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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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Gilmore’s Role in the Firing of ESPN Announcer Ron Franklin

Apparently Marie Gilmore’s election as the mayor of Alameda is still a hot topic — nationwide.

An online report by Sports by Brooks says that veteran ESPN football announcer Ron Franklin and sideline reporter Jeannine Edwards had a spat before Friday’s Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31. ESPN announcers Ed Cunningham and Rod Gilmore attended the meeting where the disagreement occurred.

When the conversation turned to the subject of Marie Gilmore, Rod’s wife, and her election as mayor of Alameda, Edwards tried to contribute to this discussion but said she was shut down by Franklin.

“Listen to me, sweet baby, let me tell you something… ” Franklin is said to have told her.

Edwards then said she told him not to speak to her like that, to which he responded: “OK then, listen to me, a**hole.”

In a statement Monday, Jan. 3, Franklin said: “I said some things I shouldn’t have and am sorry. I deserved to be taken off the Fiesta Bowl.” The announcer, 68, worked on college football and basketball games for ESPN since 1987 and was fired Tuesday, Jan. 4.

And it’s not just the major sports websites that are paying attention to this: the Washington Post has covered it too!

Guess this means there’s no sweet-talking on the Island when it comes sports and politics!

Speaking of which, the city’s website still has Beverly Johnson listed as mayor, despite the fact that Gilmore was sworn in last month.

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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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Looking to November: Alameda council candidates

Over at Alamedans you can read up on the four candidates for Alameda’s City Council—Tracy Jensen, Justin Harrison, Marie Gilmore and Doug deHaan. Tracy Jensen and Justin Harrison have their own campaign web sites, while the two incumbents, Doug deHaan and Marie Gilmore don’t seem to (if I’ve somehow missed their sites, please let me know). Alameda’s League of Women Voters is sponsoring two forums where you can meet the council candidates. The first will be on Thursday, October 9, at 6:45 p.m. at Cardinal Point and the second on Thursday, October 30 at the Mastick Senior Center. And I would, of course, urge each and every one of you to attend one of those forums and put a face and voice and person to the name. All the better to make a solid choice in the voting booth.