Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 24, 2011

Stronger than yesterday

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

I’ve been thinking a fair amount about the criticism leveled at City Manager John Russo in the comments section under this topic.  The portion of the comment that I’ve been rolling over in my head:

Perhaps I’m in error, but the last I heard Alameda is a strong manager city, not a strong mayor, (or council) city. Which means it’s your job to influence and lead the city council, not follow them: “If the Council wishes to go forward with the land exchange, I will implement their vote. If they do not wish to go forward, that’s ok with me too,” makes it sound like you are following the lead of the mayor and council.

Which again continues to perpetuate the myth of the “strong city manager” government that Alameda supposedly is.  The notion sort of mushes the whole idea of a strong mayor vs weak mayor government and the council-manager vs the mayor-council government and turns it into some great big muddy soup where people who are upset with government can turn around and declare the government one thing and say that the current structure somehow is not living up to their expectations.


October 13, 2011

Tuesday’s Council is full of Grijalva

On Tuesday night the City Council received the report from Chief Ruben Grijalva about the Memorial Day incident.   Unsurprisingly there were sort of the usual suspects expressing their unhappiness with the report.   Surprisingly one of the commenters with the most vitriolic statements happens to be related to a sitting City Council member.

But before I get into some video and transcripts of what happened during the City Council meeting, apparently there was some drama before the City Council meeting in the guise of a “press conference.”   According to this early report filed by KTVU news there was “big announcement” from Alameda residents before the City Council meeting on Tuesday night.   Turns out it was an announcement that these Alameda residents led by Adam Gillitt and Denise Lai had…wait for it…wait for it…


September 21, 2011

A case of you and you

A few updates in the employee lawsuit against the City of Alameda.   In the case of former Fire Chief David Kapler (HG11570933) if you will remember the case against the individually named defendants (Councilmember Lena Tam, former Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, and former City Manager Debra Kurita) was dismissed by the judge in July.   Right now the case is in a kind of holding pattern because the City’s attorneys have elected to file an appeal to have the judge rule on the anti-SLAPP portion of the initial part of their filing for the dismissed defendants.

Basically until that portion is complete, the remainder of the case — against the City — will be on hold.

On Monday the City also filed a response to Ann Marie Gallant’s lawsuit against the City.  Ironically enough, the lawyer who successfully managed to dismiss Ann Marie Gallant from the Kapler case is also defending the City of Alameda against Ann Marie Gallant’s case.


September 19, 2011

Busting five knots, wind whipping out my coat

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

File this one under debatable newsworthiness, last Monday or sometime over the last weekend, I’m too lazy to go back and check, David Howard over on the Action Alameda blog posted this about City Manager John Russo’s Facebook status.   To quickly provide some context, apparently John Russo along with the City Council went on a boat tour of the Estuary.

Evidently someone who has access to John Russo’s Facebook status page determined that there was something outrageous about John Russo’s status and quickly sent it to David Howard who also deemed it newsworthy and posted immediately about it.


July 29, 2011

I’m on a boat

Big props to Peter Hegarty over at the Alameda Journal for a really precise Request for Information query, yesterday the Alameda Journal ran this story, highlights:

Alameda city officials were put on notice that a water rescue program was necessary for public safety more than two years before a despondent man drowned himself off Crown Beach while firefighters watched because they said department policy prevented a rescue attempt, public records show.

The warning came in a Feb. 4, 2009 grievance letter filed by a leader of the firefighters union who said the department’s fire boat and water rescue programs were first implemented “due to the inherent risk that comes with providing service for an island community” and that an estimated 2,000 private boats are docked in Alameda.


July 27, 2011

Sweet and demurrer

Last week, John Knox White broke the news that the City of Alameda has a fairly significant ruling in the Kapler v. City of Alameda and everyone else case.

As a reminder, former Fire Chief David Kapler filed a lawsuit against the City (and various current and former public officials) for a variety of assorted reasons which simply boils down to him being pissed off because he was let go after a very public scuffle over his gas usage.    In addition to suing the City of Alameda as a whole, David Kapler has gone after former City Manager Debra Kurita, Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, and City Councilmember Lena Tam as individuals.


July 8, 2011

A little bit of me and a whole lot of you

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:02 am

After the Memorial Day drowning of Raymond Zack, many Alamedans called for an independent investigation/inquiry into the events surrounding that May morning.

When the City of Alameda announced that they had hired former State Fire Marshal and former director of CALFIRE, Ruben Grijalva, to perform an investigation  and present a report probably 95% of the people who cared were relieved that the City was taking this seriously and the other 5% started Googling Ruben Grijalva immediately to show that he was unqualified to perform this task.


July 7, 2011

People hearing without listening

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

I have been slowly catching up on my City meeting watching and wanted to share this little bit from one of John Russo’s first City Council meetings — maybe it was his first — let me set it up for you.  The agenda item was about ratifying the Firefighters contract which had newly negotiated terms.

As an aside, I thought that the new contract was a good start which included concessions like removing spouses from the lifetime health benefit upon retirement for new hires.    Firefighters would now contribute 11% to their retirement (an increase from 9%).  But I think that it could go farther.   The promise from the elected officials and City staff if that this is just a start to begin chipping away at the projected deficit.


June 16, 2011

So live your life

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , , — Lauren Do @ 6:05 am

For some reason on Alameda Patch a select few people have been calling for the City’s Interim Fire Chief, Michael D’orazi, to resign.   Some bad information regarding his tenure at the City of Alameda has led some commenters to repeat the faulty factoid that he was in charge of the Fire Department’s training division in 2009 when the rescue swimmers program was suspended.   The weirdest part was the comment was placed in the comments section of the article explaining that he had retired from the Department in 2007.

But as a part of this critique folks have also begun insisting that City employees live in Alameda.   The percentage this commenter cited was 80% of all municipal employees, with an additional requirement that all “top management”, live in Alameda.

While technically this is a requirement per the either the City’s Charter or the Municipal Code, it’s been a while since I’ve checked, it is actually against state law to require that municipal employees live within the City.   Let me quickly clarify that the requirement is only for that “top management” tier, not for rank and file employees.


June 9, 2011

Passing the baton

Tuesday night’s City Council meeting marked the last night that Acting City Manager, Lisa Goldman, would be sitting in the City Manager’s seat, making way for incoming City Manager, John Russo. I’m going to take this opportunity to say that Lisa Goldman has done an amazing job in the interim of taking care of the City given the challenges it is currently facing (and will continue to face). Honestly, the best part about this recent East Bay Express article about John Russo and Alameda was this part:

Russo said he plans to appoint Lisa Goldman, currently serving as acting city manager, to be his second in command…

While there was a lot of talk about her immediate predecessor being a straight shooter and “telling it like it is,” watching Lisa Goldman during all these discussions about the budget have been a revelation. I haven’t watched that many years of City Council meetings, just since I started this blog, but by far, she is the first City Manager (along with Controller Fred Marsh) to present the budget — and its problems — in such plain and honest terms. It was nice to see the City Council appreciate her efforts too. And I am so glad that she is sticking around because the City is facing some challenging times ahead.

So this upcoming Monday will be John Russo’s first day on the job and of course we’ll all be breathlessly watching to see if he mucks up.


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