The Post Denied Place at 1st Mayoral Debate, Candidates Complain

The Oakland Post was denied a place at the table at a Mayoral Candidate Public Safety Debate this week presented by Metropolitan Greater Oakland (MGO) Democratic Club and a group that calls itself Make Oakland Better Now!


The Thursday evening event featured a panel of journalist handpicked by the event organizers but not the Oakland Post, which was not asked to participate. When the Post asked to be included, hoping to correct what was probably an oversight, the request was turned down.

They refused to budge, even when asked by mayoral candidate Bryan Parker.

Invited journalists included Bob Gammon, East Bay Express; Chip Johnson, S.F. Chronicle; Matt

Brian Parker

Bryan Parker

Artz, Oakland Tribune; and Bianca Brooks, Youth Radio.

The Post had been looking forward to asking questions of all the candidates, but especially Mayor Jean Quan, who has been refusing to respond to questions on important public safety issues – police accountability, jobs and air quality at the Oakland Army Base development and lack of job opportunities for young people in the Fruitvale District and West Oakland.

Responding to the Post’s request to be on the panel was Bruce Nye, speaking for the Make Oakland Better Now! “As far as I can tell, we never received a request from the Post to participate in this event,” he said, though the other participants were asked by the event organizers to participate.

“We simply could not add another panelist two days before the debate,” Nye wrote in an email.

Added Gretchen White, MGO president, “(We) worked to achieve a press panel that represents different points of view on public safety in Oakland,” she said. “Given the time constraints of the debate, it was and is not possible to invite a larger array of local media.

“The Post was not the only newspaper not included,” she said in her email.” Neither were such news sources as Oakland North, Oakland Local, the Chinese and Korean language dailies, bloggers and local magazine and television reporters.”

In an emaill to White, the Post replied: “(We) understand that there are many different news outlets, but the Post has been serving Oakland’s African American community since 1963 and covers public safety issues that none of the other news outlets cover.

“Among our key issues are jobs and unemployment, which are directly tied to public safety, and we work to hold the mayor and city staff accountable for city job programs and promises to create jobs,” the Post said. “We are (also) the only news outlet that is asking to participate in the debate, in addition to the ones that you handpicked to represent all the media.”

Several candidates for mayor condemned the exclusion of the Post from the interview panel.

“I am disappointed that the Oakland Post will not participate in the debate,” said City Auditor Courtney Ruby. “The Post is an important voice for the Oakland community and raises important questions. I would be happy to answer any questions the Oakland Post has for me before or after the debate or at any time.”

I think it was an oversight for the Post not be included for the panel,” said Councilmember Libby Schaaf. “The Post is a important voice providing Oaklanders critical information about what Oakland is doing, and it needs to be at the table throughout the mayoral campaign.”å

“I think that the organizers of the debate should include a representative of the Post on the interview panel,” said civil rights attorney Dan Siegel “The Post represents a constituency and a perspective that is not present on the existing panel.”

Courtney Ruby

Courtney Ruby

“Not the right decision,” said Port Commissioner Bryan Parker, who added that he was talking t the organizers to encourage them to change their minds.

Post publisher Paul Cobb says he believes MGO leaders’ disagreements with Post on the way it has been reporting city issues may have had something to do with the refusal to allow the Post to participate.

“I think they are still upset at us for exposing the truth about the bogus charges against Desley Brooks and Larry Reid last year, which derailed an attempt to start a witch hunt on the Oakland City Council.”

Added Cobb, “ Our coverage led Quan’s staff to apologize to Scotlan Center for making groundless accusations that disrupted youth services to West Oakland. In addition, we exposed that the city had to send $600,00 in job funds back to the state. “

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  2. Peter

    I am one of the Mayoral Candidates not invited to the debate. I was there at the front door to pass flyers about CESP5, a game which gives power to people all over the world the knowledge to be future business, community and political leaders. I am here at home and just watch this youtube video and none of the candidates gave specifics on how they’ll make Oakland safe. Here is my plan:

    Community Empowered Safety Plan
    1. New police chief will readily issue conceal carry permit to lawful city business owners, their workers or residents age 21+ who have clean background – Reality is the police can’t protect them neither in peacetime nor a riot.
    2. For every person caught with an illegal gun (stolen, serial scratched off, ineligible felon, etc.) obtain search warrants ASAP for their residences to get more illegal guns, find fingerprints on those guns, match in FBI databases for suspect straw purchasers for more potential arrests.
    3. Install mandatory surveillance in medium and high crime areas. Surveillance footage will be accessible real time via internet to lawful city residents with login and password.
    4. New policing strategy involve more community participation. Each officer will setup and advise a neighborhood watch that has about 7 to 25 volunteer members led by a team leader voted by the members. They will meet once a month to discuss issues affecting the neighborhood and the officer will be present as needed to give advice. Once the city declares an emergency, all neighborhood volunteers will be notified to prepare for best course of action to protect themselves or neighborhood which includes evacuation orders.
    5. Start a business center to teach small businesses entrepreneurship to city residents. “How to brainstorm a business suitable to the individual, how to make a business plan, obtain a business license, market their services or products, etc.”

    “CESP5” (Community Empowered Safety Plan #5)

    A game for people who want to be Rich. Playing the game teaches by experience: leadership, honesty, teamwork, responsibility and integrity.
    created by Rags-to-Riches multi-millionaire Peter Y. Liu

    Game Rules
    1. Choose 7 or more people, preferably people you trust. Give them the game rules. Set a location where to have a meeting if they want to join in the game.
    2. At the meeting, each person introduce themselves, their name and their phone number and email address. Each person write down the information. Take 10 minutes to brainstorm a business idea and write on a paper.
    3. Each person takes turn to share their idea to the group.
    4. After all the ideas are heard, each idea is put to a vote by the group. Person with the best idea is the founder and President of a company, the rest are co-founders, then they vote on who will be the treasurer, secretary, etc.
    5. Then the group makes up a business plan, to answer Who, What, When, Where and Why. Who are the company leaders? What is the company name and what does it do? When will they do it? Where is the company located? Why are they running this business?
    •How to win the game? You win as a team, you win when the company profits off the idea and proceeds are split according to the hours you’ve put in.
    •How to lose the game? You lose as an individual, you quit, you got voted off the company because you didn’t contribute, stole money or lost trust due to unethical behavior. Your reputation will suffer according to the seriousness of your offense.
    •What if the company didn’t make a profit? Then your group rethink the ideas, vote on it, maybe vote on another leader, maybe change the business name, adjust the business plan then retry.

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