Thursday, April 24th, 2008 at 7:02 am in Night Owl.
At first I said what we want is a superhero Ninja fighter to swoop down and declare an end to crime in Oakland. Then I changed my mind after Wednesday’s press conference. I think what people want is for Dellums to swoop down in a crime-fighter superhero Ninja suit and declare Oakland safe. “I will save this city!” he would bellow. I write this because the one complaint yesterday from the restraunteurs who met with city officials and police to hash out measures for preventing robberies like the ones that happened recently was that Dellums wasn’t at the meeting. What difference would that have made? (Yeah, I forgot to ask that question. Bad reporter!) Maybe instead of a superhero mayor, we would settle for a mayor who is in town often enough to be on the streets, showing his face. I am no big fan of Jerry Brown (or his crew of hoodlums and crooks), but he made people feel like someone was steering the ship, even if they objected to the direction. Brown was very very visible and ran his mouth a lot. Dellums’ policy is the opposite. It ain’t working out too well.
Personally, to get back to p.m. issues, I think the reaction could have been a little less hyper reactive. But City Hall was reacting to perceptions of Oakland being a dangerous city and the mayor being a do-nothing leader. Not that the takeovers weren’t serious and scary and traumatic (they made me think twice, in a gut reaction, about my nocturnal activities). BUT, for the eight restaurants that were robbed (6 in Oakland, 1 in Emeryville and 1 in Berkeley), the rest weren’t bothered and it was business as usual at night. Of course, I probably wouldn’t be talking so tall if I had been a witness or victim. The question is why did the robbers target THOSE restaurants, anyway?
I asked an out-of-town diner whether he had heard about the incidents and if the news colored his perception of Oakland. No, he said. He was a Texan who spent 20 years in the special forces. Looking around B’s he said there were about six young men who could take a robber, even an armed one. Hmmm. Do we need more of the Texas spirit in us?