City Attorney suggests we sue the city.

Sort of. I mean, the letter I got yesterday from City Attorney Mooney basically said: so sue us.  (neener neener neener)

What’s really REALLY interesting, and in light of my post yesterday, City Attorney Mooney writes “The Council voted at the beginning of the closed session to have Eddie Kreisberg of Mayers Nave advise them during and following the closed session on issues related to the City’s Charter Officers.” Mooney’s letter is (deliberately) unclear which the closed session she’s referring to; reading the letter, it implies 12/28/2010 which would make sense because Kreisberg advised them at (and apparently before) that date, yet neither meeting shows an agenda item for discussing outhouse counsel or a vote to hire outhouse counsel at that time, as Mooney says was done. And then there’s the little fact that Kreisberg says on the record in the 1/18/2011 meeting that “Mayor Gilmore” contacted him in mid-December—a council member at the time–for counsel on the City Charter Officers matter.  If that’s true, then Councilmember Gilmore contacted meyers nave (their logo uses lower case) prior to being hired by the City Council. It’s unclear by what Kreisberg said whether he gave counsel or not in mid-December, or whether Gilmore planned to have him available for the 12/28/2010 meeting at which the Council apparently discussed and voted upon hiring mayers nave and yet THERE IS NO RECORD of such discussion or action.

SO: in the 12/28/2010 meeting, Mayor Gilmore (a) led a vote to hire outhouse counsel and (b) had preplanned to have meyers nave on hand to give advice during the meeting, (c) received advice for matters between the Council and the City Attorney (according to Mooney’s letter, this makes sense is was not related to matter between the Council and the Interim City Manager [ICM]) and (d) acted on that counsel–all in one single meeting–to remove two of the three Charter employees, all without a record of item (a) whatsoever anywhere: not in the agenda nor in the closed meeting report.  And we’re not supposed to have a problem with this?!

Note to Mayor Gilmore: a prudent and unabridged process—you know, the kind you’re supposed to provide that ensures optimum outcomes for all of Alameda?—would look like this…: first meeting / discuss the need for outhouse counsel and vote on whether to hire any number of law firms; second meeting (assuming mn was hired) / receive meyers nave’s written legal advice and discuss issues related to Charter Employees. You’re really not supposed to hire outhouse counsel to justify your personal agenda; you’re supposed to do what’s in the best interest of the city which is what the unabridged processes are supposed to ensure.   In fact, in December, the ICM could have been notified that her contract would not be renewed in March 2011 by Mayor Marie Gilmore (MMG) and Council without all of this hullaballoo and extraordinary/unnecessary outhouse counsel costs and disruption to the city (I for one would rather my energies be focused on what we need to create in our city, rather than exposing wrongdoing!).  But apparently MMG isn’t mature enough to work with the ICM for a meager 3 months, isn’t mature enough to choose a stable transition.  And Bonta isn’t ethical enough to recuse himself from voting to remove Charter employees that he’s never ever worked with from their positions.  And we’re not supposed to have a problem with this?!

Mooney goes on to woo the reader….no intellectual exercise required…

The topic of the Brown Act violations was “addressed at the most recent City council meeting on Jan. 18, 2011…..the Council was advised on the wording for the agenda for December 28, 2010, by Meyers Nave…”

And yet we sit here still with no explanation that the 12/28/10 meeting was not in violation. Another “trust-me” has been provided. I’d like to be treated like an adult, thank you very much, with a brain and see the argument that explains the confidence I’m supposed to have in the Mayor.   But again, we get placating TrustMees.  Just go away and don’t worry your pretty little head.  Is this the 1950s?!

Regarding our City Charter’s Section 2-2, Mooney writes “she (Ann Marie Gallant) remains the Interim City Manager” until her contract expires on March 31, 2011.  Huh?  The Charter says none of the Charter employees shall be removed from their positions within 90 days of new councilmembers sitting on the council after an election.  Mayor Gilmore, and City Attorney Mooney are playing fast and loose with the definition of ‘remove’. The reason each of the Charter employees are protected for 90 days is to ensure a stable transition from one Council to the next, to prevent exactly the kind of costly disruption to city government that Mayor Gilmore apparently preplanned and carried out!

More dissembling: regarding the mayor personally calling the ICM admin and firing her, Mooney writes “The Acting City Manager made the decision and the Mayor communicated the decision to the support staff person.” Yet that ‘support person’, Christina Baines, said this to the Action Alameda News: “That may have been/is her intent [to fire me]; no one has said anything to me as of yet. The Mayor called me while I was on vacation in Southern Californian and told me I was on paid admin leave as of Wednesday at about 11:45am; about 25 hours later, I received a call from the Acting City Manager telling me to report to work today at 8am.” And again here, the Mayor and her council are proscribed from managing city employees under any of the three Charter employees; Mooney’s work-around explanation (again) makes no sense.

In her letter to me, Mooney addresses an issue I never even wrote to her about: complaints that someone in attendance at the 12/28/2010 City Council closed session notified a single media individual about the meeting report immediately after the closed session.  From what I gather from online discussions, John Knox White (JKW) was not in attendance when that 5-hour closed session finished late in the evening of 12/28/2010. Yet JKW reported the outcome, the votes, that same night online almost immediately after the meeting report announcement.  The city clerk’s written report was not made public until sometime the next day.  So people want to know: why was JKW given media priority? Why weren’t all media outlets given notice simultaneously?   It has not been made clear how JKW got that information that night; as far as I know, JKW himself has not–in his online comments–made that clear. And Mooney says, which is not untrue, that the outcome is reported when the closed session finishes and returns to a brief open one to publicly report actions that took place in the closed session…so anyone could get that same information that night.  But she refers to JKW anonymously as ‘a community member’; which is 100% not true, he’s media. People want to know: how did JKW actually receive the closed session report in real time and who sent it to him?  Moreover, people want the Mayor and her Council to behave above board.

Our city attorney has shown here that she’s not interested in advising our elected officials to behave better, or even to behave legally. Why?

Every single Alameda resident should all be outraged. Mayor Gilmore’s carried out a deliberate, planned abuse of power and premeditated, and wrongfully retained, legal defense thereof.  Until you and I do something to change this, it’s confirmed: we now live in Oz.

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About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

3 responses to “City Attorney suggests we sue the city.

  • AlamedaPost

    It was I who complained about the way it was announced to the public, and true to form, the self appointed town crier had posted the unpersonalized form letter from the Acting City Attorney online at the SF Gate, before I received my copy addressed to me. If you compare the version posted to the one received, you can see it’s not a case of photoshopping out the recipient, it’s the file before the recipient data has been merged in.

    And John is not just media, he’s an officer of the City of Alameda Democratic Club, which is also the body that worked to elect Marie Gilmore, Lena Tam, Rob Bonta, Mike McMahon, Robert Deutsch, et al.

  • Denise Lai

    Just like the apparent leak to JKW on the night of 12/28/201, this too can be dissembled upon, explained away with ‘it’s a scanned copy, we don’t know where he got it from, he whited out the addressee name and address…’ etc.

    Fast and Loose. Fast to share documents with some, loose with the rules about doing so above board.

  • Denise Lai

    Adam: JKW’s online copy looks just like my letter if my name and address were whited out. He published at 1:43p on January 27th—perhaps he has gotten a copy via FOIA or from a friend.

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