Edgerly, De La Fuente Political Fireworks have City Hall on Edge
By Post Staff
With the blasts befitting a July 4th show of flares, cherry bombs and political firecrackers, City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente exploded the Oakland City Hall environment with thunderous claims of finally pledging to end the nepotism and cronyism that began before Ron Dellums was elected Mayor.
Deborah Edgerly also managed to be caught in the middle of a political firestorm involving her rapid-fire announcements of her retirement, her unretirement and the Mayor’s eventual Firing—all within one week. She and De La Fuente, both under media scrutiny for charges of nepotism and cronyism, defied Dellums and claimed separately, but simultaneously, that they would be in charge despite the Mayor’s desire to move in a new direction.
Mayor Dellums with former City Administrator Deborah Edgerly
Mayor Dellums interrupted a meeting with De La Fuente to hold an impromptu press conference Wednesday to assure the city’s residents that Oakland is “embarking on a new day.“
Alluding to his eventual firing of Edgerly, Dellums sought to assure residents that Oakland is continuing to move forward.
Dellums said “there is already a national search to fill the City Administrator’s position and that Dan Lindheim, (the former head of the city’s Community and Economic Development Agency) will continue to fill in as City Administrator.” De La Fuente and other leaders have bristled at Lindheim’s appointment because they understand that the move helps facilitate Dellums’ vision of an “alignment for a seamless administration of the City,” referring to his office and that of the City Administrator.
De La Fuente says that he encourages the Mayor to hire a City Administrator with a reputation for excellence as soon as possible, so that Oaklanders can be sure that the city is being well-managed.
Even though De La Fuente was re-elected in the past June election amidst charges of nepotism and cronyism, he has now pledged to root out all vestiges of favoritism in hiring and contracting practices in Oakland.
One City Council member acknowledged that it is common practice for Councilmembers to call the Administrator directly to do business on their behalf. When Dellums appointed Lindheim, it was interpreted that all requests would have to be channeled through the Mayor’s office. Former Mayor Jerry Brown was known to allow the City Council President to have full access to City staff. “Dellums’ move (appointment of Lindheim) can do more to break up the patronage culture that is well-known around City Hall than anything we’ve seen since before Jerry Brown,” the councilmember said.
Dellums said Oakland is moving forward and that over the next few weeks he “will be assembling a group of professionals and experts that will assist him on how to best realign the mayor’s and city administrator’s office.”
Some of the “flaming” blog messages on Internet websites have referred to De La Fuente’s past as an ex-boxer who uses a pugilistic approach versus the debonair Dellums who diplomatically tries to remain above the fray but has created the appearance of a leadership vacuum. Some blogs now echo De La Fuente and are calling for a recall of Dellums.
In a recent press release, De la Fuente said that Oaklanders are looking for a City government that is responsive, and delivers the services paid for by the citizens.
Dellums said that as the Chief Executive Officer he looks forward to running a stronger, more effective and transparent branch of government.
According to a City Hall source, during a private conversation between Dellums and De La Fuente, Dellums said they shook hands and that he welcomed the leadership of the City Council’s legislative branch to help him further his Model City vision for Oakland. But the Mayor’s opponents are predicting that Dellums will lose because of his disdain for De La Fuente’s “hand-to-hand” political combat style which is designed to make Dellums quit or cave in to the pressure. The source added “they don’t call Oakland ‘Bump City’ for nothing.”