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Alameda City Council: Back at It ….

Sorry, Chip, things aren’t turning around in Alameda quite as you predicted.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chip Johnson wrote on Dec. 31, “After a tumultuous year in Alameda fraught with infighting, accusations and investigations, look for the East Bay’s Quiet Island to get back to business, and identify a new developer and a new plan to redevelop the city-owned Alameda Naval Air Station. In the last week, City Attorney Teresa Highsmith has announced her departure and interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant was not rehired.”

Actually, what transpired on the Island — and summarized in Chip’s last sentence — is the exact cause of the return of tumultuous times to Alameda. (If only he’d seen it coming ….)

Today, Jan. 6, Alameda Journal staff writer Peter Hegarty and other Alameda news sources are reporting that residents are irate over the City Council’s Dec. 28 closed-door decision to place Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant on paid administrative leave — a move that was approved by Mayor Marier Gilmore and City Councilmembers Rob Bonta and Lena Tam.

“It looks like malfeasance,” resident Denise Lai said at the city council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 4. “What it looks like is disingenuous.”

“Political payback,” former City Council candidate Adam Gillitt called the decision to oust Gallant.

And on Wednesday, Jan. 5, the chairman of the city’s Economic Development Commission — Horst Breuer — resigned, saying he cannot envision working with the mayor and city council after this decision, according to
another report by Hegarty.

Regardless of what adjectives you care to use to describe it, Alameda’s political (and economic) mess continues. Sadly, it’s just the first week of 2011, too.

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Alameda Election Results 2010: Gilmore, Bonta & Johnson

With votes at 48 precincts counted, Marie Gilmore had more than 6,700 votes, putting her in the Alameda mayor’s slot in 2011.

Alameda rivals and fellow City Councilmembers Frank Matarrese had 4,400, with Doug DeHaan in third place at 4,300.

In the City Council race, newcomer Rob Bonta picked up about 6,600 votes, while the current Mayor Beverly Johnson received some 5,700.

Councilmember Lena Tam, who’d been under investigatation earlier this year by the city, had about 5,500 votes. Thus, Tam looks poised to complete the last two years of Gilmore’s unexpired term on the council.

On the school board, newcomer Margie Sherratt had nearly 10,300 votes, while incumbent Mike McMahon had about 6,550.

So there’s a bit of the old and new in store for Island politics next year.

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Alameda Elections 2010: Preliminary Results Coming In

The Alameda County Registrar’s count of mail-in ballots and about half of the Island’s precincts shows Marie Gilmore well ahead of Frank Matarrase, Doug DeHaan and other candidates in the mayoral race.

The City Council, however, is a much tighter race with Rob Bonta in the lead. Lena Tam and Beverly Johnson are (somewhat ironically) neck in neck for the second slot, and Jean Sweeney not too far behind.

The school board slots are tilting toward incumbent Mike Mcmahon and Margie Sherratt.

It’s still early, of course, and the county registrar’s website is being overloaded at times — so we’ll have to be patient.

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Alamedans Votes on Election Day – At Last!

AJ ELECT

It’s been quite an election season — and it’s not over yet.

Polls close at 8 p.m. today, Tuesday, November 2.

We encourage everyone to get out and vote. Results will be begin being posted this evening at the Alameda County Registrar of Voters’ website, and some races may not be definitively decided tonight — if absentee ballots need to be counted.

***

A few last minute thoughts and developments: Some residents are getting calls, including this blogger, explaining that James Pruitt is not running on a two-man-campaign team with Clay Pollard; some signs around town are carrying both their names.

Also, keep in mind that every vote really counts with so many candidates running, especially for mayor. Plus, with developments and controversies, involving the Lena Tam investigation, Interim City Manager Gallant and SunCal, there could certainly be some upsets.

Finally, it seems quite possible that candidates most “tainted” by these controversies and the associated divisiveness may have trouble at the polls.

If this turns out to be true, the city could have an easier time than it’s had lately in resolving the most important issues at hand — namely tackling city and school district budget issues and finding new ways to raise revenue, including development at Alameda Point. If this prediction is wrong, the divisiveness could continue.

Either way, Island residents and their new city leaders will need to find ways to heal — and move on.

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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.

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Alamedans Get Political Survey Calls From ???

Oakland-based EMC Research called this Alameda resident last night, August 29, to see if I would answer a brief survey on issues and candidates. But since the kids had to go back to school early today, August 30, I declined.

The survey group called back this evening, at about 7 p.m. and asked again if I would take a “short survey.”

I was asked for my reactions to mayoral candidate statements, opinions on  the mayoral and council candidates, the fire chief, interim city manager, Alameda Point, SunCal, unions, etc.

With the long list of candidates, hot issues and questions in the survey, I really had to narrow down my preferences, define my opinions and figure out what was influencing my choices. This was certainly educational — though I wouldn’t call the process “brief.”   

(The only controversy that wasn’t included in the survey was the new restricted schedule for our bridge openings.) 

About 15 or 20 minutes later, I was told that my survey information was confidential. But the survey-taker could not (or would not) tell me who was paying for the “research.”

Does anyone in or around the Island know who is responsible for the query?  

Or, better said, would the candidate responsible for this “research” come forward when the results are ready — and share both the data and the financial resources behind it?

This hometown voter wants to know … as I’m sure others do.

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Alameda City Council to discuss rotating fire station brown outs tonight

Michele Ellson over at The Island has a bit about the brown outs. The meeting is at City Hall and starts at 7:30 p.m. The agenda is here. John Knox White has more on other issues to be discussed at the meeting, including what the hours at the wine bar, the Alameda Wine Company, should be.

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Alameda’s City Council does about face on park bike ban

John Knox White, an ardent government-watcher/participant, deserves credit for placing the shining light of words and logic on city council’s recent move to ban “muscle-powered” vehicles in our city’s parks. As various others have noted, the proposed law really did boggle the mind. But, mercifully, we’re now on to other challenges.

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No bikes, scooters, skateboards in Alameda parks?

Thanks are due to John Knox White who attended Tuesday night’s Alameda City Council meeting and reported on a municipal code change to ban ‘muscle-powered’ vehicles in city parks. In his post about the meeting (which I urge you to read in its entirety) he wrote:

The council must have been in quite a hurry to get to the budget last night because that’s the only excuse I can come up with for how the council could get into a discussion on banning skateboarding in a parking garage (not a terrible idea) and vote unanimously to ban bikes, skateboards, scooters and ALL muscular powered vehicles from all city parks unless the city puts up signs saying it’s “permitted.”

AND:

In the spirit of children’s entertainment, I’ll suggest the council call for a “do over” and bring this back whether a second reading is called for or not.

It would be hard not to think that this action was taken with undue haste. And it sounds like, procedure-wise, the law needs to come up for consideration a second time before it is finalized. Councilmember Frank Matarrese acknowledged flaws in the process. “The discussion around this first reading of the proposed ordinance missed some obvious points,” he wrote in an email. “So I think we have to focus back on the goal of putting safety rules into effect for our parking lots and the parking structure.” You can always email your city council.

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This Week’s Alamedan: Dave McCarver

David McCarver Name: Dave McCarver
Age: 44
Lived in Alameda: Since first grade
Occupation: Owner, with Dennis Jameson, Alameda Advertising and Recognition, Inc. Launched out of a garage in 1991, AA&R sell plaques, trophies and gear. “We’re about 50-50 awards and promotional stuff (anything you can put your logo on).”
Children: April, 7, and Christopher, 9
Activities: Alameda Boys and Girls Club Advisory Board, youth baseball, basketball and softball coach.

Like best about Alameda?

There’s a really strong sense of community here. It’s nice to go into Doumitt Shoes and see Tony, who I went to high school with and go to McGee’s and see Johnny who I’ve known for 25 years. The community supports itself: most of the teams and leagues and schools in Alameda use us–and we sponsor teams.

Would like to change about Alameda?
I don’t like the fact that people drive too fast though the streets, even side streets. Kids can’t play outside because cars speed by too fast.

Word to the wise
I think that they should allow as much as triplexes out at the base. I’d like to see our police and fire and teachers be able to live here. Not everyone can afford to buy an $800,000 house and we all lose because we’re not able to walk around town and see our teachers and our firemen–maybe have them coach our kids or see them at an event or get to know their kids because they live here. I wouldn’t change Measure A for the island, but I would allow some flexibility out on the base.

More to the wise
We need to get the Boys and Girls Club built, because everything else is pay to play. They’ve got some really good grants and there’s been a lot of community support, but they still need to raise more before they can begin construction. Growing up we’d go there all afternoon and do any number of things–wood shop, ping-pong, crafts, basketball. Kids need a place to go now more than ever.