Treating the OGC like a potted plant

When Council unanimously passed the Sunshine Ordinance in 2011, it gave the Open Government Commission the power to invalidate an action by a governmental body – including Council itself – if the Commission found a violation of the Ordinance’s requirements for public meetings.

For seven years, the Commission never exercised that power.  But then, on November 14, the Commissioners unanimously sustained a citizen complaint challenging the notice given for the meeting at which Council adopted a cannabis ordinance permitting four onsite retail pot stores in Alameda.  As a remedy, it ordered Council to re-notice the agenda item for a subsequent meeting at which the ordinance would have to be voted on again.

That hasn’t happened – and the City Attorney’s office (and maybe others) are doing their damnedest to make sure it never will.

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Election Oddi(e)ty

Ever since the election results began coming in, one question has nagged the Merry-Go-Round:  How could so many Alamedans – more than 10,000 at last count – vote to re-elect Councilman Jim Oddie, knowing that he violated the City Charter, caused the City to pay nearly a million dollars to avoid a wrongful termination lawsuit, and then tried to stick the City with his legal bills?

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Posted in City Hall, Firefighters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Pros and cons

Like a diabetic staying away from sweets, the Merry-Go-Round makes it a rule to avoid private communications about political issues with the fine folks who sit on the dais at Council chambers every other Tuesday.  If they haven’t said it, or won’t say it, on the record, we don’t want to hear it.

But we realized that our readers who are still considering their mayoral and council choices might be interested in a broader perspective.  So we sought out someone who not only is well-informed about the candidates’ public positions but also, based on her own contacts with them, is well-acquainted with their personal qualities.

As it happens, we didn’t have far to look.

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They said it

Years ago, Professor Irving Younger taught us that one of the primary objectives of a closing argument should be to strengthen the convictions of those jurors who already are inclined to vote your way and to dispel the doubts of any jurors who may be leaning toward you but still haven’t made up their minds.

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You’ve got mail(ers)

There’s still another week to go before the election, and the Merry-Go-Round expects that Alamedans are going to see a last-minute flurry of mailers from or about local mayoral and Council candidates.  (The truly vile hit pieces often are saved for last, when there is no time for the target to rebut them.)

But our mailbox is getting pretty full already, so we decided to start early in choosing the candidates or groups whose campaign literature stood out.  Today, we’ll present three awards.

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What we’ll get from John Knox White

It would be easy, if one was so inclined, to stick a label on Inner Ringleader and Council candidate John Knox White.  “Pro-development” and “anti-automobile” are two that come to mind.

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Posted in Alameda Point, City Hall, Development, Housing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The District Attorney’s report

Even as Alamedans awaited the results of an independent investigation into the efforts by Councilman Jim Oddie and Vice Mayor Malia Vella to get City Manager Jill Keimach to give the fire chief’s job to a former firefighters’ union president, the two Council members and their apologists took a page out of the Trump playbook.

To distract attention from the Councilmembers’ own alleged violation of the City Charter, the Oddie-Vella P.R. team seized upon Ms. Keimach’s disclosure that she had audio-recorded a meeting on August 16, 2017, with the two politicos without their knowledge or consent.  This, they said, was the real offense.  Ms. Keimach, the Council members’ publicist (a non-lawyer) proclaimed, had acted “unlawfully.”  Indeed, he suggested, Ms. Keimach was a serial offender:  State Assemblyman Rob Bonta and Alameda firefighters’ union president Jeff DelBono “suspected” or “believed” that Ms. Keimach had illegally recorded them, too!  One could almost hear the chants of “Lock her up!” wafting down Clement Avenue.

Now, the Alameda County District Attorney has blown that strategy to smithereens.

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