Dellums Watch: Keeping Tabs on Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums

Because we care deeply about Oakland, we want Mayor Dellums to succeed. However, we strongly opposed his election because he never held a municipal position in Oakland and has lived in Washington for the last thirty-five years. We are wary of some of his supporters, and wish to keep a close eye on local political machinations. This blog will be focused on politics and people, not policy perscriptions (unlike FutureOakland).

June 01, 2006

Dellums and 100k New Oakland Residents: A Farce Unveiled

Dellums has finally realized that his lack of accessibility to the media has been unproductive, and our lobbyist consented to several interviews recently. In the Sacramento Bee, reporter Herbert Sample characterizes the 100k plan as "wedging 100,000 new residents and workers into downtown high-rises." It is important to note that there are already about 100,000 workers and residents downtown, so this would be doubling the size of downtown. But Heather MacDonald, in her ridiculously biased article, heard the plan differently in her interview. She writes, "What's really needed to create a lively downtown, with bustling shops and busy restaurants, is 100,000 new residents, according to Dellums." So, which is it? Residents or workers? Or both?

Now, Dellums has lost all credibility with me for several reasons (including his knowingly false attacks on the police contract and Measure Y, refusal to come clean about his lobbying work, public lies such as his "complete embrace" of the OCO's agenda even though he strongly opposes small schools, and reversals such as the disappearance of universal health care from his platform), so I don't even believe that he intends to grow downtown. I do believe that he's more interested in commercial rather than residential construction, because in the old city-planning mindset (now rejected by almost all big American cities), office workers' high payroll taxes were thought to be more beneficial than residents' sales tax dollars. But the fact is that there are only ten large lots left downtown for high-rise development (although we could do more if we got rid of Auto Row, which I doubt Dellums supports).

100,000 workers could theoretically be accomodated in ten superskycrapers (although, of course, nobody wants to build the Sears Tower on 12th St; if we were to build offices the size of our largest building, it would take at least twenty one-million-square-foot Kaiser Centers). 100,000 residents could not, as residents occupy substantially more space than office workers. So, I think he's talking about workers (more for the tax reasons than practical reasons). But is any of it feasible? Real estate professionals, developers and economists all say, resoudingly, no.

Mayor Jerry Brown, the architect of the much-imitated 10k program, has FINALLY spoken up about Dellums' plans for downtown. Ryan Tate of the San Francisco Business Times reveals in this web-only article that not only do the Mayor and economists find the plan totally unfeasible, but Dellums' spokesman does too! He is now saying that it's a long-term goal (which Tate points out has never been mentioned before). It's a great read.

44 Comments:

At June 01, 2006 5:19 PM, Blogger V Smoothe said...

Don't waste your time trying to puzzle out who or what Ron Dellums is talking about. The 100k plan is a joke - he hasn't thought anything out, he has no ideas about specifics.

Ron "Let's spend your money" Dellums made an off-hand comment about a 100k plan to reporters as a jibe at the 10k plan. When he realized that it was getting attention, he decided that he was actually going to say that was his plan. Of course, it isn't actually a plan of any sort - it's just a half-baked sound bite he likes to through out. There's no meaning behind it.

Also, anyone even remotely familiar with the development process and the business community downtown knows that everything he says about development/developers is so far out in left field as to be utterly laughable.

 
At June 01, 2006 7:23 PM, Blogger deckin said...

i think you've got the genesis of this thing spot on, v smoothe. as a member of congress, where there's no expectation of policy implementation, dellums was accustomed to spouting things off the top of his head with little consequence. so now we get campaign platform via unthought aside; any guesses as to how someone like this would actually govern? thank god it will never happen.

 
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