Blogging Bayport Alameda

November 5, 2021

Lost and unfounded

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

So if you thought the agenda item on the Sweeney Park boosters was a fun time for the Open Government Commission but it was nothing compared to the complaint that was filed by Jay Garfinkle (I actually almost typed “Art”, but quickly backspaced).  His complaint was essentially centered around the fact that he thought that he should have had a page by page explanation of why certain sections of his public records request response was redacted and did not accept a blanket redaction on the cover page citing why certain sections were redacted.

Even after several explanations from both a commissioner and from the city attorney staffing the Open Government Commission it was clear that one Commissioner was super confused or maybe she wasn’t confused and was just being blissfully ignorant so that she could try to make a series of terrible motions that no one would provide a second for. 

The best part of that section of the meeting was the absolute boss contribution of the newest Commissioner on the OGC: Melodye Montgomery.  She is the newest appointee of Councilmember John Knox White who was left appointee-less after the resignation of commissioner Rasheed Shabazz.   She laid down a simple motion to deny the complaint as unfounded, dropping a velvet hammer on the proceedings.  

Here’s the video which I have watched twice because it’s hilarious.

I didn’t capture it all, ran out of time and would have loved to pull more video for you all but my phone was acting up. After this segment Commissioner Carmen Reid tried to place a “friendly amendment” which the maker of the motion did not accept. In the end they voted 4 -1 to find the complaint unfounded after much discussion about how the complainant could have worked with the City to uncover the information he was looking for.

I’ll add that the PRA was so broad that there were apparently thousands of pages that needed someone in the City Attorney’s office to go through and ensure the proper redactions were made. I don’t know what the equals in staff time and money wasted but it couldn’t have been cheap.

And this is complaint is exactly why the unfounded rules exist to avoid situations when people attempt to gum up the works of the City by filing nuisance requests.


  1. Every time I watch one of these meetings, I’m struck that the commissioners don’t seem to have a shared understanding of what their job is. It’s like they’re making it up as they go. (“How about a motion to dismiss, but we provide free popcorn. Can we do that?”) Does anyone from the City provide training or guidance, or are some just choosing to ignore all that?

    Comment by Andy Murdock — November 5, 2021 @ 6:37 am

    • It seems nonsensical because you are a good person who would want to do a good job. We have a gang of four who want to cause havoc with our government, waste resources, and then say, “SEE! Nothing works properly! Throw the bums out!” 👎

      Comment by Gaylon Parsons — November 5, 2021 @ 7:31 am

  2. I am an embarassment, and I apologize for my stupidity,…and I would ask that you forgive the fact that I carry a bag of rocks within my skull. Please let me continue to play government with you.

    Comment by Carman Reed — November 5, 2021 @ 7:48 am

  3. Carmen Reid is utterly dumb, a perfect Dunning-Kruger candidate. From the very first meeting, she demonstrated a pattern of failing to understand the scope and responsibilities of the Open Government Commission. I laughed uproariously when no one would second her motion.

    She and Jay Garfinkle know each other and often work together. It’s why she entertained and encouraged his shenanigans so much, instead of being an impartial officer for good governance. I don’t know the new candidate, but she did a great job, a no-nonsense lady who doesn’t have time for your games.

    Comment by NIMBYs Gonna NIMBY — November 5, 2021 @ 8:29 am

    • Oh yea. That face Carmen made when no one would second her emotion. Oof. I thought she’d backpedal and move on. But no, she double-downed. Then triple-downed, each interaction progressively embarrassing, even when she ran out of speaking time. I’m so glad that Commissioner Montgomery stepped in with a mercy killing, “deny and unfounded.”

      Comment by JRB — November 5, 2021 @ 11:12 am

  4. Wow, the first minute was very hard to watch. 24 “umms” and “uhs” just to complete ONE sentence. Is it any wonder why she takes hours to write a script, rehearse them, record them, and play back the prerecorded audio during public comments at city meetings?

    If she does run for city council and somehow wins, this might actually be a good thing. If she ever needs to lie, say untruths, polish another Jay Garfinkle turd, then these “umms” and “uhs” will be her tell that gives her away.

    Comment by Umm Uhh Ummmmm Uhhhhh Ummmmmmm Uhhhhhhhhhh... — November 5, 2021 @ 9:35 am

  5. I’ll just play this video repeatedly during election season for the voters, should Carmen Reid decide to run for council. It is so bad and really illustrates how she’s not fit for government.

    Comment by JRB — November 5, 2021 @ 9:47 am

  6. I have a 14 year old Pit Bull with dementia, I would like to nominate him to take commissioner Reid’s place.

    Comment by John P. — November 5, 2021 @ 9:56 am

  7. LEAVE CARMEN ALONE YOU BIG MEANY FACES! And help me, Paul Foreman. You’re my only hope!

    Comment by Princess Apple Strudel — November 5, 2021 @ 10:27 am

  8. The rest of that agenda item was worth watching, they ended up dismissing the complaint as unfounded 4-1, and as I understand it that is strike 1 of 2 against Jay Garfinkle. Eventually he will also have to join Paul at Dorothy Freeman’s house in order to “hide” his identity and file additional complaints. All except Commissioner Reid had a good grasp of the issue and actions available. Even after multiple tries Reid couldn’t form an actionable motion. Her last comment seemed to be saying that the validity of the complaint should’t matter, everyone should get a participating medal just for filing one. What a disgrace she was! I normally am not a fan of the Chair either, but he also did a good job of laying out the argument for an unfounded finding, even though he took twice as many words as needed.

    Comment by notadave — November 5, 2021 @ 12:11 pm

  9. In order to standardize and clarify the OGC hearing procedures, commissioners have been working on improvements which were adopted two meetings ago and can be found in the staff cover page preceding the contents of the complaint packet. In addition, Chief Assistant City Attorney Mackenzie prepares a confidential neutral statement of the complaint for commissioners. An outside counsel represents the City as Respondent. The November meeting was the first one that we had all these improvements in place.

    1. Complainants’ Opening Statement and Presentation of Facts: 10 minutes
    2. Respondent’s Opening Statement and Presentation of Facts: 10 minutes
    3. Complainants’ Reply to Respondent’s Presentation of Facts (if needed): 5 minutes
    4. Commissioner Questioning of Parties and Witnesses (if needed): 5 minutes per Commissioner
    5. Complainants’ Closing Statement: 2 minutes
    6. Respondent’s Closing Statement: 2 minutes
    7. Commissioner Deliberations and Decision

    The Commission shall issue a written decision with any of the following findings:
    • Complaint Sustained with Cure and Correct Recommendation
    • Complaint Sustained without Cure and Correct Recommendation
    • Complaint Denied
    • Complaint Denied as Unfounded
    • Complaint Dismissed (on jurisdictional or procedural grounds, not a finding on the merits)

    Comment by Serena Chen — November 5, 2021 @ 1:20 pm

    • This is good structure. I’m glad Montgomery and even Tilos did their homework. Reid very obviously did not.

      Comment by JRB — November 5, 2021 @ 1:59 pm

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