Dellums will not seek re-election

August 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Just two days before the filing deadline, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums announced he will not run for a second term. The decision was made out of the spotlight, where critics say he has spent much of his term as mayor.

"I'm happy to see he's not running because I don't think he's been much of a mayor to begin with," said Oakland resident Jared Price.

That was the cold response received from the majority of people ABC7 spoke to about Dellums' decision not to seek a second term in office.

"I really haven't seen anything he's done in the community to make me want to really re-elect him or encourage him to stay. I wish him the best as a brother," said Oakland resident Reggie Bailey.

Prior to becoming mayor of Oakland, Dellums served in Congress for 27 years. However in 2006, when there was no clear favorite in the mayoral election, he reluctantly threw his hat in the race and won, even after declaring he would not be a 24/7 mayor. Since then, Dellums has been criticized for being an absent and inaccessible mayor.

In fact, ABC7 only had file video of him for this report because when we requested to speak to him, his own assistant said they didn't know where he was.

But Dellums says he obtained millions in federal stimulus money for the city and helped settle the Waste Management sanitation strike back in 2007. In a statement issued Wednesday the mayor writes that "Although I have decided not to seek re-election, this is not about Ron Dellums. Now, it's time to pass the baton to the next generation of leadership."

"He is a great big-picture guy. He's very good at mobilizing the troops on really big issues, but a mayor has to be somebody who's available day to day, hands on," said City Council Member Jean Quon.

The mayor's decision puts Quon out in front of the race for mayor, along with former State Senate President Don Perata. But also it gives candidates like Joe Tuman a chance to say Oakland doesn't need another insider whose part of the system.

"There are people inside City Hall, to some degree very good people, who were really sort of looking to the mayor's office for more leadership, more guidance and they weren't getting it," said Tuman.

Dellums has been a fixture is Bay Area politics for 35 years. He was elected to the Berkeley City Council in 1967. In 1970, voters sent him to Washington where he served 27 years in Congress where he later became a lobbyist. Dellums says he is leaving for personal reasons, but plans to stay involved with the community.


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