California??¢â???¬â???¢s Fidel

California already has two cities that, to quote Reagan Administration official Dick Darman’s description of the Democrats in 1984, have moved so far left they’ve left America. Assuming former Democratic Rep. Ron Dellums is successful in his bid to become mayor of Oakland, it will join Berkeley and San Francisco in the loony left camp.

Dellums represented California’s 9th District, which includes both Berkeley and Oakland, from 1971 to 1998, winning his last election with 77% of the vote to his Republican opponent’s 18%. To say his chances of becoming Oakland’s next mayor are good is about as much an understatement as saying Scooter Libby’s immediate career prospects are doubtful.

Since Fidel Castro is not eligible to run for public office in the U.S., Dellums is probably the next closest thing. A socialist darling all his public life, radical left wing movements he has embraced include the Community for New Politics in Berkeley, the National Peace Action Coalition and Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda’s Campaign for Economic Democracy.

In 1977, referring to Dellums’ joining the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee, the magazine Mother Jones wrote, “For the first time in more than a century, a dues-paying socialist is also a member of the U.S. Congress.”

In 1982, when the communist island of Grenada was building an airport believed by the Reagan White House to be for the purpose of accommodating Soviet military aircraft, Dellums visited the Caribbean country on a “fact-finding” mission. In a subsequent report to Congress he said it was absurd to believe the airport was for any purpose other than economic development, despite the fact the runway capacity was far beyond anything necessary for civilian use.

Following the U.S invasion of Grenada in 1983, a letter from Dellums’ chief of staff Carlottia Scott to Grenadian dictator Maurice Bishop was discovered in which she had written that “Ron” did not want anything to jeopardize the building of the “Revolution.” She conveyed the congressman’s admiration for Bishop, adding, “The only other person that I know of that he expresses such admiration for is Fidel.”

In addition to his support of Bishop he had voted in 1980 to send $75-million in U.S. aid to Nicaragua’s communist Sandinista regime. No wonder his nickname is “Red Ron.”

And if Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like, Dellums never met a U.S. weapons system he could support, opposing both the MX and Pershing missiles and other national defense initiatives.

Dellums suddenly bailed out of Congress in February 1998, and although he said it was to concentrate on his personal life, it probably had more to do with frustration over the GOP takeover four years earlier and the loss of his position, won by seniority, as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. He was apparently unsuccessful in having the name changed to “Unarmed.”

An economically struggling city like Oakland needs a socialist mayor like New Orleans needs another hurricane, but it’s hard to see how Dellums can be stopped. His main opponents are City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, who won only 5,000 votes in the last election to Mayor Jerry Brown’s 44,000, and Councilor Nancy Nadel whose support base is the same as Dellums’.

It’s a shame that Oakland, under Dellums’ leadership, will join Berkeley and San Francisco as the most anti-American of American cities, giving more fodder to those who think the northern part of the state should be sawed off and allowed to drift literally leftward. But barring something unforeseen, it looks like “Viva Ron” and Havana North next June.

This article first appeared at