The Journal took a look at Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums yesterday, with a piece about how his lofty promises of building a model city have run into the realities of governing a broke-ass burg with aging infrastructure and a high crime rate. The story manages to be simultaneously too mean and too kind, which is no mean feat. On the one hand, as part of his graf comparing Dellums to the messiah who came before him, WSJ reporter Bobby White writes, "Oakland's homicide rate during Mr. Brown's eight years as mayor was 30% lower than the prior eight years." But everyone knows that the homicide rate slid al around the country during the same period, and when it started to rise again in Oakland, it started under Brown's tenure. (And don't get us started on the reporter's decision to quote cop union head Bob Valladon as if he were the voice of the ordinary Oakland citizen.)
At the same time, White swallows Dellums' line about how he was all set to tell a crowd of supporters he wasn't going to run for mayor, then changed his mind when he looked into their shining faces. How Dellums can keep getting people to buy such a transparent lie two years later truly baffles us.
But hey, we're quibbling in that annoying bloggy way, so two minutes in the penalty box for us. All in all, it was a reasonably measured tale of a mayor who found Oakland more broken than he imagined, who tapped his D.C. connections to get a little scratch thrown his way, and who spent too much time rubbing shoulders with the Clintons when he should have been doing his job.