Ron Dellums Must Get Tough on Crime in Oakland

Hiring cops is a good start but Dellums must get tough on crime

“To be sure, he’s not had an ounce of help from the Oakland City Council, them members of which claim they’ve patiently waited for the mayor to lead. Last I checked that was no excuse for failing to come up with a single initiative to stem the blood in our city, unless you consider a smoking ban near bus stops to be a worthy anti-crime goal.

Still, the buck stops with the mayor, who oversees the police chief.

“We have all the ordinances in place, but we don’t enforce them,” said Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. “He (Dellums) doesn’t make people accountable or exercise his mayoral power.”

If Dellums is not getting the support he needs from key staff positions, it’s up to him to replace them with people who can do the job. If he believes council members have not supported him, or if he needs more from them, he can use his office – and public opinion – to demand it from them.”

Chip Johnson has an excellent article admonishing Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums for not being tough enough on crime in the San Francisco Chronicle.

For those of you who are not familiar with the grave crime statistics in Oakland, last year there were 127 homicides in Oakland. The week before last a 10-year old boy, Christopher Rodriguez, was shot and likely paralyzed for life when a convicted felon with a gun robbed a local gas station less than a mile from my home.

The bottom line is that Ron Dellums and the Oakland PD are not taking crime seriously. It’s funny, earlier today in the Chronicle I was reading another unfortunate article about Douglas Castello, a 36 year old TGI Friday’s night manager, who was killed last week in San Mateo. You know what line in the article I was struck by? “The slaying was the first homicide in San Mateo since 2006.” A single homicide in San Mateo in over a year and last year there were 127 homicides in Oakland.

One local businessman has taken things into his own hands and is refusing to collect sales tax for the city until they start doing something about the crime. (Thanks, Michael!) This guy should be commended. I walked by his store last night when I had dinner on Telegraph Avenue with my wife. His store is very close to where the alleged car driven by Jared Adams crashed after the bungled robbery attempt.

Not to sound like a broken record here, but I still think part of the problem is that our society is simply soft on criminals holding guns. The suspect in this case was a convicted felon who had been arrested many times before and had a previous firearms charge on his record. There is simply no reason that felons or other criminals should be allowed to have guns. And the punishment for possessing a gun illegally ought to be life in prison. I do not care if 10,000 Oakland felons rot in jail for life on weapons charges if it meant that young Christopher would not have been shot.

This may not be a very palatable policy for soft on crime Dellums to push for, but this is exactly what he should be doing. Sending a very simple message. Illegally posses a gun and you will go to jail for life. If the laws are not written that way today he should get behind the PR of the crime in Oakland to push for it. Oakland should be declared a gun free zone as far as criminals are concerned. Maybe then the City of Oakland would look more like San Mateo and less like the crime ridden cesspool that it is today.

The tragedy is that there is so much beauty in Oakland. So much wonderful history and culture and arts and natural areas to explore. But what good is this if you are afraid to go out of your house because Dellums can’t control his crime problem.

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One Comment

  1. Paul Perton says:

    I live in South Africa and if anything, we have a crime situation that is measurably worse than that in Oakland. Everyone here has a story of crime and violence to tell.

    Like yours, our leaders are blind to the situation too. This may be happenstance, sloth or incompetence, but nothing ever seems to get done. Curiously, when our leaders step outside the nice calm environment of their office(s) or parliament, everywhere they go is in the company of a coterie of thuggish bodyguards.

    It’s little wonder that our leaders do zip about crime – they never have to experience it.

    There is a school of thought here that suggests that if you want to get the attention of your MP, or political leaders, take their bodyguards away.

    I can’t find fault with that.

    Paul Perton
    Cape Town