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.
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.
“(E)ven without a favorable ruling at this juncture, we’ve reached our ultimate goal with the lawsuit: stopping further violence by OPD against protesters,” ACLU staff attorney Linda Lye blogged today. “Since the filing of the lawsuit, there has not been a repeat of police violence. OPD has toned down its bad behavior. Whether the timing is coincidental, it’s not a far stretch to assume that being under the scrutiny of yet another court may have impacted OPD’s approach to handling demonstrations.”
“(P)laintiffs sought a restraining order requiring defendants’ compliance with the entire Crowd Policy. Now they seek an order enjoining Oakland from violating four specific provisions of the Crowd Policy, which govern dispersal orders, and the use of less lethal munitions, flash bang grenades, and tear gas,” Seeborg wrote in his ruling. “As before, the proposed order would require the court to supervise and oversee defendants’ compliance with its own policy. Accordingly, federalism principles still disfavor judicial oversight of local law enforcement agencies, absent evidence of concerted, officially-sanctioned violations of constitutional rights.”
“Whatever the relative strength of each side’s factual record, mere proof of police misconduct does not entitle plaintiffs to an injunction,” the judge wrote. “(B)ecause plaintiffs have not shown a pattern of officially sanctioned misconduct, they have not dispelled doubt as to their standing for injunctive relief, and therefore cannot establish a likelihood of success on the merits.”
UPDATE @ 4:07 P.M.: Gregory Fox, the city’s lawyer, said the city appreciates the attention Seeborg paid to Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan’s testimony. “The judge clearly recognized the chief is committed to both allowing free speech to take place on the streets of Oakland while maintaining order and safety for all those concerned.”
Metz and Lewis wrote that they did their survey in the public interest, not for any third-party client.
“Our employees either live in Oakland or in neighboring East Bay cities; the Snow Park encampment is next door to the office we work out of every day; and the encampment in the Plaza was just a half mile down the street before the November 14 raid brought it to an end,” they wrote. “Our business is finding out what people think, and the Occupy Oakland movement is a subject we all wanted to know more about.”
They acknowledge they couldn’t capture a statistically representative sample of so fluid and self-defined a movement, so they sent professional interviewers out with the goal of talking to as diverse a selection of protestors as possible. The interviewers were out in Frank Ogawa Plaza on Wednesday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 12, at various times between noon and 6 p.m., talking to campers and visitors.
“While we certainly can’t say that our results reveal the views of Occupy Oakland with statistical precision, we can say that over the course of 109 interviews, we were able to learn a lot about the Oakland movement and the opinions and attitudes of the people who identify with it,” they wrote.
Among other things, they found persistence: 64 percent of those interviewed identified themselves as “frequent” participants in Occupy Oakland events, while 21 percent said they were “occasional visitors.” About 74 percent said they were from the Bay Area, including 48 percent from Oakland, 12 percent from elsewhere in Alameda County and 14 percent from other Bay Area locales. And almost everyone said they would keep participating in the movement “indefinitely.”
The protestors were fed up with both political parties, seeing widespread corruption throughout the system, and were lukewarm about President Barack Obama. Still, there is a partisan leaning – while 43 percent view the Democratic Party unfavorably, 74 percent see the Republican Party unfavorably and 67 percent see the Tea Party movement unfavorably. Views of the president were split about evenly: 33 percent favorable, 30 percent unfavorable and 34 percent neutral.
But 70 percent said they’re registered to vote and intend to do so in the 2012 presidential election, and that subset was slightly more likely to have a favorable opinion of President Obama; those who said they would not vote were more likely to view him negatively.
A federal judge yesterday denied civil liberties groups’ and activists’ request for a temporary restraining order to keep Oakland police from using excessive force in violation of their own crowd-control policies.
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg directed the parties to file briefs before appearing at a Nov. 30 hearing on whether a preliminary injunction should be issued.
But in his ruling Wednesday, Seeborg said issuing a temporary restraining order now would require him to supervise and oversee the Oakland police’s compliance pending further hearings, and even if everything the plaintiffs claim in their lawsuit is true, they haven’t satisfied the legal standards “for such an expansive and unfettered order.”
“To justify an order generally requiring Oakland to comply with its Crowd Control Policy, plaintiffs must show that such ‘systemwide relief’ is necessary to prevent defendants from concertedly violating the protesters’ constitutional rights,” the judge wrote. “Sporadic or isolated violations of individual protesters’ rights are insufficient to support broad injunctive relief against an entire agency.”
Seeborg wrote that Occupy Oakland protests have continued for days on end without any alleged unconstitutional interference from local authorities. “By plaintiffs’ account, actionable conduct has occurred on no more than two to three occasions, spanning a number of hours, in over a month of almost continual demonstrations taking place across Oakland. Thus, plaintiffs’ request must fail on its own terms.”
The plaintiffs also failed to show a likelihood of immediate, irreparable harm “because the Occupy Oakland protests have continued for over a month with relatively limited confrontations,” the judge wrote.
“Both parties maintain compelling interests,” he acknowledged. “Plaintiffs, of course, seek to protect and exercise their First and Fourth Amendment rights in ways that implicate the public interest. The defendants, on the other hand, have indisputably accommodated the majority of the demonstrations, and seek to protect the safety and property of other Oakland residents.”
ACLU staff attorney Linda Lye said she and her clients “are disappointed” by Seeborg’s denial of a temporary restraining order. “OPD is taking the position that it has not violated the crowd control policy at all, and the judge basically said in his order denying the TRO that the evidence was too anecdotal,” she said.
The plaintiffs disagree with that, Lye said, but whether anecdotal or not, Oakland police have acted in ways that not only injured protestors but also has made others afraid to protest, thus chilling their exercise of First Amdendment rights. “We’re doing our best to ensure OPD does not continue to trample on protesters’ rights.”
U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg immediately issued an order requiring the city to respond by 5 p.m. today, Tuesday, Nov. 15.
The groups sued on behalf of Timothy Scott Campbell, a videographer who was shot with a bean bag projectile while filming police presence during Occupy Oakland on the night of November 2-3, 2011, and other demonstrators who say they were subjected to excessive force during recent demonstrations.
“I was filming police activity at Occupy Oakland because police should be accountable,” Campbell said in the ACLU’s news release. “Now I’m worried about my safety from police violence and about retaliation because I’ve been outspoken.”
ACLU staff attorney Linda Lye said “excessive police force is never acceptable, especially when it’s in response to political protest.” And NLG attorney Rachel Lederman said the Oakland police’s “unconstitutional actions against protestors on those two nights were wholesale and flagrant violations of Oakland’s own Crowd Control Policy.”
The lawsuit argues the police’s conduct violates the Fourth Amendment by subjecting protesters who posed no safety concerns to unnecessary and excessive force, and violates the First Amendment by interfering with their rights to assemble and demonstrate. The lawsuit asks for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, arguing the department has shown by its recent actions that it will continue to violate protesters’ constitutional rights unless a court intervenes.
Here’s a video, uploaded Saturday, of an incident that occurred during the fracas that followed the Occupy Oakland general strike early Thursday morning.
I talked this morning with Scott Campbell, 30, of Oakland, who says he’s the man who was holding the camera.
“When I was approaching the line, an officer told me to stop and step back, so I stepped back 5 or 10 feet and started filming, and I asked if that was ok,” he said.
He said he received no reply until the shot was fired.
“Some of my friends saw me get shot and they ran up and get me into a doorway,” Campbell said; someone brought an ice-pack while a legal observer took down information, and then his friends helped him get to a taxi.
He said he has a 1-1/2 inch wound on his upper right thigh, with considerable swelling and bruising around it. He saw a doctor the next day, who told him to keep the wound bandaged and iced.
“At first I was just stunned, and in an immense amount of pain,” he said. “In real time, I didn’t see the officer raise and fire his weapon… it was just shock, I was extremely shaken. And since then what I’m really wondering is what was going through that person’s head that made him think it was OK to shoot another person with a less-than-lethal weapon for doing absolutely nothing wrong.”
Campbell said he does social and digital media work for a local nonprofit and supports Occupy Oakland. “I don’t camp out there, I’ve been a participant but not an active organizer,” he said. “I’ve come out for general assemblies and marches, and I came out that day for the general strike to show my support.”
He said he brought his camera that night because he wanted to document any excessive force used by police, never imagining that might make him a target. “I don’t know if I was in the right place at the wrong time or the wrong place at the right time.”
He said he wants an independent, not internal investigation of this and other reports of excessive force, and is considering whether to take legal action.
“I’ve been discussing it with some individuals from the National Lawyers Guild, so far nothing’s been decided,” Campbell said this morning. “It’s shocking that someone who is a police officer felt it was appropriate to do that. I’m not sure what the options are, but I would like to have the officer identified and I would like for him to be held accountable.”
We’re contacting the city for a response, and this item will be updated if there’s a reply.
UPDATE @ 6:05 P.M.: Read our more complete report here.
After spending 21 hours on the street covering the Occupy Oakland general strike Wednesday and early Thursday, I’ve talked to a few other media outlets about what happened.
On Thursday, it was BBC Radio 4’s “The World Tonight;” the pertinent segment starts at about 36:25. On Friday, I talked with Scott Shafer of KQED’s “The California Report.” And on Friday night, I was on KQED’s “This Week in Northern California.”
Even as “This Week” was ending, a viewer e-mailed me with a critique.
On KQED this evening, you said how unfortunate it was that the powerful message was being lost with the Occupy movement because of the actions of a vast minority (the midnight vandalism). But then, with valuable television time, having a real opportunity to discuss this fundamental unbalance in our society you, what do you do?
You lay an egg.
An opportunity to relay the message of the majority (aka the 99%) and to provoke a real debate, you continued to focus on the fringe.
You’re right Josh, it is unfortunate. Next time I guess.
I understand Gary’s disappointment, but I disagree. We made it abundantly clear – as our Bay Area News Group coverage this week consistently has – that most of Wednesday’s strike was peaceful and powerful, with a cross-section of the community united in voicing its frustration over income inequality, lack of economic opportunity and a dearth of resources for education and other public services.
But it only takes a few dozen morons to muddy the water. Anyone who thinks the media (or the world) can ignore their deliberate provocation of police action – by invading and defacing private property, by building and burning barricades on public streets – and the resultant damage to property and civic reputation is being disingenuous at best.
Civil disobedience entails accepting consequences. Breaking the law to make a statement with a peaceful but defiant sit-in or camp-out may still lead to arrest; if protesters are truly nonviolent and police are brutal anyway, it only lends more credence to the protesters’ cause. But you’d have to be a fool to think that burning things in the streets and hurling things at police won’t get you tear-gassed, as well as alienate the majority whose hearts and minds you were trying to win. Nonviolence worked for Gandhi. It worked for Martin Luther King Jr. Oughta be good enough for this, too.
Yet Gandhi and MLK were leaders, of which Occupy – by design – has none. A leaderless movement that can’t define specific means to its general ends is ripe for co-option by interlopers, be they “anarchists” eager to strike a blow at tyranny by smashing Tully’s Coffee’s windows, or be they juvenile morons who get off on tagging up on any available surface.
We – on the show last night, and in our ongoing coverage – have tried to communicate that the Occupy movement knows what it wants, but can’t seem to decide how to get there. To truly tap into the widespread frustration out there, they should be thinking of Lennon (and McCartney) instead of Lenin. “You say you want a revolution, well, you know, we all want to change the world.”
The big “Death to Capitalism” banner stretched across 14th Street at Broadway won’t help keep a cross-section of the nation engaged in this movement. 99 percent of America doesn’t want a Marxist revolution; those who do constitute a 1 percent that’s scarier to the rest than the 1 percent that everyone has been smack-talking recently. “If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.”
“F— the police” rhetoric, barricade burning, window-smashing and graffiti won’t build a movement, either; making downtown Oakland look like an old-school New York City subway car wasn’t a deft rhetorical statement. “When you talk about destruction, don’t you know that you can count me out.”
You know what brings about change? Hard work, painstaking organization and incremental progress. Years of it.
The Occupy movement’s ideological opposites learned this long ago. Read Thomas Frank’s 2004 bestseller What’s the Matter With Kansas?, a study of how arch-conservatives took over that formerly moderate state’s politics from the ground up, conquering the GOP one county at a time until the entire political landscape had been dragged to the far right.
Or consider the Tea Partiers. They got some people elected, not by smashing windows and spray-painting graffiti, but by walking precincts and getting out their votes. Now the Speaker of the House – hardly a moderate himself – has trouble wrangling them.
The lesson is: If the party you’d counted upon to represent you has betrayed you, let you down, hung you out to dry, then go take it over and make it your own. Camping outside city hall sends a message; running city hall – and then the state legislature, and then Congress – lets you make the message a reality. Calling attention to problems is good – finding practical ways to fix them is better. “You say you’ve got a real solution, well, you know, we’d all love to see the plan.”
The Port of Oakland’s leadership today released this open letter to the community:
These are challenging times, with high unemployment and tremendous uncertainty in the economy. In such times, open, respectful, honest, and informed communication is essential. That is why we are writing to you today.
We understand that Occupy Oakland has voted for a general strike in Oakland tomorrow, November 2, 2011, and further plans to march to the Port of Oakland at 5 PM. We also understand that there will be participation from people who do not live and work in the City of Oakland, which is understandable given the global nature of the Occupy movement. At the same time, this is our home, and it is our responsibility to respect it and ensure that others do too.
It is our privilege, indeed our right in this country, to peacefully assemble and freely express our grievances to government. And it is our responsibility as Oaklanders to ensure that our city is a safe and peaceful place to live and work. Oakland has a long, honorable, and innovative tradition of social justice action. So it is understandable that the citizens of Oakland want to show solidarity with the worldwide movement for economic and social justice. It is also imperative that any and all expressions of protest be effective without being violent. Every individual on all sides of this event must take personal responsibility to ensure peace. Each one of us at the Port is committed to a peaceful and safe march for all involved.
As you may be aware, there are multiple layers of security governing our nation’s ports, involving our local police department, regional, and federal agencies. Since becoming aware of the proposed march to the Port, we have been engaged with our public safety and security partners at the local, regional, state, and federal levels of government. We are all emphasizing the need for a peaceful and respectful assembly and expression of free speech.
We at the Port of Oakland understand the frustrations and issues at the heart of the Occupy movement:
We have over $1.4 billion in debt and annual debt service payments of over $100 million a year for the foreseeable future, constraining the jobs we can create and investments we can make.Economic conditions at the Port have forced us to reduce our workforce by 40% over the last seven years.Air passenger volume is down over 30% since 2008.We are operating at just over 50% capacity at our seaport, while there is increasing competition from alternative shipping gateways around the country and the world.
Despite these challenges, Port activity generates over 73,000 jobs in the region, and every day we work to create more jobs. From our maintenance staff, to our custodial workers, our truckers, to office workers and dock workers, the Port is where the 99% work. It is essential for the economic development of the City and region that the perception and reality of Oakland is stability, safety, and inclusion.
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. We hope it will contribute to the civic dialogue that the Occupy movement has initiated. For additional information about the Port, you can also find us on the Internet at www.portofoakland.com, on Twitter at portofoakland, or on Facebook.
Pamela S. Calloway, President
Omar R. Benjamin, Executive Director
Local lawmakers support the general strike that Occupy Oakland protesters have called for tomorrow.
“Occupy Oakland’s November 2nd day of action is aimed at bringing attention to the great inequalities that exist in the United States. I join in solidarity with Occupy Oakland to confront the greed of Wall Street and the major banks and demand that the 1 percent pay their fair share,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. “As the movement grows, we are likely to see more actions aimed at underscoring the inequalities faced by the 99 percent and we should support actions with these aims in mind. I continue to stand with the peaceful protesters in this struggle for economic justice and equality.”
“The decision to call for a general strike was made by the Occupy Oakland protesters,” said a spokeswoman for Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez. “It appears that it was made to amplify the main reason why they and others in cities across America began protesting in the first place, which is to further call attention to the unfairness of the American economy and the difficulties that the middle class faces every day. We will see how the residents and workers of Oakland respond to the call. More than anything, though, we hope that the day remains peaceful.”
Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Alameda, said he supports tomorrow’s demonstrators “100 percent.”
“This is a campaign to save the middle class, and it’s long overdue. I’m encouraging everyone to demonstrate in a nonviolent way,” Swanson said, adding he’s a longtime supporter of civil disobedience tactics. “I think this is about changing the economics of our nation and increasing opportunity for people all over. … This is an opportunity to have a demonstration that will speak well of the way we feel about each other in this country.”
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, D-Castro Valley, said, “I stand in full support of the peaceful protestors of Occupy Oakland and the Day of Action to achieve economic justice and jobs for the 99%.”
“As a part of the 99%, I support the Occupy Oakland movement and the Occupy Movements across the country. And this week, I will be adding my voice in support of the General Strike that has been called in Oakland.
“The Occupy Movement is a national outcry against the strangling influence of money and corporate influence on our economy, our political system, and on our national soul and reputation. I am grateful to them for rallying Americans from all walks of life to speak up and speak out against the forces that show them such disrespect. I am grateful that they are demanding a return to the American Dream of a strong and stable middle class.
“Every day my office intervenes to help people who are losing their homes and their jobs, or struggling to pay for their children’s education. I hear from frustrated and angry Americans worried about their retirement savings because of Wall Street greed and mismanagement.
“Unfortunately, I also see many of the biggest and most profitable corporations demanding more concessions from government — more tax breaks, giveaways, and special treatment, no matter what the cost is to our society. Every bill I have introduced in the Senate to make our tax system more equitable or take money out of politics has faced their powerful opposition.
“Peaceful civil disobedience is a basic human right and has been used ethically and successfully throughout the world. The violent response to peaceful disobedience last week could have been avoided and should be condemned. Oakland is a dynamic place where diversity is usually encouraged. It is tragic that Oakland is now known as the first and only Occupied City where violence has erupted.
“I urge the City leadership to work with the Occupy Movement – and the Occupy Movement to work with the City – to ensure that effective and peaceful protest can continue. As a person who has lived most of my adult life in the East Bay, raised my family here, and as a State Senator fighting for quality education, a healthy environment and economic equity for all Californians, I am ready to help in any way I can.”
UPDATE @ 2:05 P.M.: “We now live in an America in which income disparity is winnowing away the middle class,” said Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont. “Workers are angry as they struggle to find jobs while the richest among us gain ever more wealth. We have a long history of civic engagement and protest movements in our country. I understand the frustration of the Occupy movement. I hope their peaceful activism will bring about change.”