Oakland Mayoral Candidate calls for $15 Minimum Wage; End of Surveillance Hub

Civil rights attorney Dan Siegel announces his run for mayor Thursday morning 
at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland. PHOTO/Steven Tavares

ELECTION 2014| OAKLAND | MAYOR | Civil rights attorney Dan Siegel laid out a distinctively progressive platform as he formally announced his candidacy for mayor of Oakland. Standing at the mouth of what was once main entrance to the Occupy Oakland encampment nearly three years ago, Siegel said his campaign aims to make the city safe, not by adding additional cops, but through economic equality, social justice, education and public privacy.

“These are big thoughts,” said Siegel in front of over 100 supporters at Frank Ogawa Plaza Thursday morning. “So how do we get there?” Siegel often had pointed remarks in response to some of the worries many progressives in the city have raised over the past few years regarding the conduct of the police department, crime and the controversial citywide surveillance hub, known as the Domain Awareness Center (DAC), which is supported by the mayor and City Council. “If we are successful, the DAC closes the next day.” he said to applause. He later derisively labeled the DAC, “the local branch of the Justice Department, the NSA and the FBI.”

Over 100 people heard Siegel touch upon a host
of progressive causes. PHOTO/Steven Tavares

In what certainly will become a well-debated campaign issue, Siegel said an immediately increase in the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. The tough-talking Siegel noted the proposal’s potential for becoming a hot-button issue, saying, “There are some controversial part to this and I’m not going to shy away from controversy.”

Siegel, also a former Oakland school board member and former aide to Mayor Jean Quan, the person he now wants to replace, chastised a number of recent mayors all proclaiming a goal to work with its struggling school system, he said, only to never fully follow up on the promise. He vowed to meet each week with the superintendent of school and keep schools open at night and weekend to ultimately become community centers. In addition, he proposes funding education for 3-4-year-olds. “Quality pre-school programs have shown to be the greatest and most effective thing we can do to level the playing field between children from affluent backgrounds and children from poor backgrounds and it’s time to do that.”

He is the fourth announced candidate to enter race to unseat Quan this November. Port of Oakland Commissioner Bryan Parker, university professor Joe Tuman and Councilmember Libby Schaaf entered the race in recent months with platforms primarily focused on public safety and additional police officers. But none, thus far, have offered the type of red meat progressive stances offered Thursday by Siegel.

Growing progressive concerns such as growing gentrification, food security and disproportionate numbers of young black men in jails was also touched upon by Siegel. Long a critic of the Oakland PD’s history of misconduct, Siegel urged for a police chief “with the guts to give orders that citizen abuse has to stop.” He added, “We need safety for our men of color to be safe from racial profiling, gang injunctions, Stop-and-Frisk campaigns and curfews. We need safety from malnutrition and diabetes and a diet that is rich in Big Macs and Cokes.” Furthermore, he called for more community gardens in Oakland and greater access to fresh food. “We need to make sure we have grocery stores not only in Montclair,” Siegel said, “but everywhere so people can get healthy, nutritious food at reasonable prices.”

Nevertheless, Siegel described his campaign as a work in process and dependent on the success of his supporters. “My theory about change is that the people make history,” he said, “Not leaders, not government.”

11 thoughts on “Oakland Mayoral Candidate calls for $15 Minimum Wage; End of Surveillance Hub

  1. He would not take a case that sought reform for the sadly mismanaged family justice center, the jewel in omalley's crown.


  2. Siegel sounds like a slightly more articulate version of his former crony Jean Quan. Just like Quan Siegel is not the leader that Oakland needs to move towards such a vision. Leaders bring people together. Siegel cannot even get along with Quan. Leaders have the ability to make sure things get done. Quan has proven that she cannot. I've seen no evidence that Siegel ever successfully managed an organization as complex and messed up as the government of Oakland.


  3. S. Tavares describes Siegel's baloney as “brilliant.”

    I guess there are at least two people out there who aren't so very brilliant.


  4. I give him a chance of winning in the range of about .0000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000 0000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001%


  5. By MW:

    Concerning the comment of 5:32PM:

    Dan Siegel is both a lawyer and a politician, so therefore it is very definitely and absolutely his primary job to be at least ninety nine percent full of nothing but manure and hot air.


  6. Siegel and current Mayor Quan have much in common in addition to their longtime palship. Neither is capable of thinking things through and getting things done.


  7. By MW:

    We could, if we so desired, even raise the minimum wage to $25, $50, or even $100 per hour. However any rapid major increases in the minimum wage would cause the type of businesses that rely largely on employees possessing minimal skills to: one, find ways to get by with less labor, and therefore lay off a large percentage of their employees; two, engage in much wider scale time card fraud so as to pay less hours to their remaining minimum wage employees; and three, AND ESPECIALLY SINCE THIS IS THE BAY AREA, HAVE STILL MUCH MORE OF THE WORK PERFORMED, AND ON AN UNDER THE TABLE BASIS, BY THE HOMELESS AND UNDOCUMENTED ALIENS, ETC.

    In conclusion, and as the unions representing the auto workers in Detroit's factories learned the hard way, while wages can go up, however payrolls don't.


  8. Let me make sure to say this first: the **idea** of a $15 minimum wage is a good idea. I think the trick is **how** one goes about implementing this policy. Data clearly indicate a city should **not** implement such a policy on its own; rather, it should encourage regional, if not statewide change. Why?

    Well, let's look at the data: the US Census has several sets of data by which it tracks where people work relative to where they live. One such data set is “OnTheMap” ( http://lehd.did.census.gov/ ).

    According to Census' OnTheMap, there are roughly 181,500 people who work (at all pay levels) in Oakland; and, of the 181,500, 40,900 reside in Oakland, or 22.5 percent.

    In other words, 77.5 percent of all workers working in Oakland at all pay-levels reside in cities other than Oakland. For argument's sake, let's assume these ratios apply to persons working in Oakland at the current minimum wage level, as well as any pay level below $15 an hour.

    How many persons there are working in Oakland (and either living in Oakland or not) making less than $15 an hour we are not sure — though one could find this out by calling EDD or by looking into other Census data sets. For argument's sake, let's say of all persons working in Oakland not making more than $15 an hour 77.5 percent do not reside in Oakland.

    So, do you now see the problem with a city going it alone with its own $15-an-hour minimum wage policy?

    The beneficiaries of such a policy are, more than likely, the cities where these Oakland-based workers live, although businesses in Oakland would be shouldering the cost of this policy. In other words, those who work in Oakland but live elsewhere, and whose hourly pay were below $15, would take their increases and spend it at businesses in their own neighborhoods or cities.

    To repeat: the intent of the policy is wonderful . . . but I think it's how one goes about implementing it where more thought is needed.


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