One of the most intriguing aspects of the campaign for the District 2 Council seat is the amount of outside influence that is being brought to bear in an effort to shape the final result. As far as I can tell, these external influences are far out of proportion to anything seen previously in any recent city council race.

I addressed this issue briefly in a letter published November 1 in the Oakland Tribune. Here’s my original, unedited version. If I were to write the same letter today, I’d place Oaklanders for New Leadership on the very top of my “I can’t believe they’re doing this” list.

“Oaklanders,” a shadowy PAC officially organized October 25, is responsible for half a dozen campaign mailers in support of Aimee Allison in just ten days at a cost of roughly $10,000 for each. If you read the Oakland Tribune, you may have noticed quarter-page Allison ads paid for by the same group.

The group has also been reported to be the money behind the truly egregious “push poll” that asked voters: “Would you support Pat Kernighan if you knew her close associates were being investigated by the FBI?”

A mailer too far?

Their mailer implying that Pat Kernighan was personally responsible for a 300-percent jump in Oakland’s murder rate may come back to bite Allison. Last week, Heather MacDonald reported in the Tribune that Mayor-Elect Ronald Dellums was clearly angered by this and other independent pro-Allison mailers as well as her unauthorized use of his photo in Allison campaign literature—implying an endorsement she has not received.

As you are probably aware, Dellums had negotiated an agreement with OakPAC that prevented them from further expenditures in support of Kernighan as well as for Sandre Swanson and Courtney Ruby.

In reaction to the independent expenditures on behalf of Allison’s candidacy, Deborah Campbell Ford, a Dellums’ spokesperson, was quoted as saying:

The community will have to decide whether they want to support a candidate who is associated with violating the spirit of the agreement. The mailer sent a bad message and is in bad faith.

Allison and her big-money supporters were clearly not fazed by this slap on the wrists from the man whose vision for Oakland as a model city she claims to share.

The hits keep on coming

The latest abomination is a $6,600 mailer in Chinese and English that blames Kernighan for an upsurge in crime in Chinatown—including the same discredited claim that murders are up 300 percent—four times the actual total.

This hit piece is particularly ironic given the blog entry currently on Aimee’s site:

Shame on them. Negative campaigning — particularly character smears — is intended to supress voter turnout. I'll bet their campaign strategy depends on the younger, darker, or poorer voters staying home on Election Day, disgusted by the process and confused by these messages. But we got what they ain't — street heat. Their hateful intent will be washed away in a sea of orange (and black and white and brown and yellow and red).

Apparently, it’s such an effective tactic that Allison has adopted it herself in the largely pro-Kernighan Asian community, where Allison has minimal support. In the process, she has also likely indulged in some psychogical projection:

…a defense mechanism in which one attributes (“projects”) to others, one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts or/and emotions.

A New Oakland Order?

So who or what is Oaklanders for New Leadership? According to Heather MacDonald, the bulk of the contributions they reported (to that date) came in the form of a $35,000 contribution from Quinn Delaney. Ms. Delaney may be an Oakland resident, but it seems highly unlikely. The last address I could confirm for her was #1 Seaview—a Piedmont mansion that she sold in 2002—presumably for a sum adequate to buy an election with plenty of money to spare.

As an aside to Robert Gammon, the East Bay Express columnist who referred to me and my neighbors as “Feinstein Democrats who reside in million-dollar homes in Crocker Highlands,” I’m afraid I don’t have that option. When I retire, I can count on a very small Social Security check, so here I am instead, pounding away on my keyboard trying to keep people informed.

Now, in second place on my list of outside influences is the Green Party. Ms. Allison is, perhaps, their only hope for a victory in this election and they are pulling out all the stops. In their Voting Guide, they say: “The County and Oakland Green Parties—as well as activists from other Bay Area Green Party chapters—are well represented among the many volunteers involved in Aimee’s campaign.”

I really don’t understand why theGreens attract support. Their environmental platforms are overshadowed by their often extremist positions.

If Allison is elected and they have their way, they will undoubtedly encourage new retail in Oakland—as long as it doesn’t include the Gap, Citibank and other big corporations that engage in “global oppression.” In addition, the Greens cost us the Presidency in 2000. Instead of beating up on Pat Kernighan, they should be blaming Ralph Nader for the War in Iraq and for all the unspeakable harm President Bush has perpetrated.

Speaking of which, the Grand Lake Theatre marquee currently reads, “We support Aimee Allison and Debra Bowen.” Maybe somebody should tell Allen Michaan that Allison endorsed Forrest Hill for Secretary of State. If the Greens provide the losing margin in that race, Michaan will very likely blame it on rigged voting machines. Unfortunately, Debra Bowen won’t be around to fix them.

Allison with a foot in each camp?

On the other hand, I have to admit I’m going to feel a bit sorry for the Greens. If they haven’t noticed, Allison is running away from her Green Party credentials—appearing in a recent campaign mailer posed next to Phil Angelides with an appeal to Democrats. Just for the record, Angelides was just as steamed as Dellums over the unauthorized use of his photo. Win or lose, Greenies you’ve been used and are about to be Audie Bocked!