Mayor Ron Dellums to review his own budget

So Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, who apparently thinks the appropriate action to take after performing just about as poorly as a reasonable person could conceive of, and when one’s job approval is only thirty-five percent, is to strut around grandstanding, is now announcing (PDF!) “that he will be reevaluating the city of Oakland’s budget deficit.”

So…remember how all Spring, everyone was saying $50 million, $60 million for the budget deficit? Then the mid-cycle budget came out, and it was only $15 million, and it was all surprising and everyone was so relieved? Of course now we all know, as the Mayor’s press release puts it, the budget deficit “could be significantly higher than what was presented during the previous mid-cycle budget review.” So…yeah, I think it’s pretty clear to everyone that someone’s going to have to review the budget, now that we’re all aware it was wrong. And I’m sure we’re all very happy the Mayor has decided to join the party.

Let’s take a second, shall we, to step back and remember who was responsible for this budget in the first place. It’s him. The Mayor submits the budget to the Council! Remember how he turned it in two weeks late? Back then, he was all pleased with it:

This was a very difficult process, but in collaboration with city department heads, I have put forth a series of budget proposals to ensure that Oakland maintains its ability to provide the highest quality services for our residents and businesses.

You know, when I was little, I also used to resort to the passive voice when I had done something bad and didn’t want to get spanked:

Dad: V, what happened to my creepy fossil?
V: It got knocked onto the ground and broke!
Dad: How did it get knocked onto the ground, V?
V: I don’t know, but I’m going to order a review of the event.

Even at six years old, I pretty much knew it wasn’t going to work (although I think this tactic had a significantly better chance of keeping me out of trouble than my little sister’s, which was “Grandpa did it.”) That sort of crap might be mildly cute when a child is saying it, but when it’s coming from the mouth of the, as the Mayor loves to keep reminding us, “Chief Executive” of the City, the refusal to acknowledge any responsibility is just plain pathetic.

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14 thoughts on “Mayor Ron Dellums to review his own budget

  1. PaulineZ

    i went to the two city council meetings Tuesday morning, LLAD and Kids First. Ron Dellums was no where to be found. Today’s Tribune’s reporter on Dellumswrites “And Dellums said Wednesday the budget figures he and Edgerly gave the council before the vote in June were wrong.” And the reporter writes “Robert Bobb had been hired as a consultant to help the mayor … fully implement a strong-mayor form of government.”

    We do not need a strong-mayor form of government with Dellums in office. His inability to do the job of mayor amazes me.

    What can we do to express an opinion that we do not want a strong-mayor concept with Dellums in office?

  2. V Smoothe Post author

    Unfortunately, we can’t change our form of government based on who happens to be in office, no matter how much many people would like to.

  3. Deckin

    So let’s see if I have this straight. Our mayor, a saint to progressives everywhere, who hadzero executive experience prior to being elected to this job, who had six months prior to taking office to get up to speed, who wasted countless hours of time with idiotic citizens’ committees whose reports were immediately ignored, finally had to put together a budget that actually had to come face to face with reality (as opposed to mau-mauing money out of guilty corporations and delivering face time to every ‘fight against the power’ all round the globe, and completely, massively, failed to accomplish that most basic task of his office?? I am SHOCKED! Shocked I tell you. Who would have thought it possible? Time to double up on the meds–hopefully the current issue of The Nation is in my mailbox already to get me through the night.

  4. the extremely rude teenager

    hey, so in your article you referred to the audience as extremely rude, and the city not having enough money for this increase in our budget for the YOUTH, but i have to be honest, what kind of monster are you? your sick, whoever wrote this article, seriously, your a sick person. who cares where the money comes from, bottom line, we need to fund these programs so that youth can be taught to not be on the streets, and they can help become better people. obviously your not from oakland, and obviously you weren’t in that meeting, i was. i was one o those “extremely rude teenagers” that you were reffering to. kiss my ass. hows that rude for you? maybe you should fund programs so that i can “learn some manners” asshole. if you had funding taken away from you, if you were told that the only thing that keeps us away from the gangs,drugs, and violence was being taken away from you, i bet you would be pretty pissed off too. take a reality dose and think about what you write before you write it.

  5. OP

    Extremely rude teenager,

    Buddy, in time you’ll learn that attacking people is the least effective way of getting your point across. I think you may have also misunderstood what was going on. The Council was not voting to “take funding away” from OFCY; they were simply voting to not put something on the ballot that would substantially increase the level of funding for OFCY (without a funding source) when the City is already struggling with a massive deficit.

    I think we can all sympathize with the view that there are too few opportunities for Oakland youth. Instead of attacking someone for their opinion though, how about you point out some programs you believe the city could cut to make room for more youth funding?

  6. Deckin

    Extremely Rude Teenager,

    I think OP was being too nice. Where do you think the funding that you’re claiming is yours comes from? Do you think it grows on trees? It comes from people who get no funding to keep them off the streets and out of gangs–people who get up early in the morning and go to work and pay for your funding because they have to. Long story short: maybe you missed this day in school–you’re not supposed to join gangs and be on the streets–people shouldn’t have to pay you to do what it is you are morally and legally obligated to do.

  7. Chris Kidd

    Lack of syntax, grammar and basic spelling skills makes my head explode.

    Guy – Before you can take people to task over an issue, you have to actually understand what is being argued. If you’re so down w/ Kids First, you should be psyched that the measure was voted down in council. Because it was voted down, the only measure for Kids First on the ballot is the one appropriating double what Quan was proposing. No funding was cut for Kids First. I’ve got no idea where that thought came from. The original Kids First funding will always be there, whether Quan’s measure went to the ballot or not.

    Playing into the stereotypes of others = not helping your argument

    p.s. the irony of that last sentence is *killing* me.

  8. Max Allstadt


    Extremely Rude Teenager, they’re right. People who show up at the city council and act poorly are routinely ignored. People who speak in invective usually have a hard time getting anything done. Play nice. Try to get a smart, articulate representative, one your age, perhaps an adult too. If they start a dialogue behind the scene, you might actually get somewhere.

    Unfortunately, at the moment, the consensus seems to be that Oakland can’t afford a radical expansion of funding to youth programs. (That’s what “Kids First” is.) There may be little things that can be done for you and your peers though. Things you can initiate. Things that don’t cost too much. If “Kids First” fails, don’t give up on other ways you can help this town. Look to help out in as many little ways you can.

    Oh, and could somebody PLEASE get the OUSD to mandate a day of 6th grade English on the difference between “your” and “you’re”? Argh! If this kid can remember there are two s’es in asshole, he can learn that too.

  9. Joanna/OnTheGoJo

    Deckin, Chris, and Max – I love all your posts. They rock! So true, so true.

    ERT – see, coming in here didn’t help you, did it? If you’d posted something like, “Hey, I was with those rude teenagers and they’re just upset at the thought of losing money for programs that make them happy and keep them off the streets. We’ve done XYZ for our communities in the last year and we’re really WORTH helping because we’re good people.” I might even have been tempted to send $100 to the group of your choice.

    There’s a great saying – you get more flies with honey.

    Personally, considering the city’s budget meltdown, we’re all lucky to get even the most basic of services. You’ve still got the library and the park & recs department to lean on for entertainment. I hung out at the library (read books in exchange for ice cream coupons) and played for hours and hours at the park down the street from where I grew up. I didn’t have organized sports (too poor), music lessons (until I could pay for them myself), or any arts exposure until I was an adult. I turned out mostly okay. I can tell the difference between “your”, “you’re”, “there”, “their”, etc. That had to do with having an English teacher for a mom. She was strict!

    You’re smart enough to find V’s blog on the Internet. Show us how smart you really are and turn this into a positive, not a negative.


  10. PaulineZ

    I was at the Kids First meeting.

    Ignacio de la Fuente pointed out that in April-May, with no fanfare or press releases, the City Council renewed the expiring Kids First allocation for 10 years. Maybe the Kids First Coalition and the extremely rude teenager didn’t know the Council had done this when the Coalition submitted their resolution to double their money.

    Pat Kernighan and Jane Brunner pointed out in the meeting that their were other city programs that provide kids and youth programs, like measure Y, to the tune of $54,000,000 a year — maybe the estremely rude teenager was one of those kids who left the council hall when adults started speaking about responsible spending and the city council members who spoke at the end were pointing out what the city has been doing and what they could afford.

  11. Sue

    On Dellums re-evaluating the budget—I like your analogy to his acting like a six year old.

    Now in addition to being the Chief Executive, he’s beginning to realize we have a “Strong Mayor” form of government.

    In yesterday’s Berkeley Daily Planet, an article by J. Douglas Allen-Taylor

    the mayor seems to be starting a new drum beat…’s all the other guy’s fault….

    “In the past, the mayor’s office has been seen as some exotic agency sitting over somewhere and operating parallel to the city’s administrative operation,” Dellums said. “That’s wrong, it’s inefficient, and it’s not what Oakland voters had in mind when the decided they wanted a strong mayor form of government.” Dellums added that “it’s fallen upon this administration to define—operationally—what [strong mayor government] means” in Oakland.

    Asked by a reporter why he had not instituted such an administrative review sooner, Dellums took another dig at Brown, who left the mayor’s office without turning over any of the mayor’s official records. To this date, those eight years of Brown mayoral documents remain missing and unaccounted for.

    “When I came into this office, there were no files and no notes,” Dellums said, adding that it took until now to put the money and the team in place to go forward with the administrative review. ”


    I would like to know, how consultant Bobb will keep an emotional distance from this situation. I do not like hearing this drumbeat starting (blame the other guy)…especially when the city needs some help from a neutral party to solve its problems.

  12. Bill Bradshaw

    As a former resident, I can only sit back and wonder why so many Oaklanders set their standards for politicians so low — elect Ron Dellums and Barbara Lee — then wonder why there’s so much incompetence on their behalf. They are both very pathetic self-absorbed opportunists, especially Lee..