Tonight. City Council Meeting. AGAIN. Mayor Gilmore’s put both police contracts—Alameda Police Officers Association and the Alameda Police Managers Association both—-on the Consent Calendar. HUH?
70+ pages of contracts that we’ve been given since last Thursday to read, become familiar with, and understand. Worse: Mayor Gilmore yet again plans for no public discussion! Unless we intercept tonight and demand one and even then, like before, despite our very real concerns and no matter what we say on the podium, the city council will simply nod, Gilmore will say her meek ‘thankyou’, and then we will be 100% ignored.
Ain’t no sunshine…. Ain’t no representation either…..
Let’s see: no substantive concessions from the firefighters union. None from the police unions either…and NO, giving up the Animal Shelter is not something our city council and city manager have negotiated FOR US. That’s not a concession on our behalves. And yes, the police have not had a raise in 5 years; neither have I, and I don’t have a fat pension to look forward to either. The City of Alameda is one of the EASIEST cities for public safety unions to service; they should be giving us concessions. Real ones.Our city leadership and management have failed us in this regard.
The mayor and city council members have breached the fiduciary trust inherent in their positions. Between these new public service contracts, the tenuous financial condition of the city, and the concealments about the real costs of the far-too-many lawsuits caused, btw, by those in positions of power now—they have not only failed us, but are clearly serving another master.
Think about it: the Vanderheiden lawsuit (caused by some heinous on-the-job behavior of firefighter DelBono, IAFF political director; did you read that judgement?) has already caused our city a significant negative cash flow from firefighter overtime attending depositions and from attorney fees and other hard costs. These expenses can only be recouped (via insurance) if the city appeals. That appeal will cost us more in the meantime. And if we lose, the city is on the hook for a $500,000 insurance deductible.
But hold up: thanks to the firefighters and Gilmore, the Vanderheiden lawsuit is not the only one facing us: we’ve got several lawsuits currently facing our city, a possible lawsuit related to Zack’s Assisted Suicide, and each one comes with similar costs and risks: significant negative cash flows during the course of the lawsuits with a potential combined multimillion dollar final costs if we lose (not unlikely btw)…..and yet, the self-proclaimed financial wizard Vice Mayor Bonta has shown no concern for this at all, exhibited no fiduciary responsibility towards this one whit. Not unlike his time on the Alameda Hospital Board (you’ll remember the ‘financial success’ there gotten by ensuring substandard medical care), he’s got one thing on his mind: making it appear he’s doing well by us on the city council all the while focusing on his real goals: his own steep career trajectory. Vice Mayor Bonta—after only 7 months on Alameda City Council—-announced he’s running for State Assembly Swanson’s seat next year. That’s right, we’re not his top priority; never have been (duh, and obviously).
And now we know why Leah Williams was so pissed when she lost the Alameda Healthcare Board seat last year to Elliott Gorelick: like Tam and Bonta before her, she expected to glide right on up to our city council in 2012 to fill Bonta’s vacated seat…if he wins. And hell, with the Alameda Firefighters PAC (political action committee) funding him, why wouldn’t he, right?! I can think of a lot of reasons why not: you and me, the voters awakened.
What a quagmire to be in: if Bonta wins the state assembly seat, it’s bad, real bad, for our district and our state…but man oh man! what a great opportunity for our city: it would open up a
second third city council seat to fill in next year’s election. And if the voters, if we, don’t screw up again in 2012, if the majority of us don’t vote stupid (following whatever campaign material SunCal and the firefighters come up with next year), we will fill those seats with people who actually WANT to represent us and will.
So, head out again to tonight’s meeting and stake your claim: a resident of Alameda who deserves better. Way better.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL MEETING
July 19, 2011 7:00 PM
Agenda is here.
Alameda City Hall
2263 Santa Clara Avenue, 3rd Floor
Alameda, CA 94501