MAYORAL CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE Please complete, sign and e-mail to Oaklanders@MakeOaklandBetterNow.

org
Candidate Name: Greg Harland City Budget 1. Please state your position on the following November ballot measures: Measure V (increased medical cannabis tax and new non-medical cannabis tax). Answer:  I’m not in favor of measure V. One of my main objectives is to increase employment in Oakland and more marijuana would be counter productive to that. Most employers drug test and city encouragement of marijuana use seems ill-conceived. I know this maybe an unpopular stand but I think this measure is short sighted especially since its promoted to be another tax revenue scheme. Measure W (telephone trunk line and access line taxes). Answer:  Again I’m not for it (Measure W) or anymore taxes because more taxes that merely put off the inevitable while the underlying problems grow larger. Measure X ($360 parcel tax). Answer:  Again I’m not for (Measure X) for the same reason more taxes merely put off the inevitable and will lead to a larger problem later on. When the tax expires the city will be overwhelmed the cost that have escalated out of conjtrol. One more reason is this tax is

Make Oakland Better Now! Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
regressive and to be fair it should be and ad valorem tax based on the value of real estate. Measure Y (suspends police staffing appropriation requirements for collection of 2004 Measure Y parcel tax). Answer:  I recommend passing measure Y to maintain the minimum service while we work to resolve the budgetary problems. I also do not consider measure Y a new tax just an ill-conceived tax presently in place. 2. In June, the City Budget director reported that Oakland faced a fiveyear general purpose fund structural deficit of $589 million. (See page 19 of City Administrator’s report at http://tiny.cc/5jytp and a spread sheet adding the numbers at http://tiny.cc/9sowf). After the City Council’s recent budget amendments, much of that structural deficit remains. As mayor, what steps will you take to eliminate that deficit? Answer:  I would balance the budget by cutting expenses. This will take major structural changes in city employee compensation and benefits as well as implementing a two-tiered system for new employees as well as letting some employees go. This will require convincing the unions that it is in their best interest to do so. 3. Budgeted expenditures reflect a city’s priorities. When you present your first budget to the City Council for consideration, what current city functions will you give the highest priority, and how will your proposed budget reflect that prioritization? For what city functions will you reduce or eliminate expenditures? Answer:  The entire budget is a priority. All departments have to be properly budgeted. A city is about a good life or its not a city at all. I will work to see that city government delivers all the services that it should. It is not a matter of revenues it is a matter of management and that management has been lacking for many years. 4. Each of the city’s labor agreements will open during your term as mayor, which means that wages and benefits will be up for negotiation. As mayor, what will be your plan for balancing the city’s interests in maximizing taxpayer services per tax dollar and retaining and attracting skilled and motivated employees? Answer:  I’m confident we will attract good motivated employees at a price we can afford. The current economy offers us an 2|Page

Make Oakland Better Now! Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
opportunity to correct past mistakes and move forward in a healthy sustainable way.

Public Safety 5. Under recent adjustments to the 2010-11 budget, 120 police officers are scheduled to be laid off in January 2011 (in addition to the 80 laid off in July 2010) if Measure V, W, X and Y do not pass. If you are elected in November and these measures are not enacted, will these layoffs take place? If not, what specific budgetary steps will you take to prevent them? Answer:  These layoffs have already been voted on by the city council and will take place if the above measures fail. There are no steps by the new mayor to prevent them. I will however immediately begin the process of rebalancing the budget and rebuilding the force with the ultimate goal being 1050 officers. 6. Several citizens groups have advocated “civilianizing” police functions that do not require the use of sworn officers, arguing that using civilians for such functions as police misconduct complaint intake, press relations and property crime investigations can substantially cut personnel costs and maximize the availability and effectiveness of sworn officers. Chief Garcon of San Francisco implemented civilianization in Mesa, Arizona and has begun doing so in San Francisco. Do you support civilianization, and if so, for what functions? Answer:  In some cases I believe it might be appropriate to civilianize certain tasks. That would require a careful study to determine which jobs we could be reassign. I’m sure a good policeman will not want to do a task that are not consistent with their training and normal responsibility 7. At the end of your first term as mayor, how many sworn police officers do you believe Oakland should have, and what steps will you take to accomplish that goal? Answer:  My goal would be to have 800 by the end of my first term. As I mentioned earlier it will take a major restructuring compensation and benefits to achieve an adequate size force. 8. In recent years, key components of community policing in Oakland have been the interactions between the Measure Y Neighborhood Beat Officers, Neighborhood Safety Coordinators, community members and Neighborhood Crime Prevention Councils. The Neighborhood Beat Officers have now been eliminated, and the functions of the NSC’s have been consolidated. To what

3|Page

Make Oakland Better Now! Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
extent do you believe community policing is important, and if you believe it is important, how can it be accomplished in Oakland? Answer:  Since I first came here, as a young boy in 1954 the city has never had a police department sufficient to its size. My first priority will be to build a department of 1050 officers. With a force of only 50 to 60% of what is necessary you can’t deploy neighborhood beat officers or NCS’s. My first and main concern will be building a 1050 officer force. Public Works 9. In its April, 2009 performance audit of the Oakland Public Works department (http://tiny.cc/afihq), Matrix Consulting Group, which conducted the audit, recommended that: a. The City should be replacing or rehabilitating an average of 1% to 2% of its sanitary sewer mains each year” at a cost of about $7.5 million; and b. The City should be spending approximately $30 million annually for the repair and replacement of the City’s streets (at the time of the audit, the annual expenditure was $7.2 million). Matrix also noted that the General Purpose Fund contribution to the Public Works budget was far less than that of comparable California cities, and made a series of recommendations (at pages 24-25) for adequate funding of the city’s public works needs. Which of these recommendations do you support, and how will Oakland meet its obligations to repair and replace sanitary sewers, streets and infrastructure if you are mayor? Answer:  I’m in complete agreement with this report and have stated so many times. Personally I think our total one billion dollar budget is wrongly allocated but that too complicated an issue to discuss here. The general fund has to be balanced in a way that meets all of the cities needs. Until we fix the employee compensation issue the budget cannot be balanced.

Management, Leadership, Accountability and Transparency 10. Oakland is a large and very complex entity with a $1.1+ billion budget and thousands of employees. Please describe: a. Your specific experience that qualifies you to oversee an enterprise of this size and complexity;

4|Page

Make Oakland Better Now! Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
b. Your theory of management, with examples of how you have applied that theory; c. Your philosophy of executive leadership, with examples of when and where you have shown that philosophy. Answer:  I’ve had forty years of business experience and during that time I’ve started operated and sold five businesses. These businesses were in retail, manufacturing, computers and food service. None of the other candidates can match my experience of running businesses. that have to produce a profit let alone a balanced budget.  The most important lesson I learned in all that time is that a leader is only as good as the people he or she gathers around them. I’ve spent the last eight months searching for a team to work with. So far I’ve found key members. Each has met three criteria I’ve set. First that have a proven track record second they have a strong connection to Oakland and third they share my vision of the future. 11. The City Administrator is the day-to-day head of city government. What criteria will you employ and what qualifications will you look for in appointing the City Administrator? Answer:  The city administrator is the most important appointment the Mayor can make and I’ve been searching for eight months now and have not made a final decision yet. I have found a city CFO, IT director, Human Resources director, and Enterprise Zone director. and a administrative assistant. I’m currently talking to a candidate about heading up CEDA.  All these candidates share three qualities, first they have been highly successful, second they have strong connection with Oakland and third they share my vision for the future of Oakland. 12. What will you do as mayor to ensure that your agenda is being executed? Answer:  In the beginning I will meet daily with the administrator and department heads to make sure my agenda is on track and goals are being met. 13. What metrics or benchmarks will you establish for your performance and the performance of City department heads? How will Oaklanders know whether benchmarks are being met? Answer: 5|Page

Make Oakland Better Now! Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
 Each department head will prepare a plan outlining major goals and benchmarks. I along with the city administrator will monitor those plans and benchmarks. I also intend to encourage close scrutiny by all citizens and will on a regular basis publicly report to the city at large.

14. How can Oakland’s television station, its web site and other media be used to more effectively inform and engage Oaklanders concerning city government activities and issues? Answer:  I believe the TV station could be used in many ways. I would like to use it to go behind the scenes of city operations to give citizens a better understanding of what is really going on. This could include a police ride along or a time in some of the departments seeing how employees work with the public. Another idea I like pursue is to televise youth activities like basket ball games. Last but not least I think the Mayor should use this medium to regularly talk to the public and I intend to do so.  As far as the city website goes, it needs a lot of improvement and that will be a priority of the IT department.

15. Should the City be taking other steps to more effectively engage the citizenry in city issues, and if so, what steps? Answer:  As the Mayor I intend to spend a great deal of time meeting with the public. This will include groups like yours and all others that are interested in improving our city. I plan to also visit schools of all levels public and private. Economic Development 16. Many Oakland candidates and office-holders express the opinion that Oakland city government systemically business-unfriendly. Do you agree or disagree? If you disagree, explain how the city has established a favorable climate for business development. If you agree, describe what you see as the systemic problems and explain how you, as mayor, would fix them. Answer:  I’ve visited with many retail business owners and one issue stands out universally as the most important, PARKING. I can’t emphasize how devastating the cities parking enforcement measures have been. The city council has obviously chosen to make this a major revenue stream at the expense of the citizens and retail operators. In the process they have done great 6|Page

Make Oakland Better Now! Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
damage to their tax base and trust of the citizens. I’ve been told of multiple instances were people have gotten a ticket while going to the kiosk to buy their parking slip. Two council members Kaplan and Quan want to eliminate as many cars downtown as possible and I believe this impractical and short sighted. Using restrictive policies like excessive parking fees and fines as well as changing the building code to reduce parking requirements. What happens in the near future when we have all electric cars with no place to park? This is an example of the kind of short sightedness that has led to many of our current problems.

17. What, if anything, does Oakland have to learn from Emeryville, Berkeley or other cities about how to effectively use Enterprise Zones and redevelopment funding to attract and retain businesses? What, if anything, have other cities done that Oakland will start doing if you are mayor? Answer:  If you have followed my campaign at all you know that this is a major issue to me. The other candidates have barely mentioned the Enterprise Zone while I have gone to great lengths in the forums to carefully explain the value of it. This is the most powerful tool the city has to create jobs. Incredibly the city council has budgeted $0. dollars to the Enterprise Zone leaving the one employee to pay for herself by processing $10 dollar vouchers. Other 18. What, if anything, can Oakland city government learn from other cities about how to maximize its ability to provide quality services to its citizens in difficult economic times? Answer:  I’ve learned a lot by reading other cities budgets. I’ve learned for example that Santa Ana found a new process for resurfacing streets that is much more cost effective. I also learned a great deal from some long conversations with Vallejo’s Mayor Ozby Davis. He was very generous with me in spending time discussing his experience with bankruptcy. I also learned a lot by reading the Vallejo case court records. 19. The majority of Oaklanders love their city, and believe it has unparalleled positive elements that are simply not recognized in the rest of the state and country, including history, diversity, and vibrant activity in its culture, arts, restaurants, etc. Does the mayor have a role in getting this message out there, and how should the city send this message? Answer:

7|Page

Make Oakland Better Now! Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire
 I think once we’ve corrected the cities problems the message will get out on its own but I will be its biggest promoter. We can make Oakland better than its ever been before. I look forward to a day when Oakland is a leader in future technologies and crime along with unemployment is a thing of the past. When that day comes I want to remember John Kennedy’s words “failure is an orphan while success has a thousand fathers”. I love this city and it would be a pleasure and honor to be a part of this change.

Dated: September 10, 2010

By Greg Harland (Electronic signature – i.e. Name is acceptable)

8|Page

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful