Friday, March 28, 2008

Critics Fear Ron Dellums Pushing Cronies into Power

By Chris Thompson
Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 7:24 AM

An excellent and alarming column by Chip Johnson today, on the rumors that Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums is planning to promote Gay Plair Cobb to a post in the Community and Economic Development Agency. Cobb has long been the head of the city's Private Industry Council, which provides job training for unemployed youth. At least one city audit has suggested that the agency was not very cost-effective at placing people in jobs, despite the millions of dollars doled out to the group. Critics have long complained that Cobb has just sat on a sinecure thanks to her political connections, and now it looks like she'll pluck an even bigger apple off the tree.

No one is a more fierce critic of Cobb than City Council President Ignacio De la Fuente, and if campaign cash is any indication, it looks like he'll have another few years to complain about her to the mayor. According to the Oakland Tribune, De la Fuente has raised more than $80,000 in campaign contributions, compared with the $9,700 raised by his challenger, realtor Mario Juarez. But did anyone really think Nacho was in trouble? As for the vacant at-large seat, lefty activist Rebecca Kaplan leads the fundraising race, even dusting Perata ally and school board member Kerry Hamill. Now, that's surprising.

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