Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 3, 2018

Bring in the noise

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

Here are the two main conclusions (oh and the fact that all of this has exposed the City of Alameda to three separate possible lawsuits)

Screen Shot 2018-05-02 at 6.41.28 PM

We can only absorb a few things at a time so I’ll do more screen caps tomorrow.

However, the first main takeaway is all the frothing public commenters should now go to the next City Council to apologize, profusely, to Malia Vella.

Maybe buy her a muffin basket or something.

Also, in future posts, we’ll play “figure out the redacted names” which isn’t THAT hard in some scenarios since there are really bad redactions littered throughout the report.

AND…remember when I said that Jim Oddie is being overly friendly with Trish Spencer.  Yeah, I was right.  And that topic came up in the report.  Not the fact that I was right, but that Jim Oddie was being more friendly to Trish Spencer.


  1. An interesting subplot involving the offices of Assemblyman Rob Bonta:

    “Between July 26, 2017 and July·31, 2017, Keimach received letters of recommendation supporting Weaver from the following people or orgailizatlons: 1) Rob Bonta, California Assemblyman_; 2) IAFF …10) Councilmember Oddie.

    “On September 15, 2017, Mayor Spencer, Councilmembers Ashcraft and Vella, and Keimach were attending the league of California Cities conference in Sacramento. Councilmember Vella said that Assemblyman Bonta texted her and asked, ”You guys still here? Can you guys come over and meet with me for a minute?” Councilmember Ashcraft was sitting next to Councilmember Vella at the time. Councilmember Vella told Councilmember Ashcraft that she was going to Assemblyman Bonta’s offlce and would see if Keimach could come along. Councilmember Vella texted Keimach indicating that Assemblyman Bonta wanted to meet with them at 1:30 p.m. Mayor Spencer recalled also receiving a text from Vella inquiring if she knew where Keimach was located. Mayor Spencer texted Keimach indicating that Councilmeinber Vella was looking for her since Assemblyman apparently wanted to meet with Keimach. Mayor Spencer also called Warmerdam in an effort to track down Keimach.

    “At the time of the text messages and calls Keimach was driving home from the conference. Councilmember Vella called and told her that Assemblyman Bonta wanted to talk to them as soon as possible. Keiinach asked what it was about and Councilmember surmised it was about surmised it was about the small cell legislation; but Assemblyman Bonta had not said. Keimach recalled thinking that was odd, as the bill had already been approved in the Legislature. When she asked again what Assemblyman Bonta to meet about, Councilmember Vella responded that Assemblyman Bonta said Keimach would know. Keimach said that she did opt know, and Councilmember Vella said she was going to go over to meet with him.

    “According to Keimach, on Monday, September 18, 2017, ·Assemblyman Bonta called Keimach and asked if she had received his letter supporting Weaver for fire Chief. Keimach said she indicated that she had and asked if this was why he and Councilmember Vella wanted to meet in Sacramento. According to Keimach, Assemblyman Bonta said he wanted to reach her before her final interview. Keimach said that Assemblyman Bonta said that Weaver was good because he could get “boots on the ground!’ for any campaign that is coming through his firefighters. Keimach said she indicated that it was not a political appointment; it was about who would be the best person to provide public-safety to residents. According to .Keimach, Assemblyman Bonta reminded Keimach of the sales tax exemption on which he helped the City and that the City would need Weaver as Fire Chief if it wanted legislation like that to pass; he did not think similar bills will pass without Weaver being Fire Chief. In his interview, Councilmember Oddie said that he was present when Assemblyman Bonta told a newspaper reporter that he had “called Keimach to follow up to-see if she had any questions about [his] letter.” 161 Councilmember Oddie said he had no role in Assemblyman Bonta’s lobbying of Keimach.163

    “At the October 17, 2017 Special Council meeting relating to an investigation of the Fire Chief
 selection process, Assemblyman Bonta provided public comment thanking and praising 
Councilmembers Oddie and Vella for their public service. According to the minutes Assemblyman Bonta cautioned that “focus should be on the will of the people, not on political
 witch hunts or self-serving political attacks.

    “Rob Bonta “declined to be interviewed in connection with this investigation….Assemblyman Bonta, through his representative would only consider an interview after reviewing written questions. Five subject areas for questions were thereafter provided to the Assemblyman, along with preliminary questions. The Assemblyman’s office did not respond to subsequent inquiries.” (p.45)

    Comment by MP — May 3, 2018 @ 6:11 am

    • Good reason not to vote for anyone that Rob Bonta endorses.

      Comment by Alan — May 3, 2018 @ 1:39 pm

  2. And some advice to aspiring politicians: don’t write anything you can say. As much as anything, that seems to be the dividing line between what the investigator concludes falls “squarely on the side of improper influence” and that for which there is “insufficient evidence”.

    Comment by MP — May 3, 2018 @ 6:20 am

    • Investigator willfully ignored a chunk of what was said. Until that tape is disseminated we really can’t have confidence this investigation is complete.

      Comment by dave — May 3, 2018 @ 6:38 am

      • Because evidence collected illegally is illegal and can’t be used?

        Footnote 100 on page 61.

        Comment by Lauren Do — May 3, 2018 @ 7:20 am

        • Oddie & Vella — whom we all know are innocent because they told us they are — can and should call for its release. If I was suspected of wrongdoing & was innocent, I’d certainly broadcast any evidence that showed I was clean.

          Comment by dave — May 3, 2018 @ 7:28 am

        • Yes, and I am also curious as to why only Ms. Vella, but not Mr. Oddie, deserves an apology. The investigator concludes Mr. Oddie violated the City Charter on the basis of his letter advocating Weaver’s candidacy.

          Keimach claims that Vella also advocated, orally, for Weaver in the August 16, 2017 meeting. The investigator does not draw a clear conclusion on the question of whether Vella advocated for Weaver’s selection during the meeting and instead makes the factual conclusion that Vella and Oddie did not “direct” Keimach to promote Weaver during the meeting (a fact that Keimach did not dispute). But neither did the Oddie letter “direct” Keimach to promote Weaver. The closest he comes to giving an opinion on whether Vella advocated for Weaver in the meeting (like Oddie in his letter) is to say, “She should have been more aware that Keimach would be intimidated by and react to her expressions of opinion even if they were, as she described them, focused on and not outcome. But, on balance, Vella’s conduct fell short of attempting to interfere with Keimach’s performance of her job or attempting to influence the appointment.“ Again, no specific or express finding that Vella did not advocate for Weaver.

          If I’m Jim Oddie reading this blog in conjunction with the investigator’s report, I might be asking myself whether the reason I don’t get an apology is because I put my advocacy (but not direction) into a letter whereas investigators are less likely to draw firm conclusions based on conflicting accounts of a conversation? One would not typically say, for example, that “on balance” a letter says this or that.

          And, yes, there is a tape of the conversation in question and the investigator (not, by the way, designated as an adjudicator) felt constrained not to listen to it. As with the letter, it would have been hard to say “on balance” that a tape says this or that.

          Whether or not the Charter was violated, all of this at least makes one very curious as to what exactly is on the tape. And that way learn the actual (undisputable) details of one small part of a huge effort undertaken by, and cooperated in, by many people, from Sacramento to Alameda, to secure one person’s appointment and the methods used in that effort. That’s not the side of politics we usually hear about during candidates’ speeches or read in their glossy mailers. Maybe they will trust us enough not to claim that the tape should be kept secret. Maybe not.

          Comment by MP — May 3, 2018 @ 8:55 am

  3. Don’t kid yourself, Vella is not without fault. It’s just a matter of degrees. Jill and Oddie bear a lot of fault, Vella less fault. But they are all dirty.

    Comment by Eyeroll — May 3, 2018 @ 7:42 am

  4. I think the Investigator’s report is thorough and complete. There’s a lot of lessons here for everyone involved — but as a City we need to move on.

    Comment by Karen — May 3, 2018 @ 8:00 am

    • If it’s “thorough and complete” what do we do to “move on?”

      Does Oddie resign? Is he removed from office? Does Keimach stay or go, and if the latter, how much does she get paid?

      Comment by dave — May 3, 2018 @ 8:05 am

  5. Why is Bonta acting like he is still on the city council and not a state assemblyman? Oh, yeah and Bonta violated the city charter. too — by voting on the dismissal of a city staff member within 90 days of his first-time election to council. Recall effort failed; b/c Bonta jumped so quickly to the Assembly and Alameda had to “move on”, Moving on means we never reflect on and learn from past mistakes. Hence, corruption continues.

    Apologize to Vella for what, now? Sure looks like she was leaning on Keimach about something, via Bonta’s office.

    Comment by vigi — May 3, 2018 @ 10:11 am

    • do you ever make any comments that are based on reality, or are they all just in “vigi’s world”.

      Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — May 3, 2018 @ 5:13 pm

      • Like you’re the paradigm of thought, theories, research, postulates, and standards, Johnny P.

        Comment by Jack — May 3, 2018 @ 6:38 pm

        • thank you, Jack.

          Comment by JohnP.TrumpisnotmyPresident. — May 4, 2018 @ 7:55 am

    • Non renewal of contract is the same as dismissing an employee and the courts agreed.

      Comment by Mike McMahon — May 3, 2018 @ 9:21 pm

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