Brown names Oakland’s Tagami to lottery panel

Oakland political and business deal-broker Phil Tagami was one of three Democrats nominated to the California Lottery Commission today by his longtime political ally Gov. Jerry Brown.

Tagami, 46, has worked at the California Capital and Investment Group since 1992, serving as president and chief executive officer since 2009. He’s been responsible for leading the redevelopments of the Rotunda Building in Frank Ogawa Plaza, the Fox Theater on San PabloTelegraph Avenue in the Uptown district, and the West Oakland train station.

Phil Tagami in the Rotunda Building Nov. 2011 (Photo by Susan Tripp Pollard)Tagami has been a significant Democratic campaign benefactor, co-hosting fundraisers for the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2007 and Brown in 2009.

As mayor, Brown had named Tagami to Port of Oakland’s Board of Commissioners, on which he served from 2000 to 2003. Tagami also has had a close relationship with former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, formerly of Oakland; Perata named Tagami in 2008 to the California Transportation Commission, on which he served for a year.

Tagami has hinted in the past that he might be interested in running for elected office in Oakland, and a gubernatorial appointment certainly won’t hurt his public resume.

This nomination requires confirmation by the state Senate and the compensation is $100 per diem. The five-member lottery commission meets at least quarterly and “is charged with the authority and responsibility to oversee the Lottery and to ensure its integrity, security and fairness.”

Also nominated to the California Lottery Commission today were Nathaniel Kirtman III, 40, of Sherman Oaks, the senior vice president of publicity for NBC Universal since 2006; and John Smolin, 43, of Long Beach, a Los Angeles County firefighter and union official.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    The job is a nothing-burger, a sinecure for party loyalists.

  • FYI … the Fox Theater in Oakland is on Telegraph Ave.


  • Josh Richman

    Argggh. Thanks, Mark; can’t imagine what I was thinking, given all the imbibing I’ve done in recent years at Cafe Van Kleef, Flora, Dogwood and Make Westing, all right there on Telegraph. On the other hand, maybe it’s because of all that imbibing…

  • Daud Abdullah

    Truly a really good person has been put in this position.