David Silver Of The Oakland Promise Rakes In The Dough

Oakland – David Silver Of The Oakland Promise made $292,000 in total pay in 2016 according to records unearthed by Gene Hazzard and shared with Zennie62Media. That’s more than what Kyla Johnson, the Oakland Unified School District Superintendent, makes at base $189,748. What’s going on, here?

UPDATE: Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf responds – click here to read and watch.

The Oakland Promise is a program with good intentions that this space has largely avoided picking up the charge to blast (save for that issue about African-American representation) for one singular reason. The Oakland Promise is the culmination of a series of giving programs Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has been involved in, in some way, over the 32 years I’ve known her. The one program that sticks out in my mind was called “Oakland Cares,”and if it were around today, would have enjoyed its 26th birthday. Libby and her Mom Barbara Schaaf got me involved in that, and it was quite enjoyable.

The Oakland Promise is, basically, Oakland Cares, but its also unfortunately become an attention grabber for the amount of money its raised and what it does with it. $33 million is a significant amount of money – the push for a parcel tax that failed at the ballot box would have made The Oakland Promise even richer. But, with its lofty objective of making college accessible for low-income Oaklanders, you would not think any one of the Oakland Promise executives would be getting rich off of it. Well, you would also be a fool; introducing David Silver.

I met David Silver in December of 2017, during an impromptu paths crossing with Libby at 14th and Broadway, and as she was headed into a Christmas gathering at the Downtown Wine Merchants with Silver in tow. Upon introducing us, Mr. Silver said something you can’t make up: “I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of you.” My response was simply “Okay, nice to meet you”, and then I turned to talk to Libby.

David Silver’s bio is this, in part:

Prior to his current position, David served as the Chief Executive Officer of College Track, a national non-profit whose mission is to empower students from underserved communities to graduate from college. He led the organization through significant growth – from serving 900 students to more than 2000 including expansion to Colorado, Sacramento and Los Angeles; and raising the four-year college acceptance and matriculation rates to 94% and 89% respectively.

Prior to College Track, from 2003 to 2011, David was the founder and principal of Think College Now, a college-focused elementary school in OUSD whose mission is to ensure all students have an opportunity to graduate from college and pursue their dreams. The school received several honors including becoming the first California Distinguished School and Title I Award-Winning School in the Fruitvale neighborhood. David is an alumnus of Teach for America, where he served as a second grade teacher in Compton, California, and went on to become the TFA Program Director and School Director. David currently serves a Vice-President of the Board of the National Equity Project and as an advisory Board member of Youth Law Academy. He graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a B.A. in Sociology and earned his M.ED from Harvard University. David lives in Oakland with his wife and young son.

Maybe Silver felt the freedom to be gauche toward me when we met because he pocketed $292,000 in base pay in 2016, alone. That’s based on information that was sent to me by long time Oaklander Gene Hazzard. Other than photography, Hazzard’s main claim to fame is getting 6,000 signatures to convince Oakland’s legendary Congressman Ron Dellums to run for Mayor of Oakland. Ron ran and won in 2006.

But today, Gene Hazzard has crafted for himself the position of watchdog over the Oakland City Council. A job that was held by Hugh Bassett, then the late Sanjiv Handa, before Gene. There’s no formal application for the position, other than filling out a speaker card for every damn item on the agenda for whatever Oakland City Council Meeting. I’m not making light of Gene, but that’s a fact; he makes good points. Like this one about the Oakland Police Department in 2016.

Gene’s a friend, but my only beef with him has been his once incessant picking on my long time friend Phil Tagami. As one of the small group of people who fought for Phil to be an Oakland Developer when few knew him, Gene’s attacks were just wrong. I think Gene realizes that now: Phil had help to get where he is, and he asked for help. That’s a lesson for all. Moreover, Phil has used his resources to help many people in Oakland and catalyzed the growth of Uptown Oakland.

But I digress. Gene often makes good points, but the main focus of his ire of late has been The Oakland Promise and David Silver.

David Silver And The Benefits Of Being White In Oakland Government Today

Gene Hazzard wrote this email to me:

(Oakland Post) Ken Epstein got it wrong, when he stated, “that David Silver, Educational Director for Oakland Promise was NOT on the City’s payroll”.

As an employee in 2016 as noted on the 990 form for Oakland Public Education Fund, Mr. David Silver received $137,000.00, for the same period ; Mr. Silver also received $155,000.00 plus benefits as a fulltime City employee in 2016[the source of this information was Public Records Request 19-3460 from City payroll records.

This is double dipping and would be considered a conflict of interest and a failure to disclose.

OAKLAND PROMISE was created as result of a Multi-year grant provided by Oakland Public Education Fund in 2015. I made a Public Records Request related to this grant including:(1) Provide a copy of the Council’s Resolution accepting the grant t or (2)The Department Head authorized to accept the grant,(3) the number of years the grant is to cover and(4)the dollar amount of the grant.

It should be further noted, in the job description for the Director of Education for Oakland Promise, this individual will be an employee of Oakland Public Education Fund.

As of July 1, 2019, Oakland Promise has severed it’s relationship with Oakland Public Education Fund.

So, I asked this of Gene via email: “Hey Gene, Are you saying that David Silver made $292,000 in 2016?”

Gene’s response:

Additionally, in 2018 Transparent California.com Silvers salary from the City’s payroll was $261,000.00 –
Go to my website [www.oaklandpromise.com] or[cleanoakland.com].
I don’t make allegation that I can’t support without documentation.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about news media outlets whose only interest appears to be in drama rather than the truth.
Do FACT check. I told Epstein this , I even had Oakland Public Education Fund 990 for 2016 [the source document] for Silver’s salary of $137,000.00 and the Public Records Request [19-3460] from the payroll records from the City , Silver received $155,000.00 as a fulltime employee.
The Payroll Department failed to provide Silver’s salary in the PRR[19-3460] so this information was received from Transparent California.
The only Fouble Dipping was in 2016.
There is no evidence for any other year!

This long time Oakland blogger has to say this: if David Silver were black in Oakland, a publication like the East Bay Express when it was financially healthy, would have been all over this story. The sad, inescapable fact of Oakland’s media and government history, is that black public officials have received way too much negative scrutiny from the local media, while white public officials like David Silver are allowed to scoot by without a look. What’s worse is the African American public officials just sit and let it happen, then complain “that’s the way it is.”

One can change things, if they try.

Did David Silver double dip, or was it done for him by the Mayor and her staff, or both? If someone offers you that kind of coin, you’d be a fool to ignore it. So, I don’t blame David Silver for raking in the dough offered to him, but I do blame an Oakland Government system, and local mainstream media that’s just so institutionally racist, both let this go by without notice.

Is David Silver worth the same coin as Oakland’s Chief Administrative Officer? Sabrina Landrieth made $300,383 in 2016 and $298,541.05 in 2018 – are you telling me David Silver’s worth the same level of pay as the CAO?

Wonder what The Oakland Promise staffers would say? My guess is nothing. Let’s find out.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Gene Hazzard wrote this email to the Oakland Public Ethics Commission, but it has the wrong date: September 23rd 2019 is a full two days into the future. Details. Here’s the email:

To: Public Ethics Commission
From: Gene Hazzard
Re: Complaint against subject individual David Adam Silver ,Educational Director and Mayors Assistant
Date: September 23, 2019

On or about June 11, 2015 David Adam Silver was hired as the Educational Director in the office of Mayor Libby Schaaf. This position was created as a result of a Multi-year grant from the Oakland Public Education Fund {OPEF}. The amount of the grant nor the number of years the grant was to cover is unknown.
It appears from the 990 form filed by{OPEF} for the calendar year Mr. Silver was on {OPEF} payroll and was paid an annual salary of $105,295.00 and an estimated amount of other compensation from the organization and related organizations of $3,172.00

However in 2016 the 990 form filed by {OPEF} reflects that Mr. Silver was still on the payroll for the entire year as a full-time employee and was $137,275.00 and an estimated amount of other compensation from the organization and related organizations of $5,279.00 [see attached]

It’s of disturbing concern that Mr. Silver was also on the payroll in the office of Mayor Libby Schaaf for the entire calendar year as a full-time employee. A Public Records Request [19-3460/ 8-28-2019] to the City’s Payroll division shows that Mr. Silver received $155,000.04 plus benefits[see attached].

This clearly represent a conflict of interest and the failure of disclosure pursuant to the City’s Rules and Regulations . The appropriate enforcement must be undertaken..

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