Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums under fire

July 2, 2008 6:59:19 PM PDT
Mayor Ron Dellums confronted his critics after a leadership crisis at Oakland City Hall. One day after firing his embattled city administrator, Dellums proclaims that it's a new day in Oakland's city government, prompting even his supporters to wonder who has been running the city for the past 18 months.

"Brilliance and genius and creativity and ingenuity resides in the people of Oakland," says Dellums.

A tenure that began with much promise is now mired in controversy and charges of inaction for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.

"I don't even see that he's on top of the day-to-day, that he's around. People really wonder "what does he do?" says Jim Forsyth, who represents Oakland Residents for Peaceful Neighborhoods.

Dellums assures the citizens of Oakland, which is faced with scandal at City Hall and growing violence on the streets, that he's still in charge.

"My responsibility is to lead this city."

Dellums' efforts to shore up his image come as the attacks against him grow louder.

"Why is it that the city doesn't function the way it should function?" asks Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente.

"I was involved in his campaign. I'd have to say I'm a little sour on Mr. Dellums right now," says De La Fuente.

Now, even some of Dellums' supporters are questioning his leadership.

Geoff Collins is a longtime Dellums supporter and has served on the Mayor's Public Safety Committee.

"This is a mayor's job. This is a hands-on job, and as I told him once. He's the battalion commander, as in a marine battalion. He's got to take the bit in his teeth, and lead every single day," says Collins.

The calls for stronger leadership come after Dellums took two weeks to fire Deborah Edgerly, the City Administrator accused of interfering in a police investigation of her nephew, who was arrested as a possible member of a violent gang.

Oakland City Council member Jane Brunner says Dellums now needs to show strong leadership in finding a permanent replacement for Edgerly.

"He is the chief CEO and he's the administrator and the buck does stop with the Mayor," says Jane Brunner of the Oakland City Council.

Dellums outlined the timely process of finding a new replacement for Edgerly. The Mayor has appointed one of his closest advisors as the temporary city administrator. The Mayor grew angry when we pressed him on the issues of exactly how long it would take to find a permanent replacement.


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