Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 18, 2019

Context matters: the hyperbolic Grand Jury edition

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I haven’t gotten through the whole City Council meeting yet.  Why?  Because I’m in the middle of another book and I prefer to split my time between horror inducing content and Stephen King novels.

One thing that I could not not address was the hyperbolic historic reference by Councilmember Tony Daysog as to how we got to the City Manager form of government that we have now.  He alluded to something in the 1930s but didn’t give specifics other than to say it’s similar to what is going on now.

Fortunately we have historian Twitter ready to jump in at any time people try to bend history to their narrative and we are really fortunate to have Rasheed Shabazz on the case.

From Twitter:

Yeah, it was not a great look for Tony Daysog to ascribe the same weight to a scandal which resulted in three members of the City Council being jailed and a City Manager being imprisoned to what happened here.  It’s not to minimize what happened in this case it certainly does not rise to the level that any rational person would believe the punishment should be jailing and/or imprisonment.


  1. Yes, that was a “City [More] in Chaos”

    Comment by MP — July 18, 2019 @ 6:21 am

  2. Interesting, thank you.

    Bribery & theft?

    Any details who paid bribes and for what? How much was stolen, how it was taken, and from whom?

    Comment by dave — July 18, 2019 @ 6:46 am

  3. The present situation certainly does not rise to the level of jailing and/or imprisonment. But does it sink to the level of paying for CM1 and CM2’s attorney fees out of City funds?

    Comment by MP — July 18, 2019 @ 7:16 am

    • …at a time when the city apparently has to do a GoFundMe or some other crowd sourcing to raise fund to replace the destroyed children’s play structure at Woodstock?

      Comment by MP — July 18, 2019 @ 7:19 am

      • The GoFundMe campaign was set up based on the desire of hundreds of residents, organizations like Friends of the Park, the Rotary Club of Alameda, and many other organizations that voluntarily wanted to do something to expedite the installation of the replacement structure.

        Comment by Jeff Cambra — July 18, 2019 @ 7:58 pm

        • thank you

          Comment by MP — July 19, 2019 @ 8:02 am

  4. Daysog is correct. The actions of Oddie and Vella stink of political scandal fueled by union campaign contributions. The undue pressure on the city manager resulted in her resignation and the necessity of an expensive payoff, as well as a Grand Jury investigation, the “burying” of a secret tape recording, attorney fees and costs. The real context you fail to mention is the out of control fire department which caused a previous fire chief to resign, has created one of the highest top heavy fire department payrolls in the Bay Area, and whose continued actions roil our politics.

    Comment by Nowyouknow — July 18, 2019 @ 8:34 am

    • NYK – One person’s “out of control fire department” may be another’s high functioning institution. By contrast, “one of the highest top heavy fire department payrolls in the Bay Area,” sounds more like something measurable by comparing numbers with numbers. Do you have them to back up your claim, or not?

      Comment by MP — July 18, 2019 @ 9:13 am

    • Do you have anything to back up your claim? For years, much of the division in Alameda politics has been fueled by a perception that our fire department is over-funded or over-staffed, but I have never seen anything to support this. In fact, just doing a cursory, basic research shows that we are consistently in line with surrounding Bay Area cities.

      Comment by JRB — July 22, 2019 @ 11:08 am

  5. Since Oddie and Vella are attorneys, can the Grand Jury’s ruling that they violated the law (City Charter) be grounds to begin disbarment proceedings?

    Comment by BarbaraK — July 18, 2019 @ 9:39 am

    • No, I doubt it very seriously. The grand jury did not seem to identify any grounds for disbarment (e.g. Bill Clinton, in essence – he resigned in the face of charges – for, essentially, lying under oath).

      Instead of throwing out the idea of going after someone’s livelihood in that way, moreover, the remedy with which everyone (supporters and non-supporters alike) should probably most concern themselves is the remedy discussed at Tuesday’s CC meeting by the new City Attorney, and the remedy with which they should always concern themselves: the vote.

      Comment by MP — July 18, 2019 @ 10:06 am

    • That’s a pretty wild thought. Keep in mind that Alameda’s city charter is unique to Alameda. What might be considered unacceptable in Alameda could be acceptable in other cities.

      Comment by JRB — July 22, 2019 @ 11:10 am

      • Disbarrment of Oddie and Vella is not wild at all when the Grand Jury finds that they violated the law in the city they are serving. Most of the 86 incorporated cities in California have similar charter provisions prohibiting interference with the hiring of direct reports to the city manager.

        Comment by BarbaraK — July 23, 2019 @ 10:24 am

    • JRB, I agree with your first sentence.

      As to the rest, this was an interesting part of the tape (characterized by the Grand Jury overall as “55 minutes of pressure to hire the labor candidate”):

      “The city manager [said] she hoped the labor candidate did well and that would be the easiest solution. CM1 chimed in, “And if he does and you pick him, I mean, you’ll have to be able to tell the folks that think you were pressured that you weren’t”.

      “[C]onsidered unacceptable in Alameda” could mean against the law (7-3 of the City Charter “…shall not attempt to influence…”) or, at least, a bad idea. Somebody seemed to know that pressuring the City Manager met at least one definition of “unacceptable”.

      Comment by MP — July 22, 2019 @ 3:45 pm

  6. Amazes me no one suggests campaign finance reform…#1 root cause of this whole thing.

    Comment by michonnekatana — July 19, 2019 @ 12:39 am

    • It’s been suggested, or rather clamored for, for years.

      Comment by dave — July 19, 2019 @ 6:04 am

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