Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 18, 2015

So more drama

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Public Resources — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I don’t often link to the Alameda Sun that much anyway, it’s become a bit, tedious, but OMG, what a response from Planning Board President Mike Henneberry to Eric Cross.  So just to recap, in case you weren’t following the drama, Eric Cross sent in a letter to the editor a (late-ish) complaint about the public safety contract that was approved by three of the five City Council members, including fiscal conservative Frank Matarrese.  Actually, in reading it again, he wasn’t complaining about public safety in general, he was specifically just upset about the Firefighters even though the Police Department got the same deal and set up.

Anyway, Mike Henneberry decided to tackle the topic head first and — at the same time — identified one of the members of the infamous Peets Coffe Klatch which, I am assuming, no longer meets at Peets anymore.

From Mike Henneberry’s piece:

It was great to see the party line from the Alameda morning coffee gang on the Alameda Sun’seditorial page (“Let’s Be Clear on Union’s Influence,” May 28). Eric Cross put to paper what he and his fellow caffeine fans have been muttering around Alameda’s finest coffee hangouts, and occasionally pontificating at City Council for years, now in one easy-to-read document.

What transpired in bargaining between the city and the firefighters, the police officers and fire and police management and authorized by the City Council is illuminating and totally different than the narrative spun by Cross and his comrades. All bargaining units increased their contributions to CALPERS and agreed to prefund retiree medical obligations.

The parties agreed to these changes not because the city is running a deficit or is in financial trouble but to make sure the city can weather future economic storms. You would think this would be cause for celebration in conservative corners. The changes were not celebrated because they don’t meet with the treasurer, auditor and Coffee Party’s narrative. Public safety is supposed to be corrupt and self-serving not well reasoned and forward thinking.

After considering the above, keep in mind that three years ago our financial officers predicted bankruptcy for the city.

The last line is a doozy as well:

Cross attacks respect for public safety as “hero worship.” Maybe he should consider the reasons why kids aspire to be firemen and not bankers.

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49 Comments

  1. Hey, kids are dumb.

    Comment by jack — June 18, 2015 @ 6:40 am

  2. Wow, “Let’s Be Clear . . .”, Cross’s vitriolic piece is a really good example of all he complained about. I’d use it for a Critical Reading/Writing class final, if I was still giving them.

    Now, where can I find Henneberry’s?

    Comment by Li_ — June 18, 2015 @ 7:33 am

  3. Methinks Henneberry doth protest too much. I thought Cross’s piece was respectful and reasonable. Henneberry’ not so much. The City not going bankrupt yet is due to efforts of the Kevins and the inroads they have made in convincing City officials to put the brakes on spending. That does not mean enough has been done to forstall that in the future. Henneberry makes it sound like they don’t know what they’re talking about. He also twisted what Cross said about heros which was meant to be a compliment into a dig. Funny how everyone, no matter how well off, considers their income modest and not out of line with what they do. There’s always someone with more money and benefits to point to and say, “We’re impoverished in comparison.” It reminds me of the folks in Rancho Cordova who are crying foul about having their water cut back, when they were the only area to actually increase usage since drought restrictions went into effect. They feel they are entitled to a green lawn because they have the money to pay for it, even though the rest of the surrounding countryside is worried about having enough to drink. Talk about drickle down economics.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 18, 2015 @ 8:22 am

  4. The Sun comes to Bayport mighty early

    Comment by dave — June 18, 2015 @ 8:42 am

  5. Denise: thanks for pointing out the blatantly obvious: I was trying to say they don’t know what they’re talking about. The lights aren’t off at city hall and despite the weird presentations at the contract meeting at city council the new contracts work and address post retirement benefits for all public safety groups. That includes the police.
    The comment about hero worship of firefighters was not laudatory. Read the next paragraph where he calls them thugs. The obsession with firefighters apparent with Cross and “the Kevins” is odd. Why do they choose to bag on firefighters and ignore the fact that police rank and file, police managers and fire managers all had contracts ratified at the same time?

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 18, 2015 @ 8:58 am

  6. Rancho Cordova is the home of the Franchise Tax Board. No wonder they’re not concerned about wasting [taxpayer] money. FTB spends at least $1000+ in labor time for every $135 penalty it levies for a late PIT return.

    I too, wonder why the APD are always spared the vitriol thrown at the firefighters The Alameda Police Chief has ben the highest paid employee in the city for some time now..

    Comment by vigi — June 18, 2015 @ 9:22 am

  7. Is this the same Eric Cross that was on the board of Bank of Alameda and drove the bank into the ground, resulting in a takeover by Bank of Marin? His letter seems to show he is clueless on campaign finance disclosures that are required of all candidates, including Trish Spencer who received $9,477 in campaign contributions.

    Comment by Chuck — June 18, 2015 @ 11:50 am

  8. My sister lives in Rancho Cordova. People there may be wasting water, but I would hardly describe the place as wealthy. There is something seriously wrong with the narrative.

    Median income for all households in Rancho Cordova in 2013 was $49,872. Median income for all households in Alameda in 2013 $75,212, according to City Data.com

    Comment by JohnB — June 18, 2015 @ 12:07 pm

  9. Henneberry:

    Nowhere does Cross use the word “thug.” Perhaps, though, it’s an apt term, union behavior is typically thuggish, like this guy:

    On November 7, during the strike, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 Communications Director Mike Hennebery was arrested for battery on a Nob Hill Foods store director. Raley’s reported that Hennebery connected one punch to Store Director John Morin’s face, grabbed his phone and threw it to the ground.

    The Director tried asking Hennebery to leave, as Henneberry was illegally trying to collect employee checks. Several employees reportedly told Morin that Henneberry’s presence within the store made them uncomfortable.

    Henneberry was arrested using a a citizen’s arrest, and was booked into Alameda city jail. A police report was filed with Alameda Police Department, case number 12-6218.

    Many of the picketers were actually non-union temps, as well as Safeway and SaveMart employees, according to one source close to the fracas.

    http://calwatchdog.com/2012/11/19/local-supermarket-needs-twinkie-defense/

    Comment by Thug is as thug does — June 18, 2015 @ 1:22 pm

  10. Today’s Sun has no letter from Henneberry at all. Why not?

    Because a supposedly unbiased “concerned citizen” heard from the writer ahead of time and wanted to pile on.

    Most ironic (not to mention funny as hell) that this little act ended up like most union actions: screwed up and off schedule.

    Comment by Dewey will Defeat Truman -- next Thursday — June 18, 2015 @ 1:27 pm

  11. I think I’ve seen the print version of the Sun for several weeks running and didn’t see the op ed from Cross or the anything from Hennenberry in today’s edition. Frankly, I don’t really acre about either about any of it, but as #7 noted Cross erroneously claims that contributions not being transparent. That’s pretty weak. Does he want Council candidates to have a placard on the dais, or maybe wear a sign around their necks?

    Comment by MI — June 18, 2015 @ 6:04 pm

  12. Many contributions are transparent but during the last Election there were a lot of late hit pieces on behalf of Chen and Oddie. You could tell where they were coming from as that was disclosed but there was no way to see where the ‘actual’ money was coming from. http://thealamedan.org/blog/campaign-column-%E2%80%98tis-season

    Comment by frank m — June 18, 2015 @ 6:35 pm

  13. My article ran on page 11 of the Sun on June 4. It’s on the website under “Feature Articles” it’s titled “Public Sector Collective Bargaining Works.”

    Anyone wishing to Google “Henneberry, Nob Hill strike” will be treated an array of articles much more accurate than the one reprinted by number 9 above. Look up the source of the link number 9 posted and you can figure out pretty quickly why they wrote that article the way they did.

    Here’s the definition of thuggery: forcing 1700 Nob Hill workers out on strike for no other reason than to pad corporate profits. Forcing 1700 workers on strike just prior to Thanksgiving and targeting single mothers on the picket line and telling them “We’re going to fire you and take your kids medical benefits before Christmas.” I am proud to represent the members of our union to the fullest of my abilities. Hold back paychecks from members you’re going to get called on it. Try to intimidate members on strike you’re going to get called on it. That’s why members pay dues, for representation. Anyone with half a brain knows what happened at Nob Hill. And I might note you didn’t bother pointing out that the District Attorney’s office dropped all charges “in the interest of justice.”

    Here’s the definition of cowardice: posting on blogs under a made up name. When you post the truth and you can use your real name and not worry about it.

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 18, 2015 @ 9:10 pm

  14. I googled exactly what you requested. I found nothing to indicate the story is untrue. The fact that a politically connected Democrat in Alameda County could get the prosecutor to drop charges “in the interest of justice” hardly means you didn’t punch someone and throw their phone. It just means the prosecutor was disinclined to go to trial especially if the original complainant had decided to change his story or if your allies in UFCW had come forward with different stories. I’m pretty sure something happened or wouldn’t there have been a story about a false police report? I can even conceive of Raley’s management telling an employee to “cool it” to facilitate labor peace. So are you categorically denying that there was an altercation and also stating that you never touched the gentleman’s cell phone or are you just saying that opinions differ as to what exactly happened? Those are two very different things.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 19, 2015 @ 12:09 am

  15. Just to circle back, here’s the link to the entire Mike Henneberry piece on the Alameda Sun, online, which is where I read it. But clearly all of the people claiming it didn’t exist don’t actually read the Sun either, on paper or online.

    Comment by Lauren Do — June 19, 2015 @ 7:19 am

  16. As a retired Teamster (21 yrs.) Mike would be the exact guy who I wanted to represent me in labor negotiations. What bothers me most are the cowards who post things like the above story, and hide behind some fake name.

    Comment by John P. — June 19, 2015 @ 7:28 am

  17. Is the above story not true? Did Mike NOT hit the guy?

    Comment by dave — June 19, 2015 @ 7:29 am

  18. I din’t say the story was fake, I said the poster is a coward. Is that to hard to understand Dave.

    Comment by John P. — June 19, 2015 @ 7:44 am

  19. Number 14: I can assure you there was never prior to, during or after the strike any conspiracy by Nob Hill management to foster “labor peace.” The company threw 1700 of their loyal employees onto the picket line right before Thanksgiving 2012. They hired one of the most notorious security firms around famous for outfitting jack booted thugs and educated managers on threatening and intimidating their own workers. Doesn’t sound like a firm interested in “labor peace.” I guess the only good to come out of this is this time around in negotiations a contract was reached without another strike.

    By the way John P, thanks for the back up.

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 19, 2015 @ 8:24 am

  20. It is difficult to see how workers who freely chose to walk off the job and then went to great lengths to disrupt the store’s business and harass its customers could be considered “loyal” but it’s a free country and you can think outlandish thoughts all you like.

    And since we’re here, did you hit the guy, or not?

    Comment by dave — June 19, 2015 @ 8:45 am

  21. Let’s see what do I want to do today, argue with Dave, watch the U.S. Open, or go to the Warriors celebration??

    Comment by John P. — June 19, 2015 @ 9:13 am

  22. I went back an re-read Eric Cross’ op-ed (May 28 Alameda SUN, http://alamedasun.com/news/let’s-be-clear-unions’-influence), which confirmed my original assessment: the author was less than accurate in his portrayal of the facts. As an attendee at many City Council meetings since 1998, I have observed many changes in the city’s budgetary health and the City Council’s response to fiscal responsibility. I take issue with Cross’ language as follows:

    1. No one “needlessly rush(ed) through a very complicated contract.” It was re-negotiated early–on purpose–over many months, including frequent public discussions at City Council meetings. And the renegotiation took place to reduce the City of Alameda’s long-term pension and retirement benefits liabilities–in direct response to the concerns first expressed by City Auditor Kevin Kearney, and City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy years ago.

    2. Cross insulted the integrity and intelligence of our City Council and our city staff (union members, managers, and negotiators) when he said the City Council “caved in to the prodigious pressure from the firefighters’ union and City Manager John Russo.” I also doubt that he could substantiate that claim.

    3. It is clearly untrue that the City Council “ignored their advice” (the advice of Kevin Kearney and Kevin Kennedy, that is): the fact that the contracts were renegotiated early *specifically in order to reduce the city’s pension and retirement benefits burden* is proof of this. *** Our public safety employees are now voluntarily paying for more of their own retirement benefits as a result of adopting this contract extension early.***

    4. The entire contract renegotiation was an exercise in what Cross claimed it was not, an act taken “within the realm of reasonable discourse and compromise… (recognizing) the larger context in which the future obligations created by these contracts will dangerously weigh down the city.” Why does he mis-characterize the entire process by 180 degrees?

    By chance, I happened to speak to both of them within the past week: both Kevins are satisfied that the City of Alameda IS doing better fiscally now–because the City Council and staff heard and acted on their concerns. I agree with them that we are not out of the financial woods yet with retirement benefits, but the very contract that Eric Cross complains about is a major step in reducing the city’s long-term employee retirement liabilities.

    Why would Eric Cross take issue with major progress in reducing the city’s financial liabilities like this? The only reasonable conclusion can draw is that he is in fact anti-union (not surprising for anyone associated with banks and similar financial institutions) and cloaked that sentiment in a “moderate Democrat” disguise. Perhaps he should re-register as a Libertarian or a Republican if he wants to be “transparent” about his own politics.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 19, 2015 @ 9:17 am

  23. 22: Just hit him, John P….. 😉

    Comment by Jon Spangler — June 19, 2015 @ 9:18 am

  24. What is there to argue, John? Is he NOT free to think as he likes?

    Comment by dave — June 19, 2015 @ 9:30 am

  25. #22….I don’t know Eric Cross but who are you to say that he should re-register as a Libertarian or Republican…Not all Democrats think like you do….and as I’ve said before being a Democrat in this town is very difficult …..and I consider myself a liberal…..

    Comment by J.E.A. — June 19, 2015 @ 10:33 am

  26. 20: Unions in the United States are governed by an elaborate web of laws that are enforced by the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor. Among the prohibitions under these laws is a proviso that union leaders cannot force members to go on strike. It is fashionable among critics of unions to spout off about rogue union leaders calling strikes and forcing unwilling workers to picket. Just another right wing fantasy. The reality is workers vote on whether or not withhold their labor. In this case the members at Nob Hill voted by 98% to go out. And by the way, just because a person sticks up for themselves and their families doesn’t mean they don’t love their job and like the company they work for. If that were the case they could have taken the premium pay being offered to work behind the line.
    Just like I wouldn’t expect Cross, Kennedy & Kearney to care about whether all the public safety unions accepted a contract that pays down post-retirement benefits, because it ruins their story about greedy firefighters driving the train to financial Armageddon I wouldn’t expect a bond trader to know anything about unions.

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 19, 2015 @ 10:39 am

  27. Did you hit him?

    Comment by dave — June 19, 2015 @ 10:55 am

  28. Mike, I think you hit him. Now the question is if you paid him off. Did the person you hit (or just tell us outright that there was no altercation) receive compensation either for the cell phone or the physical contact (from anyone – you, your insurance, workman’s comp, the union, the union’s insurance). Just tell us it never happened because it sure sounds like it happened and it was swept away because you are politically connected and generally not a criminal. DId you agree to anger management, pretrial diversion? Sure seems like it happened or where is the charge of a false police report or kidnapping. MI and John P still harass Adam G. about a disputed story from an unreliable Democratic Club member (and there was no arrest even) and you are getting a total pass (aren’t you on the Democratic Club executive board?). Seems like hypocrisy to me.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 19, 2015 @ 12:24 pm

  29. ” If that were the case they could have taken the premium pay being offered to work behind the line.” Except they might get popped in the nose and then see the perpetrator get off scot free “in the interests of justice”. Also, if they are union members, they can be fined 100% of their pay by the union if they cross a picket line.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 19, 2015 @ 12:27 pm

  30. 28 & 29: Wrong (probably intentionally) again on points too numerous to mention. Your utterance of hypocrisy is hilarious particularly in terms of Gillit & the Democratic Club.
    By the way might want to check and see what the law say about unions fining individuals for crossing picket lines. Just add it to your list of non sequiturs smart guy.

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 19, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

  31. Did you hit him?

    Comment by dave — June 19, 2015 @ 1:14 pm

  32. 31: The public record, including court records, are free and transparent. Knock yourself out, so to speak.

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 19, 2015 @ 1:26 pm

  33. It’s a yes or no question.

    Comment by dave — June 19, 2015 @ 1:30 pm

  34. But the private records aren’t. You still haven’t answered the question. I actually know the law on unions and crossing picket lines. Care to elaborate where I am wrong.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 19, 2015 @ 1:37 pm

  35. So Mike, google thinks this is YOUR constitution, http://www.iww.org/texts/UFCW.html . It makes clear that crossing a picket line established by the Union is a violation. Members can be put on trail and fined for violations. So unless the law has changed and these contracts are no longer enforceable then you are just blowing smoke.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 19, 2015 @ 2:30 pm

  36. Isn’t the mention of the unfortunate Adam Gillitt Alamdeda’s farcical version of Godwin’s Law?

    Comment by BC — June 19, 2015 @ 2:54 pm

  37. 35: you bet crossing a picket line is a violation. It’s a violation of the trust of your fellow workers and on from there. As far as fines though there is a lot more involved than a surface reading of the UFCW international constitution. You can add this to the list of things you think you know everything about and know next to nothing.

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 19, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

  38. 34: were you studying up in order to cross one?

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 19, 2015 @ 3:17 pm

  39. Why so evasive? Did you hit him?

    Comment by dave — June 19, 2015 @ 3:40 pm

  40. 39: the public record speaks for itself. I don’t you any answers.

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 19, 2015 @ 4:41 pm

  41. Post 9 has public record that says you hit him, but you say that’s inaccurate. Did you hit him or not?

    Comment by dave — June 19, 2015 @ 5:17 pm

  42. I think at this point it’s clear he hit him. The public record indicates that he hit him. He did not get convicted of assault. The public record does not reflect how he avoided a conviction when he DID hit him. BC, I see your feeling better but still mentally ill.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 19, 2015 @ 5:30 pm

  43. 41 & 42: WAAAAH!

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 19, 2015 @ 9:01 pm

  44. Ha! Like I care what a thug who hits people thinks.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 19, 2015 @ 9:11 pm

  45. 44: Draw your own conclusions on that but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re a coward hiding behind a made up name on a blog.

    Comment by Mike Henneberry — June 19, 2015 @ 11:07 pm

  46. That’s because you already have shown you’re willing to resort to actual physical violence. Why would I want to risk that when you appear to have the “pull” to get away with it.

    Comment by people can be unreasonable ------- — June 19, 2015 @ 11:44 pm

  47. Boy I’m glad I went out to the Corica, chipped a little, hit some balls, came home listened to the U.S. Open, then watched the recording of the Parade. All in all a great day. What did you guy’s do.?? never mind.

    Comment by John P. — June 20, 2015 @ 7:47 am

  48. Mike: You said post 9 was inaccurate, what part of it is wrong? Let’s break it down:

    First section. IS date wrong? Number of punches? Is Store director’s name wrong? Or did you simply not hit the guy?

    ———————
    On November 7, during the strike, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5 Communications Director Mike Hennebery was arrested for battery on a Nob Hill Foods store director. Raley’s reported that Hennebery connected one punch to Store Director John Morin’s face, grabbed his phone and threw it to the ground.
    ———-

    Second section. Was your reason for being in the store different from what is stated? Did the employees in fact celebrate your presence instead of expressing concern?

    ——————-
    The Director tried asking Hennebery to leave, as Henneberry was illegally trying to collect employee checks. Several employees reportedly told Morin that Henneberry’s presence within the store made them uncomfortable.
    —————

    Third section. what is in accurate here? Case number incorrect? Different jail?

    ——————-
    Henneberry was arrested using a a citizen’s arrest, and was booked into Alameda city jail. A police report was filed with Alameda Police Department, case number 12-6218.
    ——————–

    Last section. I saw many Safeway and other employees on the picket lines myself, and in any case there is nothing wrong with them being there, so I ask, what is inaccurate here?

    —————————–
    Many of the picketers were actually non-union temps, as well as Safeway and SaveMart employees, according to one source close to the fracas.
    ——————————-

    If the public record is wrong, please tell us the real story.

    Comment by dave — June 20, 2015 @ 8:32 am

  49. someone needs a day off.

    Comment by John P. — June 20, 2015 @ 11:14 am


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