Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 17, 2015

The girl can’t help it

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Crime — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

On Tuesday night, Steven Tavares at the East Bay Citizen began tweeting out a link to an article about one of Mayor Trish Spencer’s nominees to the Commission on Disability Issues.  Of course this is not the first time Trish Spencer has come under scrutiny for questionable appointments.  And I’ll point out, again, that her pick for the Open Government Commission was inappropriate given his statements about the Sunshine Ordinance and the Brown Act.  Not to mention her choice for the Rent Review Advisory Committee’s previous comments about low income housing and role in attempting to bring a moratorium against subsidized housing in Alameda.

But this one might be the most puzzling of all of Trish Spencer’s nominations and her insistence on standing by her nomination.  Although the video is not up right now, I have confirmed with the City Clerk that the vote — after this nominee was bifurcated from the rest of the nominees — went 2 – 2 -1.  Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog voted for the nominee.  Marilyn Ezzy-Ashcraft and Frank Matarrese voted against the nominee.  And Jim Oddie abstained.  I’m not sure why Jim Oddie abstained, I’ll have to wait for the video.

True to form, Tony “elections have consequences” Daysog decided that the right thing to do was vote in favor of a nominee who admitted that she was in an office she shouldn’t have been in using a computer she hasn’t been authorized to use.  And in the face of forensic computer evidence that she opened the personal email of the person whose computer she was using.  “Elections have consequences” means that you are a rubber stamp and are unable to use your best judgment.

Interestingly enough on EB Citizen, the former nominee denied the facts stated by Steven Tavares (anonymous comment at 9:41 am):

​”Gottstein said she had a key procured from a member of city board that uses the facility for meetings, she said.” This is a false statement. Once again, Steven Tavares has written an article about someone without bothering to actually interview that person. This is especially peculiar because, last night at the Alameda City Council meeting, Tavares was sitting on the other side of the aisle from Carol Gottstein, until 1:30 AM, when the meeting ended. Despite two breaks in the meeting, at no time did Tavares make any attempt to speak to Gottstein, before, during, or after. So, come on, Tavares, what kind of journalism is this?
While the building is nominally called City Hall West, city offices make up only a quarter of this old NAS admin building. The rest of it is still being used by the Navy. Carol Gottstein has served on the Alameda NAS Restoration Advisory Board for five years. The NAS Information Repository has been located in this building since before the Navy decommissioned the base in 1997, and it is always open to RAB members, even when City Hall West offices are closed. On Feb 21, Gottstein was rousted, without cause, from this NAS Information Repository by APD. She was not found “inside City Hall West offices”, as Tavares incorrectly reports.

The only problem with this contention is that the written statement to the police by the nominee states that she did say she was in City Hall West and was discovered by the redacted name in a City Hall West office and that she has borrowed a key from someone else on February 16.   The decision to talk about another incident on February 21 is the equivalent of “hey, what’s that over there!”:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 2.19.28 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 2.19.57 PM

So here are some the juiciest parts from the narrative from the police report:

On February 16, 2015:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 2.52.21 PM

Even after the nominee was caught on February 16, 2015 she was found in the City Hall West offices again, per the police report:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 2.58.16 PM

And then what happened when she did get logged on to the computer:

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.04.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 3.04.59 PM

Before anyone starts in on “why is a City employee accessing their personal email on a City computer.”  First, you can only say this if you (1) have a job and (2) submit your six month browsing history from your work computer.  Once we’ve determined that you’ve never ever surfed to your personal email on your work computer, then you are eligible to cast the first stone.

Also, also on EB Citizen’s comment section someone else tried to justify the fact that the nominee was using the computer because she “relied” on it and Mastick Senior Center and the Library were both closed on that holiday:

Anyone who cares to read the full packet (Steven? Will you publish and provide a link) will see the answer to the question of why Gottstein was using the computer – the library and mastick center were closed over the long weekend. Gottstein relies on those facilities for computer access.

She printed some medical records she needed printed – a police forensic analysis confirmed that was the extent of it.

I’m not sure how that justifies the nominee’s actions, but clearly other commenters were not buying the “she needed to use the computers to print up medical records” and of course surf many sites including the blog Alameda Merry Go Round, the site American Catholic, and clicking through probably every #SNL40 photo on Yahoo’s clickbait photo thing.

Fun fact, a blog post on this site with the comments were part of the police record!

Now, I realize that some people — particularly those feeling protective of Trish Spencer — may be thinking, “no big deal, just a little old lady sneaking into a closed City office on a holiday weekend to use a computer.”  But, here’s the thing.  Had this been anyone but a little old lady, like say, a young Black man doing the same — sneaking into a closed City office on a holiday weekend to use a computer — would the reaction from the City have been the same?  Would the reaction from the nominee’s and Trish Spencer’s defenders have been the same?  I’ll point out that both of the City employees marked as the victims in this case wanted to press charges because I can’t imagine how violating it must feel to have someone go through your files and your desk, get caught and the result is nothing more than a hand slap.  To boot, the Mayor (and Tony Daysog) attempts to reward the bad behavior by attempting to place her on a city commission.  Sometimes we laugh at how wacky this city is, but this incident, the reaction from the City — the police, by the way, did a thorough investigation job — and the result from Trish Spencer is really puzzling and a bit disturbing.

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56 Comments

  1. I feel sorry for the good people of Alameda. They have a mayor who has constantly shown extremely bad judgment since taking office. And now she has reached a new low by pushing a nomination of a friend/supporter which lead to humiliating information regarding the nominee to be published. (With friends like that who needs enemies) Spencer has proven she will do what she wants, how she wants and everything and everyone else be damned, including the City and her friends. And her flunky Daysog will back her. Hopefully next year the people of Alameda will get rid of one problem person.

    Comment by Eyeroll — September 17, 2015 @ 7:48 am

  2. Well written blog Lauren. The actions highlighted in this blog are disturbing, though I would like to hear from Mayor Spencer directly before I make a judgment. What is becoming more and more clear is the weakness of some council members.

    Comment by nyborn2013 — September 17, 2015 @ 8:09 am

  3. I am reminded of the good old days when a council member and a “journalist” broke into an office at City Hall to gain access to Joey Camicia’s file cabinet and stole things from it. He was a council member and things were pretty dicey with the council in those days. It was in the local newspaper. They actually took the purloined material to the newspaper to show “evidence” of their claim that Mr. Camicia had passed a note during a council meeting. When I watched the Council meeting on Tuesday night I wondered why Dr. Gottstein’s appointment was voted down and was speculating on possible reasons, but this one had been kept pretty quiet.

    Comment by Kate Quick — September 17, 2015 @ 8:23 am

  4. In her denial to Tavares, Gottstein stated she was entitled to be in the offices due to her involvement in the Restoration Advisory Board. I’m hopeful Tavares or someone else will be at the next RAB meeting to ask the Navy directly about those assertions. Of course if she is lying about that (and she is) then she will have no choice but to resign from the RAB. What is most troubling about this, is this the the third member of Spencer’s inner circle (Tremain, Peterson, and now Gottstein) who practice the politics of bullying and threats to try and get their way and have either broken the law or come right to the edge of the law. It isn’t funny when Donald Trump does it, and it certainly isn’t funny when Spencer does it. At some point, just like with other corrupt and/or stupid politicians, it is going to catch up to them.

    Comment by notadave — September 17, 2015 @ 9:11 am

  5. Funny, I was sitting two seats away and later next to C.G. and she didn’t give me a big atta-boy for fulfilling my civic duty and suffering through hours in chambers to speak on one item in agenda, despite showing up late to reduce the wait. On this blog she regularly brow beats anybody who chooses to stay home and watch remotely. She seems a little too fond of spending time at City Hall.

    When I first got there they were voting , and two speakers gave testimonials to her great character. It seemed odd, but now I get it. “vigi” or “Alameda Vigilante”. Really accurate.

    We now have clear precedent for council not rubber stamping mayor’s nominations. Did Spencer’s nominations for Open Gov. Commission and Rent Review Advisory get appointed?

    Comment by MI — September 17, 2015 @ 9:21 am

  6. Open Government does not require Council approval because it’s one pick per City Council member. RRAC is also at the pleasure of the Mayor without need for Council approval.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 17, 2015 @ 9:23 am

  7. good analysis but why was race injected into the last paragraph? speculating about how it would have been handled if a black were involved is unnecessary

    Comment by AJ — September 17, 2015 @ 9:53 am

  8. Because race matters and incidents like this still happen. Trespass and identity theft are serious issues, but somehow taken less seriously because the perpetrator was female and white.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 17, 2015 @ 10:01 am

  9. Gottstein is 59 according to the police reports. Since when does that qualify as being a “little old lady?” There are current councilmembers who are older than 59. Maybe Jim Oddie abstained because he didn’t get his way at the last council meeting on the mayoral nominees, but it seems like a no-brainer to vote down the nomination of a mentally incompetent person with a lack of ethics.

    Comment by BarbK — September 17, 2015 @ 10:28 am

  10. 1, 7, 8: As a long-time supporter of Marie Gilmore, I have been trying to give Mayor Spencer the benefit of the doubt since her election, hoping that she would “grow into” the position and its responsibilities. Her picks for words and commissions do not offer much support for a good outcome.

    Appointing someone to the Open Government Commission who clearly does not understand or agree with the Brown Act, California’s cornerstone “sunshine law, was a major error on her part. (Since Spencer is an attorney, I would expect her to at least make sure that her appointees understood the relevant laws concerning their future responsibilities.)

    While I respect and appreciate Carol Gottstein’s many contributions to Almeda’s health and welfare as a member of the Restoration Advisory Board–a body whose hard work and research have been disregarded by city officials, including past city councils–her unauthorized entry into City Hall West as well as her illegal use of city computers are a serious problem that should have eliminated her from consideration for positions of responsibility. (The fact that Gottstein contests the allegations is another problematic point.)

    Lauren’s use of gender and ethnicity to point out the inequality of justice and the unbalanced standards of law enforcement is entirely reasonable: the laws are *not* applied fairly and equitably in our country: the problems of Ferguson, New York City, Watts, and Oakland extend to our own community. If you doubt this is true, read:

    http://newjimcrow.com

    Should Gottstein have been arrested for her crimes? Perhaps not. But had she been young and male–of any race–she probably would have been.

    I am saddened and disappointed that Mayor Spencer’s multiple appointments of inappropriate nominees to city boards and commissions does not inspire confidence in her leadership or judgment. I wish I had sufficient justification to reach a different conclusion, but I do not.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — September 17, 2015 @ 10:33 am

  11. Lauren’s post is a good example of why we have Due Process, and not Mob Rule. Lauren makes it sound like I was viewing kiddie porn on a city computer. I am no more humiliated than Mike Henneberry is after his Raley’s strike incident. Or John Russo after OPD caught him driving with his children not seat-belted in the back of his convertible. I did what I had to do out of desperation. I am not perfect. Is anyone? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    ​If you hate Jesus, you are not going to like my post. But I don’t think Jesus would condemn me for what I did:​ http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/by-sections/jesus-defends-disciples-who-pluck-grain-on-the-sabbath.html A starving traveler will eat the food he finds, even if there is a Do Not Touch sign posted on it.

    Computers are a tool. I don’t own one, and I am still learning how to use them. As you may already know, for reasons related to my spinal condition and finances, I find it both physically and financially prohibitive to maintain a home computer with printer etc. Therefore I use public computers exclusively. Which until then had more than met my needs.

    It is now almost impossible to manage one’s affairs without Internet access. When the State of California gives you 72 hours to comply with a deadline, it doesn’t want to hear excuses about why you were late.

    I have been having a very hard time getting badly needed health services for my disabling medical condition from my Kaiser health plan. My grievances have been escalated to the level of an Independent Medical Review (IMR) with the ​California ​Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC).​

    ​Since DMHC is a state agency, Jim Oddie has been helping me, via Rob Bonta’s office, to try and get a response from DMHC. Yay, Jim Oddie!

    Jim Oddie is Rob Bonta’s District Director, and Rob Bonta is the Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Jim Oddie’s office has been helping me deal with this state agency. Even though I will disagree with his positions at times, our district is ​fortunate to have the leader of this powerful committee as our State Assemblyman.

    Basically, services I have received for decades from Kaiser were abruptly and inappropriately discontinued. (despite premiums of over $14,000/year). I have filed all the appropriate grievances with KP and DMHC.​ ​I​t has been over a YEAR since I first filed a complaint with DMHC about my Medical Records not being transmitted to me by Kaiser.​

    On the Friday before the 3-day weekend in question, the DMHC attorney in charge of my case, finally sent the medical records he needed me to review as an attachment to an email. This email did not arrive until after the Alameda library closed on Friday.

    According to DMHC, this matter would be handled as an Expedited Review, which by ​State ​law, gives me only 72 hours to respond. There is no extension except in cases of a change of the patient’s condition constituting a medical emergency. I did not want to lose my chance for an IMR by missing the deadline.

    However, when I went to the library computers over that weekend, I could not open the attachment to the email. I could open part of it, but there were many more pages. Library computers are notoriously temperamental. Mastick would not be open until the Tuesday after Presidents’ Day.

    How was I going to open my attachment and review it and draft a response by Monday night? I did not know.

    Yes, I was at the City Hall West building on the Monday holiday.​​ In the past, it has been possible to check out keys to the building from Community Development, ​but this has to be done on Thursday.​ Historically, I also knew that the building was often left unlocked at one or more doors, so that a key wasn’t needed. Apparently, many persons have keys to the building who use it for various purposes.​​ It was the only quiet place I could think of that might be open, for me to assemble the materials for my IMR.​

    ​As usual, the building was open. So were some of the interior offices. ​It is not unusual for the ​Public Works department to leave their office doors open, the lights on, even the fans going, after the close of business on Thursday. And I mean WIDE open, not just ajar. I needed a stapler. I went looking for one.

    All the computers were dark. I have no clue how to log on to a computer without a user name and password, so I didn’t even try. But when I bumped into the screen of the station nearest the door, the computer came on, logged in already. It must have been asleep, and left on since the last use on the previous Thursday?​ I didn’t know or care whose computer it was. I saw an instant solution to accessing my inaccessible medical record attachment. At least I could read it, and there would be no harm done. However, when I typed Gmail into the search box, it opened up the email of the employee. I did not intend this: he must have forgotten to sign out. I had to sign out of his account so I could sign into my own.

    I had no interest in the employee’s personal mail or any other affairs. I don’t know his user name or his password. You don’t need either of these to sign out of an account.

    I was so intent on ​printing my medical records​, I was startled when Gail Payne opened the door. She started calling the police before she even set foot inside the office, and she identified me by name to APD, without even making an attempt to talk to me. I guess she had a right to, but since we had spoken during several community meetings, I was surprised she didn’t wait for an explanation.

    I went to a conference room down the hall​, where I had set up my stuff to work on. I waited a decent interval, but the APD did not show up, so I left. APD made no attempt to contact me, ​until Feb 26, when an officer came to my home and took my statement.

    I apologized for using the city computers without permission and promised not to do it again. This was a desperate situation for me, and at least I was able to comply with the deadlines of the DMHC and get my IMR. i don’t advocate anyone doing what I did. I wish I hadn’t had to.

    I view this situation as a man who needs to steal a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. (I know that sounds corny, but it is the same principle). No harm was intended; no harm was done. I did not access any City documents.​ I did not go thru any files that were not my own. ​

    I was not arrested, booked, or indicted and I have not been sued. I was asked to come in and discuss matters with the Alameda County Deputy District Attorney, which I did at the end of April 2015.​ According to the letter I received from this DA, my accusers were also supposed to show up as well. They did not.​ I believed the matter to be closed.

    The week after the incident, I shared everything with Trish Spencer. I also informed John Russo every time I needed to attend a RAB meeting. I found him to be understanding. Someone who works in Public Works began calling the police every time they saw my car in the City Hall West parking lot, so that I was accosted by APD in the Navy Information Repository even when I was there Mon -Thurs between noon and 6 PM. I don’t know who this person is, because they never confronted me. But you don’t have to be a Person of Color to be harassed by the police in Alameda. [maybe someone is anti-Semitic…I do have a Jewish name…]

    Until I arrived at the council meeting on Tuesday, I did not know John Knox White had distributed his 39 page packet to council. The two council members who voted against me did not even have the courtesy to call me and share their concerns before voting. They could have done so. Tony Daysog DID phone me and evidently I was able to allay his concerns, since he voted in my favor.​

    I do find it remarkable that the person voicing his outrage over my trespassing into a city office, the new President of our Planning Board, was himself an open advocate of the Occupy Oakland demonstrations, which caused a great deal of property damage. He proudly stood in solidarity with th​ose trespassers​.

    This new Planning Board president has no problem serving with, indeed being nominated by, Mike Henneberry, who according to the 11/15/2012 Alameda Sun Front Page, was arrested and taken to Santa Rita Prison, before being released and the charges dropped. Mike’s incident has not interfered with his service on the Planning Board.

    Well, double standards are nothing new in Alameda.​ So shoot me. ​

    Carol Gottstein

    Comment by carol — September 17, 2015 @ 10:58 am

  12. Lauren’s post is a good example of why we have Due Process, and not Mob Rule. Lauren makes it sound like I was viewing kiddie porn on a city computer. I am no more humiliated than Mike Henneberry is after his Raley’s strike incident. Or John Russo after OPD caught him driving with his children not seat-belted in the back of his convertible. I did what I had to do out of desperation. I am not perfect. Is anyone? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    ​If you hate Jesus, you are not going to like my post. But I don’t think Jesus would condemn me for what I did:​ http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/by-sections/jesus-defends-disciples-who-pluck-grain-on-the-sabbath.html A starving traveler will eat the food he finds, even if there is a Do Not Touch sign posted on it.

    Computers are a tool. I don’t own one, and I am still learning how to use them. As you may already know, for reasons related to my spinal condition and finances, I find it both physically and financially prohibitive to maintain a home computer with printer etc. Therefore I use public computers exclusively. Which until then had more than met my needs.

    It is now almost impossible to manage one’s affairs without Internet access. When the State of California gives you 72 hours to comply with a deadline, it doesn’t want to hear excuses about why you were late.

    I have been having a very hard time getting badly needed health services for my disabling medical condition from my Kaiser health plan. My grievances have been escalated to the level of an Independent Medical Review (IMR) with the ​California ​Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC).​

    ​Since DMHC is a state agency, Jim Oddie has been helping me, via Rob Bonta’s office, to try and get a response from DMHC. Yay, Jim Oddie!

    Jim Oddie is Rob Bonta’s District Director, and Rob Bonta is the Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Jim Oddie’s office has been helping me deal with this state agency. Even though I will disagree with his positions at times, our district is ​fortunate to have the leader of this powerful committee as our State Assemblyman.

    Basically, services I have received for decades from Kaiser were abruptly and inappropriately discontinued. (despite premiums of over $14,000/year). I have filed all the appropriate grievances with KP and DMHC.​ ​I​t has been over a YEAR since I first filed a complaint with DMHC about my Medical Records not being transmitted to me by Kaiser.​

    On the Friday before the 3-day weekend in question, the DMHC attorney in charge of my case, finally sent the medical records he needed me to review as an attachment to an email. This email did not arrive until after the Alameda library closed on Friday.

    According to DMHC, this matter would be handled as an Expedited Review, which by ​State ​law, gives me only 72 hours to respond. There is no extension except in cases of a change of the patient’s condition constituting a medical emergency. I did not want to lose my chance for an IMR by missing the deadline.

    However, when I went to the library computers over that weekend, I could not open the attachment to the email. I could open part of it, but there were many more pages. Library computers are notoriously temperamental. Mastick would not be open until the Tuesday after Presidents’ Day.

    How was I going to open my attachment and review it and draft a response by Monday night? I did not know.

    Yes, I was at the City Hall West building on the Monday holiday.​​ In the past, it has been possible to check out keys to the building from Community Development, ​but this has to be done on Thursday.​ Historically, I also knew that the building was often left unlocked at one or more doors, so that a key wasn’t needed. Apparently, many persons have keys to the building who use it for various purposes.​​ It was the only quiet place I could think of that might be open, for me to assemble the materials for my IMR.​

    ​As usual, the building was open. So were some of the interior offices. ​It is not unusual for the ​Public Works department to leave their office doors open, the lights on, even the fans going, after the close of business on Thursday. And I mean WIDE open, not just ajar. I needed a stapler. I went looking for one.

    All the computers were dark. I have no clue how to log on to a computer without a user name and password, so I didn’t even try. But when I bumped into the screen of the station nearest the door, the computer came on, logged in already. It must have been asleep, and left on since the last use on the previous Thursday?​ I didn’t know or care whose computer it was. I saw an instant solution to accessing my inaccessible medical record attachment. At least I could read it, and there would be no harm done. However, when I typed Gmail into the search box, it opened up the email of the employee. I did not intend this: he must have forgotten to sign out. I had to sign out of his account so I could sign into my own.

    I had no interest in the employee’s personal mail or any other affairs. I don’t know his user name or his password. You don’t need either of these to sign out of an account.

    I was so intent on ​printing my medical records​, I was startled when Gail Payne opened the door. She started calling the police before she even set foot inside the office, and she identified me by name to APD, without even making an attempt to talk to me. I guess she had a right to, but since we had spoken during several community meetings, I was surprised she didn’t wait for an explanation.

    I went to a conference room down the hall​, where I had set up my stuff to work on. I waited a decent interval, but the APD did not show up, so I left. APD made no attempt to contact me, ​until Feb 26, when an officer came to my home and took my statement.

    I apologized for using the city computers without permission and promised not to do it again. This was a desperate situation for me, and at least I was able to comply with the deadlines of the DMHC and get my IMR. i don’t advocate anyone doing what I did. I wish I hadn’t had to.

    I view this situation as a man who needs to steal a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. (I know that sounds corny, but it is the same principle). No harm was intended; no harm was done. I did not access any City documents.​ I did not go thru any files that were not my own. ​

    I was not arrested, booked, or indicted and I have not been sued. I was asked to come in and discuss matters with the Alameda County Deputy District Attorney, which I did at the end of April 2015.​ According to the letter I received from this DA, my accusers were also supposed to show up as well. They did not.​ I believed the matter to be closed.

    The week after the incident, I shared everything with Trish Spencer. I also informed John Russo every time I needed to attend a RAB meeting. I found him to be understanding.

    Someone who works in Public Works began calling the police every time they saw my car in the City Hall West parking lot, so that I was accosted by APD in the Navy Information Repository even when I was there Mon -Thurs between noon and 6 PM. I don’t know who this person is, because they never confronted me. But you don’t have to be a Person of Color to be harassed by the police in Alameda. [maybe someone is anti-Semitic…I do have a Jewish name…]

    Until I arrived at the council meeting on Tuesday, I did not know John Knox White had distributed his 39 page packet to council. The two council members who voted against me did not even have the courtesy to call me and share their concerns before voting. They could have done so. Tony Daysog DID phone me and evidently I was able to allay his concerns, since he voted in my favor.​

    I do find it remarkable that the person voicing his outrage over my trespassing into a city office, the new President of our Planning Board, was himself an open advocate of the Occupy Oakland demonstrations, which caused a great deal of property damage. He proudly stood in solidarity with th​em​.

    This new Planning Board president has no problem serving with, indeed being nominated by, Mike Henneberry, who according to the 11/15/2012 Alameda Sun Front Page, was arrested and taken to Santa Rita Prison, before being released and the charges dropped. Mike’s incident has not interfered with his service on the Planning Board.

    Well, double standards are nothing new in Alameda.​ So shoot me. ​

    Carol Gottstein

    Comment by cfg — September 17, 2015 @ 11:01 am

  13. Lauren’s post is a good example of why we have Due Process, and not Mob Rule. Lauren makes it sound like I was viewing kiddie porn on a city computer. I am no more humiliated than Mike Henneberry is after his Raley’s strike incident. Or John Russo after OPD caught him driving with his children not seat-belted in the back of his convertible. I did what I had to do out of desperation. I am not perfect. Is anyone? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    ​If you hate Jesus, you are not going to like my post. But I don’t think Jesus would condemn me for what I did:​ http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/by-sections/jesus-defends-disciples-who-pluck-grain-on-the-sabbath.html A starving traveler will eat the food he finds, even if there is a Do Not Touch sign posted on it.

    Computers are a tool. I don’t own one, and I am still learning how to use them. As you may already know, for reasons related to my spinal condition and finances, I find it both physically and financially prohibitive to maintain a home computer with printer etc. Therefore I use public computers exclusively. Which until then had more than met my needs.

    It is now almost impossible to manage one’s affairs without Internet access. When the State of California gives you 72 hours to comply with a deadline, it doesn’t want to hear excuses about why you were late.

    I have been having a very hard time getting badly needed health services for my disabling medical condition from my Kaiser health plan. My grievances have been escalated to the level of an Independent Medical Review (IMR) with the ​California ​Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC).​

    ​Since DMHC is a state agency, Jim Oddie has been helping me, via Rob Bonta’s office, to try and get a response from DMHC. Yay, Jim Oddie!

    Jim Oddie is Rob Bonta’s District Director, and Rob Bonta is the Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Jim Oddie’s office has been helping me deal with this state agency. Even though I will disagree with his positions at times, our district is ​fortunate to have the leader of this powerful committee as our State Assemblyman.

    Basically, services I have received for decades from Kaiser were abruptly and inappropriately discontinued. (despite premiums of over $14,000/year). I have filed all the appropriate grievances with KP and DMHC.​ ​I​t has been over a YEAR since I first filed a complaint with DMHC about my Medical Records not being transmitted to me by Kaiser.​

    On the Friday before the 3-day weekend in question, the DMHC attorney in charge of my case, finally sent the medical records he needed me to review as an attachment to an email. This email did not arrive until after the Alameda library closed on Friday.

    According to DMHC, this matter would be handled as an Expedited Review, which by ​State ​law, gives me only 72 hours to respond. There is no extension except in cases of a change of the patient’s condition constituting a medical emergency. I did not want to lose my chance for an IMR by missing the deadline.

    However, when I went to the library computers over that weekend, I could not open the attachment to the email. I could open part of it, but there were many more pages. Library computers are notoriously temperamental. Mastick would not be open until the Tuesday after Presidents’ Day.

    How was I going to open my attachment and review it and draft a response by Monday night? I did not know.

    Yes, I was at the City Hall West building on the Monday holiday.​​ In the past, it has been possible to check out keys to the building from Community Development, ​but this has to be done on Thursday.​ Historically, I also knew that the building was often left unlocked at one or more doors, so that a key wasn’t needed. Apparently, many persons have keys to the building who use it for various purposes.​​ It was the only quiet place I could think of that might be open, for me to assemble the materials for my IMR.​

    ​As usual, the building was open. So were some of the interior offices. ​It is not unusual for the ​Public Works department to leave their office doors open, the lights on, even the fans going, after the close of business on Thursday. And I mean WIDE open, not just ajar. I needed a stapler. I went looking for one.

    All the computers were dark. I have no clue how to log on to a computer without a user name and password, so I didn’t even try. But when I bumped into the screen of the station nearest the door, the computer came on, logged in already. It must have been asleep, and left on since the last use on the previous Thursday?​ I didn’t know or care whose computer it was. I saw an instant solution to accessing my inaccessible medical record attachment. At least I could read it, and there would be no harm done. However, when I typed Gmail into the search box, it opened up the email of the employee. I did not intend this: he must have forgotten to sign out. I had to sign out of his account so I could sign into my own.

    I had no interest in the employee’s personal mail or any other affairs. I don’t know his user name or his password. You don’t need either of these to sign out of an account.

    I was so intent on ​printing my medical records​, I was startled when Gail Payne opened the door. She started calling the police before she even set foot inside the office, and she identified me by name to APD, without even making an attempt to talk to me. I guess she had a right to, but since we had spoken during several community meetings, I was surprised she didn’t wait for an explanation.

    I went to a conference room down the hall​, where I had set up my stuff to work on. I waited a decent interval, but the APD did not show up, so I left. APD made no attempt to contact me, ​until Feb 26, when an officer came to my home and took my statement.

    I apologized for using the city computers without permission and promised not to do it again. This was a desperate situation for me, and at least I was able to comply with the deadlines of the DMHC and get my IMR. i don’t advocate anyone doing what I did. I wish I hadn’t had to.

    I view this situation as a man who needs to steal a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. (I know that sounds corny, but it is the same principle). No harm was intended; no harm was done. I did not access any City documents.​ I did not go thru any files that were not my own. ​

    I was not arrested, booked, or indicted and I have not been sued. I was asked to come in and discuss matters with the Alameda County Deputy District Attorney, which I did at the end of April 2015.​ According to the letter I received from this DA, my accusers were also supposed to show up as well. They did not.​ I believed the matter to be closed.

    The week after the incident, I shared everything with Trish Spencer. I also informed John Russo every time I needed to attend a RAB meeting. I found him to be understanding. Someone who works in Public Works began calling the police every time they saw my car in the City Hall West parking lot, so that I was accosted by APD in the Navy Information Repository even when I was there Mon -Thurs between noon and 6 PM. I don’t know who this person is, because they never confronted me. But you don’t have to be a Person of Color to be harassed by the police in Alameda. [maybe someone is anti-Semitic…I do have a Jewish name…]

    Until I arrived at the council meeting on Tuesday, I did not know John Knox White had distributed his 39 page packet to council. The two council members who voted against me did not even have the courtesy to call me and share their concerns before voting. They could have done so. Tony Daysog DID phone me and evidently I was able to allay his concerns, since he voted in my favor.​

    I do find it remarkable that the person voicing his outrage over my trespassing into a city office, the new President of our Planning Board, was himself an open advocate of the Occupy Oakland demonstrations, which caused a great deal of property damage. He proudly stood in solidarity with th​em​.

    This new Planning Board president has no problem serving with, indeed being nominated by, Mike Henneberry, who according to the 11/15/2012 Alameda Sun Front Page, was arrested and taken to Santa Rita Prison, before being released and the charges dropped. Mike’s incident has not interfered with his service on the Planning Board.

    Well, double standards are nothing new in Alameda.​ So shoot me. ​

    Carol Gottstein

    Comment by cfg — September 17, 2015 @ 11:01 am

  14. Lauren’s post is a good example of why we have Due Process, and not Mob Rule. Lauren makes it sound like I was viewing kiddie porn on a city computer. I am no more humiliated than Mike Henneberry is after his Raley’s strike incident. Or John Russo after OPD caught him driving with his children not seat-belted in the back of his convertible. I did what I had to do out of desperation. I am not perfect. Is anyone? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    ​If you hate Jesus, you are not going to like my post. But I don’t think Jesus would condemn me for what I did:​ http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/by-sections/jesus-defends-disciples-who-pluck-grain-on-the-sabbath.html A starving traveler will eat the food he finds, even if there is a Do Not Touch sign posted on it.

    Computers are a tool. I don’t own one, and I am still learning how to use them. As you may already know, for reasons related to my spinal condition and finances, I find it both physically and financially prohibitive to maintain a home computer with printer etc. Therefore I use public computers exclusively. Which until then had more than met my needs.

    It is now almost impossible to manage one’s affairs without Internet access. When the State of California gives you 72 hours to comply with a deadline, it doesn’t want to hear excuses about why you were late.

    I have been having a very hard time getting badly needed health services for my disabling medical condition from my Kaiser health plan. My grievances have been escalated to the level of an Independent Medical Review (IMR) with the ​California ​Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC).​

    ​Since DMHC is a state agency, Jim Oddie has been helping me, via Rob Bonta’s office, to try and get a response from DMHC. Yay, Jim Oddie!

    Jim Oddie is Rob Bonta’s District Director, and Rob Bonta is the Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Jim Oddie’s office has been helping me deal with this state agency. Even though I will disagree with his positions at times, our district is ​fortunate to have the leader of this powerful committee as our State Assemblyman.

    Basically, services I have received for decades from Kaiser were abruptly and inappropriately discontinued. (despite premiums of over $14,000/year). I have filed all the appropriate grievances with KP and DMHC.​ ​I​t has been over a YEAR since I first filed a complaint with DMHC about my Medical Records not being transmitted to me by Kaiser.​

    On the Friday before the 3-day weekend in question, the DMHC attorney in charge of my case, finally sent the medical records he needed me to review as an attachment to an email. This email did not arrive until after the Alameda library closed on Friday.

    According to DMHC, this matter would be handled as an Expedited Review, which by ​State ​law, gives me only 72 hours to respond. There is no extension except in cases of a change of the patient’s condition constituting a medical emergency. I did not want to lose my chance for an IMR by missing the deadline.

    However, when I went to the library computers over that weekend, I could not open the attachment to the email. I could open part of it, but there were many more pages. Library computers are notoriously temperamental. Mastick would not be open until the Tuesday after Presidents’ Day.

    How was I going to open my attachment and review it and draft a response by Monday night? I did not know.

    Yes, I was at the City Hall West building on the Monday holiday.​​ In the past, it has been possible to check out keys to the building from Community Development, ​but this has to be done on Thursday.​ Historically, I also knew that the building was often left unlocked at one or more doors, so that a key wasn’t needed. Apparently, many persons have keys to the building who use it for various purposes.​​ It was the only quiet place I could think of that might be open, for me to assemble the materials for my IMR.​

    ​As usual, the building was open. So were some of the interior offices. ​It is not unusual for the ​Public Works department to leave their office doors open, the lights on, even the fans going, after the close of business on Thursday. And I mean WIDE open, not just ajar. I needed a stapler. I went looking for one.

    All the computers were dark. I have no clue how to log on to a computer without a user name and password, so I didn’t even try. But when I bumped into the screen of the station nearest the door, the computer came on, logged in already. It must have been asleep, and left on since the last use on the previous Thursday?​ I didn’t know or care whose computer it was. I saw an instant solution to accessing my inaccessible medical record attachment. At least I could read it, and there would be no harm done. However, when I typed Gmail into the search box, it opened up the email of the employee. I did not intend this: he must have forgotten to sign out. I had to sign out of his account so I could sign into my own.

    I had no interest in the employee’s personal mail or any other affairs. I don’t know his user name or his password. You don’t need either of these to sign out of an account.

    I was so intent on ​printing my medical records​, I was startled when Gail Payne opened the door. She started calling the police before she even set foot inside the office, and she identified me by name to APD, without even making an attempt to talk to me. I guess she had a right to, but since we had spoken during several community meetings, I was surprised she didn’t wait for an explanation.

    I went to a conference room down the hall​, where I had set up my stuff to work on. I waited a decent interval, but the APD did not show up, so I left. APD made no attempt to contact me, ​until Feb 26, when an officer came to my home and took my statement.

    I apologized for using the city computers without permission and promised not to do it again. This was a desperate situation for me, and at least I was able to comply with the deadlines of the DMHC and get my IMR. i don’t advocate anyone doing what I did. I wish I hadn’t had to.

    I view this situation as a man who needs to steal a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. (I know that sounds corny, but it is the same principle). No harm was intended; no harm was done. I did not access any City documents.​ I did not go thru any files that were not my own. ​

    I was not arrested, booked, or indicted and I have not been sued. I was asked to come in and discuss matters with the Alameda County Deputy District Attorney, which I did at the end of April 2015.​ According to the letter I received from this DA, my accusers were also supposed to show up as well. They did not.​ I believed the matter to be closed.

    The week after the incident, I shared everything with Trish Spencer. I also informed John Russo every time I needed to attend a RAB meeting. I found him to be understanding. Someone who works in Public Works began calling the police every time they saw my car in the City Hall West parking lot, so that I was accosted by APD in the Navy Information Repository even when I was there Mon -Thurs between noon and 6 PM. I don’t know who this person is, because they never confronted me. But you don’t have to be a Person of Color to be harassed by the police in Alameda. [maybe someone is anti-Semitic…I do have a Jewish name…]

    Until I arrived at the council meeting on Tuesday, I did not know John Knox White had distributed his 39 page packet to council. The two council members who voted against me did not even have the courtesy to call me and share their concerns before voting. They could have done so. Tony Daysog DID phone me and evidently I was able to allay his concerns, since he voted in my favor.​

    I do find it remarkable that the person voicing his outrage over my trespassing into a city office, the new President of our Planning Board, was himself an open advocate of the Occupy Oakland demonstrations, which caused a great deal of property damage. He proudly stood in solidarity with those trespassers.

    This new Planning Board president has no problem serving with, indeed being nominated by, Mike Henneberry, who according to the 11/15/2012 Alameda Sun Front Page, was arrested and taken to Santa Rita Prison, before being released and the charges dropped. Mike’s incident has not interfered with his service on the Planning Board.

    Well, double standards are nothing new in Alameda.​ So shoot me. ​

    Carol Gottstein

    Comment by alameda vigilante — September 17, 2015 @ 11:05 am

  15. So why aren’t you letting Carol gottstein post her response, Lauren? She has sent it, in this comment box, three times.

    Comment by vigi — September 17, 2015 @ 11:17 am

  16. Because when a person tries to post with different names under the same IP, wordpress often marks it as spam…

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 17, 2015 @ 11:19 am

  17. the SNL 40 gallery history on Yahoo! (gasp) in the browser history was my favorite part of the police report.

    Comment by BMac — September 17, 2015 @ 11:20 am

  18. So pull it out of the Spam filter, then. You know more about IP addresses than we do. Carol sent it using her own email address, from a room in which there are 30 hard drives.

    Comment by vigi — September 17, 2015 @ 11:27 am

  19. 16. ROFLMAO

    Comment by BMac — September 17, 2015 @ 11:33 am

  20. This whole Bob Dole speaking in the third person thing is quite entertaining.

    Comment by BMac — September 17, 2015 @ 11:35 am

  21. I did not go thru any files that were not my own. ​

    Browser history in the police reports disputes this assertion.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 17, 2015 @ 11:36 am

  22. There is so much to love about this, including Carol/vigi digging the hole deeper. She does realize she drove by all those publicly accessible computers at fedex/kinko on her way to the closed and locked government facilities doesn’t she? Doh!

    Comment by notadave — September 17, 2015 @ 1:36 pm

  23. Why is Vigi’s – er Gottstein’s – “apology” posted 4 times?? It’s a ridiculous bunch of lies and excuses. Just look at the browsing history: consumer news & alerts, American Catholic, OTG Schedule Reminder, YouTube, Top suggested Google+ pages, AJMPlus, Alameda Merry Go Round, agenda items, Google bookmarks, SNL, gmail, yahoo, password changes – none of these have anything to do with Gottstein’s medical records from DMHC. Plus the time stamps show she was on the computer for about an hour. And since the email addresses are redacted we have no way of knowing if they were her emails or the employee’s emails.

    And then to try to spin it that you were desperate and that what you did was tantamount to stealing food for your family is reprehensible.

    Comment by Eyeroll — September 17, 2015 @ 1:46 pm

  24. Doesn’t Carol Gottstein have any friends that would let her use their computer (like Trish Spencer, Jim Oddie or Tony Daysog)? Breaking and entering is a serious crime, and from the police report, the City Manager’s office did not want her arrested for breaking the law.

    Comment by BarbK — September 17, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

  25. Way to go, Dr. Carol/vigi, to tell all of Alameda, nay, the world, that City Hall West is routinely left unlocked. Now we’ll have no copper piping to carry water in the bathrooms, TSL’s will write graffiti and spread feces on all the walls, and immigrants, winos and bums will be camping out in the hallways.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — September 17, 2015 @ 2:20 pm

  26. Yep, #24. The fact that Ms. Gottstein is well connected and has understanding friends suggests that she is resourceful and could have solved her problem other than the way she did. I call bunk and shenanigans. And, yes, I’ve read the police report in full.

    Comment by gaylon parsons — September 17, 2015 @ 4:56 pm

  27. I wish I hadn’t read comments 11-14. “​If you hate Jesus, you are not going to like this post.” AND claiming anti-Semitism AND citing others’ wrongs to distract from your own? Someone call the fallacy ref.

    Comment by gaylon parsons — September 17, 2015 @ 5:20 pm

  28. Love being lectured about not attending enough civic meetings by someone who is working-age (59) but doesn’t work.

    Regular social security retirement age is 66.

    Comment by Brock — September 17, 2015 @ 6:36 pm

  29. Is it true that city computers don’t need a password to access? That seems careless of the city to me. But the police report indicated that the employee thought that there was a password that had to be used to access the computer.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — September 17, 2015 @ 8:38 pm

  30. If we can’t bash our Disabled , Crippled , and Poor why have a Progressives Bashfest Blog…….Congrats Dooooooooooooo!!

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — September 17, 2015 @ 8:41 pm

  31. I am sure City computers need a password. Every firm, company and business I have ever worked for requires a password AND logs out after a certain time. Thus if a City employee left on Thursday or Friday and didn’t log off the computer should have logged them off by Monday. Gottstein/Vigi is again lying. But interestingly she’s lying AND admitting fault. And she admitted she told the Mayor so that’s proof of Spencer’s incredibly bad judgment.

    Comment by Eyeroll — September 17, 2015 @ 9:20 pm

  32. Eyeroll enjoy…..

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — September 17, 2015 @ 10:06 pm

  33. #28 Brock Have you ever met her? You are aware that she is Disabled.

    Comment by frank m — September 18, 2015 @ 7:45 am

  34. 30. you are as pathetic as Gottstein when it comes to making excuses for the inexcusable. It occurs to me that among all her friends, at some point somebody would up grade a computer and be able to give her a lap top or something. I’m sorry if she struggles with her mobility and with economic issues, but me thinks she complains too much about everything, i.e. Drama Queen. This latest incident may be the final nail in her credibility, at least for anybody with some common sense.

    33. Frank, I’ve never challenged her about her disability. But she has given us plenty of information about it. There is no way of knowing what physical pain a person is in even if they only appear to have a mild limp. I’ve seen her move pretty damn quick a time or two. Constant pain can wear on the mind. I’ve had back issues for years and occasionally thought my career was ended doing physical labor. As self employed person without workers comp I had a private disability policy with a 90 day deductible. I actually collected twice by being disabled a fourth month, but the insurance company sent an investigator to question me. The terms for collecting were that I couldn’t carry on my business which I determined as doing physical labor, and I would get it for life if I broke my neck, but there was also a clause for eventual retraining of some sort. They might have determined that I could be a paper contractor at some point. Carol is a trained doctor of sciences. She brags about MIT all the time. Perhaps her pain and medication she takes makes her ineligible or unqualified to work. She has never divulged details about the end of her working career and I’m not really interested in a note from her doctor, but this incident isn’t about any of that, other than her claim she was desperate to access info about MRI.

    Comment by MI — September 18, 2015 @ 8:30 am

  35. #33 Frank M, I am aware that she is disabled.

    Her position is that people who don’t attend and speak at public meetings have no right to an opinion on public matters.

    My position is that people don’t need to work (for whatever combination of reasons – on SS disability payments, inherited house, low P13 tax rates), and therefore have lots of free time to attend and speak at public meetings, should recognize that they are privileged in that regard.

    And with respect to people who have to hold down full time jobs can’t make it to enough meetings for her satisfaction, she should fucking cram it.

    Comment by Brock — September 18, 2015 @ 9:16 am

  36. #24: No, BarbK, I have no friends. Can’t you tell from reading this blog?

    #25: Not.A.Alamedan: I would never have had to defend myself in these Comments, if Lauren Do had not chosen to make this post all about me in the first place.

    Incidentally, none of the restrooms in the City Hall West building meet ADA Accessibility Standards. Not even close. No one using a wheelchair could work there, unless they never needed to use the restroom. But hey–It’s only been 25 years since the ADA became law. Rome wasn’t built in a Day.

    #26: gaylon parsons: So you read the Police Report? The Witness Statement in the Police Report describes me as being in my early 70’s, with grey hair, wearing a green/black flannel shirt. I have almost no grey hair, none of my flannel shirts have any green in them, and my 60th birthday is this December 2015.

    Was there ANOTHER little old lady there that day? Police Reports are so infallible, I don’t know why we even have courts and district attorneys. Clearly, I must be the one who is lying, and the district attorney is being manipulated by Trish Spencer…that’s why I wasn’t prosecuted.

    Trish Spencer even controls the Alameda County District Attorney! Wow. What power she wields! Will wonders never cease?

    Comment by carol — September 18, 2015 @ 10:06 am

  37. Seriously Vigi- stop talking. You were just fine when Action Alameda was posting about this (cuz you know, BFF)- you welcomed that forum until you got a less than favorable response. A whole of people gave you a break (even when you did not deserve it (repeat offender) and you would not have given it to anyone else- city manager, police, certain council members, etc) and you keep rapping them. You have never forgiven anyone for anything ever (as far as this blog anyway). You screwed up- say that you screwed up, you are sorry and move on.

    Oh and the Jesus forgives me, stealing bread junk- seriously? You do know that there are actual real people in jail for stealing bread to feed themselves and their families?

    Comment by librarycat — September 18, 2015 @ 11:21 am

  38. #37: I did. You didn’t read my post. And I do not host this blog. If you no longer want to hear FROM me, tell Lauren to stop posting ABOUT me.

    And if you are offended by quotes from the Bible, too freaking bad! That’s why Scripture was written. So later generations could quote it.

    Why call yourself “Library” Cat, when you do not seem to be reading anything?

    Comment by carol — September 18, 2015 @ 12:19 pm

  39. “Repeat offender” Gottstein is spiraling in a vortex of lies that may warrant an investigation into her sanity or the validity of her medical claims. As Gallant learned, you put herself into public scrutiny when seeking to petition the government for a public position, elected or appointed. “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”

    Comment by Alan — September 18, 2015 @ 3:55 pm

  40. Vigi: I read everything that you wrote (every single repetitive, contradictory word) and as a former religion teacher, I can say = that is not why Scripture was written. Also not written as a “get out of jail free” card which is how you are trying to use it. where is the atonement, where is the agreement that you are less than perfect. Why did you need forgiveness if you were so innocent? How about some John1:8 or Matthew 7.3-7.5? How about something simple” Say that you are sorry and you used bad judgement” and move on without blaming every other person and agency in Alameda or using personal attacks?
    I guess that is a lot to ask of you – being in your current state of grace and all.

    Comment by librarycat — September 18, 2015 @ 8:01 pm

  41. Vigi/Carol (for you are one, right?): you’ve been so belligerent over the years that you have little goodwill to draw on from the community when this happens. You messed up. I doubt you were malevolent, just thoughtless. Stop the absurdities (Antisemitism in the APD! It was another old lady!). They make you look insane, and certainly don’t make your beloved mayor’s judgment look any better.

    Take some time for introspection. After his encounter with the police for allegedly doing something much worse, I hoped Action Alameda would do similar. He didn’t. He is, I believe, a genuinely bad (or maybe just very damaged) person. You’re not. And you really don’t want someone of his ilk as your only defender.

    Comment by BC — September 19, 2015 @ 3:27 pm

  42. Librarycat; Your comment doesn’t make any sense:

    What about the sentence beginning “I apologized”, did you not understand? An apology is, by definition, an act of saying you are sorry..

    All print media, Scripture included, is written so that people can read it later. That is as simple as it gets.

    “where is the agreement that you are less than perfect.” Uh, I explicitly said: “I am not perfect”. There I’ve said everything twice. Happy now?

    As far as moving on, this incident happened more than six months ago. I have moved on. No “crimes” were committed. Anyone using the word “crimes” is probably committing libel.

    The city manager did not think this was a big deal. The district attorney did not think this was a big deal. Even the most directly involved people did not pursue it. It did not independently make the legitimate news.

    What is more troubling is that the new President of the Planning Board, without any direct knowledge of the event, has dredged it up, trying to make it a big deal. Using his personal contacts with city staff to try and crush someone he perceives as a political enemy?…that should bother you.

    BC: Thanks for the kind thoughts. I know you mean well. But believe it or not, BBA does not represent “the community”, despite being widely read by City staff.
    I am always encountering Alamedans that don’t even know Bayport exists, let alone this blog.

    Comment by vigi — September 20, 2015 @ 4:51 pm

  43. Why would the Fire Department Post this on Twitter and Facebook and give links to the story?

    Why is this even relevant to the Fire Department unless it’s just trying to bully a disabled and crippled person who has spoke up at times and trying to humiliate her publicly and thru social media?

    The Fire Department has cost the City 700K in Past lawsuits regarding bullying and they never seem to learn.

    This kind of Sh_t should sicken most who live in this city and the what our City Employees Do to retaliate on someone who speaks up.

    I don’t think you will have any trouble finding a good disability attorney to get to bottom of this Carol/ Vigi.

    California Anti-Bullying Laws & Policies
    What term is used in the California anti-bullying laws?
    Discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying.

    Do these laws cover cyberbullying?
    Yes.

    What groups are listed under California state law?
    Disability
    Gender
    Gender Identity
    Gender Expression
    Nationality
    Race or ethnicity
    Religion
    Sexual orientation
    Association with a person or group with one of more of these actual or perceived characteristics

    http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/california.html

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — September 20, 2015 @ 8:38 pm

  44. 43. “The Fire Department has cost the City 700K in Past lawsuits regarding bullying and they never seem to learn.” Citations please?

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — September 20, 2015 @ 8:47 pm

  45. @43 Also, dude, “crippled” is not the preferred nomenclature. “Differently-abled-American”, please.

    Comment by brock — September 20, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

  46. here is AFD Firefighters lawsuit we just lost for 670,000
    .
    http://www.fearnotlaw.com/articles/article28370.html

    Vanderheiden and DelBono both again returned to work in late June 2003, and were assigned to different fire stations and different shifts so they would not have to work together.

    Although he was working at a different station with firefighters who had not been involved in the DelBono incident, from the beginning there was tension between Vanderheiden and his fellow firefighters who, he claims, ostracized and isolated him. For instance, Vanderheiden said that when he would walk into a room, crew members would immediately vacate the area and refuse to acknowledge him.

    A captain told him he should not attend the annual union ski trip because it would not be safe for him to do so.

    He was told by Chief Christiansen that if he continued to serve as an instructor in the water rescue program, other firefighters might leave the program.

    He stated that one captain announced to a class that he never wanted Vanderheiden in his station or on his rig, and that a fellow firefighter went from station to station calling Vanderheiden a dead man.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — September 20, 2015 @ 9:37 pm

  47. Vanderheiden began working as an Alameda firefighter in June 1989. During the ensuing years he received letters of commendation on several occasions, including comments from the fire chief that he provided an excellent example of teamwork, cooperation, and fire attack coordination, that he exhibited the most professional maximum effort that the chief had ever observed in [his] entire career with the Alameda Fire Department, and that his performance on one rescue operation was stellar. Nevertheless, in February 2003, an unfortunate incident with a coworker dramatically changed his life and his career.

    On February 4, 2003, Vanderheiden was working with fellow firefighter Jeff DelBono. They responded to an emergency call in which the patient had defecated on herself. While transporting the patient, DelBono got feces on his pants and blamed Vanderheiden.

    Later that morning, the two firefighters responded to another emergency involving a patient who was not breathing and possibly had hepatitis. While DelBono was attempting to put a tube down her throat to assist her breathing, he splashed emesis (i.e., vomit, bile and other bodily fluids) on Vanderheidens chest and face several times, and the emesis entered Vanderheidens mouth and eye. Vanderheiden thought DelBono had intentionally aimed the emesis in his direction in retaliation for the earlier incident. The two got into an argument when they were back at the fire station.

    Vanderheiden claims he soon began receiving harassing phone calls. Vanderheiden returned to work briefly on February 20 and claims he received a cool reception from his coworkers. He discussed the matter with Fire Chief James Christiansen, who told him, Youre like a man on an island, youre all alone here. Vanderheiden was again put on administrative leave two days later because the union objected to his being allowed to return to work before DelBono was.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — September 20, 2015 @ 9:43 pm

  48. I was wrong in the total amount the city lost in this Lawsuit. It was 810K + after attorney fees ect.

    http://www.alamedasun.com/local-and-hometown/8471?task=view

    Suit Favors Fireman’s Claim

    Crewmember felt superior discriminated against him; awarded $680,000+

    Ronald Vanderheiden joined the Alameda Fire Department (AFD) in 1989, where he worked for 14 years. In 2003, Vanderheiden got into a dispute with fellow firefighter Jeff Del Bono.
    Vanderheiden filed a police complaint after allegedly getting nowhere with then-Fire Chief James Christiansen. That complaint grew into a lawsuit Court documents state that Vanderheiden felt that his fellow firefighters ostracized him for going outside the fire department with his complaint against Del Bono, which involved the spilling of a patient’s bodily fluids during an ambulance call he made with Del Bono. Vanderheiden complained to his union president with no satisfaction and subsequently filed a written complaint about the incident with AFD administrators. Concerned about the biohazard, Vanderheiden also filed a criminal complaint with the police, which was investigated as battery on a peace officer; no charges were filed, but the department placed both Vanderheiden and Del Bono on administrative leave.
    Court documents point to Vanderheiden’ claims that he soon began receiving harassing phone calls and a cool reception from his coworkers.

    A captain told him he should not attend the annual union ski trip because it would not be safe for him to do so.

    Vanderheiden sued the city, but Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch allowed the city’s motion for summary judgment to stand and set the Vanderheiden’s lawsuit aside.
    Vanderheiden appealed and on June 2, 2009, the appellate court struck down Roesch’s decision.

    “We agree with Vanderheiden that there are genuine issues of fact regarding his psychological health and his ability to perform his job. We thus reverse (the decision),” the appellate stated.
    The city’s motion for summary judgment on the charge of discrimination, used allegations as undisputed facts, the appellate court ruled. A summary judgment is a procedural device used during civil litigation to dispose of a case without a trial. The city, not Vanderheiden, had the burden to show that Vanderheiden was unable to perform his essential duties as a firefighter, the appellate court ruled.
    The appellate court also pointed out that the lower court placed almost exclusive emphasis on the city’s good faith interaction in trying to address Vanderheiden’s perceived mental disability, and his purported failure to reciprocate. The city wrongly concluded that Vanderheiden had actually thwarted its efforts, the court said.
    The case went to trial on Feb. 14, with Alameda Superior Court Judge Wayne Carvill presiding. During the five-week jury trial Vanderheiden’s attorneys argued that the city could not cite even one example where their client was unable to execute his duties. The jury agreed and rendered its decision on March 23, awarding Vanderheiden $680,182. The court filed the judgment on April 5. “After hearing the evidence, the arguments of counsel and instructions of the court, the jury rendered its verdict in favor of plaintiff Ronald Vanderheiden and against defendant (the) city of Alameda in the amount of $680,182,” court documents stated.
    The court stated that the city used Vanderheiden’s erratic behavior and emotional outbursts as reasons for firing him, and pointed to the two psychologists and one of Vanderheiden’s own therapists who all decided that he was not able to perform his duties.

    To top off the $680,000-plus judgment, attorney John McBride on behalf of Vanderheiden’s defense team filed a memorandum of costs totaling $130,897.05 on April 20. These costs included $51,203.65 in witness fees, $30,766.88 in deposition costs and $10,905 in court reported fees.

    http://www.fearnotlaw.com/articles/article28370.html

    He was told by Chief Christiansen that if he continued to serve as an instructor in the water rescue program, other firefighters might leave the program. He stated that one captain announced to a class that he never wanted Vanderheiden in his station or on his rig, and that a fellow firefighter went from station to station calling Vanderheiden a dead man.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — September 21, 2015 @ 7:04 am

  49. And, just this year, there was also Jeff Navarro, the disabled man whom APD beat severely for looking suspicious in a store: [7 May 2015]

    http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Alameda-to-pay-450K-to-settle-lawsuit-alleging-6247703.php

    The City of Alameda is amassing quite a track record of bullying the disabled. Happy New Year to all of my Jewish friends.

    Comment by vigi — September 21, 2015 @ 2:34 pm

  50. Most people would feel humbled that they got away with a wrist slap after trespassing and going through personal records on someone computer as opposed to attempting to chalk the incident up to being bullied.

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 21, 2015 @ 3:07 pm

  51. Lauren why would the Fire Department Post this on Twitter and Facebook multiple times and give links to the story?

    Lauren Why is this even relevant to the Fire Department unless it’s just trying to bully a poor , disabled, and crippled person who has spoke up at times and trying to humiliate her publicly and thru social media?

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — September 21, 2015 @ 4:54 pm

  52. It’s relevant because Trish Spencer makes really bad decisions in her role as Mayor. It’s not about who the person was, it’s about the fact that Trish Spencer attempted to appoint someone to a City Board who trespassed on to City property when the office was closed; used someone’s computer and viewed that person’s personal files. That the person is poor or is a person with a disability is not relevant. But I’m pretty sure, as someone pointed out above, that the person would prefer not to be called “crippled.”

    Comment by Lauren Do — September 21, 2015 @ 4:58 pm

  53. The Fire Department is Now in Charge of Bullying and Retaliation to anyone who speaks up politically and is Judge and Jury after their questionable acts ?

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — September 21, 2015 @ 5:12 pm

  54. Reminds me of throwing Raymond Zack an Anchor instead of a life vest…Or just plain sit there and watch him drown……. The Mindset of our employees on several issues is mind boggling.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — September 21, 2015 @ 5:17 pm

  55. #50 = Again, I didn’t go thru anyone’s personal records intentionally. I didn’t realize I clicked on all those celebrity sites either. I didn’t pay attention to them. I don’t remember what I saw, other than my own stuff. Nothing except my own data was printed or forwarded anywhere,. You can only infer so much from a paper record. Unlike David Howard, you never bothered to speak to me in person, to get my side of the story before writing about it.

    Ironically, Lauren Do has said in this blog “there is no expectation of privacy anywhere”. Mastick and Library Computers are city-owned, taxpayer-funded computers. I assumed that city hall working computers were the same. Until this year, logging on to a library computer as often as not put you into the personal email of whoever used the computer last. Often it wasn’t even possible to sign out of that person’s email at all.

    Since you seem to have been born with sophisticated computer knowledge that I don’t have, and have probably never used an Alameda city public computer, I doubt you can relate. But how long would you have me wear the scarlet letter?

    You question my judgment, and the mayor’s. But you are not questioning the judgment of two City Managers or the District Attorney. And I explained more to all of them in much more detail than I can share with you. What makes you think you know more than they do?

    Comment by cfg — September 21, 2015 @ 7:47 pm

  56. Vigi, this is a blog, and we are all entitled to our own opinions, so for me I think what you did was wrong, and you keep trying to blame everyone but yourself for your problem. maybe you should have just thought a little harder before doing what you did. My advice is let’s just quit right now and move on, I’m fine with that.

    Comment by John P. — September 21, 2015 @ 9:37 pm


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