Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 31, 2012

You have no idea what you’re dealin’ with

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Election — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting on the budget ended up being a discussion on Measure C for the most part.   But here are the big takeaways from the actual budget-y stuff that you should probably be aware of.

The big one is that the Police Department will shut down the City jail and instead outsource jailing to the County.  KTVU news has the story here.  This will result in laying off six civilian employees, but it appears to be a pretty cost effective move given that the Alameda PD will only need to transport folks to downtown Oakland and since the City only averages about two inmates per day that they jail, it makes sense during these tough time.   Councilmember Beverly Johnson was concerned that the county might close the jail that Alameda would be sending its inmates to, but the Police Chief and City Manager John Russo both noted that with the prison realignment from the State, the County will need all the beds open it can spare and all the additional revenue to help fund the mandate to house inmates.

Best part of the night was the calling out of Councilmember Doug deHaan on his about face on Measure C.    Planning Board member and sometimes blogger, John Knox White, pointed out the Doug deHaan had never voted against a budget during his span on the City Council, but now is concerned that the budget is out of control.   This was essentially a request for Doug deHaan to show his panties, so to speak.  While Doug deHaan talks a lot and writes a lot in the form of a $900 ad in the Alameda Sun (un-disclosed via any campaign filing by the way) he has yet to show that his alternative to Measure C to fund all this deferred maintenance and these capital projects is actually feasible.

He also called Doug deHaan out on the inferred reference in his Alameda Sun ad that perhaps outsourcing Fire services to the County was a possibility.  John Knox White pointed out that the County firefighters are compensated a lot more than Alameda City firefighters are and that Alameda would still be stuck with capital costs of maintaining the Station houses even if we were to be wrapped under the County umbrella.   He asked that Doug deHaan be open and honest with his alternatives and that during these budget talks is time for specifics and not the generalities that Doug deHaan has been dishing out.

When asked point blank by Beverly Johnson how Doug deHaan envisioned that the capital projects that would be funded under Measure C could be funded without Measure C, he replied that the City Council as a whole had never envisioned that those were priority capital projects.


Yeah…That’s totally not true.

Essentially what he is trying to say, or rather what he believes is that all the projects that were identified in Measure C were dreamed up and imagined.  Mayor Marie Gilmore’s first response after Doug deHaan comments was a simple, “no.”

She then proceeded to outline where, when, and how the City Council had discussed all the projects that are to be funded if Measure C passes — pointing out first that none of the projects were part of the budget cycle because the City never had the money to pay for it — but that did not meant that they had never discussed the issue or that there was not a need for the projects.

I’ll add here that Doug deHaan suggested on Tuesday night that closing Station 3, the Grand Street station in need of a complete over haul, was actually something that he would endorse.   He suggested that there would be enough coverage with the other two main island stations open or that Fire Station 5 (the Alameda Point one) would be an acceptable alternative if the City needed to have an alternative to Station 3.    Of course, this is after he said that everything at Alameda Point was in complete shambles and couldn’t be salvaged for long term leases in order to try to convince Vice Mayor Rob Bonta to vote for bonding $5 million to plan and entitle Alameda Point.

To be continued, because this is a good discussion and this post is getting too long.  Still to come, Doug deHaan doesn’t think public/private partnerships will work, that a 50 meter pool is unnecessary and he knows because he “cut his teeth” in the swimming world, and $5 million bond for planning is completely sound but bonding to fund capital projects that will eventually become an albatross around the City’s neck is not.


  1. There you go again, LDo! Kudos to Doug DeHaan for pointing out the deceptive portrayal of “outsourcing prisoners to North County”. Since when did Downtown Oakland become “North County”?-since Fremont got so big? Instead of twisting DeHaan’s words, why don’t you examine what he actually said? The operative word in the sentence you quoted is “priority”. He’s right. They aren’t priorities. The projects touted by Measure C, while possibly desirable, are primadonna projects: moving the Museum into the Carnegie, a new pool on top of all the pools already extant; ebooks & another elevator for the main library.Anyone who thinks we need a fancy expensive emergency response center should think back to the 1989 Loma Prieta quake & recall whether you made any use of Alameda’s public safety organizations at that time. Maybe you did, but I know I didn’t. Alameda is a flat island, without tall buildings or hills that fall or slide down. Cracks in pavement & buildings are expensive but will need the attention of Public Works, not Public Safety. And the last time Alameda closed a firehouse in the East End it became a desirable private home.

    I couldn’t really follow what JohnKnoxWhite was saying at the podium, but if this is his way of running for Doug DeHaan’s council seat, he’s going about it the wrong way. At last night’s Planning Board meeting, he actually complained that too much of the CIP budget was going to maintenance and no new projects were being started! I don’t know about you all, but I think its about time Alameda set about shoring up its infrastructure & finishing some of the things it already started. He’s also shaking out as no friend of the disabled. He opposes disabled friendly-signage at South Shore Center & votes to put parking as far from front entrances as possible [like the awful situation currently at the Main Library] just to force people to walk farther from their cars. Try it with a cane, John, not your NYC quick-step. I don’t need another AJL [arrogant judgemental liberal/leftist/loonytune] making life in Alameda more of a pain in the ass than it already is. Don’t we have enough Green Nazis on the Planning Board?.

    Comment by vigi — May 31, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  2. DOn’r RAte ME…

    “Best part of the night was the calling out of Councilmember Doug deHaan on his about face on Measure C.”

    “While I’m still not 100% convinced that this sales tax hike and bond is a good idea,”

    “But a sales tax increase is so regressive that it really dings the people who can least afford it.”

    “But can we afford it right now? Personally I don’t think so.”

    “I also agreed to small tax hikes (additional sales tax, increase in Transit Occupancy Tax, and Utility Users Tax).”

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 31, 2012 @ 10:16 am

  3. Jack: I already wrote my mea culpa on changing my mind.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 31, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  4. It’s actually was called “North County Jail” until it was changed to “Glenn E. Dyer Detention Facility.” And considering that Alameda County ends at Albany and extends down to Fremont and all the way out to Livermore, an Oakland location would be northern Alameda County.

    I rewatched the tape, the word “priority” was my own editorializing. Doug deHaan said

    First we’re talking about capital projects that are being going forward. Those capital projects are not, and had not been envisioned in any of our capital projects in the past.

    He is claiming that the City Council has never discussed the subject of a replacement pool, all weather fields, or reuse of the Carnegie. This is outright not true.

    Comment by Lauren Do — May 31, 2012 @ 10:56 am

  5. Lauren, it really begs to question what is Doug DeHaan’s motives regarding his new position on Measure C. They don’t really jive if you ask me. How can he support a $5M bond for Alameda Point – one that contains a multitude of risks for the city and not support a simple sales tax measure – one that is supported by both our City Auditor and City Treasurer?

    Regarding his serious doubts whether public private partnerships work or not — Mr. DeHaan just voted for a public private partnership when he voted for Greenway at the Kemper/Greenway city council meeting. In this public private partnership, the city will contribute $1M towards the cost of renovating the city’s golf courses, and Greenway will contribute the value of their construction in exchange for an agreement to share the profits from their venture. There are many ways to structure public private partnerships – but the point is that the city benefits from these partnerships because they share the costs with their partners.

    It’s disappointing to watch Mr. DeHaan continue to waffle on this issue instead of lead. He misses an important opportunity to solve some of the city’s budgetary problems and support some really important community projects before his term is up. What a missed opportunity!

    Comment by Karen Bey — May 31, 2012 @ 11:24 am

  6. deHaan is simply not mentally competent to lead when he lies.

    Comment by BarbaraK — May 31, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  7. Why does John Russo make almost as much money as president Obama, and city hall is only open 4 days a week ???

    Comment by Dr Poodlesmurf — May 31, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

  8. 7. Fact check: John Russo makes $215K per year with performance bonuses possibly bringing him up to $255K in the fifth year of his contract. If you don’t believe me, the source is the always reliable Action Alameda. President Obama is paid $400K.

    If I could I would never listen to Doug DeHaan because he constantly changes his mind, but he’s on city council so I have no choice.

    Comment by Larry Witte — May 31, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  9. 8. We are closed 3 days a week, average it out and you will see.

    Comment by Dr Poodlesmurf — May 31, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  10. 3
    Sorry I was in Владивосток when you flipped, so was out of touch. I did however, review a couple of ongoing ‘capital projects’ to determine whether the Ruskies are as screwed up as we are.

    Their stuff comes from ‘space’. Judge for yourself…

    Comment by Jack Richard — May 31, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

  11. After reading all the comments I guess it is all deHaan’s fault that the city has money problems even though the council last year pulled money from set aside funds like the open space fund and this year will again pull funds from somewhere and say they balanced the budget. Let’s see deHaan helped run Sun Cal out of town, kept Ron Cowen from building on the MIF, and helped save 45 holes for the golf course; took no money from the fire or police unions and youth organizations. Maybe the city should listen to what he has to say. Just a thought. Russo needs to present a real balanced budget with a five year balanced projection minimum.

    Comment by JLSSeems — May 31, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

  12. I am not commenting on John Russo as an effective City Manager, but Pood’s little remark about how much money he makes and City Hall being open four days a week. City Managers, like the County Administrator and other people in those kinds of positions really work 24/7. They are in constant contact with what is going on “back at City Hall”, are subject to demands of the Council members, Department Heads, and the citizenry, and frequently are managing complex negotiations with respect to City services, personnel and vendors. This is not a cushy job for any of them, and I do not begrudge them their pay. You can remark as to how you feel about the quality of the job he is doing, but it is not a job that can be done in “office hours.” These folks earn their money.

    Comment by Kate Quick, — May 31, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  13. On JKW: I can’t imagine that anyone on the current council, including the folks I disagree with, would conduct themselves in public forum the way that John Knox White did, in what came across as a public meltdown. He can’t tolerate disagreement, and my guess is that he’s pissed because he’s losing.

    On the “priorities”: You know and I know and everybody knows that this sales tax measure was dreamed up as a funding mechanism for public safety, and then all the goodie-bag projects were thrown in to draw in some reliable constituencies. It’s not clear what those folks are doing with their money, but not much of it has wound up in this campaign.

    Take a look at the ballot measure title — it’s something like, Public Safety and 911 Emergency Response Measure.

    On Station 3: You’re missing something here — the city itself proposed closing Station 3 in one of its earlier budget presentations, as a means of cutting the FD budget by 5%. So the dire necessity of maintaining Station 3 was not all that dire just a few months ago.

    Comment by dlm — May 31, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  14. So here it is — the presentation from the CC’s budget study session on 2/23/12. See pages 14 and 16. According to this, the city could save $1.127 million by closing Station 3, which is the 5% cut in the AFD budget.

    Also see the much repeated claim (by Lena Tam among others) that the city “saved” $900,000 when it was “annexed into Alameda County Emergency Medical Services District” (on page 11). I don’t think a parcel tax qualifies as “savings”, which is where that $900K is coming from.

    Comment by dlm — May 31, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

  15. MT @jknoxwhite three union contracts signed with City of #Alameda. $70K in savings next year, growing to $329K/year for 3 years. No raises

    Was This Measure C Issue just a Smoke Screen to this…70K Savings on How many Million..

    They Lock the Deal Before Election…RLOL…Nice

    Comment by John — May 31, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

  16. This is same Strategy as Last years contract…..Lock in their Pay then everyone else scramble for the Loose Change……No surprise…Pass the Vaseline and Sand and Pose.

    Comment by John — May 31, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  17. I especially like the explanation that the City Manager’s Office will have some staff costs distributed among other funds (ARRA, CIC) to better reflect where their time is spent. Just another way around transparency. The Manager and Attorney have been hiding their growing staff costs in other funds for at least the last five budget cycles.

    Comment by kjsanderberg — June 6, 2012 @ 12:26 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: