A fitting end to Dellums' mayoral tenure


Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums has announced that he won't give his final State of the City speech tomorrow in person as scheduled, instead performing the legally required duty by simply sending in a written report and video, a fitting end to his terrible tenure as mayor.

“In lieu of a public address this Wednesday, Mayor Dellums has opted to provide a comprehensive, printed State of the City report and accompanying video chronicling his four-year administration. These will be available on line at www.oaklandnet.com on November 17, 2010,” read a memo released yesterday by the Mayor's Office.

It will be an ignominious end for a legendary political figure who rose from the black power movement of the '60s to serve a remarkable 13 terms in Congress, where he was a leading voice against war and wasteful military spending. But as mayor, Dellums simply failed to lead a city that desperately needed him, ducking the city's biggest problems and any sense of public accountability.

When Dellums came to the Bay Guardian offices four years ago to seek our endorsement (which we gave him, hoping he would be better than then-frontrunner Ignacio De La Fuente), Executive Editor Tim Redmond asked him what qualified him to be mayor and whether he was up for coming out of retirement to take on such a demanding job. Dellums responded with fiery indignation – how dare we question his fitness for such a piddling office after such a distinguished political career.

In retrospect, it was a good question, and a telling non-answer. Luckily for Oakland, after two mayors in a row that were legendary if imperious political figures, the city will now have a mayor – Jean Quan (who narrowly beat a man who would have followed in the Jerry Brown/Ron Dellums model: Don Perata) – who is committed to doing the hard work on this very difficult job. We wish her well.


I completely agree with you regarding Dellum's tenure, but I have a very hard time drawing any correlation between his and Jerry Brown's administration. Jerry was a hands-on leader that got things done while presenting a solid public face for Oakland, and a more confident Oakland resulted. Jerry was, and continues to be, revered by most Oaklanders, whilst Dellums can find very little support.

Posted by Dizzy on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

Jerry was certainly a mixed blessing as a mayor--and at times did not seem to be paying attention. While a lot of Oaklanders did vote for him to repeat as governor (as I did) a good many of us don't exactly "revere" him; we just think he'd be better than Meg W. I can't forget the day I went into Jerry's mayoral office for a meeting and saw the big thick notebook marked "Casino" sitting on a table. Or the many times I saw the infamous Jacques Barzhagi skulking about the premises being weird. Revere just doesn't describe it. Let's leave it that we lived through it.

Posted by Guest Irreverant Oaklander on Nov. 16, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

in a way, his doing nothing at leasta voided doing anything bad or wrong.

Quan looks like she will do plenty but do all the wrong things. Oakland is in far worse financial state than SF, even laying off cops, and Quan has no solution. In fact, she is a big part of the cause.

Posted by Tom on Nov. 17, 2010 @ 9:55 am