OAKLAND (BCN) — Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said in a 68-page “State of the City” report Wednesday that he has reduced crime, boosted the city’s economy, and improved health care and education during his four years in office.
Dellums also denied news reports that he might leave his post before his term expires in January.
He had been scheduled to give his final “State of the City” address Wednesday night but on Monday announced that he wouldn’t present it in person and would only give it in written and video form.
Although Oakland’s 17.3 percent unemployment rate is well above both California’s 12.4 percent jobless rate and the national rate of 9.6 percent, Dellums said, “We have succeeded in expanding key economic sectors, retaining jobs and increasing employment.”
He said, “We have continued to demonstrate growth in such fields as health care, education and green business, ensuring that residents have access to jobs in those fields and quality services.”
Dellums said that as a result of its “multi-pronged” public safety strategy, “Oakland is safer for all of its residents.”
He said violent crime is down 14 percent so far this year, following decreases of 2 percent in 2007, 5 percent in 2008, and 6 percent in 2009.
Homicides are down 28 percent so far this year after decreases of 14 percent in 2007, 1 percent in 2008, and 13 percent in 2009, Dellums said.
The mayor said that under his leadership, Oakland became the second city in the U.S. to implement a citywide HIV awareness, testing, prevention and education initiative.
Dellums said he also launched an initiative to cut the dropout rate among Oakland students in half by 2018 and created school-based health centers at five middle schools.
Dellums, 74, an Oakland native who spent 27 years in Congress before becoming a lobbyist, recalled his decision in the fall of 2005 to run for mayor in the 2006 election.
“Five years ago, the citizens of Oakland called upon me to return home with the wisdom and experience of decades of public service to lead this great city, which I love,” he said.
“I answered the call and set forth a vision of Oakland as a Model City, a placed with a vibrant, sustainable economy and a healthy, well-educated, well-trained, well-informed and engaged citizenry.”
In his message to the city’s residents, Dellums said, “Together we have demonstrated that Oakland is a beautifully diverse, thriving community of empowered, dignified and remarkable human beings.”
His office also issued a news release addressing reports that Dellums might not finish his term.
“Contrary to recent media reports, Mayor Ron Dellums has stated that there is no question that he will finish his term and will remain in office until Mayor-elect (Jean) Quan is sworn in on Monday, January 3, 2011,” the release said.
In the statement, Dellums said, “My commitment, and the commitment of my staff, is to focus on facilitating a seamless transition of government to the incoming administration.”
He said, “I remain committed to Oakland, to finish what I came here to do, because I care about the future of this great city.”
Oakland City Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, who finished a distant second to Dellums in the 2006 election, said he thinks the mayor should have given his “State of the City” address in person.
He said printing thousands of copies of it was a “waste of resources” at a time when the city is laying off employees, including police officers.
“It’s really sad,” De La Fuente said. “Ron Dellums shouldn’t end his political career on paper.”
He said, “I’m disappointed that he didn’t even have the courage to give it in person. It was his last opportunity to speak to the city’s voters.”
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