Oakland On Edge

When it comes to next week’s likely verdict in the Johannes Mehersle trial invariably the knee-jerk local reaction will be devoid of contemplation. Images of protesters will be splashed on television screens focusing squarely on unknown out-of-town anarchists and minorities and make this brew of possible civil disturbance its the main talking point. But is it? A blogger at Oakland Local details an alternate view of the story that will likely not be reported focusing on the “why.” “What saddens me more than anything else about this murder is the collective failure of every branch of law enforcement to condemn or even criticize Mehserle for killing an unarmed man,” wrote Oakland writer and educator Roger Porter. “There has not been one police officer of any kind to state publicly that what Mehserle did was wrong and that he does not represent all police officers.” This is the spot where the anger in the streets of Oakland will emanate if jurors pass down a verdict less than murder in the first degree and not a zeal to break windows and steal merchandise. Oakland Local also linked to a blog called Hip Hip And Politics which reported the city’s police department has acquired a eardrum-piercing crowd control device known as a Long-Range Acoustic Device and wondered if law enforcement is “itching” to use it on protesters next week.


Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan is gearing up for a November rematch for her seat with San Ramon Mayor Abram Wilson and Halfway to Concord poked fun this week at an email sent by her office to constituents. The notice urged residents to check the Secretary of State’s unclaimed property database. The blog labeled the move in a comedic way and offered other “get-rich-quick” schemes, the best being,  “Free WORK AT HOME OFFER licking stamps for Joan’s fundraising mailers — Get 0.05% of proceeds!” Buchanan, who finished third in last year’s special election for the 10th Congressional seat to John Garamendi, will face the pointed-headed Wilson this November. Wilson lost by less than five points in 2008 and has mounted an effort to paint Buchanan as ineffectual and alarmingly AWOL on a large number of assembly votes detailed in a web site set up by the campaign called Where’s Joan?


Today in Montclair, 94611 is speculating whether Oakland Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan’s announced run for mayor will affect fellow candidate and Councilwoman Jean Quan in ways nobody has contemplated. The blog wonders if Kaplan’s nascent and surprisingly robust candidacy might force Quan to lower her sights to a third term at the city council. The Bay Citizen, which in its first month of existence has failed miserably in saving journalism in the Bay Area, alerted readers Kaplan, who looks like a cross between an Argentine striker and Tony Danza, would be Oakland’s first Lesbian mayor. Who cares? Is this really news anymore?


Apparently the Alameda School District employs the same Oakland consulting firm as the City of San Leandro. After Alameda’s parcel tax measure designed to help the city’s school system failed last June by less than a half percent, school trustees are leaning towards the theory of “if you first don’t succeed, try, try again.” The Island reports the school district wants residents to contemplate another parcel tax measure, but this time some are ruthlessly laying out the consequences of not succeeding next time around–schools will be closed. Some critics of San Leandro’s likely sales tax measure for the November ballot believe the city is positioning a similar argument, if the quarter-cent sales tax increase is not approved by voters cuts to public safety will increase crime and your house will burn down!