Monday, October 18, 2010

Oakland Mayor's Race: Rebecca Kaplan On Joe Tuman And Voting

Joe Tuman
Oakland At-Large Councilmember and Oakland Mayor's Race candidate called this blogger regarding the blog post entitled "Oakland Mayor's Race: Rebecca Kaplan Fears Joe Tuman," where it was reported that Kaplan recommended that Joe Tuman not be the second choice for those voting for her.

That information came from the Bay Area Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club's email forum, where long time Oakland local business supporter, political activist, and friend Pamela Drake wrote this:
Rebecca Kaplan contacted me and said that she is NOT recommending Tuman and that she refers voters to the East Bay Express article to make their own decisions. I apologize for repeating an incorrect report,
So Rebecca's phone call was puzzling, but as they say on the street, it is what it is. What Kaplan said to this blogger is that she encourages voters to make the selection they think is best. Also, Kaplan notes correctly that Drake is a supporter of Councilmember Jean Quan for Mayor. Even with that, it seems that Drake was just trying to get the right representation of who's backing whom.

For example, prior to the message above, Drake wrote this:
Interestingly, although Jean has publicly recommended that her voters put Rebecca as their number 2 choice, Rebecca has reportedly suggested Tuman as her number 2 choice and Quan as her number 3. Tuman is fairly conservative and does not even support Measure BB (the Measure Y fix). This is a disappointment to supporters of Jean (1) and Rebecca (2).
Then, to clarify for those who may be lost at this point, Drake wrote this:

Rebecca Kaplan contacted me and said that she is NOT recommending Tuman and that she refers voters to the East Bay Express article to make their own decisions. I apologize for repeating an incorrect report,

Kaplan Loves Tuman

Councilmember Kaplan wants it known that she has love and respect for Tuman and the two have become friends.  She has nothing against him.

The intent of the original blog on this wasn't to imply that Kaplan disliked Tuman, just that she was reconsidering recommendations because of his rising popularity.

Kaplan Calls Grand Lake's Allan Michaan

True to her desire to mend fences, a rare quality in Oakland politics, Kaplan also said she did call  Grand Lake Theater Owner Allan Michaan.

Michaan, who supports Tuman, has been a critic of the draconian Oakland Parking Enforcement strategy Kaplan supported, and Kaplan herself because of it.  This is an issue Kaplan's sensitive to and needs to make an outright statement that she's no longer supportive of the efforts that have harmed so many Oaklanders.

More coming soon.

Danroy Henry of Pace University shot by police

Boston Globe
The New York Times published an article online titled "Many Questions on Killing of Pace Student by Police." The headline itself pulls in the reader and when seeing the words killing, student, and by police all in that order there is definitely a newsworthy story.

Danroy Henry Jr., known to his friends as DJ,  was shot and killed Saturday at Pace University's homecoming game in Pleasantville, N.Y by police officers.

The 20-year-old was parked in a fire lane and then quickly sped away when police officer's knocked on his window, according to the Boston Globe.

Pleasantville police officers claim that they tried to stop the car but Henry continued to accelerate and struck and officer. Other officers fired at the vehicle, which was not stopping, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. The passenger suffered a minor gunshot wound.

Oakland Mayor's Race: SFGate PhotoGate, Reporter Insults Greg Harland

The Oakland Mayor's Race now focuses on the main issue of the day: media bias and this blogger's attempt to expose it. asked this blogger to remove the photo of San Francisco Chronicle Reporter Matthai Kuruvila placing his head on the table in frustration with Oakland Mayoral Candidate Joe Tuman at the San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board meeting that appeared in this blogger's earlier Saturday post, because the photographer, intern Ali Thanawalla, claimed his "rights were violated."

(What's interesting is that Mr. Thanawalla also tweeted with pride that SFBART used one of this photos for their blog, but that's not OK for this blogger given the subject matter.)

But Ali, for some wild reason that can only be attributed to inexperience with New Media, elected to use Twitter to communicate the photo's existence to anyone who happened to do an "Oakland" search on Twitter and scroll through the results. This is what this blogger saw on Twitter (link):
After a heated discussion with Oakland mayoral candidate Joe Tuman, writer Matthai had had enough. Funny moment.
According to a call from Tuman, he and Matthai got into a conversation about the City of Oakland's budget deficit.  Tuman remarked that the real problem was the Oakland pension deficit, and he had a solution for it.  Tuman says that Matthai placed his head on the table, but "Didn't know what that was about."

A number of Oakland Mayor's Race candidates have complained that Matthai Kuruvila openly expresses a bias against campaigners who aren't one of the "big three:" Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, Councilmember Jean Quan, or Former State Senator Don Perata.

This escalated when Matthai used Twitter to re-tweet a post by Echa Schnider AKA "VSmoothe" at the blog A Better Oakland, when she was upset some candidates and this blogger were calling for a more open Sierra Club Forum, inclusive of all of the Oakland mayoral candidates:

RT @Vsmoothe : Dear candidates for Oakland Mayor: Nobody wants to listen to your whining
Well, in the words of Charles Foster Kane "I got my candy." (Let's see em have fun with that one!) The Sierra Club did open the forum for all of the Oakland Mayor's Race candidates.

But candy aside, and to repeat, a number of candidates have felt that Kuruvila is indifferent to them. Now, it's one thing for a blogger to have such a bias and Echa does as well at that as I do, that's what blogging is about;  reporters are held to a different standard. Thus, for Matthai Kuruvila to retweet the tweet - unless he made a mistake, which happens, but isn't evident - means he agrees with the tweet on Twitter.

The idea that any reporter or columnist - Matthai Kuruvila or Tammerlin Drummond at the Oakland Tribune - expresses a bias that leads them to exclude candidates from media access ultimately harms the voters of Oakland or any city. It also looks like an attempt to "fix" the outcome of Ranked Choice Voting by limiting information available about a candidate. To take it a step further, it works against the intent of Ranked Choice Voting.

The idea of Ranked Choice Voting is to have the selection of a candidate that was the one "most preferred" by the voters, rather than the standard method, which gives the person who got the most votes, but not the majority, the win. By blocking information about all of the candidates in a Ranked Choice Voting process, there's a greater possibility that the outcome will be more like the standard method. In other words, why vote for someone you have no information about and can't easily obtain it?

That's the climate the Oakland Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle introduce when reporters openly ignore certain candidates. Greg Harland is really upset about this.

Harland, reached by phone, told this blogger on the record that Mr. Kuruvila approached him at last night's forum at College Prep and explained why the San Francisco Chronicle did not talk to him and that he was "not a viable candidate."

That's nasty and wrong. It's something for the voters to decide, not Matthai Kuruvila. A real good endorsement comes after the media talks to all candidates, not just some of them.

NFL Star Junior Seau Arrested for Domestic Violence -Crashes SUV off Cliff

Junior Seau

Sadly this is becoming all too familiar, the arrest of an athlete or some other celebrity for domestic violence. Many were shocked to hear that former NFL 12 time Pro Bowler Junior Seau was the latest to go down this lane. Over the past year we’ve had everyone from Shannon Sharpe and Warren Sapp to Ben Roethlisberger get in hot water over alleged domestic violence and assault. Makes you wonder whats going on in the NFL.

According to the police report by, Seau was arrested earlier this morning near his home in San Diego County. His 25-year-old girl friend called police the night before when the incident took place. Seau wasn’t present when police came to his crib. He wound up talking to the police and turned himself in this morning. His girlfriend suffered minor injuries.
Many found this shocking since Seau has a foundation that raises money for child abuse among other things. He’s long been seen as a pillar of the his community.
Complicating Seau’s arrest was him crashing off a cliff after being released. This took place near Carlsbad, California a few hours after he was released from jail. Folks aren’t sure if this was an accident or something related to his plight.. He is in the hospital recovering.
We’ll keep you posted.
TMZ has pictures of the crash..

Oakland Mayor's Race: Oakland Tribune Prejudice Angers Greg Harland

Greg Harland

One big problem that's plagued the Oakland Mayor's Race and that apparently still exists is how some Bay Area media organizations ignore some of the candidates running for the office of Mayor of Oakland.

That practice has angered Oakland Mayoral Candidate Greg Harland because he wan't contacted by either the Oakland Tribune / Bay Area News Group or The San Francisco Chronicle.

Harland was upset to the point where he referred to one post as saying "that says it all," and it was a column by Mercury News / Oakland Tribune columnist Tammerlin Drummond which reads:

"We began by whittling down the list of 10 candidates to the four who actually merited voter consideration: Kaplan, Perata, Councilwoman Jean Quan and political analyst/university professor Joe Tuman." 

Ok, let's let loose here. That statement is a freaking joke. The only reason Joe Tuman was placed in the Tribune's "merited voter consideration" hopper was because Tuman's name recognition with Oakland's white Montclair / Oakland Hills region was high. Or to look at it another way, Terrance Candell is well-known in black and Latino East Oakland, where his prep school is located on 73rd Street, but the Oakland Tribune didn't even talk to him.

The Oakland Tribune and Tammerlin Drummond should be ashamed, but they're not. This space is not complaining about their selection of Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan to endorse, only the way they did it. The Tribune process was not open, and race and class prejudiced to boot.   Thus, unfortunately, it taints the selection of Kaplan.

That's right, race and class prejudiced. In other words this blogger can hear the Tribune's demons saying about Candell "He's a blowhard brotha who thinks he can be Mayor, so why talk to him?" and about Harland "Who? Never heard of him," and about Green Party Candidate Don Macleay, "Ah. Who? OK. Nice guy." You get the idea.

In other words, different kinds of prejudice applied to different Oakland Mayoral candidates. The real joke is that none of the Oakland Tribune or SF Chronicle reporters has any experience in working for a mayor in Oakland's City Hall, either. So how would they know how to evaluate a Mayoral Candidate? They don't.

You have to have experience in the office in order to evaluate a candidate that is running for office, so you can recognize the qualities that person has which are appropriate for the office.  The Oakland Tribune and the SF Chronicle lack that experience.  By contrast, this blogger has worked for two Oakland mayors - Elihu Harris and Jerry Brown, and sat on the Sports Task Force for Ron Dellums before quitting in protest.  (I'm still proud of that.)

It's one thing to pretend to be a policy wonk, crunching numbers over a local legislative idea. But it's quite another to understand that when a developer contacts the Mayor's Office and wants to build in, say, a location that happens to be in Councilmember Nancy Nadel's District Three (Downtown and West Oakland), it's a good idea to know to contact her office to get them in the loop.

It's one thing to know the population of Oakland, and another to know how to dig through Mayor's Office files to find projects that were of importance, but were left undone. That's one thing I did when I first worked for Elihu Harris on the first day on the job - it's something every mayoral candidate should consider doing.

That's why I ask each candidate what kind of office they're going to have, and how will it be ran. The Tribune and Chronicle people don't have the experience to even think of asking that kind of question. It's a question that of the candidates I've talked to thus far, Don Perata gave the best answer to, but not by much.

It's also why I asked about Tax Increment Financing at one forum, only to find that of all of the candidates, Marcie Hodge, who I didn't expect to get it, actually had a good general answer.

The point is, you as media person have to talk to each candidate, because in doing so you learn something about that person's abilities for the office that you didn't know before.

Look at it this way: Lionel Wilson was a judge before he was elected Oakland's first black mayor.  He went on to serve for three terms and is arguably the best mayor Oakland's ever had.  If Tammerlin Drummond had her way she may have delayed Oakland's election of its first black mayor.

Stay tuned.

2010 Mid-Term Elections: Why Vote? Bay Area Rapper Paris Weighs In

If you live in California, today Monday (Oct 18 2010) will be your last day to register if you intend to participate in the 2010 Mid-term elections . You can do that by going here..

For many, with a messed up economy, unmet expectations and seemingly out of touch and unresponsive politicians, this has been a pretty dismal year in terms of choices for some of the state’s major offices. The 2010 Mid term elections are not appealing.

For many of us who’ve been out of work or underemployed and have had to endure watching bailed out banks smashing hard, its real easy to say none of this matters. And on many levels maybe it doesn’t, until its your public assistant dollars, unemployment benefits or government job gets cut to the tune of 45 thousand. This is being pushed by gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman..

Maybe it doesn’t matter until we see more California jobs being sent overseas and with the full support of senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina who wants to give such companies bigger tax breaks.

Unfortunately, like it or not, someone will get into office and as cute as it sounds to say cliched things like there’s ‘it makes no difference’ who serves your community or state, there are stark differences, both immediate and long-term.

There’s a difference between the candidates running for mayor of Oakland and city council. There’s big differences on who will be District Attorney and who will be Attorney General. If you have loved ones impacted by one of the largest penal systems in the world, its best to check out who believes in rehabilitation programs and who doesn’t. Its best to find out wants to fight the war on drugs with more police and who wants to go another direction.

There are huge differences in policies between Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown and Laura Wells..

There’s also a lot more folks on the ballot then the ones who can afford to buy expensive ads on TV.. You can check some of them out Here

Don’t make the mistake folks made back in 2004 when Prop 66 was on the ballot that would’ve repealed 3 strikes and if passed would’ve let out thousands of non-violent prisoners. We had a lot of hipster types running around telling us not to vote and how the system was corrupt and blah blah blah.. So many of us we didn’t. We stayed home. The measure lost by a few thousand votes and loved ones remain incarcerated. More prison guards were hired , while less money was given to schools. It should’ve been a no-brainer to vote for that measure.

This year we have everything from Prop 19 to legalize weed which will have impact on the war on drugs here in Cali toProp 20 which will decide who gets to redraw congressional district lines in our hood. Right now its in the hands of the citizens, but there are powerful forces pushing to make it go back in the hands of ‘politicians’ . Folks need to weigh in on this and other proposition some of which will decide how money from your community should be used.. You can brush up on the propositions here..

In Oakland we now have instant run off voting. For all the folks who have complained about the system locking out third parties and all that, this should be a dream come true. You can now vote for several people for mayor. They could be democrat, republican, green party etc. If Ron Dellums was wack as mayor here’s your chance to to do something impactful.

Here in Cali we have early voting (it’s already started) so there’s time to research issues and check things out.

Peep this throwback article that Bay Area rapper Paris penned.. It gives good food for thought..

Davey D-

Why Vote?

By Paris, August 7, 2004


Like the child who cried “wolf!” too many times and was eaten when he really needed the help of people who had grown to ignore him, the media and Bush administration are faced with such massive lack of credibility issues that we now must adopt a contrarian stance when taking what they say into account, especially when it comes to terrorism.

From the degrading and deplorable Abu Ghraib Iraqi prison scandal, to the wag-the-dog-like U.S.-implemented and staged beheading of Nicholas Berg, to the recently expressed desire for war with Iran, it’s apparent that the Bush Administration is scrambling to create further diversion and feelings of fear and division to rally support behind its wicked and out-of-touch policies.

So what can we do? Well, aside from community outreach and living by example, one of the best solutions is voting. The trouble is, I’ve read a lot of articles and heard a lot of discussion lately from people in our communities openly questioning whether or not we have any business voting. We do.

The simple fact is, if you can’t offer a concrete, tangible alternative to us exercising our rights and becoming a part of shaping decisions that affect us, then you have no business being opposed to galvanizing young people and people of color as a unified political force at the polls. Besides, y’all ain’t ready for revolution. So before you go saying how I’m “buying into the system” think about what it is exactly that you would do differently – and then ask yourself why you don’t. Like I said – it’s only a part of the solution. The strategy we must adopt is one that employs all of the tools that we have at our disposal to progress. Voting is one of them.

Are we are too lazy or disillusioned with the process that we won’t exercise rights that people who came before us died for? Voting doesn’t cost anything, so we can’t say that we can’t afford it (even though elections are held on Tuesdays, during work hours for many). Of course, it’s easy to say “f**k voting,” spark up the weed and turn on 106 & Park, but at what cost? We’ve seen the results of not voting – an illegitimate impostor in the White House, rollback of Affirmative Action legislation, poorer economic conditions and lack of employment opportunities, reductions in budgets for education and social services and increased instances of violence and police brutality – so why not opt for change?

Now I know you might not feel either of the major presidential candidates, especially with our recent discovery that they’re related – many don’t. But voting is larger than just the presidential race. What about the economy? Record unemployment and underemployment? Out of control gas prices? Shitty and unequal education? Lack of affordable housing? Why give conservatives and the existing powers that be an easy way out by not participating? They vote, and have an often unified support base that stresses the importance of participation to maintain their quality of life, often embracing policies and supporting politicians that don’t represent our best interests. It’s important that we participate too.

If we aren’t effective and our voices don’t matter, than why do they feel the need to cheat? To steal elections and keep us from the polls illegally? To establish a conservative media network? To keep us feeling disillusioned and disenfranchised, that’s why. To keep us thinking that we don’t matter.

How many people have you heard say that they’re not political? Here’s a news flash for you: you don’t have any choice but to be political nowadays, because everything is politicized. Politics is now pop culture, so you’d better adjust and become aware of the way things really are and what you can do to change our condition.

Opposition to voting often comes from the same people who don’t see the value in a college degree. Why is that? By not having the necessary credentials we give other people an easy out when it comes to dealing with us. As a rule, use every tool, every angle and every resource you have available to you to get ahead. As a people, we don’t have the luxury of adopting a stance of non-participation in anything that can be potentially beneficial to us. For too long we’ve sat by and allowed others to dictate the terms and conditions of our lives in our own communities.

We constantly hear commentary from conservative pundits on the state of things – barking about why it’s not right to question our “leader” during wartime – and calling anyone voicing dissent “treasonous” (and getting wealthy in the process). Think Sean Hannity (of Fox News) represents the everyman (he makes an 8 million dollar annual salary)? Or Bill O’Reilly (6 million)? Think again. (Funny how they dis easy-to-pick-on rappers but never discuss the profanity and imagery on Fox’s own Nip Tuck, the racism of COPS, or the misogyny of The Swan – but that’s another article.) These people vote. And they rally others who feel the same as they do to vote too.

We hear them say how much worse life was under Hussein in Iraq, and how U.S. troops are fighting to protect our freedom. But WE WERE NEVER IN DANGER from Iraq…and U.S. troops are being used in the worst way. They are there only to protect the big business interests of Bush’s buddies in high places – they ARE NOT protecting our freedom. The fact that Bush just signed a $417.5 billion wartime defense bill with an addition $25 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan pretty much drives my point home.

The world is full of dictators, but, luckily for them, they don’t have oil. Sorry-ass Saddam and his weak country would still be among the living nations if they had not had oil. Also still alive would be over 900 American servicemen and women, tens of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of thousands of wounded-for-life people.

This is especially important to us because we’re the ones who die, and we’re the ones the military places a disproportionate amount of focus on recruiting as was evidenced in Michael Moore’s excellent movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, which I encourage everyone to go out and see.

And while we’re on the subject of Fahrenheit 9/11, let me say that there have only been 3 points raised by those in opposition to the movie, and they are that 1. Moore never mentioned Great Britain in the “Coalition of The Willing,” 2. that Iraq was misleadingly portrayed as a utopia before we decimated it, and 3., that Moore is racist because of his portrayal of the countries willing to stand by the U.S.

That’s it.


There are still no other valid arguments against the points raised in the movie (all of which, coincidentally, were detailed on Sonic Jihad and 2 years ago). The rest is true and cannot be refuted, and Moore has even publicly considered offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can find a factual error, according to TIME magazine.

What it really boils down to now is that we are at a point in time where people simply believe in what makes them feel comfortable, even if the facts presented to them point to the contrary. If people know something is foul and needs to be set right, they agree that there needs to be regime change here. If, however, they are uneasy and in denial about the fact that the Bush Administration is full of @#%$, has lied to us, murdered people unjustly here and abroad for profit, reduced our civil liberties, is in bed with those we are supposed to be at war against, had a hand in facilitating the events of 9-11, and actively solicits young people of color to use for its war machine, then they tend to agree with the lies of the current White House occupants.

Only the evil or the misinformed are supporters of this administration, and they are the same people who don’t flinch when their conservative heroes are caught lying and give that standard bullshit “I take personal responsibility” speech. You know the one – the speech that’s designed to shut up detractors in a hurry (Tony Blair just gave it about WMDs) – as though saying it makes things A-OK.

Let’s all take our own form of personal responsibility and vote this November.

Register online here at http://www.guerrillafunk….eral_info/x_the_box.html, and stand up and be counted!

Filipino American history month

In the United States the month of October is Filipino American history month.

According to the Asian American Press online in November 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved House Resolution 780 "Recognizing Filipino American History Month in October.”

"The resolution was in recognition of the centuries-old presence of Filipinos in the United States, of the enduring friendship and cooperation of Filipinos and Americans, of the significant contributions of Filipinos to American society whether in the healthcare system, in the arts, in science, technology and other fields. It was also to recognize the need to continuously document the history of Filipino immigrants in the United States."

The month is a time for the Filipino culture within America and the Filipino Americans to be recognized for the historic and current contributions to America.

Since Filipino American history month was only passed in October 2009 it is not widely recognized, but hopefully it will be recognized in the same way that February is known as "Black History Month."

Written by Nikky Raney (Filipino)
Blogger & Journalist