Bryan Parker, the man I’m backing in the Oakland Mayor’s Race, is the focus of an unfair and hidden attack, writes Oakland blogger Zennie Abraham in his Zennie62.com blog. The rest of his post from yesterday is a fascinating overview of the silent attacks in political campaigns in Oakland, and in general. We publish the column here for our readers:
For months, there’s been a whisper campaign brewing among Oakland insiders about the problems and issues of most all of the candidates. One of the most insidious rumor campaigns is about Bryan Parker. With 20 candidates now in the race for Oakland Mayor (not including Charlie The Dog) it was only a matter of time before the attacks started.
Soon after those whispers started, I received an anonymous package with two unverified, but authentic looking police reports filed against Parker a decade ago that describe two separate domestic issues between him and two different women, one in 2003 and one in 2006.
I have reached out to both of these women for comment and noticed that one is actually a volunteer on his campaign. I have chosen not to identify the women involved until at least I have the chance to discuss it with them.
As for the allegations in these reports, they show heated arguments between Parker and the women involved. They paint a less-than pretty picture and allege such things as harsh words and the brandishing of a hand gun used for intimidation purposes.
Bryan and I have talked about this issue before.
I reached out to Parker and he provided me with the statement that appears here (Bryan Parker Statement On Smear Campaign), saying he, too, had also received these police reports anonymously several months ago when someone left them in his fiancé’s mail box (which, if you think about it, is a form of harassment and intimidation).
Although Bryan was not surprised these incidents had come forward given the competitive mayoral campaign, he also had no awareness that these reports existed until now.
This made me curious as to the source of the information.
Considering the timing, all logic would suggest it was an operative of Mayor Jean Quan who was distributing these reports in an attempt to eliminate potential competition. Parker was one of the first candidates to announce and has remained a formidable frontrunner, although the field has recently grown widely.
Whether or not Quan’s campaign is behind this (and I’m told that it is, so Mayor Quan’s going to have to stop texting and driving and talking) there’s no doubt that the distribution of these reports are tactics being used by an opposing campaign.
For me, the question becomes should this be an issue?
These police reports were taken at the request of the women involved. No follow up investigation or reports exist about whether Parker was ever personally contacted by police about these allegations.
More important, no charges were ever filed against him because it appears the facts of both cases did not merit further investigation or action.
If all that is true – and these reports do in fact document heated disagreements between Parker and past partners – should they matter in this Mayor’s race?
As so often the case in politics, opponents are prone to cast broad and damaging allegations supported by little proof. Those of us who cover politics are accustomed to smear campaigns.
Character does matter and while it seems that Parker may have had some anger issues as a young man, but by all accounts there is just no semblance of that by anyone who has worked or dealt with him currently, including his fiancé Kamala Peart. (Kamala Peart Statement On Smear Campaign)
When reached for comment, Peart told me that she and Parker have shared the ups and downs expected of long-term relationships, saying: “While Bryan is not perfect, I know he is a man of kindness and compassion who has never been in trouble with the law or otherwise. I am proud to know that I am marrying a man who cared enough about his own self-improvement to seek counseling and work on his spirituality so that he could learn how to be the best man and partner he can be. I would never expose my children to a person who was anything other than kind and loving.”
I also spoke to some of my friends in law enforcement. They said that that they take and such reports seriously – if they had any merit, they would have followed up on them with urgency. The fact that they did not can only mean that officers found the allegations to be less than credible.
As I considered my pick for Oakland’s next mayor, I’ve weighed all of the issues against my own experience as Economic Advisor to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris, and President Of The Super Bowl XXXIX Bidding Committee, including character, vision and, more important, a candidate’s ability to lead. Bryan Parker is still my top contender, and in rank choice fashion followed by Oakland Councilmember Libby Schaaf and Joe Tuman, 1, 2, and 3.
Not only does this latest incident demonstrate personal growth in Bryan, but it also shows integrity – here’s a candidate who is not shying away from his past and who is using personal experience to become a better person and leader in the future.
Meanwhile, Mayor Quan still has to talk about the active lawsuit filed against her by Donna White, who asserts that an “entourage” representing Oakland Mayor Jean Quan blocked Ms. White from sitting in an area that’s normally designated for the disabled.
By Zennie Abraham of Zennie62.com, an Oakland political blogger and opinion leader.