The Hands Around the Lake inaugural event took place this morning on an unseasonably chilly, but beautifully crystal-clear, day on Lake Merritt.
Organized-labor organizers and volunteers were highly in evidence as the public assembled around 9 AM at the Bandstand near the Lakeside Park Garden Center.
In opening remarks, Mayor Dellums, reaffirmed that he has no “S” on his chest, but he was sporting a stylized “O,” for Oakland, on his t-shirt, accompanied by the slogan: “Together We Can Do Great Things.”
Mayor Dellums invited council members Ignacio De La Fuente, newly reelected as council president, and Jean Quan, the vice mayor, to the stage, putting his arms around both.
He pointedly asked the audience: “Do you know what this means?” His answer: “This means we’re going to work together.”
Dellums’ unifying gesture was obviously a response to Monday’s inaugural ceremony and Special Meeting of the City Council, at which Ignacio De La Fuente’s reelection to the post of council president generated a raucously negative reaction from some of the audience. For more on this, see Pamela Drake’s “Royal Fireworks.”
Mayor Dellums also introduced his wife Cynthia, who encouraged each person to find one thing in Oakland that needs improvement and then work to help make it happen.
There was a festive air as the crowd began its walk around the Lake, taking Bellevue Avenue toward the Pergola near Lakeview Branch Library.
Although the human chain failed to reach continuously around the Lake, this didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s fun and satisfaction in joining together with neighbors and fellow citizens to mark and celebrate the beginning of a new administration in City Hall.