Blogging Bayport Alameda

September 13, 2018

Give me your attention baby

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

I was really bummed out that I was not able to go to the City Council candidate forum hosted by the Alameda Democratic Club.  But I have watched the majority of the recorded video and was able to snip out some portions.  I had plans for breaking it out into chunks of questions and answers and got some of that done, so I may throw up what I have but midway in the video my download lost audio so I couldn’t complete the work.

Anyway.

There were a lot of exciting and bloggable parts to what I was able to clip out and the first came right out of the gate.  There were no excuses that could be made about being tired at the end of a long meeting or being at the end of the five dude panel questioning and so the ground rules had been forgotten, no this was straight up a deliberate violation of the rules because, well, entitlement I guess.

Let me set up what you’re about to see. Most candidate forums like to start out with opening statements from the hosts and moderators. Then every candidate is allowed opening statements.

In this clip you’ll hear the moderator lay out very specific ground rules (in addition to the structure of the answer period), it was really well thought out and very professionally run. This specific ground rule was that discussion of the City Manager issue will be off limits.

Personally, I would have had a specific question about this issue but there would be a ground rule about it for all other topics in order to not distract or grandstand on the subject for every other important question. But that’s just me.

But these were the ground rules for the hosts of the forum so the candidates could choose to respect it or immediately ride roughshod over it.

Guess what Tony Daysog opted to do?

And just so we’re clear, he was the FIRST candidate to speak.

Of course, given the mixed audience, he received both applause and hissing.  Which I get the feeling that Tony Daysog really enjoys being both sort of liked and hated.  Makes him feel relevant.

I suppose we should be unsurprised that Tony “head in his laptop while on the dais” Daysog would be so quick to grab attention by breaking the rules.  But it set a tone for the rest of the meeting and, honestly, Tony Daysog with his light record of previous accomplishments couldn’t really afford people focusing on his shortcomings.

17 Comments

  1. Let me see if I have this straight.

    Candidate Jim Oddie is reported to have issued a veiled threat to City Manager’s job if City Manager does not pick fire chief applicant backed by Candidate Oddie’s major financial contributor. Candidate Oddie is found by independent investigator to have violated City Charter by trying to influence City Manager’s fire chief selection. City Manager gets fired. City has to pay nearly $1M settlement to fired City Manager (plus pay someone else to fill in).

    For some reason, a “rule” is declared that the above topic (and only that topic) was a prohibited during the Candidate’s Forum because, I guess, it’s just not a very convenient topic to discuss at such affairs.

    And now, through the wonders and artistry of “framing”, it is Tony Daysog – not Jim Oddie – who we scold as the rule breaker for daring to bring up the topic.

    Sorry, but without some other explanation (including as to the purpose of the debate “rule” – was it for the good of the city, somehow?), I think we’ve got things backwards here.

    Comment by MP — September 13, 2018 @ 7:58 am

    • You can ask the Democratic Club if you want. It’s their forum their rules. Just like I imagine that the Chamber of Commerce will set ground rules, the Democratic Club also has the ability to set ground rules.

      In this case, absolutely Tony Daysog is the rulebreaker. In the City Manager situation Jim Oddie was also found to have broken the rules too, but what you have conveniently omitted in all your concerns about that issue, the independent investigator also said that the rule he broke probably needs to be changed anyway.

      Comment by Lauren Do — September 13, 2018 @ 8:49 am

      • I beg to differ, especially to the extent you are suggesting that the independent investigator somehow recommended abandoning the clear rule in the Charter that he found Councilmember Oddie to have violated. He did not. About the rule, the investigator wrote: “The point of the City Charter is to eliminate corrupt influences such as political patronage or conflicts of interest and to p[reserve the professional administration central to a manager-council form of government.”

        What the independent investigator recommended was a charter amendment or ordinance providing more specificity as to the full range of what constitutes a prohibited attempt to influence the City Manager’s appointments.

        “I recommend that the City Council seek to clarify scope of City Charter-§7-3. The City
- Council might consider proposing to the electors a City Charter Amendment or enacting an ordinance that delineates with specificity the types of conduct that constitute a violation of this section. The City would be well-served by a clear definition of prohibited “attempt[s] by a Councilmember to influence the City Manager in the making of any appointment.”

        More clarity might have brought even more of the conduct in question covered by the investigation under the Charter’s prohibition.

        But as to the basis for finding that Councilmember Oddie violated the Charter (“squarely on the side of improper influence” page 12, second paragraph), there was no issue of vagueness or lack of clarity in the Charter (see Report, page 12, last sentence of first paragraph): “But it is abundantly clear that councilmembers may not promote a particular candidate; such activity is unequivocally attempting to influence an appointment decision”

        Comment by MP — September 13, 2018 @ 9:34 am

        • Like I said, probably needs to be changed anyway.

          Comment by Lauren Do — September 13, 2018 @ 10:39 am

        • The targeted debate rules should probably be changed too, but like you said: their forum, their rules. That’s my opinion, btw, not the independent investigators.

          Comment by MP — September 13, 2018 @ 10:55 am

        • You’re both saying the same thing. The independent investigator said the rule needs to be changed to provide more clarity. Whether or not one writing a letter of recommendation is tantamount to “unequivocally attempting to influence an appointment decision” is debatable, especially since Mr. Oddie has said he received prior approval from Ms. Keimach that it would be okay to submit a letter of recommendation. Even if Mr. Oddie was in the wrong, the charter was also very vague on what the consequence should be – removal from office or censure, as pointed out by the investigator. If anyone thinks “removal from office” is not an overly excess response for writing an innocuous letter of recommendation, then just come out and admit it.

          Comment by JRB — September 13, 2018 @ 12:12 pm

        • And, as pointed out above (and in your own quote), the independent investigator said the rules probably needed to be changed anyway. I’m not sure why this is so complicated or requires so much back and forth.

          The Alameda Demo Club rule was a rule to keep order for its forum. You have an issue with it? Run for a seat on the governing board next time around and you can dictate the rules for the next City Council forum in two years.

          Comment by Lauren Do — September 13, 2018 @ 12:21 pm

        • Mr. Oddie surely could have tried out your argument to try to minimize the issue at the debate. But why exclude the topic, altogether?

          Comment by MP — September 13, 2018 @ 12:41 pm

        • If a pol not favored by our blogmistress was shielded from questions about his/her relevant criminal history — and violating the city charter is pretty damned relevant for a city council member — she’d be up in arms and run a week’s worth of posting about a craven organization covering up for a hack. And she’d be right.

          Comment by dave — September 13, 2018 @ 12:47 pm

        • Sorry to engage in so much back and forth about this.

          Is this the investigator’s quote you are talking about: “But it is abundantly clear that councilmembers may not promote a particular candidate; such activity is unequivocally attempting to influence an appointment decision”?

          I think his recommendation to change the charter in order to achieve greater clarity/specificity was directed towards the other “considerable involvement in the process on the part of some City Councilmembers” (plural) that did “implicate City Charter Section 7-3”, but not so much as to that which was already “abundantly clear” or the conduct of Councilmember Oddie which he found was “squarely on the side of improper influence”. I could be wrong. Maybe he was getting paid to recommend clarifying that which was already “abundantly clear”.

          Perhaps the issue of potential changes to the Charter coming out of all of this could have been part of the debate.

          If your point is that, because I am not on the Dem Club Exec. Comm., not even the Exec. Comm. (much less anyone else) has to listen to me about how it handled this issue in its City Council candidates’ debate, I think you would be right.

          Comment by MP — September 13, 2018 @ 2:07 pm

        • JRB, where do we learn that “Mr. Oddie has said he received prior approval from Ms. Keimach that it would be okay to submit a letter of recommendation”?

          The investigative report says that “at [redacted]’s request, Councilmember Oddie delivered (later changed to “addressed”) a letter dated July 31, 2017 to Keimach on City letterhead, signed it in his official capacity, and strongly recommended Weaver for the position….Up until this point, the only conversation Councilmember Oddie recalled having relating to the Fire Chief selection process was a conversation with [redacted] during which he learned that Chief Long was leaving and that, according to [redacted], Keimach lied to [redacted] about whether she was actively recruiting Healy for the job.” (pages 32-33).

          I guess there is room in that timeline for Ms. Keimach to have given Oddie her “prior approval” that it would be okay to submit a letter. Perhaps it occurred somewhere between “up until this point” when his only conversation about the selection process was with [redacted] and immediately prior to sending the letter to Keimach?.

          If Mr. Oddie told the investigator that he had obtained Ms. Keimach’s prior approval to send her the letter, and the investigator did not include that in the report, it would be a serious omission, wouldn’t it? Did Mr. Oddie first state he had such prior approval after the report was complete?

          Comment by MP — September 13, 2018 @ 3:46 pm

        • JRB- Having been given permission and then having it withdrawn certainly muddies the water, but otherwise “innocuous” is besides the point when the Charter is unambiguous about trying to influence a decision. It was City Manager’s job. She should have been left alone to do it. There aren’t even procedures in the Charter for censure, so yes, it needs some attention. Was the permission and withdrawl in the report ? Seems like it should have been but I don’t recall reading about it. I read the report once through, and quickly. Could easily have missed that.

          Comment by MI — September 13, 2018 @ 3:56 pm

        • It was Ms. Vella who verified that Mr. Oddie received prior approval from Ms. Keimach to submit a letter of recommendation. I cannot remember which social media account, but if you search for it, it’s all there. It’s a very plausible explanation for how Mr. Oddie could have done an otherwise stupid thing. Of course, it’s all hearsay and that Ms. Keimach would deny it, but remember that the independent investigator did say Ms. Vella proved to be much more credible than Ms. Keimach whenever their accounts conflicted with each other.

          Anyway, all this exhausting back-and-forth just proves that the Alameda Democratic Club’s moderator made the right call in taking this topic off the table, because it never gets anywhere while there are more pressing matters to discuss.

          Comment by JRB — September 13, 2018 @ 6:14 pm

        • Has it occurred to you that if Keimach had given permission then none of this would have gone down the way it did, including the ~1MM that the city paid Keimach?

          Nah, it probably hasn’t.

          Comment by dave — September 13, 2018 @ 7:32 pm

        • OK let me get this straight, JRB. Before you said it was Oddie who stated that he had received Keimach’s prior approval for the letter. Now you are saying that it is Vella, rather than Oddie, who “verified”, on social media, that Oddie received Keimach’s prior approval. If you know, or if your sources are willing to disclose, you might explain the basis of Ms. Vella’s verification (did she witness it?), why Mr. Oddie wasn’t the one to verify it, and why it was not disclosed by Ms. Vella or Mr. Oddie during the investigation itself, if that is the case.

          I actually share some of your concern about a formal removal sanction for writing a letter. But I don’t think that the conduct began and ended with the mere writing of a letter. The letter was part of a bigger campaign that involved other local and state officials including Mr. Oddie’s boss, Rob Bonta. Mr. Oddie’s boss, who like several others refused to participate in the investigation, is reported to have communicated financial consequences for Alameda to Ms. Keimach if she did not chose the candidate backed by Mr. Oddie and his major financial supporter. Mr. Oddie also communicated a threat to Ms. Keimach’s job to the Police Chief if Keimach did not “do the right thing” on the Fire Chief selection. It was part of a “considerable involvement in the process on the part of some City Councilmembers”, as described by the investigator. It certainly was a “pressing matter” to them at the time of that considerable involvement.

          Whether or not all of that “considerable involvement” violated the Charter – and some of it surely did — Alamedans also simply and rightfully want to know how their city was being run, why it all ended up with a $1M settlement to Ms. Keimach (plus additional salary for her replacement), who is responsible, and how we can make choices at election time so as to avoid all of that in the future. Those are pressing matters, so I disagree that the Dem Club Exec. Comm. made the right choice in trying to close down the topic.

          Yes, there are other matters that, like this one, are of present concern. We should be able to address them all; we can multi-task or chew gum and walk at the same time, as they say.

          Comment by MP — September 13, 2018 @ 7:42 pm

  2. I was hardly surprised to see Tony Daysog receive the loudest boos of the day during the recent 4th of July parade, just a mere block from his house. He seems to relish the attention, whether it’s positive or negative. He does not seem to care about keeping his Alamedan constituents in Alameda, but in keeping Tony Daysog on the dais.

    Comment by JRB — September 13, 2018 @ 9:05 am

  3. Perhaps he is just trying to “burnish his reputation” by attacking a City Council member. That’s what he accused me of two years ago right here on this blog when I criticized his positions and performance.

    Comment by BMac — September 13, 2018 @ 11:12 am


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