In January of 2000, Governing's cover story highlighted the miraculous relationship that Mayor Jerry Brown and City Manager Robert Bobb had forged in an attempt to revitalize Oakland ["Mayor Brown & Mr. Bobb"]. Brown's election in 1998 coincided with a revamp of the city charter that vastly increased the mayor's powers, creating the potential for conflict with a city manager who had built up a reputation for insisting on firm control over his city.

At the time, observers predicted that friction between the two strong personalities would doom the pair. Eventually, it did--but only after four years of working together, improving Oakland's crime rate, fiscal situation and business environment in the process.

The dissolution of the Brown-Bobb team was ultimately credited to a dispute over a new baseball stadium for the Oakland A's. Over Bobb's strenuous objections, the mayor approved the development of a housing project on the most likely site for a downtown ballpark. In July, Brown fired Bobb, saying that it was time for a change. Bobb was hired in September as the new city manager of Washington, D.C.