Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 10, 2019

What do you do?

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Thought exercise for those that agree that recusal would be the right decision for the two, unnamed but obvious, Councilmembers from the Grand Jury report.   If you were on the City Council and both decided not to recuse, what would you do?

What would you do if only one of the two decided to recuse?  Does it matter if the one of the two is Malia Vella or Jim Oddie?

What if there was a proposal to turn each finding and recommendation into its own separate motion and each vote taken separately.  What would you do?

Personally, I don’t know if a partial recusal would be enough.  While I do think each finding and recommendation should be separated and each vote should be taken separately, I don’t believe that it would be helpful for those members to step in and step out on specific topic which could be argued are general enough that it doesn’t require recusal.

Let’s not even look at it from an optics point of view, because, let’s face it: this is a highly partisan issue.  More likely than not however you feel about the individual councilperson and his/her politics will probably dictate largely on how you feel about this issue in general.  Let’s just look at it from a good government point of view.  At this point the two members who have been tasked for charter clean up which was referenced heavily in the draft response letter are still are not entangled in this whole drama.  Also those two were not on the Council during the time all the drama happened.  And look, I’m not Tony Daysog’s biggest cheerleader but if he’s able to come to a reasonable consensus on the responses to the GJ report then the actions of the City Council will be, largely, beyond reproach.

As long as it has arms length from the people referenced in that document.

In order for the City to move beyond this, the City Council has to provide a response which is palatable even for the most wordy of bloggers. And it’s not going to happen if five people are deciding what response to send to the GJ.

I will add that Malia Vella has already signaled that she is not going to sit in on the vote:

14 Comments »

  1. The first thing to do is release the tape to the public.

    This is most definitely a partisan issue, as you say, and the partisan flames get fanned higher by the lack of publicly available evidence.

    Comment by dave — July 10, 2019 @ 6:11 am

    • Dave, whether the tape is public or not is irrelevant as to who should be voting on the gj report, Yes, transparency is a good thing, and the tape should be made public, but at the end of what’s going to be a long, long day, the two should not be voting on their own culpability.

      Comment by abronto4900 — July 10, 2019 @ 8:28 am

  2. 1) What are the “glaring factual errors and omissions” and how, if at all, do they materially impact the conclusions of the Grand Jury?
    2) What “‘evidence’ is shrouded in mystery” and, apart from labeling it as such, what can be done to un-shroud it? Can the City Council act in that regard?
    3) Is part of the shrouded-in-mystery evidence the audio recording of the August 2017 meeting in the City Manager’s library that the Grand Jury considered but which has not been made public?
    4) Did the Grand Jury misrepresent, exaggerate, or mischaracterize the contents of the audio recording? If so, in what ways?

    Comment by MP — July 10, 2019 @ 6:17 am

  3. I’m sure someone else has a better idea of the functions of the Civil Grand Jury and the purposes of responding to its findings and recommendations. With respect to the response, however, I don’t think anything the City Council says as a whole or in the form of, e.g., majority and dissenting/minority responses, if allowed here, would bind the Council to take any specific action or have any other major legal effect. I think the main function of the exercise is informational. As such, I wonder if the typical framework for recusal, which is normally framed in terms of financial conflicts of interest, applies here. Perhaps how the Council responds to the charter violation finding could have some indirect effect on its later response to claims for legal fee reimbursement/indemnity, if there still are unresolved fee claims against the city. But if there were, say, a 3-2 vote rejecting – or attempting to water down – the charter violation finding that included the votes of fee claimants, the extent to which such vote could be used against the city would probably be discounted.

    On the non-financial conflict side of the recusal calculus, if they do participate, they probably draw more attention to the issue.

    Comment by MP — July 10, 2019 @ 7:12 am

    • Yes, their participation will most surely draw more attention, and that would be a major error on the part of the council.

      This current council is already widely viewed as corrupt and compromised. Not only have two members been found by a grand jury to have violated the charter (an act which said charter says is cause for removal) but the council as a whole has made some very questionable votes. Among those are the vote to pay off Delbono (or rather, his union) for legal fees that were completely unnecessary. Why does a person who has not been charged lawyer up? Allowing the guilty parties to participate in the Keimach vote(s) was also a very bad look.

      To allow CM’s 1 & 2 any participation in the next steps would be a loud invitation to publicly question the council’s loyalties and commitment to good government. It would erase what credibility the council still retains.

      But they’re probably gonna do it anyway….

      Comment by dave — July 10, 2019 @ 7:49 am

  4. And in other news, it will be harder for local elected officials who use Twitter to block followers.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/07/09/739906562/u-s-appeals-court-rules-trump-violated-first-amendment-by-blocking-twitter-follo

    Comment by Mike McMahon — July 10, 2019 @ 7:47 am

  5. Here’s a thought: since the two cm’s in the report are unnamed. shouldn’t all 5 of them recuse in the interest of extreme fairness and caution? Will Tony recuse?

    Comment by abronto4900 — July 10, 2019 @ 8:35 am

  6. The tape certainly seems to be a public record.

    It is a matter of significant public interest and it pertains directly to something on the agenda of the City Council.

    It doesn’t seem that the D.A. found the recording to be illegal or worthy of any additional legal steps.

    It is difficult to conceive of a legal rationale not to release it.

    Comment by Public Records Are Public — July 10, 2019 @ 10:41 am

    • I guess it depends on which tape you’re talking about.

      Do you mean the tape that Vella said last year would exonerate her, if only it could be released?

      Or do you mean the one that she says is full of “errors and omissions and ‘evidence’ shrouded in secrecy?”

      Comment by dave — July 10, 2019 @ 11:17 am

  7. There goes the moral high ground for any member of this city council…pay off the fire union, screw the landlords, and hide evidence from the public to ensure their own re-election …they hit the trifecta!

    Comment by Nowyouknow — July 10, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

  8. As of yesterday the City was pushing on social media for *private * fundraising to get the Woodstock play structure rebuilt as soon as possible, presumably because the General Fund can’t afford $225-250K to fix it.

    At the same time, it seems some City leaders are still advocating that the City spend around $225K of *public* funds to reimburse the legal bills for actions the City Council has now agreed were tied to violations of the City Charter, presumably because some people think the General Fund can afford it.

    That seems backwards.

    Comment by Public Records Are Public — July 17, 2019 @ 11:29 am

    • mmm…….

      Comment by MP — July 17, 2019 @ 5:01 pm


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