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Is Fomer Economic Development Head Bill Claggett Coming Back To Oakland?

Today as I was passing by City Hall, I saw a familar face pass by at a distance and rushing toward the 14th Street side entrance of Oakland's City Hall.

Bill Claggett.

For those of you who don't know the name, Claggett was hired by Elihu Harris when Harris was Mayor Of Oakland and as one of three economic consultants, including myself. I stayed on as Harris' Economic Advisor while Glaggett moved on, but then returned as Economic Development head after the departure of Kofi Bonner.

Currently, Bill's listed as a "Management Consulting Consultant and Contractor" according to his Linkedin listing.

Glaggett remained under Mayor Jerry Brown, and was considered as the one person who pushed through the Mayor's 10K program and his casino idea, as well. Eventually, he and his deputy Bob Lyons were let go by Jerry Brown. Glaggett was replaced by Dan VanderPriem, who departed last year.

The news was unpopular with not a few community political operatives, some of whom expressed dismay over Claggett's possible return. I for one don't care one way or the other.

I'm also not sure how Phil Tagami's going to react to Claggett's possible return to the frey. In 2001, The Easy Bay Express' Chris Thompson reported on the skirmish that happened between Tagami and Lyons, and eventually roped in Claggett:

"..To be sure, not every detail in the Rotunda deal worked out smoothly. This spring, Tagami and Bob Lyons, a CEDA staffer and the man responsible for overseeing the 10K plan, got into a bitter dispute over the color of some tiles outside the Rotunda Building. Neither man backed down, and the fight escalated until both Bobb and the mayor were dragged into it. Eventually Lyons, who was the point man on the mayor's most important project and has been variously called a redevelopment genius and a tyrannical micromanager, was forced to resign..."

Bob Lyons problem was that he was a frustrated developer who never actually had to go out and gain investors for a private project. What he did instead was use Oakland's Redevelopment power to try and tell seasoned real estate people what to do. A big no-no. I can't say Bill's like Bob Lyons, but he also didn't try to curb him much either.

Postively, I can say that Bill's a dealmaker. He enjoys doing this and that's good for Oakland. But what gets me is how so many people seem to be manuevering to get Mayor Dellums ear and Oakland taxpayer money that were not in the previous administration. That this happens is part of the deal, I suppose. But what's bothering me is the real matter of caring about the direction of this city seems to be pushed aside by pure hucksterism.

We'll see.
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