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Oakland, California:

by Jim March

December 11, 2001

(Click here for the .pdf version.)

"I see the world in very fluid, contradictory, emerging, interconnected terms, and with that kind of circuitry I just don't feel the need to say what is going to happen or will not happen."  -- Jerry Brown, when he was Governor of California

"We are not disorganized. We just have a kind of organization that transcends understanding." -- Jacques Barzaghi, campaign aide to Jerry Brown (quoted in '92)

"If Jerry Brown is the answer, it must be a damned peculiar question." -- Senator Lloyd Bentson, on Brown's 1992 Presidential campaign -- In our Marin report of 11/26/01, we showed you a good random selection of "normal" CCW (mal)practices -- the sort of thing seen all over the state of California.

Oakland is anything but normal.

For those new to the issue, a "Carry Concealed Weapons" (CCW) permit allows the carry of a loaded, concealed defensive firearm without fear that you are going to have your life ruined by law enforcement authorities if "caught" exercising your Constitutional and human rights. The requirements include training, a detailed background check with fingerprints and getting the personal approval of your PD Chief or Sheriff. The Marin report, first of the series, has more details on the way CCW law works in California and includes the first round of evidence exposing their corruption and violations of federal and state law.

Abuses of the CCW application process have been legendary, in California and elsewhere. In the early '60s, for example, when Mississippi had the same system, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was denied by his Sheriff after his home was firebombed.

Our goal is to take the evidence of abuse out of the realm of "legend" and into public exposure as cold hard fact.

As you read this report, keep in mind the phrasing of the opening sentence of California's CCW laws:

12050. (a) (1) (A) The sheriff of a county, upon proof that the person applying is of good moral character, that good cause exists for the issuance, and that the person applying satisfies any one of the conditions...[emphasis added]

Oakland is a city of about 400,000 right across the bay from San Francisco, and only one of them apparently has "good moral character" -- but his character has been called into question publicly and repeatedly. Read on...

Section 1 - Methodology

Jim March filed his usual PRAR [linked here] with Oakland not knowing what to expect.

What came back was interesting: one permitholder total, no denials, no applicants pending.

Mr. Jacques Barzaghi had scored CCW on June 28th of 2000, scheduled to expire in two years (which is normal) unless renewed for longer.

There were no claimed agreements with other agencies such as the Alameda County Sheriff.

They included Mr. Barzaghi's letter stating "good cause":

Section 2 - Some Pigs Are More Equal Than Others (with apologies to George Orwell)

OK, fine, so the only permitholder in the whole city is a crony of Mayor (and former Governor, and Presidential aspirant) Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown.

On 12/4/01 a Public Records Act Request (PRAR) was filed with a Lt. Walsh of the Oakland PD administrative unit -- consisting of "name all Oakland PD CCW permitholders". The response confirmed that Barzaghi was still the one and only permitholder, despite everything that had happened…we'll get to that.

So can anyone else score?

Jim March had a volunteer Oakland resident we'll call "K" try and find out. He walked in, and that same Lt. Walsh told him he didn't need the application forms -- instead he should write to the Chief and plead his "good cause" case in a personal letter.

"K" did so, and received the following back:

Section 3 - Only One Guy Has "Good Character"?

So our Mr. Barzaghi must be a true paragon of virtue to be the ONLY person in a city of 400,000ish to be judged worthy of the privilege of self defense, right?

Errr…not exactly.

Early in 2000, the City investigated allegations of sexual harassment by Mr. Barzaghi -- they found the complaints had merit and were part of a long pattern.

To quote the SF Chronicle of Dec. 8, 2000:

Sex Charges Against Jerry Brown Aide Could Cost Mayor

"It's not going to end his career as mayor, but it could definitely impact his future on the national landscape -- and believe me, that's where he's been looking these days." 

That's how one East Bay politico in the know summed up the dilemma facing Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown -- now that sexual harassment allegations have been leveled at his longtime friend, housemate, alter ego, gun-packing bodyguard and de facto chief of staff Jacques Barzaghi. 

As reported by The Chronicle's Chip Johnson yesterday, the flamboyant and often mysterious Barzaghi stands accused of putting the moves on an Oakland trade representative while they were with the mayor in Mexico last week for the inaugural festivities of Mexican President Vicente Fox. 

(One allegation is that the 61-year-old Barzaghi tried to nibble her ear.) 

Neither Brown nor Barzaghi, who was hospitalized for chest pains yesterday, was talking. 

It's as if a sonic boom hit this hall. But like a sonic boom -- most insiders say they felt it coming. 

"I know of at least four other women that have either been subjected to provocative comments or propositions from him," one source alleged. 

"It's a total pattern with the guy,' said one former staff member. "I can't think of a person in that office who doesn't feel they were harassed at some point. . . . I've seen aides burst into tears (because) he's always trying to get under their skin." 
(Go to the URL above for the rest: it's completely off-scale funny!)

In an interview dated Sept. of 2001, Oakland City Attorney John Russo was interviewed for the Alameda County Bar Assn. Newsletter and was asked about the Barzaghi case and the "Riders" police corruption/abuse scandal:

Q: As soon as you came to office, the Jacques Barzaghi case (Mayor Brown's Special Assistant accused of sexual harassment) and the Riders (Oakland Police Officers accused of abusing their powers and falsely planting evidence against defendants) case exploded on the front pages. In light of these developments, do you have a changed view of the city attorney's office being handled with the risk management philosophy that you espoused and have these high-profile cases bogged down your ability to move your agenda forward?

A (Russo): Wow! Yeah, it was pretty bracing to have those cases come up as soon as I took office. Those cases actually validate the emphasis my campaign placed upon the importance of risk management. These cases have not impeded the implementation of a risk management philosophy; rather, they have made the need for its implementation more obvious to everyone at city hall. Since I took office, we have placed dedicated departmental counsel in the police department and in the public works agency, our two largest liability generators. These two attorneys are responsible for practicing preventative law and assisting the appropriate department heads with avoiding legal liability.

As for the cases you mentioned, they are being handled very professionally by a combination of in-house and outside counsel. We got an excellent result in the Barzaghi case (a settlement with the plaintiff for $50,000) and we believe we are well positioned in the Riders case to not only save the taxpayers money but to insure that our otherwise excellent police department does not find itself in such embarrassing circumstances again.

So the city paid $50,000 for this guy's misconduct, and the city attorney clearly feels lucky that it wasn't worse.

And yet…there's just this ONE person in the whole town with the "good character" to pack?

Ohhh no. HELL no. There's no profanity in the world strong enough to deal with this.

If gun owners were as dangerous as Oakland officials regularly portray us in their twisted politically-motivated propaganda, it would be downright lethal to insult us to this degree.

Final CCW Notes

We could go into detail on Oakland's policies, how the $1million liability insurance policy requirement is illegal per Penal Code 12054(d), which bans any extra-cost requirements above and beyond the state requirements, or the medical exam banned on the same basis.

We could discuss how they're requiring people fill out TWO sets of application forms if you're lucky enough to get them. State law says they can't require any paperwork other than the state form.

We could probably spend 10 pages on dissecting the "policy manual", but who cares? Per Chief Word, nobody else except for this one saintly anointed gent is ever going to score regardless of any other fact or law we could list.

Did we mention that most of Oakland is a high-crime war zone? No…y'all probably figured that out already, with the top cop this screwed up.

Miscellaneous Weirdness

Oakland is one of the state's hot-beds of gun control, generating "new ideas" such as a ban on "pocket rockets". If a gun won't fit sideways through a cardboard square 4" by 6", it's banned for sale. Actually, We're not sure they successfully passed that one, because they ran the only gun dealer in town out of business by taxing everything in the store 3% -- and they were doing more business in fishing gear and the like than guns, so the "pocket rocket" sales ban would have been purely symbolic, as nobody sells guns in Oakland anymore.

Jerry Brown is a political ally of State Senator Don Perata, the gun-grabbin' lunatic with his own CCW permit issued out of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. (We'll get to those twits in a separate report.)

Brown as Governor was a frequent devotee at the San Francisco Zen Center, which has been linked to a number of sex scandals and general fraud -- some of the latest is here:, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Barzaghi came from the same scene and is apparently covered with Zen and mystical Tibetan tattoos. (See:

A left-wing granola-sucking health-food co-op in NYC did a glowing profile on Barzaghi that has to be seen to be believed for it's depth of muddle-headedness. (See:

The "JerryWatch" page has two separate Barzaghi-related items including juicy details on the weird shared-housing arrangement. (See:

Finally, a comedy documentary was made on the 1992 Presidential race and apparently our boy Barzaghi was the #1 freak in the resulting circus:,6861,VID-V++++17003,00.html -- we are desperately searching for a copy.

We couldn't make this up if we tried.

(For those interested in the "Riders" scandal, search and enter the search terms "oakland police riders scandal" without the quotes. You'll get a pile of reports. When the top brass of a department hates the citizenry he serves with the passion Chief Word has demonstrated above, it's not shocking to find the same attitude repeated down the ranks.)


Oakland Police Department:

Mayor Jerry Brown:

Vice Mayor Jane Brunner:

Council Member Danny Wan:

Council Member Nancy Nadel:

Council Member Dick Spees:

Council Member Ignacio De La Fuente:

Council Member Moses L. Mayne, Jr.:

Council Member Larry Reid:

Council Member Henry Chang:

City Auditor Roland Smith:

City Manager Robert C. Bobb:

City Attorney John Russo:
(Bonus humor: his website at has a "notable cases" section that's currently empty. We're not holding our breaths expecting THIS clusterintercourse to appear there.)


1)  I'm going to be at the next Oakland City Council meeting on Dec. 11th (Tuesday) at 7:00pm to speak and pass out 30 copies of this report! Anyone who wants to observe is warmly welcome (by us) to do so, although what welcome the city will have will be an open question :).

2)  We are raising funds to continue trumping many other counties in California -- one by one -- until Attorney General John Ashcroft takes notice and takes action.  Please click here and then here to see more about how you can pitch in.


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It doesn't require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires to people's minds. — Samuel Adams American Patriot

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