Dan Kalb

Sep 102016
 
acdccendorsed

Of course, this post is not endorsed by the ACDCC – this is just a graphic ūüôā

Every election, the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee (ACDCC) endorses candidates for non-partisan local offices in the County; only registered Democrats can apply for the endorsement.  Well over a hundred candidates were interviewed by the Executive Committee, and over 70 were put on the consent calendar to be automatically endorsed by the Party at the September 17th meeting, around 30 more candidates were nominated for the endorsement and will be interviewed by the full Committee on that date.  It takes two ACDCC members to either pull a candidate from the consent calendar or nominate them for endorsement Рand this election most ACDCC members were very reluctant to do so: only four candidates were pulled from the consent calendar and only 8 candidates were nominated, I participated in all but one of these actions.

Below is a list of the candidates on the consent calendar, and those who have been nominated and will be interviewed on the 17th.¬† Links are to their questionnaires, when they’ve submitted one.¬† The comments are my own.

On Consent Calendar (will receive the Democratic Endorsement)

ALAMEDA COUNCILMEMBER (elect 2)  Hon. Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, Malia Vella (pulled both, no second РVella is an ACDCC associate member)
ALAMEDA AUDITOR  Mike McMahon (McMahon replied satisfactorily to my question as to why he was running against the Libertarian incumbent)
ALBANY COUNCILMEMBER (elect 3)  Hon. Peter Maass, Hon. Nick Pilch, Erik Giesen-Fields (challengers are registered as No Party Preference)
BERKELEY COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 2  Hon. Darryl Moore (pulled, no second)
BERKELEY COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 3  Ben Bartlett (pulled, no second)
BERKELEY RENT STAB. BD. COMM. (elect 4)  Hon. Alejandro Soto-Vigil, Christina Murphy, Leah Simon-Weisberg, Igor Tregub (did not send questionnaire for this race, Tregub is an ACDCC associate)
DUBLIN COUNCILMEMBER (elect 2)  Mona Lisa Ballesteros, Melissa Hernandez-Strah (pulled both, no second)
EMERYVILLE COUNCILMEMBER (elect 3)  John Bauters, Ally Medina, Hon. Christian Patz (pulled Bauters & Medina and nominated John T. Van Geffen, no second)
FREMONT MAYOR  Hon. Bill Harrison (no Democratic opponent, Harrison is an ACDCC alternate member)
FREMONT COUNCILMEMBER (elect 2)  Raj Salwan (nominated Cullen Tiernan, no second РSalwan is an ACDCC alternate member)
LIVERMORE COUNCILMEMBER (elect 2)  Hon. Stewart Gary
NEWARK MAYOR  Hon. Alan L. Nagy (no opponent)
NEWARK COUNCILMEMBER (elect 2)¬† Hon. Maria ‚ÄúSucy‚ÄĚ Collazo, Hon. Luis L. Freitas (no opponents)
OAKLAND CITY ATTORNEY  Hon. Barbara Parker (no opponent)
OAKLAND COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 1  Hon. Daniel Kalb
OAKLAND COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 7  Hon. Larry Reid (pulled, no second)
PIEDMONT COUNCILMEMBER (elect 2)  Hon. Jonathan Levine, Hon. Robert McBain
SAN LEANDRO COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 2  Bryan Azevedo
SAN LEANDRO COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 6  Pete Ballew (pulled, no second)
UNION CITY MAYOR  Hon. Carol Dutra-Vernaci (pulled, no second)
UNION CITY COUNCILMEMBER  Gary Singh
CHABOT-LAS POSITAS CCD TRUSTEE AREA 7  Hon. William Macedo (no Democratic opponent)
ALAMEDA USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Gray Harris, Matt Hettich, Jennifer Williams (pulled Hettich & Williams, nominated Dennis Popalardo & Anne McKereghan, no second)
BERKELEY USD DIRECTOR (elect 2)  Hon. Beatriz Levya-Cutler, Hon. Judy Appel
CASTRO VALLEY USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Jo A. S. Loss (pulled & nominated Tojo Thomas, no second)
DUBLIN USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Amy Miller
DUBLIN USD DIRECTOR (short term)  Hon. Sameer Hakim
EMERY USD DIRECTOR (elect 2)  Barbara Inch, Cruz Vargas
FREMONT USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Ann Crosbie (Crosbie is an ACDCC associate member)
HAYWARD USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Annette Walker, Todd Davis (pulled Walker, no second)
NEW HAVEN USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Michael Ritchie, Sharan Kaur, Lance Nishihira (no Democratic opponents)
OAKLAND USD DIRECTOR DIST. 1  Hon. Jody London (pulled, no second)
OAKLAND USD DIRECTOR DIST. 7  Chris Jackson
PLEASANTON USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Valerie Arkin, Stephen Maher (drama about pulling Maher to be discussed later, Arkin is an ACDCC alternate member)
SAN LORENZO USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Penny Peck, Kyla Sinegal, Marilyn Stewart
A.C. TRANSIT DIRECTOR AT-LARGE  Hon. H. E. Christian Peeples
A.C. TRANSIT DIRECTOR WARD 2  Hon. Greg Harper
ALAMEDA COUNTY WATER DIST. DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Marty Koller, Aziz Akbari (did not send questionnaire)
BART DIRECTOR DIST. 7  Lateefah Simon
EAST BAY REG. PARK DIST. DIRECTOR WARD 4  Ellen Corbett
ORO LOMA SANITARY DIST. DIRECTOR (short term)  Hon. Rita Duncan (pulled & nominated Chike Udemezue, no second)
WASHINGTON TWP. HEALTH CARE DIST. DIR. (elect 2)  Hon. Pat Danielson, Chitra Ramanathan (did not send questionnaire, no Democratic opponents РDanielson is an ACDCC elected member)

NOMINATED (need 60% of vote to receive Democratic endorsement)

BERKELEY MAYOR  Hon. Jesse Arreguin, Hon. Laurie Capitelli (Arreguin is an ACDCC elected member, he has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders)
BERKELEY COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 5  Sophie Hahn, Stephen Murphy
BERKELEY COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 6  Hon. Susan Wengraf, Fred Dodsworth (I pulled Wengraf and nominated Dodsworth, was seconded by Pam Drake)
FREMONT COUNCILMEMBER (elect 2)  Hon. Vinnie Bacon, Laurie Manuel (Bacon is an ACDCC elected member, not seeking Democratic endorsement)
OAKLAND COUNCILMEMBER AT-LARGE¬† Hon. Rebecca Kaplan, Margaret ‚ÄúPeggy‚ÄĚ Moore, Bruce Quan (I nominated Bruce Quan, was seconded by Pam Drake)
OAKLAND COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 3  Hon. Lynette V. Gibson-McElhaney, Noni Session (I pulled Gibson-McElhaney and nominated Session, was seconded by Pam Drake)
OAKLAND COUNCILMEMBER DIST. 5  Hon. Noel Gallo, Viola Gonzalez
PLEASANTON MAYOR  Julie Testa (no Democratic opponent, I nominated Testa, was seconded by Jeff Nibert)
PERALTA CCD TRUSTEE AREA 6  Nick Resnick, Karen Weinstein (Weinstein is an ACDCC associate member)
ALBANY USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Kim Trutane (no Democratic opponents, I nominated Trutane, was seconded by Jesse Arreguin)
CASTRO VALLEY USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Monica Lee, Lavender Whitaker (both nominated by J. Smith/Trullinger)
FREMONT USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Michele Berke, Hon. Desrie Campbell, Dax Choksi
HAYWARD USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. John Taylor (pulled Taylor from consent, seconded by Corina Lopez and Rocky Fernandez; nominated David Goldstein, no second)
OAKLAND USD DIRECTOR DIST. 3  Benjamin Lang, Kharyshi Wiginton
OAKLAND USD DIRECTOR DIST. 5  Hon. Roseann Torres, Mike Hutchinson (I pulled Torres and nominated Hutchinson, was seconded by Diana Prola)
PLEASANTON USD DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Jamie Hintzke
BART DIRECTOR DIST. 3  Hon. Rebecca Saltzman (Saltzman is an ACDCC alternate member)
BART DIRECTOR DIST. 5  Hon. John McPartland, Jennifer Hosterman
CASTRO VALLEY SANITARY DIST. DIRECTOR (elect 3)  Hon. Daniel M. Akagi, Hon. Timothy McGowan, Hon. David Sadoff, John Maher (did not send questionnaire)
EAST BAY REG. PARK DIST. DIRECTOR WARD 2¬† Audrey V. Jones-Taylor, Dionisio ‚ÄúDee‚ÄĚ Rosario

I also nominated Hari Titan for Piedmont School Board, but was unable to find a second. No other candidates for this race were nominated or put on consent.

Feb 062014
 
Emergency Services Director Renee Domingo speaking to the City Council

Emergency Services Director Renee Domingo speaking to the City Council

City employees in Oakland and San Leandro appear to live and work by the motto “it‚Äôs better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” ¬†While most city councils rubber stamp whatever proposals city staff puts before them – an easier task than actually reading and analyzing long and boring reports -, some proposals are so clearly contrary to the public benefit that they are not politically tenable for council members to knowingly pass. ¬†In those situations, staff – most assuredly with the blessing of the City Manager/Administrator – may give the Council an “edited” version of the facts behind it. ¬† Whether the purpose is to deceive council members or provide them with plausible deniability can be discerned by how the member react once the true facts are uncovered.

Oakland city staff’s quest to build the Domain Awareness Center (DAC), a facility that would centralize the feeds from hundreds of cameras and license plate readers throughout the City, is a perfect example of how this works. ¬†Internal e-mails obtained through the California Public Records Act make it clear that the actual purpose of the DAC is to track and subvert the activities of political protesters and labor activists in the city and port of Oakland. However, in public meetings, both staff and Councilmembers have only referred to the alleged crime-fighting uses of the DAC. ¬† Finally, at the last meeting of the Council’s¬†¬†Public Safety Committee, ¬†Emergency Services Director Renee Domingo, who has spearheaded Oakland’s DAC project, was forced to admit that there is no data showing that existing DACs in other cities have helped to either reduce or solve crimes.

While there might be some room for argument about whether misleading the Council as to the purpose for the DAC is actually “lying”, it is absolutely clear that Ms Domingo deceived¬†the Council about Science Applications International¬†(SAIC),¬†the company that was hired to build the DAC. ¬† ¬†SAIC is a large military contractor which, among other things, works in the development, building and deployment of nuclear weapons. ¬†Under Oakland’s 1988 anti-nuclear ordinance, the City cannot award contracts to any company that is involved with nuclear weapons. ¬† Internal e-mails show that Domingo was aware that this was a problem in February 2013, but she didn’t mention anything about it to the City Council and the Council indeed went on and hired SAIC to build the first phrase of the project. ¬†According to Domingo, she first heard about SAIC’s non-compliance in August,when activists brought it up – but that’s contradicted by the e-mails alluded to above.

Domingo is now proposing that the Council contract with¬†called Schneider Electric to build phase II of the DAC. A simple google search of “Schneider Electric” and “nuclear weapons” leads to marketing materials from the company where it describes one of its main applications a being “nuclear weapons handling systems.” ¬†It’s still unknown whether Domingo failed to do her due diligence or just hoped that activists wouldn’t find out.

No member of the Oakland City Council has held staff accountable for deceiving ¬†them and for having the City knowingly enter into a contract that violated the City’s own laws. ¬†Councilmember Dan Kalb campaigned on “restoring trust in City Hall“, and yet he has meekly accepted staff’s unethical behavior seemingly without a second thought. ¬† While Kalb is not for re-election, his colleague Libby Schaaf, who has also failed to question staff over their duplicity, is running for Mayor of Oakland. ¬†Her “no need for accountability” attitude is echoed by incumbent Mayor Jean Quan.

Things are no better in San Leandro.  Chief of Police Sandra Spagnoli routinely gives the City Council information that she knows to be false.  She has lied about things as easy to verify as the number of license plate scanners the Department has and the effects of realignment in the City.  But she also gave the Council false information about marijuana, the number of complaints they get about chickens and the dangers of overpollination.  A few months ago, the City had to settle a lawsuit brought by men after the Chief issued a press release falsely accusing them of attempting to engage in public homosexual sex.

Not only does the Chief routinely lie to the City Council, but she has also broken the law. ¬†In 2012, the Chief was caught using Police Department staff and resources to get citizens to lobby the City Council against a proposed marijuana dispensary. ¬†That violates both the San Leandro Municipal Code and the California Government Code. ¬†Though City Council members are well aware of the Chief’s unlawful attempt to manipulate the democratic process, they have not called her on it. ¬†This year, both Mayor Stephen Cassidy and Councilmember Pauline Cutter are running for re-election.

The Chief is not the only “truth impaired” member of staff in San Leandro. ¬†When City staff decided to change the Zoning Code as a tactic in a pending lawsuit, city they explained the change as being a “routine update of the code” and only acknowledged the actual motive behind it after citizens like me brought it up repeatedly at public meetings. ¬†After the acknowledgement,¬†Mayor Stephen Cassidy made some noise about being more open with the community in the future, but did not take staff to task for their repeated attempts at deception.

It’s difficult to know what we can do to restore ethics and accountability in City Hall – both in San Leandro and in Oakland. ¬†Electing the right people has to be part of the solution, but candidates with integrity are few and far between. ¬† My strategy – exposing bad behavior at City Hall -, has seldom been an impetus for change. ¬†Is local democracy just broken and, if so, can it be fixed?