Astute readers of this newspaper know that staff writer Robert Gammon has had a slight, er, obsession with former state senator Don Perata. But now that the Don has lost the mayor's race and promises to retire his life-size Tony Soprano cut-out, Bob confronts an identity crisis of potentially vast proportions. Who is Gammon without his long-time foil? What will his life's mission be without shady financial dealings to expose? Where should he redirect his considerable energies now that Perata is likely to stalk the earth only as a lobbyist for an assortment of unsavory enterprises? That's where you come in. We asked the readers of our news blog to suggest a new beat for Gammon. Here are their suggestions:
Gammon's next assignment: Find out how the East Bay Express became the un-official mouthpiece of the local pot legalization movement. Who is behind it? How much money is changing hands? What percentage of EBX's advertising revenue is now from marijuana related ads? Go right to the top and follow the money. They will try to lead you astray, or maybe smoke you out to get you to stop harshing their mellow, but don't be dissuaded!
A thorough investigation of Chip Johnson. Why is he so unthinkingly obsequious to the corrupt East Bay political machine? Did he REALLY think Ron Dellums was supposed to be out personally patrolling the streets of Oakland at night? Is he allergic to the air at Oakland City Hall or something?
Quan is known for being hard-working and dedicated, but she has been criticized for a lack of charisma. Gammon's new life mission should be to make our soon-to-be Madam Mayor more appealing, not just to the half of Oakland who voted for someone else. I am suggesting Gammon be responsible for the Jean Quan makeover. Robert could start by writing rap lyrics and Spanish phrases to be interspersed in Jean's acceptance speech, or putting hydraulics on Jean's Prius, as well as a shiny new set of 22-inch rims.
A book on the Oakland mayor's race.
The California Tiger Salamander can't get enough coverage.
There are plenty of things going on under the cover of darkness in Berkeley without a daily news entity looking closely at the city's practices. Somehow the city manages to keep its payroll rolling along while continually raising fees and taxes. The city is loathe to lay one single person off for fear of action by SEIU. Berkeley city employees are a select few indeed, among only a handful of municipal employees state or country wide who do not contribute one red cent to their excellent retirement packages. Where's the oversight?
Perata's cronies have taken over the Alameda City Council, and they keep coming up through the Alameda Hospital, which requested Alameda County implement a paramedic policy that enriches the hospital at the expense of patient care.
Please investigate the CEDA Building Dept. A citizen lawsuit was filed on October 22 alleging jacking up of fees in violation of state and corresponding city law; predatory fees and lien policies; massive illegal transfer of funds to many entities and individuals; illegally disallowing most appeals; preferential treatment, nepotism, and possibly bribery; and more. Go investigate. Please.
Don Perata isn't the only politician who deserves the level of scrutiny that Bob Gammon gave him. They all do.
Why is the village broke? Learn and report on government budgets. Where the money comes from where the money goes. Hard choices are coming, we need to be informed.
I'll second "Hammerrobbby" ... keep a careful eye on city governments' budgets and contract and other negotiations.
Don Perata: The Unauthorized Biography (of which the opening sentence would have to be, "Call me Ishmael"). Or, I hear there's this thing out there called the "Matrix," but nobody's really sure what it is except for some guy named Morpheus. Or, I hear some of the windmills up there in the Altamont Pass need to be tilted at. ;-)
These suggestions make me want to rend my garments. Is it not enough for you that Gammon has ferreted out endless misdoings, yea, verily, not just those of the Don, but Mayor Dellums and a raft of other douchebag public officials? I defend to the death — well, at least to the point of mild inconvenience — Gammon's right to take it easy, maybe write a few light pieces about local restaurants, even. Why is it that Anneli Rufus always gets to chow down for pay, while poor Gammon spends long nights burning the midnight oil poring over Ron Dellums' calendar? I hereby propose that we start the Bob Gammon Relief Fund. Send your contribution in unmarked bills to the Express, maybe with the suggestion of some restaurant, concert, or sporting event Gammon can review.
We are happy to award a $100 gift certificate to downtown Oakland's soon-to-reopen Awaken Cafe to lamestreammedia, aka Janis Mara.