Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 6, 2008

Doctor, lawyer, union chief

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 7:18 am

Tonight, at the City Council there will be some pretty big issues up for the Council to discuss.   The first was covered in brief by the Alameda Journal about the Green Building Ordinance.   Alameda is feeling left behind in its commitment to being more Kermit-like, plus they want to get in on a little of the funding — to the tune of $44K — from the Alameda County Waste Management Authority.   It’s unclear if the waste reduction portion is for the entire city of Alameda or just for the City of Alameda, the entity.  We are supposed to be at 75% of our waste not going to landfills by 2010 but currently we are only at 50%.   Our family recently purchased a deeply discounted composter from Alameda County’s Stop Waste program, I would normally link to the site, but it’s going all weird this morning, but I digress.

The next issue is the discussion about the Charter language cleanup item which will be on the November ballot.   The items for consideration are pretty benign, but it’s the upcoming items that will be more interesting and will require a lot more discussion by the City Council, and I would imagine, the public as well.   The few things that jump out are the two being proposed by Doug deHaan.   First is the issue of wanting to prevent any elected and currently sitting Federal, State, County, or local office to being either elected to any office or appointed to any board or commission created by the City Council or City Charter.

Off the top of my head, there are a few issues I have with this proposal.   The first being the denial of someone to be elected to office if they already hold an elected office, I suppose this is to prevent someone from hypothetically sitting on both the City Council and the School Board like Vernice Boone tried to do a few years ago.

Also, this muddies the water a little regarding the make-up of boards like the Public Utilities Board, which I believe is created by the City Charter and the Mayor is one of the sitting members.   I seem to remember one meeting when Doug deHaan announced that he thought the PUB should be dissolved and the issues normally handled by the PUB should come to the Council instead, but don’t quote me on that because I’m not schlogging through all the meeting videos to try to find that.   But if my memory is correct and he did say that, it would certainly not jive with the spirit in which the PUB was created in order to provide a bit of arms length between the PUB and City Council because of past issues with corruption.  That was a long long time ago, from what I understand, maybe someone with a better memory could further illuminate.

Additionally this brings confusion with the other Commissions that the Council sits on like the Housing Advisory Board, ARRA, and CIC.   I suppose the bigger question is asking Doug deHaan why it is that he thinks this is an important issue and then moving on from there, because I’m not sure if there will be a clamoring for too many elected officials to sit on boards and commissions in Alameda.   Nothwithstanding Sandre Swanson who sits on the Golf Commission, but I’m sure that is not why Doug deHaan suggested that this item be added to the charter clean up.

The next item that will require lots of discussion is the proposal to make nominations to boards and commissions a Council role and not simply that of the Mayor.   Again, this probably needs more clarification and discussion, but I could see the merit in structuring the nominations so that a portion is nominated by only the Mayor and the other portion by the remainder of the Council.  Of course, they all have to vote on the people nominated anyway, so it may just be something that simply makes more work for everyone rather than creating a “balance” which I bet is why deHaan brought this one up.  And possibly he brought this up because of the need for the next interesting item which is the appointment of a Planning Board member.

If he has bought into the hype that the current sitting Planning Board is anti-Measure A then this move would allow him to appoint one member for “balance” against the forces that would attempt to destroy all that is Alameda.   Even though it’s not really in the power of the Planning Board to do anything like that, but nuances, nuances.   The new list of applicants to fill Gina Mariani’s seat has only a few additions, but I think one of the additions is probably one of the front-runners on the Mayor’s short list to fill the position.   While I would like to see someone like David Burton or John Knox White appointed, people who have shown to understand land use and planning issues, I have a feeling it’s going to be someone like Arthur Autorino, currently appointed to the Economic Development Commission, or Michael Henneberry.   Actually once I found out who Michael Henneberry was when the first list came out, he was already on my mental short list of possible appointees along with Horst Breuer who would seem to be an easy pick since he has already sat on the Planning Board.  Anyway, we’ll see what the Mayor does tonight with the PB nomination.

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