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 k / o
                                       politics + culture

Monday, June 19, 2006

When every vote is counted: Dellums wins

This article puts an end to the saga of the Oakland mayoral election. Ignacio De La Fuente will not contest the results and on January 1st 2007, Ron Dellums will be Mayor of Oakland.

Respect should be accorded Mr. De La Fuente for this stance as his move frees up a goodly number of activists and dollars from Oakland to focus on other local races next fall...the most significant of which is CA-11, where Jerry McNerney's effort to unseat Congressman Richard Pombo will need all the help it can get.

I'd like to say to Mayor-elect Dellums that here in my North Oakland neighborhood I've encountered many voters who voted for either of his two opponents: Nancy Nadel or Ignacio De La Fuente (both of whom retain their positions on the city council, by the way.) While Nadel voters seem happy enough to welcome Ron Dellums as mayor, I consistently hear apprehension from De La Fuente voters about Ron Dellums as mayor, even a sense that Ron Dellums won on "popularity" alone. (I get this even when I mention that my vote was FOR Dellums and list the reasons I've mentioned here previously.)

There's two things here, I think. First, Ron Dellums is going to have to do outreach to these voters right off the bat. Not simply because they've got, I think, a misperception about what motivates Dellums, but because Ignacio De La Fuente has got the votes and the position to make Dellums' term as Mayor a living deadlock. That is something that we can all agree would not be in Oakland's best interest.

Second, among the De La Fuente voters I've spoken to about Dellums, there's a misperception about this election as a whole. I concede to my friends that a vote for De La Fuente was a vote for "nuts and bolts" plug-the-potholes leadership. I acknowledge that the work that Mayor Brown and De La Fuente did in their six year alliance counts for something. But what I don't see reciprocated is an acknowledgment that over 66% of the electorate, knowing all that, did not vote for De La Fuente.

The point I make is this: if a Dellums supporter is willing to concede some of the good your man has done for this city, and even acknowledge his strengths, shouldn't you at least be willing to consider that many Oakland voters did not vote for De La Fuente for good reasons of their own? Shouldn't you be willing to accept that we preferred Nadel or Dellums for reasons other than mere "popularity" or "ideology?"

One question that strikes me, given the suprising strength of Nadel's support: could it be that Jerry Brown and De La Fuente were just a little bit too cozy with developers while our schools and streets continued to decline? In effect, could it be that many of us Oakland voters considered voting for De La Fuente and even read his proposals carefully, but felt like a vote for Council Chair De La Fuente was a vote for business as usual when Oakland needed a change?

It's a point worth considering, I think, for all THREE of the Oakland Mayoral candidates. Oakland is counting on you to come together; and we definitely will need your combined skills and cooperation to meet the challenges this city faces.


  • Good post K/O. I'm really glad I dragged you to that Dellums event. Stick with me and I'll never disappoint you. Next up is Jerry McNerney in CA-11 and...well let's just say another race I'm working on. :P

    By Anonymous Berkeleyo, the East Bay Thundercat, at 10:41 PM  

  • Yes, thanks, berkelyo, for tipping me off to the Dellums speech. Much appreciated, I would have missed it.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 11:23 PM  

  • Did you ever take a look at Paul Rockwell's piece on Dellums up at
    I'd be curious to know what you think of it.
    I can't fit the link on here but the tail end is /views06/0531-26.htm

    By Anonymous makeitstop, at 11:23 PM  

  • It was a great piece...and you can read it here at Commondreams.

    However, that being said, I'm happy to do two things now that we've elected Ron Dellums mayor:

    a) demand that he and our elected leaders make immediate change to stop the violence, reform our schools and build great jobs in our city.....and...

    b) get more involved in doing my part to achieve those goals.

    If Ron Dellums stays true to the speech I attended...he expects no less of any of us, no matter whom we voted for.

    By Blogger kid oakland, at 12:00 AM  

  • Great post. If I lived in Oakland, I'd have voted for Dellums (and I did offer some thoughts to folks working on his campaign.)

    Now he has to govern -- to pull people together. That is going to take work. I hope he knows that.

    By Blogger janinsanfran, at 7:10 PM  

  • K/O I am glad that the money, time and resources don't have to be wasted on another campaign. It got dirty by the end. Now the time and planning can be put towards making the changes that Oakland needs.

    By Anonymous Jonathan Knight, at 6:21 PM  

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