So with the dawn of lucky 2008, the trendy thing to do among local media outlets appears to be evaluating Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums’s performance during his first year in office. I was thinking of weighing in with a little list of achievements myself, but then I figured why bother. Regular readers are already well acquainted with my opinions on the subject, while new visitors are free to browse the archives.
One KTVU report complained that Dellums has been invisible and unavailable, while another describes a poll finding that many Oaklanders are dissatisfied with the Mayor’s performance, with 42% of respondents agreeing that Dellums is “all talk and no action.”
Hilariously, the East Bay Express’s always-entertaining Robert Gammon somehow managed to construe a fairly damning Chronicle story on the subject from this weekend’s paper (the short version: I told you so.) as some kind of apology for the Mayor’s lackluster performance:
The piece, by veteran political reporter John Wildermuth, rightly points out that Dellums has been exactly the type of mayor he said he would be — a cautious coalition builder, and not a decisive hands-on leader.
Huh? What coalition? Anyway, I just wanted to point out that although Dellums did indeed say he would not be a 24/7 Mayor during his initial announcement, he backed away from the statement during the campaign, at one point even denying that he had ever said it and growing angry with a reporter who raised the issue.
I suppose I agree with Dellums supporters who assert that it is unfair to expect Dellums to have made any drastic improvements in crime or other pressing issues facing Oakland after only a year. But did anyone really expect that? What disturbs me, and I think most people, is not the lack of results, but the lack of any policy initiatives or proposals. Surely the 18 months since Dellums’s election should have provided ample time for the Mayor’s office to formulate some kind of strategy regarding affordable housing, public safety, and so on – yet we’ve seen virtually nothing. Here’s hoping that in 2008 both the Mayor and the City Council will try a little harder to move this city forward.
By the way, if you are fortunate enough to have precious O-Negative blood running through your veins, please get yourself to a blood bank forthwith. The Bay Area is apparently critically short of O-Negative blood.