This Oakland News comes from Las Vegas, where I am for the New Media Expo and International CES, or CES 2014, or the Consumer Electronics Show. I have two items to share: first my 30-minute videos with Joe Tuman and Dan Siegel,who are running for Mayor. Get some coffee or tea, sit down, and take in what they have to say:
Dan Siegel:This ads to my video talk with Bryan Parker, and my objective is to make sure each candidate has at least one video out about their message. I did that in 2010, and want to continue that today. So far, so good. In the case of Joe Tuman, I have a total of nine videos and over two hours of conversation. If you want to know Joe, check out the playlist, and there’s more coming for Libby Schaaf, Bryan Parker, and all of the candidates – I’m leaving no candidate stone unturned. The objective is for you to know each one of them. I have my favorites, but you have the right to be able to select your own – you need to see them to be able to do that.
Mayor Quan Is Running For Reelection But Her City Of Oakland Staff Says What?
But I had to issue this Oakland News entry because of an email and online encounter that simply pissed me off.
On Friday, I interviewed Oakland’s newest Oakland Mayor’s Race Candidate Nancy Sidebotham, who’s entire energy seems to come from an intense anger over what she might call the “Oakland system.” In the talk, which wasn’t on video (but stay tuned), Nancy blasted fellow candidate for Oakland Mayor Joe Tuman, and Oakland District Four Councilmember Libby Schaaf, who’s also running for Mayor of Oakland.
Now, if you’re at all acquainted with Nancy, you know she likes to throw out declarative statements of anger, or, if you like, ‘bombs.’ In the same blog post, she tossed one at California Commercial Investments Managing Partner Phil Tagami, and basically shared a publicly-believed view that he owns the Fox Theater and The Army Base and gets a lot of money from the City of Oakland. Not one of those views is true, but an opinion is an opinion, when it’s not overly harmful. In the total scope of things, Nancy’s wasn’t.
But Phil was hurt by her words.
Well, Phil issued a rebuttal, which I posted in a blog update after I called him, twice, I might add – moreover, he only saw the blog post because I sent him an email link to it, to start with.
Phil was totally correct to fire back at Nancy, but what got me wasn’t so-much Phil, but Sean Maher, who works for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. Responding to my mention of Quan’s efforts to run for re-election, he wrote:
For the record, Mayor Quan has not yet announced her campaign plans, including her candidacy
I wrote this back to him:
Thanks, but I have several emails specifically soliciting ME for money for her re-election campaign. She can’t have it both ways. New blog post coming. Happy New Year.
That was enough for me, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was when Mr. Maher elected to jump in and attack me because in my interview of Nancy, I didn’t call Phil Tagami to ask for his reaction to her comment before I posted the blog entry. Sean has this issue about what he thinks I do that comes out again and again, and since he has never bothered to call me and have a sit down, he’s consistently wrong about what I do.
I didn’t need to call Phil before running the blog post. The point was to record Nancy’s reasons for running for Mayor – I called Phil afterward because he posted a response on Facebook, but I’m not his PR manager. He declined to make a statement, and just said to use that, so I did. Now, I regard Phil as a friend, so what happened after that did get to me a wee bit.
Sean then asked on Facebook if I called him. Now, it’s not really Sean’s place to get involved in this, let alone go out campaigning for his boss on the taxpayer dime on social media, especially if the entry, and Sean’s email before that to me, was sent during work hours and at the office (which I don’t know). The best thing for Sean to have done was kept himself out of the picture – period.
Maher’s work is to respond to press inquiries and make and issue media advisories and press releases for Mayor Quan – he’s not a campaign communications representative and can’t be one under California law given his current position. Sean’s last job was as a reporter for the Oakland Tribune, so his political instincts are almost non-existent when it comes to campaign season and working for an elected official.
Anyway, Phil goes back and says to Sean on Facebook that I did not call him, when in point of fact I did, just after the post was issued. Phil’s claim was just plain not the case. Phil made it out to seem like the entire blog post was about him – it wasn’t. I not only love what Phil’s done for Oakland, but lobbied for him to get the Rotunda contract in 1996 when I represented then Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris. I’ve went to bat for Phil countless number of times both personally and professionally, so I felt like he had lost his memory, not to mention forgot loyalties.
Oaklanders over 40 and involved in politics don’t understand media. They think in 20th Century terms, where anyone writing about Oakland politics is a “reporter” as opposed to a blogger or video-blogger. They’re used to someone who works for a brand like The New York Times, and such that they can call that person’s editor to complain about content. Some can’t get over the fact that I own my own media company. The buck stops with me, not with someone else – and I hire bloggers as well. Thus, I can make endorsements, and in general have the freedom of a media publisher, because that’s what I am – and I might add that my claim is backed by the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
Thus, I can’t support what Phil does, and have done so. I have the right to do so.
But his supporting Sean’s jumping into the Facebook fray against me was wrong. Sean should have stayed out of the issue, and Phil knows it. The fact is Mayor Quan’s running for reelection. If she were not, how the hell do you explain this website that’s up:http://www.jeanquanforoakland.org and reads RE-ELECT OAKLAND MAYOR JEAN QUAN?
What’s up with that, Sean?
Or how about this email I received from the campaign, which reads:
I don’t know if you saw the email below from my mom
on Monday in the midst of the holiday rush.
Over the past 3 years, I’ve seen my Mom working hard to make major improvements in our city such as: development projects on our waterfront, thousands of new jobs, and graduating new and diverse police academies for a safer Oakland.
To keep Oakland on the rise, we are mounting a strong campaign for these next eleven months. Will you help us reach our goal of $10,000 in contributions by December 31st?
My mom believed in me as I grew up as a teenager in Oakland, and her faith in me helped me graduate from Skyline High School, go on to Princeton, and become a doctor. Now I’m asking you to believe in her as she gets the job done for Oakland and continues to fight for progress for all of us.
Every donation to our grassroots campaign makes a difference. Will you donate $25, $50, $100 or even $250 today?
Our family is thankful for your support.
Dr. William Huen
See? When I asked Sean about that both in emails and on Facebook, he had no response. Gee, I wonder why.
Quan can’t have it both ways: holding fundraisers and making a website and sending emails that she’s running for reelection, but then having her staff put out emails saying she’s not done anything to officially announce she’s running – that’s bullshit. A website saying your running for something is official – period.
All of this blog material of mine would have been avoided if some just respected the fact that Nancy has put down her $300 and filed papers to run for Mayor Of Oakland and so has a platform, for better or for worse. Thus, my belief is she should be given the same level of media attention and respect as any other candidate – that’s morally correct. We don’t have to like what she says, and I disagree with her often, but I will never, ever, ever take her voice away as she’s running for Mayor.
The decision to run for Mayor is commendable, but to actually do it is amazing, and should be respected and rewarded. That’s an effort that leaves the candidate open to attacks and claims that can be harmful to their very self-esteem, but because they care about Oakland, they march forward anyway. That’s something to celebrate, not to fear.
Stay tuned. Back to Las Vegas matters…