Steve Lowe
Steve Lowe
On the matter of the Oakland City Council races and Oakland politics, I wish I could cotton to the Sean Sullivan, Richard Fuentes, Ignacio De La Fuente triumvirate more, but I get the cribbles just listening to some of their tales of past accomplishments – which jabber doesn’t jibe with my memory of how things really got done in Oakland, West Oakland in particular.

Sean Sullivan said in a recent D3-wide candidates forum that he’s been “deeply involved” in the Army Base dialogue. Huh? I’ve been sitting on the West Oakland Community Advisory Group (WOCAG) for maybe nine years now and went to all the ones before that when WOCA’s President was on the CAG.

If that longtime community forum – established by Congress, after all! – isn’t a place where “deep involvement” was meant to occur, where else might it have happened that Seldom-Seen-Sean (at least insofar as those regularly-scheduled and announced meetings are concenred) actually and relevantly participated?

Meanwhile, there’s Richard Fuentes frequent attack on Jumoke (Hodge, OUSD D3 Incumbent), saying, “She voted to close schools!” Doh? Everyone on OUSD’s Board voted to close schools because declining enrollment meant too few students to justify carrying so much real estate at the same time as we’re only just pulling out of receivership. Would Richard Fuentes, had he been on the Board then, have voted differently and proved himself to be even more ditzy than just a wannabe seatholder who has no compunctions about using scare tactics to gain office?

Then there’s Ignacio, mentor to both Richard Fuentes and Sean Sullivan. One of the most charming guys in the City in person, but one of the most difficult to deal with if you happen to find yourself in opposition – which happened awhile ago when our West Oakland business community got behind the effort to generate an Industrial Lands Policy for our sad little city. The price paid then was the CED Committee, led by Mr. De La Fuente, began a yearlong deconstruction of the City’s business retention effort, then being managed by the Oakland Commerce Corporation.

OCC was a nonprofit operating under the reasoned position that Business Retention & Expansion (BRE) was the most effective job generator in any urban area. (Without an Industrial Lands policy, of course, residential encroachment occurs, and the businesses – jobs included – usually have to pack up and move away, as has happened many times already in Oakland when spot zoning has been allowed.) Punishing the business community for taking a stand on appropriate land use policy just because that stand may have cost one of his supporters the opportunity to build a residential complex in the middle of an industrial area reveals a mindset – shared by his myriad minions – that will always work to their own short term needs, but never the long-term benefit of this or any other City.

If people don’t like the anti-democratic, people-hostile, illogical machinations of the banks, why then tolerate it in government where, unlike those banks, citizens at least have a vote?