Editorial: Pam Harris now the best pick for Oakland council

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The race for a key Oakland City Council seat that could profoundly affect the city’s fiscal future was upended in mid-October when Charlie Michelson abruptly withdrew because of a “deeply personal matter” that he has not explained.

At the time, Michelson was considered one of the front-runners in Tuesday’s election for the District 4 seat currently held by Annie Campbell Washington, who opted not to seek re-election.

Pamela Harris (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)

Michelson had been endorsed by Campbell Washington, Mayor Libby Schaaf and this newspaper. During our candidate interviews in September, he was by far the standout candidate, best understanding the financial challenges the city faces.

His withdrawal prompted us to re-interview the three current leading candidates. And what we found pleasantly surprised us: Two candidates who were weak on important city finance issues when we last talked had done a lot of homework in the intervening five weeks.

As a result, we now recommend that voters in District 4 — which stretches from Montclair to the edge of the Fruitvale District — elect Pamela Harris, an accounting consultant and filmmaker.

Harris has intriguing ideas for encouraging more home construction and increasing efficiencies in city operations. Most significantly, she recognizes that the mayor and City Council must make tough choices as Oakland faces a $100 million projected shortfall for the next fiscal year and a nearly $2.8 billion shortfall in the city’s public employee pension and retiree health programs.

Nayeli Maxson (Laura A. Oda/Bay Area News Group)
No. 2 pick: Nayeli Maxson

Under the city’s ranked-choice voting system, our second recommendation is Nayeli Maxson, an attorney and executive director of a non-profit that helps small businesses run by women, people of color and veterans raise money. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


4 Southern California white supremacists charged with conspiracy, rioting after attacks at Berkeley and other political rallies

A federal grand jury on Thursday charged four Southern California men accused of belonging to a white supremacist street gang that caused violence at political rallies across the state with conspiracy and rioting.

The members of the Rise Above Movement were accused in the indictment of traveling to the rallies with the specific purpose of “participating in hand-to-hand combat” with protesters and others while using footage of the fights to attract more recruits.

“RAM represented itself publicly as a combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy and identity movement,” jurors said in the indictment.

All four men — Robert Rundo, 28 of Huntington Beach, Robert Boman, 25, of Torrance, Tyler Laube, of Redondo Beach, and Aaron Eason, 38, of Anza — were charged with one count each of conspiracy.

Round, Boman and Eason were also charged with one count each of rioting.

The charges were tied to attacks at three rallies last year in Huntington Beach, San Bernardino and Berkeley.

Each of the charges carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, said Thom Mrozek, a U.S. Department of Justice spokesman, in a written statement.

Rundo, Boman, and Laube were arrested on Oct. 24, while Eason surrendered on Oct. 29.

Federal officials accused the men of assaulting two journalists at the “Make America Great Again” rally at Bolsa Chica State Beach in March 2017, which drew 2,000 people.

Boman punched a counter-protester in the back of the head, grabbed him by the back of his neck, and threw him to the ground, according to the complaint.

RAM members celebrated the attacks on a neo-Nazi website and recruited other white supremacists, including Miselis, to join them at a rally in Berkeley and combat training in San Clemente, the document states. Eason used his credit card to rent a van for the trip, according to the affidavit.

Rundo, who Mrozek …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


A nation in need of repair

This is the editor’s letter in the current issue of The Week magazine.

When the white nationalist accused of killing 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue last week arrived at an emergency room with several bullet wounds, he shouted, “I want to kill all the Jews!” The doctor and the nurse waiting to treat Robert Bowers at Allegheny General Hospital were Jewish; the hospital’s president, Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, belongs to the Tree of Life congregation Bowers attacked. They tended to Bowers as they would any patient. “We’re here to take care of sick people,” Cohen said. “You do what you think is right.” Cohen made a point of talking to Bowers, to see what kind of person could turn an AR-15 on grandfathers and grandmothers and two disabled men. He saw not a monster, but “a very lost guy” who’d listened to the “noise” telling him that white, Christian America was being invaded by Jews, by a caravan of Central Americans, by foreign vermin. “Words mean things,” Cohen said. “Words are leading people to do things like this.”

This feels like a pivotal time for our country. There are bombs in the mail, blood in the temple, and bigotry and division in the air. How many more lost, seething souls like Bowers and accused Florida bomb-maker Cesar Sayoc are out there, becoming radicalized by the “noise” coming from the White House, the TV, and the internet? What happens after the election, when partisan conflict will almost surely intensify? Amid the ugliness, it is easy to forget that our country is filled with decent, principled people like Jeffrey Cohen and his staff — people who hate no one, and who struggle every day to do what is right even when it hurts. I’m not Jewish, but I am moved by …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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