Public Ethics Commission

Chair

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Jonathan Stein

Public Ethics Commissioner, 1/22/2016 - 1/21/2019

ethicscommission@oaklandnet.com

Jonathan Stein is the head of the voting rights program at Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus and was formerly a voting rights attorney at the ACLU of California. His work is focused on increasing access to California's democracy for historically disenfranchised communities, including communities of color, low-income communities, people with disabilities, young people, and the formerly incarcerated. He is also the Chair of the Board of Directors of the government reform nonprofit organization California Common Cause.

While studying to receive his master's in public policy and J.D. from UC Berkeley, Mr. Stein served as the Student Regent on the University of California's Board of Regents, advocating for the interests of 230,000 student constituents across the UC system. At Berkeley Law, Mr. Stein was a member of the Men of Color Alliance and the South Asian Law Student Association. Prior to graduate school, Mr. Stein spent four years at Mother Jones magazine as a researcher, assistant editor, blogger, and campaign correspondent during the 2008 presidential elections. 

Subcommittees: Campaign Finance


Vice-Chair

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Jodie Smith

Public Ethics Commissioner, 6/22/2017 - 1/21/2020

ethicscommission@oaklandnet.com

Jodie Smith is an attorney with Moscone Emblidge & Otis LLP in San Francisco. She specializes in resolving civil disputes, especially public law issues. She was a fellow in the California Attorney General’s Civil Law Division, a clerk in the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, and an extern for the Honorable Joseph C. Spero, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. Prior to practicing law, Jodie worked in and around state government as the Public Policy Director for Texans Care for Children, an analyst in the Texas House of Representatives, a public servant in two agencies, and an adjunct instructor in Government at Austin Community College.

Ms. Smith graduated from Texas Christian University in political science and continued on to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government for a Master of Public Policy degree. She later moved to California, where she obtained her law degree from U.C. Hastings College of the Law. Ms. Smith chairs the Civic & Judicial Appointments Committee of the Queen’s Bench Bar Association and represents young people in school expulsion matters with Legal Services for Children.

Subcommittees: Ad hoc Complaint Procedures


Members

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Simón Bryce

Public Ethics Commissioner, 2/23/2018 - 1/21/2021

ethicscommission@oaklandnet.com

Simón Bryce currently serves as an executive for Renew Financial, LLC, an Oakland-based clean energy financing company. Mr. Bryce heads the firm’s commercial and multifamily unit, leading underwriting, execution, and servicing of energy efficiency retrofit/solar panel installation transactions. In that capacity, he has served as a consultant to the County of Los Angeles, the U.S. Department of Energy, the State of Maryland and many other jurisdictions.

A resident of Oakland since 1998, Mr. Bryce is deeply vested in the Oakland community. He served as a senior advisor to Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown, having led the establishment and operations of the Oakland Military Institute, and received the national public administrator of the year award in 2003 by the National Forum of Black Public Administrators. Prior to that, he served as the top assistant to Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb.

Mr. Bryce's wife is an Oakland public school teacher and his son is a student at Oakland’s public Cleveland Elementary School. He is a member of the California and Virginia Bar Associations and has held his Series 7, 63, 24 securities licenses.  


Subcommittees: Ad hoc Complaint Procedures, Ad hoc Penalty Guidelines


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Lisa Crowfoot

Public Ethics Commissioner, 1/22/2017 - 1/21/2020

ethicscommission@oaklandnet.com

Lisa Crowfoot is an attorney who has practiced law and been engaged in California for almost 2 decades.  She currently enjoys doing legal work for an international solar and storage company that is a leading innovator in the space.  

Previously, she was a partner at a national law firm where her litigation practice focused on representing and counseling design professionals, builders and developers.   In that practice, Mrs. Crowfoot gained experience regarding the various rules, regulations and limits that apply to both public servants and those seeking to do business with public entities.  She also gained an appreciation for the importance of transparency and openness in governance.  She joined the Public Ethics Committee with the hope of strengthening Oakland by helping to ensure fairness, openness, honesty and integrity in government.

Mrs. Crowfoot obtained her B.A. degree in English Literature from the University of Colorado, Boulder and her J.D. degree from Whittier Law School.  She is an active volunteer who is dedicated to supporting her community.  She and her husband enjoy raising their daughter near beautiful Lake Merritt.

Subcommittees: Campaign Finance, ad hoc Penalty Guidelines.


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James E.T. Jackson

Public Ethics Commissioner, 1/22/2018 - 1/21/2021

ethicscommission@oaklandnet.com

With more than 25 years in healthcare administration, James Jackson is the Chief Operating Officer of Seton Medical Center & Seton Coastside, part of the Verity Healthcare System. Prior to this role, he was the Chief Administrative Officer of San Leandro & Alameda Hospitals, part of the Alameda Health System. Prior to that he was the Administrator of Fairmont Hospital, also part of the Alameda Health System. Before joining AHS, Mr. Jackson was a Support Services Assistant Administrator with Kaiser Foundation Hospitals in the Diablo Service Area. Before joining Kaiser, Mr. Jackson was the Chief Operating Officer of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, California. Prior to joining Saint Francis, he held several positions at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, California, where he ultimately served as the Vice President of Ancillary and Support Services. His career in healthcare administration began with his service in the United States Navy at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California.

Mr. Jackson has a strong belief in volunteering. He has served as a Big Brother, and was the Chair of the African American Outreach program for the local American Diabetes Association chapter, and was named Volunteer of the Year. He served as the Chair of the Blind Babies Foundation, and is a director with the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Alameda Chamber of Commerce as well.

A Bay Area native, Mr. Jackson holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of California in Berkeley and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He lives in Oakland with his wife and two children.

Subcommittees: Campaign Finance, Education and Outreach. 


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Gail Kong

Public Ethics Commissioner, 1/22/2017 - 1/21/2020

ethicscommission@oaklandnet.com

Gail Kong is a retired nonprofit and government executive. Most recently she was founding President of the Asian Pacific Fund, a community foundation serving the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to increasing philanthropy among Asians. As President she was responsible for raising more than $28 million, primarily from Asian donors and designing and executing grants, education, and cultural programs. 

Prior to her return to the West Coast in 1990, Ms. Kong was Executive Director of the City Volunteer Corps, a demonstration program that was the precursor to AmeriCorps, and head of the New York City foster care and child protective services agency. She also held executive staff positions in the New York City Human Resources Administration. She has served on several nonprofit boards including Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Diversity in Health Training Institute.

A graduate of Stanford University with graduate studies at Hunter College School of Social Work and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Ms. Kong was born and raised in Gilroy, California and is a third-generation Chinese American. She has lived in Oakland for 21 years.

Subcommittees: Education and Outreach, ad hoc Penalty Guidelines


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Krisida Nishioka

Public Ethics Commissioner, 1/22/2016 - 1/21/2019

ethicscommission@oaklandnet.com

Krisida Nishioka is a retired Mental Health Hearing Officer for Alameda County and Santa Clara County. Prior to that appointment, she worked as an attorney in the Office of the County Counsel for Alameda County and as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of Oakland. Ms. Nishioka was born in Louisiana and moved to California during the migration of African Americans from the segregated South during the 1960's.

 Ms. Nishioka began her college education while awaiting the birth of her 5th child. She completed her studies in 4 years and began her law school education at Boalt Hall, University of California School of Law, Berkeley. While in law school, Ms. Nishioka clerked at the Neighborhood Legal Services Office in Berkeley California.

After graduation, Ms. Nishioka worked for various federal agencies while remaining active in neighborhood organizations near her homes on East 27th Street and later on Hanover Avenue. Ms. Nishioka has been a member of the Committee of Bar Examiners, serving on the Moral Character subcommittee. Following her tenure on the Committee of Bar Examiners, she served as a member of the State Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct. Her tenure on these committees and her training in ethics as a judicial officer have given her a keen appreciation of the absolute necessity of ethics training for anyone entrusted with a role in public service. In addition, she understands the critical role the Public Ethics Commission plays in investigating and holding public officials accountable where their behavior falls short of basic ethical rules. She has also served on State Bar committees on Human Rights and Public Employment. Ms. Nishioka has served on the Board of Directors for the California Association of Mental Health Hearing Officers, Oakland Youth Chorus, Family Builders by Adoption, Black Women Lawyers, Law and Government Academy for the Oakland Unified School District, and Sisters 3, a breast cancer advocacy group for African American women, among others.

Since her retirement, Ms. Nishioka has been studying Spanish and volunteering in the Oakland Unified School District reading program.  

Subcommittees: Education and Outreach, ad hoc Complaint Procedures.


Staff

Whitney Barazoto

Whitney Barazoto

Executive Director

wbarazoto@oaklandnet.com

Whitney Barazoto joined the City of Oakland Public Ethics Commission as Executive Director in April 2012, with over 15 years of public service experience focused on enhancing government integrity – from ethics to efficiency – at state and local levels.  During her tenure in Oakland, Ms. Barazoto has spearheaded key projects such as the Commission’s Toward Collaborative Transparency review and vision, the drafting of the City’s newly adopted Government Ethics Act which expanded the Commission’s authority to enforce ethics laws, and the creation of www.OpenDisclosure.io, a web application visualizing campaign finance data developed in partnership with the City’s OpenOakland (Code for America) brigade. She also led the Commission’s efforts to expand its staffing, resources, authority, and independence, now codified in the newly amended City Charter, as passed by voters on November 4, 2014.

Before coming to Oakland, Ms. Barazoto was senior staff to the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy (Little Hoover Commission) from 2008-2012, where she managed complex oversight reviews of California State policy, operations and management that produced recommendations to the Governor and Legislature. She previously served as Government Affairs Director for the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), California’s watchdog for activities related to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbyist registration, and gifts to public officials.   Prior to the FPPC, Ms. Barazoto worked as an aide in the California State Legislature, managed a county government program, and investigated theft and fraud in the private sector.

She holds a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.


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Milad Dalju

Deputy Director/Chief of Enforcement

mdalju@oaklandnet.com

Milad Dalju joined the Public Ethics Commission after serving as an attorney with the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).  In that role, he prosecuted violations of California’s campaign finance and ethics laws and represented the FPPC in state and federal court.  He previously worked at the Sacramento City Attorney’s office, the Public Defender’s office, and for a civil rights attorney. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Dalju worked at Commission Junction, a multi-national affiliate marketing company.

In his spare time, Mr. Dalju volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), advocating for the best interest of children in juvenile court dependency and wardship proceedings.  He previously provided guidance and mentorship to at-risk high school students as a mentor in the Sacramento Law and Public Policy Academy, and he served on the Federal Pro Bono Panel to provide pro bono legal services to inmates.

Mr. Dalju holds a B.A. in Global and International Studies and German Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.


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Suzanne Doran

Lead Analyst

sdoran@oakandnet.com

Suzanne joined the Public Ethics Commission (PEC) in January 2016 as a Master of Public Policy candidate at Mills College and graduate student intern. In that role, she spearheaded a project to create a performance measurement system to assess the Commission’s progress toward outcomes intended by 2014 City Charter changes, which is now being implemented as a pilot project. Suzanne is currently fronting PEC efforts to develop tools and resources to enhance disclosure and use of Oakland campaign finance and ethics-related data. Suzanne is a Bay Area native and longtime Oakland resident. Her previous work includes providing research and analysis for labor and non-profit organizations.

Suzanne holds a B.A. in Rhetoric with an emphasis on human rights discourse from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s in Public Policy from Mills College.


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Jelani Killings

Ethics Analyst

jkillings@oaklandnet.com

Mr. Killings was hired as an Ethics Analyst in February 2016 to lead the Commission’s ethics and campaign finance education program, providing education, facilitating advice, and assisting Commission clients in understanding and complying with Oakland’s campaign finance and ethics laws. He joined the Commission in October 2013 as a volunteer with a strong passion for community outreach.  He has extensive experience with community engagement and he brings a variety of prior experience in business policy compliance, marketing, customer service, and organizational efficiency. Active in his Pittsburg community, Mr. Killings is currently serving as an elected city council member for the City of Pittsburg.

Mr. Killings holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University and a Masters in Public Administration from California State University East Bay.


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Ana Lara-Franco

Commission Assistant

alarafranco@oaklandca.gov

Ms. Lara-Franco joined the Commission in January 2016, bringing a passion for community service and for helping Oakland citizens access the information and services they need. She previously worked as a Library Assistant for the Oakland Public Library system since 2003, helping library patrons access information and library materials. She also participated in library programming and assisted in the remodeling of the Teen Zone at the Oakland Main Library where she conducted outreach and promotion for teen events.

As the Commission Assistant for the PEC, Ms. Lara-Franco now manages the Commission’s administrative office functions to support the work of staff and Commissioners, and she provides customer service to our community and clients, including those who are subject to the Commission’s laws or who wish to submit a complaint of a campaign finance, transparency, or ethics violation.  

Ms. Lara-Franco was born and raised in Oakland and graduated from Oakland Public Schools. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and considers herself bi-cultural. After attending Laney College, she transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with a B.A. in Chicano Studies. 


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Simon Russell

Investigator

srussell@oaklandnet.com

Simon Russell joined the Public Ethics Commission in March 2016 after serving as a Special Investigator with the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).  In that role, he led investigations into suspected violations of California’s campaign finance, ethics, and lobbying laws, including some of the FPPC’s highest-profile cases of recent years.  Prior to his time at the FPPC, Mr. Russell worked as a criminal defense investigator in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.  He also has extensive volunteer experience with at-risk youth, both in California and overseas.

Mr. Russell holds a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law.  He is a member of the California State Bar.