There’s no denying Ron Dellums ended his Oakland mayoral term last year under a cloud, his long legislative legacy having lost some of its luster, but new criticism that he has “sold his soul” by working for a former GOP congressman’s company seems like a stretch.
KTVU reported that Dellums, 75, a lifelong Democrat and a liberal lion during his decades in the House, has gone to work for Watts Partners, a lobbying and consulting firm co-founded and chaired by former Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla.
“It feels that he’s betrayed the party. He’s betrayed the public. He’s betrayed his ideals,” KTVU quoted Democratic activist and former Oakland City Council candidate Nancy Sidebotham as saying. “The bottom line with the economy the way it is today you’ve got to look for where the dollars going to come in and he’s hurting for money and that’s why he sold his soul.”
But while Watts and Elroy Sailor, the firm’s co-founder and CEO clearly are Republicans – Sailor worked for Republicans including Michigan Gov. John Engler and U.S. Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Mich. – there were Democrats on the firm’s senior staff long before Dellums joined up, bolstering the firm’s home page’s boast of “over 100 years of bipartisan experience.”
Considering that Dellums went stumping for President Obama in 2008 (albeit only after having endorsed Hillary Clinton in the primary), hiring him seems like a strategically sound choice for further beefing up Watts’ firm’s Democratic connections.
Outgoing Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums will sit down Monday evening with Bay Area journalism icon Belva Davis for a live conversation about his term of office, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the city.
The interview will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. Monday on KTOP-TV Channel 10, Oakland’s government-access television station; it’s available to all Comcast Cable and AT&T U-verse subscribers. It can also be viewed as a live stream on the City’s web site.
The interview will then be rebroadcast at 3:30 p.m. next Thursday, Dec. 9; 8 p.m. next Friday, Dec. 10; and 5:30 p.m. next Saturday, Dec. 11.
I was on KQED’s “This Week in Northern California” on Friday night to discuss the big court decision on the constitutionality of Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage; other topics included Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums’ decision not to seek re-election, and the California Supreme Court’s ruling on San Francisco’s challenge to Proposition 209’s ban on affirmative action in public institutions.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, whose seeming lack of public engagement in the city’s budget crisis and impending police layoffs has left some nonplussed, last week uploaded these videos in which he’s being briefed on the crisis by his staff:
What do you think – is this a mayor who’s adequately on top of the problem? Are these videos an appropriate and adequate way to communicate the problem’s parameters to the public, and to guide the process of solving the problem?
KTVU Channel 2’s Randy Shandobil aired a piece on Dellums’ apparent lack of engagement last night, and it sounds as if the often-prickly mayor had his dander up. It’ll be interesting to see what he has to say at today’s news conference; watch for our report from city hall reporter Kelly Rayburn…
(This just in from Oakland Tribune city hall reporter Kelly Rayburn…)
Mayor Ron Dellums believes Oakland’s next police chief, Anthony Batts, is “an extraordinarily capable police chief” and is confident the city’s “residents, police department staff and city officials” will find him a good fit for Oakland.
How do we know? Because Dellums said so.
Here’s a statement from Dellums when he announced Batts’ appointment in August:
“Chief Batts is an extraordinarily capable police chief whose professional expertise, outstanding leadership skills and brilliant operational savvy make him the right choice for Oakland. Coming from a similar-sized port city with one of the most diverse populations in the country, Chief Batts understands the complexity of running an urban police department and implementing change to improve the quality of life in Oakland and engage the community to enhance public safety. I am confident that our residents, police department staff and city officials alike will find Chief Batts to be an accomplished leader and a great police chief for Oakland.”
And here’s the mayor’s statement from this afternoon when his office announced the mayor would be officiating a swearing-in ceremony for Batts on Tuesday:
“Chief Batts is an extraordinarily capable police chief whose professional expertise, outstanding leadership skills and brilliant operational savvy make him the right choice for Oakland. I am confident that our residents, police department staff and city officials alike will find Chief Batts to be an accomplished leader and a great police chief for Oakland.”
After Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums met with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger following last month’s slayings of four Oakland Police officers, Dellums told reporters March 22 that those who’d helped police that awful day might receive some compensation: “The governor did indicate that the state of California was going to assist in providing some reward money in that regard, but the details on that – I’m not aware of.”
So I checked in this week with Schwarzenegger’s office, and it turns out this isn’t going to happen.
“No reward was ever issued. The reward fund is only for unsolved cold-type cases,” Schwarzenegger press secretary Aaron McLear wrote in an e-mail, saying the governor’s office has had and will have no involvement in rewards in this case. “(I) don’t know what the mayor said but the law dictates that fund is only used for unsolved cases.”
Kelly Rayburn, the Tribune’s Oakland City Hall reporter, ran this past Dellums’ office.
“The possibility for reward money was one of a number of items discussed in requesting aid from the state. It was determined that the state reward funds are only used for cold, unresolved cases. I think at the time when the mayor made those remarks this was still an item up for discussion,” Dellums spokesman Paul Rose said Wednesday.
“The governor said he wanted to support Oakland in anyway he could as we go forward and this was one of those items that was discussed,” Rose said. “I don’t think there was a plan that said it could or it couldn’t be done. It was just an item that was being discussed.”