Campaign contribution statements filed this week show that City Attorney Barbara Parker has jumped out to a big money lead over her challenger, Councilmember Jane Brunner in the November election.
Parker raised $74,035 during the first half of the year to Brunner's $69,414, according campaign records. Parker also leads Brunner in total cash: $117,638 to $78,517, as of June 30.
Parker received numerous donations from attorneys at law firms that do business with the city. She also got contributions from several members of her own staff. Brunner's contributors included the maximum $700 from her legal colleague, Dan Siegel, and ABC Security, a firm for which Brunner fought unsuccessfully last year to preserve a lucrative city contract.
Rebecca Kaplan failed to amass a large a large war chest in the first half of this year to defend her seat from a surprise challenge by Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente. As of June 30, Kaplan's campaign had a cash balance of $16,638 and outstanding debts of $15,298.
De La Fuente, who is giving up his safe seat representing the Fruitvale district, hadn't begun raising money as of June 30. But campaign records show he does have more than $102,000 left over from his failed 2006 mayoral bid. De La Fuente can't transfer that money to this year's race, but he can try to use it to win hearts and minds by donating it to nonprofits and political groups.
In other races, Amy Lemley raised the most money
Alex Miller Cole raised the most in the first half of this year in the race to replace outgoing Councilmember Nancy Nadel. Miller Cole raised $28,354, compared to Sean Sullivan's $26,578, Nyeisha Dewitt's $20,196, Lynette Gibson McElhaney's $19,011 and Derrick Muhammad's $7,025. Sullivan, who began fundraising last year, still has the overall money lead.
In the race to replace De La Fuente, School Board member Noel Gallo has raised $32,100, but also lists $32,268 in campaign debts through the end of June. His chief rival, Mario Juarez, said he didn't raise funds during the first half of the year.
In District 7, Sheryl Walton raised $19,220 through June in her bid to unseat Councilmember Larry Reid. Reid raised just $500.
Measures taken to fix Oakland's radio system
Oakland still isn't giving up on its much-criticized $18 million public radio system that has been plagued by dead zones, system failures and poor reception since it debuted last year.
A troubleshooting team of 20 software engineers, belonging to the city's vendors, have found significant radio interference issues they believe are causing the system's audio problems, according to a city report released Friday. The suspected culprits are GPS satellite signals and radio channels.
Over the next week, the city plans to work with the Federal Communications Commission for assistance in correcting the interference problems and install a backup power generator at one of the radio sites.
The city also announced the hiring of David Cruise as public radio system adviser. Cruise will oversee efforts to fix the city's system and explore whether to abandon it in favor of a regional public safety radio consortium of 40 East Bay public agencies that is scheduled to begin service next month.
City officials on Friday got an estimate on how much it would cost to join the consortium, but would not disclose the figure.
Greater NewPark Master Plan meeting
Newark officials are asking the public to help craft the Greater NewPark Master Plan by giving input on how to revitalize NewPark Mall and its surrounding area.
The public is invited to attend a meeting hosted by city leaders, who will explain the master plan process.
The meeting is slated to begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Silliman Family & Aquatic Center at 6800 Mowry Ave. Pizza and soft drinks will be provided.
For more information, call 510-578-4000.
Councils go dark during August
City Council meetings are on recess until September in Oakland, Hayward, San Leandro, Fremont and Newark.
Union City's city council is also dark, but it's the first one back, with a meeting scheduled for Aug. 28.
Oakland, Fremont and San Leandro councils return Sept. 4, and Hayward reconvenes on Sept. 11. The Newark council next meets Sept. 13.
Many South County school boards also are taking August off.