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Oakland Mayor's Race: Terrance Candell vs. The Sierra Club

Earlier, Kent Lewandowski, volunteer Chairperson Northern Alameda County Group of The Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter, wrote a rather, and this blogger will state again, stupid email to the Oakland Mayor's Race candidates Kent says aren't "viable."

Which is why this blogger's not returning from Georgia in time to attend it:

If you've not seen the email from Kent representing the Sierra Club, here, again, it is:

from Kent
to candell1@yahoo.com,
cc zennie@zennie62.com
date Tue, Aug 17, 2010 at 12:41 AM
subject Green Oakland Mayoral Forum - Sierra Club
signed-by gmail.com
hide details 12:41 AM (21 hours ago)
Dear Candidate,

Thank you for your interest in participating in the "Green Oakland"
forum sponsored by the Sierra Club. We made the decision to invite
the 3 candidates who are considered by all accounts as the "most
viable" in the race. The decision which candidates are considered
"viable" has to do with a number of factors, which includes the
elected office they may have held in the past (if any), their ability
to raise money for the campaign, and the level of organization of
their campaign.

We have only 90 minutes of time to discuss our issues, and hope to
include members of the community in the discussion. Thus there simply
isn't enough time to incorporate all 10 or more mayoral candidates in
this forum.

We understand your disappointment, but felt this was the best decision
in the interest of having a productive and informative event.


Kent Lewandowski, volunteer Chairperson
Northern Alameda County Group
Sierra Club, San Francisco Bay Chapter

The email upset a number of the candidates in the Oakland Mayor's Race, but no one more than Dr. Terrance Candell, who's wife Dyan issued her own blistering email just three days ago, and on the same issue.

But Dr. Candell's email below was far more hard-hitting, perhaps too much so, because he refers to Kent Lewandowski as an "elitist pig," and a "bigot," which is going way, way, way too far.

Terrance Candell is pissed off 
As I wrote to Kent, I understand the raison d'etre of Terrance email and tone, but I don't support it at all. It also causes the entire discussion of fairness in the Oakland Mayor's Race to take a bit of a detour.

The bottom line that must be restated before the email is presented, is that there are people in the media and within some groups who think that only "certain" candidates in the Oakland Mayor's Race are "worth talking to."

In the case of the reference to "the media," about two months ago, this blogger received a phone call from one reporter who asked if any candidate other than Don Perata, and Councilmembers Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan were "worth talking to." The response here was that as media players our job is to talk to everyone, if possible, yet state our biases in an effort to give complete information.

The reason is that people just don't read print so much any more. Weekday circulation at the San Francisco Chronicle, for example, is down from 251,282 in 2009 to 241,330 as of this writing. The San Jose Mercury news wasn't even in the top 20 in circulation until it declared the Oakland Tribune and Contra Costa Times as editions of the Mercury News, so that it's in the top 8 now.  That masks the fact that print is falling.

Meanwhile, we have more online choices for the passage of information in websites and blogs and social networks, and microblogs, and video channels, and the list of them grows each quarter.  But in the case of neighborhood websites, some that were once active, in some cases don't exist or are not consistently maintained.

The point is, information in Oakland is fragmented and scarce, so when a media maker has a chance to inform an electorate in full, it should not be irresponsible.  The Sierra Club was just that.

Here's Terrance:


You sent me this letter, somehow indicating that I am disappointed, because I was not invited to your little elitist dog and pony show, where you can justify giving money to your friends. I am not. It would sicken me just to be in your presence.

The only thing that disappoints me is that the people of Oakland lose again because of elitist pigs like you. As far as your attempt to insult, indicating that I am not "viable", well, you people (the wealthy) have said that about us people (the poor) for a long time, and we've still won elections. I guess we'll see, won't we.


Pass that on to your board.

I will pass your letter on to the person who wrote you.

Oh, and have a nice day.

Dr. Terence Candell, Ph.D.

Kent was not allowing that without a response, and to that I say good for him. Terrance owes Kent an apology here. But, regarding the issue in total, this is what Kent wrote to me:


Of course I know you are not a candidate. I read your post on SFgate.com, which is why you were cc'd. I was hoping to dispell some of the things you wrote. It is pretty hyperbolic to suggest that the Sierra Club is somehow seeking to "rig an election." (I believe
Terence wrote this.) Our members in Oakland count around 4,000, by my count. We haven't endorsed any candidate in this race, and I'm not certain that we will endorse.

We are simply seeking to put on an informative event - and to highlight some of the issues we care about (the environment, and climate change.)


(As an update, at least one of the "not-viable candidates" plans to have his (a hint) own "thing" before the Sierra Club event.)

So where are we with all this? In a state of semi chaos with left-out, pissed off candidates, other candidates who are elected officials calling them "minor," and upcoming forums with just 24 percent of the total field represented.
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