ELECTION ’12//OAKLAND CITY ATTORNEY | Oakland Councilwoman and city attorney candidate, Jane Brunner, e-mail blasted Barbara Parker this week in a “Part Two” condemnation of City Attorney, Barbara Parker’s solicitation of campaign funds from attorneys that Brunner says are engaged in “suing the city,” or that Parker “awarded work to.”
Brunner claims that Parker allocated millions of dollars in outside contracts to law firms with “no transparency, no review and no oversight.” The abrasive e-mail further states that “every other significant city contract goes through a public review process and comes to the City Council for approval,” and that the City Attorney’s office “refuses to do this.” Brunner concludes that this leaves Parker open to “pay-to-play” politics.
Like last time, Parker responded to the caustic e-mail on her Facebook page in a letter called “Enough!” “This may be my first political campaign, but I’ve followed elections in Oakland long enough to know that my opponent [Brunner] is running one of the nastiest, most cynical campaigns in the history of our city,” said Parker.
Parker says when both she and Brunner filed for election that they both pledged to maintain a Code of Fair Campaign Practices that Parker believes Brunner is openly violating with her aggressive campaign tactics. Parker also mentioned the recent mid-annual report released by her office last week that stated a 40 percent reduction in costs in outside counsel that Parker says Brunner “admitted.”
In the e-mail Brunner did mention last year’s costs was $6 million last year and close to $4 million this year. “Brunner admitted that her numbers were wrong and yet she is still attempting to somehow use our record on outside counsel costs against us – in the same email,” said Parker. Parker also addresses Brunner’s accusation concerning public review process before the City Council, “What she hasn’t told you is that it is actually the City Council’s responsibility to decide on whether to settle any case with a payment of $5,000 or more.”
Parker also reiterates that although she has called law firms for donations, Brunner has also called the same ones asking for money. “My opponent has shown what kind of campaign she plans on running: dishonest, negative, and nasty. I expect it to just get worse,” said Parker. Brunner also mentioned the recent San Francisco Chronicle article concerning Parker’s solicitation of funds from civil rights attorney, John Burris, and his wife, capping at $700 apiece.
Parker admitted to asking for the funds in the column and defended the donation saying that it wasn’t a “conflict of interest from a legal standpoint.” Parker added that if it became a distraction that she would give the money back to Burris and his wife. Burris won $32.5 million in judgments for his clients in police misconduct cases in 1992 and is currently engaged in a battle over court-ordered police reforms concerning the Riders case from a decade ago.
Shane Bond is a regular contributor to the East Bay Citizen.