Two weeks ago it was revealed that Mayor Ron Dellums owes more than $260,000 in back taxes to the IRS. Since that story broke, he has been mysteriously absent from City Hall. But even before this, his attendance has been spotty, and his wife is ever-present by his side. Even when he is at work, there is no indication that he actually does anything. He refuses press interviews as a matter of course. He is completely inaccessible. He is unable to drive and requires a limo driver, at taxpayer expense. He mangled the name of an officer at a funeral, and when four officers were shot in the line of duty, it was revealed that one or more of them had requested him not to speak at their funerals. When important decisions need to made, high ranking City officials know not to include him in the process, because it would be a waste of time.
Oakland's City Charter clearly requires the Mayor to devote 100% of his time to his duties. He is failing in that task, and for some mysterious reason, neither the mainstream press, nor the other officials in City government, are willing to publicly hold him accountable. The issue of a public official's mental health condition is, of course, a sensitive subject. However, the taxpayers of Oakland deserve to have a leader who is mentally and physically competent to perform the duties of the job. The evidence cited above clearly indicates that dementia could be an explanation, and at this stage, we must count on the press to expose the truth.