Who killed the recall of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan? Would you believe Jerry Brown?
Recall proponents were actually optimistic earlier this year about their chances to hire enough paid signature-gatherers to qualify the mayoral recall for the November ballot.
But then the governor decided to put a tax measure on the ballot and jacked up the price of paid signature-gatherers.
While recall leaders were offering $1 per signature, Brown, who's no ally of Quan's, was offering $3 -- pricing Oakland recall proponents out of the market.
"I don't think Jerry Brown meant to save Jean Quan, but he pretty much made it impossible for us to get paid signature-gatherers," said Johnny Wang, a political consultant who briefly worked on the recall effort.
Recall proponent Frank Castro said the group hasn't officially thrown in the towel, but acknowledged it would "need some sort of miracle" to gather the requisite number of qualified signatures before the July 2 deadline.
Oakland: Tuman won't challenge Kaplan
After seeing the results of a recent poll that found Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan to be by far Oakland's most popular politician, former mayoral candidate Joe Tuman has decided against challenging Kaplan in November for the council's at-large seat.
Tuman said that despite Kaplan's 5-1 favorability ratings, the poll still showed the two of them running a close race in November with 60 percent
"In a close race like this, it would be negative," Tuman said. "That's not my style. I just decided that I didn't want to spend my summer ripping into somebody."
Tuman, a political science professor, who finished one spot behind Kaplan in the 2010 mayor's race, said he will consider running for mayor again in 2014.
Franklin drops out of District One race
BART board member Bob Franklin has given up his bid to represent North Oakland on the City Council after receiving an offer to become BART's accessibility manager. Franklin, who will have to resign from the BART board to take the job, said his new position would be too time consuming for him to also sit on the council.
There are still plenty of candidates looking to replace Councilwoman Jane Brunner, who is running for city attorney in December. The three candidates who have hired consultants and appear poised to spend the most money are: Amy Lemley, who co-founded Oakland's First Place for Youth; Richard Raya, the policy director at California Forward; and Dan Kalb, a former policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Oakland hires crisis communications expert
One of the Bay Area's most highly regarded and highest-priced spinmeisters is going to be helping out the city of Oakland.
The city is completing a $25,000-a-year contract for on-call services with Sam Singer, a crisis communications guru, who has represented numerous leading corporations and government agencies. Singer was present Thursday when city officials released a report that was highly critical of the police department and its handling of the Oct. 25 Occupy Oakland protests.
City spokeswoman Karen Boyd said her department is stretched thinner than usual with several staff out on leave or retiring and that even with Singer on board, the city still pays a relatively paltry sum on public relations.
Police assign officer to Occupy Oakland investigations
The rush to complete Internal Affairs investigations of Occupy Oakland-related complaints won't just cost police $750,000 to outsource the investigations, it'll cost the understaffed department an additional five officers, who have been temporarily assigned to the investigative unit.
To satisfy a federal court order, the department is racing to make sure that many of the Occupy-related investigations are completed within 180 days from when the incidents took place and that none take more than a year to complete. If the investigations aren't completed within a year, state law prevents any legal actions from being taken against officers found of wrongdoing.
In a June 8 report, the department revealed that it was farming out the investigations to five outside firms and assigning five officers to Internal Affairs to work on other Occupy-related investigations.
Meanwhile, the two attorneys who helped negotiate the federal court order have raised concerns about the city's plan for completing the investigations. They wrote in court papers that outsourcing the investigations to firms not bound by the court order "creates the added danger that these deadlines will be overlooked or ignored."
Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.