Make Oakland Better Now! Publishes City Attorney Candidate Questionnaire Responses

City attorney candidates Barbara Parker and Jane Brunner have responded to MOBN!’s questionnaire, answering critical questions for our city involving the Negotiated Settlement Agreement, functioning and funding of the city attorneys’ office, ethics, public records, non-interference and lobbying regulation. All of the questions and answers are posted at the MOBN! web site. We urge Oaklanders to take the time to:

On July 24, the MOBN! board will consider whether to make an endorsement for this race, so please give us your thoughts by commenting on this post or on our page on facebook or by sending us an e-mail, MOBN! will announce the board’s decision no later than Friday, July 27.

Nothing empowers Oakland voters more than information—we hope Oaklanders will find these questions and answers a good first step toward empowerment.

Make Oakland Better Now!

OakTalk Here is the blog of Make Oakland Better Now!, an Oakland community grassroots group of a grass-roots group of voters, volunteers, and policy advocates committed to improving the City of Oakland by focusing on public safety, public works, and responsible budgets. Founded in 2003, we’ve researched, lobbied, and successfully campaigned for a number of new, impactful policies, including the city’s Rainy Day Fund, Measure Z and Operation Ceasefire.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mike Ferro

    I guess I have a problem with the assumption that one can make a purely rational and useful decision about whom to vote for based on their answers to the softball kinds of questions put to them by MOBN. After looking through the responses posted I couldn’t say that either candidate answered in a way that would make me believe that she would be a poorer City Attorney than the other. One perhaps useful thing was that Parker’s answers seemed much more lawyerly and complete, but it’s not clear to me that that is determinative. What I will base my vote on is the personal context and the knowledge I have (or think I have) of how Parker and Brunner have been performing in public office. As far as I know, Parker has been conscientious and apolitical and has not been afraid to offer critical perspectives on actions of the City Council. So Parker is fine in my book. On the other hand I have seen Brunner perform in, to me, shockingly impertinent ways while performing in public office. As President of the City Council, Brunner gave no indication of being a thoughtful or forceful leader. At several City Council meetings, Brunner showed up unprepared and unaware of the evening’s agenda. I have seen Brunner in Council meetings and in other public fora acting out in a childish way after receiving the narcissistic challenge of a critical remark or behavior. And I know that Brunner has been working essentially full-time as a lawyer while on the Council. I hope that MOBN can get beyond the naive notion that answers to a questionnaire are an adequate basis for making a decision about whom to support.

  2. Nic

    Are you kidding Mike?
    1) RE: Softballs — these survey questions went from broad philosophy of the job to details on policy, and touched on every major controversial issue facing the City Attorney, including gang injunctions, marijuana, and outside counsel. Show me any group that had better questions for the City Attorney’s race.
    2) RE: Not useful — I don’t think you were reading the same survey as me, or you are such a single-issue voter that you missed the differences in these candidates. The survey exposed (A) deep distinctions in philosophy about the City Attorney’s role (e.g. JB: “I believe that the City Attorney’s job is to provide advice and legal options on how its clients can do what they want to do.” BP: “the elected City Attorney must function as an independent watchdog inside City Hall to ensure that taxpayer resources are used appropriately, all Oaklanders are represented and the actions of our city government are transparent, fair and legal.”), (B) distinctions on policy perspectives (e.g. whether the City Attorney should have be funded by Council discretion or set formula, whether the Mayor can hire outside counsel), and (C) different levels of detail on how the candidates plan on addressing issues (e.g. see the response to the Public Records question).

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