Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 16, 2019

Going to the dogs

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

As a reminder tonight will have the Grand Jury report on the City Council’s agenda so expect public comment to be longish on that item.

Also on the agenda is the West Midway development next steps given that Jamestown has pulled out of the running.

And since this is the last meeting before the August recess, there’s a lot of business on deck. Including:

But the big item, other than the ones I devoted blog posts to is about approving the zoning for an animal shelter in the Harbor Bay Business Park.  From the staff report:

On June 10, 2019, the Planning Board voted unanimously to approve a Final Development Plan and Design Review for a new facility for Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter (FAAS) at 2331 North Loop Road, which is in the C-M (Commercial Manufacturing) Zoning District. As part of their approval, the Planning Board recommended the City Council approve a Zoning Text Amendment that would define the term “animal shelter” and modify the restrictions on animal related land uses located within 200 feet of residential zones. The proposed amendments would allow FAAS to obtain a use permit to operate an animal shelter with outdoor dog runs at the approved building at 2331 North Loop Road, which abuts single family homes to the west.

And from the Planning Board report:

FAAS has managed the City’s open-intake animal shelter at 1590 Fortmann Way since 2012, and is planning to expand its operations by moving its administrative offices and adoption services to the proposed facility on North Loop Road. The proposed animal shelter will house FAAS’ administrative offices, provide indoor shelter for up to 37 animals (dogs, cats, and rabbits), and be used to host animal adoptions and community events. The site will also include off street parking, landscaping and outdoor dog runs on the ground floor and roof top. FAAS will continue its intake and shelter of new animals at the Fortmann location, and will monitor the health and sociability of newly accepted animals until they are deemed ready for adoption, at which point they will be relocated to the new North Loop Road facility. The new facility will also provide veterinary services for animals under care and up for adoption.

Capture

I think it’s a great location for a shelter, there’s lots of places to walk doggos.  Now there’s just the small business of how to actually pay for the vertical development.

8 Comments »

  1. It’s interesting to hear that it is time to “move on” from all of this, while at the same time a very wide range of (mostly weak) of challenges to the Grand Jury report (and the Jenkins report) continue to be made.

    Someone in the City Manager or City Attorney’s office is suggesting, for some reason, pointing out in the City Council’s official response to the Grand Jury finding that two councilmembers violated the Charter, that the earlier Jenkins report found that only one had. (Perhaps also to be noted: the Grand Jury had the benefit of a tape recorded meeting; Jenkins did not). Let’s hope that the Council as a group, at least has the wisdom not get too far into the details, such as those raised by one councilmember recently:

    “Quoting 20 seconds of a 50 minute conversation and failing to include quotes from Keimach at the end of the meeting like “thank you for not pressuring me” are problematic.”

    In other words, the argument is that the Grand Jury mischaracterized the recording by omitting a purported admission by Jill Keimach that, in fact, she had not been pressured by CM1&2 or, perhaps, that earlier pressure had been retracted. That is a pretty serious, and public, allegation of improper conduct by the Grand Jury. If true, it would seem to require some kind of reform of the Grand Jury itself. That public allegation should be resolved. The best way to do that would be to release the recording to the public.

    Not having included that quote, of course, does not necessarily mean that the Grand Jury mischaracterized the recording at all. To the contrary, it could be the councilmember who is taking the quote out of context in order to mischaracterize the work of the Grand Jury. If the alleged “thank you for not pressuring me” statement was made near the end of what the Grand Jury called “55 minutes of pressure to hire the labor candidate and appease the labor leader”, there is more than a reasonable likelihood that it was intended as a reminder from a (subordinate) City Manager to CM1 and CM2 of everyone’s proper role in the fire chief selection process, or something more akin to a “thank you for not smoking” than any actual admission that pressure had not, in fact, been improperly applied.

    Again, the best way to get to the bottom of that is to release the recording, not quote from it selectively.

    Assuming CM1 and CM2 actually want the public to know the facts, including whether the Grand Jury has acted improperly, they should call for release of the recording. Even if CM1 and CM2 don’t control or possess the recording, their going on record to waive any objection to its release would, at a minimum, remove one of the potential barriers to its public release.

    Comment by MP — July 16, 2019 @ 6:17 am

    • “We need to investigate those who were investigating what the other investigator investigated.”

      Jesus Christ, just fix the city charter and move on. We all know the vague language is what started all this. The Grand Jury’s report was flawed in that it did not explain how CM2 violated the Charter, only by linking CM2 to CM1 in a weird and flimsy “guilt by association” thing.

      Comment by JRB — July 16, 2019 @ 10:33 am

      • No, what started this was 2 council members who acted for their donors instead of the voters and taxpayers, for the firemen’s union instead of the charter.

        Comment by dave — July 16, 2019 @ 10:41 am

      • Blaming this all on vague language in the Charter is another one that worked so long as the recording was not taken into account. Vagueness in the Charter is hardly the issue once those making determinations (i.e. the Grand Jury) had the recording.

        The Jenkins report discussed ambiguities in the Charter’s prohibition on attempts to influence appointments by the City Manager. After examining the tape-recorded meeting between CM1, CM2 and the City Manager, the Grand Jury did not have to resolve any of those ambiguities to find that both CM1 and CM2 had violated the Charter. Neither Jenkins, nor the Grand Jury, ever doubted that the Charter clearly prohibits councilmembers from advocating for or against particular candidates.

        Instead, the Jenkins report examined the lack of clear rules separating permissible good faith inquiries to the City Manager about the appointment process, versus communications that might be coached as that type of inquiry, but in fact intended to influence the appointment: “It is unlikely that the City Charter was intended to prohibit a councilmember’s sincere and constructive criticism about the manner in which a city manager is making an appointment.”

        Jenkins was reluctant to find a Charter violation by one of the two councilmembers based on what could have turned out to be at most, only “a councilmember’s sincere and constructive criticism about the manner in which a city manager is making an appointment”. That reluctance was based on his understanding of the August 16, 2017 meeting between CM1, CM2 and the City Manager that derived largely from his interviews of Jill Keimach, and the two councilmembers in question, both of whom were represented by private attorneys during the interviews (the fees for which the councilmembers seek or sought reimbursement from the City). Jenkins appears to have given the benefit of the doubt concerning that meeting, and whether the clear prohibition on advocacy for an appointee was crossed, to the two councilmembers’ version of it.

        The tape recording of that August 16 meeting appears to have told a different story. When the Grand Jury listened to it, it concluded that both councilmembers went into territory that was in unambiguous violation of the Charter: “In the case of Alameda, two members of the city council violated the city charter. They took steps at the behest of a labor organization to push for its candidate by privately meeting with the city manager and pressing the issue.” To reiterate, under neither Jenkins’ nor the Grand Jury’s interpretation of the City Charter would that conduct have fallen into a grey area. Under both, it was a clear violation of the Charter.

        Even as to the “criticism about the manner in which a city manager is making an appointment” raised during the August 16 meeting, had Jenkins heard the same tape as the Grand Jury, it is far from certain that he would not have found that to have fallen short of being “sincere and constructive criticism”, as opposed to being just another way “to push for [a] candidate by privately meeting with the city manager and pressing the issue.”. As the Grand Jury put it, “The Grand Jury concluded that CM1 and CM2’s complaints about the city manager’s handling of the process were either inaccurate or irrelevant. Except for interference by the councilmembers and the firefighter labor organization, Grand Jury witnesses were generally complimentary of the professionalism and thoroughness of the fire chief hiring process.”

        But, even if one disagrees with the Grand Jury that the councilmembers’ criticism of the selection process was “inaccurate or irrelevant” versus “sincere and constructive” or on whether that part of the discussion was also in violation of the Charter, the pushing for one candidate during the meeting by both councilmembers (assuming the Grand Jury is accurate about that) violated a clear line in the Charter recognized by both the Grand Jury and Jenkins.

        Comment by MP — July 16, 2019 @ 10:59 am

      • JRB, expand, if you don’t mind, on the “weird and flimsy “guilt by association” thing”.

        Based on its listening of the tape, the Grand Jury concluded CM1 and CM2, both, were attempting to influence the City Manager’s choice in violation of the Charter. In other words, the finding that CM2 violated the Charter was not just because CM2 was present in the same meeting with CM1 and the City Manager. Rather, it was because CM2 was also attempting to influence the City Manager’s choice in that meeting:

        “The meeting lasted approximately 55 minutes and focused on the city manager’s relationship with the labor leader and why CM1 and CM2 preferred the labor-backed candidate.”;

        “While the councilmembers were careful not to make any direct threats, their message was clear. They supported the labor-backed candidate and pressed the city manager on that point.”;

        “CM2 stated that the labor-backed candidate understood the budget process, would be good to work with during difficult financial times, and could convince the firefighters to come along on important issues. CM2 felt one other internal candidate would be a total disaster and another internal candidate might be a short timer who was “gonna spike his pension….”.

        I hope the Grand Jury has been accurate about the tape – not because I hope that it is true what they say, but because I hope our Grand Jury would not say something about the tape that isn’t true.

        Comment by MP — July 16, 2019 @ 11:17 am

        • MP – the city charter specifically allows councilmembers to make inquiries with the city manager, but prohibits influencing. As far as we could tell, all of CM2’s comments fall under inquiry and not influence. According to the city charter, meeting with the city manager, making inquiries, and expressing a candidate’s strengths are permitted actions. Because it was CM1 that violated the charter with the letter of recommendation, and CM1 was in the meeting with CM1, that’s where the guilt by association comes in.

          Comment by JRB — July 16, 2019 @ 4:25 pm

        • JRB, the below are quotes from the Grand Jury report, not my paraphrasing. They are summaries of the tape or direct quotes from the tape. They describe attempts to influence the decision by both CM1 and CM2. They are not mere inquiries. I guess you are saying that there is a way to support the labor-backed candidate and press the city manager on that point, and to try to cut down the other candidates without attempting to influence the decision. I don’t see it though.

          “The meeting lasted approximately 55 minutes and focused on the city manager’s relationship with the labor leader and why CM1 and CM2 preferred the labor-backed candidate.”;

          “While the councilmembers were careful not to make any direct threats, their message was clear. They supported the labor-backed candidate and pressed the city manager on that point.”;

          “CM2 stated that the labor-backed candidate understood the budget process, would be good to work with during difficult financial times, and could convince the firefighters to come along on important issues. CM2 felt one other internal candidate would be a total disaster and another internal candidate might be a short timer who was “gonna spike his pension….”.

          Comment by MP — July 16, 2019 @ 7:27 pm

  2. FAAS is in a capital campaign I guess. Good for them!

    Comment by Gaylo — July 16, 2019 @ 6:38 am


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