Status quo

Eight days after Ignacio De La Fuente was re-elected president of the Oakland City Council — prompting many in the audience at the Paramount Theatre to erupt in boos and jeers, and some to hurl racist epithets at De La Fuente — the council Monday night quietly, and unanimously, approved his committee assignments.

That must have come as a surprise to at least some city officials: instead of the one or two police officers that usual keep watch at council meetings, as many as a half-dozen officers kept a watchful eye on the low-key proceedings.

With the exception of one minor change — Councilmember Pat Kernighan will take Councilmember Jean Quan’s seat on the Public Works Committee — everything will stay the same. In fact, Councilmember Larry Reid, who lost his bid to unseat De La Fuente, will keep his seat on the powerful Rules Committee and hang on to the chairmanship of the Public Safety Committee.

[A side note: Reid publicly said last week he did not want to remain chairman, saying the honor should rotate among his colleagues. But he said nothing during the brief and rancor-free discussion, despite vows to be a very different council member in 2007.]

Before announcing the assignments, De La Fuente said last Monday was “a very painful day for me and my family. But that’s the way it goes in this business.”

In remarks that he could not deliver last week because of the angry crowd, De La Fuente promised to work with his colleagues, and Mayor Ron Dellums, to make Oakland a better place.