As a non-profit the Alameda Boys & Girls Club is forbidden from making campaign contributions, but its executive director put the organization in hot water when it gave Mayor Marie Gilmore financial support last May to help retire her campaign debt.
The paltry $250 check from Executive Director George Phillips to Gilmore reported last week by a local blogger again details growing discontent and allegations on the island toward the power of special interests over its elected officials.
Phillips told the Oakland Tribune the mistake was "inadvertent," and posited he handed over the wrong pre-signed check containing the signature of another club official. He told the paper he regularly carries cosigned checks to pay for club supplies.
Gilmore returned the donation after the check was cashed. Phillips says he plans to replace it for the same amount with a personal check.
The trio of Gilmore and Councilmembers Lena Tam and Rob Bonta have attracted criticism from a growing chorus of Alameda residents for their links to the powerful firefighters union. Bonta is already pursuing a seat in the assembly after just six months in office on the strength of his union ties.
Anger over political influence reached its peak last Memorial Day when many directed their anger toward the group after the drowning death of Raymond Zack at Crown Beach. The accident drew national attention when public safety officials did nothing to rescue the man in the water. At subsequent council meetings in the aftermath, numerous residents made allusion to connection between fire and the three members.