Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 15, 2022

Move right out of my life

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

Looming over tonight’s meeting is this news that the newish City Manager is moving on to more southern pastures.

If you’re thinking, wait, didn’t we just hire this City Manager? You would be right, this City Manager came on board in 2019. Before that Jill Keimach served maybe three years before she left Alameda as well. The longest stint in recent memory has been John Russo who served for five years. Then we get into the Ann Marie Gallant years, Debra Kurita before that, and that pretty much covers all the years that I’ve been here and paying attention to local politics.


November 21, 2019

Lacking pizzazz

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

So if you didn’t see the post yesterday afternoon, the transcript AND audio is out.   I’ve listened to it AND I’ve read the transcript.  I may have followed along with the transcript while listening.   And my first impression is: that was a huge letdown.

I mean, I guess I expected more fireworks and smoking guns and maybe a bigger shakedown, but it was just: meh.  The transcriptionist managed to butcher every single spelling of every name.  The redactions were done pretty perfectly to convey that we’re missing very little of the nut meat of the conversation.

I guess the big red flag for Malia Vella and Jim Oddie was when Jill Keimach started in with this after the small talk and the “why we’re here conversation”:

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 4.19.18 PM

I mean, who talks like this in a normal conversation that is not being overheard or taped?


March 5, 2019

Lemme show ya something

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

So a couple of things on the City Council’s agenda that is notable, I actually wished I had held yesterday’s post and attacked these two issues separately.  The first is the Emma Hood pool which will probably make a more interesting topic after the City Council decides what the next steps are.  The TL;dr of the staff report is the issue of Emma Hood has been kicked down the can and now the City Council and School Board need to make a decision on what to do with the facility moving forward because the county is threatening to close down the pool.  There is no money in either the City’s or the District’s budget to pay for any of this.  The highest cost is $7 million for a full replacement and at the lowest cost $250,000 to demolish the pool.

I’ll point out that I find a discussion around finding funding for Emma Hood to be much more critical for the majority of people in Alameda rather than turning a bunch of buildings into “open space.”

Anyway, the next issue is a two pronged one involving the Fire Department. The first issue under consideration is adding and revising existing fees.  Right now, the Fire Department currently is not collecting a commensurate amount of fees to account for the time its staff spends on certain issues.  There’s a matrix and everything to show that Alameda’s cost recovery will be low in comparison to other cities in the region.   I don’t think there is a lot of controversy around raising fees and adding new fees that other jurisdictions have.  This part, probably bifurcated, should pass easily.


November 26, 2018

What’s the rush

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

Did everyone know that the City Council will be making a decision of some sort about hiring a new City Manager tomorrow night?   In Closed Session.  Without having any other agenda item detailing the process of hiring the City Manager?

I remember the when the hiring process happened to hire Jill Kemiach there was a public agenda item detailing the possible steps.  Was the process as transparent as when John Russo was hired?  No.  In that process we had several layers of controls including a community member panel which also interviewed candidates.  It feels like when we short cut the process (Jill Keimach, Ann Marie Gallant) we end up having unforeseen issues.  Perhaps we should return to the longer, more robust and open process which will get us more candidates to select from rather than a smaller subset as I think happened when Jill Keimach was hired.


October 15, 2018

A sympathetic ear

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

Someone in a thread last week mentioned that the Alameda Sun “article” telling the “other side” in the whole check depositing mystery may show that the whole release of the issue was politically motivated.

Of course it’s politically motivated, all leaks that come out of any organization is typically politically motivated.   If staff is serially unhappy, they’re going to make it known to anyone who can make it very very public that something is going wrong in the organization.  It happens ALL the time.  I was actually surprised it didn’t happen a lot more with Trish Spencer as the Mayor because when Ann Marie Gallant was City Manager City Hall leaked like the Trump White House.

But you know what stranger than a leaking City Hall?  Is a local newspaper which feels as though its their responsibility to act as stenographer for their favorite Mayor by putting aside any pretense that its actually going to attempt any level of journalism and instead going for the access variety of it.


April 16, 2018

Release the report

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

Welp, today is one of the scheduled days that the other shoe may drop on the role City Manager/City Council shenanigans.  Expect to see a couple news vans around City Hall, but the man of the hour has got to be Steven Tavares who scooped the story of the — at first alleged, but now confirmed — non consented secret recording of a private meeting.  I’ve read a lot of people making excuses about the recording saying it falls under the guarding against committing a crime exclusion.

But let me propose this: perhaps those making the excuses should check their biases for one second.  If the inverse had happened, say it was Malia Vella or Jim Oddie who were revealed to have made the recording because they believed that they were being extorted by the City Manager or bribed, would you still be making the same excuses? If the answer is: yes, Lauren, I would be equally aghast either way since facts that have been released about the meeting seemed fairly benign.  Annoying in its persistence, but nothing rising to the level of extortion or bribery. Then cool.  If your honest answer to yourself is: no, this behavior only becomes excuse worthy because I don’t like the firefighter union’s influence on either Malia Vella or Jim Oddie and so I will excuse any attempts to take them down.  Well then, sounds like you’re not a ton better than the Republican Congress who are willing to overlook the transgressions of Trump which a Democratic president would never survive.



March 12, 2018

By your administrative leave

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

Well, well, well.

Fire Chief/Memo/City Manager-gate sure did take quite the unexpected turn.  From Steven Tavares writing for the East Bay Express:

Following a nearly five-hour closed session meeting Friday evening, the Alameda City Council, in a surprise move, unanimously voted to place City Manager Jill Keimach on paid administrative leave.

Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer declined to comment on Friday’s announcement or offer a reason for placing Keimach on leave. But the post-closed-door meeting statement read by Spencer suggests that the city’s investigation into Keimach’s claims may have uncovered new information.

“The report includes confidential advice regarding potential litigation given to the council, which the council is currently assessing in conjunction with its attorneys. The city will release the actual findings of the investigative report as soon as possible after the requisite legal analysis has been completed and delivered to the city council,” according to the statement.

“The city manager has been place on paid administrative leave with full salary and benefits during this assessment by unanimous vote of the city council.”


October 13, 2017

Bullet proof?

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:03 am

So yesterday a big-ish bombshell was dropped on the world on Alameda City politics and it was a doozy.  But it was really doozy-ish because of who was tasked to write the opinion-piece, a columnist and not a reporter.   And the columnist did exactly what he was paid to do, find a view point and write the hell out of it and he made it sound really really bad.

From the Daniel Borenstein piece:

After announcing her selection, Keimach sent the council a three-page letter detailing the “unrelenting” and “unseemly political pressure” on her to appoint the candidate who had “been handpicked by the local (firefighters) union.”

She said she had been “asked to cast aside the requirement of a fair and transparent process and give no consideration to other candidates who present superior qualifications and experience.”


August 31, 2016

You’ve been seriously misled

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

For those of you out there that still read the Alameda Journal, you may have caught this article that posted: SEC: city of Alameda misled investors over bonds.


The city of Alameda is among 71 cities or public entities across the country that the Securities and Exchange Commission said misled investors by not disclosing enough financial information when they sold municipal bonds.

The failures came to light under the Municipalities Continuing Disclosure Cooperation Initiative, a voluntary program that lets local governments review documents associated with bonds issued over the past five years for any violations of federal securities laws, such as failing to include an annual financial report. The initiative allows favorable settlement terms through self-reporting any violations.


November 16, 2015

This time I know it’s for real

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

A year and eight months ago the City put out this press release celebrating the Appeals court decision in the case of former Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant v. City of Alameda. For all posts on Ann Marie Gallant click here.  As a reminder Ann Marie Gallant has been suing the City of Alameda since 2011 which means that her lawsuit has spanned twice the length of time as her stint as Interim City Manager of Alameda.

On Friday, the City got a bit of good news from the Appeals court that Ann Marie Gallant’s second appeal also failed to be persuasive to the court.  I’m really hoping that we get a press release from the city with a quote from our Mayor and Vice Mayor.  *fingers crossed*

Also according to the decision, the City of Alameda has been awarded their costs on appeal as well.


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