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Commentary: Siegel Is Mayoral Candidate Best Suited to Make Needed Changes




This series has been an attempt to only compare the mayoral candidates’ positions on crime policy . But policy concerns are rarely independent from each other.

To reasonably apportion your votes in our rank choice voting system, considering candidates’ capabilities in all areas of concern and in the mix is crucial.

I do not recommend that anyone should maketheir mayoral vote selections totally from what I have written in this series.

Dan Siegel has presented a complete crime policy plan. Dan’s plan covers a multiplicity of municipal functions, and it offers corrective plans to hot issues currently drawing attention of city leadership.

I am convinced that he has knowledge of what is going on in the criminal justice system, including with cops. He is a trained, practicing civil-rights attorney. He is an “insider” who represents “outsiders.”

He is an intellectual warrior, for hire. He works for the side where money has to be “raised,” not only to pay his fee but also to pay his costs.

Or at least he started out that way.

Siegel is also the closest to fulfilling the community policing approach that I have laid out in my columns.

Dan was a member of the Oakland Community Policing Taskforce that crafted the language of the community policing ordinance (Council Resolutions 72727) in 1993.

He was quoted in the S.F. Chronicle speaking of former Chief Joe Samuels, who was being hired at the time, “It has taken some time to work up to that, but I think that now he has gotten the [community policing] religion.”

Samuels was a police chief beloved in Oakland’s African American community. He was the chief most likely to fully implement community policing and heal the negative dynamics between the department and the Black community.

Despite the resistance from the officers’ union and the negative influences on the local implementation of community policing caused by the Federal Justice Department’s COPS grants, Chief Samuels is the reason that Oakland have gone as far as they have in fulfilling the dictates of the legislation.

Mayor Jerry Brown fired Samuels shortly after his election in fulfillment of his stated pledge to fracture Black influence in Oakland’s politics.

Although Siegel does not spell out the Community Policing details in his policy paper, he says enough so that we know he still has “the religion.”

Dan’s anti-crime policy paper speaks to Oakland’s needs: jobs for Oakland residents, early childhood education, completing the Negotiated Settlement Agreement(NSA)mandating federal oversight of OPD, full support for restorative justice programs, civilianization the department by getting officers out of the building and on to the streets, neighborhood clean-up, bringing the crime lab “up to snuff” and a zero tolerance of the department’s abuse of people’s rights.

Siegel does NOT call for the hiring of more officers, and, therefore, does not need to justify the leveraging of more tax dynamics between the department and the Black community.

He hints at a less political and more rational use of crime statistics. The Oakland Moving Forward/Dellums’ Community Taskforce Report – which Quan has almost completely ignored – would be fulfilled by the Siegel plan.

Dan is not perfect; no candidate is. When “turned around” his assets can become deficits. His long engagement in Oakland politics means a depth of experience and understanding, but it also means scars from past struggles and a gaggle of old enemies.

He could be painted so far into the progressive/left camp that too many people would not hear him or deal with him honestly. The police officers’ union could severely frustrate positive changes.

Despite these concerns I believe that Siegel is the candidate for mayor best suited to make needed changes in the culture, character and behavior of the Oakland Police Department.




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