<![CDATA[Einstein for Oakland - Blog]]>Sat, 16 Dec 2017 08:36:16 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[HOW TO VOTE FOR EINSTEIN!]]>Tue, 04 Nov 2014 07:33:06 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/11/how-to-vote-for-einstein.htmlMake a statement in Oakland by voting for Einstein.

Voting for Einstein is very simple, write-in "Einstein" or "Einsten the dog."
According to the City Clerk, this is okay and will not void you ballot.

Einstein represents most of us, the masses, the oppressed and mostly forgotten.

Well, if you would like to find out where your polling place is, you may want to try this locator: http://yourfuckingpollingplace.com  -Works, we tested. :)
<![CDATA[Einstein will not sign loan agreements with Goldman Sachs or any other Wall St. bank.]]>Thu, 09 Oct 2014 07:03:40 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/10/einstein-will-not-sign-loan-agreements-with-goldman-sachs-or-any-other-wall-st-bank.htmlThe City of Oakland has been severely impacted by predatory loan agreements with corporate financial institutions. One nightmare example is the 1998 fixed-rate swap agreement with Goldman Sachs. Oakland accepted a 5.6 percent fixed rate deal. After the market crashed and the Fed lowered interest rates, this loan obligation cost the city millions of dollars. Oakland was stuck with $4 million in annual interest to Goldman Sachs, which over the years added up.

Big banks make big profit at the expense of taxpayers when cities remain dependent on Wall Street loans. As city budgets get tighter, and there is an urgent need to meet basic obligations, politicians are more susceptible to getting involved in complicated borrowing agreements without fully understanding the high risks. Public banking can eliminate risky and profit driven loan deals and safeguard the resources of the city.

An Einstein Administration will have the counsel and support of Strike Debt and other radical financial think-tanks needed to avoid the dirty tricks of Wall St. grifters like Goldman Sachs and to build the Public Bank of Oakland, which will keep our City's wealth from being pick-pocketed.  And Einstein will be the best watchdog our City’s pension funds have ever had.

<![CDATA[Candidate Einstein asks 8 simple questions.]]>Fri, 03 Oct 2014 20:55:07 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/10/candidate-einstein-asks-8-simple-questions.htmlPlease take the survey, and Einstein encourages you to elaborate on any of your answers in the comments section of this post.


<![CDATA[Announcing Einstein’s Candidacy for Mayor of Oakland]]>Thu, 02 Oct 2014 19:19:52 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/10/announcing-einsteins-candidacy-for-mayor-of-oakland.htmlHe’s a very good dog, and he’ll make a very good Mayor.
When: Thursday, October 2, 2014, starting at 10:00 AM
Where: The steps of Oakland City Hall, (East entrance), Oakland, CA 94612
Why: The Oakland Mayoral campaign needs a voice for the City’s oppressed residents

Oakland, CA – A dog for Mayor of Oakland?!  Sound crazy?  But the question, as we see it, is not, “Can a dog run the City?”  The question we should all ask is, “Can any individual be accountable for running the City?”

Of course, the Mayor doesn’t run the City single-handedly.  Nevertheless, who do we hold responsible when residents suffer from mismanagement of the City’s tremendous wealth of resources?  Is it not the highest elected official in City Government?  This system allows residents to blame the Mayor for not solving the social problems facing Oakland.

Without a fallible human in the Mayor’s Office, we must all play our parts in determining the route Oakland will take into the future.  Please read Einstein’s Platform and Blog (links provided below) and see if you agree that if Einstein is elected, the interaction of residents with City officials – and with each other – will change, radically.  No longer will we ask what the City Government can do for us.  Instead, we will see the way clear to changing the City ourselves, to expanding the power of residents of modest income, to shrinking the power of the rich by establishing a larger and more representative City Council.  No longer will we have a single individual to blame for our problems.  After all, how can a very good dog like Einstein cause social problems?

A selection of planks in Einstein’s platform:

  • Greatly expanded democratic representation for the residents of Oakland
  • An end to Orwellian surveillance and a restoration of privacy
  • The rights of Oakland’s residents supersede the rights of police officers.
  • Einstein will facilitate the creation of the Public Bank of Oakland and the Oakland Debtors’ Assembly.
  • A maximum-wage requirement to eliminate the inflationary pressures that render minimum-wage requirements ineffective at increasing the purchasing power of Oakland’s hardest-working and most unappreciated residents
  • Penalties for crimes must be apportioned according to wealth.

Einstein intends be a voice in this campaign for what is right and what is needed by many Oakland residents, without concern for what is legal or politically feasible.  A role in government for everyone is what is meant by democracy; financial independence for all benefits all; and the protection of civil rights by governing officials is necessary for full democratic participation in our society. 

Einstein For Oakland:  http://einsteinforoakland.org/index.html
Einstein’s Platform: http://einsteinforoakland.org/platform.html
Einstein’s Blog: http://einsteinforoakland.org/blog.html
Einstein on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Einstein-for-Oakland/811456748871029
Einstein on Twitter: @Einstein4Mayor
Paid for by the dog: https://soundcloud.com/cassie-thornton/einstein-for-mayor

Einstein in the media:
<![CDATA[QUESTIONNAIRE]]>Mon, 29 Sep 2014 03:13:38 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/09/questionnaire.htmlGREEN PARTY OF ALAMEDA COUNTY2014 ENDORSEMENT DECISION
Name: Einstein
Website: einsteinforoakland.org

Note: You may respond to any question with a link to your website or other posted positions.  For the yes/no questions, please answer yes or no and if you wish to add to your answer, feel free to do so.  

1. Motivation -- Why did you choose to run for City office?

Einstein intends be a voice in this campaign for what is right and what is needed by many Oakland residents, without concern for what is legal or politically feasible.  A role in government for everyone is what is meant by democracy; financial independence for all benefits all; and the protection of civil rights by governing officials is necessary for full democratic participation in our society.  Expressed abstractly, achieving these conditions is what motivates Einstein to run for Mayor of Oakland.

To the detriment of all, candidates too often appeal to segments of society while leaving other segments excluded from determining social priorities.  The demands of citizens in possession of some wealth are given greater consideration than to those made by citizens who lack the resources to make campaign contributions or to organize or play a supportive role in organizations promoting their demands.

The law and the application of law is unjust in far too many instances.  Public officials and wealthy citizens find protection in the courts while those struggling to meet their basic needs go without sufficient income; are viewed with unfounded suspicion; and are detained, brutalized, and deprived of property without cause.

Too many candidates accept historical and legal limitations placed on the offices they seek as they assemble their campaign platforms.  They survey the political landscape and devise a strategy for governing that they calculate to be achievable.  In doing so, they create low expectations for themselves and inspire electorates with equally low expectations.

In pursuit of full and equal democratic participation, Einstein offers a platform intended to inspire those excluded or marginalized by the current political process to knock down the walls of power and enforce their rights.

2. Program and Priorities -- Elected office provides the opportunity to proactively lead by placing new ideas on the agenda for consideration and development. What are some specific ideas you intend to pursue if elected? What do you believe are the main priorities for the City?

The most important priority for an Einstein Administration will be to correct the democratic process so that it allows more direct participation by citizens and residents.  All other priorities are speculative without democratic support.  Our proposal for such a correction can be read here.  It is important to qualify this proposal by saying that it has been drafted by only a few members of the Committee to Elect Einstein.  As such, it is a plan for creating a directly-democratic system of governing that has not been drafted democratically; therefore, we look forward to debating and revising our plan with the participation of those who will maintain it, being the citizens and residents of Oakland.

Contingent on the creation of a more directly-democratic political system will be more employment opportunity and income equality for Oakland residents; greater accountability for law enforcement officials, public officials, and all those in the private sector who possess the means to cause harm; the creation of the Public Bank of Oakland, which will keep a much larger portion of revenue and income generated in this City from being appropriated by extra-national corporations and banks whose priorities are opposed to the well-being of Oakland residents; and the creation of an Oakland Debtors’ Unionto organize and amass the power of individuals in negotiation with financial giants.


3. Qualifications -- Please give a brief summary of your background and qualifications for the office of City. If you are a current City Government elected official, what issues can you point to in your time as an elected official that have had a positive impact?

Einstein’s chief qualification is his uncorrupted perspective of Oakland politics.  At close-quarters he has observed the trampling of the rights of peaceful protesters, racial profiling, unlawful evictions, attempts by Oakland’s government to create an Orwellian apparatus for surveillance, greedy resistance to making much-needed changes to income distribution, the predation of public goods through privatization, the habitual disrespect shown by the Oakland City Council and the Mayor to the righteous petitions of Oakland residents, and the far-from-equal enforcement of laws.  This perspective allows him to see very clearly what needs to change in Oakland, and his qualification for the Office of Mayor will be proved by the popular affirmation of his vision.


4. Local groups -- Are you affiliated with any of the active Oakland groups? Such as TOLA, Make Oakland Better Now, Block by Block, Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club, GO Public Schools, OCO, or any other. Describe your involvment and why you feel this group is worthy of your support.

Einstein is an active participant in Occupy Oakland, the Oakland Privacy Group, Strike Debt Bay Area, the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition, the Sudo Room, and Berkeley Post Office Defenders.


5. Local activities -- Other than local politics, are you involved in any other Oakland based community activities that you would like to share with us? This can range from volunteering in your school to being in your church baseball league.

Einstein has participated in providing well-over ten thousand meals for those participating in events held by the groups listed in answer to question 4 along with many other social justice groups active in Oakland.


6. Budget -- If you were on council for the next budget in 2015 how would you act differently from the council members dealing with the budget in 2013? What do you think is the cause of the current budget crisis?

One of the easiest and best ways to bring expenditures in line with revenues is to reduce the massive outlays for law enforcement issued to five different departments, being the Oakland Police Dept., the Alameda County Sheriff’s Dept., and the police departments of the Oakland Unified School District, the Oakland Housing Authority, and BART.  The salaries for these officials are among the highest in the country as are payments for redress of abuses by them.  Residents of Oakland are paying too much for competent law enforcement and should not be paying a dime for the harm caused by police officers. Paying more than one-third of the budget for the City to maintain law and order is too much.  It impoverishes progressive initiatives that would create a thriving city of residents sharing values of their own volition.


7. Youth -- Describe the condition of youth in Oakland? What would your priorities for youth be for Oakland government and how would they get implemented and paid for?

Please see our answers to questions 1, 2, 8, and 9.   In order for young people to make positive contributions to their communities, they must see that real power is within their grasp, and their role models must exemplify ethical behavior.


8. Police -- How do you think our community policing is going and what are the next steps? Describe the current relationship between the residents and theOakland Police. Do you suggest any changes? Do you support Restorative Justice programs and how should the city be involved, if at all.

There is no community policing policy in Oakland at this time.  Our city is occupied by military troops, masquerading as civilian police, ninety percent of whom live outside the City.  An Einstein Administration would demand that police officers reside in the departments they patrol.  In such an environment, officers would have to treat residents with respect, to show humane levels of restraint when apprehending alleged law-breakers, and to learn the steps of restorative justice.  When you work in the community you live in, you love the community you work in. 


9. Development Projects -- What are your thoughts and views about the West Oakland Army Base, The upper Broadway-Valdez Triangle, Oak to 9th and other projects?

One specific development project put forward by Einstein in his platform is the “One-Room Schoolhouse”, in which educational facilities at all levels would be consolidated with child and senior care facilities to create economies of scale in providing services that have overlapping infrastructure requirements.  If the population were not segregated by age when consuming library, media, cafeteria, paramedical, athletic, administrative, paratransit, and educational services, then the cross-fertilization that is the hallmark of a dynamic culture would be geometrically advanced.  Seniors would be able to play a supportive role in childcare.  High school students would have many more opportunities to assist elementary teachers.  The chance for all residents to make a contribution to the solidarity and well-being of their communities would be placed at their feet.

In addition, a priority for planning all development projects will be to focus on the benefits of public ownership.  In managing housing, worker-owned cooperatives, arts and recreational facilities, and parks, public administration can easily out-maneuver the hackneyed criticisms of bureaucratic incompetence if those who suffer the effects of corruption are given unredacted powers of oversight.


10. Police Misconduct.  What are your thoughts and how do you feel Oakland should deal with it? How would they get the Oakland Police past the current oversight under Judge Henderson?

If elected, Einstein has a plan for immediate implementation that will address police misconduct.  It can be read here.


11. Housing & Gentrification -- Increasing rents, dislocation, and gentrification have been in the news.  What policies do you advocate to assure thatOakland tenants are protected and that Oakland remains an economically and racially diverse city? 

A Public Bank of Oakland will offer low-interest loans to housing development and maintenance projects that are not intended to displace our City’s residents.  Under-water mortgage holders will be able to refinance with the PBofO, and the City will pursue the tactic of eminent domain to reduce the principal on those mortgages to fair market value.  Additionally, local businesses will have greater access to improvement and expansion loans desperately needed to compete with extra-national enterprises that pay little-to-nothing in local taxes.


12. Environment -- What do you think the Oakland City government should be doing about the environment?

Einstein has a specific proposal for improving Oakland’s environment: “To curtail air pollution, the routes of diesel transport vehicles shall be confined to Interstate freeways (580, 880, 980) and Rte. 24, with allowance to access only the Port of Oakland and warehouses and industries, which shall be confined to an area bordered by the Port, freeway 880, San Francisco Bay, and the Oakland Airport.  No diesel transport vehicles shall be allowed outside these areas or off these corridors while they are within the City’s limits.”  Drayage enterprises must be given a reasonable amount of time to make changes in their equipment, similar to what was achieved by AC Transit.  Additionally, Oakland’s environment can benefit if we develop a trolley-car system modeled on those widely used in other countries.

Oakland must work with other cities to prevent the shipment of crude oil by rail though our communities.  And the contract for the former Army base must be strengthened to assure that coal and other pollutants are not stored or processed on this site.

Storm water run-off is another serious environmental problem.  This contaminated water must be treated before being dumped into the Bay.

A greater share of the costs for environmental improvement must be apportioned so that those who experience a greater share of the benefits from the degradation of Oakland’s environment pay the most for its improvement, regardless of where they reside.  Oakland must not engage in a race-to-the-bottom in pursuit of outside investment. 


13. Satisfaction of Residents -- How do you think the average resident feels about city government? How would you rate the satisfaction level?

Einstein wouldn't be running if average residents weren't extremely fed-up with what "two-legged politicians" have been doing (and not doing) for many years down at City Hall.  He knows that voters have almost given up on government being able to make any significant positive changes whatsoever -- just witness the record low turnout in this past June's election!  Oakland needs "revolutionary change" -- as in making a brilliant, loving canine its next Mayor!


14. Accountability -- How do you propose making yourself accountable and accessible to the citizens of Oakland?

One of the planks in Einstein’s platform addresses the problem of accountability in a very simple way.  Penalties for crimes shall be apportioned according to wealth and access to power.  Those holding privileged positions in society – those who have benefited from educational and employment opportunities unavailable to others – must be held to higher standards of compliance with the collective will; therefore, penalties for noncompliance must be greater for the fortunate in order to successfully deter misconduct.  This principal must, of course, be applied to the chief executive authority in Oakland’s City Government.


15. Do we need an Oakland Progressive Alliance akin to the one in Richmond, and if so, who should be members?

The Richmond Progressive Alliance has been able to achieve many wonderful things, despite having to go up against California's largest corporate monster, Chevron.  They would be a great model for Oakland to follow -- except of course the Oakland Progressive Alliance will be twice as good if four-leggeds can also join, on the same basis as the two-leggeds!  (However, of course, everyone will have to agree to certain basic progressive principles and general goals).

16. Governance -- What kind of relationship could you have with other office holders? Who do you see as a working majority on council and who can you work with?

Einstein understands that the most important principal for creating and maintaining working relationships is respect.  This means, specifically, using the strategies of non-violent communication and empathic listening when debating differing points of view.  Starting from the assumption that everyone in the City’s Government strives to do her or his best will encourage the motivations of altruism.

17. Endorsements -- Who has endorsed you so far? Who do you expect to endorse you?  Who do you endorse in the other City races?  Include your #2 and 3 choices for your own race and note that this year the City races are Mayor, Council seats, School Board seats and City Auditor.

As our answer to question 1 – concerning motivation – expressed, Einstein strives to reify the will of all of Oakland’s residents.  Any deference that might be shown by voters to endorsing organizations, or to Einstein for candidates to any elective offices is at odds with this motivation.


18. Campaign Funding -- How much money do you currently have for this race? How much money do you plan to raise? Where will the money come from? Describe sources of financial contributions for your campaign that you would refuse to accept (if any).

The Committee to Elect Einstein has confined our campaign expenditures to making photocopies of our platform.  This minimal expense is met by the members of the Committee.


19. Checks and balances -- How do you view current the relationship between the Council and Mayor?  Any comments on the same question for the Auditor and City Attorney? Are there any changes they would propose to the city charter?

Einstein has addressed the need for changes in accountability, improved working relationships, and more direct democratic access to power in his answers to questions 2, 14, and 16.


20. Money in elections. -- Does Oakland need campaign finance reform?  If so, what kind?

Oakland, along with the entire country, desperately needs campaign finance reform.  In order for all citizens to have a chance at holding elective office, money cannot be a deciding factor; therefore, all candidates for public office must not use private funds.  Candidates must depend only on equally distributed revenues of the City for funding their campaigns.  To be a bit more specific, it will be acknowledged that candidates for the office of Mayor have greater funding requirements than those for positions on the City Council; therefore equal funding must be apportioned according to the size of the candidates’ electorate.  In addition, candidates for all elective offices must have equal access to publicly televised debates and self-promotion.


21. Anything Else? -- Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

If you support Einstein’s platform, then write his name in for Mayor of Oakland on your ballot, and demand that your vote be counted!

Yes or No questions (follow with an explanation if you want to add one)


-- Do you support the renewal of Measure Y?

No, Einstein's plan for vastly reducing crime means that we WON'T NEED more money for police -- in fact, we'll be able to significantly cut the police budget!  In addition, converting the soldier’s mentality instilled by the police academies to a problem-solving mentality creates a conflict for the police officer that has been too often proved to be too difficult to resolve.

Instead, we’ve investigated mental health first aid training programs for police, which have been implemented in other US cities.  Einstein will push hard to see that this training is provided at the academy level.

Officers should enter the force with the compassion and tolerance needed to interact with residents who feel threatened by the local law enforcement’s decades long reputation for disregarding the rights of residents.

-- Do you support the minimum wage proposal?

No.  Any changes to minimum wage requirements will not be effective in improving the opportunities for financial independence unless the resulting inflationary pressure on needed goods and services – such as housing, education, health care, transportation, and food – is addressed.  Einstein sees the enactment of a maximum wage requirement to be one important tool for addressing this inflationary pressure, along with the creation of the Public Bank of Oakland and the Oakland Debtors’ Union.

-- Are you in favor of a police commission?

More information is needed before answering this question.

-- Do you support Dan Kalb's proposal on oversight and transparency?

Mr. Kalb’s Ethics Commission measure is limited in its application by calculations of political feasibility.  Please see our answers to questions 1 and 14.

-- Are you in favor of receiving public complaints against police officers at the Civilian Police Review Board?

Yes, with the stipulation that details of the program must first be reviewed.

-- Would you vote for using eminent domain to abate foreclosure crisis?

Yes.  The use of eminent domain law is an expedient strategy for protecting those enduring unreasonable principal and interest rate burdens, which are not in line with fair market value or prevailing interest.   Oakland government should make haste to keep people in their homes who do not currently have the organizational resources and market-setting clout that major financial institutions – such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citi Group, and US Bank – have used to recover from the Great Recession.

-- Do you support Ranked Choice Voting?


-- Would you support Proportional Representation?

More information is needed before answering this question.

-- Do you support diverting people from prosecution if they participate in a restorative justice program?

Yes, with the stipulation that details of the program must first be reviewed.
-- Do you support Community Choice Aggregation?

Yes, CCA will help accelerate the shift away from polluting fossil fuels to 100% renewable electricity.  It will also enable Oakland residents to hold PG&E to better standards of accountability as a public utility.

-- Would you vote to allow more grey water systems?

Yes, with the stipulation that details of the program must first be reviewed.

<![CDATA[FAQ – Voting For Einstein]]>Wed, 24 Sep 2014 01:25:29 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/09/faq-voting-for-einstein.htmlFrequently asked questions about what happens to a write-in vote for Einstein for Mayor of Oakland
1.   Is Einstein an official write-in candidate?

No.  According to Alameda County election law, all qualified candidates must be US citizens and registered voters.  Our canine candidate is neither, but as we said in the preamble to our candidate’s platform, no individual – human or otherwise – should be granted the executive power to overrule the will of the people.  Executive authority was created as an expedient amendment to democratic principle at the inception of the Roman Republic (509 b.c.e.) to manage a population deemed by the wealthiest citizens to be too ignorant to govern themselves.  This same tactic was adopted by the similarly financially-privileged drafters of the US Constitution.  Candidate Einstein challenges the assumption that the residents of Oakland are too ignorant and vacillating to play a more active role in governing themselves than to vote for others to represent or misrepresent them.  Voting for Einstein means voting against executive power and against domination by the Chamber of Commerce, which is beholden to the exploitative strategies of Wall St.  Voting for Einstein is a way of proclaiming our faith in consensus, compassion, and the maxim that we all do well when we all do well.

2.   Will my ballot be spoiled if I write in “Einstein” as one of my ranked choices for Mayor?

California law states that votes for unofficial write-in candidates shall not be counted.  The Charter of the City of Oaklandmakes no further stipulations.  No prohibition of writing in an unofficial candidate’s name is anywhere expressed; therefore, since actions not prohibited by law are legal, a ballot must not be spoiled by writing Einstein as one of your ranked choices.  In other words, if you write-in your #1 choice as Einstein, your #2 and #3 choices will still be counted.

3.   Will we be able to find out how many votes were cast for Einstein?

After the election, the Committee to Elect Einstein will file a public records request with the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.  If we can assemble enough volunteers, we’ll count the votes for Einstein.

<![CDATA[Oakland Debtors’ Union]]>Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:24:00 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/08/oaklanddebtorsunion.htmlWe owe nothing to Wall St.; to our families, friends, and our communities we owe everything

One of the most important hurdles many of us must overcome before we can achieve personal financial independence is debt.  Before we can build up savings to protect us from a crisis of insolvency, we have to make payments on student loans, borrow to acquire reliable transportation needed to keep a steady job, or use a credit card to pay our taxes. We don’t make enough money to pay for the things we need, like safe housing, preventive health care, and the education required for decent jobs.  So we have to promise a lifetime of work to lenders for the things we need, which means we’ll never build up enough savings to buy a home, or start a viable business.  We won’t have confidence that we’ll be able to provide for our children’s needs, and we won’t have enough time and energy after work to contribute to the well-being of our communities.

Our candidate sees a solution that can start here in Oakland.  If those of us suffering from unreasonable debt can come together to form an organized union of debtors, then we can renegotiate the terms of our debts with the collective bargaining power of a union.  Such an organization will take time to build.  It won’t win relief overnight.  But if we start right away to create networks for sharing resources, to group individuals strategically by the institutions to which they’re indebted, and to speak with one massive voice to the bosses of high finance, then we’ll inspire people in other cities to do the same.  Together, we can succeed in demanding principal reduction and lower interest rates on what we owe. Collectively, we can command the legal and accounting expertise that corporations use to protect their profits.

Too often, we are ashamed of being in debt, because we think that owing our futures to lenders means we haven’t worked hard enough, or smart enough, or that we’ve been too impulsive to provide for the financial security of ourselves and our families.  But when so many are living paycheck-to-paycheck, it becomes evident that it is a priority of the powerful to keep us in debt.  Even those of us who owe nothing are a crisis away from bankruptcy due to an unforeseen gap in insurance coverage.  True independence has become a pipe-dream of winning the Powerball.

The cost of a college education goes up every year at a rate many times faster than inflation, while our wages don’t keep up with rising grocery and gasoline prices.  The monthly cost of housing often eats up more than half our incomes.  Insurance premiums, deductibles, co-payments, and prescriptions exploit our fears of disability to such a degree that the stress of keeping up with the bills makes us sick.  And, the way things are now, we face all these insurmountable challenges alone, as individuals, featherweights in the ring opposite giant corporations.

An Einstein Administration will build the Public Bank of Oakland, which will keep more of the profits generated by enterprises in this city from being siphoned off to Wall St.  Using this as a tool, along with an expanded and more directly democratic City Council, the City ofOakland will build networks of those in the quicksand of debt to compile their grievances. These networks will also make it possible to maximize the effective distribution of the resources they have to share, which will strengthen our collective resistance to the crippling debt suffered by too many Oakland residents.  Collective debt resistance is possible, and our candidate believes it can start to form right here in our city.

<![CDATA[You may have the right to remain silent, but you don’t have the right to remain safe]]>Mon, 18 Aug 2014 04:08:10 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/08/you-may-have-the-right-to-remain-silent-but-you-dont-have-the-right-to-remain-safe.htmlThere is a culture of violence in Oakland, and too many of the agents of that violence wear the uniforms of the Oakland Police Dept., the Alameda County Sheriff’s Dept., and by the police departments of the Oakland Unified School District, the Oakland Housing Authority, and BART.  It would be irresponsible to speculate on what motivates armed and armored officers to beat with their fists people in handcuffs, to drag them by the hair, kick them, and shock them with tasers.  Einstein For Oakland can, however, state without doubt that such brutality is illegal assault on persons not yet convicted of any crime, in hundreds of cases, and illegal even after they have been convicted.  We know that brutality by police officers and prison guards drives victims further from respecting systems of law enforcement.  And we know that violence breeds violence.  The history of trampling on the right of Oakland residents to be respected as innocents until their guilt is proved must end.  Those incarcerated consequent to conviction must be held in safety from injury and from exposure to contagious diseases while in custody.  The period of near-absolute immunity for officers of the law must pass on to one where their violent impulses are restrained, first, by fear of prosecution and, second, through respect shared mutually by the police and those they are sworn to protect.

These statements are not radical, and we doubt that any of the other candidates for Mayor of Oakland would contradict them.  But if our candidate is elected, then an independent investigation will begin immediately into all reported incidents of brutality and other abuses in the last four years by all the law enforcement departments having jurisdiction in Oakland and by the staff of Santa Rita County Jail.  At its commencement, the investigation will focus on District Attorney Nancy O’Malley for the failure of her office to pursue convictions of reckless endangerment, assault, and murder against officers accused of these crimes by their victims and the families of those victims.  When there is evidence of injury or death caused by police officers, then the District Attorney must pursue convictions in order to establish public faith in Oakland’s system of justice – a faith that does not currently exist.  This investigation will demand the unredacted documents related to these accusations received and generated by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, by Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern, Asst. Sheriff Brett Keteles, Commander Carla Kennedy, Captain Dave Brady, former Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan, BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey, Oakland Unified School Dist. Police Chief James Williams, and Oakland Housing Authority Police Chief Carel Duplessis.  Recommendations for corrective disciplinary action will be made based on review of the threads of these documents in their entirety.  Failure to cooperate will be publicized.  The Mayor will direct the Oakland City Attorney to pursue civil redress on behalf of victims.  All subsequent incidents of negligence to properly respond to emergency situations by these departments will be seen as retribution for the independent investigation.

Our candidate anticipates strong resistance to this investigation, but the Einstein administration will use all of its power to change the culture of violent intimidation amongst officers of the law.  Mayor Einstein will not cease in his efforts to raise awareness that willful and negligent injuries caused by police officers along with immunities embodied in the CA Police Officers Bill of Rights are intolerable threats to public safety.

<![CDATA[Crime Is Not An Issue]]>Sat, 26 Jul 2014 03:54:23 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/07/crime-is-not-an-issue.html“Roll over”, “Fetch”, and “Play dead” will not be the mottoes of an Einstein Administration
The top priority for a number of this year’s Mayoral candidates (we’re not familiar with the platforms for all twenty of them – in part because they haven’t all made their priorities public, at this point) is reducing crime, by which they seem to mean the crimes of the oppressed rather than those of the privileged.  We make this assumption because the most popular plans for fighting “crime” are to “put more police officers on the streets”, “get more officers out from behind their desks”, and “hire more police officers.”  If this happens, these candidates would like us to expect fewer murders, rapes, and assaults, as well as less drug-trafficking, as a result.  These are, for the most part, crimes of desperation and opportunity in a city where far-too-few legal opportunities exist for gaining security – financial, situational, educational, medical; they are responses to the stress and frustration of living paycheck-to-paycheck, of making do with no paycheck at all, of paying to live in homes where the roof leaks and the plumbing doesn’t work, of sending their children to schools in the same condition as their apartments, of hunger, and of suffering from treatable illnesses.  The tactic of making the threat of law-enforcement more visible and intimidating is intended to make those who have something to lose feel more safe while making those fighting every day to survive feel more fear.  It sends a message that Oakland’s government doesn’t care about your problems; it just wants you to obey.

A militarized police force that is not accountable for its abuses has become the symbol of Oakland.  While Oakland Police Department salaries are among the very highest in the US, so are incidents of their illegal conduct.  Restitution and restorative justice are punch-lines at police headquarters.  Instead, blanket surveillance of low-income communities and unwarranted brutality define the culture of law-enforcement in our city.

Oakland continues to be the annual host for Urban Shield, a trade show for weapons and surveillance technology dealers as well as a convention where law-enforcement and military experts share their innovations in crowd-control and SWAT-team protocols.  In addition, Urban Shield is sponsoring a new program called the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (BAUASI), which will heighten the terrorism-alert functions of those sworn to protect and serve.  Police officers will be trained to view every resident of Oakland as a potential threat to the stability of business and government.

We would be skeptical of the sanity of a serious candidate for any elected office who advocated racial profiling as a tactic for reducing crime, but let it be said for the record that our candidate strongly rejects this method of codifying racism.  He also rejects measures that restrict the freedom of residents through the presumption of guilt, such as gang injunctions and curfews.  He opposes the Urban Shield weapons show in Oakland AND the BAUASI.

Please see Planks 7-14 of our candidate’s platform.  The strategy of preventing crime with overwhelming force and intimidation is not well-conceived at all.  Crime is not an issue for the same reason that smoke alarms don't cause fires.  A very simplistic argument is often made in the media when crime is related to the economy: crime goes up when the economy goes down.  But you don't hear anyone say that the economy goes down because crime goes up.  Crime serves as an alarm telling us that a shortage of opportunities and of security - along with the curtailment of civil rights - puts stress on populations.  Such stress should not be added by a democratically-elected government to an electorate already over-burdened by stresses in the areas of housing, education, and health.  The crimes of the oppressed are the RESULTS of these many causes of desperation.  Let's focus on reducing the CAUSES of crime - of which brutal repression, disregard for civil rights, and the invasion of privacy are three!

BAD Urban Shield! BAD!       

<![CDATA[Greater Representation for the Residents of Oakland]]>Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:51:33 GMThttp://einsteinforoakland.org/2/post/2014/07/greater-representation-for-the-residents-of-oakland.html          The plank in our candidate’s platform that – judging from responses – is least understood is Plank 5: The City shall be re-districted to create [500+-] electoral districts, each to be represented by a City Councilmember.  This initiative will provide much greater access to power for residents.  Council Members will be more in-touch with those they represent.  Most respondents envision endless debate and a culture of inaction resulting from the chaos of so many City Councilmembers clamoring for recognition.  We intend to address this concern here, after a brief analysis of the current state of democracy in Oakland.

          Currently, the population of our city is reckoned at just under 400,000, while the number of City Councilmembers stands at eight, representing seven districts plus one City Councilmember At Large.  This means that the ratio of Councilmembers to residents is approximately 1:57,000.  Does such a ratio provide for direct access to democratic representation for Oakland’s residents?  We would argue instead that, in the current framework, ordinary residents have only a slightly better chance of influencing their representatives than they do of winning the lottery.  Of course, one element can improve access to democracy: money.  If wealthy residents can rent spaces or use their homes for tastefully elegant events to which their Councilmembers are tempted to attend, then they can make their voices heard.  Yes, even in a small city like Oakland, money equals speech.  But our candidate would like to live in a city where Dollars Are Not Citizens!

          Another tool that residents can use to magnify their voices loud enough to be heard is the petition.  By collecting enough signatures affirming a proposition, residents can make their needs known to Councilmembers.  All they have to do is to spend weeks wandering the streets and interrupt people in the course of their business to stop and consider a proposition and sign their names to it.  But even after all that work, the Councilmember may choose to ignore the petition, and she or he can do so with impunity by – for a time – avoiding public events where constituents are not pre-selected by a host.  The only other venue where they might have to face those whose needs they’ve rejected is in a session of the City Council where they would have to listen but could not be compelled to respond to the outrage of their constituents.

          Our candidate envisions a more direct structure for democracy where residents can interact with their representatives on a regular basis in an assembly where their voices can be more easily heard.  Under current conditions, if the residents of a district wanted to hold an assembly with their Councilmember, they’d have to secure the Oracle Stadium.  But if Oakland’s residents were represented by 500 Councilmembers, then the ratio would become 1:800, and a district assembly could be held in the auditorium of a local public school.  It would become reasonable for district residents to require their Councilmembers to attend district assemblies where voting could be held on propositions.  Direct access would become immediate.

          This brings us to concerns raised about the likelihood of chaos in sessions of a City Council with 500 members.  If those Councilmembers are attending regular district assemblies – hearing their constituents, informing them of upcoming Council agenda, and participating in debate over issues coming before the Council, then they will attend City Council meetings with their votes predetermined in their district assemblies.  They will no longer have executive decision-making power, and attempts at suasion by the other Councilmembers will be of no account.  The need for a public comment period during Council sessions will be largely preempted by the district assemblies.  Voting will take very little time and, so, the progress of democracy will move forward for Oakland, and at a much more efficient pace than ever.