Canard Watch, Local Politics Edition

by Mark Wilson

Every now and then, I scan through my spam folder to make sure that legitimate emails aren’t getting sucked in there and also to read some of the interesting scams that get sent to spam (e.g., someone has viewed your LinkedIn profile, here’s a loan offer, would you be interested in a construction contract to help rebuild in Libya).

But I got a campaign ad from Ignacio De La Fuente. De La Fuente really is giving up his District 5 City Council seat in order to run for the City Council’s At-Large seat. To do so, he must oust the infinitely more progressive Rebecca Kaplan, who — along with de la Fuente and Jean Quan — was on the ballot for mayor in 2008. (After the election, De La Fuente had a bad case of sour grapes. Because he won only a plurality of the votes for mayor, Oakland’s brand-new instant runoff voting kicked in, and Jean Quan ended up winning the race, thanks in large part to being the progressive #2 choice after Kaplan.)

So how is De La Fuente going to oust Kaplan? By lying. Here’s what the email ad said:

Oakland Police Officers Association Stands with Me to Demand Increased Public Safety

I am proud to announce the exclusive endorsement of the hard working men and women of the Oakland Police Officers Association (OPOA.)  I am honored to have the support of those who put their lives on the line daily to provide public safety to the residents and businesses of our City.

In a City which consistently tops the charts as one of the most violent in America, it is critical that those of us in elected office do everything we can to support our police officers.

The endorsement of the OPOA is of particular significance because it shows that while we may not always agree; our officers want a leader who is willing to make decisions, no matter how difficult.  Barry Donelan, President of the OPOA stated, “We may not always agree but the OPOA knows, that Ignacio is the only person in this race that is willing to roll up his sleeves and do something about the crime problem in Oakland – he is known as a man of action not rhetoric.”

This City needs leaders that don’t duck votes or abstain from voting on difficult issues – I’m proud to say that in my 20 years as a Councilmember, I’ve never backed down from my responsibility of making decisions, I’ve NEVER abstained on a vote – and that’s what real leaders do.

Having said that, I’ve never overstepped my boundaries and interfered with officers’ ability to do their job. I’ve been on the Council almost 20 years and I’ve never stepped in front of a police officer to keep him or her from doing their job – it took Kaplan only two years on the Council to put that on her list of accomplishments.  For the past six years our City has not only lacked strong leadership – it has done more to tie the hands of our police officers and interfere with their ability to do their job than it has to work on real proposals to help reduce crime.

For the past four years I have watched Rebecca Kaplan talk about all the problems in Oakland, but she has done nothing to make things better.  She has not brought forward one single proposal to deal with the public safety crisis that threatens every business and every resident in the City of Oakland – not one.  I’ve heard her say a million times that she is working to get the guns out of Oakland but she has not done a single concrete thing.

Oakland doesn’t need more orators, Oakland needs leaders that support our police and actually put in the time to support them via legislative proposals to give them additional tools to do their job.

I look forward to continuing my work to demand increased public safety in our City.  Enough with elected officials who talk more than they act.  I will continue bringing forward proposals to deal with this crime epidemic – gang injunctions, youth protection curfews, anti-loitering legislation – these are all things which I’ve proposed and which Kaplan has opposed.  Oakland has had 86 homicides this year; we don’t have the luxury of not trying new solutions.

Ignacio De La Fuente has an image problem with the Oakland Police Department. Though he claims he’s “never overstepped [his] boundaries and interfered with officers’ ability to do their job,” it was de la Fuente — not Kaplan — who voted to lay off 10% of the Oakland Police Department in 2010. Kaplan voted against the layoffs. After the layoffs, the crime rate in Oakland increased. And it’s De La Fuente’s District 5 that contributes 35% of Oakland’s violent crime. Moreover, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan endorses Kaplan’s community policing initiative. That doesn’t bode well for Ignacio.

So, naturally, he’d resort to representing that he’s totally on the OPD’s side. Even though he’s not.