After Jean Quan was elected mayor of Oakland nearly three years ago, we opined that it marked a new era for the East Bay's most populous city.
Wow, we were sure wrong.
Quan wasn't our first choice for mayor in the 2010 election; she was our third in the city's rank-choice balloting. But, we figured, at least she would show up for work and begin to move things forward.
After Ron Dellums, MIA for most of his four-year term, it was hard to imagine things could get worse; and it was hard to fathom that a mayor could be less popular.
Well, Quan has achieved that ignominious status. New polling, conducted by EMC Research for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, shows Quan's popularity below Dellums' rating four years ago.
Twenty-four percent of likely voters regard her favorably, compared with 30 percent for Dellums at the same point in his term. Only 18 percent would re-elect her, exactly the same number who said they would support another round for Dellums.
In both cases, 69 percent said they would support someone else. Dellums read the writing on the wall. He opted to bow out after four years. Quan, who faces re-election next year, should do the same.
Oakland, with its huge assets, including the port and a downtown at the hub of the BART system, holds the potential to once again be the economic driver of the East Bay. Instead, it's the region's crime capital. Oakland has the highest per capita robbery rate in the nation. The number of sworn police officers is about 23 percent lower than six years ago.
We can't fault Quan, despite her wasteful travel, for being disengaged. Unlike Dellums, she regularly appears in public. But she doesn't lead, and she's deaf to the cries of the city's residents.
Fifty-five percent of likely voters feel less safe than a year or two ago. Only 13 percent feel safer. Sixty-nine percent identify crime as the worst thing about living in Oakland.
Quan talks about making the city safer. But she seems to think that can be done by obtaining grants for a handful of officers and using false statistics to mislead residents.
Meanwhile, she refuses to deal with the city's shortfalls and misallocation of resources. Despite promising since she took office in 2011 that she would deliver a long-term financial plan, Quan continues to budget year to year.
City funds must be redirected to put more cops on the street and address the city's huge retirement debt burden. Tough trade-offs must be made. Quan refuses to do so. She should go.