Aug 222014
 
Dan Siegel

Dan Siegel

Teachers, Nurses Endorse Siegel

I want to congratulate the Oakland Education Association and the California Nurses Association for endorsing Dan Siegel for Mayor of Oakland.

I have heard now from many people that they love what Dan Siegel stands for, but he can’t win. That, however, can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. If we don’t support the candidates who hold our values we will never see real change. By catering to our perception of what voters want to hear, we promote demagogy instead of real democracy. We do not give ourselves a chance.

I thank the teachers and the nurses for leaving fears aside and supporting someone who can give us hope.

And Dan can. He has been fighting against government abuse and for the rights of the disenfranchised his whole life. He is intelligent, committed, and has a clear vision. And he is humble.

When I asked Dan Siegel to meet with Mike and I so I could hear more about his campaign for Mayor, I was expecting him to have airs of superiority. After all, he has had a brilliant law career, an outstanding record as an activist and was now vying to become Mayor. Lawyers, politicians and activists can be a rather arrogant bunch (me included).

Dan has no arrogance, no sense of superiority; he is not in love with himself. He is running because he is committed to turn Oakland around, to do the best for the City and all its citizens. He doesn’t seek power, he wants opportunity for others. As a human rights activist, I’ve been privileged to meet other people like him, but even in my field they are rare.

I want Dan to win because he is unapologetically a liberal, because his views and values are clear and he stands by them.  Unlike other politicians, he won’t tell you what he thinks you want to hear.

And I want him to win because things in America are getting worse.  Wealth and power continue to accumulate in the hands of the very few, America is no longer a democracy.  The middle class is disappearing and most of us have an uncertain future.   Young people graduate from college, after indebting  themselves for life, to find no jobs awaiting them.  Racism is growing in our society, and African-Americans are being stereotyped as criminals and the source of society’s problems, much like Jews were in Nazi Germany.  Black men are regularly killed by police with impunity.   Meanwhile, the government is readying for the social upheaval that this racial and economic repression is likely to lead to, by instituting methods of mass surveillance and militarizing the police.

Dan Siegel has stood against these things.  He was the only serious candidate for Oakland Mayor to loudly and clearly speak against the Domain Awareness Center anddemand accountability for police abuses.  Oakland only started talking about raising the minimum wage, after Dan Siegel made it part of his platform.

I want Dan Siegel to win so that he can help turn Oakland around, but also so that he can be an example for others.  Candidates who have strong convictions often don’t run because they believe they’ll have to sell out their principles to cater to voters’ fears.  I want Oaklanders to prove them wrong.

So go Dan Siegel!

Aug 172014
 
photo "borrowed" from Think Progress

photo “borrowed” from Think Progress

The New York Times has a story,titled “Around St. Louis, a Circle of Rage” about how police harassment and political ostracism of African-Americans has given fuel to the protests we see in Ferguson.  You can substitute “Oakland” or “San Francisco” for St. Louis and get the same story. People of color – mostly, but not exclusively, African-American – are tired of having their children shot and being the object of police harassment.

When you add to these issues, the fact that the middle class is being decimated, that jobs and opportunities for youth are disappearing and that America is no longer a democracy, we have a volatile situation.

The federal government, owned by Wall Street, has responded by militarizing the police and creating a surveillance state to try to identify leaders-in-the-making. As the NYT said in another article, the protests in Ferguson suffer from lack of leadership.

The repression of peaceful protesters and journalists in Ferguson should not be considered casual. It”s intended, at least in part, to serve as a warning to other communities that may rise up and specially to the middle class, which still has something to lose. State terror exists because it works.

Aug 162014
 
The Answer to Police Militarization is Voting

All this week in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, not too unlike San Leandro, we have seen the consequences of the militarization of police. Peaceful protesters are met with tear gas, batons and even guns. When some people take advantage of the situation to loot, the Police, rather than protect the businesses, used it as an excuse to further repress the protesters. Meanwhile, the civilian authorities back the police and excuse their behavior. After talking to San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata, it became clear that he would support the SLPD no matter what they would do. When I [Continue Reading]

Aug 132014
 
Final List of Candidates for San Leandro Offices

These are the candidates that will be vying for elected office representing San Leandrans.  The candidate’s ballot designations are in parenthesis. Candidate statements, when available, follow the description of each candidate. Remember, all San Leandro voters get to vote for all members of the San Leandro City Council and School Board, regardless of the district/area they represent. San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter (City Councilmember/Teacher) is the clear favorite to win this race. She served for many years on the San Leandro School Board, and was elected Board president three times, so she has experience as the executive officer of a [Continue Reading]

Aug 122014
 
Alameda County Democratic Central Committee to Vote to Censure Me

I May Be Responsible for the FPPC Investigating the Committee Update (Aug 12, 2014) The FPPC has cleared the ACDCC of wrongdoing, saying they have found “insufficient evidence” that the Committee is involved in an “earmarking scheme”.   I’m not particularly surprised given that when an FPPC investigator contacted me about this matter, she stated that earmarking was very difficult to prove.  For that reason, I had been surprised when I later learned the FPPC was still pursuing the investigation. What I think the FPPC’s investigation does make clear is that earmarking is not only wrong, but illegal.  I can only [Continue Reading]