Joel Young And Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

SUNDAY COLUMN | Let me start by saying, I know more about AC Transit Board Director Joel Young than care to know. From covering his campaign last year for the State Assembly to his latest transgressions leading to his censure this week, reporting on the man is easily least fun activity for me, by a longshot. Those who read the East Bay Citizen know my editorial style views the news through characters like a playwrights sees a three-act drama. You would think someone like Young would fascinate me, but he doesn’t. And the reason why? He lacks any ounce of empathy. That is a scary proposition. A public official without the requisite ability to care about others. The only thing worse is someone who can’t say sorry and Young apparently cannot produce either emotion.

Joel Young

Fellow AC Transit Board Director Jeff Davis referenced this shortcoming this week when voicing displeasure over Young’s absence and inability to offer exactly what was going through his head while attempting to essentially act as a mole in pilfering the district’s confidential legal files and strategy for his own gain in private practice. “I would like to hear some contrition and I’m not hearing it,” said Davis.

Having to never say you’re sorry is common theme for Young. For crissakes, an Alameda County Superior Court judge last year said he believed Young struck his girlfriend in the face. The case was later dismissed, but Young never should any compassion over the incident. In fact, Young was more intent over parading around town a ridiculously tiny cut suffered on his torso, allegedly by the same ex.

The same penchant to attack his accusers rather than own up his misdeeds has a common thread through Young’s public pratfalls. It’s always someone else’s fault. AC Transit Board President Greg Harper summed up Young’s modus operendi two weeks ago when Young chose to attack him and Board Director Elsa Ortiz rather than confront the allegations against him. ““It’s a little bit symptomatic of his style. Rather than address the issues, he wants to say, ‘I’m not worse than anybody else.’ He counterpunches and he thinks that’s effective and then kind of flails away.” said Harper, and he is totally right.

There were some indications that if Young would showed some sorrow over his actions, he may have received some sympathy from his colleagues. Instead, the seven-page response to the internal investigation was a typical mishmash of disparate allegations against his accusers and taunts, such as saying the rest of board had “filthy hands.” Making matter worse, Young chose to cowardly jettison himself away from the board’s public discussion and when he returned chose to duck questions on the matter.

The AC Transit Board of Director, however, deserves a tremendous amount of credit for swiftly and without hesitation throwing down the gauntlet on Young. Those who know him personally all say it is always better to avoid confrontation with him, rather than to face his incessant wrath and physical threats. This week the AC Transit board stood up to a bully and found him to be a paper tiger. Another equally intimidating public official in the East Bay may be next to stand before a censure hearing later this month. Here’s hoping the Oakland City Council is inspired by the righteousness of their colleagues on Franklin Street.

“If we’re going to really change Oakland, it’s critical to have a candidate and eventual mayor who gets the details right. I am a detail-oriented person. You’ll have my answer in less than two weeks.”
Joe Tuman, the former and now-likely Oakland mayoral candidate, July 8, telling supporters he’ll give them an answer whether his running in 2014 in a few weeks. Logically speaking, his comment more than suggests he’s in it to win it.

The Week That Was

Ro Khanna

>>>Khanna’s cool million: Forget about what a week it was for 17th Congressional District candidate Ro Khanna, how about the last 90 days? Khanna blew away political observers in the South Bay and the Beltway this week with campaign finance reports showing over $1 million in contributions since last April. It’s not even his personal best for a quarterly filing period. You might remember in 2011, Khanna burst upon the scene with a whopping $1.2 million in donations. At that time, it wasn’t clear whether he would challenge Pete Stark in the 15th District or was positioning himself as heir apparent in 2014. Fate may be on his side against the popular, but aging Rep. Mike Honda in a district where old is just an update to your app away.

>>>Transportation beat: Federal officials continue to sort through exactly what happened when an Boeing 777 fell short of the runway and crashed killing two. The transportation beat in the Bay Area has been in the spotlight for about the last month starting with the BART strike. On that front, following a one-month renewal of the contract, BART union leaders apparently got the hint to start protecting themselves from management and the media’s attempts to vilifying middle class wage earners. The spotlight this week turned to how much BART’s upper management earns and a report detailing a union-busting negotiator hired by the elected BART Board of Directors. The same negotiator then notified officials that he is going on vacation for five days later this month.

>>>Oakland City Council: Affordable housing and privacy advocates will likely have their time at the bully pulpit later this month at the Oakland City Council, both centered on Councilman Dan Kalb. An ordinance proposed by the freshman member setting aside 25 percent of the state boomerang fund for affordable housing passed a council committee this week, although two council members registered some opposition. A more controversial resolution on privacy, though, might make Kalb’s liberal constituents scratch their heads. Another council committee moved an item approving the allocation of $2 million in federal stimulus funds for an all-inclusive center that will pull in extensive data and video feeds from all over the city at the pleasure of the city’s public safety officials.

>>>Another censure? Joel Young is the only elected official in the East Bay to face down the threat of censure. The Oakland City Council will debate whether to formally rebuke, or even censure, Councilmember Desley Brooks after the city auditor accused her of violating the City Charter on 12 occasions. The report alleged Brooks interfered with city staff in the handling of a new teen center in her district. Courtney Ruby’s findings and an Alameda County civil grand jury charged Brooks and other council members acting as mayors of their own district. The hearing, sure to be contentious, is scheduled for July 25.

Tweet of the Week
“If Napolitano thought homeland security, disaster relief & immigration were contentious issues, wait until she tries to update the UC logo.”
-@aewright, tweeting July 12 on the naming of former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to head the University of California system.

Best Reads
>>>The new Alameda County public defender is trying to own up to his job description. In this excellent profile, Brendon Woods describes how he hopes to look out for interests. (East Bay Express, July 10.)

Voice of the People
“Swalwell made a big mistake in trying to cut Social Security benefits for Seniors, Veterans and the Disabled. He will pay for that on 2014, and Ellen Corbett will reap the benefits.”
Anonymous, commenting July 11 on “S-p-p-p-pit It Out, Junior!”

7 thoughts on “Joel Young And Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

  1. I don't really agree with the blanket statement that somehow all lawyers lack empathy, are arrogant etc. I think that a person had those qualities within themselves prior to becoming lawyers. Howevet i will say that alot of lawyers do believe that they are smarter than non-lawyers. A law degree does not make a person smarter than anyone else. Outside of the law, a lawyer may be very smart, or could very well have very limited knowledge about anything outside of the law. Young's problem seems to be is that he is oblivious about his actions. To have someone in office with such a lack of awareness is kind of scary


  2. As far as “taking applications” for someone to run against Joel Young, a former co worker of mine plans to run against Mr.Young.His name is Tyron Jordan. Although he never ran for office before, he is very bright, and has unquestionable integrity. He does not yet have the name recognition, but with time, if he becomes well known, Mr. Young will have a hard time keeping this position


  3. I can only speak for the law I attended. No one was trained to be obnoxious, sadistic, psychopathic, and totally unprincipled amoral jerks. They were like that before attending law school.


  4. By MW:

    Joel Young is a lawyer. And to lean more about the behavior & “standards” of lawyers, look up the word HUBRIS in Wikipedia.

    In other words most lawyers are not merely extreme jerks, but they are also extremely ARROGANT jerks, & who also think that the law does not apply to them, & Joel also seems to be one of the most extreme examples of that.

    And referring to my earlier post in which I mentioned that a lot of lawyers like to make small & easily solved problems into huge & extremely expensive problems, let me give a few examples.

    A few decades ago I had just moved hundreds of miles to a different city than I had previously been living in. So since I was temporarily living in a motel, & which of course was very expensive, I was desperate to find an apartment.

    So a landlord offered to rent me an apt, an apt I later found out had problems which I would have discovered if I had not been in such a hurry to get out of the motel.

    (After moving in, other tenants in the building told me the landlord had been unable to rent that apt, & that it had been vacant for months since she had refused to spend the money to repair it.)

    However I had put in the rental agreement that she would clean the apt for us, & since even the quick inspection I gave it made obvious that it was a greasy mess.

    However after she had our money & we moved in, she refused to clean it, & she also refused to fix the broken drainpipe under the bathtub, & which we discovered was broken the first time we tried to take a bath, & which it turned out poured almost like Niagara Falls into the apt below if we tried to take a bath.

    However rather than spending the money to clean & repair the apt & which would have given her happy tenants, instead she refused to do anything, she then also got a lawyer involved, & she, & due to the urging of her lawyer, declared all out war.

    So we refused to pay any more rent, also did not agree to move out until she & her lawyer agreed we would not be charged for the so called back rent we supposedly owed her during the time the apt was not legally habitable. And the landlord also ended up having to pay huge fees to her lawyer, also ended up with building inspectors galore crawling all over her building writing up the many building code violations in it, still had a vacant apt, ended up with her tenants laughing at her, & finally decided to sell the building. However her sleazy lawyer, & who very likely had a drug addiction problem he needed money for, did make at least thousands of dollars on the deal that she could have easily solved all by herself, & without a lawyer's “help.”

    And there was the guy who had a net worth of at least a few hundred million dollars & a reputation as a town father & pillar of the community (actually he was as organized crime connected as could be, but he had due to brilliant PR convinced a lot of people he was a legitimate businessman) who got in a battle that originally could have been settled fairly quickly for very little, but decided, & probably due to the urging of his sleazy lawyers, to turn into an all out war.

    By the time his sleazy lawyers were done “helping” & “assisting” him with their boneheaded “advice,” the net worth & future earning capacity of him & his business associates had declined by literally billions of dollars, & his reputation as a supposedly wonderful & honest person was completely in tatters.

    In both of the above cases, the business person involved would have been much better off to have gotten advice from a neighbor, friend, a relative, or virtually any high school dropout than from a lawyer.


  5. By MW:

    In regard to the behavior and attitude of Joel Young, lawyers are trained in law school to be obnoxious, sadistic, psychopathic, and totally unprincipled amoral jerks, and including since by being so they often win due to: one, intimidating opponents; and two, even for those opponents who are not intimidated by the sleaziness of such lawyers, still many laymen simply eventually give up when battling such lawyers since it can be so extremely unpleasant to try to deal with such extreme scumbags, professional pathological liars, and non-stop practitioners of fraud and deceit.

    Also, lawyers are brainwashed in law school to think they are better than anyone else, and that therefore they are automatically right no matter how totally absurd and completely ridiculous their positions and statements (for instance, think of the actions, attitudes, and non-stop lies of Richard Nixon and John Edwards), so that with many lawyers trying to have an intelligent discussion with them is usually totally impossible.

    Still furthermore, an extremely high percentage of lawyers are drunks and/or drug addicts (the legal profession has far and away the highest percentage of drunks and drug addicts of any major profession), and obviously trying to reason with someone who is drunk and/or on drugs is almost always a total waste of time.

    In fact, the only method that is normally effective in dealing with such totally unprincipled scumbags, professional pathological liars, scumbags, drunks, drug addicts, psychopaths, sociopaths, parasites, and egomaniacs with law licenses is when they try to feed you the standard lawyers' lies and garbage, then start passing out flyers near that lawyer's office, also near his client's office, and also near the office of the California State Bar in San Francisco mentioning that lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug abuse of any major profession.

    If you do that for long enough, eventually even the scumbag with a law license you are dealing with will realize that he has no choice but to start acting at least half human. Also, it's wonderful if you make that lawyer's own client or clients aware of the fact that lawyers have far and away the highest rates of alcoholism and drug addiction of any major profession, since that will very likely make the client reconsider the wisdom of going along with the lawyer's stupid and bonehead advice and suggestions, and including since many lawyers like to make small and easily solved problems into big problems, since big problems lead to lawyers being able to bill the client huge sums, and the lawyer also often needs those huge amounts of money he tries to overbill the client in order to buy the illegal drugs he is addicted to.


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