(Tagami with Mayoral Longshot Candidate Ignacio De La Fuente and Charlotte Laws. Yeah, Phil's supporting the longshot.)
I saw this at the New Home Builders News Blog and almost choked:
"Phil Tagami, a developer who restored the Rotunda Building and is working to rehabilitate the dilapidated Fox Theater in downtown Oakland, said he and others want to hear specifically what it means for a development to embrace diversity.."
For as long as I've known Phil -- and that's since 1991 -- he's always had a very weird, unfortunate view of the matter of race and diversity. We've had a lot of arguments about this. Sometimes I thought he seemed to be picking fights with anyone who called for it. Now, in my little playground that's this blog and away from the more rough-and-tumble matters of SBS, I get to adress this issue of diversity and developers and Phil and Oakland.
Phil, listen up! Diversity is simply making the choice to find and work with people of color and Women. Period. You know this, having convinced your business partner to hire my step-brother-and-law Ralph Grant's firm Grant and Smith as your accountant.
That's diversity. You hired him because he was the best and it was a nice plus that he's black and his firm is too.
Diversity is not complicated. It called for picking up the phone and making a call to someone you would not generally talk to. It called for changing your clique so that it's composition is a nice melting pot of people. It's good to do this, if one to surround yourself with different points of view.
It also has interesting advantages.
Spike Lee's movie "Inside Man" is not only an intense and loving portrail of New York City, but of urban diversity itself. When Denzel Washington needs to find someone who can recognize a voice in a foreign language, all he has to do is pick from the onlookers around him, such is the diversity of New York.
That's true for Oakland, too.
You can build large structures in Oakland and without a lilly-white work force. It's not only undesirable, it's just plain weird in this day and age.
I've seen her signs around Lake Merritt, so I decided to check out her site. She's spot on about the Port of Oakland, if brief. Here's the rest of her message:
"I want to use the District 2 City Council seat to insure that the needs of Oakland's working families come first. We can make Oakland better by increasing funding and support of locally-controlled schools and youth recreation programs, bringing community policing to every area, expanding home ownership opportunities in the city, and creating living wage jobs for our people. We need a more open government so that every member of the community can be part of key decisions on city contracts and development deals, and can influence how our tax dollars are being spent, including Measure Y public safety and Measure DD park expansion funds."
"Myth – Oakland does not have the resources to fund education, libraries and parks and recreation. Fact – The Port of Oakland could provide the city with resources to improve city services"
There's a school of thought that Nancy Nadel's the longshot candidate for Mayor. I'm here to tell you that she out-polls Ignacio De La Fuente, and now to such an extent that he, not she, should be considered the longshot candidate.
Nancy's a threat to win because in a city that treats its female politicians well at the polls, Nadel's the first woman to launch a credible campaign for the city's top job. Frankly, all she has to do is pound the pavement and stay out of the Dellums / De La Fuente media battles -- waged by De La Fuente -- and she at leat scare the heck out of Dellums.
I can't see her winning, but I can see her forcing a runoff.
Someone recently presented an idea that would remove one of the largest generators of sales tax revenue -- it's a documented fact -- in Oakland for a new stadium for the Oakland A's. Not good and shows a complete lack of understanding of Oakland not to mention redevelopment economics.
Just to properly prep the land -- with all of the impact from the storage of cars -- would cost over $100 million. Plus, the land is worth more than just the buildings -- the cars are counted too.
Without going into more detail, I'll close by saying it's time to close that idea. It's too much of a win-lose. Pick another site, like Oak to Ninth.
Wow, with his name recognition, you'd think Mayor Jerry Brown would be light years in front of Rocky Delgadillo, his challenger for the California Attorney General's Office.
But he's not.
Rocky's raised $3.8 million versus Jerry's $4.2 million. That's a near dead heat.
Rocky shoots for the `Moonbeam' Delgadillo vs. Brown shapes up as competitive attorney general primary BY RICK ORLOV, Staff Writer
In one of the most intriguing political races of the season, an upstart Latino politician from East Los Angeles faces one of California's best known - and most controversial - political figures of the last generation.
It's Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo vs. the mayor of Oakland and former two-term governor Jerry Brown. At stake in the June 6 primary is the title of Democratic candidate for California attorney general.
The winner will face Republican state Sen. Chuck Poochigian of Fresno, who is unopposed in the GOP primary.
With two months to go, the 68-year-old Brown, who returned to California politics seven years ago to become Oakland's mayor, has reveled in the fact that much of the campaign spotlight so far has focused on him.
"This race is still all about Jerry Brown," said Darry Sragow, a longtime Democratic consultant. "The big thing Brown has going for him is people know his name. He does have some high negatives, but I think people will forgive and forget the 1970s and 1980s when he was at his peak.
"He is a known product to many voters and it will be up to Rocky to try to break through and make his own connection."
And it's a battle that could be fierce. The most recent campaign reports show Brown with $4.2 million compared to Delgadillo's $3.8 million.
Delgadillo said he expects to have enough money to compete in the final weeks before the election, with political consultants estimating the cost of a full statewide television campaign at $1.5 million to $2 million a week.
Still, it won't be easy.
"I have five polls all showing me with wide leads and one showing me as the most popular Democrat in the state," Brown said last week in a telephone interview. "I think what accounts for it is a lot of people remember my governorship with fondness - and they've seen what I've done.
"I've been a governor. I've been a mayor ... I've lived in a partisan world and worked in a nonpartisan. No one has the experience that I can draw on."
Brown, the son of the popular Gov. Pat Brown - who is credited with building the state's university system and freeways - helped reshape state government with his appointments of women and minorities during his two terms as governor.
During his years as governor, Brown put renewed emphasis on issues that were still developing, such as the environment and talking about an era of limits, part of what earned him the nickname of Gov. Moonbeam.
But he also shifted his politics from traditional Democratic programs to a more pragmatic style after the passage of the landmark Proposition 13 property tax measure.
While he drew attention as much for his lifestyle - the dating of rock star Linda Ronstadt and his three runs for president - few remember how pragmatically political Brown was.
He began as a Los Angeles Community College District trustee and went on to become state controller, secretary of state, and then governor.
But the political landscape has significantly changed since Brown's term as governor ended 24 years ago, with a generation of voters who either don't recall his tenure or look on it with bemused curiosity.
Delgadillo, 45, has been Los Angeles city attorney for five years. His only public experience was as a legal adviser to Rebuild L.A. and as a deputy mayor under former Mayor Richard Riordan before his election upset of Councilman Mike Feuer.
And his campaign has experienced some tough going in its initial stages, including when political consultant Larry Grisolano decided not to manage his campaign.
Grisolano said he remains a Delgadillo supporter, but said the two differed over how the campaign should be conducted.
Delgadillo's administration of the City Attorney's Office also has come under criticism in recent months, most notably from City Controller Laura Chick, who has questioned the number of private firms Delgadillo has hired.
Many of the firms are contributors to Delgadillo and there have been questions over whether they are performing work that should be done by city lawyers. Delgadillo defends his policies by saying he has reduced liability payouts.
He remains optimistic despite his struggles, including recently losing a court battle over a wrongful-termination suit filed by a former city prosecutor.
"I was a 31-point underdog the week before the (2001) election," Delgadillo told about 50 members of the Los Angeles Business Council last week.
"In fact, my opponent called me the day of the election, saying, `Hey, it was nice running against you.' The next day he had to call to congratulate me. He underestimated how hard I worked.
"I think we will surprise a lot of people in June."
Delgadillo said he hopes to have a similar experience in his race for attorney general.
"In this race I am running against a former governor. The son of a former governor," Delgadillo said. "My name is not Brown. It's Delgadillo. I think it makes a difference.
"I think it makes a difference in how we think about the state and what the state has become. We are now a minority majority state. It's a different state from (when Brown served).
"And we are going to need more people to think differently about this job."
Delgadillo, a married father of two, won a scholarship to Harvard University, got his law degree from Columbia University and returned to L.A. to join the prestigious law firm of O'Melveny & Myers.
There, Delgadillo helped Rebuild L.A. and met Riordan, who brought him into his administration where he led efforts to attract new businesses and retain existing ones.
As city attorney, Delgadillo has begun a number of new programs - the most successful being the neighborhood prosecutor program. Under that, deputy city attorneys are assigned to work with the police and residents to identify and prosecute quality-of-life crimes before they can become larger problems.
Delgadillo said he also has continued to use an aggressive approach with gangs, using injunctions to slow and stop their activities in the poorest parts of the city
Brown has emphasized that he has broader experience, especially what he learned as Oakland mayor dealing with urban issues of crime and poverty.
Delgadillo disputes Brown's effectiveness, pointing to recent spikes in Oakland's crime rate. And he touts his own efforts to battle crime with anti-truancy and neighborhood improvement programs.
"A lot of people told me I should have run for another office first, that it's crazy to take on Jerry Brown," Delgadillo said. "And what I've said all along is that I am running to make a difference and not just be an elected official.
"I think people are looking for someone who is a leader and has the courage to take on a tough fight."
This project was first proposed way back in 1991. The fact that it's took this long to get it off the ground is a clear sign of Oakland Redevelopment Agency's lethargy and the determination of Oakland's District Six Councilmember Larry Reid.
BART's airport monorail on track Officials seek private help for connector targeted to run by 2011 By Paul T. Rosynsky, STAFF WRITER - OAKLAND TRIBUNE
OAKLAND — A plan that would have a private company build and operate BART's monorail to Oakland International Airport appears to have gotten the long-stalled connector project back on track.
After years of delays due to a $141 million funding shortage, BART officials now say they believe the job can be done and expect the $377 million monorail to open by 2011.
The optimism comes as the agency seeks proposals from private firms that would be willing to cover a $141 million funding gap to get the project.
In return, the winning firm would operate the system and collect fares from passengers.
BART bases its rosy outlook on a pre-bid meeting held earlier this year with representatives from more than 100 companies interested in the project.
The movement also has spurred other agencies to begin planning for the monorail, which is projected to carry 13,500 people a day from the BART Coliseum station to Oakland International Airport.
Those agencies include the city of Oakland, which will vote next month on giving BART a $725,000 in-kind contribution for the project. The contribution would include staff time taken to help relocate utilities and conduct various inspections during construction.
"Now it looks like the train is moving out of the station," said City Councilmember Larry Reid (Elmhurst-East Oakland), a longtime monorail supporter. "It will happen, and it will happen on our watch."
Despite the new outlook, there is no guarantee the private sector will be willing to take a risk on funding the project with the hope it would attract enough riders to pay off the investment.
At the same time, should private firms respond with proposals, it would be a strong show of confidence that the monorail project will be a success, transportation experts said.
"One of the neat things about having the private operator do this is that the private folks are going to be really hard-nosed about it," said David Luberoff, executive director of the Rappaport Institute of Greater Boston at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.
"It validates the project, it shields BART from the risk if the monorail is not popular," Luberoff said.
He said fares on the monorail system could range from $3.75 to $5.50 per trip based on BART's projected number of riders and its estimate of construction costs.
But those fares would only allow a firm to recoup its estimated capital cost, not a profit, Luberoff said.
Right now, BART passengers wishing to connect to Oakland International Airport pay $2 each way for a dedicated bus service connecting the Coliseum station to the airport.
BART officials devised the public-private partnership idea last year when it appeared the project could not be completed. Originally estimated to cost $232 million, the price of the automated monorail ballooned to almost $400 million because of Oakland International Airport's constant tinkering with its expansion design and BART's low-balling of the project's cost. BART had collected more than $236 million in public funds for the monorail. Those funds come from a sales tax measure approved in 2000, two separate regional bond measures, state funds and $25 million from the Port of Oakland.
The line would run in the median of Hegenberger Road, with the possibility of one station between the Coliseum BART station and the airport.
Karen Williams, an attorney who has written several public-private partnership agreements, said BART's plan basically makes the monorail like a toll road.
Williams, a partner with Lane Powell, said the idea also distributes costs more fairly by having both users and the general public pay. Since the project will benefit both, it is a fair deal, she said.
"It strikes me as being pretty good public policy because the economic effect is to divide the costs between the public at whole and the end users," she said. "It really sounds like a good, equitable formula."
Williams said such partnerships usually result in innovative ideas.
She helped craft a similar arrangement in Portland, where a public-private partnership helped create a light-rail system connecting the city's airport with its downtown.
However, in that deal, the private firm was not given fare receipts.
Instead, the firm was given rights to develop a large tract of land along the rail route and near the airport. It is unclear whether the BART proposal could involve separate land deals as well.
According to some with knowledge of what the possible partnership would look like, fares would be the only source of income for the private firm.
BART officials could not be reached for comment last week.
"This is a project that has been waiting for a long time now," said Oakland City Councilmember Henry Chang (At Large). "Because of this public-private partnership, we can now get it done."