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OpenOakland works to improve the lives of Oaklanders by advancing civic innovation and open government through community partnerships, engaged volunteers, and civic technology.

We create digital tools to increase access to public information, to help Oaklanders engage more effectively with local government and with each other. We collaborate and partner with Oakland’s civic stakeholders and provide opportunities for civic-minded volunteers to make a difference in their city. If you’re reading this, we’d love you to join us!

We use technology for social good. To find out what we’re about read more, then check out the current projects we’re hacking on— then get plugged in: our community meets weekly for civic hack nights each Tuesday from 6:30–9 p.m. in City Hall Room 3. Join us! Geeks, Suits, Wonks and all Oaklanders are welcome!

For example, check out Open Disclosure to see how we’ve promoted transparency in government. In partnership with Oakland’s Public Ethics Commission and our team of campaign finance designers and developers, you can now see for yourself how money flows through our local political campaigns. Read about Open Disclosure’s September 2014 launch.

Recent Posts

OpenDisclosure: The most populist #OakMayor campaign? #OakMoney

Every candidate is “The People’s Candidate”; their platforms, words, and deeds speak to that. But what do their campaign contributions say? Do they raise money from small, local contributors? From more people vs. a few large contributors? Let’s see one week before election day.

Money from small contributions.

Ruby and Quan win on this, Ruby at 6.15% of her total campaign and Quan with $19,972 dollars raised from under-$100 per contribution. Quan’s accomplishment means at least 200 people gave no more than the limit.

from small contributors
from small contributors
Courtney Ruby 6.15% $9,259
Jean Quan 5.59% $19,972
Rebecca Kaplan 5.42% $15,223
Joe Tuman 5.17% $13,528
Bryan Parker 4.11% $14,339
Libby Schaaf 3.77% $15,882
Dan Siegel 3.23% $6,682
Charles Williams 0.20% $35
Saied Karamooz 0 $0

Self-funded vs. other categories.

All of our filing candidates contributed or loaned their campaigns money from their own pocket. Schaaf and Tuman kept their self-funding below $10K, raising the most from others. With Schaaf raising more than $400K, her self-funding falls below 1%.

Personal funds Percentage
of total from
personal funds
Libby Schaaf $1,053 0%
Joe Tuman $8,897 3%
Charles Williams $15,836 91%
Courtney Ruby $18,503 12%
Jean Quan $79,996 22%
Rebecca Kaplan $80,022 28%
Bryan Parker $99,396 28%
Dan Siegel $125,060 60%
Saied Karamooz $401,464 100%

Number of contributions.

Schaff leads with 1324 contributions of $100 or more. Quan and Tuman are runners up with 892 and 832 respectively.

If you give twice, each contribution counts.

Libby Schaaf 1324
Jean Quan 892
Joe Tuman 832
Courtney Ruby 526
Rebecca Kaplan 519
Bryan Parker 519
Dan Siegel 299
Charles Williams 6
Saied Karamooz 3

Made in Oakland.

This is a misleading analysis and I apologize now as I explain.

By our numbers, Joe Tuman wins “made in Oakland” with 65% of contributions raised from people and organizations who gave Oakland as their address. Libby Schaaf, with 50% and more than $400K raised, wins the “made in Oakland – cash edition” with $211,476 raised locally.

This number excludes each candidate’s self-funding (this wouldn’t tell us much) and the under-$100 non-itemized contributions (no location data).

Why does so much money come from out-of-city contributions? I’ve heard two explanations.

  • It makes financial sense for professionals in partnerships and for small business owners to contribute from their companies instead of their personal accounts. So if you live in Oakland but work in Berkeley, your contribution shows up as out of town. Search the OpenDisclosure for “Inc.“, “LLC“, “LLP“, “LTD” corporate contributors.
  • Some Bay Area interest groups, like unions, have Oakland members or local concerns, but are based elsewhere. Search OpenDisclosure for “union“, “local“, “brotherhood“. “workers“.
  • Some individuals give around the Bay, not only in their back yards.

A great deal of the “not-from-Oakland” money could be from Oaklanders. We can’t tell.

Percentage of amount of itemized contributions from Oakland* Dollars from Oakland
Libby Schaaf 50.20% $211,476
Jean Quan 52.58% $187,860
Joe Tuman 64.86% $169,716
Bryan Parker 37.36% $130,342
Rebecca Kaplan 37.36% $104,935
Courtney Ruby 50.41% $75,895
Dan Siegel 32.01% $66,223
Charles Williams 5.26% $917
Saied Karamooz 0% $-

P.S. Running Without Money

A shout out to the six candidates who are running on a shoe-string. Jason “Shake” Anderson, Ken Houston, Patrick McCullough, Nancy Sidebotham, Peter Liu, and Eric Wilson have kept their campaigns below $1000 and don’t need to file. In a $2.5 million race, this is DIY politics at its best.

P.P.S. Disclaimers.

This back of the napkin analysis is mine alone. Your napkin may vary. The data is from California and Oakland open data sources compiled by The campaigns post to those databases at required deadlines or when convenient, so the data is necessarily incomplete and will be inaccurate. Corrections and suggestions welcome. Quote at your own risk; subject to change.

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