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EAST BAY CITIZEN PODCAST RETURNS FEBRUARY 5TH

New episodes from the East Bay's only political podcast is available every Monday through the June primary.

FIVE BEST EAST BAY PRIMARY RACES IN 2016

The 2016 June primary season is officially here. Here's a breakdown of five of the most interesting East Bay races next year.

WHO'S RUNNING FOR OFFICE IN 2016?

The exclusive East Bay Citizen Candidates List is back by popular demand. See who is defiintely running in 2016 and who is thinking about it from Congress all the way to your local city.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN/DOWNLOAD TO THE EBC SHOW ON ITUNES

New episodes from the East Bay's only political podcast is available every Monday.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Bill Quirk labels Steve Glazer a ‘So-called moderate Democrat’

Assemblymember Bill Quirk said moderates like
Steve Glazer vote to keep people in jail.
LEGISLATURE | To the uninitiated, Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk may look like a standard-issue Hollywood curmudgeon, but the exterior often masks a warm, paternal manner. So, when Quirk, a Democrat, unleashed some intraparty venom towards State Sen. Steve Glazer recently, it was a bit out of character.

If there is one issue that rankles Quirk since joining the Assembly in 2013, it’s the state’s top two primary election system, and its help in elected moderates, but especially moderate Democrats, like Glazer.

As Alameda County Democrats gathered last week to issue their endorsement preferences for the statewide party, Quirk used his speaking time to rail against moderates, who, he said, are hindering the progressive agenda in Sacramento.

Glazer, who was elected last May, is making few
friends in the party's progressive caucus.
“The top two allows more challenges from so-called moderate Democrats,” said Quirk, in reference to Glazer, a Democrat who won the special election last May in the Seventh State Senate District. Glazer, however, often labels himself a progressive, but labor unions loath him for his continuing stance against public transit employees and their right to strike.

Quirk, a member of the Assembly Public Safety Committee, used as an example, the push by progressives for reform of the prison justice system is being stymied by a coalition of Republicans and moderate Democrats. Quirk said, “Glazer votes to put people in jail more.”

The criticism of the top two format is nearly identical to one Quirk lodged during his re-election in 2014 against two Republicans. During a candidate forum, he said,“We are getting more and more so-called New Democrats, moderate Democrats, and it’s getting very difficult now to get some very good legislation passed.”

Friday, February 5, 2016

Coliseum JPA's proposed Raiders lease is the best in NFL history, says supervisor

Coliseum JPA member says undisclosed Raiders
lease proposal is "fair and reasonable."
RAIDERS | The Coliseum Joint Powers Authority is offering the Raiders a lease extension so good that Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty is calling it the best “in the history of the NFL.”

Haggerty, who is the president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and a long-time member of Coliseum JPA, said during an interview on the East Bay Citizen Podcast, that he intended to make details of the offer public during last Wednesday’s closed session JPA meeting. He did not disclose the proposed lease extension, but offered scant details beforehand.

LISTEN to Haggerty discuss the Raiders, A's, Warriors stadium saga on the EAST BAY CITIZEN PODCAST below.

“The deal that we have given them is probably better than any deal—the deal that we have recently offered them in the last couple of weeks—is better than any deal, any NFL team, has ever been given in the history of the NFL.”

Haggerty desire to put the lease extension proposal in the public realm is due in part, he said, by a segment of the public who assert the county and other public officials are doing little to solve the stadium situation in Oakland. “I’m tired of the dance," he said. "I want people to know there is a deal and it’s fair and it's reasonable.”

Without offering any details, Haggerty said the proposed Raiders lease extension currently in negotiations is not the same as last year’s one-year deal.

Haggerty said the recent tour by Raiders co-owner Mark Davis of possible stadium sites in Las Vegas was “pretty uncalled for" and believes there remains a good chance the Chargers, the other NFL team tentatively scheduled to move to Los Angeles, will stay in San Diego for the long-term. That would leave the Raiders, he said, as the second tenant at the stadium being built in Inglewood, if a solution is not found in Oakland.

LISTEN: East Bay Citizen Podcast with guest ALCO Supervisor Scott Haggerty



EPISODE 17 | The East Bay Citizen Podcast is back following the holiday break. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty joins the program for a lively, entertaining discussion. Haggerty had some new insights into the Raiders stadium saga and, of course, revealed some of his gripes.

In the past week, Haggerty laid into some Castro Valley residents during a Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting. He's unapologetic about calling the group "unappreciative" of the board's leadership in the unincorporated area.

Haggerty also touched upon the county campaign finance ordinance he authored in 2010 and its first real test coming with Supervisor Nate Miley's re-election campaign against a well-financed challenger.

Click below to subscribe and listen on iTunes, Stitcher or listen at EBCitizen.com. Follow on Twitter @EBCShow.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

(VIDEO) Supe Haggerty to Castro Valley: 'You’re some of the most unappreciative people I’ve seen in my entire life'

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty
ALCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS | Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty just couldn't take it any longer. After listening to comments from supporters of an elected advisory board in unincorporated Castro Valley, the often straight-talking supervisor launched into a four-minute diatribe calling its residents "unappreciative" of the Board of Supervisors, while goading them to become a city.

“I’m really feeling unloved by you people today. That’s not the word… maybe unappreciated. I’m talking about the way I’m containing myself right now, because I want to blow up," Haggerty said during a board meeting Tuesday afternoon. Members of the grassroots group Castro Valley Matters had brought to the board the issue of electing its county advisory board, which is currently appointed by their representative, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley. The Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday against putting the issue on the ballot this year.

Also: "Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty's 'You Don't Know Me' Speech is an instant classic"

"I don’t know what’s going on in Castro Valley. To come down and say ‘better represented,’ you’re some of the most unappreciative people I’ve seen in my entire life.” Haggerty, who also serves as board president, admonished the group for questioning Miley and the board's representation over the years.

In recent years, said Haggerty, the board has allocated $90 million despite the dissolution of redevelopment to rebuilding the streetscape for the town's main thoroughfare, while also constructing a new public library.

“And you’re saying you want better representation? What’s the heck is wrong with you people? We’ve been pumping money back into your community for the last few years since Supervisor Miley has been elected and you want better representation?" Haggerty continued.

A commenter on the Castro Valley Matters Facebook page responded, saying, "Scott Haggerty sounds like it's HIS own money being given to Castro Valley! It's our freaking tax dollars they're 'pumping' back into our town."

Later, Haggerty compared Miley's strong push for funding Castro Valley to being "worse than Fidel Castro."

Following the rant, Haggerty encouraged Castro Valley to incorporate as a city. “My job is not to pay to run elections for you guys. My job is to pay for people who are homeless. My job is to find people homes. My job is to feed people," he said. "Maybe you don’t like what I’m saying, but if you don’t like what I’m saying—incorporate."

Despite the tone of Haggerty's rhetoric Tuesday, it's likely not his most glorious display over the years. The 10-minute screed, now know as the "You Don't Know Me" speech was his response to repeated public comments that Haggerty was insensitive to the plight of undocumented immigrants. "You don’t know me," Haggerty said in April 2013. "I probably have just as many undocumented friends as you do."

Read the transcript from 2013 here and watch the short clip below of Haggerty excoriating Castro Vallyans. (Note: may only be available on devices using Flash Media Player)


After dismal finance report, ALCO Supe Miley says expect a large campaign cache

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley says
his opponent this June, Bryan Parker, better
bring his "A-game."
ALCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS |
DISTRICT 4 |
Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley re-election campaign received a shocking reorientation this week when campaign finance reports highlighted his challenger, Bryan Parker, significantly outraised him over the past three months.

Miley’s finance report showed his campaign with just $5,000 in the bank, but coupled with unpaid debt, it essentially placed his campaign $15,000 in the red just five months before the June 7 primary.

Miley dismissed any concern Wednesday following Parker’s $117,000 in contributions and $76,000 in cash reserves, the campaign reported this week.

“Bryan’s got to raise a lot of money because he’s not known,” said Miley, who has represented the diverse district that includes East Oakland, Pleasanton and much of unincorporated Alameda County since 2000. “I don’t have to raise as much money to be competitive.”

Many East Bay politicos agree with Miley’s assessment. Parker will need to put a considerable amount of energy into introducing himself to voters across the district, but Pleasanton residents, for instance, may not know Miley either. He has only represented the city since 2011 after county redistricting maps were redrawn.

Miley, though, is not surprised that Parker’s was able to raise so much money in such a short time based on his fundraising in the 2014 Oakland mayoral race. During that election cycle, Parker raised more than $300,000.

Miley said he raised a large number of donations in January, after the Dec. 31 campaign finance reporting deadline, but declined to offer a round number. “I raise it and I spend it,” said Miley. The campaign organized a large fundraiser on Jan. 30 at the Claremont Hotel.

With the likelihood high that the incumbent supervisor will face a competitive race for re-election over the next few months, Miley said he intends to run a strong campaign and won’t take anything for granted. “I don’t expect it to be handed to me on a silver platter. I never have,” said Miley, before referring to Parker “I hope he’s bringing his A-game, because I’m bringing mine.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hayward ballot initiative to change city elections date heads to June ballot

A campaign flyer given to Hayward residents
advocating for the charter amendment. The
literature was paid for by SEIU Local 1021.
HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL | A charter amendment to move Hayward municipal elections from June to November starting in 2018 is heading to the upcoming primary ballot.

The Hayward City Council approved a resolution Tuesday night directing the Alameda County registrar to place the issue on the upcoming June 7 primary ballot.

The decision does not represent any opinion of the council, but is merely a formality for any initiative to be placed before voters.

The initiative, backed the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, not only moves the city elections to November when voter participation is higher, but extends by months the terms of current councilmembers seeking re-election in 2018 and 2020. The short extension is meant to fully align the city’s elections with the fall electoral calendar.

Union members and other volunteers gathered 13,106 signatures to petition for the charter amendment. The number easily exceeded the needed 9,321 valid signatures required by the Alameda County Registrar’s office and was certified Jan. 21.

The proposed charter amendment has faced some criticism from sitting members of the city council who say attention for Hayward elections will be drowned out by national and statewide races and initiatives. However, voter participation for Hayward City Council June elections in recent years has been far lower than the county average.

Alameda County Supes sidestep idea for elected advisory board in Castro Valley

The infamous Castro Valley sign is in county storage,
Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty asked
resident Tuesday whether they wanted it back.
ALCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS | 
CASTRO VALLEY |
The ability of residents in unincorporated Castro Valley to empower their community through an elected municipal advisory committee was dealt a setback Tuesday.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors tabled a possible referendum this year allowing Castro Valley voters to decide whether to elect its own advisory committee members or maintain the current arrangement that includes appointments to the seven-member committee made at the sole discretion of its representative Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.

Since Castro Valley is unincorporated, it is essentially governed by Miley and the advisory board known as the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Committee (CVMAC) somewhat serves as the area’s de facto city council.

In the past year, a growing number of activists in Castro Valley have pushed Miley for greater self-governance, primarily through the framework of an elected CVMAC. Castro Valley, with a population of more than 63,000, is one of the largest unincorporated areas in the state, but in the current economic atmosphere, local groups have repeatedly said incorporation is unfeasible, leaving an elected board as an alternative.

Miley said Tuesday he is not talking a position on the matter of an elected CVMAC. “There are pluses and minuses,” he said. “Let’s let the voters decide.” However, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis said placing the issue on the ballot this year would cost the county more than $160,000. Last month, during a committee hearing, Miley recommended placing the issue on the November ballot. “I’ve been consistent in saying that if we approve an elected MAC it always needs to be subject to a confirmation vote by the folks in Castro Valley,” Miley said Tuesday.

But, the timing may not be right for greater self-determination in Castro Valley. Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, who also represents a portion of the county’s unincorporated areas, said electing officers for what will continue to be a purely advisory position poses a slippery slope for residents. “It’s going to create conflicts because you’re going to think you have more jurisdiction, or more power than you do… You’re still advisory. At the end of the day, the vote is here,” Chan said of the county's ultimate authority over unincorporated Alameda County.

Meanwhile, there is also a push by other unincorporated areas like San Lorenzo, Fairview to form their own advisory committees similar to the much larger Castro Valley. Steven Kirk, president of the San Lorenzo Homeowners Association said the lack of advisory boards outside of Castro Valley is unfair. “What’s good for one community should be good for all the communities,” said Kirk. Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty then remarked, “Sounds like you just unleashed a snowball.”

Much of the argument for an elected MAC involves a desire for greater representation. Michael Kusiak, president of Castro Valley Matters, a grassroots group leading the elected MAC movement said, “This is about democracy.” On display Tuesday, and at other public hearings, has been a touch of rebellion in the words of some proponents against Miley. “People are waking up. They want to have their say,” said Castro Valley resident Joanne Lauer at the Jan. 21 Board of Supervisor committee meeting. The perception that Miley and the entire Board of Supervisors is not doing enough for Castro Valley residents clearly rankled Haggerty.

He chided the Castro Valley group for their comments and said the Board of Supervisors has done plenty for the area, including a new Castro Valley Boulevard streetscape, in addition, to building a new library. “I’m really feeling unloved by you people today. That’s not the word… maybe unappreciated,” said Haggerty. “I’m talking about the way I’m containing myself right now, because I want to blow up. I don’t know what’s going on in Castro Valley. To come down and say, ‘better represented,’ you’re some of the most unappreciative people I’ve seen in my entire life.”

Three members of the current CVMAC testified Tuesday against an elected MAC, including Janet Everson, who was recently appointed by Miley. “I’m not convinced the need for an elected MAC is something that is supported by the community as a whole.” The sentiment was also echoed by others, including the CVMAC’s outspoken president Marc Crawford, who framed the elected MAC proposal as retribution for his opposition to an idea that would have transformed a vacant building in Castro Valley into a community space. “Since then they’ve been gunning for us,” Crawford told the board before urging them to keep the status quo. “There has been no demonstration that the current system is flawed,” he said.

Mike Honda dons referee uniform, officiates Congressional Super Bowl bet

Rep. Mike Honda officiating a Super Bowl bet Wednesday
between congressmembers representing Colorado 
and North Carolina. PHOTO/@RepMikeHonda
CONGRESS | CA17 | After looking a bit morose at recent campaign appearances, Rep. Mike Honda struck a fun-loving tone Wednesday when he officiated a Super Bowl bet between North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams and Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette while wearing a referee's uniform.

Watch video of the coin toss here

The congressmembers represent the home states of Sunday's Super Bowl 50 participants--the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. Honda's congressional district is hosting the game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

The boozy bet goes as follows: the winning team's congressmemeber receives some of the South Bay's finest wine, while the loser goes home with craft beer.

But, there was some controversy with the coin toss when Adams, representing the Panthers, caught the medallion labeled with team logos on either side, instead of letting it fall to the ground.

But, Honda may not be the biggest football fans in Congress. In the short video, he initially forgot the name of the famous game before throwing a penalty flag for no apparent foul. Just like you will see at Sunday's game. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Alameda County Supervisors to replace chief probation officer

Alameda County Chief Probation Officer LaDonna
Harris will remain until a replacement is hired.
ALCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS |
Alameda County’s Chief Probation Officer LaDonna Harris is being replaced by county supervisors.

No official announcement has been made regarding Harris's departure, but in a memo to her department, she referenced the search for her replacement has already begun.

“As many of you are aware, the county has been preparing to launch a recruitment for the next chief probation officer,” Harris wrote last month. “The board is close to making their announcement, and as I promised, I am making you aware that this is forthcoming.”

However, nearly a month has passed since the memo without any mention by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors that Harris’s job was in jeopardy or that even a change was imminent.

Dave Brown, chief of staff for Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, said the board is currently seeking to hire a recruiting firm, but Harris will remain chief probation officer until her replacement is hired, said Brown.

Sources tell the East Bay Citizen that Harris isn’t being fired, but only that her contract is not being renewed by the county. Pressure, though, has been building against Harris since, at least, last fall stemming from allegations of cronyism in a number of personnel moves she was advocating at the Probation Department, said sources.

The Alameda County Probation Department includes more than 600 employees and oversees 11,000 adult probationers, in addition, to administering various services and programs.

Harris has led the department since 2012 following the abrupt resignation of former chief David Muhammad, who was involved in an alleged sexual harassment suit brought forth by an underling in the probation department. Harris previously served 29 years in the Alameda County Sheriffs Office.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Nancy Skinner nears $1.1 million in cash reserves; Nate Miley's supervisorial campaign in the red

State Senate candidate Nancy Skinner raised
more than $277,000 during the past six months.
SD9 ALCOD4 CAMPAIGN FINANCE |
Former Assemblymember Nancy Skinner of Berkeley reported that she has nearly $1.1 million in cash reserves in her state Senate campaign account, which is more than ten times what her main opponent Sandré Swanson, has in total cash on hand, according to campaign finance reports released today. To further Swanson’s woes, Piedmont political upstart Katherine Welch, who announced her campaign in late September, also outraised the former Oakland Assemblymember during the last six months of 2015.

In addition, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley’s re-election campaign is languishing in debt, while his challenger for the East Oakland and Tri-Valley seat, former Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Parker, is brimming with political contributions, according to campaign finance data.

Although a large amount of Skinner’s fundraising advantage came by way of funds transferred last year from her former Assembly warchest, she nonetheless topped the field with $277,034 in contributions since July 1 for $1,095,336 in available cash as of December 31. Welch, who is the daughter of former General Electric chairman Jack Welch, raised $104,307 in just three months and reported $64,273 in cash on hand at the end of 2015. Swanson, despite being backed by nearly every big-name Democrat in the East Bay, received just $87,796 and banked $104,773 in cash. San Pablo Councilmember Rich Kinney, a Republican, reported raising $6,170 for the year with $2,954 cash in the bank. Both Skinner and Swanson have nearly identical unpaid bills of around, $24,000, while Welch has none, according to the reports.

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley's re-election
could be hampered by Monday's poor finance report.
Yet despite the large difference in campaign funds, the race between Skinner and Swanson, two well-known East Bay progressives, appears to be close. Over the weekend, Alameda County Democrats decided against offering either candidate the statewide party’s valuable endorsement for the June primary. At the pre-endorsement caucus in Oakland on Saturday afternoon, Swanson received the most votes of any candidate, barely beating Skinner, 45-41, but failed to win the required majority of delegates to be considered for the endorsement at the California Democratic Party Convention in San Jose at the end of the month. In addition, the statewide Service Employees International Union, one of the most powerful labor unions in California, offered last week to split its endorsement between Skinner and Swanson.

Meanwhile, the possibility of a hotly contested race for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is becoming a very real following Monday’s fundraising reports. Miley, who has represented District Four since 2000, raised $41,191 during the second half of last year, but spent $56,470, while reporting just $5,421 in available cash. The low amount of cash reserves is worsened by $20,813 in campaign debt, according to his finance report.

Parker’s ability to raise large sums of campaign contributions was evident during his run for Oakland mayor in 2014 and appears to be continuing in his bid to unseat Miley. Parker received $117,828 in contributions since opening his campaign account in September. He spent $47,752 during the same period for a total of $76,660 in remaining cash. The campaign also reported $6,585 in debts.

The possibility of facing a large fundraising deficit to Parker may be a reason why Miley’s campaign enlisted the fundraising help of Don Perata, the well-connected former state Senate pro tem. Last Saturday, both campaigns staged large fundraisers — Miley with a black-tie affair at the Claremont Country Club and Parker with a kick-off at Oakland’s Castlemont High School featuring the school’s pep squad and a bouncy house.

         ----2ND HALF----     ----2015----
SD09          IN      OUT         IN     OUT       CASH
SKINNER  277,034  129,734    847,265 173,549 $1,095,336 
SWANSON   87,796   71,366    205,346 113,463 $  104,773
WELCH    104,307   40,247    104,307  40,247 $   64,273 
KINNEY     6,170    3,967     11,999   9,045 $    2,954

         ----2ND HALF----     ----2015----
ALCOD4        IN      OUT         IN     OUT       CASH
PARKER   117,828   47,752    117,828  47,752 $   76,660 
MILEY     41,191   56,470     68,381  87,147 $    5,421

READ THIS ARTICLE IN EAST BAY EXPRESS

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Khanna begins election year with more than three times the cash of Honda

Ro Khanna's ability to raise large amounts of
campaign cash continued in 2015.
CA17 CAMPAIGN FINANCE | As was the case two years ago, Ro Khanna will begin his second bid for the 17th Congressional District with a large fundraising advantage over incumbent Rep. Mike Honda.

Khanna reported more than $1.7 million cash on hand, according to year-end campaign finance reports. The amount is more than three times greater than his Democratic rival reported in year-end cash reserves..

Khanna's stellar fourth quarter report also showed the campaign raised $501,808 from October of last year through Dec. 31, while spending just $117,884. For the year, Khanna raised $2.1 million, according to his finance report, and disbursed $478,753.

Honda, who consistently struggled to match Khanna's prolific fundraising numbers during the 2014 campaign before winning re-election, reported $572,199 in available cash through Dec. 31. Additionally, Honda raised $292,211 during the fourth quarter of last year, while topping $1.3 million for the entire year.

Included in Honda's $276,600 worth of fourth quarter expenditures is $86,225 for legal and public relations services related to the ongoing House ethics investigation into whether his former staffs blurred the lines between campaign and official duties.

         ----4TH QTR----     ----2015----
CA17          IN      OUT         IN     OUT       CASH
KHANNA   501,808  117,884  2,140,636 478,753 $1,709,881 
HONDA    292,211  276,600  1,308,436 845,599 $  572,199

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Swanson, Skinner block each others bids for Dem Party state senate endorsement

State Senate candidate Nancy Skinner speaking
to Democratic Party delegates Saturday in Oakland.
SD9 PRE-ENDORSEMENT |
The East Bay's hotly-contested Ninth State Senate District race between Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson will be waged without either carrying the banner of the California Democratic Party this primary season.

The pair of well-known former East Bay assemblymembers failed to gain a simple majority of Alameda County Democratic Party delegates at a pre-primary endorsement meeting Saturday afternoon in Oakland.

The party's threshold for continuing the endorsement process through to next month's statewide convention is 50 percent. But, neither came close to the mark.

Sandre Swanson received the most votes at
the party's pre-endorsement meeting.
Swanson, though, received the most votes from party delegates, winning 45 of 121 ballots cast. Skinner received 41, followed by 35 votes for "no endorsement."

Saturday’s outcome was expected with the only question being an outside shot of one candidate achieving a simple majority.

“I’m fine with the vote,” said Swanson. “I got the most votes. If I keep doing that, you know, I’ll win the primary and win the general.”

With delegates divided over two favorites seeking to replace the termed out State Sen. Loni Hancock in the district covering most of the Greater East Bay, Skinner said, reaching the requisite 70 percent of delegates Saturday needed for the party's endorsement would have been difficult.

“It’s really hard to imagine--given that we have two good Democrats--that we would ever reach that threshold," said Skinner. "So, this is actually a great outcome and it’s an appropriate outcome.”

A third candidate, Democrat Katherine Welch, also sought the party’s endorsement, but received no votes. The first-time candidate from Piedmont is the daughter of former General Electric chairman Jack Welch.

On the other side of the aisle, Republican San Pablo Councilmember Rich Kinney is also campaigning in the June 7 primary.

Honda fails to nail down important Democratic Party endorsement

Rep. Mike Honda, left, fell just short of winning
the Democratic Party's pre-endorsement in 
Oakland over Ro Khanna.
CA17 PRE-ENDORSEMENT | Rep. Mike Honda will have to wait another month before he can think about winning the state Democratic Party’s endorsement.

The 16-year incumbent, who is facing fellow Democrat Ro Khanna in a rematch of their close fought campaign in the 17th Congressional District, failed to win the requisite percentage of votes Saturday afternoon to secure the party’s endorsement outright.

Honda captured 58 of 86 votes (67.4 percent) at the pre-endorsement caucus in Oakland. Candidates who capture 70 percent of ballots cast are placed on the consent calendar for approval by the statewide party at their convention Feb. 26-28 in San Jose. Honda, though, fell two votes short.

Khanna, who had raised questions about the potential for voting irregularities at the weekend caucus, received just 15 votes, but the tally was enough, including 13 “no endorsement” votes, to block Honda’s smooth path to the valuable backing of the Democratic Party.

Honda, however, is still a favorite to win the endorsement next month, but Saturday’s setback is likely to raise questions of whether Honda’s once rock-solid support among the Democratic rank-and-file is, indeed, wavering in the midst of a still-pending House ethics investigation.

“It’s a huge victory,” said Khanna. “Mike Honda has been in politics for 40 years. He's appointed many of these delegates, so for him to have 30 percent vote against him, it’s a statement of his eroding support.” Khanna, added, he intends to take his argument for the party’s backing to next month's convention.

Honda did not attend Saturday’s pre-endorsement meeting. His campaign said Honda was attending the funeral of a close family member.

Honda's campaign, in a statement, said, “Despite not receiving the 70 percent threshold, our campaign is thankful for the overwhelming support we received from CD-17 pre-endorsement candidates. Sixty-seven percent shows that we have grassroots backing to win in November.

“We know this election is one of the most hotly-contested congressional races in the nation and our campaign will fight tooth and nail through Election Day.”

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Voice mail from Honda campaign to party delegate is coercion, says Khanna

Rep. Mike Honda speaking to a voter Jan. 21
at a candidates forum in San Jose.
PHOTO/Steven Tavares
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT |
With the possibility the crucial Democratic Party endorsement may no longer be a certainty, Rep. Mike Honda’s campaign is scrambling to gather enough votes to win outright Saturday’s pre-primary endorsement vote in Oakland. But, a voice message from a member of Honda’s campaign this week to a voting delegate is being labeled coercion by Democratic challenger Ro Khanna.

In a voice message obtained by the East Bay Citizen, Honda’s political director questioned the voting status of a member of the Santa Clara County Democratic Club before advising the delegate not to cast a ballot for the coming pre-endorsement until further notice.

“All I ask that you please do not submit your ballot for the Santa Clara County Democratic club until I clear this up. I know last night was a no endorsement, but there might be something in the making here,” said the voice message.

Last Monday, the club, typically a Honda stronghold, voted for no endorsement in the race. The tally, in fact, favored Khanna, 80-51, but fell short of the club’s threshold for endorsement. At the same endorsement meeting, club members were asked afterwards to approve a proposal to allow one delegate to vote for Honda and the other vote for Khanna at the pre-endorsement. The idea was voted down by the club's membership. A day later, one of the club’s delegates received a call from Honda’s political director, Vedant Patel.

Patel confirmed he made the phone call. He denied the intent was to strong-arm the delegate into voting in a manner positive to the Honda campaign, but only to confirm their voting status. The campaign also reached out to the state party for additional information.

"The hallmark of democracy is a fair and open and transparent process,” Khanna said of the voice message. “As a challenger, you expect to have the deck stacked against you because of the incumbent’s power to appoint. But, my basic hope is that delegates are allowed to vote their conscience or follow their clubs election outcome free of coercion."

Patel said he was only seeking clarification of whether the delegate was bound to the endorsement of the club. “It is important to our campaign that delegates have all the information before casting a vote,” said Patel. “This is just another example of our opponent’s willingness to say anything to get elected. At the end of the day there is only one candidate in Congressional District 17 that embodies the values of California’s Democratic Party, and that is Mike Honda.”

There are clear reasons why identifying a delegate's status is important to Honda and his bid to avoid a potentially embarrassing denial of pre-endorsement support and a drawn out appeal for the party’s backing at its convention in late February. A central committee member, according to the party bylaws, can vote their conscience, while a delegate may be bound by its club’s decision.

The California Democratic Party bylaws are silent on the question of whether a delegate must vote as directed by its club, said Michael Soller, communications director for the California Democratic Party. But, many, like the Santa Clara County Democratic Club, have their own bylaws that bound delegates to certain voting instructions. But, come Saturday's pre-endorsement meeting, there are no rules against a delegate voting differently than their club's direction. However, the club could later sanction its member.

In recent weeks, the number of local Democratic grassroots groups that have either split their endorsement between Honda and Khanna or registered no endorsement has grown in frequency. In the last week and a half, three clubs, including the Santa Clara County Democratic Club, have rendered no-endorsement decisions. In addition, the Khanna campaign has been buoyed over the past few months by uncertainty over Honda’s pending House ethics investigation into allegations his former campaign commingled its duties with its congressional office.

Even if Khanna is able to block Honda from winning the requisite 70 percent of delegates at the pre-endorsement meeting, Honda could still earn the nod at the February convention. However, the political optics of the long-time incumbent fighting further for the party's endorsement will only bolster the Khanna campaign's recent narrative that Democrats in the South Bay are beginning to reevaluate their support for Honda

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It's 3am, do you know what the Alameda City Council is doing? City staff isn't sure

Alameda Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft
reviewed the nine-hour Jan. 5 meeting and
concluded she looked "punch drunk."
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL | After more than five hours of public testimony at the Jan. 6 Alameda City Council meeting, Mayor Trish Spencer called for a 10-minute break. At 12:35 a.m., and with little evidence the council's deliberations over three proposed rent ordinances was near, Alameda City Attorney Janet Kern gathered during the brief interval some city staff members to discuss a recommendation to resume the meeting at a later date.

Not only did city staff and the few remaining audience members look weary, but the council appeared gassed by the long evening. In addition, the decision to move the meeting to the much-larger Kofman Auditorium was apparently made without any considerations beforehand for turning on the heat.

Wrapped in a thick coat and scarf, Kern recommended the council approve the soon-to-lapse 65-day moratorium on rents and evictions--which they did--but they neglected to get around to putting off further deliberations for another day. Instead, the council debated finer points of a future rent ordinance for the next three hours. On a bitterly cold and rainy night, the council meeting did not end until after 4 a.m.

Now, city staff says they are not exactly sure what the council directed them to do regarding the potential rent ordinance slated to be discussed Feb. 16. Last week, Alameda Interim City Manager Liz Warmerdam asked to schedule an agenda item for the Feb. 2 meeting to allow city staff to pin down details from the marathon early January meeting. “We want to get a better understanding of what you all agreed to,” said Warmerdam. “Our goal is not to rehash Jan. 5, but to get clarification.”

The intention, still, is for the Feb. 16 council meeting to render an up or down determination for a permanent rent control ordinance, said Councilmember Jim Oddie. In the meantime, he added, “There is some confusion in the community over what we reached consensus on.”

At the Jan. 5 meeting it was unclear why the council never weighed-in on the merits of suspending the discussion, despite Mayor Trish Spencer initially broaching the subject. Instead, Councilmember Frank Matarrese began a lengthy explanation of his stance on the various rent ordinances and the issue of moving the discussion to another day was never again mentioned.

Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said she reviewed video of the meeting and found the early morning discussion a bit disconcerting, especially for an issue as important to Alameda as rent protections. “It doesn’t make you proud. I’ll speak for myself,” said Ashcraft. “I sounded punch drunk.”

Monday, January 25, 2016

Democratic Party support on the line in heated races for state senate, congress

SD7: Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson
ACDEMS PRE-ENDORSEMENT |
The cynics say the reward of vigorously vying to be the choice of the statewide Democratic Party merely amounts for the privilege of placing a graphical badge on their Website and subsequent mailers.

But for the two most anticipated primary races in the East Bay, the party's exclusive endorsement may be the difference between winning and losing, but also a guide for where influential donors and independent expenditures committees place their bets from here to November.

Going into Saturday's Alameda County Democratic Party pre-endorsement meeting, uncertainty remains over the local leadership's choice in the likely intraparty Ninth State Senate race between former Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner and Sandre Swanson and the Rep. Mike Honda-Ro Khanna rematch in the 17th Congressional District.

CA17: Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna
Past loyalties and pressure from surrogates attached to all four campaigns is making it difficult for party delegates to decide their votes come Saturday.

Beginning with the state senate race, the sheer number of early big-name Democratic Party endorsements for Swanson campaign would, in most instances, would translate to his campaign getting the nod. However, the stated support for Swanson coming from popular incumbents like Rep, Barbara Lee, Assemblymember Rob Bonta and current office holder State Sen. Loni Hancock is not translating to early widespread enthusiasm elsewhere.

There are indications Swanson's forthcoming campaign finance report will match last summer's rather lackluster mid-year tally. In fact, the long shot candidacy of Piedmont Democrat Katherine Welch may have outraised Swanson during the last six months of last year, according to sources. Such an outcome is giving some Democratic operatives reason to pause whether Swanson can overcome Skinner prohibitive war chest, which opened with more than $925,000. Swanson reported just over $80,000 in cash last July.

But here's where self-interested Swanson supporters like Bonta and Lee may lean hard on delegates to back the long-time Oakland and Alameda representative. For this group, past political favors may be called in for Swanson. The anxiety will follow for some because there is growing consensus that Skinner, not Swanson is the best candidate.

Meanwhile, in the 17th Congressional District, Khanna has been able in recent weeks to limit Honda's ability to gain once perfunctory support among Silicon Valley Democratic clubs. For Khanna, even a no-endorsement is a major victory for his campaign. The same scenario exists for Khanna at the pre-endorsement meeting where even blocking Honda's ability to win the backing will be a major headline. Honda could still cobble together support for the endorsement and the statewide convention next month, but the blow to his campaign might remain through the June primary.

Last week, Khanna said his campaign had succeeded in getting enough support among pre-endorsement voters add the race to Saturday's agenda. The key for Honda among open-minded pre-endorsement voters may simply come down to how well he articulates his case this Saturday.

Those who witnessed Honda's speech earlier this month to the Democratic Club of Sunnyvale say it was inspiring, classic Honda. However, other appearances have been uneven, including last week's forum at the Berryessa-North San Jose Democratic Club where Honda appeared sullen, distracted and often pondered simple questions like "Why are you best candidate?" with long pauses.

Khanna's inroads with grassroots groups appear to growing and the margin between Honda winning the pre-endorsement and losing is shrinking. Another performance from Honda devoid of passion might be the difference. It may also be moment where Democratic donors shut off the spigot of money flowing towards Honda.

For Glazer, an exercise in mixing bipartisanship and party politics

State Sen. Steve Glazer and Assemblymember
Catharine Baker at a town hall Saturday in Orinda.
LEGISLATURE | Democratic State Sen. Steve Glazer says there’s a place and time for campaigns and politics, but Saturday morning was reserved for the constituents that he and Republican Assemblymember Catharine Baker jointly represent in their mostly Contra Costa County districts. Out to prove both sides of the political spectrum can work together during this age of partisan rancor, Glazer found the town hall experience surprisingly rewarding. “It’s not so scary. It’s kind of civil,” Glazer told an agreeing audience.

For both freshman legislators, extolling the virtues of bipartisanship in an age of government gridlock has proven to be sound politics. Each struck a chord in the past two years with large numbers of decidedly moderate voters. Baker easily defeated a well-funded Democrat two years ago and Glazer did the same by defeating Susan Bonilla in an expensive special election last May. “You’re seeing change right here,” said Glazer. And neither would have been elected, he said, without their zeal for bipartisanship. “We represent change and we need to keep it going.”

Baker, a Republican, could benefit from the 
appearance of Glazer's support as she faces
a tough re-election this year against a 
member of Glazer's Democratic Party.
On various fronts, Glazer is the unlikely poster boy for change. His persona and verbal deliver is dry, almost clinical, and more like a mortician than agent of political reform in uncompromising Sacramento. He believes the key to governance is simple. “Just represent your district. That’s a high bar,” he said sarcastically.

Baker arrives at the near center-right hand of the political spectrum less because of bipartisanship, but political survival. Being a Republican in the East Bay is somewhat akin to not only finding yourself on the Endangered Species List, but also the last of your own kind. Her election represented the return of an East Bay Republican to Sacramento for the first time in six years. “Bipartisanship takes courage,” said Baker. It also forces a legislator to be more creative in finding consensus with Democrats, she said.

However, if last weekend was any indication, Baker appeared less willing to dance with Glazer when it came to publicly acknowledging their similarities. On at least four separate occasions Saturday Glazer verbalized agreement over certain issues, but Baker failed to do the same. At least, in a manner specifically coupling their similar viewpoints. For instance, on barring public transportation employees from striking: “We’re in total agreement,” said Glazer. Baker, who is clearly on the same page, merely stated her ongoing reasons for opposing BART strikes. Earlier, Glazer added, “We don’t always agree, but I’m finding we agree more often.”

Whether this is a marriage of political convenience remains to be seen. Sitting before a fairly large number of voters for a Saturday morning in Orinda, Glazer and Baker sat at a table upright and expressionless, almost like a soon-to-be divorced couple in a lawyer’s office finalizing the splitting of their marital assets. Yet, despite the scene, the notion of a Democrat and Republican holding a joint legislative town hall is noteworthy for the typically one-sided deep blue world of East Bay politics.

While local Democratic politicos seem to have decided against challenging one of their own this election season in Glazer, who despite being a registered Democrat, is loathed by labor unions. Special interests groups and Big Labor have twice spent large amounts of money in an effort to derail his political aspirations. Glazer is running for a full four years in the State Senate after serving out the remaining term of Rep. Mark DeSaulnier. Instead, party leaders, including the outgoing assembly speaker, believe Democrats can take back Baker’s seat. And that's the problem many rank-and-file Democrats have with Glazer's aggressive association with Baker.

To them, Glazer’s appearances with Baker—Saturday was the second of six town halls together—may undermine the chances of Democrat Cheryl Cook-Kallio, a former Pleasanton councilmember who announced her candidacy in the 16th Assembly District in November. In fact, one of Glazer’s first comments Saturday appears destined to be a direct mailer compliments of the Baker for Assembly re-election campaign. “I have a very strong partner in Catharine Baker,” Glazer said. When asked about the inherent conflict occurring during a contentious election year, Glazer said in an interview. “That’s politics. There’s a time and place for that.”

“It’s going to happen at some point, but this is the time for governing. I know that political hub-bub will happen as we get closer to November and I’ve never been one to rush that ahead,” he said.

Back in 2010, Glazer recalls Gavin Newsom was busy organizing over 20 town halls in an early bid for governor later to include Jerry Brown. "The people said, Jerry, ‘Why aren’t you declaring?’” said Glazer. “Our focus was let him do his job. There will be a time for politics.”

In terms of this year's anticipated election cycle including Baker's re-election against Cook-Kallio, Glazer said, “I know there’s a political tint that will come... There always will be the observers making the assertion that something is a political choice.”

Glazer, in fact, isn’t the only moderate Democrat in the area who has hobnobbed recently with Baker. Rep. Eric Swalwell, who represents a portion of the same district in Congress, appeared in a town hall last year with Baker and shared a byline for an opinion piece on regional transportation.

The nexus is also the common bond Glazer and Baker struck with the constant drumbeat both pounded in opposition of the BART strikes starting more than two years ago. While the rest of the Bay Area has long moved on from those days of workday transportation uncertainty that paralyzed the region, for Contra Costa County voters the issue is a focal point of scorn toward government inaction and general distaste for labor unions.

Over the weekend, Glazer penned an opinion piece warning of another disruption in train service on the horizon. On Saturday, Baker also remarked of another strike within the next 18 months if both sides do not begin negotiations in earnest. The latter posed by Baker as a looming threat. In this front, Glazer and Baker not only share a common constituency, but also seemingly perpetual wedge issue likely to drive Democrats mad and allow Republicans to ponder a path to respectability in the East Bay.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Honda receives a setback: Two no-endorsements from grassroots clubs

Rep. Mike Honda failed to gain two-thirds of
Berryessa-North San Jose Democratic Club 
members needed for its endorsement.
CONGRESS | 17TH DISTRICT
Ro Khanna’s seemingly perpetual upstart campaign to unseat Rep. Mike Honda may be gaining traction among some local grassroots Democratic clubs.

More precisely, there are signs in recent weeks that some of these groups which ultimately will register their support at the all-important Democratic Party pre-endorsement meeting next week, are rethinking their support for the incumbent Honda.

Recently, Khanna was able to gain a split endorsement from the Democratic Club of Sunnyvale. Then just this week, Honda failed to gain requisite amounts of support from two local groups typically aligned with the incumbent congressmember—the Fremont-based Tri-Cities Democratic Forum and the Berryessa-North San Jose Democratic Club. In each case, the clubs offered no-endorsements in the 17th Congressional District primary.

Ro Khanna addressing the Berryessa-North San
Jose Democratic Club Thursday night.
The decisions mean the club’s delegates won’t be allowed to vote at the Alameda County Democratic Party pre-endorsement meeting to be held in Oakland on Jan. 30. In addition, the smaller number of delegates next week could potentially aid Khanna in blocking the early pre-endorsement. Seventy percent of party delegates are needed for any candidate to win the pre-endorsement. For any Democratic candidate, the statewide party's imprimatur is one of the most valuable endorsements available.

But, even if Khanna is able to force a no-endorsement next week, Honda’s campaign could still snag the endorsement at the convention, held this year in San Jose. This storyline occurred in 2014, when Ellen Corbett denied a pre-endorsement victory for Rep. Eric Swalwell in the 15th District. Using endorsement rules that no longer exist in the party's bylaws, Swalwell was able to cobble together enough support to win the endorsement at the convention.

However, the optics of Honda fighting for the support of the party’s cognoscenti who have long supported him, would strongly bolster the narrative pushed by the Khanna campaign that grassroots support for Honda is quickly dwindling.

Following Thursday night’s Berryessa-North San Jose Democratic Club candidates forum, which also featured Honda and Republican candidate Ron Cohen, addressing the group separately, Khanna told the East Bay Citizen the recent votes are “shocking.”

“Combined with Sunnyvale’s endorsement and the Tri Cities Democratic Forum no-endorsement, it suggests party leaders are beginning to see change is coming. They’re warming up to me,” said Khanna.

Vedant Patel, political director for the Honda campaign, said there is no changing of the tide in the race toward Khanna. "The only thing changing here is the level of what our perpetual candidate opponent will do and say to get elected,” said Patel.

“In 2014 he decried the influence of PACs and lobbyists, but then sat back in approval when a Super PAC bankrolled by right wing corporate millionaires and billionaires failed to salvage his near bankrupt campaign. Now he claims to be ‘progressive’ while parroting right-wing talking points of calling Congressman Honda an ‘old school liberal.’ Party leaders like Nancy Pelosi, Zoe Lofgren, Chairman John Burton, Vice-Chair Eric Bauman aren't buying Ro's version of 'change' which is why they are standing shoulder to shoulder with Congressman Honda once again."

Whether the small number of actually voting club members represents activist Democrats are indeed rethinking the race is debatable. In addition to the 23 who voted Thursday night, the Tri Cities Democratic Forum no-endorsement was decided by just 45 voting members.

"What does the voting tonight say about the race?" said Tim Orozco, president of the Berryessa-North San Jose Democratic Club and former San Jose City Council candidate. "What it says is both candidates are running robust campaigns that are resonating with all Democratic voters.”

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Union to Hayward: Don't 'rip the scab’ by appealing unfair labor practices finding

Hayward City Manager Fran David's unwavering
stances against union city workers was found to
be improper, according a legal finding.
HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL |
After Hayward city employees--working without a contract for two years--agreed to a new contract last summer, they believed labor peace was at hand. But a state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) ruling in late December found many of their complaints against the city, especially claims of unfair labor practices and an illegal wage cut, were true.

Now, members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021, which represent nearly 300 city workers, say Hayward’s intention to appeal the ruling will only reignite membership's lingering animosity toward management.

“I’m asking you to graciously acknowledge the war is over,” said Linda Reid, a Hayward city employee and union member, told the Hayward City Council on Tuesday. The city’s potential decision to appeal the PERB ruling will also waste taxpayers money, she said.

The state Personnel Employee Relations Board
also found a three-day strike by workers was a
result of the city's unfair labor practices.
Gilbert Hesia, another Hayward employee and member of SEIU’s negotiating team, asked the city council to publicly explain why each is supporting an appeal that will “rip the scab off and rub dirt in a situation where we want to move forward.”

During a closed session meeting late Tuesday afternoon the Hayward City Council discussed the PERB ruling, but made no reportable decision. Another closed session meeting on the topic is scheduled for Jan. 26.

The administrative law judge's 102-page report faulted the city’s bargaining methods with the union, including a clear pattern of avoiding to even negotiate the simplest points of contention, in addition to illegally threatening layoffs if the city’s demands were not met.

The ruling also called into question some of the city’s stated budget figures during the two-year labor standoff, especially evidence of a $20 million shortfall reported early in the tenuous labor talks.

The controversial five percent wage imposition that the Hayward City Council approved in 2014 was also found to be improper and was ordered to be rescinded by the city along with the reimbursement of lost wages resulting in the unilateral wage cut.

The outcome of the PERB ruling may also greatly impact the electoral chances of four candidates for seeking election to the Hayward City Council this June. Four stated candidates, including three incumbents, strongly supported the city’s previous labor strategy while also voting for the imposition.

Why each of them voiced strong support for what has now been found to be an illegal bargaining strategy could be the biggest question facing the council race that will reward the top four finishers with seats on the next city council.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bryan Parker posts big early fundraising numbers in bid to unseat Nate Miley

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, left,
is hoping to fend off Bryan Parker this June.
ALAMEDA COUNTY | DISTRICT 4 |
Bryan Parker’s nascent campaign for Alameda County supervisor is showing mettle after posting year-end fundraising totals of $117,000, his campaign announced Wednesday.

The totals, compiled since Parker began his campaign last September to unseat long-time Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, are some of the largest seen by any supervisorial challenger in years.

Parker’s fundraising figures also signal the June primary campaign will be a hard-fought affair, a first for a portion of local government that has rarely seen an incumbent supervisor face a contested race over the past three decades.

Miley’s campaign has not yet released its 2015 year-end campaign finance report, but through the end of last June, Miley had reported just 4,043 in available cash. However, that was wiped out by $4,407 in outstanding debts to his campaign.

Although not known as a prodigious fundraiser, Miley’s campaign is expected to have ramped up his fundraising over the past few months with help from former state Senate pro tem Don Perata, who is believed to be aiding Miley's effort.

Perata supported Parker’s bid in 2014 for Oakland mayor and reportedly sent him a highly negative letter urging Parker not to run for county supervisor. Instead, suggesting Parker run in 2016 for Oakland’s City Council District Seven or Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan’s at-large seat.

That Parker was able to post such significant early fundraising is not surprising based on his 2014 mayoral campaign. During that race, which Parker finished seventh in a 15-person field, he posted over $300,000 in campaign contributions in a race that limits donations to $700.

The general consensus among East Bay politicos is Parker could register similarly high fundraising amounts since the county caps contributions at $20,000.

In addition to Miley and Parker, a third candidate, Ronald Pereira, has filed campaign papers with the county registrar to represent the supervisorial district that includes East Oakland, large portions of unincorporated Alameda County and Pleasanton.

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Keimach becomes Alameda's next city manager; mayor inexplicably votes no

Jill Keimach's four-year contract includes a
$245,000 annual base salary.
ALAMEDA CITY COUNCIL
Alameda named its next city manager Tuesday night, but without the support of Mayor Trish Spencer. In an almost unprecedented move, Spencer was the lone vote against officially hiring Jill Keimach as the city’s new city manager. Spencer also opposed in closed session earlier this month to offer Keimach the job.

Spencer did not elaborate on the reasons behind her vote, except to say, “I do not plan to support this… and with all due respect to my colleagues and to Jill Keimach, who will be our next city manager, I respectfully disagree that this is the appropriate choice for the future of our city.”

Later Spencer told Action Alameda News that Keimach's breadth of experience was lacking for a bigger city like Alameda.“We are a real, mid-sized city, and active city, not a small city,” Spencer said. “This is not a good time for Alameda to be a training ground for a city manager. We need a city manager who’s ready to go. It’s a great opportunity for her. The other side of that is that it’s a risk for our city. I think she has potential, I don’t think Alameda has time. We need a city manager to lead now. It’s not easy.”

Over questions of why she did not follow the council's lead in supporting Keimach's appointment, despite a clear consensus among her colleagues, she told the site, “I believe people expect me to vote what I believe in. If I don’t believe in something, I don’t put my name on it."

In most municipalities there exists an unspoken expectation that city council’s unanimously, if not symbolically, approve the hiring of city managers. In some cases, the lack of unanimity has resulted in the candidate removing themselves from consideration. Keimach, however, isn't going anywhere. Duirng Tuesday night's meeting she expressed honor for being chosen to lead the city's day-to-day operations.

Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer offered no
specific reasons why she opposed Keimach
as the city's next city manager.
But, the mayor’s no vote appeared to have rankled some of her colleagues. Alameda Councilmember Frank Matarrese pointedly mentioned during his remarks that four members had voted for Keimach's hiring. Alameda Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, also made veiled remarks toward Spencer’s opposition by noting the mayor going forward should acknowledge the will of the entire council supports Keimach. While referencing advice she was once given, Ashcraft said of the council, “We don’t do things as an individual.”

Alameda Councilmember Tony Daysog added he believed Keimach’s tenure as Moraga's town manager was effective and conciliatory. “I’m very pleased that we selected Ms. Keimach and I think Alamedans, in general, will be confident in the selection that we made,” said Daysog. 

Councilmember Jim Oddie agreed and said discussions with the city’s panel of community members tasked with vetting candidates also viewed Keimach positively. Spencer, though, questioned whether Oddie’s comments violated the panel’s confidentiality and later said she disagreed with Oddie’s characterization of the panel’s sentiment toward Keimach.

Despite the disagreement, Keimach’s hiring ends a seven-month search to replace John Russo, who left Alameda in May for the same position in Riverside, Calif. Liz Warmerdam has served as interim city manager since. She will remain in Alameda as one of Keimach’s assistant city manager, the city announced last month.

Keimach (pronounced KAI-mack) served the last five years as Moraga’s town manager before stints as community development director in Fremont and El Cerrito. Keimach’s four-year contract will pay her an annual base salary of $245,000. Her  tenure in Alameda begins Mar. 7.

NOTE: Spencer's quotes to Action Alameda News were added to this article.