"How My Kids Changed Me," Your Words Here, 9/10
He may not be "Mr. Vapid" or "Mr. Selfish" anymore but definitely is Mr. Arrogant Bastard.
Alythia Raya, Martinez
"Meet the Mayor," Feature, 9/17
Run It or Quit Trying
For those of you who didn't get to read the article about Mayor Dellums ("Meet the Mayor") let me sum it up for you "Mayor Dellums is doing a crappy job." There's some late-breaking news.
When Dellums started as mayor I had two concerns — one, he didn't really want the job; and two, he wouldn't be able to translate his experience as a congressman into dealing with the day-to-day problems of a city like Oakland. While I can only speculate if the first is true, the latter has been obvious to both residents and his own staffers for some time now. And, according to the article, we can now add a third concern — Dellums doesn't know he is doing a crappy job because he "operates in a kind of bubble."
So, Mayor Dellums, if you are reading this letter let me help to burst your bubble — show some leadership and run the city already or just quit! Either way you will be doing Oakland residents a great favor.
Rob Tufel, Oakland
Great Congressman, Horrible Mayor
Whether Mayor Dellums takes too much advice from his wife is irrelevant. The mayor has a right to put together any team he wants to help him with the difficult task of running a city like Oakland. Notwithstanding who has been running the show, the fact of the matter is that his administration thus far has been a comedy of errors that has done nothing to combat an already bad economy and an already high crime rate. This is a shame because he was such a great congressman and if he continues on his current course he may well be one of the most ineffective mayors in Oakland history.
When a politician runs for office he/she has two tasks: First to get elected to the job, then to actually do the job if they are elected. Obviously the mayor was successful in getting elected, but he has experienced disaster in actually doing the job. No one does a job of this magnitude on their own, and the team assembled by Mayor Dellums has not served him well.
The city manager scandal has been well published, but what most people don't know is that behind the scenes the mayor's administration has been driving away business from Oakland by the truckload. Robert Bobb was recently hired by Dellums as a consultant, the one good thing the mayor has done thus far. As part of Mr. Bobb's assessment, he has been interviewing community and business groups. I sat in on one bitch-fest conducted by Mr. Bobb and I was just astounded by story after story in which the mayor's main man, Dan Lindheim, has killed project after project either by design, ineptitude, or indifference.
The City of Oakland is a business. Our products are the various community services: police, fire, senior services, youth programs, etc. Less than half of our income comes from taxes, fees, fines, and grants; approximately 60 percent, comes from money generated by private construction projects. What's that saying, "actions speak louder than words?" The Dellums administration's words say that they want to encourage business in Oakland, but their actions have consistently had the net effect of killing projects. The administration either needs to find a way of replacing the 6 percent that comes from construction or they need to stop killing projects.
The mayor's office has recently put out the public safety plan. This has got to be the lamest response to crime on the face of the Earth. This year my house has been broken into twice and my truck stolen, and I'm sure most people in Oakland have had similar experiences. I have literally lost count as to how many times my car windows have been broken. The business districts are afraid to stay open after dark. Where in the fuck in the public safety plan does it address that? It doesn't. Instead they want to set up a number of touchy-feelie public safety coordinating councils. Just what we need to solve crime, another layer of bureaucracy studying the problem.
When I think of the mayor I am reminded of Michael Jordan at the end of his career when he decided to try out for baseball. Although Jordan is the best basketball player of all time, he was a not very good "AA" baseball player.
Congressman Ron Dellums was one of the best congressmen ever. Mayor Ron Dellums should assemble a new team who knows how to run a city or he is going to be remembered as one of the worst mayors ever. My first choice to run that new team would be Robert Bobb.
Jay Dodson, Oakland