Thursday, January 31, 2008

Please Someone Run Against Jane Brunner

This article does a good job describing the increasingly crowded field in this year's Oakland City Council race. I was disappointed, though not surprised, to see that neo-socialist Jane Brunner is still running unopposed.

This is not to say that whoever we might get instead of Jane would be any better. Take a look at Oakland's City Council district map [pdf]. Notice anything odd? Oakland has cleverly drawn its districts to completely disenfranchise the more affluent parts of the city.

So, for example, Jane's district 1 represents Rockridge, Hiller Highlands, and part of the burn area of the hills. But, most of the population in the district is the area down near MLK in the flats.

Now, I have no problem with everyone in the city having reasonable representation, but this districting system is partly to blame for the council's complete lack of concern about economic development in the city. It's also partly to blame for the ever-increasing spiral of taxes--property and otherwise. I mean, consider the fact that the biggest contributors to residential property taxes in the city have effectively zero representation on the City Council.

That said, I believe Jane's district is the most amenable to a candidate who caters to the less-Leftist elements of the city's population. We need to see a viable candidate run against her to try and inject at least one rational voice into the dialog.

So Please, Please, Please, someone run against Jane Brunner. The city needs it.


  1. [...] bid for a fourth term representing North Oakland is not likely to be without competition, as her annoyed constituents beg for a candidate. Districts One and Three will probably have open School Board seats, though that second-tier race [...]

  2. I think the intent of Oakland's districts is to lump the hill and the flats together as much as possible, to minimize conflicts between them. Considering voter trends (and I haven't looked at the numbers), it's unlikely that the NW Oakland neighborhood, rather than the North Hills and Rockridge, represent the majority of District 1 voters.

    But I totally agree that someone should challenge Jane Brunner's bid for a fourth term!

  3. I'd second or third the comment with another: Someone please run against (-----) insert the name of any and every office holder in Oakland. Why is it that people who complain about mono-cultures in wheat fields have no problem with it in political fields? Everyone for diversity, so long as everyone votes the same way. What's truly amazing here is the lack of a political structure to generate competitors to the ruling machines in this city. Politicians will always do what they think they can get away with and in this city, that's a lot. There simply is no well funded interest in this city opposed to the status Jean Quo-an and her ilk. Everyone complains, but there's no organization to translate that into any kind of real pressure. Add to that the abject fear of being labeled anything other than a progressive amongst a high number of the well off and a massive dose of guilt about their own material success (which can only be salved by prostrating before the Dellums machine) and you've got the bitch's brew that is Oakland.

  4. Hey, boss - e-mail me at v at vsmoothe dot com.

  5. Patrick McCullough is challenging Brunner and Charles Pine is running for the candidate-at-large seat.

  6. I didn't enter the race as a protest candidate or to simply make a statement. I got into this because I am fed up with the way things have been going and for too long accepted, and am convinced that the incumbent is incapable of leading or substantially helping to usher in the changes in government we need. I know that once elected, I will quickly help achieve the improvements the residents want.

    I'm asking the voters -- not the traditional power brokers backing the incumbent -- to elect me to office so we can make the progress we need and have the city we desire. We cannot further tolerate the lackluster performance and self-serving favor trading that has epitomized Oakland politics. I will remain independent of that sordid tradition and bring integrity worth trusting to public office, for our benefit. Help me help us all.

  7. Please contact and offer help to this campaign by reaching Pat McCullough at his website:

  8. In response to the "Please someone run against Jane Brunner" posting....has anyone in her district ever thought of simply crossing out her name on the ballot and writing in one's own name? The Polish people used this strategy in their first democratic election in 1989 to unseat communists who were running unopposed for seats in Parliament. If it worked in Poland, it should work in the US as well.