2018 Passings: East Bay politics lost Ron Dellums, Charlie Plummer

Two giants of Alameda County politics passed away in 2018, along with three East Bay councilmembers.

Former Rep. Ron Dellums towered over East Bay politics from 1970s to late 1990s bringing a social and economic message that still forms the backbone of the region’s politics today. Even though he served famously on the House Armed Services Committee, odd since he was anti-war, he nonetheless admired by his opponents for his fairness. His legacy remains alive with Rep. Barbara Lee, who took over for Dellums after his retirement in 1998.

Plummer Charles
Charlie Plummer served 20 years as Alameda County sheriff.

Gregarious in an old school cop way, Charlie Plummer served as Alameda County sheriff for two decades. But for many years afterward was consulted by local politicians for his knowledge of the county. As Hayward police chief in the mid-1970s, Plummer created the now widely referred “Cardinal Sins,” which demanded, “honesty from all employees and prohibited bigotry, the acceptance of bribes, and the use of controlled substance.”

Dublin Councilmember Don Biddle passed away in February after a brief illness. He served on the city council for nearly 10 years, winning re-election in 2010 and 2014. During his service he helped approve open space initiatives in Dublin and affordable housing for veterans.

He was a former Oakland Oaks baseball player who once played with Joe DiMaggio, and used his love of sports and the youth to spearhead parks initiatives, in addition, to the retrofitting of Alameda High School. Anthony “Lil” Arnerich served on the Alameda City Council from 1988 to 1996 and continued to be a voice in the city politics literally until the day he passed away in March.

Although his defeat for re-election to the Hayward City Council in 2004 hastened the rise of two of the city’s public officials, Joe Hilson served three terms on the city council with a focus on burgeoning technology that is now commonplace in all levels of government. The 2004 Hayward elections introduced the East Bay to Bill Quirk–a future assemblymember–and future two-term Hayward Mayor Barbara Halliday.

One thought on “2018 Passings: East Bay politics lost Ron Dellums, Charlie Plummer

  1. Charlie Plummer was a terrific man. All who knew him respected him. He was honest and ethical and insisted on those from all who worked for him. You may not have agreed with him but he was someone you could work with. Sheriff Ahearn is a long way from wearing Charlie’s shoes and the respect that all had for Sheriff Plummer.

    Ron Dellums beginnings in Berkeley and Richmond were the heart and soul of the Sixties and early Seventies. He stood proud in representing his constituents and rose to a position of respect. His last few years were not so good. Barbara has tried and failed to do better than her boss. Ron is missed every day. Successors to her are scrambling. When she and Nancy leave there will be quite an event here in the East Bay and California to put together their replacements.


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