Education in Oakland

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

Posted by novometro on September 21, 2007

I wonder what took Mayor Ron Dellums so long. After months of bad press from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Chip Johnson, the mayor finally sat down with the columnist in a man-to-man interview and won him over. All it took to unlock Mr. Johnson’s vanity it seems was some tough guy theater. According to Mr. Johnson the mayor flattered him with some hard stares, and snapped, “I’m no punk,” in reference to the columnist’s earlier coverage. Mr. Johnson fired back that he also was not a punk.

With it established that there were no cream puffs at this meeting, the mayor was free to convince the newspaperman that while it may look like he has not been doing much since he took office, he is just not the sort of guy who goes around publicizing his hard work and accomplishments.

This is a conclusion that Mr. Johnson could have reached without meeting the mayor in person. The mayor and his backers have been saying the same thing all summer.

And for all we know, it’s true. But the ease with which the mayor curbed his most consistent and prominent media watchdog is a reminder that Oakland residents need to demand the transparency in City Hall that the mayor promised and the law requires. Let’s get that official calendar online.


8 Responses to “Flattery Will Get You Everywhere”

  1. scottpark said

    What shocked me most about the article was that I was always under the impression that “punk” was a only a slight step down from “faggot.” I think the Mayor defending himself by saying that he isn’t a homosexual is pretty offensive.

    The second most amazing thing is that he believes Oaklanders don;t want more cops.

  2. Incredibledaze said

    Scottpark, are you serious?
    As a gay, let me say that “punk” is not one step down from “faggot”.
    As someone who’s heard the term faggot before getting his face bashed in, I don’t shudder when I hear the word “punk” and I think you are engaging in a fool’s errand by linking the Mayor’s jargon to homophobia.
    There’s a lot to say about the mayor’s performance but labeling him a homophobe is ridiculous, wrong and unfounded.

  3. Parker S. Waterman said

    It’s all well and good for public officials and the media to get along. But the job of public officials is to make and execute public policy and the job of the rest of us, including newspapers and bloggers and websites is to keep an eye on them and keep us informed about what is happening or not happening. Be civil, ask questions and, yes, get that official calendar online.

  4. scottpark said


    Glad to hear that I’m wrong, believe me. I would get no solace whatsoever from having a homophobe as a Mayor.

    I think you will find, though, that one of the accepted uses of “punk” is as a derogatory word for a homosexual. Perhaps it’s not the most common usage–I inferred from the Mayor that his meaning was more like “weak, inexperienced, not “down”” I think generally it would be a good word to avoid, due to that ambiguity

  5. Deckin said

    I found all the ‘punking’ going on to be, at best, incredibly immature. C’mon, by adulthood (and certainly by the time one reaches 70) a man should have developed a stable enough sense of himself to avoid these kinds of playground antics, let alone start them. This is a statesman? This is a man of peace? What’s next: comparing genital size? That he reduces a disagreement about policies and practices to some sort of bizarre testosterone laden challenge to his manhood tells you everything you need to know about this hero. Those of us not blinded by faith will recall a similar episode between Bush pere et fille in which the younger Bush challenged his father to go ‘mano a mano’. What a great time to be alive with such large men as this!

    As to the substance, one thing is absolutely clear, Mr. No Punk has absolutely no clue as to what is going on in this city. Does he know there are neighborhood listservs and user groups online? Does he (or anyone on his staff) read them? The man is as out of touch with reality as George Bush. On every blog, listserv, and user group you can find the cry is unmistable: People want more cops. What does it say about a mayor that he doesn’t even know what people are clamoring for? My God, even his deputy police chief is saying it.

  6. But did either say it in their best Mr. T. voice?

  7. V Smoothe said

    Deckin –


    As for the post. I don’t think I quite understand what putting the calendar online will accomplish. I’m not opposed to it, but I don’t see why it’s important either. A calendar doesn’t prove Dellums is working on any policy initiatives, or give us any insight as to what they are. I mean, I guess having a public list of all the meetings Dellums has with his chief economic aide’s industrial preservation lobbyist cousin gives critics a fun tool to mock him with, but ultimately I just don’t think it matters.

    Also, does he really expect anyone to buy that he’s not into publicizing his accomplishments? Given the man’s habit of holding press conferences to crow about things he didn’t have anything to do with, I find that assertion really hard to swallow.

  8. I can tell that this is not the first time at all that you mention this topic. Why have you decided to touch it again?

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