Oakland businessman Bill Adoudi addresses
the Oakland City Council in November.
PHOTO/Steven Tavares

2013 YEAR-IN-REVIEW | The atmosphere inside the Oakland City Council chambers often acts as a mirror reflecting your true beliefs toward the city. If you find the shouting and civil disobedience that often erupts either from council members or residents, the discord is a prime example of the city’s dysfunction. To civic-minded Oaklanders, the ones who willingly plunk down $28 for a simple t-shirt at Oaklandish, the ferocity of passion at the meetings also shows an electorate which deeply cares about their city and will fight for their beliefs. Step inside in the Oakland City Council chambers and witness the Top 5 sights and sounds from what Twitter followers proudly call, #OakMtg.

1. During a meeting in November on Councilmember Noel Gallo’s youth curfew ordinance, he stated many other cities also have the controversial law on their books. Immediately after finishing the sentence, a group of residents sitting high in the gallery vehemently disagreed. Chants of “bullshit!” rained down on Gallo, who paused in frustration before threatening to have the individuals thrown out of the meeting.

2. In July, as the Oakland City Council debated releasing funds for the Domain Awareness Center, a citywide surveillance center opposed by some, it become clear the data center had enough votes to go forward, the mood turned dark. When Councilmember Libby Schaaf explained her vote, a lone young woman standing in the back of the room, shouted, “I hope you die in your mansion, Libby!” Even for the raucous meeting, the statement dropped like a ton of bricks. The room momentarily went silent and Schaaf stared incredulously in the direction of the woman. Later, Schaaf noted she does not live in a mansion.

3. Just after 1 a.m., during the same DAC meeting, protesters of the proposal forcefully chanted, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” after approval of the item. As the council moved on to other business, the cries drowned out the proceedings and the imagery made it into most of the media reports for the next week.

4. “Gene Hazzard, for the record” Is meant to identify the opinionated Oakland resident heard often at the beginning of council meetings, but it also posed as a warning for public officials and a certain developer to get ready for the funk. In 2013, Hazzard continued his crusade to keep Oakland city government transparent, whether at the Oakland Army Base or anywhere else noted developer Phil Tagami is allegedly looking for a free government handout.

5. The phrase, “Security! Please escort these people out,” could be attributed to a number of Oakland council members in 2013. Council President Pat Kernighan uttered a variety of the line as did Gallo. However, it wasn’t until November that Oakland police officers followed the direction. The entire chambers was cleared of patrons for the final 10 minutes of the meeting.