Ron Oz, like The Man Who Fell to Earth
or Reverend Jim Ignatowski, is capable of
monitoring seven TV broadcasts at the same time.
We are currently having a mayoral election in Oakland, where of course the real election is the primary—the Republican candidate is about as relevant as facts to Fox news. Along with front-runners Congressman Ron Dellums and Ignacio de la Fuente, Jerry Brown’s chosen successor, we also have in the race a genuine eccentric—or is it visionary?—in Ron “Oz” Oznowicz.
I had been aware of Oz’s existence for some time, but he first really got my attention with a full-page ad in last week’s paper headlined “What would a Ron Oz mayor do?” Note the phrasing: not “What would Ron Oz do as mayor?” or even “What would a Mayor Ron Oz do?”, but “”What would a Ron Oz mayor do?” The ad itself was almost all text, crammed full of Ron Oz’s positions and philosophies and favorite quotes, none of which was, in and of itself, nutty; but the page as a whole was suggestive of someone who’s wired up a little strange.
Perhaps the oddest thing about Ron is how completely he’s rebranded himself as Ron Oz, as if “Oznowicz” is just too much for people to deal with. This in a state with a governor named “Schwarzeneggar.” Maybe’s he’s trying to associate himself with The Great and Powerful Oz, but I have my doubts about that idea—do you really want to suggest that people Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain?
Or perhaps he’s trying to say that as mayor he would turn Oakland into the Emerald City. To call Oz’s approach “idealistic” or “Utopian” would be a vast understatement. Consider the following, which I lifted from his Web site:
My platform is first and foremost based on the premise that government should be courteous and polite to the citizens. Oakland ‘s Mission Statement demands it, when it says that Oakland will strive to be “courteous, effective and responsive.” It isn’t surprising that because two of the Council members running for Mayor now lack the first criterion that the City is failing in the rest. When I see repeated often that one candidate says he is ready to “kick ass” why am I not surprised that this technique hasn’t worked for Oakland in the past? When I get an impression of another candidate with a heart similar to the frost surrounding a freezer, why am I not surprised that Oakland ‘s pulse is barely perceptible?
So in a Mayor Oz Oakland how would things be different? Attitude, attitude, attitude, would be the three part answer. City employees cannot, will not, and may not, do their jobs unless they enjoy doing them. The citizens of Oakland cannot enjoy their lives in interface with the City in such an environment of uncordiality and unfriendliness. Attitude is transmitted throughout the City employment base from the top. It is projected throughout the populace from the Mayor’s office. A Mayor who enjoys his City and People, who respects them, who lives his office with a can-do confident smile, and who has visions unleashed by imagination, such a Mayor can turn the City positive, ambitious, energetic and offer a new life force to realize Oakland’s potentials.
When you get right down to it, Ron Oz’s answer to everything seems to be, “Be nice to people.” Crazy, maybe. But then again, maybe worth a try. I encourage you to visit ronoz.com—which also features a suite of photos of Ron in his pajamas—and decide for yourself.