Blogging Bayport Alameda

July 17, 2013

In audit we trust

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Public Resources — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

It’s taken me about a month or so to fully catch up on City meeting watching.   When I came back from from early June vacation I had a “to be viewed” pile of videos that I had missed in addition to current meetings.   Someone told me that I had to watch the budget meeting from June 11 and I had ended up watching the same (wrong) video twice because I wasn’t sure if I had missed something from a very long and very protracted meeting about putting liens on people’s houses who had managed over the years to rack up huge building permit violations.  Needless to say that was not a fun discussion to listen to and brought out the crankiness in many a City Council person on the dais.

When I finally started watch the correct video I settled in to a long, rather dry, discussion of the budget.  And then, public comment.   Generally where the magic happens during any City meeting.   The Mayor called up City Auditor Kevin Kearney and whoa!  Let me just say that I didn’t expect him to stand up and say what he did.   Since the Kevins (City Auditor Kevin Kearney and City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy) are put up on a pedestal in this town by a fair number of people and mostly people who have a lot of complaints with the current administration and City government, I about fell over when he started speaking.  So, video is here (starts around 52 minutes into the video feed).

But here’s a selected transcript for those who don’t have time for video:


April 28, 2011

Dig a little deeper

Did anyone notice that the salary list compiled by City Treasurer Kevin Kennedy included compensation for elected officials as well?  No?   Yeah, me either.    I think once people got into normal salary range most people just stopped looking.

It wasn’t until a commenter on The Island mentioned the Council pay as listed in the new Bay Area News Group database.   Of course, there was also this story which mentioned that Medical/Dental/Vision benefits are a huge perk for part-time elected officials like ours.  Highlights:

Government compensation data acquired by the Bay Area News Group, which includes this newspaper, show that hundreds of part-time elected officials — and in many cases family members — received full-time health care benefits in 2010 courtesy of taxpayers, costing many cash-strapped agencies tens of thousands of dollars.

According to an annual survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in four private employers offers health benefits to part-time employees. But in local government, it’s a different story.


April 14, 2011

Reporting on the CAFR: you’re doing it wrong

On Tuesday night, after the whole business about the Golf Complex was completed.  The decision was that the City Council would give City Staff time to review the proposal by Ron Cowan before making any definitive decisions.    KemperSports seemed sufficiently chastened by prospects that any number of alternate operators might be able to fill in for them and came in a lot more flexible than before.   Acting City Manager Lisa Goldman confirmed that our former Interim City Manager had made promises to KemperSports that the City would issue tax-exempt bonds to finance KemperSports’ capital improvements to the site (in the neighborhood of $5 million) and that KemperSports would pay the debt service on the bonds, which Lisa Goldman put the kibosh on because it wouldn’t be kosher.

The City Council asked to have City Staff work on a pinning down a few more items in the Alameda Junior Golf Association term sheet and then to bring back a lease to the Council.   I’ll talk more about the Cowan plan when I get a chance to review it, but another equally interesting conversation occurred after most people vacated the room last night that John P. hinted at in yesterday’s comments.


April 11, 2011

Anything you can do I can do better

As I mentioned on Friday, I was out for most of last week when all the interesting stuff went down. What being away without a reliable internet connection actually did was inoculate me from the public pissing match waged via editorial letters. Reading all the documents at once and then watching the additional comments from the public at the last City Council meeting made me realize that everyone needs to take a step back, stop posturing, start listening, and talk to each other instead of at each other.

The first volley was made by Mayor Marie Gilmore, actually, let me back that up a bit. I think the first signs that this was going to be a clusterfuck of the first order was when the City Council response to the presentation by Acting City Manager Lisa Goldman and Controller Fred Marsh was characterized as:

Council members first offered stunned silence and then little more, saying only that they want core services protected and that they want community guidance on what those are.


December 19, 2008

With them came another invader…more cruel and vicious than any they had fought…the Carpetbagger

Filed under: Alameda, School — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 7:00 am

On Wednesday (catch it before it disappears) Alameda Daily News posted a self-congratulatory letter from Action Alameda with an interesting, and yes, ironic closing:

…These are just some of the reasons we insist on a 3rd-party forensic audit of the City of Alameda’s books. And we remind Alameda residents that they would do well to be critical of the party line touted by City Hall and echoed by the online carpetbagging bloggers and pay more attention to their fellow citizen whistle-blowers. Your pocket books will thank you.*

Putting aside the spin that Action Alameda (royal “we” being used since only one person cops to actually being a member of the organization these days) has been trying to put forward about being mocked because they uncovered a pot of money that belonged to AUSD in the coffers of the City (cliff notes for those that are confused, the school district and the city government are two separate entities).    Action Alameda was — because these things are archived — critiqued for going around and asserting that somehow the school district neglected to properly file annual reports regarding the money.   Back then Action Alameda was congratulating  itself for showing that AUSD was a shoddily run organziation that they couldn’t even get their act together to file the necessary reports required.   Now, Action Alameda is patting itself on the back for finally getting the money into the right hands — for the good of the children.  

Notwithstanding the selective memory of Action Alameda as to what they were asserting back then, I do believe their persistence around this issue was one of the motivating factors for the school district to finally request the money from the City.  So a tip of the hat for a job well done. 


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