Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums gave a one-hour speech yesterday to the Oakland chambers of commerce that appeared to be either an effort to rehabilitate his reputation or to set the stage for a reelection bid. Throughout the wide-ranging speech at the Oakland airport Hilton, Dellums repeatedly touted his accomplishments in the past year, from garnering tens of millions in federal stimulus funds to his efforts to keep the A’s in Oakland and his decision to hire new police chief Anthony Batts, whom he described repeatedly as a “superstar.”
The sometimes fiery speech, which Dellums appeared to give without notes, did not resemble that of a lame-duck mayor in the last year of office — unless he feels the need to burnish his once stellar reputation, which has taken a beating since he swept into the mayor’s office three years ago. However, the speech at times felt more like a campaign event from a politician who believes he’s not yet done than an attempt to regain his once vaulted political status.
Dellums, for example, touted the $87.9 million in federal stimulus funds coming to Oakland in which the city is the lead agency. In addition, he noted that Oakland will receive another $105 million in federal stimulus money in which the city was not a major participant in the grant process. And he noted that Alameda County will receive $40 million to $60 million, a significant portion of which is earmarked to help Oakland residents. In all, the mayor predicted that the stimulus funds will create 5,000 jobs in Oakland, which if true, could be a big boost to a city that has shed thousands of jobs in the recession.
Moreover, Dellums also said that he was able to convince Obama administration officials to provide so much money to the city by vowing to work in partnership with the federal government — a promise that certainly didn’t sound like it would come from a man who was ready to abandon his post by the end of this year. Indeed, if yesterday’s speech is any indication, Dellums almost assuredly has not ruled out an attempt for a second term in office.