City Hall Confidential
Word is that at least one retired fire administrator has heard from Alameda’s interim city manager about the soon-to-be-announced opening for interim fire chief. Current Fire Chief David Kapler was put on administrative leave on September 2 pending an investigation into allegations he misused city gasoline. He was photographed in August filling up his BMW at city pumps.
The big outstanding question is, will Chief Kapler be removed before the end of the day Friday – when his city pension and health benefits kick in – or will the city become liable for his ongoing health costs and pension payments? Apparently this has been of big discussion at City Hall, with City Attorney Teresa Highsmith arguing that Kapler will sue the city should officials force him out before he gets his benefits. If made, the move will leave the city – which is already short a finance director and planning director – with an interim city manager, interim police chief and an interim fire chief.
How much is that lawsuit in the window?
Last week The Island’s editor, Michele Ellson, highlighted an inconsistency in City Attorney Teresa Highsmith’s communication with the City Council. The topic of the discussion – the cost of the investigation into Lena Tam – has now been clarified. Apparently through August, the city paid Michael Colantuono $62,799.83, an amount that does not include any September billing, which will include his appearance at the September 9 council meeting, and the September 20 communication to District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.
Nearly $12,000 more was spent in April purchasing the software that allowed Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and Colantuono to read council members’ e-mails. However, staff has stated that the purchase was made in advance of SunCal’s legal filings and only coincidentally came at the exact time top officials began investigating Lena Tam.
Survey Says …
Magellan Strategies, a polling company, this week released the results of a recent telephone poll of Alameda voters. In the mayor’s race, the poll shows a statistical tie between Marie Gilmore (18%) and Doug deHaan (17%) with third place going to Frank Matarrese (10%) and Tony Daysog (9%). It should be noted that the poll had undecideds at 42%.
Apparently, there was an unpublished portion of the poll relating to the City Council race which had Beverly Johnson and Lena Tam in the top two spots and Jean Sweeney, Rob Bonta, Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Tracy Jensen all tied up for third. Because the top two mayoral candidates are sitting council members with two years left on their terms, there’s a good likelihood that third place will be a winner as well.
Getting WISE …
Frank Matarrese moved his campaign headquarters out of their Webster Street digs in order to make way for a new nonprofit operation that’s moving in. Apparently the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, a nonprofit aimed at supporting women-owned startups, is opening an incubator on Webster street that will allow eight to 10 startups to occupy the space at any given time.
The project was launched by Leslie Little in the city’s Community Development department, who wrote the original grant and has apparently worked for a couple of years to make the effort happen.
The Matarrese campaign’s headquarters is reportedly headed to Park Street for the rest of the campaign.
“We gladly stepped aside,” Matarrese said. “It’s good for Webster Street and good for Alameda.”
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