Archive for February, 2014

West Oakland Neighborhood Center in Limbo

By Post Staff

Concerns are being raised about why the city has failed to move ahead on a contract approved last July to establish a career services center for residents in West Oakland, an area that has among the city’s highest levels of unemployment and is often underserved.

Gay Plair Cobb

Gay Plair Cobb

Seven months ago, the city approved the $270,000 contract with the Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC) for the jobs center, which will provide counseling and training, at the West Oakland Library at 1801 Adeline St.

The center is designed to complement the West Oakland Job Resource Center, set up to help local residents obtain Army Base development jobs.

However, because of a last minute imposition of a city charge for custodial services, city staff has not moved forward on the project, leaving the job services in limbo.

“There (is still) no contract executed to enable us to perform this work,” said Gay Plair Cobb, executive director of the PIC, speaking at last week’s CED meeting.

“Is there any sense of urgency or concern that West Oakland area residents have not been able to access the services that you approved more than seven months ago?” asked Cobb.

Cobb said when the PIC responded to a Request for Proposals (RFP) published by the city, the proposal said there “would be no rental costs to the successful bidder, “There was no mention of janitorial, security or other fees. Bidders relied upon this information,” she said.

After PIC won the contract, it was told by the city that it would have to pay for custodial services at the library. PIC replied that it could not pay all of the custodial fees and provide job services, given the small amount of funding available to cover staff, subcontractor and operating costs.

The city has not responded.

“Are you aware that this contract has not been executed?” Cobb asked.

“Can’t this situation be resolved by the city at least contributing the costs of janitorial services to support Oakland’s job effort?”

Courtesy of the Oakland Post (www.postnewsgroup.com)

Port Approves Tagami’s $600 Million Agreement Without Question

By Ken Epstein

Commissioners of the Port of Oakland voted unanimously at their most recent meeting to give Phil Tagami’s team of developers an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) to bargain for the next six months to come up with a financially viable plan to build on the 170 acres of the old Oakland Army Base that are owned by the port.

Two previous ENAs awarded to Tagami and his partners on the $600 million project failed to produce a final agreement, primarily because he could not produce the private funding or grants to finance the project, and the port was unwilling to take on the debt.

Port of Oakland

Port of Oakland

The commissioners voted 7-0 at their Feb. 13 meeting in favor of the no bid agreement, without raising a single question on Tagami’s finances or his track record in Oakland.

Nothing was asked about why Tagami was granted a sole source contract or what had changed since his last two ENAs with the port were allowed to expire. No one asked about his record on the city’s Army Base project, which undercut local small businesses and has led to a significant increase in big rigs being parked in West Oakland neighborhoods.

The port is reluctant to take on new debt, since it is already struggling to pay nearly $1.3 billion it owes for past deals that resulted in multimillion-dollar losses.

The sole objection was raised by Oakland resident Gene Hazzard, a public speaker who read a statement released by the port when Tagami’s previous ENA expired.

“The port must answer to the public and be responsible as guardians of public resources,” said the statement read by Hazzard. “The port takes very seriously its obligation to proceed with the redevelopment plans in the most prudent and strategic manner. Therefore port staff recommends terminating exclusive negotiations as a responsible course of action.”

“What has changed? What you’re doing is irresponsible,” said Hazzard.

“I am very excited about approving this ENA,” said Commissioner Victor Uno, business manager and financial secretary for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 595.

“I think this is a huge step forward for this project and for what we’ve been trying to do for many years… to get a developer who’s going to ally with both the city and the port to move this project forward,” he said.

“(Tagami) has been a good partner,” said Commissioner Bryan Parker, who was appointed to the port board by Mayor Jean Quan and is running against her for mayor.

“We’ve finally come together with the city,” said Commission President Ces Butner. ”It’s a very, very monumental position for us to take at this point.”

Raising the single financially cautious note was consultant John Bowe, a special advisor to port staff.

“We want to minimize the port’s direct expenditure,” he said. “We want to attract world class direct investment, but we need to do that from investment from others, not so much from the port itself.”

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, February 21, 2014 (www.postnewsgroup.com)

 

 

City Urges No Action in Tagami’s Failure to Make Payments on $12 Million Loan

Phil Tagami.
Phil Tagami.

 

By Ashley Chambers

Mayor Jean Quan’s staff has recommended that no action be taken against Phil Tagami’s company, Rotunda Partners II, which is currently four months behind in payments on its a 20-year $12 million loan with the City of Oakland to develop a parking garage, retail space, and temporary parking lot at the Rotunda building next to City Hall, according to city officials.

According to reports, Tagami’s company owes $80,000 in loan payments dating back to November, as of last week’s Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee meeting.

“Staff recommends that the (city) not exercise its rights” at this time to declare the project “in default for non-performance,” according to the Feb. 4 informational report prepared by city staff, which is ultimately responsible to the mayor,

The company should only be declared in default “if there is reasonable likelihood that such action will facilitate the development and is in the best interest of the city,”  according to the staff report, which was signed by Asst. City Manager Fred Blackwell.

At the CED meeting last week, Councilmember Lynette McElhaney said, “I would want to see staff put really strong timelines that are transparent and can be monitored with respect to getting people on track and to respond timely.”

Asserting that the city staff report and McElhaney’s statements are “inaccurate,” a managing partner of Rotunda Partners says the company is current on the loan and has made all its monthly payments on time.

At the same time that Tagami’s company allegedly has failed to make payments on its loan, he is being paid for multiple roles with the city as property manager, master developer, project manager, rail operator and finance broker on the Oakland Army Base development project.

Asked to speak to the Oakland Post about the Tagami’s failure to pay, Mayor Quan has remained silent. The Post has also asked the other mayoral candidates what their position is on the issue.

Not addressing the failure to pay, mayoral candidate Bryan Parker said, “As long as they’re performing, being transparent, and being inclusive, I’m for continuing with those partners.”

“We can ensure transparency by using objective metrics to measure results and making sure the contracts include strong audit provisions,” he said.

In fact, I have already started organizing meetings to ensure these goals are met, Parker said, adding, “My understanding is that the [Rotunda] loan payments are current according to confirmation from a city official.”

Mayoral candidate Dan Siegel said he is “concerned about conflicts of interest” with Tagami holding multiple roles in his partnership with the city.

“City employees and paid consultants should not also receive city grants and contracts,” said Siegel. “I think the city should demand that Tagami become current on his contractual obligations immediately. If he cannot do so, appropriate legal action should be taken.”

“The city should insist that he appear at a public meeting to answer concerns about his agreements with the city,” Siegel said.

While not answering the Post’s questions this week, candidate Libby Schaaf has said she expects transparency in the city’s financial agreements with Tagami.

“I always believe the public is entitled to detailed information about how the city is spending public money,” she said.

Candidate Joe Tuman did not respond to the Post’s questions.

In an email sent to The Post Thursday, on deadline, Mark Moss, a managing member at Rotunda Partners, said, “Rotunda Partners has made each payment on time.”

“The article repeated a councilmember’s allegation that the company is currently technically in default. Wrong – Rotunda Partners has made each payment on time and of course, is NOT in default,” said Moss, who did not explain why the company did not send a representative to speak at last week’s CED meeting where the default was discussed as part of the public agenda.

Disputing the public statements by another city councilmember who called for transparency in the city’s agreement s with Rotunda Partners, Moss said, “All Rotunda documents are public and available.”

“The city’s loan/equity partnership with Rotunda Partners is actually one of the best real estate deals the city has ever made,” he said in the email.

“Mr. Moss seems to be saying to be saying that Asst. City Administrator Blackwell and Councilmember McElhaney are both liars,” said Post Publisher Paul Cobb.

 Courtesy of the Oakland Post, February 21, 2014 (www.postnewsgroup.com)

Legislators Call for Reform of Conditions Facing Inmates in Solitary Confinement

By Ken A. Epstein

A hearing was held Tuesday by legislators to push for sweeping reform in conditions faced by thousands of prisoners in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay and other state prisons, where they

Loni Hancock

Loni Hancock

are often locked for decades in cells without a window, deprived of human contact, phone calls and even photos of loved ones.

The joint hearing called by San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and Senator Loni Hancock was the second held in the wake of a hunger strike last year by over 30,000 California state prisoners – the third in two years – demanding an end to inhumane treatment, which prisoner advocates say constitutes torture under international law.

The two legislators and others criticized the reforms proposed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), which operates the state prisons, saying they do not go far enough to change the practices of placing prisoners for indefinite terms in Security Housing Unit (SHUs), which many feel should be abolished.

“Last year’s hunger strike again brought home the message that we need to do something about the SHU,” said Ammiano. “Moves by corrections show that they recognize the pressures for change. We want to look at whether those new regulations represent true progress.”

Tom Ammiano

Tom Ammiano

“There is no question that these policies must be reformed,” said Hancock.  “While I understand the CDCR is in the process of changing SHU policy, my initial reading of the new policy left many questions unanswered.”

“We are working towards meaningful change, and at the end of the day we want to get it right,” she said.

Oakland civil rights attorney Anne Weills, who spoke at the hearing, read a statement by four Pelican Bay prisoners who “called for the last hunger strike and starved to the end.” She said the prisoners were not allowed to attend, give testimony or listen to or watch the hearing.

“We are prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison who have all lived for over 15 years locked 23 hours a day in small windowless cells, without ever being able to hug or touch our families … with no programs or chance of parole,” the statement said.

Anne Weills“California keeps us in these torturous conditions not because of any violence we have committed but because it believes we are affiliated with a gang, often based on artwork or photos we possess, tattoos we have, literature we read, who we talk to, or anonymous informants’ statements that we have no way of challenging.”

“We are put in Pelican Bay not for any specific term of months, or years for misconduct we have committed, but indefinitely, which in practice means forever – unless we become informants.”

“So this is our banned testimony. CDCR claims to have now instituted a reform program. It is a sham,” said the statement signed by Sitawa Jamaa, Todd Askher, Arturo Castellanos and Antonio Guillen.

Craig Haney, a psychology professor at UC Santa Cruz, speaking at the hearing, said that California’s wide use of indefinite solitary confinement, “make it a outlier in respect to other states, (while) the U.S. is an outlier in respect to other countries.”

“It is shocking and unprecedented by international standards,” Haney said.  “We should debate whether long-term solitary confinement is torture.”

Prison officials maintain that secure housing units help thwart dangerous prison gangs and protect general prison populations from more violent inmates. During Tuesday’s hearing, officials who oversee the process pointed to progress in opening a pathway out of solitary.

Martin Hoshino

Martin Hoshino

“I think we all agree it is far too easy to get in and too hard to get out, and that the stays in this environment were certainly too long,” said Martin Hoshino, undersecretary of operations for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Dozens of speakers – many who were teenaged sons and daughters and wives of inmates in solitary – lined up to briefly describe the impact on solitary confinement on their lives.

An 18-year-old young man said he and others worried about the psychological damage caused by locking their family members in the SHU. “Families are praying that the person who gets out of solitary is the same person who he was when he went to jail.”

“My son has been in solitary confinement since 2009,” said a woman. “There is no reason why we as family members should not be able to have contact with our loved ones.”

A young man said that when he was arrested and held at a local jail, he was placed in isolation for two weeks because he had a seizure and officials thought he was pretending.

“I felt hopeless and trapped,” he said.  “They wouldn’t allow me to shower for four days, I could smell myself and felt despised.”

 

 

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Tagami Not Making Payments on $12 Million City Loan

 By Ashley Chambers
Councilmembers are raising concerns that Phil Tagami’s company Rotunda Partners II has not begun making payments on a 20-year, $12 million loan from the city to develop a parking garage, retail space and temporary parking lot at the Rotunda building across from Oakland City Hall.

Phil Tagami

Phil Tagami

The city has yet to receive the $20,000 a month payments on the loan, which were scheduled to start in November. City staff is also checking whether the project is technically in compliance with the contract.

Speaking at Tuesday’s Community and Economic Development (CED) meeting, Councilmember Lynette McElhaney called for city staff to enforce penalties on Tagami’s company, which has not yet been sent a notice of default for nonpayment.

The informational report presented at the CED meeting said the company is currently technically in default, said McElhaney.

“I would want to see staff put really strong timelines that are transparent and can be monitored with respect to getting people on track and to respond timely,” she said. “ I would also like to see some level of penalty for failure to perform.”

At least one community member is continuing to question whether the original agreement with Tagami’s company was a fair deal for the city.

“This is fraud, this is a gift of public land,” said Oakland resident Gene Hazzard, speaking at Tuesday’s meeting.

Neither Tagami nor a representative of his company came to the meeting to explain why the payments on the loan have not been made.

Councilmembers also raised questions about the city’s deal with Tagami.

“We let that [Rotunda] property go for $297, essentially nothing. What did the city get in exchange?” Asked Councilmember Pat Kernighan. “I think that really is the question. Was that a fair deal or was that not a fair deal: that’s for us the city as a whole to answer. Why was that a good thing to do?”

“My understanding is because we want to stimulate economic development that would not have occurred otherwise,” she added.

Referring to questions raised by Hazzard, Councilmember Desley Brooks said documents related to the Rotunda agreement should be made public.

“If you were concerned about whether or not an evaluation was done and truly whether or not there was a gift of public funds, then we should pull forth those documents,” she said.

“It is disconcerting that it took a resident of the city to raise issues that should have come from somebody in administration, that it took over a year to have these concerns responded to,” Brooks added

“We need to look at our policies and procedures and make sure that when we enforce, we do that on an equal basis because when we don’t, it causes problems with the public’s trust,” she said.

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, February 14, 2014 (www.postnewsgroup.com)

Judge Henderson Fires Oakland Police Overseer

By Ken A. Epstein

Federal Judge Thelton Henderson has fired the compliance director who has been overseeing the Oakland Police Department, saying that police reform will be better served by giving the authority to institute changes to the same individual who he appointed to monitor progress.

Judge Thelton Henderson

Judge Thelton Henderson

Expressing frustration with the slow progress Oakland is making on its court mandated police reforms, Henderson said that the compliance director position, held by Thomas Frazier – a retired Baltimore police chief – has not been achieving results fast enough and not worth the $270,000 annual salary.

Frazier, who has been on the job for almost one year, clashed last year with Oakland residents over handling of  complaints against police.

Siding with the Oakland Police Officers Association against advocates of police accountability, he used his sweeping powers to overrule a City Council decision that required civilian workers hired to do intake of complaints against police be housed outside of the police department , rather than in the Internal Affairs Division as the police union wanted.

In a statement released Wednesday, Henderson said, “The court finds that it would be more appropriate and effective to concentrate the powers of the compliance director and monitor into one position.

The present arrangement, he said, “has proven to be unnecessarily duplicative and has been less efficient and more expensive than the court contemplated.”

Henderson also continued to raise concerns about the slow pace of Oakland’s reform efforts.  “The remedial phase of this case has extended far longer than originally anticipated and far longer than the court believes should have been necessary had the defendants consisted acted with diligence to implement the reforms they agreed to over 11 years ago,” he said.

Federal Monitor Robert Warshaw has been working at the Oakland Police Department since 2010 evaluating progress on the court-mandated Negotiated Settlement Agreement.

Warshaw served as “deputy drug czar,” associate director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, during Bill Clinton’s presidency. He served in the US Army. He started out in the Miami Police Department where he rose to the position of assistant chief. He was chief in Rochester, New York and Statesville, North Carolina.

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, February 14, 2014 (www.postnewsgroup.com)

New “Common Core” Test Flunks 70 Percent of Students

By Kitty Kelly Epstein

The Common Core, like many U.S. education reforms, sounded good when it was first discussed. It was explained that children across the country would have a more or less common set of critical thinking lessons to learn.

Kitty Kelly Epstein

Kitty Kelly Epstein

However, the reality is turning out to be negative.

The tests are profits driven and promote racial disparities: the biggest problem is that the Common Core is linked to a whole new set of standardized tests that Pearson, a $9 billion for-profit company is being paid to create.

An even bigger worry about the tests is the fact that every standardized test ever developed in the U.S. has resulted in a disproportionately negative impact on Latinos and African-Americans. Standardized tests enhance, rather than reduce, both the racial wealth gap and the education gap.

Seventy percent of New York students were considered  “Not Proficient” on pilot Common Core tests: most states have said they will use the Common Core.  New York got a head start.   The State of New York reports the following on the pilot tests it administered in 2013:  70 percent of all students did not meet what is considered “proficiency,” and 84 percent of African-American students did not meet what is considered “proficiency”

Here is an example from the New York Common Core standard for third graders:

“ Use tiling to show in a concrete case that the area of a rectangle with whole number side lengths a and b+c is the sum of a*c and b*c. Use area models to represent the distributive property in mathematical reasoning. (NYS Common Core 3 MD 7.C).”

“Recognize area as additive. Find areas of rectilinear figures by decomposing them into non-overlapping rectangles and adding the areas of the non-overlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems. ((NYS Common Core 3MD 7. D).”

The combination of reading, computation, vocabulary, manipulation, and reasoning skills required to solve such problems could be a good long-term goal for elementary students, but requiring all students to be able to answer standardized test questions based on this standard at the age of eight with little preparation represents the sort of “gotcha” mentality that has characterized education policy-making in the U.S. for several decades.

 The rollout of the test has sparked strong opposition in New York: the 60,000-member New York State teachers union has withdrawn support for the Common Core as it is currently being implemented.

State Senator George Latimer of the New York called for a delay in the rollout of Common Core, likening the current process to “steaming across the Atlantic when there are icebergs in the water.”

Says Latimer, in a Jan. 8 news column, “ I believe that the outcry against specific aspects of the Common Core — the lack of preparation, privacy of student data, and over-reliance on testing — is an opportunity for us to respond to consumer feedback and adjust to the market.”

Humans do not learn from constant failure.  We learn from nurturing, support, encouragement, opportunities for joyful learning, loving critique, and ultimate success.

The high U.S. dropout rate is indicative of the fact that millions of young people will take themselves away from discouraging environments as soon as they are able.

And in case you think the whole world has gone crazy, the U.S. is the only country in the world that tests students every year or pays such a huge portion of its education budget to for-profit testing firms.

Kitty Kelly Epstein, PhD is the author of “A Different View of Urban Schools: Civil Rights, Critical Race Theory,” and “Unexplored Realities” (2012) and is host of “Education Today,” a radio show on KPFA – FM 94.1.

 

Children’s Hospital’s Continued Insensitivity Criticized

By Tasion Kwamilele

Oakland clergy are still demanding answers from Children’s Hospital Oakland in regards to the way they handled the case of Jahi McMath.

McMath was declared brain dead three days after complications from tonsil surgery. The family fought to keep the teenager on life support, and during the ordeal, the hospital was criticized for its insensitivity towards the family.

Rev. Harold Mayberry, speaking at press conference at Children's Hospital in Oakland

Rev. Harold Mayberry, speaking at press conference at Children’s Hospital in Oakland

“…We watched the hospital spokesperson tell the public “there is no amount of hope, there is no amount of prayer, she is dead”; we watched as the hospital hired extra security for people who were hurting but demonstrated no violent behavior,” said Rev. Harold Mayberry of First AME Church in Oakland.

Mayberry says clergy members began working in December to negotiate a meeting with hospital staff, clergy, and a member of Jahi McMath’s family.

Because the hospital is an important institution in the community, he said, and the goal of the meeting “was to attempt to bring healing to what has been a very painful situation for the community.”

However, it wasn’t until the end of January, after clergy pointed out a breach in protocol by hospital staff that CEO Betram Lubin finally responded, according to Mayberry.

The response did not address their concerns, but instead indicated requirements for the meeting, which included additional hospital staff not directly associated with McMath’s case as well as other clergy members selected by the hospital.

The hospital also refused to include any member of the McMath family in the meeting.

“The hospital’s attempt to dilute our righteous concerns by hand-selecting additional clergy to attend the meeting, and their fear of candid discourse engenders a disconnect from the very community they seek to serve and diminishes Children’s Hospital’s testimony of being compassionate, caring and respectful,” said Mayberry.

Since being released from Children’s Hospital, McMath has been in an undisclosed location. The family released a video on YouTube showing that the young girl physically responded to ice being rubbed on her foot.

Councilwoman Desley Brooks has expressed her discontent with the way Children’s Hospital publicly handled McMath’s case.

“The question isn’t why I believe it’s important for Children’s Hospital to have the meeting with the pastors who wrote to them, but rather why wouldn’t Children’s want to respond to the legitimate concerns of members of the very community they seek to serve,” said Brooks.

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, February 9, 2014 (www.postnewsgroup.com)

Al Sharpton Kicks Off Oakland NAN Chapter

 Education, Crime Are Group’s Top Priorities

By Kia Croom

Rev. Al Sharpton, nationally known civil rights leader and founder of the National Action Network (NAN), was the featured guest pastor at Beebe Memorial Cathedral in Oakland, Sunday, Feb. 2, where Sharpton spoke passionately about the need to reignite the fight for social justice, helping to inaugurate the NAN Oakland chapter.

Rev. Al Sharpton. Photos by K. Epstein

Rev. Al Sharpton. Photos by K. Epstein

“The seeds of social justice were planted in Oakland that helped change the paradigm for Blacks and other people in this country,” said Sharpton, who emphasized that much has yet to be done.

“Dr. King’s dream has made great progress, but we are still facing race, income, gender, sexual orientation inequality and criminal justice issues. We need action in a strategic way from the streets to the suites,” he said.

Following church service, Sharpton attended the NAN Jazz Sunday Launch Party at the Home of Carl Hackney in Oakland. About 150 community members and dignitaries attended the event.

NAN Oakland Chapter’s founder and president, Rev. Dr. Charley Hames Jr., discussed the chapter’s priorities for the coming year.

“Our focus is education and crime prevention,” he said.

Rev. Dr. Charley Hames Jr.

Rev. Dr. Charley Hames Jr.

Rev. Hames said that Oakland NAN will be an action-oriented organization and will work in concert with other local groups,

“We are here to compliment other local agencies,” he said. “Where other agencies are weak we want to be strong. Where their agenda is bureaucracy. we want to create action.”

Hames said the NAN Oakland hopes to have over 300 members by the end of the year.

To learn more about the NAN Oakland chapter, visit www.nanoakland.org.

 

 

 

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, February 9, 2014 (www.postnewsgroup.com)

Port to Give Tagami $600 Million Exclusive

Former Commissioner Recommends Seeking Partner with Funds

By Ken Epstein and Ashley Chambers

The Port of Oakland is scheduled next week to decide on signing a new exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with Oakland developer Phil Tagami and his partners to develop the 170 acres of old Oakland Army Base that are owned by the port.

Phil Tagami

Phil Tagami

Under the agreement, which is on the Port Commission’s agenda for Thursday, Feb. 13, the port would attempt for six months to negotiate a development agreement with Tagami’s California Capital & Investment Group (CCIG) and his partner Prologis, a global leader in developing industrial real estate.

So far, the port does not have the developers or the funding to go ahead with the development of its land – to build the facilities, including warehouses and a new railroad terminal, which would allow the seaport to grow and capture more business.

Two previous ENAs awarded to Tagami failed to produce a written agreement, primarily because he could not produce the private funding or grants to finance the project, and the port was unwilling to take on the debt, according to observers who are familiar with port operations.

There is nothing to indicate, so far, that Tagami and his partners are now coming to the table with private sources of money, nor explain why the port is considering him for a sole source agreement.

Though Tagami’s past development projects have been paid by the city, supplemented by state and federal grants, the port is not in a position to go into debt to foot the bill for the estimated $600 million for this project.

The port is already struggling to pay nearly $1.3 billion it owes for past deals that resulted in multimillion-dollar losses.

The port is working with the City of Oakland on phase one of the development project, which broke ground late last year, for rail, road and utility infrastructure. Tagami serves as the master developer for the city’s Army Base property.

Tagami’s previous negotiations with the port expired, failing to produce a development contract, because he did not come up with the private money, according to West Oakland community and environmental activist Margaret Gordon, who served on the port commission from 2007 until 2012 and is familiar with Tagami’s past ENAs.

“His ENAs expired because he did not have the financing,” said Gordon. “He wanted the port to take on all liability for the financing and find all the grants.  He never was able to produce what should have been a private-public joint venture.”

Gordon continued: “I was the first one (on the commission) who asked when he got the ENA, ‘Where is your money? Where is your check?’ They kept telling me don’t worry about it, but I wanted to know, where is the private money?”

Rendering of Army Base Project

Rendering of Army Base Project

Gordon said he believed that her outspoken skepticism at the time was part of the reason why Mayor Jean Quan did not reappoint her to the Port Commission in 2012.

Gordon also criticized Tagami for his development projects in Oakland, which she said lacked transparency and did not result in sufficient local hiring and opportunities for local small businesses. In addition she said, he and the city developed the city’s Army Base project in a way that led to many local companies being forced out of business.

Responding to reports that the city is backing Tagami for the port project, Gordon says city support makes no sense considering Tagami’s record on past projects.

“Why would the city administrator’s staff and the mayor’s office want the port to get into bed with someone” with such a history, she said “There’s something wrong with this picture.”

Contacted by the Post several times, Mayor Quan did not respond to questions about giving Tagami an ENA.

However, several of the mayoral candidates who are running against Quan did weigh in on the issue.”

“As mayor, I will ensure that all city contracts are issued based upon public requests for proposals so that contracts may be awarded on the basis of what is best for the people of Oakland,” said Oakland civil rights attorney Dan Siegel.

“No one should be excluded from submitting proposals, but a developer’s performance on previous city projects should be one criterion to be considered in awarding new contracts,” he continued.

Declining to comment on the proposed ENA, Councilmember Libby Schaaf, who worked with the port for two years, said she was not well informed about the agreement.

But she did support the public’s right to question Tagami on his current and past projects in Oakland. ,  “I’ve always been a champion of transparency in government. I always believe that the public is entitled to detailed information about how the city is spending public money.”

Candidates Joe Tuman and Bryan Parker, who sits on the Port Commission, did not respond to the Post’s questions. Tagami also did not reply to the Post’s questions.