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Oakland developer named to state medical board

A prominent Oakland developer and political mover and shaker was appointed to the embattled California Medical Board on Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Phil Tagami in the Rotunda Building Nov. 2011 (Photo by Susan Tripp Pollard)Phil Tagami, 47, of Oakland, has served in various positions at the California Capital and Investment Group since 1992, including president and CEO. He’s been responsible for leading the redevelopments of the Rotunda Building in Frank Ogawa Plaza, the Fox Theater on Telegraph Avenue in the Uptown district, and the West Oakland train station.

He also has worked in public service for more than 20 years with various municipal and state appointments, including chair of the California Lottery Commission from 2012 to 2013 (another appointment by Brown), commissioner of the California Transportation Commission from 2008 to 2009, commissioner of the California State Park and Recreation Commission from 2003 to 2006 and commissioner of the California State World Trade Commission from 2002 to 2003.

Tagami was commissioner of the Oakland Landmarks Preservation Review Board from 1994 to 1996 and commissioner of the Oakland Environmental Affairs Commission from 1992 to 1994. As Oakland’s mayor, Brown had named Tagami to Port of Oakland’s Board of Commissioners, on which he served from 2000 to 2003.

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. Tagami also has had a close relationship with former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, formerly of Oakland; it was Perata who named Tagami to the California Transportation Commission.

This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem.

The California Medical Board has been under attack lately, accused of failing to properly discipline doctors accused of having harmed patients; there’s particular concern that the board has turned a blind eye to reckless prescriptions.

Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Los Altos, and state Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles, have introduced legislation that would strip the board of its investigative powers and give those powers instead to the state Attorney General, leaving the board to deal mainly with licensing. And the Sacramento Business Journal reports today that a similar initiative may be in the works for the November 2014 ballot.

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.