Adventures in Oakland Politics: Joe Tuman!

Still no t-shirt. This is what happens when you don't have unions in your back pockets. Maybe candidates should look for sponsorship from Fruit of the Loom. No..BeBe!

When I was a younger, my mother used to take us on house tours. We would go around to really upper class homes that would open it’s doors to those of us who were curious about how the rich live. I used to be embarrassed to do this. Twenty years later I am at it again. This time, I have a different purpose. (I do like looking at the houses though..)

Today, I went to a meet and greet for Joe Tuman, and the owners of the house weren’t shy about letting it be known that I had not been personally invited, not in a mean way, but in a “Wow, this young black lady is quite industrious!” kind of way.

Yes, I am industrious. (and a little nosy)

However, so is Joe Tuman (not nosy) and I must say, he has made a believer out of me!

Joe Tuman is the candidate with no government experience, but he has done a lot. Broadcast Journalist, Political Analyst, Small Businessman, and Professor. All of these jobs have informed him and has given him the kind of experience needed to successfully be Oakland’s next mayor.

As a professor he also has experience lecturing, and spent an hour and a half doing just that. As a former Cal student, I took good notes! I won’t recount it all here (do your homework- check out his website!). However, I will share the answer to a question that a friend had wanted me to ask.

One of the biggest issues in Oakland this year is the need to bring more jobs to the city. According to Joe, Oakland’s unemployment rate is close to 20%, double the national average. This is not because of the economy, but because Oakland is not business friendly.

Our business taxes are too high and crime is a problem. For big business the mere perception of crime is a problem, it’s not something they want to expose their employees to. For small business, crime is something they have to live with. The Mesherle trial had a huge impact on small businesses who had to shut their doors early or board up their windows. Finally, parking is ridiculous. The risk of having a 60-80 dollar parking ticket for being a minute or two late in feeding the meter is not worth it to many shoppers who end up taking their business else where, like Walnut Creek (which has free parking for it’s customers).

All of these issues need to be addressed. But once that is done (which will take some time) Mr. Tuman, wants to focus on building our retail climate here in Oakland. He suggests a detailed plan for different areas of the city to bring business, for instance he would try to lure big department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, JC Penny, and Kohls to Broadway near 27th. Instead of sending a city flunky over to the retailers he would approach them all himself- offering solutions to parking, guaranteeing reduced crime and blight, offering tax incentives and making Oakland an attractive area for them to invest in. Once big stores like these are established, they become an anchor for small businesses who want to appeal to the big four’s customers. Finally, he would also work to build free parking!

His plan would bring more jobs, more revenue from the business tax, more traffic to our city and a way to collect more sales tax. A win-win for everyone!

I love this idea..and the rest that he had to offer during the meet and greet. Joe Tuman was also very approachable (He introduced himself to me and shook my hand!) and he has a mean Don Corrleone impression. (You had to be there). Joe Tuman is definitely going to be amongst my top three. 🙂

For an article on Joe Tuman’s plan for retail development read Chip Johnson’s Sept 28’th article here on SF GATE.

Also for more information on Joe Tuman’s economic redevelopment plan and other issues visit Joe Tuman’s website!

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