Dan Siegel for Mayor of Oakland
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"We need a leader that values creating policies and priorities from the ground up and I know that Dan will do just that."

– Catalina Garzón, North Oakland

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Your Candidate. Your Town. Your Agenda.
October 16, 2014

 

The new Chamber of Commerce Poll shows #siegelforoakland moving up the ranks.  We are now ahead of Tuman and Parker, placing us in the top 4.

Large #s of Oakland voters are still undecided - which means we can still win this race.  And what we know is that when people hear about Siegel - they commit to voting for Siegel.  The time to get the word out is now!

Check out the latest #siegelforoakland videos about your candidate,  your movement and your Oakland!  Watch them, love them and share them with a friend!!!

Up Close with Siegel
The People Make History

 

Why I am Voting - And Volunteering - For Dan Siegel
October 10, 2014

 

I grew up across the bay, in the Richmond. It was mixed in the best sense of the word. It made me who I am. I left but recently returned. It's changed, and not in all good ways.

Oakland is unique. It is its own. It has amazing heritage. It’s now more my home than where I grew up.

I’m Jeff Estes. I’m Oakland proud.

I’m a digital activist. The Digital Divide is real. We need better schooling – all ages – to mitigate this. We need municipal broadband. Without equal access, under our current oligopoly, all our futures diminish.

More recently, our digital lives are under attack by our own government. Edward Snowden’s revelations exposed the mass, monitoring of nearly everything we do online. “Collect it all” is a scary notion in any society.

The Domain Awareness Center was first. ShotSpotter, the Hemisphere Project, car license scanners, drones and much more to follow, threaten the Free Speech legacy of Tha Town. Our legacy has made us targets. From Occupy, to DAC, thru Urban Shield: same song, different remix.

All of the major candidates supported these anti-participatory initiatives until exposed. Then came, “Who knew? Who knew?” as they began a hasty retreat.

If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.

All of the major candidates, with one exception. From the beginning, Dan stood – loudly – against the DAC. This caught my eye.

I've never worked for any candidate. I always said I was: “Too busy.” “It won’t make a difference.” “They’re all the same.” “Maybe tomorrow.” But wiser friends said, while the digital space is a good start, to make an impact I need to act locally, in a campaign. Then Robert Gammon wrote a great article on our slate of candidates.

Dan again stuck out. He and Anne were in the thick the Free Speech Movement. He’s served in public office in numerous capacities. He’s run a business for decades. More importantly, he won’t equivocate when faced with doing the easy, or the right, thing. Expedience vs. Principles. It’s Oakland’s time for this kind of mayor.

Progressive solutions work best. Time proves its practicality and pragmatism. Dan gets this like no other candidate. Municipal broadband. Community policing – no Fergusons here. No more backdoor attempts at mass surveillance. We also need to phase in a real livable wage - Fight For 15. Municipal banking using sensible practices that were the norm before the ‘90s. Sanctuary Oakland. A waterfront A’s stadium, with no public funds. A 21st Century Oakland. More support for alternative families and fighting for our Trans brothers & sisters. Stuff like that is what made me take the leap from digital to analog activism. From “Who Cares,” to “Friggin Dan Siegel!”

That’s my journey. That got me here. That’s why I’m voting – and volunteering – for Dan.

I won't ask if you have a favored candidate, but I will ask that you get involved. With someone. With some issue. I urge you to consider Dan. And our issues. We need you. A couple hours a week. Work must be done within the next 2-5 years, or these abuses will become the New Normal. And we'll find ourselves all locked out. 

But we won’t. Why? Because together we’re stronger than all of 'em. Every last one of us.

Knocking Down Doors of Injustice
September 23, 2014


“Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.”  - Marian Wright Edelman

Knocking Down Doors of Injustice

I learned at an early age that hatred existed in the world. And I saw that hatred manifest as oppression, violence and segregation for African Americans in my community. I came to understand that America’s social fabric was a tapestry of bigotry and Apartheid that ensured and sustained the power of a privileged few.  

Growing up in a working-class Jewish household in New York City, my parents taught me at a young age that Jews could not get jobs at big banks or the power company. But my father was quick to point out that no matter how bad we had it, “Negroes had it worse.” 

That was the beginning of my awareness that the color of my skin would open doors for me which were forever sealed shut for other Americans because of the color of their skin.  It became my mission to stand alongside those excluded from the American dream and help knock down those doors of injustice.   

In high school I joined the anti-war movement and led demonstrations against school budget cuts.  In 1963, my senior year, William Moore, a postal worker from Baltimore, was shot and killed while walking from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi to deliver a letter urging the governor of Mississippi to accept integration. This act of senseless hatred rattled me to my core.  When given the opportunity to speak at my high school graduation – I spoke about William and his deep commitment and ultimate sacrifice to busting down sealed doors. 

Following high school, I attended Hamilton College in Clinton, New York where I studied philosophy and religion and played halfback (without distinction) on the football team.


In the fall of my freshman year, I joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), a multi-racial social justice organization rooted in principles of non-violence. CORE had chapters across the country and in addition to organizing Freedom Rides throughout the South – they were training activists to challenge segregation, voter exclusion practices and the Klan’s terrorism tactics. 

Early in my membership, I worked with local leaders as part of a national campaign to secure jobs for Blacks at Woolworths, Sears, and the local power company in the Utica, N.Y. area.  Although I was called an "n-lover" and other names by fellow students, this simply strengthened my resolve.

In 1964, civil rights leaders James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were murdered in Meridian, Mississippi.  Processing their deaths was difficult at my young age as it brought the horror of what was happening in Mississippi home.  I cried, got angry and then decided to fight back.  I decided I would go South.  

In April of that year, a fellow student invited a small group of us to go to North Carolina during Spring Break to register voters.  We stayed at the YWCA in Raleigh, did voter registration and community organizing with local African- American activists.  I remember the feelings of dread as we were followed by gun-carrying Klansman at night on dark country roads.

In Raleigh, I met some people who were planning to go to Mississippi and I joined hundreds of students and local activists for Freedom Summer.  Like James, Michael and Andrew, we helped organize in Delta towns where civil rights leaders came to local churches to lead voter registration drives. 

By 1965, many Blacks felt they needed less non-violence and more emphasis on Black Power. During this time, white support for CORE began to wane, and many left the organization. I stayed, but eventually all whites were asked to leave. I was hurt by the decision but understood and respected it. 


I joined the Friends of SNCC, a coalition comprised primarily of whites working to sustain the work of SNCC through developing resources, funding and whatever else was needed.

Realizing that my life would be spent fighting for social justice and human rights, I decided to go to law school and become a civil rights attorney. In 1967, I jumped in my car and drove across country to Berkeley.  It was a hot-bed of political activity and a perfect fit to continue the struggle. 

At Berkeley I was an active supporter of the Third World Strike and became a leader in the anti-war movement.  As a result, I was elected student body president in 1969 and was promptly arrested for inciting a riot when police seized People's Park. I was acquitted.  In my last year of law school, I helped lead massive anti-war demonstrations when Nixon invaded Cambodia and after National Guard troops murdered students at Kent State and Jackson State. 

Although I passed the California Bar Exam in the summer of 1970, Governor Ronald Reagan intervened to block my license to practice law. During the three years it took to finally persuade the California Supreme Court to overrule him, I worked as a Legal Aid lawyer in East Oakland and spent a year in Southeast Asia representing American GIs who opposed the war.  After coming home I was hired as the Executive Director of the Berkeley Rent Control Board and finally received my license to practice law. 

I started my practice by opening the Fruitvale Law Collective in East Oakland, where I worked for over 13 years. We focused on employment discrimination and union democracy cases, including a case that forced Caterpillar Tractor Company in San Leandro to hire people of color and women. One of the women hired as a machinist was my (soon-to-be-wife), Anne Weills, who worked there for six years until they closed the plant. We married in 1975, after working together for many years in the anti-war movement and in support of the Black Panther Party. We have lived in East Oakland since 1975, raised our sons there, and watched proudly as both graduated from local public schools (Skyline and Berkeley HS), went to college and became Oakland school teachers.

My legal work led to involvement in workers’ struggles throughout the West, from the Nassco Shipyard in San Diego to the Alaska Pipeline, where I represented a Fairbanks union of pipeline workers. In 1973, I represented the family of a 15-year-old African-American child, Tyrone Guyton, who was killed by the Emeryville police. This case deeply affected me and opened my eyes to the never ending racial violence towards young men of color by police departments. 

For the past 20 years, Anne and I have represented faculty members and students challenging discrimination at colleges and universities across the country, including winning suits related to tenure denial at UC Berkeley.  We won the two largest verdicts in the U.S. concerning gender discrimination cases brought under Title IX. 

I have been honored to serve the people of Oakland on several boards and commissions. I was elected to the Oakland school board in 1999 and left after two terms. Much work remains to be done in that area!  I helped Mayor Elihu Harris reform the Oakland Housing Authority and am proud that it no longer makes the news like the agencies in San Francisco and Richmond.  The implementation of true community policing in Oakland is another piece of unfinished business. I helped write Oakland's Community Policing Ordinance in 1996. As mayor, I will finally implement it. 

My commitment to justice has never wavered. I became a civil rights attorney so I could give voice to the voiceless, empower the disenfranchised and challenge laws that sealed those doors so long ago.

Recently, I had the honor of representing the family of Alan Blueford and the friends of Oscar Grant, who were with him when he was murdered at Fruitvale Station by BART police.  I have consistently challenged the racist and unfair practices that hurt our young people in Oakland.


Presently Anne and I are representing California prisoners in a lawsuit to eliminate indefinite, long-term solitary confinement in the Security Housing Units and to create humane conditions in our prisons so when released, the formerly incarcerated can come back to our communities as whole human beings. 

The platforms of my Mayoral Campaign are not just sound bites or spin provided by high-priced consultants.  They represent the values and principles that have guided my life for as long as I can remember.  They are the reasons I get up every morning, why I fight for justice every day and what keeps me up every night.  I am running for Mayor because I believe our City shares these values. We want a model city where every citizen feels valued, safe and is provided with the opportunity to not just live – but to thrive.

We busted down a lot of doors in the 60’s and 70’s. But not nearly enough.  There is so much work left to do.  Come November 5th, I hope we can begin to bust down some more doors of injustice together.

Teenagers Poem Illustrates Why Ferguson Broke Our Hearts
September 18, 2014

 

Across the country, communities stood up for Mike Brown.  And at the front of the marches yelling the loudest were the young pepole most impacted by police running rogue over civilians.

The young person in this article reminds us "why Ferguson broke our hearts" - and why it is so critical to elect leadership with a proven track record of standing with the people, standing against injustice and standing for the social, civil and human rights of every member of our society regardless of race, age, gender or socioeconomic status.

 

Read the article here.

 

#siegelforoakland  #fightforoakland

Just the Facts: Siegel on the Record
September 10, 2014

JUST the Facts: Siegel on the Record


My life has been spent championing causes of social and economic justice.  And it has been quite a journey.  One that I hope culiminates working for - and with - the people of Oakland as Mayor.  As with all political candidates, curiosity about my history is front and center.  Here I am ... On the Record.


Oakland Unifed School Board (OUSD):

  • While serving on the Oakland School Board, I drafted the District's Nutrition Policy which to this day is held up as a national model of health and wellness for young people.
  • During my time as OUSD general counsel, I led a district-wide effort to create health and safety plans for all schools, which led to conflict resolution programs,school clinics, increased counseling, reduced suspension and expulsion rates, and other initiatives to solve health and safety issues without relying on the police.
  • I led the effort to hire Dennis Chaconas as Superintendent, based upon his commitment to a quality education for every student, regardless of background or life circumstances.
  • I fought for a 24% salary increase for teachers, which brought salaries from the bottom quarter to the top quarter among East Bay districts.
  • When I became the school district's general counsel in December 1989, OUSD had in place a small (6-8 officers), fully armed police department. Between 1990 and 1999, City police and OUSD officers shared responsibility for patrolling the district. When I joined the school board in 1999, the armed, OUSD police department was fully in tact. In 2001, during the budget crisis, the OUSD administration brought the board a proposal to dissolve that police department. I supported that resolution.
  • In 2001/2002, all of the OUSD officers were laid off, and OPD assumed their roles. However, the OUSD officers sued and won. They were reinstated in 2006 - my last year on the Board when the District was under State control, and the Board had no power.
  • I supported the family of Raheim Brown, who was shot to death by an OUSD police officer in 2011, win a $1.0 million settlement against the district by representing another officer who refused to go along with efforts to cover up the truth behind Raheim's murder.

KPFA

  • While serving as the Pacifica Foundation's Interim Executive Director, I criticized some local station board candidates for making racist comments about station employees. They sued me for defamation. We won and they were ordered to pay for my legal fees.
  • As a KPFA local station board member, I joined others in raising money to return the Morning Show to the air after it was cut in an act of political retribution.
  • When Nadra Foster was arrested, I helped her find legal counsel to support her through the difficulties I knew lay ahead.
  • When Summer Reese locked herself in the Pacifica offices, the board sought - and obtained - a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to end her occupation of the building.  The request for a TRO was in lieu of calling the police, who played no role in ending the occupation.

Today:

  • I am the only candidate with a proven track record of fighting for social and economic justice since I joined the Civil Rights Movement and went to the South to register voters in 1965.
  • I was the first candidate to publicly advocate for raising the minimum wage - and the only one to say it should be $15.00 an hour.
  • I am the only candidate who worked alongside the community to oppose the Domain Awareness Center.
  • I am the only candidate who joined local rallies to protest the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
  • I am the only candidate who - win or lose - will continue to fight alongside the people for these issues long after November 4th.


#nocampaignsoundbites

#siegelforoakland

#fightforoakland

Pastors Support Siegel
September 10, 2014

Last night, the Pastors of Oakland voted to support Dan Siegel, Joe Tuman and Bryan Parker as their choices for the Oakland mayoral seat.

This is just one more sign of many telling us that our campaign is gaining momentum at lightening speed, and that Oakland voters are ready for change!  Business as usual is not going to work in The Town anymore.

"I am very happy to be endorsed by the Pastors of Oakland. I appreciate their confidence in my leadership ability and my many years of fighting for civil rights throughout this country."

And the pastors were just the beginning!

On Monday, we learned that the Oakland Rising Action Fund has endorsed the #siegelforoakland campaign as #1!

 

Siegel Campaign Releases Policy Paper on Immigration
September 5, 2014

 

September 4, 2014
Contact: Cat Brooks, media@siegelforoakland.org, 510-506-2341

 

(OAKLAND) – Today, Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel released his 7th policy paper, detailing his agenda on immigration reform.
 
“Right now our police department is providing information to federal law enforcement that leads directly to deportations,” said Siegel. “That needs to stop. Everyone deserves to feel safe when they need to contact the police for help and everyone deserves access to health care and a decent education, regardless of where they were born.”
 
Siegel’s plan consists of seven priority areas for immigration policy in Oakland and California:

  • Stop OPD from turning over people who should be “cited and released” under California law to Alameda County.
  • Create a program that will provide a personal advocate to every detained person facing immigration issues.
  • Stop the OPD practice of providing information like police records, license plate reader scans and other data to Federal agencies via regional Fusion Centers.
  • Enact non-citizen voting rights.
  • Ensure that all of Oakland’s residents have access to medical care.
  • Improve educational opportunities.
  • Expand access to banking services.

Siegel also issued a statement challenging the City of Oakland to follow San Francisco’s lead and protect the immigrant children arriving to the United States from South and Latin America.  He has offered pro-bono legal services for these children and issued a call to other Oakland attorneys to join the team.

The entire report and statement can be found at www.siegelforoakland.org/blog

###

Dan Siegel Starts Pro Bono Lawyers For Undocumented Children, Challenges Oakland City Officials To Assist Immigrant Children
September 4, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Cat Brooks, 510-506-2341, media@siegelforoakland.org


Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

 
“Mayoral candidate and civil rights attorney Dan Siegel, has started a network of lawyers in the East Bay to provide free legal representation to undocumented children who have migrated to this country without their parents.


“Today, Dan Siegel calls on Oakland's city officials to take a stand: to demand legal representation for all youth refugees who are currently in – or who will come to our city; to provide monetary assistance as San Francisco is doing - so that legal aid can be effectively directed. We call on Oakland leaders and citizens to stand up and say no to this current deportation policy and yes to the children who so desperately need us.”

“More than 60,000 children have fled to the United States from Central America in the last ten months. The United States government has been sending many of them back - often without any access to legal representation or even a hearing – to countries where they face the risk of violence, sexual abuse or death.

“San Francisco has been taking steps to provide legal assistance to these children. When given legal representation, these child refugees are allowed to stay in the United States 50% of the time, while without such aid 90% are being deported.  

“But Oakland has been silent. Not a single elected Oakland politician has proffered an opinion on this refugee crisis - despite that fact that hundreds of refugee children are temporarily in our city, members of our community, going to Oakland's schools while awaiting their deportation hearings.

“Some of the deportations that have occurred stand in violation of a Bush-era law enacted by Congress in 2008 which prohibits repatriation of minors without a hearing. And even though it has been being honored in breach at times, the Obama administration wants to law modified to make it still easier to deport unaccompanied children.

Imagine a 2-year old facing a judge – without a lawyer.  It is happening.  Here in America. Every day.

“This is a humanitarian issue. This defines who we are as a people. We believe we need to provide a safe haven for all of these children if – and until - such time they can return safely to their families in Central America. 

“Parents do not send their children across the world because they want to. With hearts torn in half, they send them away because they know their children face certain death if they remain.  Sending these young people back to these horrific conditions is comparable with murder.

For attorneys interested in joining this effort, please contact Siegel & Yee to join Dan Siegel and his associates in providing pro-bono representation for these children.

###

Not In Our City: No Urban Shield
September 4, 2014

 

“Urban Shield continues to test regional integrated systems for prevention, protection, response and recovery in our high-threat, high-density urban area” – Urban Shield Website 

Tomorrow, the City of Oakland will welcome Urban Shield for three days of “preparedness training” for law enforcement agencies.  Sponsored by major weapons manufacturing companies, the conference will consist of emergency preparedness drills for first responders to earthquakes, wildlife disasters … and protestors.

And although Oakland does not usually allow gun shows within city borders, Urban Shield will host manufacturers of weapons, guns and bullets to show and sell their wares. Vendors will include Adamson Police Products, International Armored Group, Patriot Ordnance Factory Rifles and Winchester Ammunition.

The militarized response to protests in Ferguson following the murder of Mike Brown has the country questioning why local law enforcement agencies have access to – and are utilizing – weapons and technologies once reserved for battlefields. A good reason has yet to surface.

In Oakland, this is rubbing salt into fresh wounds.  Given the city's disturbing history of brutal force against people of color and peaceful protestors – it is unacceptable to open our arms and welcome agencies that glorify violence, weaponry and militarized responses to the people of Oakland.

Last year, Urban Shield was met with community protest – and will be again.  Oakland residents have sent a clear message: No Urban Shield in Our City. 

But they are back again. Why? 

Because leaders in City Government have once again approved the expenditures and reimbursements for the participation of the Oakland Police and Fire Departments in Urban Shield. 

Yet, last year Councilmember Lynette Gibson-McElhaney demonstrated her disdain for the conference by pulling her support for the budget item.  And Councilmember Libby Schaaf stated at a Public Safety meeting, “This is not a good fit with Oakland.”  Yet, the only resistance to Urban Shield has come from the people. Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and Mayor Jean Quan have also been silent.

OPD's SWAT Entry team has competed in Urban Shield for the past seven years. Its members have all been involved in at least one officer-involved shooting, including Patrick Gonzales, who killed Gary King in 2007. Officer Fran Uu savagely beat Kayvan Sabeghi in 2011.

This is not the Oakland in which we want to raise our children.  This is not an Oakland where we can feel safe.  And if City leaders are actively – or passively – allowing Urban Shield into our City - this is not a city government in which we can put our faith.

The cities of San Jose and Davis just sent their "tanks" back to the Pentagon.  It's time that Oakland said "No more" to participation in Urban Shield and no to the militarization of law enforcement.  We are a community of  families, mothers, fathers, children neighbors, teachers, activists, and business owners.  We are not a “high-threat urban area”.  We are not a battle field.  Our city government must respect us as such.

The Town Has A Zero Tolerance Policy for Hate
August 28, 2014

The noose found on a city public workers’ truck is a reprehensible display of hatred. Even more disturbing are reports that this is not the first time.  This is a disturbing pattern of bigotry in a City with zero tolerance for such sentiments. To say this act is unacceptable would be a gross understatement. Those responsible must be quickly identified, terminated and prosecuted for hate crimes.
 
The Mayor’s statement to KPIX news that tensions within the Public Works Agency are more centered around "who gets promoted and who does not" is also a grossly unacceptable response from our City leader and lacks the needed leadership for combating this blight in our City.
 
The noose is a symbol of the shameful history of hatred and violence towards African Americans in this country.  It is a threat to the well-being of the recipient - and their loved ones and no doubt triggers terror.
 
The Mayor and City Council need to take this matter seriously. We demand that they identify and terminate those responsible; and provide an immediate apology to our African-American City Employees.
 
One of the best things about living in Oakland is our diversity and progressive principles of inclusion.  Hate has no place in The Town. 
 
Finally, the City has some long-term work to do around race relations.  There should be an immediate review of how Oakland City Government deals with these instances.  Additionally, race trainings, cultural competency workshops and counseling for those traumatized should be part of a community healing plan that is immediately drafted – with input from workers –  and implemented throughout every City agency.”
 
Dan Siegel

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