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Archive for September, 2010

Second Council Candidate Demands That City Manager Go

Alameda City Council candidate Jeff Mitchell and Alameda resident John Knox White are calling on the city to put Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and City Attorney Teresa Highsmith on immediate paid administrative leave.

The two Alamedans and their supporters are meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 7, at Alameda City Hall, just eight hours after city councilmember Lena Tam asked for Gallant to resign and for Mayor Beverly Johnson to apologize for a county investigation of her.

The district attorney conducting the investigation ruled on Friday, September 3, that there was not enough evidence to support claims that Tam violated the Brown Act by leaking confidential city information. The City Council, though, is poised to consider whether or not it should file a civil lawsuit against Tam in a special closed session on Thursday, September 9.

In a press release, Mitchell says that he filed a citizen complaint with the Alameda County Grand Civil Jury alleging “malfeasance of office and misuse of public funds by Gallant and Highsmith to pursue their secret investigation of Lena Tam — an investigation which many have labeled a political witch hunt.”

Furthermore, Mitchell argues that while an audit of the public funds used in the investigation against Tam has not been conducted, Tam claims the amount may be over $100,000.

Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
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As DA Drops Charges, Tam Asks Gallant to Resign

Speaking outside Alameda City Hall on Tuesday, September, 7, City Councilwoman Lena Tam said that prosecutors had dropped their investigation into whether she violated the Brown Act by leaking confidential city information, and they will not refer the case to the grand jury.

In addition, Tam called for the resignation of Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and an apology from Mayor Beverly Johnson.

Tam, who noted that the city could have used the money spent on her case for more civic-minded purpuses — such as the operation of the library — is running for re-election to the City Council in November; one of her opponents in the race is Johnson.

The Bay Area News Group is reporting that the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office notified city officials about the decision not to pursue the case in a confidential letter on Friday, September 3, citing insufficient evidence.

Nevertheless, the Alameda City Council is set to meet in closed session on Thursday, September 9, to consider whether the city should file a civil lawsuit against Tam. According to city officials, Tam was only “tentatively” cleared by the DA.

In July, an attorney hired by the city’s interim city manager said Tam had leaked confidential information, including to representatives from the SunCal, who wanted to redevelop the former Alameda Naval Air Station.

Tam also was accused of leaking information to the Alameda firefighters union and of violating the state’s open meeting law by using e-mails to influence other councilmembers.

Michael Colantuono, the attorney hired to investigate Tam, said in a statement: “It is plain that the district attorney has not given Councilmember Tam a clean bill of health, but suggests instead that the City pursue other remedies (like a lawsuit) or that the voters solve this problem on November 2.”

While the City Council may resolve the issue later this week, Tam’s request for Gallant’s resignation and Johnson’s apology will certainly resonate with voters for the next two months, at least.

Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
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Tam to Rally at Alameda City Hall

As part of her City Council campaign, Alameda City Councilmember Lena Tam is staging a rally this morning at City Hall.

Her campaign says the event aims to update the community “on the latest developments on the Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and Mayor Beverly Johnson’s personal attacks on councilmember Lena Tam.”

Some Islanders anticipate that Tam may discuss recent conclusions in the case against her over regarding her alleged sharing of confidential documents and city matters via e-mail. The Alameda County District Attorney’s office began an investigation into these matters in early July.

The event will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, September 7.

Also, the League of Women Voters is planning a forum for City Council candidates at the Main Library at 7 p.m., Wednesday, September 29.

Posted on Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
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Alameda Group Hosts Labor Day Picnic

The Alameda Public Affairs Forum invites local residents and supports to its annual Labor Day Pot-luck BBQ. The event will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 5.

Guests are asked to bring an entre, salad, beverage, snack or dessert. There will be a hot grill available for cooking, and plenty of room in the garden for kids to play.

The event is being held at 2242 San Antonio Ave. Call 510-814-9592 for more information.

The group hosts regular current-affairs events at the Alameda Free Library, including speakers and discussions; materials from these events is found on the group’s website.

Posted on Saturday, September 4th, 2010
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Alameda Schools Get Sizeable Donation from Island Businesses

ABN presents check to AEF

Alameda Education Foundation President Bill Sonneman, far right, recently accepted a check for $750 from members of the Alameda Business Network during ABN’s August 18 mixer at Aroma Restaurant.

ABN, a professional organization dedicated to providing business opportunities for its members, holds quarterly mixers to combine business networking with fund-raising for local non-profits.

According to Kimberly Vaughn, left, an officer with ABN, the group selected AEF as its benefactor because it “recognizes and understands the importance of having a healthy school system in Alameda for our children. The Alameda School District needs support more than ever and we wanted to bring awareness to the urgency.”

AEF plans to use the funds to support programming that fosters student success in Alameda public schools, such as in art, music, drama and athletics.

Other ABN members attending the event included Chuck DiGuida (second from left), Erik Schuler and Maggie Caracciolo.

Many thanks to AEF for the photo and information.

Posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
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