Ron Dellums Ran Up $60,000 Travel Tab

Travel bill could have nearly paid an entry-level policeman's salary

By Jackson West
|  Monday, Dec 7, 2009  |  Updated 1:15 PM PDT
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Ron Dellums Ran Up $60,000 Travel Tab

a natural sound / Flickr

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, center, is admired by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, in happier publicity times. Now both are on the hook for unpaid taxes.

The publicity just keeps getting worse for Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.

Besides the city's staggering deficits, and the mayor's own problems with the Internal Revenue Service, he's now being raked over the coals for his free-spending ways while out of town.

Even after the city council voted to curtail travel spending in an effort to deal with the city's money problems, Dellums ran up $59,079 in charges to his city-issued credit card.

What did he spend the money on? Cross-country travels where he stayed at the finest hotels and dined and the best of restaurants while lobbying for federal stimulus dollars.

And it's paid off, according to a spokesperson for the mayor's office, with $66 million in federal stimulus awards for the city.

But the question is did the marginal benefit of face-to-face meetings over picking up the phone merit travel expense and the mayor's absence from the troubled city he governs -- apparently by phone.

Not to mention that is Oakland's money not spent in Oakland.

It's gotten so bad for Dellums that at least one Oakland resident wonders if the man isn't suffering from some form of dementia.

Photo by Flickr user a natural sound.

Jackson West knows Brokeland's problems are bigger than the mayor, but he has not engendered confidence in public officials in this time of crisis.

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