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).

October 03, 2006

Dellums endorses nobody

While our mayor-elect cools his heels on the East Coast, Oakland has many controversial issues on its ballot. The city auditor and district two's council race are prominent, but Measure N and O are also important. Some may wonder, what does Dellums think of the candidates and of the measures? Unfortunately, he has declined to make an endorsement in any of two races or ballot measures.

Mayor-elect Dellums, as part of his "Jerry Brown was corrupt" platform, has repeatedly called for an independent audit of city finances. Yet, as a new, independent voice seeks to upset our scandal-prone long-time auditor, Dellums declines to take a position. If an audit is so important, why doesn't the mayor-elect endorse Courtney Ruby? A possible explanation is that Roland Smith endorsed Dellums, and so the mayor-elect is unwilling to stand up for the fresh hopeful. It is hard to think, however, that Dellums' calls for an new independent audit don't imply that we also need a new auditor.

I contacted representatives of the Measure N and Measure O committees, and none claim to have even sought Ron Dellums' endorsement. I find that somewhat difficult to believe, as everyone (except Ignacio) endorsed Measure N, and Instant Runoff Voting is the liberal flavor-of-the-month, garnering little opposition (I am very suspicious of efforts to change the entire electoral system for the benefit of disorganized fringe candidates, but my energies are best spent elsewhere). On the other hand, perhaps getting a hold of Dellums is just as difficult for the committees as it is for journalists.

District 2 extremist Aimee Allison takes some credit for encouraging Dellums to enter the race for mayor, and has promised to vote in lockstep with him. Incumbent Pat Kernighan, while supporting Ignacio for mayor, has promised to work with Dellums, but is obviously not part of his loyalist camp (on the other hand, she's a moderate, and not rabidly pro-development like Ignacio, Reid and Chang). Allison has received endorsements from much of Dellums' machine, including Supervisor Keith Carson and the city employees' union, and is following his tactic of hosting house parties in San Francisco. It is odd, then, that Dellums has refused to endorse her. Kernighan's campaign just announced an endorsement from Shirley Gee (the third-place finisher in June), meaning that, of the candidates in last year's District 2 special election, all but two have endorsed Pat (one moved away and one is neutral). Gee's endorsement is somewhat surprising, since Gee campaigned on the same anti-growth rhetoric as Allison. So why won't Dellums or Gee endorse Aimee Allison? Maybe it's personal - her campaign materials and HQ decor give the impression of a megalomaniac, and her nasty speeches make her sound like a bitch.

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