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.