Blogging Bayport Alameda

April 13, 2018

Two-party line

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

Holy crap people.  With the biggest scoop of this year for Alameda related political news:

Alameda City Manager Allegedly Wiretapped Councilors.


An independent investigator has uncovered evidence that Alameda City Manager Jill Keimach unlawfully recorded two councilmembers and another city employee without their consent last year, according to two knowledgeable sources.

The existence of the alleged recordings was first learned in early March by independent investigator Michael Jenkins, an attorney who was hired by the council to probe allegations made by Keimach last fall, sources said.

According to two sources, during the “two-councilmember meeting” in mid-August last year, Keimach recorded Vella and Oddie without their knowledge. California law prohibits the recording of private conversations, known as wiretapping, without the consent of all the people involved.

Two sources also said that the recording does not reveal wrongdoing by either Oddie or Vella. They also said Keimach, herself, offered the recordings to Jenkins.

It is unclear whether Keimach believed the recordings would bolster her case. However, to underscore the possible illegality of the recordings, Jenkins initially refused to listen to them out of fear of abetting a potential crime, sources said. Jenkins did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this report.

Two sources said Keimach also recorded a department manager in a separate recording that the city manager handed over to Jenkins. However, the topic of that conversation apparently was not related to the fire chief.

Look, I know that Jill Keimach is not a lawyer and if all this is true how do you not know that recording someone without their permission is not legal in California.  I mean, you can Google it.  Seriously.  Put in “can I secretly record someone in California” and see what pulls up.  There’s pages and pages of entries.


An attorney for Keimach denies that she recorded councilmembers without their knowledge. “She is a dedicated public servant. She did nothing wrong,” said Karl Olson, an attorney for Keimach. “She was pressured by councilmembers to give up her power under the city charter to appoint the fire chief. Councilmembers Oddie and Vella wanted the firefighters’ union to control the hiring process of a new fire chief.

“Councilmembers Oddie and Vella, to them, it is more important that campaign contributors be rewarded than to save taxpayers’ money and hire the best fire chief,” Olson added, referring to the fact that the firefighters’ union has financially backed Oddie and Vella’s candidacies. “There is no basis for the city to take any action. If they do, they will be held accountable in court.”

Well based on which people have lawyered up: Jim Oddie, Malia Vella, and now Jill Keimach I think it’s pretty obvious who may be initiating the three potential lawsuits referenced in the City Council’s April 16 agenda.

Now I REALLY want to know what’s in that report.

Also given the disaster that two out of the three last City Managers have been, maybe it’s time to let someone other than the City Council do the choosing.  Is that even possible?


  1. Yeah-let’s make sure to protect the rights of Oddie, Vella and the Fire Department as they run the City into bankruptcy and use this meaningless incident to get rid of the lone public servant who stands up to them. Newsflash-Google and Facebook have much more than recordings. California’s laws are so 20th century.

    Hard to be “outraged” about this when an Alameda resident was just beaten to death on Webster.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — April 13, 2018 @ 6:33 am

  2. Maybe we will get part of the report after all. Since the victims of the illegal recording(s) are vindicated by its contents, they’ll probably be the first and loudest in demanding that the recording be released.

    Mr. Tavares: Great scoop. It’s probably not wire tapping [PC 631], but rather something that brings PC 632 [recording confidential communications without consent] into play. PC 632 can be violated with means available to all: the audio record function on all “smart” phones.

    Comment by MP — April 13, 2018 @ 6:49 am

  3. no use commenting on post # 1, it sounds just like a trump supporter justifying anything he does. maybe she thought she was in the oval office so she could record. John Russo where are you?.

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — April 13, 2018 @ 7:10 am

  4. With the revelation about the City Manager’s “secret tapes,” there certainly seems to be enough errent, inappropriate, illegal, and/or not-very-smart behavior to go around between Malia Vella, Jim Oddie, and Jill Keimach.
    At the very, very least, “it doesn’t smell very good,” as my friend Kate Quick would say.

    Now it becomes even more important for the forthcoming report to becomprehensive and fully public. And everyone in Alameda needs tobe able to see all of the details. Unless and untill all of the facts and evidence see the light of day and they are available for public discussion, our cummunity will not have a fair resolution of these issues, justice cannot be served, and we casnnot move forward on th issues of the day that normally occupy our time and energy.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — April 13, 2018 @ 7:59 am

    • Bingo.

      It ALL needs to come out, and fast. The city will be paralyzed until it does.

      It’s very difficult to see how the CM can stay under such a cloud of Nixonian suspicion. Likewise Oddie & Vella. They will be mere empty chairs until this is wrapped up. Oddie & Vella should demand release of the tapes to clear their good names once & for all so they can get back to being leaders.

      Comment by dave — April 13, 2018 @ 8:13 am

      • So the CM made tape recordings exposing malfeasance in public office. Is that a bad thing? [What if the recording had exposed city officials trying to raid the city treasury?]

        All involved are public servants, either elected or paid by the taxpayers; and recorded while conducting city business.

        I should think the benefit to the City of Alameda of knowing the truth about city officials might outweigh any alleged personal damages to the individuals involved. Just my opinion.

        Comment by vig — April 13, 2018 @ 9:45 am

        • Um, because it’s against the law to record someone without their consent in the state of California. Fairly sure that breaking the law to find out if someone is breaking the law is still breaking the law.

          Comment by Lauren Do — April 13, 2018 @ 10:08 am

        • Breaking the law is done everyday by many people, but the decision to prosecute depends on the circumstances. Speeding to the hospital with a pregnant woman about to deliver in the car is breaking the law, but prosecution is rare. Sometimes what is accomplished by breaking the law is more important than the law giving cover to a worse event.

          Comment by vigi — April 13, 2018 @ 11:26 am

        • Besides, the entire State of California is in open rebellion against Federal law when it comes to marijuana and shielding the undocumented. But you go right on shaking your finger about what is “against the law”, since you know best.

          Comment by vigi — April 13, 2018 @ 11:31 am

        • I’ll tentatively (in the absence of more facts) respond to that by endorsing JPT’s response to a different point. “O.K., I’ll be the city manager. as city manager when someone came into my office to speak about something that I feel could be illegal, I would tell them “stop” we can’t have this conversation period… its easy and the right thing to do. Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident”, but note that we are told that no wrongdoing was even captured by the recording – i.e. that the recording itself vindicates those who were claimed by Keimach to have violated the Charter. Wouldn’t it be in their interests, then, to have the tape made public ?

          Comment by MP — April 13, 2018 @ 11:37 am

        • Maybe ask your lawyer type buddies about the exclusionary rule and then you’ll realize how lame your analogy attempts are.

          Comment by Lauren Do — April 13, 2018 @ 12:09 pm

        • East Bay Times article today: “However, the law also states nothing “prohibits one party to a confidential communication from recording the communication for the purpose of obtaining evidence reasonably believed to relate to the commission by another party to the communication of the crime of extortion, kidnapping, bribery, any felony involving violence against the person.”

          Still “Fairly sure…” it’s still breaking the law?

          Comment by vigi — April 13, 2018 @ 4:32 pm

  5. Will the same people who demanded the county District Attorney investigate the initial probable actions of this incident, now call for an investigation into the City Manager’s actions?

    Comment by Mike McMahon — April 13, 2018 @ 8:02 am

    • While I am not big on political campaigns to tell the DA what to do – and would prefer that the DA’s prosecutorial decision-making process be at least a half-step removed from political considerations, if that is possible – I say, sure, yes, let them chips fall where they may. I would assume such an investigation has already commenced.

      Comment by MP — April 13, 2018 @ 8:26 am

  6. I say impeech Oddie and Vella, fire the city manager, and replace all three with JohnP.Trump

    Comment by Jack — April 13, 2018 @ 8:06 am

    • O.K., I’ll be the city manager. as city manager when someone came into my office to speak about something that I feel could be illegal, I would tell them “stop” we can’t have this conversation period… its easy and the right thing to do.

      Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — April 13, 2018 @ 9:45 am

  7. Never a dull moment in Alameda politics.

    Comment by Angela — April 13, 2018 @ 9:06 am

  8. Quick follow up, I guess the recordings are no longer alleged:

    Comment by Lauren Do — April 13, 2018 @ 9:19 am

    • You can always count on the Mayor for some meaningless word salad. From the article (and I also just heard her make the comment on KGO): ‘ Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer told KCBS Radio, “All of us have pressure. In regard to what pressure she felt she had–that’s up to her.’

      The pressure on the City Manager was up to her? I wish the pressure I felt at work was up to me. My position on it would be “no more pressure”.

      Comment by brock — April 13, 2018 @ 10:31 am

      • I mean KCBS, as it says right there in the article. Duh. Too much work pressure is making me dumber.

        Comment by brock — April 13, 2018 @ 10:32 am

        • Did someone leak this information from the investigative report to EBX? Why isn’t the whole report discussed in the article?

          Comment by BarbaraK — April 13, 2018 @ 1:04 pm

  9. Documented proof that Oddie and Vella violated the city charter.

    Sec. 7-3. Neither the Council nor any of the members thereof shall
    interfere with the execution by the City Manager of his or her powers and duties. Except for
    purposes of inquiry, the Council and its members shall deal with that portion of the
    administrative service for which the City Manager is responsible solely through him or her.
    An attempt by a Councilmember to influence the City Manager in the making of any
    appointment or the purchase of any materials or supplies shall subject such
    Councilmember to removal from office for malfeasance.

    Comment by Jack — April 13, 2018 @ 9:31 am

    • funny, I still don’t see any documented proof, maybe I should under your tin hat.

      Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — April 13, 2018 @ 9:47 am

    • “Proof.” I don’t think that means what you think it means.

      Comment by Rod — April 13, 2018 @ 10:06 am

  10. The City Manager done screwed up. But let’s keep our eye on the real issue here please – the insane strongman tactics of the Firefighters Union in our political process. The publisher of this blog seems like she’s partial to these thugs, and would like to distract you from their malfeasance by pointing out a few naughty iPhone recordings taken by the City Manager. LD, how about a few “LOCK HER UP” chants for good measure?

    Comment by Mike Hunt — April 13, 2018 @ 12:00 pm

    • Under Penal Code § 632(c), “confidential communication” includes any communication carried on in circumstances as may reasonably indicate that any party to the communication desires it to be confined to the parties, but excludes a communication made in a public gathering or in any legislative, judicial, executive or administrative proceeding open to the public, or in any other circumstance in which the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded.

      Was this a “confidential” communication?
      The public interest in exposing malfeasance in public office may outweigh the damages [to whom?] sustained in making the recording.
      After all, this was a conversation among parties who are all public servants, either paid or elected by taxpaying citizens, about city business which impacts taxpayers..

      Comment by vigi — April 13, 2018 @ 12:35 pm

      • “Two sources also said that the recording does not reveal wrongdoing by either Oddie or Vella.”

        To quote a longtime Alamedan:

        “Yay, Jim Oddie!”

        Comment by brock — April 13, 2018 @ 1:09 pm

        • Another possible issue: did Oddie/Vella REALLY not know that they might be being recorded? [they didn’t see the smartphone sitting on the table?] The statement by Keimach’s attorney implies they had such knowledge. Contemporaneous knowledge might be implied permission. Again, it’s their word against hers. And Paul Rolleri has never retracted his witness statement.

          Comment by vigi — April 13, 2018 @ 3:45 pm

  11. O.K., I’m gonna predict the future, this city manager is toast, she is gone. she will file a lawsuit and loose, hopefully she will have to pay court costs. the two council members will go on and do thier jobs just like before, oh and the city will end up paying for their costs to defend themselves. p.s. Dave and vigi and jack will go on forever about how terribly the city manger was treated and how these two council members should have been thrown in jail or maybe just hanged. I’m feeling a little deja` vu.

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — April 13, 2018 @ 2:39 pm

    • May I refer you, John, to an earlier statement from above?

      It’s very difficult to see how the CM can stay under such a cloud of Nixonian suspicion.

      Just in case you thought “Nixonian” was a compliment, it means that if she did it, she has to go. Even if there is some mitigating factor for that kind of violation that removes her criminal liability — and I doubt there is — she still has to go. She’ll never be trusted again and she can’t do her job under that kind of suspicion. Usual caveat of innocent-until-proven-guilty applies, of course.

      But Oddie & Vella will have that same monkey on their backs, until they clear their names by releasing the tapes. Since they of course did nothing illegal, immoral or improper, they should energetically call for a release. As I said above, and Spangler said it even better than I did, the city will be paralyzed until this all comes out. The sooner, the better.

      Comment by dave — April 13, 2018 @ 3:53 pm

      • Definitely Jim Oddie has that monkey on his back, particularly given the statement from the police chief that has not really changed at all. Malia Vella has been attached because of her closeness with labor but most of the evidence against her is rather flimsy.

        I don’t know if the tapes themselves should be released, because the fruits of illegal collection shouldn’t really be shared, but it sounds like the gist might be memorialized in the report. Releasing the report should be just as good and probably better.

        Comment by Lauren Do — April 13, 2018 @ 6:36 pm

        • If so you should change your word “attached” to “attacked”.

          Comment by Jack — April 13, 2018 @ 6:44 pm

    • Odd troika you put together there Johnnie Trump. The dave, vigil, Jack trio just may form an overthrow.

      Comment by Jack — April 13, 2018 @ 5:15 pm

  12. funny you should bring that up jack, I am apologizing to Dave for lumping him in with you two tin hat folks. Dave I should not have placed you in any sort of position to be aligned with these two. please accept my apology.

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — April 13, 2018 @ 5:26 pm

  13. That’s better JohnP, don’t wanna be lumped with a bingo player.

    Comment by Jack — April 13, 2018 @ 5:54 pm

  14. So if the Report has not been made Public and only discussed in Closed Session with the CC and City Attorney how did Taveras get his information?

    Comment by frank — April 14, 2018 @ 5:01 pm

  15. Two unnamed sources? Sounds leaky to me. Which two people could benefit from this leak????

    Comment by Eyeroll — April 14, 2018 @ 11:54 pm

  16. East Bay Times, today, quote, city attorney says she never advised the city mgr. to record anyone. city attorney said it was a “bold face lie”. this story has been in the Chronicle and the east bay times, also on KCBS. does not sound good for this city mgr.

    Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — April 15, 2018 @ 11:43 am

    • JohnP. Trump: do you mean the EB Times or the EB Citizen? I found what you describe under East Bay Citizen. Remember, the Times is genuine journalism [Hegarty–Mercury News–Bay Area News Group], but the Citizen is just Steven Tavares, who doesn’t interview people before he writes about them, and uses unnamed “sources”. Tavares apparently watches too many old episodes of Dragnet, given his improper use of the word “wiretapping”.

      Tavares’ story says the CM said the city attorney was “aware” of the recording, not that the CA advised the CM to do it. Big difference.

      At any rate, Oddie and Vella should not be participating in any votes regarding her employment.

      Comment by vigi — April 15, 2018 @ 2:56 pm

      • OK I finally found it in the TIMES. This attorney Olson representing Keimach is the one shooting his mouth off. First he says his client didn’t make the recording improperly, then she contradicts him; then he says CM was advised to record by the CA. What a mess. Looks like Keimach needs a better attorney.

        Comment by vigi — April 15, 2018 @ 3:09 pm

        • vigi, nice try to muddy the waters, but the city attorney is quoted in the East Bay Times, ( which you say is real journalism) saying that she did not advise the city mgr. to record anything, she called it a “bold face lie”. Why would you say that two council members should not vote on whether the city mgr. stays or goes.. do you have some sort of secret information that none of the rest of us have.? your last thought,”Looks like Keimach needs a better attorney”, to me it looks like Alameda needs a better city manager.

          Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — April 15, 2018 @ 7:31 pm

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