NovoMetro

Education in Oakland

Mayor Dellums Should Open His Calendar

Posted by novometro on September 8, 2007

As A Better Oakland has noted, Mayor Ron Dellums has done little to deliver on his promise to bring transparency to City Hall, or even make much of an effort to communicate directly with Oaklanders.

Now, Mayor Dellums is shaking up his staff nine months after taking office. The fresh start would be a good time for the mayor to introduce some daylight on his office. He can start by looking south to San Jose. Chuck Reed, the new mayor of that city posts his calendar online. The people paying his salary can see who he meets with, when he meets with them, and for how long.

The cynical, cheap shot response would be to say that Dellums’ nonexistent online calendar is probably an accurate reflection of his daily doings. Rather than hiding from the public a daily schedule of back room dealing, he is concealing long afternoon naps and occasional speech making in other cities.

If Mayor Dellums put his calendar online, it would serve as an example for our other elected officials. The mayor and the City Council should at least have to say why they won’t publish their calendars in real time when their colleagues in San Jose provide that service to their constituents.

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10 Responses to “Mayor Dellums Should Open His Calendar”

  1. Adeline said

    You probably recall that Jerry Brown’s calendar was allegedly available; but for months and months, there was nothing on it.

    It amazes me the degree to which the press is “after” Ron Dellums all the time, yet they never challenged Jerry Brown at all.

    And, I believe that Ron Dellums has already called more press conferences that Jerry Brown called during his entire 8 years in office.

    I’m not saying any of this to excuse Mayor Dellums. I’m just saying that he seems to be held to a much higher standard than his predecessor.

  2. dto510 said

    I doubt Dellums has called more press conferences than Jerry Brown. Dellums ran on a platform of transparency and open government; Brown ran on getting certain things accomplished. Therefore, it is more than fair to criticize Dellums for not living up to his standards. Also, Sanjiv Handa, who criticized Brown, is also very critical of Dellums.

    I see Jerry Brown around all the time; I’ve never seen Mayor Dellums outside of an official context. Oakland’s problems require a hands-on mayor with a plan.

  3. Adeline said

    Actually, no, Dellums didn’t campaign on a platform of transparency. Go back & check the publicity during his campaign if you don’t believe me.

    And, if you don’t believe he has already had more press conferences than Jerry Brown, then ask Sanjiv Handa.

    The point, however, isn’t whether or not either of them campaigned on the issue of transparency. The point is that there is a certain level of transparency which is necessary and appropriate for local government. And, on that issue, while I believe there is much to criticize in regards to Dellum, I still an amazed at the degree to which Jerry Brown was given a free pass.

  4. V Smoothe said

    A very perfunctory ProQuest search demonstrated that Dellums has held fewer press conferences in his first nine months than Jerry Brown did over a period of six months a few years ago. If I cared enough, I would map it all out, but the claim is so preposterous to anyone who has paid a modicum of attention to city government for any period of time that I won’t bother. The facts are there and easy enough for anyone truly interested to find.

    But to the other point, that “Dellums didn’t campaign on a platform of transparency. Go back & check the publicity during his campaign if you don’t believe me.”, I feel I must provide a response.

    From Dellums’s mayoral campaign web page, the first link, called “What I will do as Mayor,” featured three bullet points. One of them read:

    A MORE DEMOCRATIC CITY
    * insisting on transparency in government: with no backroom deals and no “pay to play” as currently dominates the policy environment. The citizens have a right to full knowledge and participation in decisions about how their money is spent and how decisions are made

    I will quote in entirety another section of Dellums’s mayoral campaign web page, one of only three prominently placed promises (the others are about crime and education), entitled “Inclusive and Transparent City Government: The Ron Dellums Approach to Governance”:

    CLEAR, TRANSPARENT, PARTICIPATORY CITY GOVERNMENT

    THE DELLUMS APPROACH TO GOVERNANCE

    The Dellums Administration will bring together the brilliance of the community to solve Oakland’s problems. It will not be an administration of expedient policy made from on high by insiders, but a participatory one, where people feel they can put forward ideas and be part of the process by which decisions get made and implemented.

    While Ron Dellums served in the U.S. Congress, both Republicans and Democrats lauded him for his commitment to fairness and transparency Republican Representative Herbert Bateman of Virginia, spoke of Congressman Dellums’ service as Chair of the House Armed Services Committee, “In my experience the Committee has never been presided over with the same measure of fairness and absolute zeal for the protection of the rights of every member.”

    Dellums is a “bridge builder,” not a wedge wielder. Throughout his career he has demonstrated this ability to bring all sides to the table to resolve issues, removing obstacles, mediating between warring interests, and breaking down bureaucracies to get things done.

    When the Port needed dredging to remain competitive, but was tied up in court with labor and environmental challenges, he brought the parties together and negotiated a win/win with deeper ship channels, new Bay wetlands, and good jobs.

    When the federal building was slated for San Francisco, he built the coalition to bring it to Oakland, creating jobs and anchoring downtown development.

    When money was needed for the Chabot Space and Science Center, and for BART, and AC Transit, and for health centers and HIV and infant mortality programs, time after time he built the coalitions to make it happen.

    RON DELLUMS WILL INCLUDE THE WHOLE CITY IN PLANNING ITS FUTURE

    A small minority of Oakland residents are able to actively participate in the political process through attending and speaking at Council meetings, meeting with the Mayor or other elected officials, going to Commission meetings, or in any other way petitioning their government to relieve grievances. Far too many people feel that decisions are made without their input. This must change. Government must be inclusive and participatory. In particular, Oakland’s youth must participate in the decision-making that affects their lives.

    As Mayor, Ron Dellums will initiate a six-month period during which Oaklanders will engage in an expansive planning process. The city as a whole and each neighborhood individually will come together to discuss its future. We will ask each other the hard questions: “Do you want to be a bedroom community for others to live in?” “How can we have the jobs and resources generated by the Port at the same time we protect the health and safety of people in West Oakland?” “Can the City create more resources to support our schools?” “What industries do we want the Mayor to seek out for location in Oakland?” “What should community policing look” “How should youth be engaged in community building?” Ron Dellums will rely on the brilliance that exists in the citizens of this community. His skills as a bridge builder will enable a maximum number of Oaklanders to help shape Oakland as a Model City. The Oakland vision shaped by this process will inspire other elected officials and will help Oakland citizens to evaluate the plans laid out by future Mayors and other public officials.

    Dellums is committed to maximum participation and will meet regularly with youth, with seniors, with neighborhood organizations, with educators, and others in public events ranging from Summits to neighborhood forums, in order to engage everyone in the long-run health of the City.

    There’s much more, but again, I’ll leave it to people who actually care about the truth to go get it. It’s easy to find.

    I would like to point out that absolutely zero of the things he promised here in his campaign materials have happened. Dellums refuses to meet with citizens or engage them in policy discussions in any manner. There has been not even been lip service to a community wide “planning process.” Nothing that he promised. Say what you will about Jerry Brown, he always was available to listen to citizens at Oakland restaurants, coffee shops, wherever. The only times I ever see Dellums, he’s surrounded by bodyguards.

  5. Parker S. Waterman said

    The calendar should be posted online. There are clear benefits for the overall goal of transparency in government. In addition, the fact that the calendar is posted might lead, in some subtle way, to a more careful consideration of how the mayor spends his time.

  6. The mayor’s calendar has nothing to do with what the previous mayor did or did not do, nor does it have to do with Mayor Dellums’ platform as a candidate. The mayor’s calendar is public record. If he thinks we should have to file a public record records request and wait two weeks to see it, he should at least have to explain why he thinks so.

  7. […] Alex Gronke thinks that the Mayor and City Council should post their calendars online for public viewing. I’d settle for being able to read the legislation they’re considering on Tuesday. […]

  8. V.E.G. said

    Ronald Dellums is a direct descendant of a Swedish man Fortson. Had not changed the name he would have been Ronald Fortson.

  9. It’s hard to come by well-informed people about this subject, however, you seem like you know what
    you’re talking about! Thanks

  10. Juan said

    This is a topic which is close to my heart… Take care!
    Where are your contact details though?

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