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).

January 04, 2007

More grief for Dellums

According to the EBX's Will Harper, Tony West will not join Dellums' staff. I revealed that Mr. West was in line to be chief-of-staff in November. While apparently that's not the case, Harper says that insiders thought West was going to be a high-ranking staffer, so the reader knows that my sources aren't making things up. In the same blog, I also reported that several sources say Deborah Edgerly is remaining City Administrator; her attendance at Dellums' inaguration confirms this. Interestingly, a Berkeley public-schools activist (and occasional Berkeley Daily Planet contributor) named Dan Lindheim was also there.

Dellums' protege Barbara Lee assumes a post on the House Appropriations Committee today. She now has a chance to do something productive for Oakland, for the very first time in her eight years as our representative. Perhaps Dellums' presence in Oakland will make her more concerned about her district than impressing the Congressional Black Caucus.

A op-ed in today's Chronicle, written by Oakland education professor Kimberly Mayfield, reminds Oaklanders of the bogus story of Dellums' election. Conveniently characterizing our former representative's narrowest of victories as "formidable," she recalls the "grassroots" effort of the petition drive. As many Oaklanders may remember, the petition drive was organized by the city employees' union, who did not attempt to hide that fact (they were wearing their purple union shirts at every event where they trolled for signatures), which is pretty far from a grassroots group. They are being rewarded with half-price tickets to Dellums' most fancy inaugural events, of course. Since the anti-Oak-to-Ninth groups were able to raise about 25,000 signatures in one month, 8000 signatures over three months now looks pretty poor. Ms. Mayfield is joined by Kitty Kelly Epstein in Holy Names University's education department and as a Dellums activist; Ms. Epstein is local blogger Deckin's bete noire. Why does an education degree always seem to be in the hands of socialists? There are these two, and, of course, Ms. Aimee Allison.

Finally, national hip-hop culture blog PlayaHata criticizes Dellums for missing his first day of work, comparing him to Ice Cube's character in Friday.

26 Comments:

At January 04, 2007 5:46 PM, Blogger deckin said...

If you're wondering who Kimberly Mayfield is, she's a colleague of the formidable Kitty Kelly Epstein at Holy Names. Apparently, a significant chunk of the Dellums brain trust--try not to choke when you think about that--is being run out the department of education there. To be frank a graduate degree in education (especially an Ed.D: Dr. Mayfield's piece of paper) is all too often just an acknowledgment that one is fit, via the abject ingestion of manifestly questionable theories of how to teach, to become either an educrat (nice conferences, lots of workshopping) or continue the whole sordid business by pedaling this to other educratic novitiates.

But this fits the Dellums approach to a tee. There will be lots of impressive sounding bloviation (think of his recent 'Root Causes of Crime' think tankery) followed by self congratulation, followed by hors d'ouvres and perhaps a concert. I think Will Harper and the hip hop blogger got it just right; it's amateur hour at City Hall again. Only this time, we'll have it done with a high handed sanctimoniousness that is the Dellums touch--remember this is a man who says that if he hadn't gone into politics, he'd have become and academic. Whew! We'll see whether it's better to think that education dodged a bullet, or not soon enough.

 
At January 04, 2007 6:52 PM, Blogger deckin said...

Of course it's'hors d' oeevres. Plus c'est la meme chose, n'est pas?

 
At January 04, 2007 6:53 PM, Blogger deckin said...

Stupid fingers! Hors d' oeuvres!

 
At January 04, 2007 7:12 PM, Blogger Oakland Native said...

Oy, academics! It takes one to know one, eh? I strongly disagree with the leftist politicized approach to education, from Aimee Allison's anti-military school BS to SF's anti-ROTC stance. If Ms. Epstein were to focus on recruiting the sort of teachers whose lack she bemoans, that would great, but neither she nor her deputy have anything to contribute to a task-force on land-use policy.

Ultimately, Dellums isn't going to have much to say about education, since the schools are under state control. I don't think that a return to local control is likely, because, quite frankly, the board doesn't deserve it back. The members need to take fundamental reform more seriously, and the board has a very poor reputation on the state level.

Dellums and his followers could take Brown's approach and start a charter school. It's true that a politician's fund-raising abilities give their schools an advantage, and the new administration could put their money where their mouth is. Aimee Allison, whose leadership and fund-raising abilities were demonstrated last year, might want to consider that path as well.

 
At January 05, 2007 3:29 PM, Blogger deckin said...

From all that's happened so far, it seems that what we may well be in for is a bit of a Lionel Wilson redux. For one, Dellums as much as said so at the dedication ceremonies to that rather bumbling mayor's building dedication. The ingredients seem to be falling into place: a rather decent dollop of disorganization; taking advice from hacks and charlatans, while well qualified types find excuses not to join on; vertiginous rhetoric (Maya Angelou? Yea, that's what Oakland has been missing: poerty and spirit lifting optimism!) and an appeal to a voting bloc that seems persistently to accept protestations, heartfelt shouts of togetherness, prayer vigils, marches, and all the feckless rest in place of things that might really help. All of that married to a quiet and behind the scenes acceptance of gentrification and development as the only answers, but which remains hampered by the public rhetoric and the organizational incompetence of it all. It's going to be four years until Oakland takes another quantum leap forward; let's just be thankful that Brown's influence should last us through it.

 
At January 06, 2007 8:39 AM, Blogger deckin said...

So the Dellums staff has been announced, and while I'm sure you're working hard on looking into things, Victor Ochoa's nomination to work on Public Safety (among other things) can hardly inspire confidence.

As someone who's on record opposing the ridiculously easy California State Exit exam because if a child who fails to master 8th and 10th grade material after 12 years of schooling, it's not their fault, it's the school's fault, Ochoa clearly demonstrates he still has some educational issues. Hey Victor, ever been in a classroom and seen some of these blameless scholars? I guess we should just be thankful he hasn't been tapped for some post having to do with education.

 
At January 06, 2007 12:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're such a strange and mildly obsessed sore winner. how did i guess somehow Aimee Allison would show up in your blog? She tried to get involved in her city. She put herself through two years of campaigning. She lost. Move on. I like your blog and agree with most of your opinions but when you throw her into these things it makes you so much less credible -- like you have an axe to grind with someone who already lost!

 
At January 07, 2007 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say that Aimee Allison put herself through two years of campaigning. You really meant to say that she put the rest of us through two years of her campaigning. It was actually more like two years of torture.

 
At January 08, 2007 2:42 PM, Blogger Oakland Native said...

First anonymous: I'll try to tone it down on Ms. Allison, but she is a good shorthand for the unholy alliance of leftists and public-employee unions that seek to turn the clock back on Oakland and restore it to the anti-business and anti-growth city that was once shorthand for urban despair. I do think that my suggestion that she start a charter school is a good one, and would be a good use of her talents while allowing her to put her ideology in action.

 
At January 08, 2007 5:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She's also a person who - agree with her or not - wanted to put aside her life and try to do something for her city. Just like Pat. Just like Ignacio and Nancy and Ron Dellums and everyone else who ran. There will always be people running for office that we don't like ... but I think we should respect the fact that running a campaign and running for office is a sacrifice. Candidates, win or lose, see themselves and their families maligned and are attacked incessantly.

Would we rather that the candidates we liked just all ran unopposed without any debate or contrast?

As for the urban despair, maybe its gone where YOU live (i don't know where that is ... just saying) but its alive and well in huge swaths of Oakland ... particularly District Two. Allison probably is shorthand for that alliance you describe - I'll give you that - but your blog often assumes that this blight and despair isn't STILL what defines so much of Oakland. It is - - and the reality is that the City Council hasn't done much to help those communities.

The trickle down from your beloved downtown condos hasn't trickled yet!

 
At January 08, 2007 6:05 PM, Blogger Oakland Native said...

I certainly didn't mean that Oakland no longer has very serious urban problems! I was referring to the EBX's conclusion that Oakland is no longer thought of as only a despairing city. Certainly compared to a decade ago, there is more hope, opportunity, and promise for Oakland. At this point, despite our failing schools, we could build market-rate housing all over the city, even in the poorest neighborhoods. Whether we should take that approach or not is a decision that we get to make because of Oakland's success.

I disagree that the City Council hasn't done much to help poorer communities; have any of our peer cities done much better? I do think that it is appropriate to focus on goals that can be accomplished relatively quickly; the 10k plan has already started pumping sales tax revenues into the city's coffers, and it's barely a quarter complete. With more advantaged parts of our city getting the economic development they deserve, the council will have the revenues to address more complex problems.

Today, Mayor Dellums talked about forging a community with a beating heart. Downtown Oakland is where all the different parts of Oakland come together; it is the center of the entire East Bay. The runaway (but still incomplete) revitalization of the heart of our community can inspire the hopes of the entire city.

 
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