Earlier this month, Mayor Dellums convened an economic summit, celebrating the release of a report from McKinsey & Company commissioned last spring by the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. I had to work, and also couldn’t afford a ticket, so I was unable to attend. But it’s probably better that way, because had I been present for the big announcement, I might have puked in disgust, and that would have been rude. As it was, I nearly injured my eyes from rolling them so dramatically when I read about it the next morning in the Trib:
Mayor Ron Dellums announced Thursday he will lead an initiative designed to create 10,000 new jobs in Oakland over the next five years.
Dubbed the Oakland Partnership, Dellums pledged to work with the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and local companies to craft and implement an economic development strategy that would turn Oakland’s economy into a thriving regional powerhouse.
“We will change the world,” Dellums said to the more than 1,000 business, nonprofit and union leaders who paid $75 each to attend the all-day economic summit in the Oakland Marriott.
10,000 jobs? “Thriving regional powerhouse”? “Change the world”? Is this a joke?
Sadly, I don’t think it is. It’s just further evidence of how completely out of touch Mayor Dellums truly is with what’s actually going on in Oakland. Where did he even come up with that number? Certainly not from actually reading the report.
Look, it doesn’t take a genius (or even a calculator, really) to see that this a wildly unambitious proposal. A quick perusal of “Taking Stock of Oakland’s Economy” reveals that Oakland has nearly 200,000 jobs, and that employment is growing at a rate of roughly 1%/year. Do the math.
Or don’t. I busted out the TI-30x and did it for you.
According to the McKinsey report, Oakland had 191,371 jobs in the second quarter of 20061. The report also notes that Oakland’s annual employment growth rate from 2001-2006 averaged roughly 1%/year2. Assuming our current rate of growth, this is what we will see over the next five years.
2006 Q2 – 191,371 jobs
2007 Q2 – 193,284 jobs (now – beginning of Dellums’s 5 year plan)
2008 Q2 – 195,217 jobs (1 year)
2009 Q2 – 197,169 jobs (2 years)
2010 Q2 – 199,141 jobs (3 years)
2011 Q2 – 201,132 jobs (4 years)
2012 Q2 – 203,144 jobs (end of Dellums’s 5 year job creation plan)
Total jobs created in 5 years assuming our current rate of growth (i.e. doing nothing): 9,860.
Let me say that again. Assuming we do absolutely nothing to stimulate growth, we are on track to create 9,860 jobs over the next five years. That is only 140 jobs short of Ron Dellums’s goal. Is even possible to be less ambitious? Dellums is creating a think tank with the express purpose of maintaining the status quo. ¡Dios Mio!
How did this even happen? Did someone finally point out to him what a joke his 100k initiative was, forcing him to come up with a new half-baked plan? Is this some feeble attempt at aping Jerry Brown’s 10k plan? Delllums flak Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor seems to think so.
Look, I want Oakland to be a “thriving regional powerhouse.” I really, really do. And I think we have the potential to make it happen. But it will not happen as long as our leaders refuse to do anything beyond convening summits just to hear themselves speak, commissioning studies they don’t even read, and creating partnerships aimed at accomplishing nothing.
1. Taking Stock of Oakland’s Economy, Ch. 1, p. 8. The report offers the California Employment Development Department as the source of these numbers. I am using their numbers, and have not independently confirmed them through EDD.2. Taking Stock of Oakland’s Economy, Ch. 1, p. 1. Ironically, the report lambasts Oakland for failing to capitlize on regional growth in certain industries over the last several years, while at the same time noting that “Over the past 6 years, Oakland grew jobs in the aggregate more quickly than both the US as a whole and the Bay Area. From 2001-2006, Oakland’s employment grew at an annual rate of close to 1 percent (compound annual growth rate [CAGR]); by contrast, employment across the US during the same period grew at about 0.6 percent annually, and the Bay Area lost jobs at an annual rate of 1.4 percent.” (Blogger dto510 noted this logical inconsistency in his summary of the summit at Future Oakland.)