So I’ve had like a dozen people ask me this week why I haven’t written anything yet about the latest plan for ending Oakland’s spate of restaurant robberies from Mayor Ron Dellums and Police Chief Wayne Tucker.
For those who missed it somehow, Dellums says that the problem will not end until we all start running around writing down license plate numbers of all the suspicious looking vehicles we see. The Mayor also made the extremely helpful observation that he thinks people are robbing restaurants because they are “targets of opportunity.” Um…duh.
The police department thinks this is unfair, since they’ve actually arrested 52 robbery suspects in the past two months, although none of those arrests are of suspects in the recent restaurant robberies. So…52 suspects. 60 days. Out of how many crimes? Well, between June 24th (xls) and August 24 (xls), we went from 1,897 reported robberies for the year to 2,606. So…two months, 709 robberies, 52 arrests. And the problem is with the media not reporting arrests? If they say so.
Anyway, I mostly haven’t written about it yet because it’s just too depressing. The latest pleas for help and rounds of blame and sad defensiveness are just so totally pathetic that my immediate reaction was one of pity rather than anger. Both Dellums’s and Tucker’s remarks just give off this overwhelming stench of complete desperation. And yeah, it’s totally unacceptable that they can’t get a handle on things, but my feeling at this point is that both really are doing the best they can. The problem is that both are just completely overmatched by their jobs. And when you’re doing your best and working as hard as you’re capable of (I’m not saying that the Mayor is working harder than most people would be capable of, BTW, just that I don’t think it’s in him to do anything beyond what he’s already doing), and the result is just flat-out not acceptable, that means it’s time to hand the reigns to someone else. At this point, the best thing both Dellums and Tucker could do to help Oakland move forward is to put their egos aside and admit that these extremely important jobs should be filled by someone with more energy, more ideas, and more, well, just general competence.