Dellums Hires New Staff With Berkeley Backgrounds

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday February 04, 2009 - 06:44:00 PM

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums—who once served as a member of the Berkeley City Council before being elected to Congress from the East Bay—has reached into his Berkeley roots to fill several key Oakland City Hall staff positions. 

Of five people recently named by Dellums to top City of Oakland jobs—Dan Lindheim as city administrator, Marianna Marysheva-Martinez as assistant city administrator, Dorlista R. Reed as public safety coordinator, Walter Cohen as director of the Community and Economic Development Agency (CEDA), and Theo Oliphant as director of Public-Private Partnerships—two of them, Lindheim and Reed, have Berkeley backgrounds. 

Lindheim, who has served as an aide to Dellums for several years going back to the mayor’s time as a member of Congress, is a Berkeley native with deep and continuing ties to the city, a graduate of Emerson, Willard, and Berkeley High School with a B.A. in economics and a master’s in city planning and public health from UC Berkeley. (Lindheim also has a law degree from Georgetown University.) 

Lindheim comes from a family that was prominent in local public affairs. One of Lindheim’s uncles, Stephen Lindheim, was a UC Berkeley electrical engineering graduate who founded an Oakland electrical contracting firm, became active in the city’s Chamber of Commerce. After his death, the 98th Avenue-Highway 880 overpass was named after him. 

Lindheim’s mother, Roselyn (Roz) Lindheim, was a longtime UC Berkeley professor of architecture and Bay Area social activist, for whom the university established the Roselyn Lindheim graduate student award in environmental design and public health. Roz Lindheim died in 1987. A 1991 UC Berkeley “in memoriam” document called her “one of the most respected professionals and academics in her field. She was one of the first persons selected for membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and the first architect to be so honored.”  

The article also credited Roz Lindheim with providing the “leadership that opened the doors of the Department of Architecture to black and Hispanic students. She was relentless in championing efforts to make the faculty and student body more representative in terms of race and gender.” 

Lindheim’s father, Richard, founded the Berkeley video company General Electronic Systems, Inc. (GESI), a leading reseller and integrator of professional and broadcast video and computer graphic systems. GESI operated a video editing studio on San Pablo Avenue and, at one time, film director Francis Ford Coppola edited and showed first releases of his films there. Richard Lindheim passed away unexpectedly in 1989 while Dan Lindheim was working in Washington, D.C., and Lindheim says he commuted back and forth between the two coasts for nine months to operate the video company and turn its fortunes around. He started a software company, Diaquest, which, according to the online company profile, provides “video animation control and network image transfer, offers a wide range of products for animation recording and capture, and video input/output solutions for Macintosh, Windows, and SGI computers.” 

“My dad was a leading light in the video world,” Lindheim said by telephone this week. “But I was a computer geek. I wasn’t much interested in the video, so I ran with the software side.” 

Lindheim says he feels his largest contribution to Berkeley was in the public school system, where he co-ran (with school board member Nancy Riddle) the successful 2004 Measure B and 2006 Measure A campaigns, and has chaired or co-chaired the school district’s parcel tax oversight committee for the past six years. 

Reed served as North Oakland Crime Prevention Liaison in 1978, a position she credited with “jump-starting” her career with the City of Berkeley. She served as Project Director of the Berkeley Community Partnership in 1994, introducing a community-involved policing proposal. Until she took the Public Safety job with the City of Oakland, Reed served as a Senior Management Analyst in Berkeley’s Public Works Department and served in other capacities over several years with the Berkeley City Manager’s office and the City of Berkeley Health and Human Services Department. Reed also served as director of the Berkeley Community Partnership, an alcohol and drug abuse prevention collaborative.