Michael Siegel, a champion of Occupy who’s done tons of pro bono work, including the initial defense for Kali, was kicked off the civil service commission last night via a proposal introduced by Libby Shaaf. While most mayoral appointments are simply rubberstamped by city council people, Shaf introduced a proposal to “bifurcate” Siegel’s name from the other reappointments–the first step towards voting against his reconfirmation specifically.
Siegel was there to demand an explanation for the move, and at least be allowed to defend himself. Other members of the community also appeared and listed the many accomplishments of the commission since Siegel had been appointed to it, describing how it had been forged into an effective body from an ineffectual, toothless one.
No explanation was forthcoming, however. Shaaf’s response was literally an expression of privilege of office; that since no explanation was required by rules, she would give none. Council Member Kernaghan, followed with an even uglier homage to corruption, claiming happily that since all appointments to city positions are politically motivated, and thus have no legitimate basis in the first place, there was nothing of particular interest to see here. Ignacio de la Fuente, Schaaf, and Kernaghan voted against the reappointment, and Larry Reid helped by abstaining, which prevented a tie that would have had to be broken the mayor.
In a system of toothless commissions designed to create the illusion of interest in justice, Siegel had helped create an actual body of defense for the people of Oakland. His work on the commission had a focus on the Port of Oakland, a playground for 1% interests nearly untouched by city oversight; indeed, I copied Siegel’s article in the Occupied Oakland Tribune about the port, and used it in outreach for the November 2nd shutdown action. It was this focus, and his defense and advocacy for Occupy Oakland, that was most likely the problem for crony-capital council members like Schaaf. Siegel is worth a thousand of the people that ousted him from this commission