State of the City Preview

Tonight’s big event really should be the Measure Y Oversight Committee meeting. After all, the Committee will be receiving the first full independent outcome evaluation of Measure Y’s violence prevention programs (PDF), and the results are…let’s just say nothing to sing about. The Committee will also be discussing a set of funding recommendations (PDF) from the Mayor’s office for next year’s programs that…well, that’s not quite how I’d do things if I were in charge.

But alas, chances are nobody’s going to be watching this very important Measure Y Oversight Committee meeting because anyone and everyone interested in local government will be otherwise occupied with Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums’s State of the City address. Well, those who feel strong enough to stomach it, anyway.

If, for some reason, you have something you’d rather be doing with your Monday evening than spend two hours watching Dellums “chronicle key policies and accomplishments for 2008,” don’t worry. I have employed my considerable clairvoyant powers to bring you the highlights of tonight’s address in advance. Read on for what you can expect to hear on KTOP between 5:30 and 7:30 this evening, according to my crystal ball anyway:

  • Measure NN: In an example of unprecedented collaboration with community advocates who wanted more police, Dellums put a tax on the ballot that failed. Will blame December’s canceled academy on the failure of NN, and will promise to put another police tax on the ballot later this year. (Measure NN, had it passed, would have had zero impact whatsoever on the availability of funding for December’s police academy.)

  • 803! A tremendous effort has brought us the highest number of police officers in the entire history of Oakland. He is proud to have finally delivered on the promise of Measure Y. (This is not actually true. Although the department currently exceeds full staffing, many of the positions created by Measure Y remain unfilled.)

  • Crime: The innovative solution of geographic accountability has brought true community policing to Oakland for the first time in history, and because of this, crime was down 4% from 2007, while crime nationwide was up. (Crime nationwide, for the first six months of the year, which is all the data we have, was down, and violent crime nationwide was down 3.5%. In Oakland, it was, of course, up.)

  • Dellums brought like $10 billion worth of federal, state, and philanthropic grants to Oakland to implement his vision of a model city. (Of course, nobody can see any evidence of all these grants he’s constantly talking about. The only list I’ve ever seen of them was basically just a list of all funding the City of Oakland had received for any purpose from any other agency, most of which is stuff we get every year.)

  • Army Base: We will be selecting a Master Developer for the Army Base in the coming months, and whichever of the two excellent respondents we choose, whatever development comes there will generate 10,000 jobs. (In their RFQ responses, AMB/CCG predicted their project would create 3,809 jobs and Federal said theirs would create 4,050.)

  • Dellums will be announcing appointments for key positions “soon.” (As if we should be impressed it only took him an entire year to hire someone to run the City.)

  • In 2008, the Council passed Dellums’s unprecedented and innovative industrial land use policy, which will prohibit industrial land from being converted to residential uses from now on. (The resolution didn’t actually do that at all.)

  • Budget: In an unprecedented move, the Mayor reviewed the entire budget and came to the astonishing conclusion that we’re in trouble. (I’m sure we’re all happy the Mayor now knows as much about the budget as everyone else in City Hall did before he was elected, but it’s kind of disturbing that he had to submit three budgets to the Council before he got there.)

  • Created an unprecedented comprehensive public safety strategy based on the PIES model which will for the first time incorporate public safety into the actions of all city departments. (Um..yeah. The “strategy“.)

  • Will “soon” be announcing an unprecedented and innovative partnership with the State that will totally revitalize 470 blocks of Oakland as a result of a tremendous collaboration. (Um…the State’s so broke right now that I’m terrified my school is going to shut down midway through the semester, but if he says so.)

  • Hired a consultant to create an unprecedented report illustrating how to streamline the Mayor and City Administrator’s office to fully implement the Strong Mayor form of government which has never been done. (The report basically just says that Dellums should stop being so inept. What did Chip Johnson call it? The Idiot’s Guide to Being Mayor? That pretty much sums it up.)

  • At least 20 minutes total will be devoted to complaining about how the media does not report all the wonderful things he’s doing and how hard he works at his 24/7 job.(Honestly, if anything, the media is way nicer to him than he deserves.)

See? Now you don’t even have to watch it! It’ll be mostly the same as last year’s speech anyway. If you do decide to tune in, drink every time Dellums utters one of the bolded terms, and you should be ready for a liver transplant by eight o’clock.

Oh, and for those who are actually interested in the Measure Y Oversight Committee meeting, it will be broadcast on KTOP this Thursday from 6:30 to 9:30, which, unfortunately conflicts with the MGO Democratic Club’s Measure Y Parcel Tax Forum at the Dimond Library this Thursday at 7:30. But I guess that’s what TIVO’s for.

17 thoughts on “State of the City Preview

  1. Gene

    I wish I drank more, because this would have made a great drinking game. At the very least I thought “bingo!” to myself as he hit your various points along the way. Oy. You could have drinking game contestants unconscious if you’d just included some Obama references…

  2. Tab

    Wow, that was awful. The consensus criticism of the Dellums administration thus far has been his inability (or unwillingness) to actually govern the City: introduce tangible programs, appoint qualified managers, articulate actual meaningful policy, and hold everyone accountable for delivering it. Dellums must realize this…it’s the critique of everyone from Chip Johnson to Robert Bobb to V Smoothe to pretty much any City employee or resident who will speak with you candidly.

    And yet…another hour of soaring rhetorical platitudes. Nothing said about a new City Administrator. No concrete budget proposals. No specific programs. Just more about how federal grants are going to save us. For God’s sake, the man praised the tar pit that was the Task Forces, and even called for another one around policing reform. Is it Dellums’ goal to make it four years without a single meaningful accomplishment to his name?

    If I hadn’t watched it I wouldn’t have believed it…does Dellums not even have one staff person enagged enough to suggest that he actually, you know, develop a specific agenda? It is staggering that this Mayor…hell, ANY sentient person…can be so blind to the requirements of a job that he’s already held for two years.

  3. dto510

    What are the objections to the Community Policing Advisory Board that Dellums alluded to? My understanding is that people like the board, they just don’t like that city officials ignore the board. I mean, if Tucker won’t answer the City Council’s questions, what is an advisory board supposed to do?

  4. Max Allstadt

    Seems like a good old fashioned case of “you SOBs can’t fire me! I quit!”

    Bye bye chief Fudd. Have fun huntin wabbits.

  5. Max Allstadt

    But in all seriousness, who’s the replacement? Will we have an acting chief until Dellums gets voted out or declines to run in 2010?

    Is Deputy Chief Jordan next in line for the hot seat? I have mixed impressions of him, but certainly better impressions than of Tucker. He at times seems very smart and competent, but at others, such as his 60 minutes interview, he seems to be toeing the line a little too much. That said, at the time of that interview he was in a position where he was tasked with putting on a good PR show.

    Anybody close to OPD got any ideas on who’s replacing Tucker, and if we have reasons to be hopeful? OakFF, are you out there?

  6. len raphael

    there are several excellent people within opd to make chief. they know where the skeletons are buried which is a good thing. that to balanced against the risk they wouldn’t exhume and deal with the consequences to their colleagues.

    promoting from within gotta help the opd morale.

    wb great if opd could attract people as competent as jeff israel or green, without paying the big bucks then it wb easy to say go outside. a young bratton clone eager to build their resume turning around the opd and willing to work in a town that has a saint/whore mentality towards cops.

  7. V Smoothe Post author

    While I agree that there are a number of highly competent people in the department, and looking elsewhere may be unfair to them, I have to say, that’s just life. Sometimes things aren’t fair. But the Mayor owes the public a department they can once again have confidence in, and I do not believe at this point that such a thing is possible without bringing someone in from outside.

  8. ConcernedOakFF


    To be honest, I don’t even know who OUR permanent chief is going to be. There are definite players for the position, and people are definitely jockeying for it (why I have no idea).

    I think the rank and file wants an outside chief that UNDERSTANDS the challenges…too often you get an outside chief that just wants to make a lot of money, and does not want to understand the very unique challenges of this city.

  9. Max Allstadt

    So we need an assistant chief from some other post-industrial high crime city who wants to move here permanently. And who’s in charge of finding this apocryphal being?

  10. Michael H

    I can’t say that I saw the address, but I do appreciate the highlights above. I’m trying to become more aware of local politics here, and I’m just astonished that the city hasn’t progressed with its continued problems with crime, affordable housing, poverty, lack of economic growth.

    You would think more of the general population would feel fed up, and demand better solutions. Anyway, I’m just surprised that’s all.

    Well the lunar new year came and went, so maybe this year will be better than last.