In this Oakland News we have politics elections. First, I’m asking you, Oaklander, to vote for Donald Macleay for Oakland City Council District One, Sean Sullivan for Oakland City Council District Three, and Abel Guillen for California Assembly District 18. And as an addition, Rebecca Kaplan for the At-Large Seat.
(Note, this is for the entire year; some voting takes place this Tuesday, but not for City Council which is in November. Still, with the Oakland Caucus and the increased visibility efforts, I wanted to get this forward now, not later.)
The reasons are as follows: Donald Macleay is a steady player who’s remained involved in helping people in his district, even after he ran for Mayor in 2010. Moreover, his stated focus is for the youth of Oakland. Making an Oakland that’s better for his children (he’s a father of two) and for Oakland’s kids, is the first stated objective on his website, and something he has mentioned again and again – and again – to this blogger. But what I like about Don personally is he’s grounded, fair, even-tempered and very non-ego-driven, which is a weird complement to give in an industry, politics, that exists because of ego-driven people like myself. But in observing Don, it’s that quality which causes him to give even weight to the arguments of many; I can say he will not be a Councilmember who uses his office to wage personal battles or favor some over others. Don’s the people’s politician.
As for Sean Sullivan, I’ve mentioned him here before, and interviewed him many times (the latest of which you can see below). I can say, after meeting most of the Oakland City Council District Three Candidates, is that Sean has a track record of caring about District Three that reaches everyone. It’s wrong to call him a “non-West-Oakland” candidate, and such a view is racially coded. Sean has better reach in West Oakland’s Black Community than many Blacks in District Three, and that’s not by accident or pandering either. Sean has a true interest in people in the area, and has proven it his work as a director at Covenant House for over a decade, and his current environmental health advocacy work. He’s ran for this seat twice; this time he’s ready to take over for the incumbent, Nancy Nadel.
If Abel Guillen plays his cards right and becomes the California Assembly District 18 Representative, he arguably can rise to the level of Speaker in the California Assembly. The focus on what he did at Peralta is misguided; the reforms to the budget are the result of team work more than any one person at this level. Where Abel shines is in his ability to connect with and respond to the contact needs constituents, and that’s the core job of being an Assembly Member. Abel’s style is such that I’ve never heard one person saying anything consistently negative about him, period. In this town, that’s no small feat.
After flirting with the idea of supporting Joe Tuman, then deciding to do so for a time, I elected to stick with Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. See, I objected to what I saw as Rebecca’s getting off message and too focused on herself, with the whole growing a small beard deal and the “Butch Conference, whereas she would not have done all that while running for Oakland City Council for the first time. But something Joe did made me see Rebecca in the proper light: Joe failed to support keeping the Golden State Warriors here in Oakland. Moreover, I saw that news on a blog about new stadiums, and just plain hit the ceiling. Say what you will about Rebecca, she’s 100 percent for Oakland – she’s an Oakland booster.
What bothers me about my friend Joe Tuman is he at times seems to be the anti-Oakland-booster guy. When Joe ran for Mayor of Oakland, he attacked Phil Tagami, a true Oakland booster and developer of the Oakland Rotunda and The Oakland Fox, and did so without having ever met Phil at the time. And now he’s saying it’s OK for the Warriors to go to San Francisco? Sorry Joe.
On a personal level I really like Joe Tuman. He’s a good guy and a great person to know. But unlike all of my other Oakland friends who’ve been involved in trying to improve our town, Joe is the first one to seem to want to attack the people who are trying to help it. I can’t stand by him while he does that.
The Oakland City Attorney’s Race: Complicated
The Oakland City Attorney’s Race, to this blogger, is complicated between the obviously activist role Oakland Councilmember Jane Brunner would take in it, and the more steady, quiet, bureaucratic approach Barbara Parker has taken to date. I know, love, and respect both Councilmember Jane Brunner and Barbara Parker, but what one gets with Jane is activism where what one gets with Barbara Parker is staff institutional memory. My one issue with Parker is that she doesn’t reach out to tell her story very much herself; that’s much different than John Russo, who set the standard for actually using communications to advance his office’s agenda, or more appropriately his agenda for it. (And if you want to read that as “She didn’t talk to Zennie much” fine, but I can’t know someone well without talking to them and Barbara did try to connect with me, but our schedules didn’t match up at the time.) What I like about Jane is that she will be more like John in that way – more aggressive and less willing to give in to the Oakland City Council. But to me Barbara Parker is a better CEO.
So there’s your toss up. Sorry to be a wuss here; you decide, we have time.
For BART Board: Rebecca Saltzman. Seldom has there been a better fit between person and office than the Oakland transportation activist Saltzman, and the BART Board Of Director’s seat. Democratic Central Committee: Jill Broadhurst and Frank Castro, Pamela Drake, Kathy Neal, Sharon Ball, and Mario Juarez. Alameda County Superior Court Judge: Tara Flanagan, Andrew Wiener and Catherine Haley are all running for this seat. Of all, I’ve met and talked to Wiener and Haley, but missed meeting Flanagan, who has most of the local endorsements and played women’s rugby locally and nationally.
To be frank, Andrew Wiener has the most trial experience, but Tara Flanagan has more experience actually running a courtroom as judge, as is true for Catherine Haley. Plus, Flanagan has the endorsement of the Alameda County Democratic Party – so Flanagan’s the logical pick here.
The Oakland Caucus Video
If you want some taste of the entire field of candidates in different races, my Oakland Caucus Video has short presentational interviews with over 90 percent of the people running. Here it is: