Rebecca Kaplan is running for mayor. It comes as no great surprise (like Ron Dellums deciding to run again would be), but it's finally official. Amongst other things, that means the blog FutureOakland is going to be on hiatus until November as they're going to be working on the Kaplan campaign.
It turns out that former Oakland mayor and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown is sort of a neighbor. Back when he was mayor, he lived in a loft downtown. These days as AG of California he's in Sacramento much of the time, but his official residence is in a house along Skyline here in the Oakland hills. (To be clear, although it's less than a mile from our house, it's way out of our price range. Heck, our house is out of our price range these days, but I was fortunate to buy it 15 years ago.) Anyways, Jerry is getting some heat because the 3 bedroom home isn't in line with his message of 'frugality' that's part of his campaign. While price-wise the house is out of most people's range, if they can afford it and it's not some energy-gobbling monster house, I say why not? Particularly if they can pay the property taxes.
"Were we getting a no-down payment loan and buying a house that you can't afford, that would be a reflection on how the candidate spends money," he said Tuesday in response to a reporter's question.
"But when a couple buy their dream house with their life savings, I think that's the American dream and I'm very proud that I can do that," Brown said
Further afield, Guvenator Schwarzenegger is calling for an $11 billion water bond to be pulled from the November ballot so they can focus on the budget. That's a strong suggestion it wouldn't pass in the coming election. I'm happy it might be off the ballot because it calls for $3 billion for new dams in California, never mind the huge amount it would add to the state's already staggering debt.
In a move that surprised many, the NAACP came out in support of Prop 19 which would tax and regulate marijuana...er...cannabis. I've never used the stuff myself, but I think a far better use of money would be to collect taxes on it instead of filling the prisons with people for having it. The fact black people in California are arrested at two to four times the rate as white people for possession just means it needs to happen sooner rather than later.
Back home in Oakland, we move on to the 'stuff' category. The Oakland City Center complex was sold for $360 million. That still doesn't mean it would be easy to find a buyer for the Kaiser Convention Center, though.
Finally, the trial of former BART cop Johannes Mehserle is approaching the end. The defense has rested their case, and the judge has ruled that first-degree murder is not a possible verdict. Which seems a good thing, because if the choice for the jury was first-degree murder or acquittal, it's not clear there's enough evidence to prove the former beyond a reasonable doubt (first-degree stupidity, yes). Oscar Grant's uncle said he was pleased with the judge's ruling and asked supporters to remain calm regardless of the final outcome of the trial. Speaking of staying calm, amidst the fear-mongering about possible rioting is a well-written piece by the Tribune's Tammerlin Drummond calling for calm in not just the aftermath, but in the reporting about it, too.