Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 20, 2006

Sweeney Tale

Filed under: Alameda, Election — Lauren Do @ 3:42 pm

Jean Sweeney reports to the Alameda Journal (but not Alameda Daily News for some reason):

Recently at the car show on Park Street, I stopped in an eatery with my campaign shirt on and was told by the proprietor that his business is being audited by the City of Alameda because he had a Doug de Haan sign in his window.

Evidently that is not the only business that is being audited for the same reason.

I protest my tax money being spent to carry out dirty politics.

Or, perhaps, their businesses are being audited because they need to be audited?  And as Mark suggested, maybe Jean Sweeney should hold off on the unsubstantiated accusations of impropriety so that she doesn’t need to print another one of these.


  1. I mentioned Sweeney’s letter to a local bike shop owner this afternoon. His response was that the charge is not true. It turns out there IS an audit going on–he’s been audited, as well as two other “apolitical” business owners. I then asked about Ani Dimusheva’s charge that sotre owners have been “forced” to take down their signs (antimegaplex?). His answer, “That’s not happening yet.”

    While I do appreciate Ani the Gnostic’s superior secret knowledge, in the political realm, facts and names are required for proof. Tell you what, Ani, you name your sources and I’ll name mine. Otherwise, I’ll keep them secret, “for fear of retaliation.”

    Comment by Linda Hudson — October 20, 2006 @ 5:09 pm

  2. Linda, but I know what your sources are—I’m a Gnostic, remember?

    Comment by NIMBY — October 20, 2006 @ 6:44 pm

  3. If it is a political sign, I know that at Bayport lawn signs were against the homeowner association rules, but at a homeowners meeting we were told there is a State law that you can’t ban political signs…I don’t know if this just pertains to residential or if it also pertains to businesses. I would think a business wouldn’t want to post a political sign anyways as it might offend certain customers either side you are on. I am not sure if the Megaplex is consider political or not…in Alameda it is.:)

    Comment by Joe — October 20, 2006 @ 7:27 pm

  4. Jean Sweeney isn’t doing herself any favors by making all these back-to-back unsubstantiated allegations. I might have to add a coda to “Spirit of Alameda” if these innuendos persist! 😦

    Comment by alameda — October 20, 2006 @ 9:10 pm

  5. I have had at least five of my signs removed from Park Street businesses. I don’t presume to know whether the business owners took them down (I soft-sold my signs so I don’t think that is the case), or whether someone else unassociated with the business took them down. I have only been able to talk to one of the business owners and they said that they didn’t take it down and that I could replace it. I did notice a pattern where the signs that were taken down were easily accessed by the public at large.

    Still, I can’t and won’t conclude that people are trying to affect the outcome unfairly, relative to me or anyone else. Moreover, I want to live in a town where people base their voting decisions on more than just the number of signs posted by a particular candidate. I think Alameda is that kind of town, so we shouldn’t assign undue importance to possibly nefarious activities, especially when we don’t have facts.

    This election should be more about our interests and ideas, and less about political logistics.

    Thanks for reading this.

    Mike Rich

    Comment by Mike Rich — October 20, 2006 @ 9:25 pm

  6. Ani — touche’ — good comeback.

    I propose we stomp* hard on anyone who says nasty things to anyone — Kate Quick and the Central Cinema owner included — during this heated political campaign. We can disagree, and disagree strongly, but dear Lord, to threaten or harass a fellow Alamedan who holds a different viewpoint, that’s awful.

    As a lefty and a child of the 60s, I can understand (although disagree) with the distrust of the current city council. That’s almost fair political comment. And, of course loud disagreement and catcalls are integral to baseball.

    If you want to discuss things further, I’ll be at Linguini’s after 5 pm Sunday, watching the World Series with other members of the “Stitch and Bitch” knitting group.

    *Stomp: Torebuke in the strongest possible terms. (Linda’s dictionary of political terms)

    Comment by Linda Hudson — October 20, 2006 @ 9:46 pm

  7. I cannot believe that so many people are downplaying this! True, I cannot prove my allegation beyond doubt and I won’t even try. However, if you assume that what I said is true even for a moment, would you still say that it doesn’t matter? One of the ideas in this election is openness and fair play. When some store owners are made to remove signs and others encouraged to put them up, depending on which side of an issue they stand, this is not fair play. When the editor of the local newspaper comes out with inflamatory nonspecific information meant to hurt only certain candidates, this is not fair play. When a former newspaper editor takes the liberty to sensor only a certain kind of opinion letters and then lecture the letter writers, this is not fair play. When the public library staff takes down flyers asking people to attend a public hearing (on the megaplex, to be sure), this is not fair play. To sum up the examples, when some people enjoy free speech and others don’t depending on what it is they are saying, this is not fair play. Is it any wonder some people get around all the obstacles by posting stickers on bus stops? If anyone on this blog is even remotely fairminded they should see that as a sign that something is wrong with the regular communication channels. Trivializing an issue like that does not make anyone a consensus builder.

    Comment by NIMBY — October 20, 2006 @ 10:16 pm

  8. Please accept my apology if my post was perceived as trivializing a concern. I am not suggesting that Alameda politics are perfect or pure; I am trying to encourage a different approach, not aimed at anyone in particular.

    I did not intend to dismiss or trivialize the valid concerns that you raise, and I sincerely respect your dedication to Alameda.

    Mike Rich

    Comment by Mike Rich — October 20, 2006 @ 10:38 pm

  9. I’m not sure I see the connection between completely unsubstantiated rumors by Ms. Sweeney (yet again). And the Editor at the Alameda Journal writing an editorial about the views and words that have come out of the mouths of the Slate (Pat Bail in particular).

    I agree with you Ani, pressuring people to place or remove signs is not right. No matter what the issue.

    That said, Jean Sweeney is known for getting her facts wrong often (thank goodness she was right about the Beltline). Her many incorrect past accusations about people she disagrees with would lead a reasonable person (of which I include you, it’s not a slam) to doubt, or question, her comment on it’s face.

    Comment by john knox white — October 20, 2006 @ 11:34 pm

  10. To make such a baseless claim is absolutley ludicrious. I for one will now be forced to tune out whatever Jean Sweeney says in the future.

    Comment by Ben Kruger — October 21, 2006 @ 5:58 am

  11. If you would like some evidence that Alameda politics are not perfect or pure, consider that the October 20 edition of the Alameda Journal ran a feature on the Council candidates titled “In Their Own Words” that was supposed to include pre-submitted candidate responses to a questionnaire. Inexplicably, the Journal’s editor decided to not print my responses on the Target and Cineplex. Instead of my responses there was an editor’s note that said I had not answered the questions, which is simply false. Here are the verbatim answers I provided to the Journal:


    People have different views on whether Target is a good retail fit for Alameda, which is a valid, if secondary consideration. The threshold question is not whether Target is a good retail fit for Alameda, but whether it will create major traffic impacts given the proposed location at Alameda Towne Centre, which has poor access from the bridges and tunnel, and whether it will have a negative impact on small independent retailers. This project also has the potential to be additive to any traffic problems created by a Cineplex project. The development of an EIR by the City is a positive development in determining the quality of life trade-offs implied by the proposed Target. I expect that many people will be pouring over the EIR in the next couple of weeks and providing input at the meeting scheduled for September 25th.


    My primary concern with the project has always been the height of the garage, and the fact that egress will be onto Oak Street. The lack of an Environmental Impact Report reinforces the impression that legitimate concerns have been overlooked in an effort to boost retail businesses on Park Street. I have been trying to encourage people to focus on the restoration of the theater first, to conduct an EIR on the rest of the project, and to sequence the work so that if the EIR indicates changes are needed, those can be incorporated before any new construction begins. This approach could be complemented by a private fundraising effort to support restoration of the historic theater, which would foster a positive atmosphere around the project.

    Mike Rich

    Comment by Mike Rich — October 21, 2006 @ 9:35 am

  12. Ani, you are close to losing whatever credibility you had remaining by appearing to be selectively outraged! Where was this outrage at Pat Bail’s insensitive remarks or the defacing of public property by Slate supporters or at your soulmate’s ad hominem attacks? Nary a word from the esteemed Dimusheva, except unsubtantiated rumors fit for the National Enquirer!

    Comment by Chris — October 21, 2006 @ 10:20 am

  13. Mike Rich,

    That’s horrible that all your answers were not printed in the Alameda Journal! Please let us know what explanation you are given for this omission.


    Comment by Irene — October 21, 2006 @ 12:04 pm

  14. I agree. I was surprised that you hadn’t answered the questions, glad to hear that you did, disappointed they weren’t printed.

    Hopefully it was a mistake and the paper rectifies it by printing them on Tuesday.

    Let us know what you hear.

    Comment by John Knox White — October 21, 2006 @ 1:38 pm

  15. Back to Jean Sweeney, first of all there are a ton of different audits…depending on the business. She doesn’t say whether is is a IRS Audit, Ca Dept. of Equalization Audit, CA Dept of Corp Audit, Bank Audit…any of these no one in Alameda would have anything to say to get someone audited unless they filed a complaint and had some evidence of wrongdoing. I don’t believe most cities (or at least this size) audit businesses. And even if they did they would be independent from the Mayor and others in power so they could do their job.

    Comment by Joe — October 21, 2006 @ 4:24 pm

  16. I think Chris is right about Ani’s credibility. I called Robb Ratto Friday right after I read Nimby’s claim and he was out til Monday. I’m not getting outraged, Nimby until there is credible evidence and you screaming foul (or wolf maybe) won’t do it for now.

    As for the paper, Lucinda’s slant was more than obvious and incredibly inappropriate. Jeff I can’t quite figure. I don’t think he is so great. I took his tar baby editorial as a blunder, but not necessarily an attack based on a predisposed bias. Maybe he was leaning and seeing the tape of Doug pushed him. I’ve sent him critical emails about his not seeming to know the lay of the land very well. I wouldn’t want to be new to a place like this and try to do his job.

    With the editorial, it’s obvious people were talking to Jeff and he reacted. I think he thought it was called for. I thought he should not have bothered or he should have gone to Doug and whoever was the alleged source of the black seat comment and interviewed them before printing anything. Did I already say this before? I think so.

    I actually thought a few sets of Journal headlines were very helpful to the slate over the last weeks, though now that they are passed and I didn’t save them, I can’t be specific. I thought it a bad coincidence for Frank that the issue with his cover shot seemed to have a lot of bad press for his issues, particularly the story on the AP&T loans. Was that a conspiracy Nimby? It wouldn’t surprise me if I showed you the headlines I refer to, if you would rationalize away my perception and tell me they were actually all unfair to the slate.

    A friend in Albany who has been fighting the race track development told me that they didn’t think much of Alan Lopez as a reporter and were glad to see us get him. Sorry Alan.

    Comment by Mark — October 21, 2006 @ 5:28 pm

  17. If someone pressured a business to take down a “Stop Megaplex” sign, I would like to know exactly who that is. If someone pressured a business to remove a candidate’s campaign sign, or somehow threatened a business with an audit because of the owner’s political views, I would also like to know who that is. Let’s name some names so that we can get to the bottom of this. I would definitely call whoever it is and ask him/her what is going on with our free speech rights?

    Comment by Kevis — October 21, 2006 @ 10:53 pm

  18. Kevis, I appreciate your support for free speech. I will do what I can to substantiate my claims and get back to you. I suggest you ask Jean Sweeney to substantiate hers.

    One place you could begin at is to find out what kind of literature can be posted at the library. As I said, I asked whether I can post flyers about a public meeting on the megaplex and was told no, they can’t post anything “political.” Which is strange to say the least because the library is one place where public notices are supposed to be posted, in addition to the newspaper and city hall, and where public records are kept. If there is one appropriate place where public matters can be advertised, it is the library. I have huge respect for librarians and no beef with any one of them but in this case they made the wrong call. They probably thought the matter was too controversial and, being a city library, they didn’t want to offend any higher ups. I thought the whole point of free speech is that controversial matters not only can but should be brought out, for a healthy political climate, and where else better than in a neutral place like the public library? At any rate, following my reasoning I posted the flyer in the lobby of two branches and it was gone the next day. I had bigger fish to fry, so I let it go. However, I do mean to get clear on what public bulletin boards are good for, and if Kevis or anyone else want to get on this too, that’s great.

    Comment by NIMBY — October 22, 2006 @ 12:36 pm

  19. Can NIMBY also research to see if free speech includes making outlandish comments against minorities and people who have a different skin color, as her leader Pat Bail is known to indulge in?

    Comment by Richard — October 22, 2006 @ 2:40 pm

  20. Or you can do it yourself—just google “freedom of speech.” And I really have no idea what “my leader Pat Bail” means, as I am neither on her campaign committee, nor do I take any directions from her. The only thing I have with Pat Bail is that I plan to vote for the slate she is part of. I’ve discussed that already on this blog and don’t feel like repeating myself.

    Comment by NIMBY — October 22, 2006 @ 5:27 pm

  21. Wow…I don’t believe I am agreeing with Nimby although maybe I don’t have all the facts. I think the Library should be a place to post things about meetings…political or not. But if it is just a political poster I think the Library is correct in not posting it.

    Comment by Joe — October 22, 2006 @ 6:37 pm

  22. NIMBY, thanks for the most helpful reply. I did that and the answers I got most definitely said racial and insensitive remarks are not the hallmark of a leader! That you plan to vote for such a person is saying a lot about your principles (or lack thereof!).

    Comment by Richard — October 22, 2006 @ 9:06 pm

  23. Thanks to Irene and John for their concern about the Journal’s omission of my responses on the Cineplex/Garage and Target. Irene asked me to send along the Alameda Journal’s explanation of why they didn’t print my responses. Here is Jeff Mitchell’s reply and my reply back. In the interest of transparency and understanding, I have not redacted these e-mails, which I would normally do for the sake of brevity and self-editing. Here it is:

    Hi Michael: While it’s true that you did provide a response to the questions, you in fact did not answer the questions. We specifically asked you whether you supported or opposed the proposed Target project and the cineplex project. You talked about some of the issues surrounding these projects, but you did not respond directly as asked. I think our directions on this voluntary questionnaire were crystal clear. We gave all of you adequate time to formulate your responses and we even urged you to call the paper if you were unclear on what we were asking. We warned all of you not to veer off topic. We were interested in getting straight, candid answers from candidates seeking public office. We were clear, I believe, that we would not publish spun-out answers or posturing that would leave our readers not knowing where you stand on these significant issues.
    >If you would like to discuss this further, feel free to call.
    >Jeff Mitchell


    In my e-mail containing the responses I said to call me if you had any follow-up questions. No one from the Journal contacted me to indicate they had a problem with the answers and wouldn’t publish them. If you didn’t think my responses were direct enough then I believe you had an ethical and journalistic obligation to at least contact me in advance to tell me you didn’t intend to publish the responses.

    Further, let me respond to your explanations point by point.

    Here is the text of the “instructions” on completing the questionnaire:

    “Please answer the following 10 questions. Brevity will be most appreciated. However, you are not limited by any word count. Your responses may be published in news reports published in the Alameda Journal (both in the print edition and on-line). Also, please be careful (to) respond to the questions as they have been stated. Do not veer off on unrelated tangents.”

    First off, the use of the questionnaire is not explained clearly. You don’t mention that the responses will be used in a feature including all of the responses of the candidates, but that you reserve the right to cherry pick exclusions based on editorial license, and it certainly does not warn the candidates that you will characterize unacceptable responses as the candidate not responding at all. Also, nowhere does it say that you won’t publish the responses if you don’t think the candidate has taken a “yes or no” position. It does say that “brevity will be most appreciated,” and to “respond to the questions as they have been stated.” But then you clarify that last directive by saying “do not veer off on unrelated tangents.” Well, my responses were brief, and, as you’ve acknowledged, I didn’t veer off on unrelated tangents. I did not submit “spun-out answers.” You say that you “urged (candidates) to call the paper if (we) were unclear on what (you) were asking.” What you actually said was: “If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at 510-748-1656.” For the reasons given above, it was not apparent to me that clarification was needed, because your standard for publication turned out to be much different than what you conveyed in the “instructions.”

    As to the allegation of “posturing,” my responses correctly reflect my positions; I want to find compromises on those projects, and my responses reflect that. To take a “yes or no” position would not reflect my views. In my case, taking a “yes or no” position would be posturing. When trying to build consensus it helps to avoid a reactionary mindset that says: “you’re either for it or against it,” or “you’re either our friend or our enemy,” or “you’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists.” In my opinion that type of mindset has resulted in political dysfunction on a local, national, and global level, and is one of the primary causes of armed conflict and human suffering. As a candidate for public office I will not have words put in my mouth or positions forced upon me, and I will continue, as the basis of my campaign and as who I am, to foster creative compromises as a means of building consensus and resolving problems.

    Finally, your assertion that, somehow, publishing my responses would “leave our readers not knowing where you stand on significant issues” is ironic, to say the least. By not publishing my responses you have assured that readers don’t know where I stand on those issues. Moreover, you have misled them into thinking I don’t have positions, or that I am trying to hide my positions. As I said in my previous e-mail, readers may conclude that I have skirted an issue, but by denying them the opportunity to decide for themselves, and affirmatively telling them that I did not respond, you have done a great disservice to your readers and to voters. You also may have caused irreparable harm to my campaign.

    I again request that you print a prominent correction that includes my responses on the Cineplex and the Target. I would appreciate it if you would tell me directly whether or not you plan to do that, unless, of course, you have a compromise you would like to propose.

    Thank you.

    Mike Rich

    Comment by Mike Rich — October 22, 2006 @ 9:40 pm

  24. I have a question to pose. If the library is an entity of the city which is being sued by a group, is it censorship for a city entity not to cooperate with allowing the organization suing them to use their PUBLIC facility to post a flyer?

    In response to Richard, isn’t repugnant speech protected by the first amendment. Remember the Klan marches in Illinois? Pat did not advocate any minority be physically harmed or anything.

    Comment by Mark — October 23, 2006 @ 8:45 am

  25. Mark, you are hinting at the EIR lawsuit filed by the megaplex group. What I related happened way before a lawsuit was filed or even imagined.

    In principle, I don’t believe the presence of a legal action limits the range of distribution of public notices. Meetings can either be public or closed. Of course, we know that “public” often is as good as “closed” when not publicized properly or through other creative means.

    Comment by NIMBY — October 23, 2006 @ 10:30 am

  26. Mark, repugnant speech might be protected. But that isn’t a good defence for somebody running for city council (yeah, she didn’t advocating harming anybody physically; but just making wacky comments about their “perceived” lifestyle is a bit outlandish, dontcha think?)

    NIMBY, thanks for the most helpful reply. I did that and the answers I got most definitely said racial and insensitive remarks are not the hallmark of a leader! That you plan to vote for such a person is saying a lot about your principles (or lack thereof!).

    Comment by Richard — October 23, 2006 @ 11:03 am

  27. Richard, you and your ilk have engaged in a repugnant character assassination campaign. I refuse to be part of the lynch mob. I vote for Doug DeHaan and his slate-mates based on the issues—open and honest governement, cutting of waste, slow growth and community involvement—neither of which the current government cares about. Through her involvement with sports and recreation in Alameda Pat Bail has probably done more for Black and Asian youth than your company will ever give her credit for. That her opponents will ignore her accomplishements and exploit one unfortunate phrase to manipulate public opinion is certainly not unheard of, but it hardly raises your campaign above the mud table. Your side’s tactics are also offensive to the electorate at large and to the asian electorate specifically, because you apparently think they are a bunch of sheep that can be swayed by cheap campaign tricks.

    Comment by NIMBY — October 23, 2006 @ 12:16 pm

  28. I got to get back to work , but quickly, I have to say that this is getting irritating.

    Nimby, your speculation at what Pat’s volunteer contributions to minorities might be correct but nothing more than speculation, and Pat’s speech is quite clear and not innocuous or one isolated verbal gaff.

    Holding people accountable for their actions is not character assassination and Pat deserves what she gets.

    I don’t know Richard, or who his “ilk” is , somebody like me who basically agrees with him? I was liking the tone Linda Hudson was taking with you and I wish you could keep it more in bounds because the attcking is exhausting after a while. Please?

    Comment by Mark — October 23, 2006 @ 12:44 pm

  29. Mark, I’m simply pointing out what I see. You have your opinion and I have mine.

    BTW, I think you are a nice guy, and Linda Hudson sounds like fun—let’s all get together after the elections, see if we still get along.;-)

    Comment by NIMBY — October 23, 2006 @ 1:02 pm

  30. Well said Mark.

    Is this the same NIMBY who dragged the entire City Council’s name in the mud when her wild allegations about the theater came unglued? It is also offensive that a vocal minority such as NIMBY and her ilk purport to speak for the majority.

    There is no documented evidence of Pat Bail’s efforts, nor has she demonstrated the acumen (as has been widely seen the various times she’s been on TV and in public fora) to lead the city. That NIMBY and her ilk would persist in supporting such “pokemon” characters talks much more to their pursuing a vendetta approach rather than what is good for the city.

    I, for one, am glad you got your comeuppance with the theater episode and all that time and money spent on a futile wild goose chase was washed down the drain. Yeah!

    I’m done talking to “pokemon” characters like yourself. Didn’t you threaten to quit posting? I suppose you had nothing better to do than come here and troll?

    Comment by Richard — October 23, 2006 @ 1:10 pm

  31. Mike Rich,

    I have to agree with Alameda Journal. Your answers were completely off-base and sounded more like the typical political spin. I see no reason for them to call you if you didn’t bother sticking to the format they requested (apparently, none of the others had any problems answering the questions).

    Compromise is great, but you have to take a stand (isn’t that why you run for office)? You can’t keep checking the wind to see which way it blows before making up your mind (unfortunately, that’s what I think your candidacy has come to represent).

    Comment by Johnson — October 23, 2006 @ 1:24 pm

  32. No matter how you cut it, the editor’s choice of words, “candidate did not answer question” is misleading. That statement left readers believing the candidates (Mike Rich and Frank Matarrese) simply chose to skip those questions, allowing voters to draw their own unwarranted conclusions. I hope that Jeff Mitchell will try and rectify this problem.

    Comment by Irene — October 23, 2006 @ 2:49 pm

  33. I’m with Mike on this one, I think he got a raw deal. If they said they were going to post answers verbatim they should have. I noticed some other candidates were also listed as not answering certain questions, and it is a big difference whether they actually did not answer them or weren’t responsive in the opinion of the journal.

    For the record, of Mike’s 2 answers that were deleted, I thought that the first regarding target was non responsive, but even in that I learned something about the candidate. I thought the second was very responsive to the question asked.

    It’s bad enough we already have one “news” sit ein town that regularly ignores journalistic standards. We don’t need another.

    Comment by Doug Biggs — October 23, 2006 @ 3:27 pm

  34. Mike, I thought Jeff’s decision to cherry pick answers was unfair to say the least. I hope you copied the managing editor of the contra costa times on your letter, and that you get them to print all the omitted info. Eugenie Thomson’s answer got the same treatment.

    What the Journal was asking with their Target question, in essence, was for candidates to express an opinion before all the info is in. As Lena Tam did. Note that Pat Bail and Ashley Jones took a position against big box stores in principle.

    I also would like to know the answers to the money question by Frank and Eugenie—were they “spun-off” or “refused to answer”?

    Comment by NIMBY — October 23, 2006 @ 4:37 pm

  35. Predictable responses from Pat and Jones (and by extension, from NIMBY as well)!

    Comment by Richard — October 23, 2006 @ 4:46 pm

  36. Richard,

    Thanks for the “validation”. This is weird coming from somebody like me who suffers an enlarged spleen myself, but I’ll hold you to the same standard as Ani and ask you to chill out with the venom. I love sarcasm, but I’m learning something from people here who are more even keeled than I am about how to be heard.

    Comment by Mark — October 23, 2006 @ 5:14 pm

  37. I can’t wait until this election is over…it will be a long 3 weeks. I already voted…just have to send it in.

    Comment by Joe — October 23, 2006 @ 5:30 pm

  38. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read my posts and add your comments. I respect and understand that many voters want to have a “yes or no” answer from a candidate, but please know that my positions are not taken for the purpose of posturing or finger-in-the-air polling.

    Many of my close friends and family read my positions statements, which I developed before I filed my papers, and told me that I should take stronger “yes or no” positions if I wanted to get elected. I declined to do that despite their advice because it would be inconsistent with my views and the purpose of my campaign, which is to run on a platform of consensus-building and fostering a middle ground. Maybe that platform will turn out to not be viable in terms of electability, but it accurately and honestly reflects my political philosophy.

    If we here in Alameda are unable to reach compromises on issues that boil down to dividing up our wealth in the context of a strong democracy, what possible hope is there that truly difficult global issues can be resolved peacefully? That is why process, to me, is more important than the height of a garage, or whether or not we have a Target.

    Thanks again.

    Mike Rich

    Comment by Mike Rich — October 23, 2006 @ 7:50 pm

  39. Hi:

    Jean Sweeney’s assertion that businesses are being audited for political reasons is false. She must know that. So, perhaps Jean Sweeney should appologize for her incorrect statement in the Alameda Journal. She could have or should confirm this by contacting the City of Alameda.

    Bob Follrath

    Bob Follrath

    Comment by Bob Follrath — October 23, 2006 @ 9:52 pm

  40. A number of people called me and I’ve seen a number of letters about Park Street Merchants being forced to take political signs out of their windows and being audited because of certain political signs in their windows. I felt I needed to respond to both issues.

    First, the City of Alameda conducts an audit of randomly selected businesses in Alameda, not just on Park Street, every year. This audit is to ensure the businesses are reporting their correct gross sales to the city for the purpose of determining their business license fee and in the case of Park Street Business Association members their BIA fee.

    I have no doubt the PSBA merchant noted by Jean Sweeney recently was chosen by random and if Jean would share with me (please call my office)the business in question I’ll go talk to the owner of the business and make sure they have not been unfairly singled out by the City. One of my many jobs.

    I must tell you all this so called controversy about PSBA members being “forced” to take signs out of their windows makes me chuckle. I’ve yet to meet the business owner in the Park Street District that could be “forced” to do something in their own store by anyone except maybe their customers. If customers complain, you can bet the signs will come down.

    I would appreciate NIMBY/Ani letting me know what PSBA member(s) were “forced” to take signs out of their windows so that I can chat with them and make sure no one “forces” them to do anything again.

    I’ll also share with you my advice to any PSBA members that asks me about putting anyone’s political signs in their windows; DON’T DO IT! It’s a sure way to lose customers/clients. But if you really want to put up the sign, it’s your business (pardon the pun).

    I hope this clears up some of the misconceptions and misinformation. If any of you want ever want to chat about what’s happening in the Park Street District and get the real scoop give me a call in the PSBA office or drop me an email at

    Robb Ratto
    Executive Director
    Park Street Business Association

    Comment by Robb Ratto — October 23, 2006 @ 11:54 pm

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