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The purpose of this blog is to provide occasional observations about issues affecting the City of Alameda and its citizens.

Don’t expect inside information from City Hall or a “vision” for the City’s future.  The Alameda Merry-Go-Round will stick to the public record and attempt to analyze the facts rather than to promote an agenda.

Years ago, the motto of the Chicago Sun Times was that the job of a newspaper was to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.  If a blog needs a “mission statement,” that is a pretty good one for the Merry-Go-Round.

26 Responses to Home

  1. 2wheelsmith says:

    Great mission statement!

    If the comfortable invested more in education and kept the economy on a more even keel, the afflicted would be more comforted.

    • Joe says:

      I have to agree we pay way to much…for police and fire. I still don’t understand why a fire truck goes out every time an ambulance is called. I would think if you cut the salaries and benefits in half you would still have a lot of well qualified willing people to fill the positions. In NYC they don’t make nearly this much.

  2. jsanders128 says:

    Let’s start with the Alameda city budget. 68% of the budget goes to police and fire. Entry level firefighters make 120k per year, experienced 200k. They are robbing the citizens of Alameda!

    • Alameda Guy says:

      What data is there that tells us that the Police or Firefighters don’t deserve above average salaries?

    • Lisa says:

      I believe I read in the Alameda paper a while ago that the Police Chief actually makes over $400k. That seem outrageous to me. CEOs of medium size companies don’t make that kind of money.

  3. meysha says:

    To Alameda Guy, Police and firefighters should earn pay that doesn’t represent twice or three times, or more, than the median salary of the people who live here and support city government. It is not sustainable. I support the analysis and understanding of how our local economy works.
    What is your definition of “above average”?

  4. notmayberry says:

    To Alameda Guy: 2 Words: RAYMOND ZACK.
    But what data is there that tells us they Do Deserve above average salaries? Hi crime area? Above average hazards in firefighting? Our police aren’t even required to live in Alameda [like they used to be when they made less money] any more.

  5. Dennis says:

    Joe, Don’t you get it? Really it is simple, every time a fire truck accompanies an ambulance/para-medic, it counts as if that fire truck had gone to an actual fire. Then at the end of the year the fire department can say look at ALL of these calls we have gone on to save all of the citizens of Alameda. Simplified, remember “Little Jack Horner” !!

    • I was told by the fire people who came to our house after a call to 911, that they send two vehicles because they don’t know what they will face. In our case, my husband is rather large. He had to be moved from our bedroom upstairs to the ambulance. It required 4 people to move him. They said if he had been in respiratory distress or having a heart attach or stroke and they only had one truck, they would have had to call for another truck wasting valuable time. I am still not convinced that 2 vehicles are necessary, but in my husband case I am glad they sent to vehicles.

  6. Denise Lai says:

    Gilmore and Russo believe that Fire Knows Best. Remember we shut down Measure C? We foolishly thought that referendum would send the city the message that we-the-residents wanted them to stick to fire industry standards in our city, you know, the things that dictate minimum standards for fire service? And which distinctly tell us that we do not nee a fire station at Pacific and Grand—in fact, it’s a completely redundant locatino for a fire station. Which is why we shut down Measure C. But Gilmore et al found the money anyway (you know money that could be used to oh, say, provide something our city really needs like proper tree care, park care, or hey a new city public pool . . but I digress) would stop the city) and are building a new fire house with emergency center for $4M+.

  7. Michael Gorman says:

    Well done Robert

  8. I email Mr. Chen asking for his honest response to this post. Here is what he emailed me back:

    Here is my honest response. 19 months on the City Council and I can honestly say that I have given my full devotion to serving the people of Alameda. I diligently prepared and studied all the agenda items before each Council meeting and I actively participated in the healthy discussion before casting my vote. I am proud of my voting record and can honestly say that all my votes were for the good of the community.

    As Mr. Sullwold correctly pointed out, I, alone, do not set policies for the City. We, as Council members, vote on staff recommendations to help set policies that are fair and beneficial for the community and the City. All of the achievements mentioned in Mr. Sullwold’s article are the achievements made during my term on the City Council. These achievements were the result of good policies set forth by your municipal government, a government that includes your City Council members.

    Thank you for your email.

  9. JSF Alameda says:

    Who is this guy? Is he for real? Seems to be quite bitter. Need to go enjoy life and quit complaining.

  10. SG says:

    Salaries for fire dep’t. and police dep’t. brass seem unjustifiable and warrant heightened scrutiny. Probably nobody needs their level of income to live comfortably. However, it is so costly to live here that even the average income of the firemen does not allow a family to ‘live large’ in the Greater Bay Area. Verbal darts thrown at that level of income may mask actual envy, often disguised beneath a veneer of apparent frugality. A critique that begins with “I don’t make as much, so why should so-and-so make that much?” deserves an answer like this: “Average fireman’s wages are probably sufficient, but not exorbitant, considering the cost of living hereabouts.” Rather than tearing down other hourly wage earners we, as wage earners ourselves, should instead collectively aspire to raise our own standards of living, and seek increases in our own earnings.”

  11. joe smith says:

    Don’t include our income in the average! We inherited to buy this house. Our retirement income is 2200 gross per month!

  12. JEK says:

    Quick question: I’m new to both this blog and Alameda. My question is that throughout the posts here, the plural ‘we’ is used when making a statement, question, etc., but I’ve yet to find another poster/author than Mr. Sullwold. If there are others, can you please say who they are here so it’s a little easier to follow. Or, use ‘I’ instead of ‘we’ if that’s really the case. Thanks a lot.

  13. Steve Gerstle says:

    Does the ordinance include a list of causes for eviction (Just cause eviction)? If not, is there anything that prohibits a landlord from issuing a 60 day notice to tenants who question a rent increase? There seems to be no limit of potential new tenants willing to pay higher prices.

    • The ordinance does not require just cause for eviction, nor does it contain any list of “just” causes.
      As to retaliatory eviction, the inartful drafting continues. The ordinance contains no express prohibition against eviction in retaliation for filing a RRAC complaint. But the section prescribing the text of the “notice of availability” cites a state statute dealing with retaliatory eviction and then states, “A Housing Provider’s efforts to evict a Tenant within six months of a Tenant’s requesting a hearing may be used as evidence of retaliatory eviction.” It’s not clear whether the ordinance is intended to create a new right beyond those already existing under state law (ordinarily, you don’t find new rights slipped into the notice section), and, if so, exactly what that right consists of. Once again, the drafting invites litigation.

      • H. Macknzie says:

        Mr. Sullwold you have criticized the Alameda Ordinance repeatedly, some justified as in their failure to address the lack of protection for just cause eviction. However, my question to you would be has anyone considered the draconian requirements of the ARC proposal slated for the November ballet. The Alameda Ordinance can be tweaked if only we had a city council with the collective intelligence to correct this error, which they can do. The ARC proposal, if enacted, would require a vote of the people to make changes, and removes any oversight from City Officials There are those that would maintain that is a good idea, however, we do have some control over public officials at the various council and committee meetings. We have a very inept and dysfunctional city council at present unfortunately who seem to rely on “staff” to provide them insight. Rent control is a serious issue, the city needs to come together on this and decide if they want an ordinance that can be tweaked via city council or turn it over to an elected board separate from the city composed of elected persons with long terms. And a board which will become more expensive to manage as time passes, some of whom will become “city employees” with benefits as well. Also what will the city do with those already hired to run the current ordinance.

  14. Bill Cox says:

    Just discovered this blog, Thanks for your work, Mr. Sullwold, and for your sensible letters to the Alameda Sun editor. I’m subscribing.

  15. Irene K. Hanson says:

    Thank you Mr. Sullwold. I never knew that I had silent partners, like the CITY of Alameda and tenants —when I purchased my private property.

  16. Paul S Foreman says:

    Monty Heying’s article in today’s paper suggests language to close the fixed term “loophole” in the City Ordinance. Where does that language or other language appear in the ARC Initiative that requires relocation payments at the termination of a fixed term lease? I can’t find it! I know that the issue only arises under the ARC Initiative for owner move in or going out of rental business, but what stops the lease from terminating by its own terms, and the Landlord evicting for unlawful detainer? Can one of you ARC folks help me out here?

    • MP says:

      I would like to see the ARC measure sections and the City Ordinance sections that are relevant to this question set forth side by side. Without looking at them, I suspect that they may be the same or very similar. I may be wrong. So far, the arguments I have read are based on what people argued in front of the City Council and what some ARC supporters are arguing about why the ARC measure deserves support. What is the actual language in the law and the competing proposal?

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