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Former Aide Lewis Cohen Goes Off On Oakland Council President Ignacio De La Fuente & CA State Senator Don Perata; Links Jerry Brown To "Riders" Case

I saw this comment buried deep under a post (which is linked to via the title of this post) on The Daily Kos, a popular blog:

Sadly Ignacio stoppped being progressive (none / 1)

some time ago. I was his top aide for 8 years. I have not been supporting him for Mayor, though I ran his first three campaigns and his last mayoral run.

Ignacio is focused on power for power's sake. He is running as the developer's candidate and the candidate of the chamber of commerce.

He abandoned progressives by opposing extension of Living Wage ordinance to the port even though he carried the City's ordinance before he decided that placating developers was the way tyo pay for his mayoral ambitions.

He abandoned progressives by oppossing civillian oversight of police and along with Mayor Brown gave an explicit greenlight (I was in the room when this happened) to the police abuses that led to the Riders scandal. He and his pal Don Perata found it funny that Oakland cops fired non-lethal ammunition at anti-war protestors in an incident that made the United Nation's list of human right violations. The only incident in the world where anti Iraq war demonstrators have been fired on by police.

He stood by while his friend Perata orchestrated a take-over of the school District because Perata's cronies weren't being taken care of by the previous administration.

Mainly Ignacio has been corrupted by his relationship with Don Perata, the most corrupt politician I've ever met.

Ye that dare oppose not only tyranny but the tyrant stand forth! - Thomas Paine

by Lcohen on Fri Oct 07, 2005 at 02:07:28 PM PDT
[ Parent ]

The "Lcohen" is none other than Lewis Cohen, who for years served as Chief of Staff to Ignacio De La Fuente and was known as one of the most effective political staffers in Oakland City Hall.

It's weird. This comment has been just sitting here in realative obscurity at the Daily Kos for over five months and totally missed by the local newspapers -- but then the only paper that would pay attention to this is the East Bay Express, which never misses a beat when covering "behind-the-scenes" stories.

I've not been in contact with Lewis for some time, but my guess is that Ignacio in some way turned his back on Lewis, because the only thing that's changed is Cohen's perception of past events. As Economic Advisor to Mayor Elihu Harris from 1995 to 1999, I can tell you that Lewis served as an intellectual assassin on behald of his boss. Lewis was particularly skilled at City Council Administrative matters, and I'm proud to say I beat him at his own game, but once. (Fortunately, that was the only time I needed to get around him, but I blocked an initiative they were behind, at least for several months.)

At this point, I'm really starting to feel sorry for Ignacio, even though this is another example of how he creates enemies for himself. Ignacio is a person you really want to like when you meet him. I'm serious about that. I don't know what happened between he and Cohen, but for Lewis to write that comment on a popular, well - read blog means he's upset about something.

Cohen also fingers California State Senator Don Perata as "The most corrupt poltiician I've ever met." Considering Lewis proximity to events, that's a serious charge which could only mean Cohen has some kind of smoking gun. (I personally like Perata, and can't back or deny Lewis' claims, but Cohen is the perfect "Inside Man" and for him to go off like this is an imporant event in Oakland politics.)

In mentioning "the previous administration" Lewis is pointing to that of my mentor, Elihu Harris, and stating that Perata essentially could not "control" Mayor Harris. It also implies that Perata has some control over Jerry Brown.

Another smoking gun that seem to be in Cohen's closet concerns the "Riders Case" where Oakland Cops were accused of abusing African American residents and suspects in West Oakland. Lewis openly claims that "Mayor Brown gave an explicit green ligh to police abuses" and that he was there in the meeting when Brown did it.

Oh, man.
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