The Oakland police union, which has played a prominent role in this year’s local election, blanketed North Oakland late last week with a mailer that attempted to scare residents about home-invasion crimes and convince them to vote for District 1 candidate Amy Lemley. As of Friday, the police union also had failed to disclose exactly how much it spent on the mailer as required by law. The union has engaged in illegal secret campaigning over the past few weeks in an effort to defeat Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan and City Attorney Barbara Parker and replace them with Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Jane Brunner, respectively.
After the Express reported ten days ago about the union’s failure to disclose how much it spent trying to unseat Kaplan and Brunner, the union finally revealed that information on Friday in filings with the Oakland City Clerk’s Office. The union reported that it spent at least $8,732 attacking Kaplan and at least $7,119 on anti-Parker-pro-Brunner mailings. The union also reported that it spent $1,999 on a negative mailer targeting Mario Juarez, a candidate for District 5, Fruitvale-Glenview.
The police union’s pro-Lemley mailer, meanwhile, features a hooded thief, carrying a handgun and flashlight, peering through glass doors that appear to be in the back of a nice home. The mailer then urges North Oakland residents to support Lemley, whom the union has endorsed.
The identity of the political operative who is engineering the police union’s mailers is not clear. The union did not list a campaign manager on the filings it submitted Friday to the city clerk. But as we previously reported, the union’s anti-Kaplan and anti-Parker mailers resembled mailers produced by the De La Fuente and Brunner campaigns, and both of those operations are being managed by Oakland political operative Larry Tramutola. Lemley’s campaign also is being run by Tramutola.
Under state law, the police union must disclose exactly how much it has spent on behalf of Lemley no later than today. According to a declaration on the pro-Lemley mailer, it cost $7,800 to produce. It is illegal for special interest groups like the police union to work in concert with political candidates.