Mayor Ron Dellums insults Oaklanders again

The Mayor’s draft Public Safety Plan (PDF) is out, and it’s…I’m sorry, it’s like a joke. Or it is a joke. I just…I just don’t know. I am in complete shock. Go ahead, read it for yourself. Please! It will only take like 5 minutes of your day.

I mean, at this point, I really don’t expect much from the Mayor. In fact, I expect so little out of that office that I thought I’d reached the point where it would be literally impossible for them to fail to meet my expectations.

BOY, OH BOY, WAS I WRONG! This document, this “plan,” it’s just like, inconcievably pathetic. I would expect that a reasonably bright high school student could produce a more coherent document in a few hours while stoned. If I had turned something like this in as my “strategic plan” assignment in the Management for the Social Sectors class I had to take last year, I’m pretty sure I would not only have failed the class, but they would have probably found a way to kick me out of the program on top of it.

I mean, how is it possible that in a 15 page document (although in fairness, one page is basically blank) allegedly about Public Safety, that there is no mention of crime reduction? Virtually no mention of the police department?

I don’t even know what to say about this. It’s nonsense, it’s jibberish, it’s a joke. “Social justice media and marketing campaign”? “Peace curriculum”? They can’t be serious! Right? “Neighborhood healing centers”? What is that? Is that like a spa?

Even the stuff that isn’t a joke, is. “Comprehensive re-entry services.” Then, elaborating on what that means “Re-entry services accessible and available in all neighborhoods.” Look, the Mayor has been harping on re-entry services since he was campaigning, and personally, I don’t think I know anyone who’s against re-entry services. But it’s been over two years since the Mayor was elected, 21 months since he took office, and he hired his own “re-entry employment specialist.” So at what point are we going to see a service, or a coherent plan for a service, or a proposal for a service, or even a description of a service – something beyond a catchphrase that we can just mindlessly repeat ad nauseum?

If one could summarize the plan, which, honestly, the whole thing is such nonsense that I’m not even sure it’s fair to try to do, but the strategy in here, to the extent that there is one, basically boils down to creating several new layers of bureaucracy and shifting the burden of taking care of the city to the citizens.

It ends with a “call to action.” That’s right everybody, it’s time to do your part. You can help by starting a book club. Or learning your neighbor’s name. Or applying to serve on a City Board or Commission (FYI, I have submitted no less than three applications for a Board or Commission to the Mayor’s office and have never once gotten any response.) Or alerting the editor of your newspaper to a community story not being told.

You know, there are so many amazing and hardworking and caring and dedicated and just totally awesome people in this city who are doing so much for their community. They work with kids, they work to improve their neighborhood, they try to get people engaged, they volunteer their time. I meet them all the time. And I find it, frankly, insulting of the Mayor’s office to sit around and constantly lecture us about not doing our part. The people of Oakland have stepped up, Mr. Mayor, and it is you that has dropped the ball.

Enough is enough. If anyone is serious about starting a recall, and I mean serious enough to actually do it and not just talk about it (realizing that it will be a great deal of work), feel free to contact me. I will help you.

27 thoughts on “Mayor Ron Dellums insults Oaklanders again

  1. Max Allstadt

    Argh. Not encouraging.

    I will say this, V. Knowing my neighbors names has been an asset in my personal crime reducing endeavors. A huge asset. I wouldn’t denigrate that one bit.

    As disappointing as this document is, I would agree totally that it is time to do our part. Government isn’t doing enough, so community organization needs to take over.

    Learning your neighbor’s names isn’t enough. Block-by-block organization is the key. NCPCs deal with too much area, and meet too infrequently to have an impact at the level of an individual block. I think the OPD should send PSOs out to one or two blocks per Saturday and have them encourage neighbors to get to know each other and to be prepared to tackle some kinds quality of life crime on their own.

    Here’s an example of what neighbors can do without needing to waste cops’ time…

    Two weeks ago, there was a guy in front of my house drunk and getting drunker at 11am. When I asked him politely not to drink in front of my home, he was deflective at first, and then grew a little threatening.

    He was pretty wasted and not a huge threat, I could have kicked his legs out from under him very easily. Still, he was big, and if he landed a single decent blow he could have really messed me up. At one point, he tried to give me a fake hug, with clear intent to get me in a “clinch”. I pried him off, but he was still going nowhere.

    What did I do? I shouted at my neighbor: “Ron! Come gimme a hand with this!”
    Drunky McSurlypants was soon gone. Ron and I managed to get him gone without any unnecessary fracas. The main talking point was “dude, this is a family block, have some respect.” Plus, as he left, he approached other neighbors who’d seen the confrontation. These neighbors are black (so is Ron), and not exactly well-to-do. Drunky tried to make noises about how the confrontation was a black-white thing. My neighbors, who know me, and know I’m a decent guy, would have none of it. They called him a jackass and sent him on his way.

    I live in a pretty dodgy part of town, but because my neighbors and I know each other, drunks and junkies and hos avoid our block most of the time.

    So again, this “Plan” released today is lame. But lets not be dismissive of getting to know your neighbors as a group. It works.

  2. TheBoss

    This is more of the same.

    One wonders whether the city government even cares about the crime problem. This is not an idle question. Perhaps the city views crime as a force acting in favor of gentrification. So long as the nicer parts of the city remain nice and the crime remains contained to certain parts, things can proceed as usual.

    This is the model San Francisco has followed for years with good success. Then, what you do is push the crime back block-by-block with condo projects, office buildings and other infill. This is what happened in Soma.

    One other thing. V Smoothe – I’m against reentry services, so now you know someone.

    My rationale is simple. Services like this make the community more welcoming to ex-cons. We do not want this. Oakland is overflowing with ex-cons. We need to make it a less inviting place for them so they’ll go terrorize other cities.

  3. Jennifer

    This is truly insulting to those of us (like me) who a) have had their homes burglarized or have otherwise been a victim of crime, b) have been to a neighborhood meeting which is focused on crime information and prevention, and c) who volunteer in our communities. I am just speechless.

  4. dto510

    This report is shocking, even for Dellums. What is the point of going to college if public policy can be written like this? But what’s worse is what they’re actually proposing: replacing NCPCs with a board of bureaucrats and mayor appointees, and compounding the failures of the overly-broad Geographic Command. The idea that Downtown, West Oakland and Rockridge share such similar priorities that our NCPCs should be dissolved would be a huge setback for community policing and make it much harder to use PSOs effectively.

    Max, I agree that it’s important to know your neighbors. But that’s no substitute for policing reform, or crime-reduction goals, or using tax-funded services better. Certainly the call to action reeks of blaming the victims, and ignores the enormous amount of civic engagement already present. And how are we supposed to alert the media when the police accuse complaining citizens of lying (see: Dogtown)? How are we supposed to trust a policymaking council when the city’s two citizen’s policy councils are routinely ignored (see, Measure Y Oversight Committee, Community Policing Advisory Board)?

    Until the Police Department shapes up its act, telling citizens to become more engaged is fruitless and insulting. We pay taxes, we are already engaged, but the PD is unresponsive and downright hostile to community leaders. That’s the problem, not a lack of book clubs.

  5. Mike Spencer

    Dellums is from a different planet–must be all that time with his bodyguards. I still say Oakland suffers from a police department that does not really have a stake in the communities since I bet 99% don’t live here. There is no urgency in government because the job isn’t going anywhere and will still be there tomorrow.

  6. Max Allstadt

    I missed the part where they say they want to dissolve NCPCs.
    Hmm… has anyone told the NCPCs about this?

    Lets see… a dozen of groups of organized concerned citizens, alienated with one stroke of a keyboard. Are they thinking it’s so crazy it just might work? Or are they deliberately stitching bullseyes to their loafers and taking aim?

    Did somebody accuse Dogtowners of lying? Who? When? About the arsons?

  7. dto510

    Max, yeah, the PD said that the Dogtown neighbors hadn’t told the PD about the arson threats. The neighbors of course did, and held a press conference as a last resort when the PD simply wouldn’t respond. I think the PD said that nobody called 911, when they’re always telling people to call the non-emergency number! So insulting.

    The plan wants the NCPCs to become “Neighborhood Councils” dealing with broader issues (as if they didn’t already), and have police-neighborhood contacts go through these large Area Councils. Which put Rockridge and Dogtown together.

  8. Max Allstadt

    Rockridge and Prescott and Clawson on the same council?

    This is guano-munching lunacy! Who wrote this thing?

  9. VivekB

    VS, i’ll have the guy who’s spearheading contact you. He’s pretty bugged, and has spare cycles to push this, but might need some help figuring out what to do.

    For the record, i’m still against a recall unless there’s a viable candidate that I think wouldn’t piss away our money and pour gas on the fire. I think Dellums is fiddling while Rome burns, but better than what anyone on our City Council would do as they’d really screw it up.

  10. Max Allstadt

    Would Russo run? For my money he’s probably the smartest elected official we’ve got. Did anybody see his post-edgerly press conference? Would you believe he actually answered every question directly and completely and didn’t evade once? (Well, he did refuse to answer one guy’s question, but if you watch Zenie’s video, it’s pretty clear that guy was a little whacked in the head.) He’s popular and effective too… kinda like Eliot Spitzer but without the….

    Also, V, why does this PDF of the plan look like a photocopy of a mimeograph from 1982? And what the HELL does the chart mean? It looks like a phase 1: collect underpants, phase 3: profit.

  11. V Smoothe Post author

    I wasn’t able to get a nice PDF of the draft proposal from the city. The copy in the post was obtained and (scanned?) and uploaded by Charles Pine at ORPN. It looks the way it looks. I reduced the file size…

  12. dto510

    Rockridge and West Oakland are already put together as part of the city’s geographic policing. Now they want to make the police even LESS accountable to neighbors by removing any neighborhood-level police contacts and inserting layers of bureaucracy and Councils dominated by bureaucrats, appointees, and non-profits, instead of neighbors. I doubt any NCPC will like it.

  13. Max Allstadt

    No I get it. The three big geographic divisions actually make some sense to me. The way they’re laid out gives each division a multi-ethnic, multi-income slice of the city, and perhaps better understanding of the interactions between groups. I can see the reasoning there.

    I am baffled by any dumbing down of NCPCs. Having seen Koban the system in action for 8 years of my life, I feel like the city should do the opposite of what they’re now proposing.

    MORE direct interaction with civilians. Real outreach too. It’s one thing to go to an NCPC and introduce yourself as the Problem Solving Officer. A decent start. But our PSO’s should be spending 10% of their week just knocking on doors and saying “hi”.

    When I was in Japan, if you moved into a neighborhood, the post office informed the local Koban of the change of address. An Omawari-san (beat cop) would come by and introduce himself and tell you where the Koban was, as well provide as additional emergency services and community information. He’d also take a census of the residents for fire department and earthquake rescue reference. This Omawari-san was assigned to the same beat all the time. He got to know his neighborhood cold.

    I’m not suggesting we have the resources or the culture to make this work in all of Oakland, but the spirit of the system is sound. Get the cops and the citizens together, get them directly interfacing as much as possible. Build trust. Build familiarity on both sides.

    I’d say “guano-munching lunacy” again, but that would be repeating myself.

  14. ConcernedOakFF

    My god….It is worse than I could have imagined. This city is being run by rank amateurs. I thought it was just the Fire Department, Human Resources, Planning and the Police…but no…it is at every level of government.

    For the love of God. Someone actually HAS to get him out of there!! Is this going to be another surge of anger and then a typical lack of reaction? Or will something finally be done about this waste of a Mayor and get him back to retirement where he belongs?

  15. Max Allstadt

    v, you really must post the chart. Especially now that it’s been labelled “abstract expressionism”. I wanna see it as an image on this page, not a PDF. It would be hillarious…. Except that it isn’t.

  16. Carlos Plazola


    Are you all serious about taking action? Sick of it? Had enough? Ready to engage?

    Then how about this:

    Whether you act on a recall or not, there is so much you all can do to start putting this city back on track. It’s not about electing the right person, waiting to be saved; or changing the charter; or political reform.

    It’s about you, taking action, consistently, tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that, and becoming part of a citizen’s movement in Oakland.

    Tomorrow at council three very, very important items are coming that you all can weigh in on and start changing the course of this city. Because if even 1/10th of the people who read this blog show up tomorrow night at council and weigh in on the following issues, the councilmembers will see something in the council they seldom see–a lot of new faces. And these new faces will say to them “something is up in Oakland, and I better pay attention.” And then a movement will have begun.

    The three critically important items are:

    The Whisteblower Ordinance. Tell council to support it so we can start cleaning up the city.

    The Hiring Practices Audit: Tell council to support it so we can start cleaning up the city.

    Ada Chan Appointment to Planning Commission: Tell council to oppose this appointment. Ada knows little about Oakland, and comes from non-profits in San Francisco that worked actively to slow or kill development projects. Revenue growth may suffer in Oakland for years to come.

    I hope to see you all at council tomorrow night, Tuesday, 7 PM, 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, 3rd floor.

    Carlos Plazola

  17. We fight blight

    After reading the public safety plan, I am even more convinced that the City of Oakland is lacking leadership. Not only is this plan poorly written and poorly organized, it lacks the type of details such as implementing actions, responsible parties, time frames and costs that are necessary to track and ensure any degree of success.

    While I understand the Mayor’s emphasis on PIES–prevention, intervention, enforcement and sustainability–nowhere does he discuss the issue of enforcement except to say we should hire and maintain 57 more problem solving officers. Really, the bulk of his plan is on page 14, the shared outcomes. Yet there are no numerical goals to strive towards other than the 57 problem solving officers. How does one really gauge success? How does one know whether the cost/investment of public dollars is appropriate?

    My interest is in blight so I was happy to see the shared outcome of: “Enhance quality of life via focused delivery of City services to reduce blight and other nuisance abatement issues.” But what the hell does this really mean? Our problem with blight is that there is a whole lot of it in Oakland. Our code enforcement officers are way overburdened. They cannot leave their city offices without stumbling over blight. I’m not sure how focused delivery changes this fact and allows them to solve blight issues more effectively. Hiring more code enforcement officers to go block by block through each neighborhood would be a start. But that costs money and we are in a major budget deficit. Do we hire code enforcement officers or police officers. While I may want to rid the City of blight, I would much rather have more police to detain, arrest and incarcerate the criminals who seem to run amok and to serve as a deterrent to future wanna be thugs.

    As it stands, we the public are doing our part in North Oakland. The We Fight Blight Campaign is going block by block and identifying problem properties and abandoned/inoperable vehicles and reporting them to the City and the Police Department. We have had mixed results in the City’s ability to respond to the large number of blighted properties and abandoned/inoperable vehicles that we have reported. Perhaps the Mayor and the Police Chief could do their job and put together a half-way decent public safety plan. Frankly, I think the Mayor would have been better off getting several students from the Graduate School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley to prepare his plan. Isn’t it time for the Mayor and the Police Chief to step aside and give someone else a chance to run this City? Clearly they are out of their league.

  18. VivekB

    I thought the council meeting was at 6pm tomorrow night? I’m going, but it would be nice to take more than 3 minutes to wolf down dinner beforehand.

  19. Carlos Plazola

    Ceremonial items are from 6 to 7 PM. While the council hearing itself will start at 7 PM, the truly important items for will start after 7:30 PM, so arriving around 7:30 PM should not be a problem. I believe, unless the rules have changed, that you have until 8 PM to fill out a speaker card on remaining items.

  20. Max Allstadt

    If you want to get in on open forum at the beginning, you better get that card in early or fill it out online, right?

    Also, I have a proposal for order and protocol tomorrow night. I call it my “after you” initiative. When you get ready to line up at the podium, everybody be sure to say “after you”….

    …to Sanjiv Handa.

  21. Carlos Plazola


    that’s funny! Making Sanjiv talk first…he’d be so confused he’d pass out.

    Yes, if you want to speak at open forum, you have to get their before 6pm or fill it out on line, which is very easy to do. Only catch is you can’t speak about upcoming council items at open forum.

    To those still on the fence about attending council tonight, think of it this way: Consider it like you’re going out to watch a movie, except it will actually have an impact on your city, and it will be MORE entertaining than a movie.

    And if you’re tentative because you’ve never gone to a council meeting or spoken at one, look for me or some of my colleaguess and we’ll walk you through the process, and give you two minute tutorial, at no cost ;-)


  22. Max Allstadt

    honestly carlos, sometimes council meetings bore me senseless. tonight will NOT be one of those times.

  23. VivekB

    Carlos – so I *can’t* stand up and strongly request they fund the Courtney Ruby thing since it’s an “upcoming council item”?

    Or do I just say that I want to talk about photosynthesis (ie, unrelated item), then get up and say whatever I want anyhow? I’m good at that bit…

  24. ConcernedOakFF

    I wish that I could just stand up and speak at a meeting, but the state of the city being what it is…I fear for my job if I was to say what I really thought about my employers….

  25. Max Allstadt

    FF, why don’t you write down what you have to say and find a proxy who’ll identify your words as those of an FF? Why don’t you encourage cops to do the same?

  26. V Smoothe Post author

    Sanjiv got so angry at the Planning Commission a couple weeks ago after being rather forcefully cut off my Michael Colbruno that on the next item, he jumped up and got in line the second they opened public comment and spoke third out of like 20 people.