By Adrian Napolitano

It’s 2014 and that means that it’s time for Oakland to vote for Mayor!  To launch the Oakland Mayoral race, the Oakland Tech Junior State of America Debate Club is hosting an Oakland Mayoral Candidates Forum this Saturday, March 22nd, from 12:30-2:30 at the Oakland City Hall Chambers.

All of the public is invited, young and old. Seven candidates have confirmed that they are coming including Joe Tuman, Libby Schaff, Bryan Parker, Courtney Ruby, Dan Siegel, Patrick McCullough, and Jason Anderson. There will be a moderator that will ask the candidates questions concerning public safety, education, problem solving amongst Oaklanders, and the police department. Then, there will be an opportunity for you the audience to ask the candidates questions. Whether you are interested in politics or not, come to this great event to learn more about issues in Oakland and the candidates running for mayor.

If you have any questions about the event, do not hesitate to email for information. Please come to your event and have your voice heard!

15 Responses

  1. OaklandNative

    This is great.

    However, Jean Quan was not listed in the confirmed participants. Was this a typo?

  2. Adrian Napolitano

    There is a possibility that Jean Quan will come but unfortunately, she has yet to confirm that she will be coming.

  3. Mawi Fasil

    I’m one of the facilitators for the event, and today Mayor Jean Quan confirmed her attendance to the event. The author, Adrian Napolitano, is our moderator for the event was not aware of her attendance until after the article was posted.

  4. OaklandNative


    I am very proud of your organization. I was wondering when Oakland would have a debate–and I’m glad your school is hosting it. Thank you.

  5. CaliLibby

    With Quan, that’s 8 candidates in a 2 hour debate. I think an introduction to the candidates platform makes a lot more sense. I’d rather see a debate among the front runners as, with 8 people all vying for what will be a few minutes given in several discombobulated chunks, it’s kind of pointless.

  6. livegreen

    Aw shucks. For a second I though Mayor Quan decided to drop out.

    CaliLibby makes a good point. With 8 candidates people are going to need to be held to their time to get anything meaningful out of this. & just doing that is going to mean cutting down on time coverage of any one issue.

    I suggest the organizers cover a narrow width of issues to prevent candidates from sound bites & empty answers. Maybe a 2nd debate later to cover others?

    Thank you to the organizers & students for taking this on.

  7. R2D2II

    “I was wondering when Oakland would have a debate–and I’m glad your school is hosting it.”

    There’s one on April 3 at Temple Sinai promoted by Make Oakland Better Now and Metropolitan Greater Oakland, mostly hills folks concerned about crime. Moderated by “journos” Bob Gammon, Chip Johnson and Matt Artz.

    There are sure to be many more “debates.” There’s the question of how much will actually ever be debated and how many, if any, really tough questions will be asked. My guess: easy peasy.

  8. Adrian Napolitano

    There will be 5 questions asked at this forum and each of the candidates will be limited to 2 minutes for each question. As to whether the questions will be tough, they will. Trust me. Finally, we are going to have a Q and A session so if people have pressing, tough questions they want to ask they are welcomed to ask them.

  9. Oakie

    Great. I would love to have the facilitators ask their position on Shot Spotter. Although OPD has proposed eliminating the SS system, costing a mere $265k per year because their priorities are elsewhere, not a single candidate (I’m talking to you Courtney Ruby and Joe Tuman) has spoken about this. I don’t even count Q, I’m taking bets she’ll not finish in the top 3. Dan Siegel will offer some entertainment value at least.

  10. R2D2II

    “As to whether the questions will be tough, they will.”

    Best of luck to you! Seriously!

    If you can really challenge the “candidates” you will be far ahead of any effort made by the media or almost any community or political organization in Oakland in the past decade.

  11. R2D2II

    My brief impression of Saturday’s mayor candidate forum at City Hall follows. My biases: there is a long-standing dysfunctional civic culture which needs profound change. Oakland voters need to move away from continually voting for candidates from within this dysfunctional culture. We need to vote for candidates whose work experience is NOT mostly nonprofit or public sector service and/or who have tangible records of successful work in any number of other fields.

    In general the questions were clear, direct and important. Five questions were asked and each candidate had two minutes to respond. Not the best format for making real challenges to what the candidates had to say.

    Mayor Quan: Acted her usual self e.g. “ this problem is improving and we are working hard on it.” No evident sense that many, if not most, people don’t think that things are improving and that her “hard work” is actually working. I hated it each time it was her turn to speak while I mostly enjoyed listening to the others.

    Libby Schaaf: Conventional and articulate answers. She said the right things but gave no specific details about how she might accomplish anything. My take on Schaaf is that she is an updated, much more articulate version of Quan. Not surprising given Schaaf’s more-than-a-decade of experience working in City Hall in the shadow of Quan et al.

    Courtney Ruby: A refreshing emphasis on the need for real leadership in Oakland. Abundant explanation of what leadership means: openness, clarity, addressing issues regularly, making plans and following them and reporting accurately on results. She’s taken on the establishment successfully as Auditor so even though her work experience has been in the public sector, she has produced tangible results.

    Joe Tuman: For each problem Tuman came up with a specific solution. Clearly he has thought through each of Oakland’s problems and offers insight and a systematic approach. Tuman had to leave early due to a busy schedule–he’s evidently high energy, works hard, is very thoughtful and articulate. He may not appeal to voters who aren’t as detail-oriented as he clearly is.

    Bryan Parker: Comes across as a competent manager from the financial sector. Speaks very well and exudes charm. Could offer a competent leadership style. Short on evidence of detailed thinking about problems and solutions.

    Patrick McCullough: Articulate and very well-spoken. Short on details of problem solving but evidently very intelligent. I had never heard of him before the debate, know nothing of his background but was favorably impressed. Strikes me as something of an old school African-American Republican with excellent, but somewhat conservative, social values. Could be a good leader.

    Dan Siegel: Lots of charm and says all the right things in terms of truly progressive values. On public safety has a hard-to-understand idea about how Oakland could do much better policing with fewer sworn cops than at present. I don’t believe this at all; Siegel arguably has been anti-cop for a long time and I think he would make the relationship between cops and City Hall even worse than now. Long-time association with Quan.

    Bottom line: anyone but Quan. Next-to-bottom-line: no one currently part of dysfunctional City Hall culture.

  12. OaklandNative

    I missed it.

    Based on what you wrote Patrick McCullough piques my interest. Too bad we don’t hear more about him.

  13. Oakie

    I agree that the student organizers provided an effective venue given the limitations that so many candidates stuffed into that time frame incur.

    It is as difficult to watch and listen to the voice and image of Q as it was to watch or hear GWB in year 8 of his presidency. My stomach turns. But I thought she gave the best she could with who she is and what she has accomplished (and not accomplished). I feel sorry for her having to endure my question about how many Pinocchio’s she deserved for claiming that violent crime decreased 28% last year under her strong leadership (no one gave a number, alas)- but she deserved it for making such an outrageous claim.

    Courtney’s strongest claim was her executive experience as head of the Auditor’s office and the real accomplishments exposing waste and fraud in our city government (plus bonus points for pissing off 2 council members into playing the race card on her). I would have thought that finding waste and fraud in our city would be as easy as shooting ducks in a barrel, but who else in the last 30 years has done this? The other point in her favor is that she actually knew and produced an auditing report about the city’s incompetence in using technology, including Shot Spotter. She articulated how utterly despicable that failure was/is in how our tax money is wasted and how we are made poorer and less safe because of it. [I have checked online to find the SS stats from any month or year earlier than January 2013: has anyone found where they are on the city’s web site or elsewhere? I’d like to compare 2013 to earlier years to test her claim of a 28% decline in violent crime in our city. Is that a conspiracy by Q to avoid providing that data? Can’t be-she’s not that smart.]

    Tuman is a good speaker and very comfortable shmoozing on stage. His classroom and TV punditry experience provides lots of practice (where it is said that faking sincerity is the most important skill), and it showed. Everything he said made sense and was unobjectionable. Certainly a dramatic improvement over what we have experienced for 3.5 years. He proposed selling off city owned property as a way of raising money (and implied we’d have to anyway prior to declaring bankruptcy). No specifics (given the 2 minute responses window). I wonder what’s up with that.

    I disagree in your assessment of Dan Siegel. I find his positions despicable, and his claim that 650 cops is adequate to our safety is perfectly inline with what I expect from him. Dan is a product of the 60’s Berkeley scene (as was Q). The only problem is that he has learned nothing from our experience, especially in Oakland, of the 1970’s, 1980’s, 19990’s, or this century. His thinking is stuck and incorrigible. 30 years of “progressives” owning the power in Oakland has produced a dystopia, and he is taking zero responsibility for his part in it.

    Ergo, more cops is bad, less cops is good. Period. Patrick’s comment about trying to hire local kids to do low skilled jobs for the city was rejected unequivocally by Dan for the expected reason (more overpaid jobs for city employees that may be unproductive is good, fewer of these overpaid jobs for city employees is bad–forget about what the taxpayer must pay to support these people or how that money may be better spent). We have spent 30 years increasing the cost of our employees to the point of unfunded liabilities of about $1.6 Billion in a city with a General Fund of $400 Million. It is precisely his attitude manifesting this answer that represent the root cause of this financial mess, and he would continue unrelenting to add to the problem. Is there a word for the opposite of Fiduciary Responsibility? That’s him.

    I’ve known Patrick since his run a number of years ago against the incumbent Council member Jane Brunner. He lives on 59th St between Telegraph and Dover and worked hard to clean out the drug dealing and thug life on his street. He famously got into a “disagreement” with one of them – who was on his property (he had a wife and kid in the house), and who threatened to shoot Patrick because of the audacity to demand he get off his property and move his drug dealing away from his block. Of course it’s Oakland so Patrick’s self defense with a legal weapon defending himself (shooting the guy in the leg) resulted in much outrage. Unfortunately Brunner articulated the outrage as an accusation that Patrick was an unwanted “vigilante” in a hit piece delivered a few days before the election to every household in her district (a technique she used to defeat another candidate in a previous election). Patrick lost to Brunner 75% to 25%. Therein lies some of my contempt for the voters of this city.

    Patrick is a great human being and a dedicated father. His contribution to making North Oakland a safer and healthier place to live is highly treasured by some of us.

  14. R2D2II

    Oakie–I can’t disagree with anything you say although our words about specific candidates are not far from the same.

    Specifically I was not as dismissive of Dan Siegel’s statements as you seem to be. I’m also a product of UC Berkeley in the ’60s and consider myself pretty cautious about progressive talk vs accomplishment. As far as I am concerned Siegel hasn’t got a ghost of a chance to be elected because of his history, his role as a very argumentative (thus divisive and necessarily so) advocate for the underdog and his long kissy-face with Quan. Not at all the same thing as being capable of leading a divided city like Oakland.

    One point about Tuman that should be made clear. He talked about “monetizing” resources, perhaps especially real estate, that Oakland owns in order to pay for additional costs of running an effective and ethical police force. He defined “monetizing” as obtaining income from Oakland resources. I don’t think he said specifically that he wanted to sell off some Oakland real estate, but I think that could be a reasonable interpretation of some of what “monetizing” might mean.

  15. R2D2II

    Also glad to hear your thoughts about Patrick McCullough. It’s very good for Oakland to have him speaking out and challenging the status quo.


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