Over a year ago, around July 2013, I wrote a diary on Daily Kos mentioning Joe Tuman and why I believed he’s the best choice as the next Mayor of Oakland to replace Jean Quan. This was before Tuman officially announced his second Mayoral run. Now of course we have just a bit over two months before the election.
Since the time, several diaries later and for the last several months, I finally got reacquainted with Tuman after 14 years since I was a student in his “Issues in Free Speech” class back in the Fall 2000 semester at San Francisco State University. I have to say, in getting to know him better, he’s smarter than I imagined.
In understanding Tuman better in the last number of months and who he is personally, I’m still very much convinced he is the real choice for Mayor of Oakland and even more so for others in general desperate for a change not just from Mayor Jean Quan but also from the Ron Dellums years and so on.
Let me first set the record straight: For some bizarre reason, the East Bay Express depicts Joe Tuman as a moderate although I sense that perhaps in a purist sense his agenda and way of talking doesn't jive with them by-the-book:
Moreover, since taking office in 2011, Quan has gradually moved from the left toward the political center in apparent response to criticism leveled at her by moderates and pundits concerning her record on crime. In addition, many liberal activists still have not forgiven her for the police department's harsh crackdown on Occupy Oakland under her watch. As for Schaaf, Tuman, and Parker, they're generally a bit more moderate than the mayor, although Schaaf has moved left over the past year.http://www.eastbayexpress.com/...
Schaaf's candidacy, however, likely will make it much more difficult for Quan to win, particularly if no true progressive candidate emerges in the months ahead. Indeed, if the race comes down to Quan versus the more moderate Schaaf and Tuman, many progressives may decide to sit out next year's election.Now East Bay Express has their own interpretation but I know about Tuman in a different sense as they do and as far I can tell, he's NOT a moderate. He’s very much in the liberal end but not exactly the typical kind of liberal you might think. Tuman’s got a long history in academia, thinks very much objectively, bases a lot of his arguments more from data, math and real, unfiltered information and tends to dig deeper into very difficult issues without sugarcoating the truth. If he speaks differently than what liberals & progressives want him to, it’s just because he thinks deeply about the issues and typically looks in things beyond just simply political viewpoints or to please anyone of a political persuasion. He just wants the truth and to fix things in the most practical way as opposed to pandering to any political persuasion. I guess simply put, Tuman is a realist as opposed to an ideologue. So if you think he’s “moving to the center,” “moving to the left,” or whatever as a means of appealing to voters, he’s not moving himself in any direction. He’s just speaking his mind.
Plus, East Bay Express has some explaining to do when they endorsed Tuman in his first run for Mayor in 2010, along with Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan as they believed they were all great candidates (before Quan really screwed things up when she became Mayor). As far as I know, Tuman's platform hasn't changed much since 2010, except that the situation has gotten worse in Oakland than in 2010 and his platform has adjusted accordingly.
As for Tuman, he shares many of Kaplan and Quan's best qualities. The San Francisco State political science professor and former news analyst for KPIX TV and KCBS radio is disarmingly intelligent, and like Kaplan, he's a gifted public speaker who has a positive vision for Oakland. He's also very persuasive one-on-one. And like Quan, he's extremely hardworking and tough as nails. We also like the fact that as an outsider who says he has no ambitions for higher office, he will be beholden to no one if elected and able to take the strong, courageous stances needed to turn Oakland around.Also, there's this I just don't buy:
Until last week, it looked as if the 2014 mayor's race might include no true progressive candidate despite the fact that Oakland is one of the most liberal cities in America. Mayor Jean Quan ran as a progressive in 2010, but since then she has moved steadily toward the center of the political spectrum. And the three people who've announced that they're running against Quan this year — Councilmember Libby Schaaf, university professor Joe Tuman, and Port Commissioner Bryan Parker — are more moderate than she is.Their claim that Dan Siegel is the “true progressive” and the one that can capture disenchanted progressives who voted for Jean Quan in 2010 is a bit stretching it. From talking to Joe Tuman, I view him as having progressive ideas and who just happens to approach things differently than Siegel does in his campaign.
Yes, I understand why certain purists out there don't believe in say Tuman's proposal that police numbers should be increased up to 900 because "more police officers isn't the answer." However, with the crime situation the way it is and more Oakland residents depending on private security, would we be absolutely CRAZY not to add more police officers on the streets to prevent more burglaries, gun shots and violence?
And really: When did Joe Tuman ever say more police was the answer to all the problems that ail Oakland? Are we to assume he would just immediately add 300 or so police officers soon after he got elected and then think that would be the end-all-be-all? Who ever said he was insensitive to concerns of Oakland residents of all stripes?
As far as I know, Tuman's platform is more expansive than just one statement.