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Big day for Oakland’s economy

Today was certainly a newsworthy day, with Mayor Dellums announcing both his budget and the economic direction of his office.

This afternoon, Mayor Dellums unveiled his first budget. Heading off an anticipated fight, he managed to plug spending holes and backed off of implementing any new programs. The city will try again with the Landscape and Lighting Assessment District (which was defeated by the Randy Ward’s vote on behalf of the school district’s properties).

Mayor Dellums hosted an economic summit at the Marriott. It ended with him announcing the Oakland Partnership, between business, labor and community leaders (and a very dated logo). The Oakland Chamber of Commerce unveiled its (recently rewritten) study of Oakland’s economy, asserting that we have no economic plan or “rational” land-use policy, and recommending that Oakland upgrade the Port, designate more areas for business growth, and chase biotech, green, and healthcare-related jobs. Since, as the study notes, Oakland’s job growth strongly outperformed the region and the country in the last decade, what’s so great about economic planning?

The leaders of some of Dellums’ task forces presented their recommendations, which were nicely packaged for the business audience. The arts task-force completely missed the boat, calling vaguely for government grants and support for the arts, without acknowledging the dearth of business savvy and consumer interest that are the real challenges confronting local artists. The land-use group called for conforming the zoning to the General Plan (which generally means increasing development intensity), and “impact fees and inclusionary zoning,” which are not the same thing at all. They left such fees out of their oral presentation, but the co-convener of the force revealed his true colors when he was asked about what developers should do until the zoning is updated. “We should stop,” was his polemical response (he also said that “market-driven development is obsolete,” unlike, say, his socialist suggestions). Like many ideas mooted this afternoon, there was a distinct lack of applause in the front section of the auditorium, with support coming only from the task forces’ tables at the back. It looks like Dellums is still far from bringing everyone together.

Finally, inclusionary zoning floundered further when its advocates held a May Day press conference. Though the Chronicle’s article about this didn’t have much balance (and incorrectly stated that IZ provides low-income units), the advocates sounded like they simply didn’t understand why they’re getting no traction. Dellums’ spokeswoman threw cold water on their demands, saying that something “more comprehensive” should be done.

The Blue Ribbon Commission is charged with developing such a comprehensive plan. Tonight, they will move on from IZ and discuss condo conversions. Here’s an op-ed supporting conversions from South Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks.

Posted in breakingnews, dellums, housing, iz.

9 Responses

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  1. Charles Pine says

    The famous Dellums rhetoric boils down to a proposed regressive tax increase. For more on the Landscape and Lighting Assessment fight coming up, go to

  2. dto510 says

    I don’t think that trying again with the LLAD has anything to do with Dellums’ rhetoric; indeed, it’s consistent with his status-quo budget. Whether the LLAD is regressive or not, it’s certainly not a step to a model city.

  3. Deckin says


    It’s good to see you back. Your perspective has been missed. I have to say, as much as I’ve thought that Charles Pine was a bit of a Johnny One Note, I’m beginning to see something in that tune. After reading yesterday’s Matier and Ross (sorry, no time for linking) about Dellums’ ‘need’ to up his personal staffing budget by about 2 million, and even though I voted for the Assessment last time, this really has me riled. The same people who complained (probably with justification) about Jerry Brown’s retinue of French pseudo-intellectuals are now nodding in agreement that the mayor needs a security detail, a driver, and more money to throw around while we have to pay more in taxes just to keep the streets lighted. As we both predicted, Dellums’ vision for the future is likely going to be both costly, IF we ever could get a look at it!

  4. dto510 says

    I am honestly stunned by Mayor Dellums’ call for massively inflating his staff. He wants to hire $300,000 worth of lobbyists? I thought HE was our lobbyist! And while a driver is reasonable, a bodyguard is not. Several staffers to recruit ex-cons? How about recruiting some cops, or anybody? The city has a 13% staff vacancy rate.

    Today, Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor today called for ‘progressives’ to hold off criticizing their heroic mayor. He shouldn’t worry – there will be enough without them.

  5. Deckin says

    Dto510, aka Native,

    I saw the Allen-Taylor piece. To say it’s a bit of a ramble is to be a little unkind to rambles. Curiouser still, he linked Common Sense Oakland ye olde blog site. As much as I pretty disagree with everything he’s ever said (and said some nasty things about his paper too–deserved, in my opinion), I can’t help but appreciated the cite.

    As for Dellums, who the hell knows what’s going on? I honestly think he’s way out of his league, in terms of executive authority, and he’s just grasping for things. I mean, this idea that there’s a pot of money out there waiting for Oakland to tap is childish. I’m just wondering when the old guy finally gives up and basically turns things over to some top aide–if that hasn’t happened already.

  6. Deckin says

    English anyone? Apologies.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Great Expectations » Way to rock that status quo, Mayor Dellums! linked to this post on May 16, 2007

    [...] 2. Taking Stock of Oakland’s Economy, Sec 4:1. Ironically, the report lambasts Oakland for failing to capitlize on regional growth in certain industries over the last several years, while at the same time noting that “Over the past 6 years, Oakland grew jobs in the aggregate more quickly than both the US as a whole and the Bay Area. From 2001-2006, Oakland’s employment grew at an annual rate of close to 1 percent (compound annual growth rate [CAGR]); by contrast, employment across the US during the same period grew at about 0.6 percent annually, and the Bay Area lost jobs at an annual rate of 1.4 percent.” (Blogger dto510 noted this logical inconsistency in his summary of the summit.) [...]

  2. Great Expectations » Let’s talk about “sustainability” linked to this post on May 22, 2007

    [...] PDF!) to Oakland’s city council last week. Blogger dto510 aptly characterized the document as “status-quo” (from Dellums? Shock!). I’ll talk more about the budget next week, but for now, let’s [...]

  3. City kills all development for four months « FutureOakland linked to this post on November 8, 2007

    [...] deeply damaging to the city’s economic health. Mayor Dellums’ land-use task force co-convener Bob Schwartz called for a sweeping citywide development moratorium in May. In July, he got his [...]