An Early Shot Across Tuman’s Bow

Joe Tuman

OAKLAND//MAYOR 2014 | What exactly likely Oakland mayoral candidate Joe Tuman thought he was getting away with when he placed personal political aspirations in the middle of his syllabus is unclear.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday Tuman for a class assignment asked his political science class at San Francisco State to imagine—just imagine—creating a campaign strategy for a generic black conservative running for Congress in the Central Valley, or, I don’t know, a slight, balding, middle-aged white man running for mayor of Oakland.

Sounds like Tuman. That’s because it was Tuman of which Tuman was referring and he reportedly told students if the idea was good enough, he just might use it for his run at unseating Mayor Jean Quan next year.

According to the article, neither San Francisco State nor Tuman believe his assignment, which counts toward the majority of the student’s grade, was unethical. However, the Fair Political Practice Commission and other groups, say the article, disagree and believe the potential fruits of the students labor could be construed as a campaign contribution.

The news of Tuman’s more than hinky gambit is raising eyebrows, but also is the appearance of this disclosure being a shot across Tuman’s bow by unknown political opponents. As the cards of the 2014 ballot get shuffled and become more certain in the coming weeks, more than a few Oakland insiders believe Tuman has real shot to unseat Quan, or, at least, the best shot.

During his last run in 2010, Tuman finished a strong fourth and showed the polish of being a political expert on local television and the ability to convey his ideas with a sense of gravitas. And, with ranked-choice voting and a potentially underwhelming group of challengers, as many are saying, anything can happen.

Categories: 2014, campaign finance, Central Valley, education, FPPC, Jean Quan, Joe Tuman, mayor, Oakland, RCV, San Francisco State

5 replies

  1. As long as no one makes Quan their second choice, then someone else has a chance.

    There needs to be a strong movement to have everyone except Quan's voters, leave her off of any ranked choice.
    She either gets 50.1% from supporters or she fails in all subsequent ranked choice calculations.

    Let the same method that brought her into office, send her packing, after her futile efforts at being a mayor.

    NO Quan, NO Where, No More

    De-Quan-taminate Oakland


  2. I would like to say a couple of things about this post and the article it references. First, I was a student of Prof. Tuman's some years ago and can state from experience that he often engages in sarcastic discourse with various students at the end of class. Second, having taken several classes with him as an undergraduate student, I can tell you that no one I know ever took him seriously when he made a sarcastic comment. It seems there is always a first time though as this is what must have occurred here. Prof. Tuman is far too ethical to have ever given an assignment that violated any rule of the school or law of the State. Further, as you yourself acknowledge, Prof. Tuman is not without political acumen and I have no doubt that there was zero chance of him using a first-time undergraduate attempt at a campaign ad in any actual future campaign he may or may not mount. I would also point out that you have mischaracterized the statements of the various ethics experts quoted in the article. No one in the article said the assignment was unethical or illegal. What they said was IF the assignment was given to be used in a campaign AND was actually used, then it might violate the in-kind contribution ban of the Fair Political Practices Act. It wasn't, it won't be, and it doesn't. I do think you may be correct in your other assessment regarding the piece though. Either it was a slow news day and the “reporter” has a personal bias against Prof. Tuman or this “story” was pushed by some potential mayoral candidate in an attempt to weaken what he or she may have seen as their biggest potential competition besides Mayor Quan. I'd like to think that the reporter was manipulated by such a candidate rather than knowingly participating in such a scheme. One thing is for certain however. It is sad that such a non-story made its way into print. Not because it might affect whatever potential campaign Prof. Tuman may or may not mount but because it, and other paraphrased publication of its contents such as was done here, have cast aspersions on and tried to sully the decades-long reputation for educational and ethical excellence held by one of the most respected professors at SFSU. I realize that anything goes in today's politics but to sink to these depths is a disgrace to both the occupation of “reporter” and the Chronicle itself. Shame on them.


  3. The above former student must have gotten a sweet letter of rec from Tuman

    Apparently not all students view Tuman's comments as satire, therefore, he should have never made them.


  4. I have no doubt Joe Tuman is a ethical man. My angle to the Chronicle story is the political side. He's a contender and the opposition is coming hard.


  5. Tuman has no chance!


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