City Attorney Donna Mooney ‘mispoke’ in April right after the judgement when she said (Alameda Sun, 4/29/2011): “The city belongs to a risk pool called California Joint Powers Risk Management Authority…The city has coverage through the pool for the full amount of the judgment.” Full amount? Really? Maybe not. In fact, WAY NOT. Turns out, the fund has a $500,000 deductible….for every lawsuit. That means that the city will be on the hook for $500K of the $680K Vanderheiden Judgement…and $500K for every other lawsuit against the city (Highsmith, Kapler, Gallant, Zack…). That’s potentially millions! Mooney: dissemble much?
Her statement wasn’t just misleading….it was a disservice to the public: she said it while the city was finalizing the annual city budget and working towards signing the contract with the firefighters. Unlike other cities who correctly negotiated for millions in pay/benefit concessions from their public safety unions (fire, police), our city negotiated little to none.
Ya think people might have paid more attention to the totally slack negotiations (non-existent) with the firefighter and police unions for concessions if they thought we may be facing a $4M+ insurance bill? ….. Maybe. Maybe not. But if the city accurately characterized the real costs of the Vanderheiden and other lawsuits—had the city told the truth about hundreds or thousands of dollars in firefighter overtime for depositions and lawyers fees to fight the lawsuits—, you bet they would have. People would have sat up and paid attention!
Every time something significant is before us, City Hall does outdoes itself to disarm and disengage the public.
Ain’t no sunshine…..we are un- and ill-informed, and worse: deliberately wrongly-informed. Disinformation, dissembling, call it what you want: it’s lies, pure and simple. And those lies are meant to make us go away and quit bothering City Hall with our concerns. They are disabling factual and open discussions. And worse: it’s SUBVERSION of the body politic.
Does the way of doing business at City Hall to dissemble and disengage ROCs* comprise a political crime by the government against her people, the residents of Alameda? If they’ve lied and concealed substantive facts and expectations about our financial conditions—like it looks they have here—-and it leads to our city’s bankruptcy (likely) when we could have done something to stop the bleeding….you betcha.
*ROCs: Regular Ol’ Citizens