Until his enormous ego got in the way – again – OaklandMayorRon Dellums was out of the woods, unencumbered of his mayoral responsibilities and free to look for his next professional challenge.
With only six weeks remaining until Oakland swears in Mayor-elect Jean Quan, Dellums, a one-term mayor, was doing just that – exploring the job market and looking for ways to parlay a 27-year career as a crusading, liberal congressman into annual income that would help pay off the $252,000 in back taxes that he and his wife owe to the Internal Revenue Service.
But instead of just fading away, the Quiet Mayor’s irrepressible ego got the better of him. This is the same ego that compels him to wear designer suits, ride in chauffeur-driven limousines and encourage people to feel his abdominal muscles at every opportunity.
It’s the same ego that has both overshadowed and largely defined his term in office.
Have you ever heard of a major political address where the politician doesn’t show up? Where, instead of a live public servant, a “virtual” audience is treated to a ten-minute online testimonial of his accomplishments, by a video in which he doesn’t even appear? And the video is only available on his “mayor page” on the City’s website?
Well, that was the situation in Oakland yesterday. On Monday, a mere two days before the scheduled date of the speech at the 1,200-seat Oakland Marriott, which was then rescheduled at the less-than-300-seat Oakland City Council chambers, Mayor Ron Dellums’ office abruptly cancelled the event, supposedly due to a low RSVP count at either venue. Doesn’t anyone care about the state of our city?
Instead, the Mayor has released a video, produced at City expense, and a 68-page report outlining his accomplishments from 2007-2010. At the time of this writing, the pdf seems to have been removed from the website, but OaklandSeen has posted the report as a Google document here.
As we stated, the nine minute, twenty-eight second video does not include Mayor Dellums speaking in any of the scenes. Instead, speaking on his behalf are: Dorothy Duggan, BART Board Member (who oversaw the official BART response to the Oscar Grant shooting), Margaret Lin, Deputy City Administrator (an employee), Michelle Bryson, Program Assistant, Workforce Development Collaborative, Angel Fabian, Supervisor of HIV Education, La Clinica de la Raza, Deborah Wafer, Board member, AIDS Project East Bay, James Freeman, CEO of Blue Bottle Company, Carl Chan, Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, and others in the community.
Nowhere is the Mayor visible, except in a musical video montage at the opening. OaklandSeen has made the video available on YouTube.
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.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Gunmen opened fire on a group of mourners at a candlelight vigil for a shooting victim late Tuesday night, killing a teenage girl and wounding five others.
The woman, Rachael Green, was fatally shot just after midnight in the 1100 block of Eighth Street, police Officer Jeff Thomason said.
Green was with a group of about 20 to 30 people who had set up a makeshift memorial for Damon Williams, 17, who was shot to death Monday evening in the parking lot of the Eastmont Mall in the 2600 block of 73rd Avenue, Thomason said.
Two armed suspects approached the group and opened fire. Thomason said a patrol officer had conducted a security check of the area where the vigil was happening just minutes before the shooting.
You think a real leader would show up and have at least some kind of comment about this horrible, violet incident. A real leader would step-up and speak to the community about this serious situation. Could be a long, hot and violent summer in Oakland.
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom made all the right moves in his budget proposal a couple of weeks ago, protecting key city initiatives while making sensible cuts across all departments to close a $483 million budget shortfall.
In San Jose, Mayor Chuck Reed is awaiting last-minute concessions from a half-dozen unions facing job cuts. Barring agreements, Reed has vowed to push through his budget, which closes a $118 million gap by week’s end.
In Oakland, residents are still looking around for our guy, Mayor Ron Dellums, who has not been heard from for a while.
I’ve received a few e-mails from Oakland residents who’ve reported Dellums sightings at a grocery store in the Oakland Hills – in the middle of the day during the work week. But around Oakland City Hall, it would be a lot easier to find Waldo.
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.”
Two days after state auditors disclosed that Oakland misspent federal stimulus dollars meant for job creation, Mayor Ron Dellums said the city’s Recovery Act problems are a thing of the past.
The city, he said, had made “virtually all of the necessary changes” by the time the results of a review were released Tuesday by Laura Chick, the state inspector general in charge of tracking the spending of federal stimulus funds in California.
“It’s much ado about nothing, man,” Dellums said in his first comments on the matter. “It’s an accounting matter.”
Chick’s auditors found that Oakland, which has struggled with an 18.3 percent unemployment rate, did not properly account for about $830,000 of the $3 million in stimulus grants it received last year for summer youth, adult and dislocated-worker programs. Auditors found the city arbitrarily used the funds, inflated job numbers and made serious accounting mistakes that made it difficult for them to track how the money was spent.
Auditors also rejected the city’s contention that some of the funds were properly spent, including $2,806 used to send youths to places that included the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and a Concord water park.
On Thursday, Dellums insisted the trips were allowable expenditures under the federal jobs creation program.
“It’s about quality of life,” Dellums said. “It’s about inspiration.”
The mayor also criticized the news media for highlighting the trips in their reports.
“Get over it,” he said. “This is much ado about nothing.”
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.