea from Mike Nisperos, who served as Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris’ point person for public safety, and a friend who I worked with during those years. In other words, it wasn’t an original idea on the part of Quan.
What the Quan program is somewhat like is the Oakland Weed And Seed Program under Mayor Harris. The idea of the OWSP was to combine community policing, community economic development, and other programs to focus on targeted problem areas. But rather than argue who was first with the idea, the discussion should be on how the current approach is working, or not, and how to improve it.
If we are to make Oakland better, those who are most involved in it, including Gene and also Mayor Quan herself, must stop disliking each other. Gene’s point are, in most cases, very important ones. For example, Hazzard says that Quan votes against “anything that comes from the black community” and indeed, Quan does have a bad track record in this area, one that reared its head in the case of the attempted ouster of Margaret Gordon from the Port Of Oakland.
And the fact is that Hazzard’s views on Quan aren’t uncommon, particularly with some of Oakland’s older African Americans. If Quan’s taking a calculated risk that generational change will make this a non-issue, she’s mistaken.
In other words, even though the Mayor Quan Recall Effort is over for now, the bad feelings that gave rise to it still exist.