In the past six months, Alamedans have watched as a city councilwoman faced possible charges for leaking confidential closed session information about a controversial development at the former Naval Air Station, while the interim city manager and city attorney went rogue, according to some critics. With a new year comes political payback.
A week ago, the new city council chose to not renew the contract of City Manager Anne Marie Gallant. The purging on Central Avenue continued this week when City Attorney Theresa Highsmith was put on administrative leave by the city council. According to The Island, Gallant is believed to have already snagged a new job in Barstow, but has yet to publicly announce it. Not to be outdone, Horst Breuer, the chair of Alameda’s economic development committee resigned saying he could not work with the new Mayor Mary Gilmore and council.
“This seems to be no more than political payback against the one person who has all the qualities you listed as what you want in a city manager,” said former council candidate Adam Gillitt and reported by The Island.
Life on the island has been anything but relaxing since election year politicking lead to then-mayor Bev Johnson and Councilwoman Lena Tam scrambling for political office after both made poorly planned runs for Alameda County supervisor. Lam announced a run to replace Alice Lai-Bitker, but quickly dropped out. Johnson convincingly lost to eventual winner Wilma Chan in the June primary by 30 points. Now, both sit on the city council with opposing allegiances. Tam gained a modicum of revenge on Gallant and Highsmith’s attempt to remove Tam from office, while Johnson voted last week to keep them on.
The public persona of Gallant has elicited equal parts support and vociferous outrage with many detractors laying blame for pushing developer SunCal from the island to supporters who say she has added significantly to the city’s reserves over the past two years.
The duos dismissal after the November elections may have signaled a slight shift in power in Alameda, but like most political moves colored by revenge, the thirst for retribution is also high. All eyes will be on Gilmore, who in just a few weeks in office, has fostered the seeds of resentment that takes longer to eradicate than the actual deed itself.
-STEVEN TAVARESPOLITICS HOMEGROWN http://www.eastbaycitizen.com/