Having her car, a Toyota Prius, booted for more than 10 unpaid parking tickets (you only need more than 5 to get booted) is one of those moments where Mayor-Elect Quan needs a thick skin. Why? Because, from experience, I know it was an inside job. Probably the work of City Hall Gadfly Sanjiv Handa, or someone with that level of knowledge.Happy Thanksgiving! When then-Oakland City Councilperson Jean Quan beat former State Senator Don Perata to become Mayor-Elect of The City of Oakland, this blogger wrote the following:
...With all of this, Mayor-Elect Quan must be sure to realize that she does not have a mandate; she did not score the majority of popular votes. That should be of concern for her. The Mayor-Elect must - and I think will - be open to people. Moreover, Jean must - and this can't be overstated - develop a very thick skin. She must work to jettison the idea that people who criticize her aren't in her corner. Not so. She's Mayor of Oakland, now, and that means she's got a PR-issue to deal with every day.
As Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris told me, "Zennie, there are a thousand games you can play in City Hall every day. The question is which one you should play?" What Elihu was saying to me is you always have to watch your back, figure out where the arrows are coming from, and then have a plan to strike back, if it's worth doing so. If you have the right temperament , the game's fun. Jean's got to develop that to be successful.
Having her car, a Toyota Prius, booted for more than 10 unpaid parking tickets (you only need more than 5 to get booted) is one of those moments where Mayor-Elect Quan needs a thick skin. Why? Because, from experience, I know it was an inside job. Probably the work of City Hall Gadfly Sanjiv Handa, or someone with that level of knowledge.
In other words, the "police technician" who ran Quan's Toyota for tickets at 9:30 AM on Tuesday didn't just walk down 14th Street with a happy whistle and nothing better to do than check the ticket status of the cars parked at the City Council parking spaces. That happened because someone either in the current Mayor's Office, or a person in the know, or another councilmember tipped off the cops.
That's how my car was towed when I worked for Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris. I commonly parked my 1997 Ford Probe in the Mayor's Parking Space, but only after checking with Mayor Harris before hand. I arrived early, then, as between 1995 and 1999 I represented the Mayor at the Tuesday morning committee meetings. It got to a point where parking at the space, in fact exactly the same one Quan used the Tuesday day it was booted, was habit.
Then, one day, my car was gone. This was 1997.
I thought it was stolen for a good hour. But an Oakland police officer called my office to report it was towed. In my case, it wasn't outstanding parking tickets, but a mean-sprited person in the name of one Toni Cook. Cook served as Mayor Harris Policy Advisor over the Oakland Schools, and was the advocate of the use of Ebonics, which is a kind of "black English" in Oakland Schools in 1995. Ebonics was something I and Mayor Harris hated, but Elihu supported her idea in his "political head-fake way" of making you think he backed something he disliked.
Cook and I, while both African American, were as different as night and day. She wasn't a friend, amd I exchanged perhaps a few words with her, but had no idea she held this deep resentment of my permission to park in the Mayor's space. She did, and I was told by Oakland Mayor's Office staffers, that it was she who called Oakland's finest and made up a lie to have my car towed. True story and I was steamed. I had to cough up $106 to get my car out.
When Mayor Harris found out about it, he had Cook pay me back what I spent.
Later that year, at the City of Oakland's Christmas Party, Sanjiv Handa approached me and was red-faced that I was parking in the space. Now, again, Mayor Harris had consistently given me permission to park there, even as others didn't want me to be there. I told Sanjiv to get upset about more important matters. He was being rather weird at that time in our lives, anyway.
The point is, people at the City of Oakland can be massively petty. If they don't like you for some small reason, and its always a small reason, they will work to make your life less than happy. It's one of the major draw backs of working for the City of Oakland.
In Quan's case, I know for a fact her car-booting was an inside job, and it's a sign Mayor-Elect Quan needs to mak sure that every "I" is dotted, and every "T" is crossed when she takes any action at Oakland City Hall.
In the car-booting case, the problem was Mayor-Elect Quan parked in the Mayor's Office Parking Space, while she's still technically an Oakland City Councilperson. Having her car booted for tow was someone's way of telling her she's not yet Mayor of Oakland, so she should stay out of the Mayor's Parking Space until after she's sworn in next year.
Mean? Yes. But that's the City of Oakland, for ya.
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.