Ron Dellums, Oakland's part-time mayor, is demanding "a substantial pay raise," according to the Chron. Columnist Chip Johnson buried this mini-bombshell in today's column. It's not clear who Johnson's source is. He doesn't cite one. But if true, then Dellums has far more chutzpah than we ever imagined. The mayor already rakes in about $184,000 a year, plus is chauffeured around in a Lincoln Town Car at taxpayers' expense. And as we reported last year, Dellums only scheduled himself to work about 25 hours a week during his first two years in office, according to his official calendar. Doing the math, that means he's already making in excess of $140 an hour. And he wants a raise? At a time when the city is facing an $83 million budget deficit and is about to lay off hundreds of workers plus shut down city government several days more a year?
Johnson also says that both Dellums and Councilwoman Desley Brooks are refusing to take a voluntary 5 percent pay cut. Now, Dellums should take the cut, but to be fair, it should be about 40 percent, not 5 percent, considering that he only schedules himself to work part-time in a city with huge problems. As for the council, I realize I'm probably in the minority here, but I actually think Oakland's council members are underpaid. I think they should be paid more and be required to work full-time. Oakland desperately needs full-time leadership.