Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums’ wife, Cynthia, has been talking with city officials about the possibility that her husband will depart before his term ends Jan. 3, perhaps to take a lobbying job in Washington, D.C.
Adding fuel to the gossip fire: This week the mayor canceled his farewell State of the City address, which had been scheduled for today, and decided to post it on the city’s website instead.
If Dellums were to step down, Mayor-elect Jean Quan would automatically replace him in her capacity as vice mayor on the City Council. Then she would be sworn in to her full four-year term as scheduled.
Dellums, who turns 75 next week, is under pressure to give the Internal Revenue Service a sizable check to clear up his $252,000 tax lien by the end of the year.
We’re told Dellums has been exploring erasing the lien with an advance on speaking engagements as well as a possible signing bonus from a new lobbying job. He has also looked at how quickly he can access his city pension.
Dellums earns $183,000 a year as mayor. Under city law, he can’t accept outside work and has restrictions on outside income as long as he remains in office. Hence the early resignation talk.
“Almost everything at this point seems to be related to how to get him back on financial track,” said one source with inside knowledge, who asked for anonymity because he is not authorized to speak for Dellums.
On the other side of the ledger: Confidants inside and outside City Hall are telling Dellums and his wife that it will be yet “another bad story” for the outgoing mayor if he goes out prematurely.
That’s right. It is my hope that on Friday, Oakland MayorRon Dellums will announce he’s seeking re-election.
I know what you’re thinking. You think I want Dellums to receive the electoral thrashing that many Oakland residents believes he so richly deserves. But revenge is not my motivation.
I favor a Dellums re-election run for purely democratic reasons: His entry into the Oakland mayor’s race virtually assures a high voter turnout.
There are citizens who might not care whether the Oakland Athletics leave town and others who prefer the monthly Art Murmur in downtown Oakland to a Raiders home game, but hardly anyone in this city is apathetic about Dellums’ performance as mayor.
Despite his pledge last year to join Oakland city workers being forced to take a 10 percent pay cut, Mayor Ron Dellums has never stopped collecting his full $183,000-a-year salary.
When the City Council suggested last June that Dellums take a pay reduction and cut his staff to help Oakland balance its budget, the mayor’s public stance was that he was on board. “I am in no way interested in a fight at a time of significant economic despair and economic problems,” he said. “This is a time we need to close ranks.”
It turns out, however, that closing ranks didn’t mean taking less money.
Dellums’ spokesman, Paul Rose, declined on Thursday to say why the mayor didn’t forgo $18,300 in pay this past year. A statement issued by Dellums’ office said only that “changed family circumstances following the death of a close family member made it (taking the pay cut) impossible.”
When news of Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums’ tax troubles came to light late last year, he told reporters the matter was being handled.
Well, apparently it has not been handled to the satisfaction of Internal Revenue Service officials, who last month added an additional $13,000 tax lien on the mayor’s real and personal property.
The Dec. 23 filing, which addresses the mayor’s 2008 taxes, does not state the reason for the additional penalty. It was filed just one month after disclosure of a $239,000 federal tax lien against Dellums and his wife, Cynthia.
That would be a lien on income received in his first year as mayor and it also means the IRS believes the Dellumses paid less than their full tax bill in four consecutive years.
Dellums offered no explanation to Oakland residents when reporters from The Chronicle and at least three other media organizations called for comment.