A good friend of mine just sent an email to me because he explained his reasons for supporting De La Fuente, and believed my reasons were based only on race -- uh, that he's black and so am I.
Well, I'm not going to shy away from that, but my reasons, as befits my character, are far more complex.
Here's my response.
It's not just a matter of race. I've worked closely with Ignacio. Too close. As a result, I have a perspective on him that few possess, even of those I know.
Ignacio has wanted to be Mayor since 1997. And during this time, he's not worked to build coalitions of people at all. Indeed, he uses his power to try to get what he wants, and to punish his ememies. Period. That's his way.
I've been in rooms where he always explains how he's gonna "do or get something -- or someone. I represented Mayor Harris-- and was at one point even more powerful than Ignacio in committee because I understood the rules and how to build coalitions and what made for good TV. I was effective and many times just so to protect my boss from Ignacio's antics. Ignacio knew this, and at one point had a sit down with Elihu to get him to "rein me in."
That was fun.
As a result and even though I had the background and experience to do it, Ignacio blocked Elhu Harris request that I run the Oakland Coliseum. (I think the current Executive Director's doing just fine, by the way.) Then, Ignacio blocked me from being on the original task force to bring the Super Bowl to Oakland, only to watch in undoubted horror as I (as the Oakland Tribune reported) single-handedl salvaged the wreakage of an effort his task force left for City Manager Robert Bobb. As Ignacio told me in 2000, "You generated the only positive press we had at the Coliseum."
In 2004, I invited Ignacio to join me on a stadium naming right panel discussion in San Francisco. I was only too happy to take him around and introduce him to everyone, including the SF Giants' Larry Baer and others. But when Ignacio annouced he was running for mayor early in 2005, Alameda County Treasurer Don White was running as well. But Don was a friend of my stepfather's family, and my stepdad passed away that year, March 17th; Don was at the funeral and the wake later. I was introduced to him by a family member, and Don asked for my help.
Ignacio never did this in all the year's I've known him. Moreover, he took it upon himself to insult me in the August 21st SF Chronicle stating "I don't listen to his ideas" wheh questioned about an idea I had to relieve the PSL debt faced by the City and County from the Raiders Deal. Well, by then I'd had enough.
If Ignacio becomes Mayor he will only use the office to reward his friends and punish his ememies. Trust me. We've had enough of that in Oakland. It's produced a nasty gridlock that must be eliminated.
Now, as to the matter of race. I have listened to some developers like a person I helped make a millionaire and who's name I will not use in my blog for openly stating that a Dellumns victory would be a "handout for those who want assistance" and "A win for those who want their piece of contracts" -- or words to that effect. He and they mean blacks, period.
I'm really sick and tired -- to the point of extreme anger at times -- with this idea that as Oaklanders we should not take care of all of our people. Hey, the developer I refered to fought for his giant share of a contract from the City and after 10 years of wanting his chance, he got it. Now, is it that he wants to block other because of a perception that "they're crying for what they didn't get because they're black?"
Yes, I want to see a black mayor -- but not just any black mayor -- Ron Dellums. He's a great symbol for the city. We're questioning Ron on "lack of details" -- the same matter we praised Jerry Brown for. That's ridiculous and bears an explaination.
Ignacio is great at what he does: President Of The Oakland City Council. But that doesn't translate into having the stuff to be a great mayor of Oakland.
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