Sunday, September 21, 2008

Response To J Douglas Allen-Taylor

On the one hand, I think it's a step forward that the Berkeley Daily Planet's esteemed columnist spent more than 10 column-inches discussing this blog in his most recent column.

On the other, it's a shame that Allen-Taylor decided to label this blog one of the "worst" blogs in the East Bay. Before I spend some time on his specific charges, I'd like to respond to this broad characterization.

There is no doubt that I have taken issue with Allen-Taylor on more than one front since I started this blog nearly a year ago. I would not, however, choose to label him one of the East Bay's "worst" columnists.

Far from it, in fact. I enjoy reading his column, and I do so on a fairly regular basis. For all I know, he reads this blog as well.

The key point here is that one can disagree with another's writing without labeling it "bad." I would hate to think that Allen-Taylor truly believes every blogger who disagrees with him is a "bad" blogger, as that would be pretty closed-minded of him.

On to the specifics:

Allen-Taylor's first criticism is in regards to my contention that Oakland Mayor Oswald Bates avoided dealing with Oakland's crime problem as long as he possibly could. Quoting from Allen-Taylor:
The realities of 2008, as I see it, are that many of the mayor’s critics found a new issue to criticize him on—ethics—which they picked up in substitute for the previous issue they were criticizing him on—public safety....

This is not exactly the argument I made about Mayor Dullums. I see the public safety and the ethics issues as separate and equally damning. The ethics issues I view as significantly less concerning, as they don't result in burglary, rape and murder. So, no, I haven't moved on from public safety. I still see that as a major issue for Dullums. And, given his recently released laughable public-safety plan, I see no reason to stop criticizing him on this issue.

Next, Allen-Taylor refers to my concern about the Nation of Islam patrolling a free music concert in Arroyo Viejo park:
Why should that worry East Bay Conservative? Because they are Muslim? Because they are African American and Muslim? Or is this one of those wink-wink, hint-hint backhanded slurs that some people easily get, but pass over other folks’ heads?

Well, no. I simply read the wikipedia page for the Nation of Islam. I'm no expert on this group, but that page contains plenty of information that should give any reasonable person pause about using them as a private security patrol. I'm also aware of the Chauncy Bailey affair, which again should give anyone pause.

I would also like to call out Allen-Taylor on his obvious race-baiting. I realize that among leftists one can accuse others of racism against minorities without any evidence, but I would like to see some consequences here and potentially an apology.

Speaking of race, Allen-Taylor makes one more comment:
East Bay Conservative concludes his/her Aug. 18 blog entry by asking “what’s the deal with Allen-Taylor spilling so much ink about Brooks and Dellums—Oakland’s top black politicians? Is this some sort of racism at work?” Now I’m thoroughly puzzled. Is East Bay Conservative saying that an African American columnist shouldn’t be writing about African American officeholders “so much?” Or is East Bay Conservative saying that “racism” (that is, Black Folks talking good about Black Folks only because they’re Black) is the only reason an African American columnist could have a couple of good things to say about a couple of African American officeholders? I’m curious.

Well, now we get to the crux of the matter. I hope my reasonable readers can see what's going on here, because this is exactly the kind of response one frequently receives when challenging liberal gospel.

Allen-Taylor is well known as one of the very few writers in the East Bay who still writes positive pieces about Mayor Dullums. So, what I wrote was clearly not in response to a "couple of good things" written about this or that person. I feel very confident in saying that his writing shows a strong pattern of bias in favor of Dullums, just as mine shows a clear bias against the man.

I do not know Allen-Taylor, and I do not know his heart. But, I think it's troubling if a person supports a politican simply because of that politician's skin color. If it is the case that this is the reason Allen-Taylor shows such strong support for Dullums, then yes I think that is racism.

Incidentally, I believe a dynamic like this is currently at work nationally with the candidacy of Barack Obama. I believe it is dangerous in that arena as well. If our goal is a colorblind society (and I believe it should be), it does not further that goal when certain people champion candidates largely because of the color of their skin.

So, I stand behind the question I posed to Allen-Taylor. If his support for Dullums is partially racially motivated, I urge him to try to put that aside and look at the issues in an unbiased fashion. If not, then I apologize for the insinuation.

And one last thing. Brooks is actually my favorite councilmember. I have found her to be reasonable and pragmatic. So, maybe we have one thing in common.


  1. For space reasons, the headline in the September 18 UnderCurrents column was compressed in a way that gives the impression that I considered East Bay Conservative to be one of the worst blogs in the East Bay. I do not. I do, however, consider the August 18 entry one of the worst blog entries in the East Bay in recent weeks, and so I wrote in the body of the column. It's an important distinction, and my apologies for the confusion.

  2. I agree on Obama. A weak candidate, not only in experience but especially in integrity. The vast majority of liberals do not seem to be aware that Obama as a senator repeatedly voted to continue the Iraq occupation and extend the Patriot act... two positions he is supposed to be against. And very few realize that his proposed foreign policy is equally as aggressive as McCain's. The only logical reason I can see to vote Obama is for the middle-class tax cut (at the expense of the upper-middle-class).

  3. I appreciate Allen-Taylor's willingness to respond here in the comments, but I don't see how his comment makes the situation any better.

    Declaring a blog post that specifically discussed him in a negative light to be one of the "worst blog entries" in recent weeks seems almost insanely self-serving.

    That said, all publicity is good publicity, and for this I thank Allen-Taylor!

  4. I agree that a candidate should NOT be supported simply based on ethnicity or religion, although it seems many voters are supporting Governor Palin for Vice President on those grounds.

    I also agree that Mayor Dellums is and underwhelming mayor and I urge him to not run for a second term.

  5. "underwhelming"? Wow. Understatement of the decade :).
    The best I can say about Dellums is that Oakland, through decades of mismanagement, is an inherently difficult city to run. That said, he is still a failure.

  6. Thanks for writing this blog.
    Finally, some diversity in the East Bay.