2006 Election Endorsements: City of Oakland and Alameda County Contests

It’s that time again! If any of you are in Alameda County, perhaps you give two shits about my politics…

AC Transit District Director: Rebecca Kaplan

She’s got a sensible list of priorities (expanding alternative energy programs, transit-oriented development, and the usual service-oriented blah-de-blah one would expect from any sane and competent transit district) and a Green Party endorsement. I’m not sure it’ll make the buses run on time, but it works for me. Plus, her opponent is invisible to the Internet.

Oakland Measure M (Pension Fund Micromanagement): Yes

Should the city employee pension fund be allowed to invest in non-dividend stocks? Sure. Whatever.

Oakland Measure N (Library Bond): Tentative Abstention

If this were only about spending money on fixing up libraries I’d vote for it in a heartbeat, but the bond measure is in large part devoted to moving the main library to the old Kaiser Convention Center. Is that the best thing to do with the convention center? Is it the best place for the library? I don’t really know squat about the trials and tribulations of downtown Oakland.

Oakland Measure O (Instant Runoff Voting): Yes

Instant runoff voting in Oakland won’t actually happen until Alameda County buys the proper equipment, but it’s a good idea anyway. Up with third parties! Down with having to trek to the polls all the damn time for runoffs!

City of Oakland Auditor: Courtney Ruby

Because Roland Smith sure sounds like an asshole:

Interviews with several former staff members in Smith’s office paint Smith as a politically-motivated boss with a fierce temper who would frequently berate his employees when they failed to meet his expectations or submit audits that corresponded to his agenda.

All said the office had been paralyzed by bureaucratic infighting and the frequent turnover of office personnel. The former staff members also accused Smith, who has been ill and has trouble hearing, of falling asleep in staff meetings and seminars. In October, a half-dozen members of the auditor’s staff filed an official complaint with Edgerly’s office, saying they had been intimidated, scared and harassed by Smith.

Several members of the office said they witnessed Smith making inappropriate comments to a female member of the staff while requiring her to go to lunch with him.

Despite the noxiously pink campaign site Ruby has compiled an impressive list of endorsements, which I will take as a proxy for basic qualifications.

Superior Court Judge Office 21: Flip a Coin

It’s great that the ideals of impartiality and legal access are so universally esteemed, but it makes judicial elections really boring and difficult.


  1. wren wrote:

    I live two blocks from the current Oakland Main Library. Measure N is trying to address the fact that that building is old, too small, and not really set up for the invasion of computers. The problem is, I’m not sure moving it to the old Convention Center will help–it moves the Main Library further from the residential ares, and I’d think that if they’re going to renovate a building, they might as well stick with the one everyone thinks of as the library now.

    Plus, the new library is supposed to get a cafe. I hate cafes in libraries. *And* no one has been able to tell me what will happen to the old Main building–and one thing downtown Oakland does not need is another vacant building/block.

    It’s a shame, because N is also supposed to route money to some branch libraries that need it badly, but the main point seems to me to be flawed.

  2. dto510 wrote:

    The new main library will be wonderful – the only other suggestions for the Kaiser Center have been a World Trade Center (which is SO not public, and is a stupid thing to have far way from offices and hotels) and a Heisman Trophy Museum (no comment needed). If the main library doesn’t go there, clearly something very stupid will be there instead. The downtown Main is not for downtown residents as much as it is for the whole city, so putting it closer to BART and giving it free parking is good, even if it’s no longer within a short walk of most downtowners’ homes. Also, putting the main in the KC is actually cheaper than adding to the existing building. The old main will be sold, and will most likely be a County office building.

    Vote YES on N! Oakland’s first library facilities bond since right after WWII! It fixes every library in the system, not just the Main, including four that don’t have bathrooms.

  3. Kang wrote:

    A lot of the Oakland branch libraries are in bad shape. Some don’t have bathrooms and aren’t ADA accessible. My neighbor uses a wheelchair and he can’t get to the fiction section of the Piedmont Ave branch. There will probably be alot of housing development near the Kaiser Convention center and I think it would be good to reuse a historical building. As to what will happen to the current Main Library, I think that Oakland residents should make sure it stays available for public, or at least non-profit use. The prior Main Library is now a beautiful African-American library and musuem, so it can be done.

  4. Eric wrote:

    As to the Oakland Library Move. The old building was constructed with expansion in mind and can have more floors added for much less than moving it and renovating the old convention center. Also, it diverts funds from the branches. Expansion of the library should focus on the expansion of the branches and providing services to the overall population, not further centralizing services and resources to a single point, limiting access to those who need the services most.

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