Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 30, 2011

Lena Tam: Is there a Public Right to Know? – The Alameda Version

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Guest blogging — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

In recent years, as an elected official, I struggle to balance the community’s ‘right to know’ (or simple curiosity) against the privacy of individuals or adhering to good faith and fair negotiations with groups or corporations. I have been criticized from both ends of the spectrum. A blogger once told me that I have no right to know why he wanted the public information — he was clearly fishing for something interesting to write. Others have argued that there is no real public ‘right to know,’ and that all dealings of government should be secret, and any dissemination of information to anyone is considered a “leak.”

We pride ourselves in Alameda on the “small town” feel and believe our right to know is paramount. We want to know who is moving into the house next door, how much they paid for their home, what are their remodeling plans, what new business (Target or Orchard Supply) is going into the Alameda Towne Centre, how much money is it going to cost to bring Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to Alameda Point, or why we didn’t get contacted when there was a Dodge commercial on the Bay Farm Island Bridge. Sometimes we jump to conclusions with partial facts in order to promote a political agenda. That is where a review of the public records is a good means to determine another party’s credibility and veracity.

In a democracy where the electorate has the ultimate authority to determine their elected leaders, it can be argued that most of the government should be transparent and open to the public or public view. This enables the community to stay abreast of the issues and keep a watchful eye on any government abuses.

Some in the community have turned that idea into their right to know and get information in order to get popular opinion on their side of an issue. Others used this right to know as a justification for sneaking into homes or workplaces or to just badger a person until they get a story that gives them the ‘scoop.’

Clearly, the public has a right to know about anything that endangers their health and safety: when an oil spill occurs on Crown Beach that could endanger their health; when there is a fire at the former Naval Air Station that could affect nearby residents; whether an alarm is real when sounded after a power outage and other such times that the public safety requires a dissemination of information to save lives.

However, citizens also have a right to privacy and to protect themselves from unscrupulous or non-reputable persons that use the power of the internet to smear a person or organization.

We believe the federal government was too invasive when they required the Alameda Unified School District to give military recruiters full access to student records, including their personal information, because the District receives federal funds from the No Child Left Behind Act. Does the public have a right to know about the police interrogation of witnesses in the 2007 murder of Ichinkhorloo “Iko” Bayarsaikhan; or the medical condition of a council member because he was absent from a meeting; or the details of a former mayor’s emotional state before he committed suicide; or that Jean Sweeney filed a complaint on the Mayor’s home renovations; or that the firefighters filed a grievance with then Fire Chief David Kapler and then brought it to the next step, which was with Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, for terminating the fire boat and water rescue training program?

To know, or not to know? The question still remains, and the answer seems to rest with who is asking the question and their use of the information.

Lena Tam is currently serving her second term on the Alameda City Council.

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54 Comments

  1. “However, citizens also have a right to privacy and to protect themselves from unscrupulous or non-reputable persons that use the power of the internet to smear a person or organization.” Lena it is kinda like what you, Bonta and Gilmore did during election time with the firefighters hit piece regarding closed session ambulance negotiations. It is ironic that you have audacity to write this blog given you are the biggest offender.

    “I struggle to balance the community’s ‘right to know”. We all know this and just paid 47k for your legal fees.

    Comment by Gregg de Haan — June 30, 2011 @ 7:00 am

  2. Police interrogation of a juvenile- no for legal reasons. No to emotional state of former mayor prior to suicide, for ethical and humane reasons. everything else – yes. It’s the 21st Century.

    OK, why would Jean Sweeney file a complaint against the Gilmore remodel?

    And it makes no difference whether the firefighters filed a grievance or any sad attempt to blame Gallant for the Memorial Day fiasco. They should still have gone in the water to save Zach instead of making a decision to let a mentally disabled person drown. I suspect that this was an attempt at MORE spin…

    Comment by Make it go away — June 30, 2011 @ 7:19 am

  3. Lena, thank you for your hard work to write this article. I appreciate that you are willing expose yourself to what’s coming next, i.e., the comments. When I read your piece, I sense a position that the public needs to justify its desire for the access to governmental information. I disagree strongly. I think all governmental information must be public *unless* there is a compelling reason to delay public disclosure. Any other position shows how far we’ve slipped down the slippery slope toward a secret government.

    Comment by Tom Schweich — June 30, 2011 @ 8:04 am

  4. Gregg deHaan: I hope you will be urging your father to push the Council to vote to make public the Albuquerque Report so we can understand why the Councilpeople who were present at that Closed Session meeting voted, based on that report, to reimburse Councilmember Lena Tam for her legal fees. Probably easily done using the Council Referral process which he is familiar with.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 30, 2011 @ 8:22 am

  5. I too am for open Government and believe that there are two classes of Citizens in Alameda. To make this a level playing field I recommend that any employee
    or City Official be required by Ordinance to make know any Private Communication or contact made regarding any city matter a part of Public Record.

    Ordinary citizens who don’t know anyone personally are at a disadvantage. They go through the traditional process of the City email and phone system and are suject to any communication being made Public.

    There is a special class in Alameda who have established relationships. They have access to communication via private email and cell phone with City Officials.

    So anything there remains ‘stealth’..

    Only then will I have confidence in our City Officials.

    Comment by frank — June 30, 2011 @ 8:40 am

  6. 5. I’m sorry but I don’t see how anything can get accomplished if every communication is subject to public scrutiny.

    Comment by Regular John — June 30, 2011 @ 8:46 am

  7. #1. The subject of Lena’s piece was: What do we have the right to know? It did not require you to respond with a personal hit. Argue the point offered, not whether you like or don’t like the person offering it. Do we have the right to know important stuff upon which the Council/School Board and others are basing their votes? Yes. Unless there is a compelling reason to not release information because it is incomplete, a negotiation in progress, or could harm a person individually, (personnel matters), the public has a right to know and to offer its ideas.

    #2. Why Jean Sweeney did her complaint, who knows? But, the facts are that the Gilmore remodel was researched and found to be fully permitted and the complaint was baseless.

    I am hoping that the person chosen to investigate the sad incident at the beach that resulted in what was a senseless death will not only come up with a: What really happened? but: How do we insure that this kind of incident never, ever happens again! I don’t think that it is useful or sound to use the incident to portray all firefighters/police as lazy louts who deliberately let someone die and/or to use it to say that they don’t earn their pay and benefits and we should get rid of them all and use volunteers. The pay and benefits issue is a big one, but is a separate thing altogether from the as yet inexplicable action or inaction of a few people. It is an issue that is looming over all municipalities who have seen public safety wages and benefits grow to what has, in this economy, become an unsustainable level. The recently completed contract contained some concessions; likely we will have to find more to get our unfunded pension and retiree health benefits liabilities under control.

    Comment by Kate Quick — June 30, 2011 @ 8:52 am

  8. “Some in the community have turned that idea into their right to know and get information in order to get popular opinion on their side of an issue.”

    This statement is very confusing. It sounds like an argument for withholding information based the purveyor of the information’s determination of what the information will be used for by the recipient. Very kafkaesque.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 30, 2011 @ 9:03 am

  9. Where to begin? Councilmember Tam’s grasp of the California Public Records Act seems a bit shaky. Let me rephrase it for her: All workings of government – decisions, discussion, bids, selections – are already a matter of public record because it is our government. Therefore the records belong to us. All those in City Hall need to do is make us copies of our stuff, which they are, in effect, storing for us. The only exception is the necessary redacting of private personal information like cell phone numbers and addresses. Medical information is made private under HIPPA. See? Easy.

    Lena, when undocumented discussions take place between members of government, that’s called “back room dealing” and is prohibited by law. It is our legal right to records of these conversations and decisions. It astonishes me that you still don’t understand this.

    In this article, you’ve mixed gossip, innuendo and false accusations. I’ll give you an example of how a public records request would help me sort out the difference: you link the grievance against Kapler to the cessation of the water rescue program by a logical process I cannot follow. Because you are a public official and have made this linkage publicly, I can now look into it. I suspect that was the intent of this article. Any exploration of the water rescue program has to include Ron Vanderheiden (sp), the firefighter recently awarded a tidy sum, and the man who started the water rescue program. I’ll be looking into that as well.

    A public records request already fulfilled helps me dismiss your attempt to lay the cessation of the water rescue program at the feet of Ann Marie Gallant: The March 19th, 2009 memo about water rescue says it is REINSTATED. Which means we all need to credit Ms. Gallant for bringing back the water rescue program. Thank you, Ann Marie. Only further digging through the public record will help me to understand why the water rescue training that she reinstated and budgeted for never took place. Hey Lena – what do you know about that?

    Comment by zizzlahLiz Williams — June 30, 2011 @ 9:10 am

  10. “The pay and benefits issue is a big one, but is a separate thing altogether from the as yet inexplicable action or inaction of a few people.” Kate, until there is a full investigation of this incident by a law enforcement agency, this is speculation, not fact.

    You think there is no connection; I think there is a direct connection between the failure to intervene in Zack’s death, and the fact that the external CPR machine in the ambulance had a dead battery and could not be used to resuscitate Mr. Zack. But my point is this: neither of use will know without a full investigation by a law enforcement agency.

    I know readers of this blog are predisposed to disagree with what I’ve written. But, what if I’m right? And, shouldn’t we have the courage to look at ourselves as a city and ask some very hard questions?

    Comment by zizzlahLiz Williams — June 30, 2011 @ 9:17 am

  11. Lyena

    “However, citizens also have a right to privacy and to protect themselves from unscrupulous or non-reputable persons that use the power of the internet to smear a person or organization.”

    What Do you think the Three Stooges and the Fire Department did to our Treasure , Auditor and Mr Dehaan. Frkn Pathetic . You don’t think your unscrupulos and your reputation precedes you.

    Welcome to your World

    Unscrupulous, unprincipled refer to lack of moral standards or conscience to guide one’s conduct. The unscrupulous person is without scruples of conscience, and disregards, or has contempt for, laws of right or justice with which he or she is perfectly well acquainted, and which should restrain his or her actions
    The unprincipled person is without moral principles or ethical standards in his or her conduct or actions: an unprincipled rogue; unprincipled conduct.

    Comment by John — June 30, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  12. Mostly government communications and meetings are of public record. If you’re being paid by the taxpayer, then it should be public record, unless the information is classified.
    However, if this is your personal property, then it’s your right to privacy.

    Anything that the city does and the city workers do on city business is a matter of public record. Filing formal complaints, permits, regulations, all a matter of public record. Heck, finding out what your neighbour bought the house for can be found on the internet! So there isn’t a whole lot of privacy in that in the first place.

    this is a link to what the definition of private is

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/private

    3. Not available for public use, control, or participation: a private club; a private party.
    4.
    a. Belonging to a particular person or persons, as opposed to the public or the government: private property.
    b. Of, relating to, or derived from nongovernment sources: private funding.
    c. Conducted and supported primarily by individuals or groups not affiliated with governmental agencies or corporations: a private college; a private sanatorium.
    d. Enrolled in or attending a private school: a private student.
    5. Not holding an official or public position: a private citizen.

    So, basically, a government official doing government work should know that all their information would eventually be public.

    Anything of a personal nature, unless affecting the security and health to everyone else should not be dug up or shared among the masses. We don’t need to know what sickness someone calls in sick for, that’s just being nosy.

    Nobody should have a right to your business if you’re Lena Tam, mother (if you are), wife (if you are), at home or out shopping or doing whatever it is you do when you’re not at work.

    However, I feel I have a right to see the information that is suppose to be public to me while you’re at work.
    Just my 2cents

    Comment by hobnob — June 30, 2011 @ 10:49 am

  13. “In a democracy where the electorate has the ultimate authority to determine their elected leaders, it can be argued that most of the government should be transparent and open to the public or public view.”

    You don’t like that argument, do you, Lena? Shall we continue with the model you demonstrate where you trumpet transparency and community involvement out one side of your mouth, while continuing to leak documents through back channels to your favored lackeys out the other? Why you choose to prioritize the needs of a select handful of cronies over the thousands of citizens you serve in your office is a telling decision indeed. You have made it clear that you don’t want to hear any dissenting opinions, but when you don’t take into account the wants and needs of the citizens, much less possessing a moral compass or a simple grasp of facts, you’re going to hear from a lot of people who oppose you and your unethical behavior, whether you like it or not.

    Comment by Adam Gillitt — June 30, 2011 @ 11:18 am

  14. The analogy I would like to present is a situation the occured in Bush2 Administration.

    The White House had its own ‘in House’ email system. Anything that was written on that sytem was accwssable via Public Inquiry by FOI Request.

    Well we all know that these words can come back to haunt you later. To circumvent this and avoid public scrutiny people used their own PRIVATE email accounts to purposely hide communications.

    A short summary is here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_White_House_e-mail_controversy

    So if by the fact you are using a Private email or Private cell phone to discuss City Matters you are ‘under the radar’.. There is no paper trail.

    Regular citizens (like me) who go through the City System are subject to Public Scrutiny.

    I am sure many who respond to these Blogs contact Public Officials privately re: City matters and who is doing what to who.

    Comment by frank — June 30, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  15. Gregg seems to forget that his Dad leaked the information about the closed session on the ambulance transport service on his campaign website. See http://dougdehaanalameda.com/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1286657345&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1&.

    deHaan used taxpayer dollars to finance a political smear campaign against a member of the council and has the gall to share confidential information with his son and favorite cronie Adam Gillitt. He should be ashamed of himself.

    Comment by robotgoboom — June 30, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  16. You know you’ve made it when the cowardly anonymous Do-bots can spell your name right when they’re making their hackneyed smear jobs.

    *golf-clap* to you Jeff, Dom and all your buddies.

    Comment by Adam Gillitt — June 30, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  17. “To know, or not to know? The question still remains, and the answer seems to rest with who is asking the question and their use of the information.”

    Public Records Act, which allows even anonymous requests, and specifically does not allow governments to screen requesters or ask why they want the information.

    The California Public Records Act requires the government to take the broadest
    possible view of disclosure and to release information promptly.

    Comment by John — June 30, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  18. “Others have argued that there is no real public ‘right to know,’ and that all dealings of government should be secret, and any dissemination of information to anyone is considered a “leak.”

    I wonder who at the Regime Argues This point. And to even be thinking down this line is Pretty Sick . Have we Really gotten to this Mindset at the City now?

    Comment by John — June 30, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

  19. 9, 10: Ms. Williams apparently does not know that the Brown Act permits conversations between members of a public body as long as such conversations do not directly, sequentially, or indirectly include a majority of the b public body. This is because face-to-face an other communications between members of public bodies can contribute to researching an issue, planning a subcommittee meeting, or solving a problem.

    It is becoming more apparent all the time that one of the persons most likely to withhold information in recent years was our Interim City Manager, who also provided (leaked) confidential information to her political allies in the community.

    13: Mr. Gillitt is once again incorrect in his accusation that Lena Tam leaked “confidential” documents. The documents Lena Tam shared were already IN THE PUBLIC REALM. They had been obtained from public agencies, and by definition, such documents cannot be mislabeled as “confidential,” no matter what Ann Marie Gallant’s (insufficient for the Brown Act or the California Public Records Act) reasons for doing so might have been.

    Spreading deliberate misinformation is one of the “abuses” of the public’s legitimate right to know that Lena Tam raised in her post today. When half-truths are spread it creates darkness, not light. One clear example is Ms. Williams’ interpretation of the AFD Information Bulletin 1762 in isolation from other documents, such as the Interim City Manager’s August 3, 2009, budget adoption staff report, which clearly shows the elimination of the water rescue training and certification line item. Information Bulletin 1762 is only a part of the story re: the AFD’s water rescue training program.

    (You can search for the August 3, 2009 CIC/ARRA meeting agenda, meeting packet, the minutes, and watch the video here:

    http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/City-Hall/Document-Archives)

    BTW, the IAFF #689 DID file grievances in 2009 or 2010 against then-Chief Kapler and the AFD regarding the cessation of the water rescue training and certification program. Apparently, Chief Kapler chose to not reinstate the training despite having the funds in his budget for the water rescue program. This is not “spin,” it is the truth. (I was at Council meetings where IAFF reps discussed the AFD’s staffing levels and other issues in an attempt to help the City of Alameda with its budget-cutting process during this period. There were many good reasons why the IAFF had zero confidence in the leadership of Alameda’s then-fire chief. The cessation of the water rescue training program – was one of these.)

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 30, 2011 @ 1:34 pm

  20. Speaking of openness, if I read the blogs correctly there is a “Task Force” on a covert mission to draft an ordinance aimed at making local government more transparent.

    This “Task Force” holds meetings at the Public Library for Pete’s sake: it’s a fishbowl, anyone could easily see or hear everything that goes on.

    Why not paint a bull’s eye on our tee shirts?

    I may be paranoid, but as my Uncle Cusper used to assure me, “Even paranoid people have real enemies.”

    Transparent government at the local level is taking this “We the people” thing a little too far.

    Having been raised during the Cold War era, this transparency thing represents lax security.

    It was exactly this type of laxity that blew the cover on Tail Hook ’91, brought down profit margins on Haliburton’s war profiteering, discouraged SunCal from closing in empty Alameda spaces and disgraced Congressman Wiener.

    Nowadays, regardless of your political affiliations, you can purchase high definition video equipment with resolution so high you can practically read someone’s DNA from across the street; you can order x-ray glasses from a comic book for Pete’s sake!

    I refuse to discuss Night Vision Glasses (NVGs) on the beaches of Alameda at night.

    This transparency push is nothing more than a thinly veiled invitation for the self-righteous crowd to snoop on the machinations of our elected leaders.

    Do we really want amateur gum shoes recording a closed door session between city government and a developer salivating to bulldoze the Animal Shelter?

    This group makes no attempt to disguise its mission: it intends to bring “Sunshine to City Government” with no mention of SPFs or moonlighting.

    Talk about sharing secrets: soon even the North Koreans are going to know about our Animal Shelter; the Iranians are going to know city government’s next gambit against the Wine Lady; Ruskies will find out the depth of the Seaplane Lagoon, they’ll have a Nuclear Submarine or a Canning Ship parked in there before you can say, “Raskolnikov.”

    Openness may work in countries like Canada or Nova Scotia where they have nothing to hide but the hockey puck, but here, it could bring municipal government to its byzantine knees.

    Do we want President Ahmadinejad privy to the Mach limits on our Police Cars, the lifting capacities of our Tow Trucks or the turning radiuses of our Fire Trucks?

    My Uncle Nestor used to say, “The first goal of government is to parlay public trust into personal gain.”

    Will anyone even want to run for public office knowing the opportunities for hanky panky are so limited and returns so risky?

    Comment by Jeffrey R Smith — June 30, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  21. 20: Thanks, Jeffrey R Smith, for a bit of much-needed levity. Well said!

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 30, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

  22. Spangler, don’t put words in my mouth, you laîche-cul.

    Comment by Adam Gillitt — June 30, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

  23. Jon why all the evading HIDING and Withholding of Information by the City. The Perception is Deception. Leads to Lack of Trust and now the public is screaming. You know what it takes to bring this kind of dissent in a City.

    Leaders need to Step up. Look what Courage it took for the Treasure and Auditor to pour their hearts out to this Mayor and Council and City about our dire financial condition. You think they want to deliver that Speech. You think it was politically motivated. Paying the Firefighters double what a Government Firefighter makes and to boot when they retire giving each one of them the equivilent of 5 Houses and 10 Houses to the Captains. Whats Enough Jon 15 -20 houses for making 1/2 a call a shift..

    Comment by John — June 30, 2011 @ 2:40 pm

  24. Adam Gillitt is a 5150. For all public safety personnel, beware and proceed with caution when speaking or approaching him. For the media, please check the police files on his history of attacking senior citizens in wheelchairs. People at the council meetings tune him and Gregg deHaan out because they speak with no credibility or authority, having done nothing positive in Alameda.

    Comment by Florence — June 30, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  25. Florence you are Probably right. They both care about our City and that makes them Nuts in your book. Thanks for the warning.LOL

    Comment by John — June 30, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  26. So does anybody here care about ‘civil discouse’, ‘the right to know’, True Sunshine vs Political Sunshine or Open Government?

    Really I see people bringing up these issues with the pretense of sincerity but really it is a sham.

    Alameda like most of the country is deeply divided. People would rather lob gernades at each other than find solutions.

    This goes for both the Citizens and Politicians.

    Really is senseless. Look at Israel and Palestine.. You did this but you did that. Stupid!!!!

    Comment by frank — June 30, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

  27. I remember when Ann Marie Gallant did not comply with a document request because her document was marked “draft” and some folks were real upset because they wanted to know what was in those documents.

    Additionally, some folks were upset because the city’s email policy allowed for deleting emails after 30 days, and many felt that the city’s emails should be retained a lot longer. SunCal sued the city because they felt they had the right to view Ann Marie’s emails to support their claims against the city.

    One candidate running for city council in our last election cited “the need for more transparency” was one of the main reasons he was running for office.

    But Ann Marie’s supporters weren’t too concerned with “transparency” at the time; in fact many felt that the “transparency “issue was just a big smoke screen. My guess was that her supporters were comfortable with the people who were running things and didn’t see much need for more transparency.

    But now it seems that some of her supporters who are now non-supporters of the new city council are calling for more transparency.

    One can clearly see this is more about – who is in office and who is out.

    My concern is that there is a cost for all of this transparency. One cost is “inefficiency”; something that government is often accused of. I believe that transparency plays an important role, but what is it costing us? And based on what’s happening in our community around the issues of transparency, what are we getting in return?

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 30, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  28. 20 Tell me Jeff, does Warner Springs ring a bell for you?

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 30, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  29. Florence, I’m glad you noticed that I attended the meeting and you even took the time to spell my name correctly. The audience may if fact be listening. Lena Tam sure tried to rebuttal my comments at the meeting. I wish she would engage in a written discussion with me on her blog post today. Florence please get used to tuning me out. I’m not going away any time soon. Kisses and hugs to you.

    Comment by Gregg de Haan — June 30, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

  30. John Spangler, please press the rewind button and spew your tired, repetitious rhetoric in someone else’s direction. I got it already: It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault, and no one is more of an expert on the Brown Act than you are. You are stunningly consistent in your message, and astonishing in how you disregard facts that don’t support your message. You still haven’t addressed the March 19 memo that reinstates the water rescue training program. It’s tough when the facts don’t support your prefab arguments, isn’t it? Poor, poor John.

    You do broken record very well, almost as though you were trained by the Bushies. Were you?

    It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what’s right, if only people would listen to him. It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what is right, if only people would listen to him.It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what’s right, if only people would listen to him. It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what is right, if only people would listen to him.It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what’s right, if only people would listen to him. It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what is right, if only people would listen to him.It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what’s right, if only people would listen to him. It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what is right, if only people would listen to him.It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what’s right, if only people would listen to him. It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what is right, if only people would listen to him.It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what’s right, if only people would listen to him. It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what is right, if only people would listen to him.It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what’s right, if only people would listen to him. It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what is right, if only people would listen to him.It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what’s right, if only people would listen to him. It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what is right, if only people would listen to him.It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what’s right, if only people would listen to him. It’s all Ann Marie Gallant’s fault. John Spangler knows what is right, if only people would listen to him.

    Comment by Liz — June 30, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

  31. “Bushies”…aha, it’s all that damned W’s fault. Should have known that before, can’t wait till he’s voted out of office.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 30, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  32. Yes, where to begin? “We pride ourselves on “small-town” feel’? No,we don’t, Lena. This >50 yr resident feels that myth is selling Alameda short. Ive always wondered why your campaign lit sez you & your family have been here 42 yrs. How long have YOU really lived here? Why add on your relatives mysteriously

    Comment by notmayberry — June 30, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

  33. I miss the Alameda Daily Noose.

    Comment by david burton — June 30, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

  34. http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/getdoc.cfm?id=5281

    Receive an Operational Update on the Fire Department’s Water Rescue
    Commercial Inspection , and Senior Safety Proqrams

    Water Rescue: The Alameda Fire Department Water Rescue/Fireboat Program was
    formally initiated in the late 1990′ s after being identified as a high-priority discipline for
    the City. The program was developed to include rescue swimmers, boat operators and
    crew members as a comprehensive plan for incidents involving rescues or fires in the
    waterways surrounding Alameda. Standardized , regular training was a vital function in
    keeping firefighters assigned to this program and certified in their roles.

    In FY08- , the Fire Chief made a recommendation to eliminate this program due to
    lack of adequate funding for necessary boat repairs and overtime expenses.
    Subsequently, both the fire boat and rescue boat were placed out of service, and the
    training for the rescue swimmers lagged behind the necessary certification requirement.
    The Division Chief assigned to oversee the rescue swimmer program did not follow
    through to ensure that the funding and training were coordinated. Eventually the
    program was deactivated.

    Comment by Brenda Agenda — July 1, 2011 @ 12:18 am

  35. #28 I hiked through Waner Spings. Didn’t stay at the Resort but picked up at ‘fooddrop’ at the PO and continued on.

    Comment by frank — July 1, 2011 @ 6:34 am

  36. 35 You missed the best part. Resort had great accomodations/activities. Fooddrop A-1 hit our campfire dead on.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 1, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  37. post #33, David, I thought this was it. Have a nice fourth.

    Comment by John P. — July 1, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  38. 37. “LOL”

    Comment by M.I. — July 1, 2011 @ 10:02 am

  39. Zizzlah: Shame on you–dont ya know its JON, not John, Malarkey Spangler?. A man who has no expertise or credentials on much of anything besides writing a handbook for that pro-UN Agenda21 company, TransForm, & working @ Pagano’s Hardware! He has become an accomplished IRRITANT to this city, I’ll give him that! Don’t give him the attention he craves & he might go away.,altho since the College of Cardinals just elected him Vice-Pope he’s a divinely inspired expert on everything!
    Jeff R. Smith: U must be very new to Alameda(since Jan 2011) & not reading the papers. The “Sunshine Ordinance” transparency document did not originate w/AlamedaCitizensTaskForce. It was & is a City-funded project, on official City letterhead that predated the ACTF by @ least a year. In fact, ACT formed partially in response to the fact that, after workshops were held (in the Libe by the City–Lena Tam sat next to me @ 1 for hours & did not contribute even an opinion), money was spent, & a comprehensive doc based on that of other cities like SF was generated & submitted to the City Managers office, IT WAS IGNORED, presumably by TamBontaGilmore in order to dismiss AMG & hire Russo w/o violating even MORE statutes! The Sunshine Committee was OFFICIALLY chaired by Gretchen Lipow & John Knox White. Today, Lipow co-chairs the ACT & John Knox White wastes his time dishing dirt on unelected private citizens while providing skewed but allegedly free reportage to the Alameda SUN. Don’t even bother to reply, Jon & Kate plus your flock of 8 brown-nosed sheeple:JKW, LDo, Karen, Susan, Barbara, Mike, David, Tom, Dick, Harry.. We all know what you’re gonna say & we’ve heard it before,…snore.
    BTW:” ‘in a democracy where the electorate has the ultimate authority to elect its leaders”???.. You mean , like the Supreme Court did in Bush vs Gore, Lena?

    Comment by alameda vigilante — July 1, 2011 @ 10:37 am

  40. Damn, vigi, you been busy!

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 1, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

  41. #39. Here’s something you haven’t maybe heard before: Make arguments; don’t personalize, slander, or demean. Or be mean just for the fun of it. We “sheeple” are intelligent, forward looking people who just happen to agree on a lot of things through our INDEPENDENT thought process. Differs from yours, in substance and approach. Difference is mostly that we believe you have not only the right to your opinions, you should be able to state them freely without our slandering you. This is called respect of the dignity of others. Try, as I asked in my earlier piece, to stick to the issues, not to personalities, past hurts, or individual dislikes. You may continue your sleep now as you don’t want to hear any of this, and if you do hear it, you seem to think it trivial and not worth your time. O.K. by me.

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 1, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

  42. Kate, you ‘forward’ looking sheeple might just learn a couple of things by looking in your rear view mirror.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 2, 2011 @ 9:32 am

  43. 39 Vigi “You mean , like the Supreme Court did in Bush vs Gore, Lena?”

    Now hold on just a minute, Vigi, think of the consequences of what you suggest. President Gore would not have had time to discover man made global warming, President Gore would not have won both the Nobel Prize and an Academy Award (only one other person in history has done the same, George Bernard Shaw), A President Gore would have immunized W against the “blame Bush” Democrat mantra and, most likely, would have caused a Republican to get elected President in 08 (given the vagrancies of the electorate) and that means the anointed one would still be voting ‘present’ in the Illinois senate instead of doing whatever it is he’s doing.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 2, 2011 @ 11:31 am

  44. Jack, yes, you are right, we should be mindful of the past, both what was good and what went wrong when we go forward. However, there are those who are so busy with the rear view mirror, they miss the Freightliner truck coming at them full tilt and get smashed all to smithereens. One has to balance the past and use it to go forward. Those who are not going forward, it is often argued, are slipping backwards, as in, getting nowhere. There are those who romanticize the past and yearn for the “good old days.” The recent Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris” exposes this kind of nostalgia for what it is – a refusal to live in the present, and make the most out of what we have in the here and now. And, everyone’s “past” is clearly defined within the scope of their own lens. The “past” you may think is useful and instructive may be far different than mine, or anybody else’s.

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 2, 2011 @ 11:48 am

  45. Of course you realize, Kate, that your little Freightliner truck analogy works both ways. There are those driving full-tilt straight at the truck with the intention of a bull’s eye in hopes we will become one with the truck. That’s the collision course being set right as we speak and it’s not being set by those who ‘are slipping backward’.

    I don’t think the “past” is useful or useless but, if one cares to look, it may help us decide which lane is least safe.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 2, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  46. Ah, Jack, but the world in which we live that has beneficial medicines, safer working tools and conditions, access to educational opportunities, rule of law, etc. was not built on those who chose only the safe lane. Often, those who dare to try a new way are those who find a path which winds up benefitting all mankind. Sometimes they crash; sometimes they blaze new frontiers in medicine, exploration, better ways to work and live. I’m sort of a middle person, I don’t like too much risk, but I am not totally risk adverse or change adverse, either.

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 2, 2011 @ 7:00 pm

  47. I agree with you.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 2, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

  48. @44. Off-topic … but Midnight in Paris was a fun movie. I’m not particularly fond of the whiners (Wilson and Woody), but the time travel aspect of the movie was pretty cool.

    Comment by alameda — July 2, 2011 @ 9:27 pm

  49. Sort of don’t think the dialogue between Jack and Kate is off topic, since the questions that Lena poses in her piece have to do with what is enough and what is too much. She took the risk of being transparent and it got used against her unfairly and unkindly. And the beat goes on. . .

    Comment by Kate Quick — July 3, 2011 @ 7:49 am

  50. @49, no … I meant my one-sentence critique of the movie was off-topic (wrt the discussion at hand) :)

    Comment by alameda — July 3, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

  51. Off topic, wave at me in the parade tomorrow. I was drafted to drive three lovely ladys from one end to the other. I’ll be in the convertible.

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 3, 2011 @ 3:51 pm

  52. Since off topic is now on topic, I want to toss one out there. This show may be sold out. Worth paying a scalper.

    Devere Smith’s rendition of Lance Armstrong was most revealing about the subject and entertaining too, some others really touched the essense of mortality.

    I thought of the Geezer and sort of wished he had been able to catch this one before he checked out, not that it would have modified his behavior.

    There has been a lot of talk about civility while Lauren was away. Ironically, a lot of the discussion was remarkably uncivil.

    I have the dubious distinction verbally throwing a dieing man to the sidewalk and then spitting on him. If he were to rise tomorrow and picked up where he left off, I might not be able to resist doing the same. But if he wanted to go out a warrior, maybe I was just giving him the opportunity he wanted.

    Comment by M.I. — July 3, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  53. Interesting choice of spelling. I guess you’re talking about the Chief but I’ve never seen ‘dieing’ used as a spelling of ‘dying’. I only know ‘dying’ to be correct.

    However, there is another verb – to die – which means to cut with a die (a die is a blade/sharp implement used to cut material in industry). The progressive form of this verb is ‘dieing’, but I doubt it is used a lot outside factories. Unless you mean it as a metaphor, like you verbally threw the Chief to the sidewalk while he was practicing his art of writing (dieing as setting in print…which would be an ironic double metaphor, or something like that). But he is dead, so your play on the spelling of a dead dude becomes a triple metaphor by the use of dieing. Well done!

    Comment by Jack Richard — July 3, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  54. #51, Damn Jack, my tomatoes won’t be ripe for another couple months.

    Enjoy your 4th!!!

    Comment by John P. — July 4, 2011 @ 2:30 pm


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