Berkeley Daily Planet journalist J. Douglas Allen-Taylor takes issue today with my post earlier this month about Mayor Ron Dellums' aide being caught up in the Chauncey Bailey murder case. I have a lot of respect for Allen-Taylor, but his conclusion that I took Dellums aide Leslie Littleton to task because the mayor "is a favorite East Bay Express target" is plain wrong. I have given credit to Dellums when warranted, and have criticized him when warranted. In addition, Allen-Taylor's apologies for Littleton's involvement in the Chauncey Bailey case are way off base.
Nowhere in my post do I conclude that Littleton caused Bailey's murder. But it's obvious that she wasn't some innocent bystander either. She was another public official in a long line of public officials who buried their heads in the sand about the violence perpetrated by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery and its CEO Yusuf Bey IV. By the time she wrote the letter on behalf of Bey IV, his involvement in trashing and vandalizing liquor stores was well known. So was the ugly, sordid history of his father, Yusuf Bey Sr., a vile man who forced young girls into having sex with him.
So Littleton had no excuse for writing that letter. Moreover, her decision to stay out of the internal bakery battle between Bey IV and his step-brother-in-law Saleem Bey turned out to be a de facto win for Bey IV. She already knew that the bakery was in bankruptcy -- or if she didn't know, she could have easily checked. If she had taken that simple, responsible step, she would have also discovered Bey IV's culpability in the matter. Once aware of that fact, a responsible government official would have given Saleem Bey's allegations about Bey IV some weight. All she had to do was call the Oakland Police Department, which could have given her a simple rundown on Bey IV. Once she had that information, it would have been obvious to her that she had made a mistake and that she needed to retract the letter. Instead, she chose to bury her head in the sand, again, thereby maintaining the status quo in the bakery power struggle -- a victory for Bey IV, since the status quo kept him in power.
Littleton didn't directly cause Bailey's death. But her decision to go to bat for Bey IV likely emboldened him, just as his father had been emboldened by the support he received from other public officials. For that, Littleton deserves scorn, doesn't deserve a job in city government, and owes Saleem Bey an apology. She should also apologize to Chauncey Bailey's family for coming to the defense of the likely mastermind of his murder. As for Dellums and Barbara Lee, they should, like other politicians who blindly supported the bakery over the years, apologize to all of us for helping prop up a criminal enterprise. And Allen-Taylor needs to stop feeling sorry for them.