Probably the single that annoys me the most about Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums is his habit of phrasing everything in these absurd, sweeping, hyperbolic statements. I don’t understand why he insists on doing it. Things can be good without being the best. Progress can be laudable without being unprecedented. The problem with using superlatives to describe every damn thing that you talk about is that most of the time, you’re going to be wrong. And there’s nothing I hate more than listening to people say things that are flat out not true.
And there’s no politician in Oakland who loves to say things that are just plain wrong than Ron Dellums. I’ve observed before that the Mayor appears to simply make up numbers off the top of his head when he speaks, just citing figures and “facts” that sound good to him, completely disregarding whether or not they bear any relationship to reality.
And so it was the other day, when I was listening to him talk, for reasons I didn’t entirely understand, about base reuse, and he proudly informed his audience that “Every study that has ever been done in this country” about base closures has demonstrated that after the base closure, the community has been economically enriched and more jobs were created than were ever supplied by the military base.
Why would anyone say such a thing? It’s just one of those statements that’s just patently, on its face, not true. “Every study that’s ever been done in this country”? Why!!!?? Why, why, why would you say that? No matter what you’re claiming, there’s going to be some study, done somewhere, sometime that says you’re wrong. But what’s even more annoying about Dellums’s assertion is that our very own EBASE released a report (PDF) on exactly that subject only a few weeks ago, and it says the opposite of what Dellums is claiming:
Replacing lost jobs with positions of equal or higher quality continues to challenge local reuse authorities. Civilian jobs on military bases tend to offer family-supporting wages with beneﬁts, but new job creation fails to meet this standard. As shown in Table 1, at Fort Ord, none of the industries targeted in the reuse plan pay a basic family wage. At Norton, where the greatest job creation has occurred, the average wages of targeted industries fall just short of the basic family wage. Only McClellan’s reuse plans include jobs that exceed the basic family wage, but only for a portion of the jobs. In Oakland, where ﬁnal decisions are yet to be made, reuse ofﬁcials must choose between lower-paying retail jobs, or warehouse and logistics jobs that would pay higher wages and offer a more accessible career ladder.
Of the four decommissioned bases studied in the report, including our very own Oakland Army Base, only one has so far managed to create jobs in excess of those lost when the base closed. (Even this is confusing to me, since although the chart provided shows that 13,000 jobs have been created on the former Norton Air Force Base in San Bernadino, the section that discusses that base says “To date, the businesses at Alliance California have replaced early 70% of the total jobs lost.” Who knows.)
Dellums then went on to talk about the “wonderful process” going on in Oakland right now to pick a master developer for our very own Army Base, which I actually do agree has been moving along quite nicely since the fall, even if it did take us like 15 years to get here. But he had to ruin even that, by reiterating his mindless nonsense promise about how it’s going to create 10,000 jobs:
“Whatever development that comes there will generate 10,000 jobs.
Reality check. Each respondent to the RFQ included in their response the number of jobs their concept was expected to generate. These are the totals offered by the four finalists. AMB/CCG: 3,809. Federal: 4,050. First Industrial Realty: 2,600. Prologis: 7,920.
Please, please, please, for the sake of my sanity, Ron Dellums, STOP SAYING THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE I HATE IT SOOOO MUCH IT DRIVES ME CRAZY OMG!!!!!!!