Ms. Santana, The Writing Is On The Wall

OAKLAND | Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana never looks happy. If the sheer weight of Oakland’s problems perpetually on her shoulders wasn’t enough, her own job security now seems perilous.

Matthew Artz’s article Friday shows the discontent from labor and various other groups in the city has reached Mayor Jean Quan’s office. “Deanna is part of a very broad team that I have, and I think the team is doing a very good job,” Quan told the Oakland Tribune.

She didn’t bother to praise Santana in the fashion a professional sports team owner might drop the perfunctory phony declaration of full support for the head coach, but sidestepped the actually boss of the City Administrator’s Office and her job performance.

This is notable and portends for yet another shakeup at City Hall following the embarrassing turn of events last May when three different police chiefs took control of the department within a span of 72 hours.

When asked specifically about Santana’s job security, she declined to “speculate” on the matter. Technically, as the person who hires and fires the city administrator, Quan is the only person able to speculate on Santana’s future.

To be sure, Santana has committed quite a few unforced errors in just the past year. She has interfered on numerous occasions with the implementation of reforms at the police department, low-balled union negotiators and infuriated labor leaders by summoning police officers to one bargaining meeting.

Don’t forget she created an embarrassing incident earlier this year when she asserted Oakland A’s co-owner Lew Wolff had never sent the city a proposal for a new five-year contract at the Coliseum. Turns out she did. It was just in a stack of papers left over from Christmas break.

In hindsight, it seems Santana, herself, knows her time in Oakland is nearing an end. In this week’s East Bay Express, Santana sent a lengthy letter to the paper claiming its spate of articles describing her meddling in police reforms were personal in nature.

Whether it be angry occupiers, residents pushing to clean up the police department, business owners with broken windows, irate union members or concerned sports fans hoping to keep Oakland’s team, Santana could withstand the storm. Without Quan in her corner, she’s a goner. Maybe she’ll be happy somewhere else?

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