Month: August 2016

Wellstone Democratic Club Endorses Kalb, Kaplan, Gallo For Oakland City Council

The Oakland-based Wellstone Democratic Club (which has an older-to-elderly, white, progressive demographic of activists) has released its endorsements for the November 2016 Election:

Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club
Endorsements for the November 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton; President of the United States
Kamala Harris; U.S. Senate
Barbara Lee; 13th Congressional District
Mike Honda; 17th Congressional District
Sandré Swanson; 9th SD
Tony Thurmond; 15th AD
Rob Bonta; 18th AD

California State Propositions
Prop 51 School Bonds for K–12 and Community College Facilities YES
Prop 52 State Fees on Hospitals, Medi-Cal Matching Funds YES
Prop 53 Revenue Bonds, Statewide Voter Approval NO
Prop 54 Printing and Posting Bills before Passage YES
Prop 55 Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare; YES
Prop 56 Cigarette Tax to Fund Healthcare, Tobacco Use Prevention; YES
Prop 57 Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing; YES
Prop 58 Allow Bilingual Education; YES
Prop 59 Campaign Finance to Mitigate Citizens United; YES
Prop 60 Condoms in Porn Films; NO POSITION
Prop 61 Prescription Drug Price Limits; YES
Prop 62 Abolish the Death Penalty; YES
Prop 63 Prohibit Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazines YES
Prop 64 Legalize Marijuana; YES
Prop 65 Phony Plastic Bag Initiative; NO
Prop 66 Speed Up Death Penalty Procedures; NO
Prop 67 Sustain the Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags; YES

Regional Propositions
Measure A1 Alameda County Affordable Housing Bond YES
Measure C1 AC Transit Bond YES
Measure RR BART Bond YES

Oakland Propositions
Measure HH Soda Tax YES
Measure II City Property Lease Extension YES
Measure JJ Renter Eviction and Rent Increase Protection YES
Measure KK City Infrastructure Bond YES
Measure LL Independent Police Commission YES

Berkeley Propositions
Measure E1 Renewal of Berkeley Schools Excellence Program Bond YES
Measure T1 Infrastructure and Facilities Bond YES
Measure U1 Council-Sponsored Rental Property Tax Increase YES
Measure V1 Permit City to Spend Interest Earned on Past Taxes YES
Measure W1 Citizens Redistricting Commission YES
Measure X1 Public Campaign Financing YES
Measure Y1 Youth Voting in School Board Elections YES
Measure Z1 Low-Income Housing Authorization YES
Measure AA Greater Tenant Protection in Owner Move-In Evictions YES
Measure BB City Council Sponsored Minimum Wage Measure NO
Measure CC Citizen’s Initiative Minimum Wage Increase Measure YES
Measure DD Landlord-Sponsored Rental Property Tax Increase NO

Berkeley Offices

Mayor: Jesse Arreguin
City Council District 2: Nanci Armstrong – Temple
City Council District 3: Ben Bartlett
City Council District 5: Sophie Hahn
City Council District 6: Fred Dodsworth

Berkeley Unified School District: Judy Appel, Beatriz Leyva-Cutler

Berkeley Rent Board:
Christina Murphy, Leah Simon-Weisberg, Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Igor Tregub

Oakland Offices

City Attorney: Barbara Parker
City Council At Large: Rebecca Kaplan
City Council District 1: Dan Kalb
City Council District 5: Noel Gallo

School District 1: Jody London
School District 5: Rosie Torres
School District 7: Chris Jackson

Regional Offices

Peralta Community College Board: Area 5 Nicky Gonzalez Yuen
Area 6: Karen Weinstein
East Bay Regional Parks: Ward 1 Whitney Dotson
Ward 2 Dee Rosario
BART Board: District 3 Rebecca Saltzman
District 7 Lateefah Simon
AC Transit: At-Large seat: Chris Peeples
Ward 1: Joe Wallace
Ward 2: Greg Harper
Superior Court Judge: Scott Jackson

Tony Thurmond, Rob Bonta, And The Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Tony Thurmond, Rob Bonta, And The Metropolitan Transportation Commission

Looks like it’s up to California Assemblypersons Tony Thurmond (D 15th District) and Rob Bonta (D 18th District) to make sure that MTC won’t become its own, self-serving mini-empire once the “merger” with ABAG goes through and all the planners in that formerly once-respected agency are let out to pasture – or, more likely, onto the street.

The promise of more efficient and fairer Bay Area-wide governance depends on what kinds of checks and balances the Thurmond-chaired Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning manages to put into place, otherwise the already-painful elitism of a superagency like MTC will continue on its psycho path of funding special interests while throwing mere crumbs into public transit and other needed infrastructural improvements.

Think not? How bizarre that so much public money ($250M+ and already $90M over budget!) should into the purchase and remodel of the new, not-at-all necessary MTC HQ in SF, an exercise in power that some malcontents have already tagged the Taj Mahemminger. Well, it is a more worthy address than crudball Oakland, no? Plus it just happens to be farther from BART (so the hoi polloi will have an increasingly difficult time accessing the new building and actually coming into contact with MTC personnel?).

Plus, we get a new Emperor out of all this! There’s suddenly just one supreme head of post-merger MTC to direct staff when it comes to the usual monthly buffalo session for Commissioners, where staff-prepared reports that are too big for even Paul Bunyon to digest in a single sitting are piled high like pancakes, topped with the syrup of public money, and a yea vote expected.

Our recent Bay Bridge Bolts Boondoggle could soon be seen as this decade’s construction highlight if Rob and Tony don’t ride to the rescue here and allow for the healthiest possible oversight process to be in place when the next round of abuses hits the headlines. This is, after all, the ultimate regional government we’ll all be left with when our Bay Area-wide megalopolis finally coalesces into a single entity to manage one of the strongest economies in the US, if not the entire world.

Oakland Needs A New News Blog: “Oakland News”

Since 2004, when I started Oakland’s first true blog (and not a news website) Oakland Focus, Oakland has seen the following online publications come and many go:

Grand Lake Business
Oakland Local
A Better Oakland
Make Oakland Better
The Oakland Tribune

And between 2004 and today, 2016, the ways that media is published and distributed have expanded and changed at the same time. Back then the concept of micro-blogging was just that. 2006 gave us Pownce and Twitter. And now, even though the basic micro-blogging platform is easy to build, it seems like everyone has just counted on Twitter without challenge.

But this growth and change has caused many established news sites to reduce in both web traffic and staff size. And many offline media publications did not successfully make the leap to the Internet. And so the Oakland Tribune is, for all practical purposes, dormant.

The last Oakland news website standing, The Oakland Post, is a fantastic publication ran by the legendary Paul Cobb. But The Oakland Post’s problem is, it hasn’t successfully monetized its content, nor widely expanded from it’s base in the African American Community of Oakland to fill a news void that has gotten only larger with time.

This is also true of the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner. Blogs like SFist and 7×7 have tried to cover Oakland culture, but they just don’t get it, and only know that after decades of being ignored by the white media in the Bay Area and the World, Oakland is now mainstream.

The hunger for Oakland news has become so great, some have turned to The New York Times, but even that has failed to meet the demand.


There has to be a publication that has enough Oakland moxy to know that Rod Dibble has played piano at The Alley at 3325 Grand Avenue, and since 1960, and yet pay attention to who’s running for what Oakland City Council seat, and why!

I could go on and on, but you get the point now: this new site is the news venue of Oakland. The main difference here is that you can read about what Oakland’s are doing in their own words, and using there own voice, either in text or video.

Like this:

“Oakland News” is an experiment I am excited to get going.

Let’s go!