Martin MacKerel (left) and Matthew Gerring hold up a sign that reads “No Coal in Oakland” outside of developer Phil Tagami’s Crocker Highlands home on Oct. 30, 2017.
Several candidates up for office in the November midterm election have pledged that they will not accept contributions from developer Phil Tagami while he promotes the shipment of coal through Oakland. Tagami’s project, Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal, is at the site of the old Army base in West Oakland, an area already disparately impacted by poor air quality.
The pledge reads: “I will not accept any support, financial or otherwise, to my campaign or my political fundraising efforts from Phil Tagami until he enters into a legally binding contract not to ship coal through Oakland.”
No Coal in Oakland, an activist group resisting coal shipments in the new terminal for environmental and public health reasons, has collected and posted a list of candidates on their website who have pledged not to accept any donations from Tagami. “Our goal is to isolate Tagami, preventing him from influencing politicians and pressuring him to change his plans,” the site reads.
Tagami has a close business and personal relationship with Gov. Jerry Brown—Brown’s wedding was held in the Rotunda building, he and Tagami own property together, and Brown has appointed Tagami to several commissions. Tagami applied for a seat on the new Oakland civilian police commission last summer, and was not nominated. NCIO believes that Tagami is attempting to gain political influence, thus inspiring the pledge. They partnered with the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, whose endorsements are sought by progressive candidates, and who has agreed to endorse only those candidates who have taken this pledge.
Four candidates for Oakland Mayor have taken the pledge: Cat Brooks, Saied Karamooz, Pamela Price, and Libby Schaaf. A large majority of candidates running for City Council Districts 2, 4, and 6 have also taken the pledge, including two incumbents, Abel Guillén and Desley Brooks.
Jovanka Beckles and Buffy Wicks, candidates for State Assembly District 15 are on the list of pledge-takers, as well as 12 Berkeley City Council candidates, Gary Yee for Oakland School Board, Brenda Roberts for Oakland City Auditor, Dave Jones for State Attorney General, and several more.
For a full list of candidates who have made this pledge, click here.