Plus ca change...
During the divisive and narrowly-decided mayoral election in June, leftists speculated that, with a sweeping Dellums victory (which didn't materialize), Nancy Nadel would be an appropriate City Council President. Despite the obvious fact that Nadel didn't endorse Dellums, lefties lump them together as ideological soulmates. As ignorantly simplistic as that assertion is, Oakland's malcontents hunger for a change on the City Council. The Trib's Heather MacDonald now reports that Nancy Nadel announced her candidacy for the Council Presidency at Tuesday's meeting. Of course, MacDonald wrote an article that, despite its introduction and conclusion, makes it clear that Ignacio will be reelected. Nadel's ill-fated intervention in the District 2 race has diminished her council credibility, and, frankly, I have no idea what she wants to accomplish by voting against Ignacio. Unless she's tired of being Public Works Committee chair.
As I said a month ago, Mayor-elect Dellums managed to avoid losing credibility by staying out of the District 2 race. While the Express has speculated that Allison's and Alona Clifton's defeats mean he has difficulty translating his political popularity to his allies, in truth his pull is untested. That is, until recently.
During the condo conversion debate, Dellums aides were said to have lobbied councilmembers (Brunner and Kernighan were the swing votes) against the ordinance. I found this dubious, since Desley Brooks, Dellums' only actual ally on the Council, pushed the legislation. Nonetheless, SF's obscurantist blog BeyondChron declared that Dellums was instrumental in the ordinance's defeat. Aside from the very unclear nature of Dellums' involvement, the ordinance was not defeated, and instead referred to the same committee that will study so-called inclusionary zoning (and hopefully reject it as an unfair supertax on transit-using first-time homeowners). As the Council realizes how awful the current regulations are (which Quan and Kernighan didn't seem to get until the discussion had already reached its hysterical peak), a condo conversion ordinance will pass next year. If anything, it's likely to be less tenant-friendly than this year's, because many landlords were very unhappy about the overly generous protections in the bill (the Rental Housing Association refused to support it), which nevertheless failed to attract much tenant support.
Dellums may or may not have lobbied Kernighan and Brunner, and the outcome was, at best, a temporary victory for the Tenants' Union (who really should support conversion reform, since there are no tenant protections or caps in the 1981 ordinance). But Dellums did intervene in an issue at the Tuesday Council meeting, and the outcome was decisive. According to the East Bay Express and the Trib, Dellums personally lobbied against Jerry Brown's final appointment to the Port Commission (which has been pending since January). Planning Commissioner Mark McClure was confirmed 5 - 1 - 2, with only Desley Brooks voting no. This is a clear instance of the mayor-elect failing to influence the council majority on an issue. Dellums' intervention was inappropriate (since McClure was not, despite what the EBX reported, a "last-second" appointment), and now Ron Dellums has been handed an early Christmas present: his first defeat.
My fellow Jerry Brown fans also received an early holiday present this year. According to Matier & Ross, the Attorney General will establish his office on the top floor of Oakland's State Building, immediately behind City Hall Plaza. Insiders are already excited by the idea of him speaking at Council meetings and taking an active role as a resident. I'm sure Nancy Nadel will appreciate her constituent's concerns.