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.
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.”
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.