Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 6, 2021

For the longest time

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

On Monday night the Open Government Commission sadly lost one of its most informed members. Rasheed Shabazz, appointed by Councilmember John Knox White, formally resigned on Monday and left us with a neat little graph of how much time has been sucked by the OGC for members and the viewing public:

This is the most revealing graph which shows just how much more time has been wasted at the OGC with one small addition: the election of Trish Spencer and her appointment of Carmen Reid to the Open Government Commission. Not only have the number of meetings increased, the average duration of the the meetings have skyrocketed. This is not a positive thing.

This led to the institution of a time clock for the OGC members just like the ones that are used by the City Council. They started using the clock once the OGC majority voted for it (Carmen Reid voted against).

And while I’ve never been a fan of Tony Daysog appointee Ruben “opinionated history” Tilos he really did try to keep Carmen Reid in line even though she has no understanding of basic rules of order neither Roberts nor Rosenberg. He clearly had pretty much had it with her and was pushing back pretty aggressively around her attempts to bring back an issue that had already been adjudicated.

Much like her political sponsor, Carmen Reid seems to think her role on the OGC is just to simply wear people down by delaying and repeating the same things ad nauseam. She brought nothing to the meeting on Monday night other than adding unnecessary time to an already long meeting. Oh and carrying water for voices who have never had a problem being heard in the past but that she seemed to want to deputize into junior OGC members by adopting their redlined document wholesale.

Anyway, hopefully with the new time clock these meetings can be wrapped up in more reasonable durations but I’m sure that Carmen Reid , like Trish Spencer, will find a loophole to keep these meetings interminably long.

36 Comments »

  1. Carmen Reid joined the OGC not to better our government but to clearly wage vendetta against folks and issues she dislikes. The people of Alameda only need to look at the dozens of PRA requests Carmen has filed to know exactly what is in her coal black heart, trawling for nonexistent dirt to leverage against her imagined enemies. And this Dolores Unbridge wanna-be wants to be a councilmember next year.

    Comment by Do Better — October 6, 2021 @ 7:14 am

  2. Your obsession with Reid has distorted your brain. Rasheed skipped two consecutive meetings, didn’t recuse himself when asked, and insulted fellow members and the Commission on Twitter. The meetings he skipped were considerably shorter (go check the timestamps). Reid has been consistent in supporting transparency and making it easier for citizens to get information and file complaints. She opposes the 5-year penalty and won’t support a set of rules that includes it. That may seem hard-headed, but you can’t say it’s not principled.

    Comment by Psst your animus is showing — October 6, 2021 @ 8:43 am

    • I’ll have whatever this clown is smoking! Carmen is a sociopath.

      Comment by Rod — October 6, 2021 @ 9:14 am

    • Opposing the five year penalty is not a good thing. She’s making it easier for people, like herself, t0 abuse the public process to grind the work of government to a halt.

      She doesn’t know what’s going on half the time, consistently breaking rules of order, and thinks that if she keeps repeating herself endlessly she’ll get the OGC to wear down and appease her.

      Wasn’t Carmen Reid was also asked to recuse and did not.

      Comment by Lauren Do — October 6, 2021 @ 9:40 am

      • No – she was asked to recuse and did so (the Paul Foreman complaint). You’ll have to explain why no other municipality in the Bay Area has a similar 5-year penalty, if it’s so essential. SF gets LOTS of these complaints, and dutifully hears all of them. Your allergic reaction to a woman of principle is saddening. Former Vice Chair Shabazz’s own allusions to the “civility debate”- right here on your blog – come to mind…

        Comment by Still showing — October 6, 2021 @ 11:39 am

        • Carmen Reid is a “person of principle”? That’s rich. She is a deceitful individual who is not above using multiple aliases and calling into city meetings using different names to skirt public comment rules, manipulating groups like families (fear-mongering about kids stepping on needles) and American veterans (pretending to build a merchant marines museum that no one’s going to pay for) to try and stop local projects she does not like.

          Comment by Do Better — October 6, 2021 @ 12:02 pm

        • If by “woman of principle” you mean someone who uses the slow moving wheels of government to grind projects and programs that serve the most vulnerable to a halt then you and most everyone else in the world have a completely different definition that term.

          The difference between SF and Alameda is that they’re staffed at much higher levels than Alameda’s city government is and their commissioners are probably compensated as well. A few dozen Carmen Reids is a normal Tuesday for the City and County of San Francisco. In Alameda it means the delay of a project to serve homeless and frail folks by months.

          Comment by Lauren Do — October 6, 2021 @ 12:55 pm

        • Lauren you seem to struggle with decoupling Carmen’s activities as private citizen (e.g. trying to prevent what’s left of the former Merchant Marine Center from being razed), from her responsibilities as OGC Commissioner. Presumably the latter is today’s focus. In opposing Sunshine exceptions for ad hoc committees, she was trying to expand government transparency. In voting (with Rasheed even!) to sustain the one successful complaint of the year (insufficient CA response on a PRA request for police records), and in support of other complaints about bypassed requirements, she consistently votes in favor of more openness and advanced public notice in government. Sure – SF is different than Alameda, perhaps you’d be more interested in reviewing Berkeley’s concise OGC bylaws – see Section 2.06.190 of its muni code. No 5-year rule there either…

          Comment by Calm down already — October 6, 2021 @ 6:40 pm

        • Telling a woman to “calm down” is always a good look. My money’s on you either being Carmen or Matt Reid.

          Comment by Do Better — October 6, 2021 @ 9:16 pm

  3. I can agree that there’s something very wrong with Carmen Reid. She has submitted numerous Sunshine requests specifically targeting me and a private property I own, operating under the misguided notion that I am somehow illegally benefiting from owning and renting out the property. Although she was not able to find any proof, that has not stopped her from waging a months-long harassment campaign against me on Nextdoor using her alias “Carmen Davis” by using half truths and baseless conjectures. I have filed a complaint with the city about this, as it is considered a violation of the city’s Code of Conduct that all officials must abide by. The fact that she’s discussing city matters on Nextdoor while actively working to purge other commenters she disagrees with is also a Brown Act violation, which makes me wonder if that’s why she’s using the “Carmen Davis” alias there as a workaround.

    Comment by JRB — October 6, 2021 @ 9:51 am

  4. So Rasheed likes the idea of padding his resume with a posh Commission appointment, but doesn’t like the idea that it may actually involve work. Unfortunately that’s what this looks like. We’d all be none the wiser if the tweet just said “too busy, thanks for the opportunity”.

    Comment by Thank you for your service — October 6, 2021 @ 9:54 am

    • To suggest that black man doesn’t like something that “may actually involve work” is a pretty gosh darn loud dog whistle. Rasheed has worked tirelessly to promote a better Alameda that is accountable to itself for its spotty history, and has a large amount of social justice accomplishments that he should be proud of – including renaming an elementary school, renaming a park, and bringing the Alameda Police Department into the sunlight for its past and current transgressions. The OGC chair is inept and Ms. Reid is nothing but a chaos agent who, like her mentor Trish Spencer, seeks to grind city business to a halt. The city and the attorney’s office need to do a better job of ensuring their appointees are trained in the Rules of Order to conduct more efficient meetings. 4-hour meetings that drag on can be considered a violation of the Brown Act because it deters equal access for working parents who cannot have the same time commitment as others who are a bit more privileged (not having to work a second job to provide for their family, as Mr. Shabazz has to do).

      Comment by My Ears Are Bleeding — October 6, 2021 @ 10:15 am

    • Anyone who thinks that the OGC is a “posh” commission appointment doesn’t sit through the meetings. There’s nothing posh about the absolute slog the OGC Commission has been since January 2021 and they’ve gotten way beyond its original charter of meeting only four times a year which is really all these commissioners signed up for.

      And anyone who cannot recognize the contributions Rasheed Shabazz has made to the Alameda community over the years hasn’t been paying attention or somehow thinks that the work of telling the story of Alameda’s untold history is “not work.”

      What other shitty tropes and stereotypes about Black men would you like to add?

      Comment by Lauren Do — October 6, 2021 @ 1:02 pm

  5. There’s a YouTube video of John Knox White illustrating how an Open Government Commissioner, Carmen Reid, is intentionally breaking protocols for engaging in public meetings by repeating commenting after her time was up. It is worth a watch. This individual has no business serving on an oversight commission whose mission she does not seem to respect.

    Comment by JRB — October 6, 2021 @ 10:01 am

  6. Just out of curiously, what is the process for having a commissioner removed? We need to get this lunatic the fuck off of that commission like yesterday!

    Comment by Rod — October 6, 2021 @ 10:38 am

    • Dammit, *curiosity!

      Comment by Rod — October 6, 2021 @ 10:39 am

  7. Shabazz may have been forced to resign for his repeated anti-semitism, his personal schoolyard bullying and ridicule of community members in social media. Nobody is responsible for his “resignation” but himself. Bye, Felicia!

    Comment by Rod Buckley — October 6, 2021 @ 11:56 am

    • Sorry, but no one “forced” Rasheed to do anything. As a new father working two jobs, his time was sacred and he took the OGC seat with the intent of serving the city he grew up in, not to indulge in hours of poorly chaired meetings that have accomplished very little. I grew up with Rasheed in the West End, so trust me when I say no one could “force” him to do anything – he’s tough and he will always do the right thing, no matter how many feathers he ruffles. Your accusations of “anti-Semitism” and “schoolyard bully” are baseless and are rooted in your own cowardice.

      Comment by Reality — October 6, 2021 @ 1:42 pm

    • If anyone would be forced to resign, it would be that sociopath Karen Reid or whatever the fuck her name actually is because who can even remember with all of her various aliases! Remember the time she went running to Iron Maiden’s Facebook page to speak with the manager about a Bruce Dickinson troll account? Or the time she got permanently banned from NextDoor for doxxing people and came back the next day pretending to be her own mother, and now has managed to evade that ban again by using her maiden name? Or the various times she calls back in to council meetings to get extra time, sometimes under different names? Or the various times she’s come onto this very blog under aliases to slander her many critics? Yeah, all of that just screams “open government” and “woman of principle!” I suppose slash and burn local NIMBY politics could be considered a “principle,” but it’s not a good one!

      Comment by Rod — October 6, 2021 @ 2:18 pm

    • Please inform me and the public which statements I’ve made or actions I’ve taken that have been anti-Semitic? (Something other than the Garfinkle-Garfunkel foolishness.)

      Otherwise, stop the shenanigans and the appropriation of a movie prolly aint even watched.

      Comment by Rasheed — October 7, 2021 @ 2:38 am

  8. As a member of the OGC for four Years. 2015 through 2018 and serving as vice chairperson and chairperson over two of those years I think I have some perspective here. Our meetings were much shorter, because 1) our chairpersons ran very efficient meetings; 2) we did not spend hours with things that should be routine like approving the minutes or approving the anual reports from the city; 3) we were fortunate to have three attorneys on the committee during most of my tenure. Almost everything the OGC does requires some level of familiarity with law. Having only one lawyer on the Commission is a bad idea. Ms. LoPilato is making a great contribution but at least one other lawyer should be appointed. (not me).

    In defense of the current committee they have been working in an environment with more complaints being filed. I blame this, not on the complainants, but on a City Attorney who has consistently supported city council over the public interest in transparency. This has led to complaints. In addition The OGC have ben working on developoing new language for the Ordinance which has caused ongoing tensions between the City Attorney and the OGC.

    All of the above has led to longer meetings. I have viewed and participated in many of these meetings. i do not see Carmen Reid as using up a lot of speaking time compared to any other Comissioner. In fact, I would rank her low in total speaking time. I agree with Rasheed that a lot of time is being wasted. I have been very frustrated by these long meetings, but makling Carmen Reid the scapegoat for what is happening is both wrong and cruel..

    Comment by Paul Foreman — October 6, 2021 @ 2:10 pm

    • That’s fucking rich, dude!

      Comment by Rod — October 6, 2021 @ 2:20 pm

    • Paul Foreman. You neglected to mention that you are the one facing the 5-year ban for filing unwarranted complaints with the OGC and that Carmen Reid has been carrying water for you. I believe she’s also on the leadership committee for your racist ACT group. So it’s not surprising that you’re taking a “nothing to see here, move along” approach while admonishing the city attorney that’s imposing the 5-year ban on you.

      Comment by NIMBYs Gonna NIMBY — October 6, 2021 @ 3:34 pm

      • thankfully very few people in Alameda either listen to or know who Paul Foreman is. personally to me he is the kelly ann conway of Alameda, with the alternative facts.

        Comment by John P. — October 6, 2021 @ 5:57 pm

    • Paul makes a few interesting points here, and the Commission challenging City Attorney’s Office is central to what is taking more time. If the annual report had been presented accurately this year, the approval may have been routine. Instead, staff inaccurately (kindest phrasing) portrayed Scott Morris’ April 2020 complaint as “voluntarily suspended.” It was deceptive and required time to unearth truth.

      Also, i do not wholesale accept the “more complaints” have been filed. Not completely. You and Jay Garfinkle’s unfounded complaints were only complaints filed this year the Commission has heard to date. The other aforementioned complaint was a year old once finally heard. That said, issues raised by your complaints re: meetings and transparency each had some merit, imhho.

      Finally, Commisionner LoPilato has been refreshing addition. And, i can think of a few trash lawyers who would not be beneficial to the OGC. But, you bring up an interesting point about the role certain professional backgrounds could play: The SF Sunshine Ordinance Taskforce has appointees that are journalists and attorneys, not the partial each councilmember has an appointee. From SF: “ Three members shall be nominated by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, one of whom shall be an attorney, one of whom shall be a local journalist, and one of whom shall be either a journalist from a racial/ethnic-minority-owned news organization, a journalist whose work focuses on issues impacting minority racial or ethnic communities, or a journalist who works with a media organization or publication whose target audience is a minority racial or ethnic community.”

      Ultimately, the City Council needs to provide direction to the OGC and the CAO on goals and a workplan, but there has been some important effort this year. We’ll see how fruitful its been with the November meeting.

      Comment by Rasheed — October 7, 2021 @ 3:01 am

      • Rasheed, I stand corrected on the number of complaints issue.

        Technically, you are correct that my complaint and Mr. Garfinkle’s were determined by the OGC to be “unfounded”. However these findings were based on an erroneous opinion by a newly appointed city staff attorney that any complaint that is not sustained is “unfounded”, a definition in conflict with the definition found In Webster which is ” lacking a sound basis : groundless, unwarranted”.

        The report of the OGC Shabazz/Chen sub-committee (scheduled for presentation at the next Council meeting} raises both Mr. Garfinkle’s issue on proper notice and disclosure of City support of pending State legislation and my issue concerning the ad hoc committee exemption as needing further attention from the City Attorney and Council, so it does not appear that either you or Ms. Chen really believe that these complaints were “unfounded” as defined by Webster. Shortly after the my complaint was filed, the Rec and Park Dept changed their written policy on renaming city parks to require ad hoc committee compliance with the Brown Act. Clearly, the Department did not think my complaint was “unfounded”.

        I do like the San Francisco approach including both lawyers and journalists. Any Board or Commission, be it OGC, HAB, Planning, Disabilities, Economic Development, etc. should be required to have members who are qualified to understand the work as well a some representatives from the general public.

        I look forward to the presentation of the recommendations of your sub-committee to Council and thank you and Ms. Chen for your efforts.

        Comment by Paul Foreman — October 7, 2021 @ 2:49 pm

        • Can I suggest we reduce the number of lawyers on committees to the bare minimum, perhaps one (zero probably being unfeasible)? The pedantic logorrhea here speaks of lifetimes in a profession that bills by the minute. Reading it feels like sitting in a taxi taking you home from Oakland Airport via Hayward.

          Comment by BC — October 8, 2021 @ 2:29 pm

        • @ Paul Foreman: For the record I voted to sustain Mr. Garfinkle’s complaint. Also, for the record, your complaint was not filed within the 15 days after an alleged violation as stated in the ordinance. The alleged violation occurred in July 2020. Your complaint was filed on Feb. 2, 2021. With every complaint the OGC has heard this year, members have found issues that need to be addressed in a written report to the City Council “on any practical or policy problems encountered in the administration of the Sunshine Ordinance.” We have done just that and included in our report the need for clearly define what groups/committees working on city issues need to comply with Brown Act requirements. Also, for the record, out of three complaints filed, my vote concurred with that of Vice Chair Shabazz only once.

          Comment by Serena Chen — October 14, 2021 @ 1:13 pm

        • Serena, I did not note the vote on the Garfinkle complaint, only that it was denied. I am pleased to hear that you voted to sustain it and apologize for not noting that fact.

          My Complaint alleged that the last violation was Jan.19, 2021, the date on which Council accepted the report of the Jackson committee. If the City Attorney believed the 15 day rule was violated he would have exercised his right to dismiss the complaint without a hearing, nor did private counsel raise it as a defense. Thus, the unfounded finding was not based on the 15 day rule but on the Asst. City Attorney’s advice that any dismissed complaint should be considered unfounded, a clear misinterpretation of the term.

          I am pleased to hear that you are raising issues with the City Attorney. That is a very important part of the Commission’s work.

          It is gratifying to learn that you only voted with Mr. Shabazz once, even if the one agreement was on denying my complaint. In my opinion your two votes of disagreement, while not adopted by the majority, were correct determinations of the issues.

          Finally, I wish to be clear that my suggestion of adding another attorney to the Commission was not a criticism of you or the other three non-attorneys on the Commission. It is simply my view that at least two of the members of the commission should be attorneys. I have always had great respect for you in all of your efforts in city affairs.

          Comment by Paul Foreman — October 14, 2021 @ 3:16 pm

        • Paul,

          I recused myself from your complaint since i was asked to join the enslaver Park Renaming Committee, as advised by CAO. If i recall correctly, the CAO claimed there was a violation due to Commission voting to form Committee BUT it had been corrected by the Rec Commission and Council votes. As i have written elsewhere, the critiques about the process were more about not getting a preferred outcome than about what actually occurred. Unfortunately, your complaint was part of a trend of the subset of Alamedans who feel they are losing power seeking to change rules right at a time others are raising longstanding racial justice and issues of inequality. Not a good look. As for the proposed policy change, if you look back at the public record, revising the policy was also one of the Committee’s three goals. That policy has since gone to Council, a few Commissions, and back to Council for approval.

          As for Mr. Garfinkle’s complaint, if you go back and watch the video, i actually made a motion to “reconsider” the decision to find his complaint unfounded. I wished to dismiss it; However, the Chair did not recognize the motion nor was there a second. Had he not singled out one piece of legislation—there were two—i would have voted differently. Instead, the complaint was about the substance and not the process.

          There should be mechanisms to improve public processes—to expand participation but not obstruct processes—without having to file complaints.

          I do appreciate the kind words, though. I hope the Commission does more reports. As far as definitions: it’s already bad enough that i am using the language of my ancestors kidnappers, but letting racist Noah Webster define my reality is not an authority i appeal to. (Dont worry, Alameda’s Webster St is named after another dead white dude!)

          Comment by Rasheed Shabazz — October 15, 2021 @ 8:19 am

        • Rasheed, I was very displeased with your recusal. I know that you were acting under the advice of the City Attorney, but I saw no conflict and was hopeful that you would give the complaint a fair hearing You had no conflict because my complaint did seek invalidation of the Renaming Committee’s work. In fact I supported the resulting name change. I specifically lauded the work of the Committee in my presentation to the OGC. What the complaint sought was a finding by the Commission that the ad hoc committee exception to the open meeting requirement, which had been added to the Sunshine Ordinance just a year prior, was invalid because it was in direct conflict with the Brown Act. The relief requested was not to undue the work of the committee, but to assure that future ad hoc committees appointed by policy bodies would be subject to the open meeting requirement. I was purely attacking process, not trying to change the outcome of the renaming.

          As you point out, the City admitted it had erred, but claimed that it had been corrected by subsequent action. As a result of my complaint the Rec and Park Board changed its policy to require open meetings for ad hoc committees. I also doubt that the City Attorney will ever again use this invalid exception to allow closed meetings of ad hoc committees appointed by policy bodies. However the offending exception remains in the Ordinance. I saw the OGC report that asked the City Attorney to clarify the application of the exception. I wish that the Commission had been more specific and asked the City Attorney to explain why this provision remains in the Ordinance.

          Finally, I am greatly offended by your remark that my complaint is part of a subset of actions by some seeking to obstruct racial justice and equality. I was aggrieved that the first illegal application of the exception was the renaming committee, which is why I made it very clear that the result of their efforts should continue to stand notwithstanding my complaint. I feared that that, no matter how supportive I was of the Committee’s work, someone would accuse me of racially based motives. I am very sad that “someone” has turned out to be you.

          Comment by Paul Foreman — October 15, 2021 @ 10:14 am

        • Paul Foreman – it would be reasonable for most people to assume that your actions sought to obstruct racial justice and equality because you only came after the two boards that happen to have diverse representation. There are plenty of other boards that meet regularly that seem to follow the same practices adhered to by these two committees. For example, many adhoc committees that serve under the school board, the depave park commission, etc. Why did you not go after those? Why only the ones that sought to hold the police accountable or rename Jackson Park? That cannot be just a coincidence. Let’s call it for what it is.

          Comment by Reality — October 18, 2021 @ 10:24 am

        • Reality, I addressed in a comment to a Blogging Bayport post of Feb. 23, 2021 raising the issue. https://laurendo.wordpress.com/2021/02/23/one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other-2/ Lauren posted a list of ad hoc committees that did not have open meetings which I did not challenge. I responded as follows:

          “The simple answer to your question as to how these ad hoc committees differ from other ad hoc committees that have not adhered to the Brown Act is that they were, by your description, created by staff. The Brown Act only applies to committees created by a policy body. In this case that body was the Recreation and Park Commission that specifically directed a sub-committee thereof to establish the renaming committee.

          “There may have been ad hoc committees initiated by a policy body before Feb. 4 that did not abide by the Sunshine Ordinance, but it is important to note that the specific reason given by the Executive Director of Rec and Park for not abiding by the Brown Act was the Feb. 4, 2020 ad hoc exception. She had every good reason to rely on that exception. The fault is not with her, the Commission, or the members of the renaming committee. That is why I am not seeking to invalidate their work. The fault is with the Office of City Attorney which drafted and recommended the ad hoc exception to Council. I am trying to cure that error to avoid future violations of the Brown Act.”

          I am probably wasting my time responding to you because you are invested in imputing racist motives to me and will just find another “reality” to support your conviction.

          Comment by Paul Foreman — October 18, 2021 @ 1:59 pm

  9. I don’t believe any committee or board needs to have attorneys on them as part of thier make up. the planning board always had a representative of the city attorneys office sitting at the meetings to provide legal advice, I would rather have the advice from the city attorney’s office than from a maybe biased attorney with self interest on a board or commission. but that’s just me of course.

    Comment by John P. — October 15, 2021 @ 10:08 am

    • John P, You are entitled to your opinion on the makeup of the Commission, but your observation that the city attorney is unbiased conflicts with the facts. The city attorney is not elected by, not is his obligation to represent the citizens of Alameda. He is hired by a majority of City Council and represents them and all other city agencies. More importantly, in almost every complaint that comes before the OGC the city took the action complained of under the prior advice of the city attorney. Thus, the city attorney has taken a position in conflict with the complaint in almost every case and has a strong bias to defend his own advice.

      Since I joined the OGC in 2015 I have argued that the OGC must have independent counsel advising it when hearing complaints. The OGC has supported my position, but the city attorney has opposed it. Earlier this year the city attorney unilaterally adopted a policy that one member of their staff of attorneys will be “walled off” from the rest of the legal staff and assigned the task of providing “neutral” advice to the OGC. I think this is a far cry from what is needed and that there is no way to effectively “wall off” an attorney on such a small staff working in a small space. However, the first test of this process will be the two complaint hearings scheduled for Nov. 1.

      Comment by Paul Foreman — October 15, 2021 @ 10:49 am

      • like you said I’m entitled to my opinion, and it is still the same. I don’t trust a word that comes from you because you are so biased. of course you would feel that the city attorney is biased because they don’t agree with you. I’m fine with what we as citizens pay them to do, and that is to protect this city and its finances.

        Comment by John P. — October 15, 2021 @ 11:55 am


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