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Decision 2010: Small town, big money

Submitted by on 1, October 20, 2010 – 4:50 am43 Comments

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“On April 1, MAYOR JOHNSON AND VICE MAYOR DEHAAN VOTED TO SPEND NEARLY $600,000 OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS FOR AN OVERPAID BUREAUCRAT WHEN THE JUNE 2009 GENERAL FUND DEFICIT WAS OVER $21 million dollars,” a full-size mailer announced to Alameda voters this week.

The mailer’s return address belongs to a political consulting firm whose client list boasts a number of prominent Republican politicians, and it says it is paid for by Taxpayer Network, a nonprofit whose board members include a former Republican Congressman from Indiana and a pair of prominent Republican divorce attorneys from Orange County.

The mailer is the latest in a series of attack pieces hitting the mailboxes and telephones of Alameda voters, who may never conclusively know who paid for it, thanks to federal rules that shield the identity of the group’s contributors and members.

“Because the Taxpayer Network does not advocate the election or defeat of any candidate, it is not required to file campaign reports or disclose the names of its members and donors,” the group’s website says. “Taxpayer Network does file tax returns, but those returns are not subject to public disclosure.”

The group’s website says its goal is to “educate the public about the policies and policy-makers involved in issues of taxation, spending and regulation of the economy.” Its treasurer, Bruce Hughes, did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

Late Tuesday, the site featured television ads attacking U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s record. Boxer is in a tight re-election race against former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina. One of the Taxpayer Network’s mailers attacking Johnson touts the goals of the city’s Sunshine Task Force, something that came as a surprise to the leader of that group.

“I think this is a breach of ethics. And I wanted to let you know the task force had nothing to do with this,” the task force’s chair, Gretchen Lipow, told the City Council on Tuesday night.

To be sure, in prior elections Alameda has not been immune to dirty campaigning, or to anonymous attacks. Johnson, one of the targets of the Taxpayer Network mailer, was also targeted in a 2002 mailer when she ran for mayor that depicted her as a puppet, with developers pulling the strings. But she said this election is different.

“That was not the kind of money that is being spent in this election,” Johnson said.

In addition to Taypayer Network mailers attacking Johnson and deHaan and praising Councilwoman Lena Tam for her support of local firefighters, voters have been bombarded by robocalls – including a four-question push poll attacking Matarrese and another robocall featuring a stuttering Johnson. Reporters here at The Island have also received handmade flyers questioning Matarrese’s progressive credentials and accusing deHaan of being racist (with the deHaan flyer containing details of a recent voter poll that have not been released to the public).

No one has claimed responsibility for the calls or flyers.

Matarrese and Johnson have said publicly that they believe SunCal is behind the attacks, saying the company’s former chief operating officer, Frank Faye, threatened to get involved in the election if they didn’t vote to keep SunCal on as master developer after their exclusive agreement to negotiate a development deal with the city expired in July.

Johnson said that David McIntosh, the former Congressman who is listed on the Taxpayer Network’s website as a member of its board, is a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Mayer Brown, the law firm that employs former state Assembly speaker Robert Hertzberg, who worked as a consultant for SunCal in Alameda.

The company’s spokesman, David Soyka, did not respond to a direct question from a reporter Tuesday afternoon asking if SunCal was giving money to the Taxpayer Network. But in an earlier e-mail exchange, he expressed disappointment that campaign spending was an issue.

“It’s too bad people aren’t talking about the issues rather than us,” Soyka said.

A U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down in January, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, equated corporate speech with individual speech, a move some feared would unleash a flood of corporate cash into the electoral realm. And 501(c)4s – non-profits that can legally get involved in elections, as long as campaigning isn’t their main purpose – provide companies the opportunity to pump cash into political campaigns, without anybody knowing.

“They basically can trash anybody they want,” said Robert Brem, chair of the College of Alameda’s politics program.

Brem said he wouldn’t be surprised if corporate money was being spent on Alameda’s election. “All politics is local,” he said. “You can win on a national level. But if a local city council votes down your zoning – that’s why the issue of money is so important.”

A SunCal spokesperson said earlier this month that the company, which sent out mailers and aired television ads attacking Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, was focusing its efforts on Gallant and that they weren’t involved in Alameda’s election. But this week they confirmed that Argent Management LLC, a new SunCal affiliate run by several of SunCal’s former senior execs, had sent contribution checks to local candidates.

“Throughout our history in community development we contribute to candidates in election years, because we think it’s important that the candidates are able to reach out to the voters. We think the candidates need to be heard,” said SunCal spokesman David Soyka.

Soyka said Argent sent checks to all the local candidates. But five of the local council and mayoral candidates contacted by The Island – candidates who hadn’t been critical of SunCal during their time on the Island – said they never received a check from Argent, while candidates who have been critical of the developer – including deHaan and Matarrese – said they did.

DeHaan said his check, which he didn’t cash, came in a handwritten envelope with a bogus local address that was adorned with a smiley-face sticker and the words “good luck.”

“I do feel they tried to pull a fast one on us,” said Jean Sweeney, a council candidate who said she inadvertently cashed a check from Argent but would be paying it back. “What a trick.”

Even candidates who could be expected to benefit from the mailers and other election media have expressed concerns about them because they sidestep the careful messaging candidates do for their campaigns. Lena Tam, who was featured in a Taxpayer Network mailer that praised her for her support of local firefighters, said she had no idea the mailer was coming and doesn’t know who paid for it. Firefighters who were pictured in the ad as they attended a press conference for Tam at City Hall said the same, adding that they hadn’t given permission for their photo to be used.

“It’s very frustrating,” Tam said. “I obviously am trying to run a campaign based on my record on the City Council and what I believe in.”


  • John Kay says:

    SunCal chickens come home …

    I have always loved his town but I think our small town “mentality” has blinded some of us. Many of us, including some otherwise respectable local pundits have consistently giggled, scoffed and brushed aside the notion that “outside money” would want to impact our local election. Now we know this to be true AND we find that the money is attached to republican entities – Priceless ! Alameda Point is a big prize and SunCal wants it … bad.

    Alameda needs to wake up and smell the coffee ( or something else ). The facts are: SunCal has an agenda and they still want Alameda Point. They have a plan. If you are opposed to them – like DeHaan, Matarrese, Johnson etc – you get attacked. If have ( or they think you will ) support them – you get their help ( Tam, Mitchell, Gilmore, Bonta) . This is not rocket science.

    The real question is … which candidates have had a clear ( not reluctant ) , consistent position and can be “trusted” to do the right thing ( jobs, local control, limited housing ) with Alameda Point. I think the answer is clear, Matarrese, Sweeney, Gilitt.

    follow the money and connect the dots …

  • I think Beverly Johnson is forgetting all the out-of-town mailings that were made on her behalf 4 years ago (I think there were 4 or 5 of them). Alameda politics has a history of Independent Expenditure Committees and others being used in during our elections. It’s one of the things that our Campaign Finance Ordinance should, but as it was proposed, didn’t, look at.

  • Miss Information says:

    So Ms. Tam claims: “It’s very frustrating,” Tam said. “I obviously am trying to run a campaign based on my record on the City Council and what I believe in.”

    Perhaps she could explain her acceptance of a check for $500 from Mayer Brown, LLC in Chicago posted on 8/20/2020 on her Form 460 for the period 7/1 – 9/30/2010.

    Mayer Brown, LLC is connected to the Taxpayer Network, which is ultimately connected to SunCal.

    Continue connecting the dots, folks.

  • David Howard says:

    The SunCal Slate – Tam, Bonta and Gilmore – can make all the empty denunciations of SunCal’s dirty tricks and expenditures that they want, but they are still the beneficiaries.

    If they really don’t want SunCal’s money – directly or indirectly – they should drop out of the race.

  • Dave L. says:

    Suncal is bad, okay, okay we all get that message.

    But, I have to ask, if Sweeney said she would accept no off-island money for her campaign, then why did she cash the check?

    Do we want a councilmember to be that sloppy?

  • Richard Bangert says:

    I like the civics lesson in the story above from SunCal’s David Soyka:

    “It’s too bad people aren’t talking about the issues rather than us,” Soyka said.

    Uuuuuuhh, which issues? Electing people who will get rid of our Interim City Manager?

  • dlm says:

    Michele – could you possibly post the flyers? It would help to make them available, especially the one concerning the Sunshine Task Force, which should controversial.

  • David Howard says:

    By golly, David Soyka is right, we should talk about the issues. One issue I want to talk about is this: at the LWV candidates forum, most candidates pledged to limit new home building at Alameda Point to 200 homes per year. Lena Tam did not.

    Lena still seems to be of the “5,000 homes at Alameda Point” mindset. If you don’t want 5,000 homes at Alameda Point, don’t vote for Lena.

  • Good morning Michele: Just for the record, I have not received any such check from Argent or SunCal or any of its agents, but if I do it will be promptly returned to them. As you know, I voted against Measure B and firmly believe that SunCal has no place in Alameda.
    What I do understand is that not only has Jean Sweeney cashed a SunCal check, so did Bev Johnson. It’s amazing how our dear mayor — who for some as yet unexplained reason says she wants another four years on the council — can take $10,000 of developer Ron Cowan’s money and agree to do “robo-calls” on SunCal’s behalf and then try to come across purer that the driven snow that she’s always opposed SunCal and developers. Bev’s trying to re-write her own history and she’s not being honest with the voters of Alameda. If I had to guess what Bev’s motivations are it would simply be that she needs an elected seat from which to run for Sandre Swanson’s office when he terms out of the State Assembly in 2012. Bigger fish up the political food chain here in the East Bay have told Bev, I’m sure, not to expect their help for her Assembly run if she’s not in some kind of elective office. That’s why after 12 years of failed leadership and one giant goofball, costly mistake after another, she’s back at it asking for our support.
    On another matter that I think Alameda voters should be aware of — I don’t know about you, but I think it’s strange that (as of Tuesday) Jean Sweeney had not filed ANY campaign finance disclosure papers with the City Clerk’s office. She missed the first deadline on Oct. 5. Does Sweeney think she’s somehow above the law? What, exactly, could she be hiding? I encourage all Alamedans to check out the clerk’s website after Thursday when the second deadline comes in order to examine political finances of all candidates seeking office here in Alameda — myself very much included. They deserve to have that information in hand before they go into polling booth on Nov. 2.

  • Alameda2000 says:

    Alameda is not a small town (around 80,000 people) and it is in the heard of the SF Bay. It may be one of the 10 biggest cities in the inner Bay Area? To think that Alameda is immune from the realities of the world is naive. Unsophisticated Council candidates aren’t going to be able to do the job in the future. The City Council needs to get a little more savvy if the City hopes to compete in the 21st Century.

  • alameda says:

    “Jean Sweeney … inadvertently cashed a check from Argent”

    Rrrrrright, and this is somebody who touts how meticulous she was in researching the Beltline property agreement with the City???

  • Adam Gillitt says:

    I was the first candidate to expose these checks from Argent, and posted about it here on the Island (http://www.theislandofalameda.com/2010/10/decision-2010-making-the-point/comment-page-1/#comment-11807), and to several other local blogs.

    I have made a statement on my campaign website here about SunCal’s unwanted influence, with a photo of the check and how I returned it immediately: http://www.adamforalameda.com/?p=349

    It’s curious that the candidate who broke this story is the only one who isn’t mentioned in the article. Why is that Michele?

    • Adam,

      Sorry if you took that as a personal slight. It wasn’t. (You actually weren’t the only one who got a check who wasn’t mentioned.) I think the difficulty I had in writing this story was that while I think it’s news that anonymous money is being thrown around in the campaign to slam people, I don’t really want to be the mouthpiece for someone’s campaign message – which is why I hesitated, for example, to post the flyer attacking Doug – and I also am not looking to embarrass people who were at the wrong end of a dirty campaign trick.

      But if you’re looking for the list: Frank Matarrese, Doug deHaan, you, Jean Sweeney and Tracy Jensen all said they got checks from SunCal; Frank and Jean said they cashed theirs but are sending the money back. Tony Daysog, Jeff Mitchell, Lena Tam, Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft and Rob Bonta said they didn’t get checks. I haven’t heard back yet from Marie Gilmore. Beverly Johnson said she didn’t get a check, but the folks from SunCal sent me a scan of a check they said they sent that was cashed.

  • Adam Gillitt says:

    Re: Jeff “Scoop” Mitchell

    Please do check into ex-Alameda Journal Editor Jeff Mitchell’s campaign finances and notice the amount of money he pumps into his own efforts coming from the $38k he earned this year working for SunCal.

    It may not be a direct campaign contribution, but considering the complete similarity between his campaign materials and the SunCal supported Taxpayers Network’s anonymous fliers endorsing his pet STF, his position as a former political adviser to Beverly Johnson before turning on her and throwing her under a bus, and the fact that he chose to work for SunCal after they were voted off the Island, he’s bursting with character and trustworthiness, n’est-ce pas?

  • RM says:

    Jean Sweeney opened that envelope, saw an Alameda address, handwritten note post it with “Good Luck”, photocopied it along with donations from Alameda residents, deposited it, and went back to campaigning.

    She then looked more closely at her donations, and asked herself, “Who is Argent Management?” Then with just one or two clicks on her computer realized that Argent is actually SunCal under a different name.

    She returned $250 from her campaign fund to Argent, 2391 Morse Ave. Irvine CA 92614 Check Number 00001940.

    It took a short minute to look for 725 Atlantic. It is the middle of the intersection of Atlantic and Webster. Emphasis on the middle of the intersection. That’s the return address they used!

    That was after looking for the woman whose name was on the return address of the envelope. Carrie Bruckers or Carrie Brooks or Carie Bruck 725 Atlantic Ave. Alameda CA 94051

    Jean Sweeney has absolutely no interest in SunCal’s/Argent’s/DE Shaw/Minsheng Banking’s money.

    The question is Why did SunCal/Argent/DE Shaw/Minsheng send that check? What were they trying to do?

    I can only speculate on their motive. I do know their actions are of Greed and lies, lack of ethics and lack of moral compass.

  • RM says:

    As of October 5, Jean Sweeney did not have the $1,000 in her campaign fund that would have necessitated disclosure.

    Jean is not accepting donations from well funded unions and developers. She started with zero dollars, and had less than $1,000 on October 5.

    Consequently, Jean had nothing to disclose.

  • David Howard says:

    Here’s another important issue that should be discussed, and it pertains directly to the issue that SunCal/The Taxpayer Network raised in their mailer –

    Deborah Stebbins, the CEO of the Alameda Hospital, is paid $400,000/year – even more than the Interim City Manager. The Hospital taxes Alameda residents to the tune of some $6 million per year.

    Rob Bonta is currently on the Hospital Board, and Tam was on it a few years ago – Stebbins’ salary has grown under Tam/Bonta’s watch, and malpractice has occurred under their watch as well.

    (Also see: http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/read/6029)

  • ct says:

    Is developer Ron Cowan’s $10,000 donation to Mayor Beverly Johnson’s campaign regarded as small money that’s not likely to influence its recipient?

    Re “the issues”: If the most vehement anti-SunCal candidates were elected as mayor and to the City Council, and they were successful in barring anyone associated with SunCal from setting foot in or communicating with anyone in Alameda ever again — i.e., SunCal is really gone — would these vigilant anti-SunCal soldiers also be competent enough to fix our City budget’s unsustainable course as Alameda moves closer to bankruptcy, our city’s lack of an emergency medical services contract, a decaying Alameda Point with maintenance costs that exceed its revenue, the school budget crisis, public transportation cutbacks, etc.? These and other issues are just as (or perhaps even more) important as banishing SunCal.

  • Husky Gurrrrl says:

    Quote: Beverly Johnson said she didn’t get a check, but the folks from SunCal sent me a scan of a check they said they sent that was cashed.

    Is Beverly Johnson lying again? I dunno, are her lips moving?

    Her questionable record of about-facing, stonewalling and then calling for transparency in City Hall for everyone but herself speaks volumes. I’d be hard pressed to vote for her for dog catcher – oh wait – that’s not an elected position.

    I have lived in Alameda for over 30 years and have voted in every election. I find this election to be the most distasteful display of mean-spirited, low life politics I’ve seen yet. Over what? Bragging rights? To cut the ribbon in front of the new Ross Store? To have a city park named after you? What ever floats your boat, baabee. (insert eye roll here)

    I find it surprising that I agree with the shill from SunCal – why don’t the candidates discuss the issues that we citizens and voters are truly concerned with? For example:

    I’m dying to know what Beverly Johnson thinks of the possible school closures – one of which is in her neighborhood, Bay Farm Elementary. She may not remember what it was like before Bay Farm opened and the entire residency of the island tried to shoe horn into the streets around Amelia Earhardt to drop off their kids. Or maybe she doesn’t give a *&^% because she doesn’t have school aged kids, but her trip to City Hall is going to take a whole heckuva lot longer.

    Four years ago, I went to a candidate night and was sorely disappointed that both Frank Matarese and Lena Tam said nothing all night. I mean literally nothing. Tam didn’t even open her mouth to smile and Matarese just nodded or shook his head as others talked! Doug DeHaan and two other candidates for city council, whose names illude me now, did all the talking. They actually answered questions that we had about traffic, the then-controversial theater rebuild, etc. One even brought a documented plan for any and all to review. Too bad all three candidates lost (Dehaan for mayor, the other two for council seats). At least they were willing to talk and put their views on the line, even if they were unpopular.

  • David Howard says:

    CT – The City of Alameda truly was on the verge of bankruptcy a couple of years ago, under Debra Kurita. The TV ads that ran at that time woke everyone up. Ann Marie Gallant then came into the picture, and turned the City’s finances around, as evidenced by two annual budget workshops, the documents for which I still have.

    Alameda City Council has no authority over the school district’s budget, so you bringing up the “school budget crisis” has nothing to do with who runs for City Council. However, recently, city council and city staff did undertake to find some money for the District for the WCDC child care program, and for general operations, courtesy of a $3 million “District Housing Fund” that I identified roughly 3 years ago now, and which Debra Kurita and then-AUSD superintendent Ardella Dailey and AUSD Trustee McMahon tried to pretend didn’t exist. Dailey: “I am under no obligation to track that money!” (I have it on tape.)

    If you’re worried about public transportation cutbacks, again, call up AC Transit – the City of Alameda has no direct authority over that.

    As for Alameda Point costs exceeding expenses, you are citing SunCal Measure B campaign literature that was proven false. Revenue at Alameda has been shown to cover the expenses there, and could far exceed expenses if the City put genuine effort into actively leasing the properties, rather than doing so only half-heartedly and granting short-term leases, as was done under Kurita, on the premise that all the buildings would “soon” be bulldozed to make way for condos.

    Ct, you are simply citing SunCal’s talking points which aim to paint all of Alameda’s ills on Alameda City Hall whether or not its warranted. People see through that.

  • Jon Spangler says:

    As nasty as the Suncal-paid push polls, mailers, and ads may be, the nastiest and most personal attacks seem to be the home-grown ones.

    There are several good examples right here: some still claim the existence of a mythical “Suncal slate” and others deliberately misrepresent the positions and motives of intelligent, capable, and honorable candidates. Sometimes this crud comes from both sides.

    Let’s all take a deep breath, shall we?

    This whole Suncal paranoia campaign accords Suncal more power than they deserve or actually have, and it is time that we “shake the dust off of our sandals” and leave Suncal to choke on its own revenge. Just because they are spending lots of money and acting deceitfully does not mean that we have to join them in either activity: neither one is fruitful.

    Spending all this time and effort on Suncal is like trying to run forward as fast as you can while looking only backwards. We need to focus our eyes on our destination – presumably a better Alameda – and not on the past or on the rich, stupid, and rebvenge-minded developer boogeyman supposedly hiding under our collective beds. All we are going to do by running forwards at full speed with our eyes focused on what’s behind us is trip and fall…

    “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” In other words, don’t accord Suncal *anything.* They do not and cannot own us unless we surrender our energies and efforts to them, which is just what they want.

  • John Kay says:


    Hang on. Your missing the point.

    The Alameda Schools and SunCal are both a part of a larger issue regarding the fiscal viability of the city. If Alameda fails to stay solvent by controlling growing budget pressures, we can neither help Alameda Unified nor pursue a sound re-use plan for Alameda Point.

    The evidence suggests the firefighters union must understand this fact as they have been attacking strong candidates that have stated the need to renegotiate obligations ( e.g. Frank Matarrese and DeHaan).

    Ironically, Candidate Gilmore and Councilmember Tam have both been endorsed and funded by the local firefighters union and now this ( republican ) Taxpayer Network / SunCal group is “supporting” Tam – pushing her ties to the union and the Tam/Mitchell Sunshine parade. Can they be trusted? I know, I know it is just a VERY BIG coincidence …

    I question how effective they can negotiate given the strong and vocal backing of the union. Furthermore, if they can’t be trusted to knuckle-down and negotiate honestly with the unions, why should we believe they will do the right thing at Alameda Point?

    The city needs competence but just as important, it needs independent, trustworthy people working in city government.

    Follow the money and connect the dots …

  • BC says:

    David Howard:

    What TV ads are you referring to about the near bankruptcy? On what channels? When? Funded by whom?

  • Barbara Thomas says:

    “It’s too bad people aren’t talking about the issues rather than us,” Soyka said.” “It’s too bad people aren’t talking about the issues rather than us,” Soyka said.”
    SUNCAL is the main issue. If SUNCAL had no hope that it could return to Alameda’s future, it would be gone. Each candidate would be running on his or her merits. It is that simple.
    BONTA, TAM and GILMORE are receiving tens of thousands of dollars from SUNCAL, its affiliates, agents, employees or other means of disguise, and in the form of all these hit pieces. They may publically say they disapprove, yet they reap the benefits of SUNCAL’s dirt. Remaining in the race simply condones and thereby promotes more of the same garbage on their behalf from SUNCAL. If SUNCAL didn’t think its tactics would pay off, or that these three candidates if elected would not repay SUNCAL’s investment in them, SUNCAL wouldn’t do it. It is business as usual for SUNCAL. It spends money only when it is sure that there will be a return on that investment.
    If SUNCAL had no hope that it could return to Alameda’s future, it would be gone. Each candidate would be running on his or her merits. It is that simple.
    BONTA, TAM and GILMORE are receiving tens of thousands of dollars from SUNCAL, its affiliates, agents, employees or other means of disguise, and in the form of all these hit pieces. They may publically say they disapprove, yet they reap the benefits of SUNCAL’s dirt. Remaining in the race simply condones and thereby promotes more of the same garbage on their behalf from SUNCAL. If SUNCAL didn’t think its tactics would pay off, or that these three candidates if elected would not repay SUNCAL’s investment in them, SUNCAL wouldn’t do it. It is business as usual for SUNCAL. It spends money only when it is sure that there will be a return on that investment.

  • Steve says:

    There have been several allegations made here about Jean Sweeney. One is that she has not filed campaign finance reports. A check of the City Clerk’s website shows that she has filed the reports and filed them on time. If there was a delay in posting those reports, that is a question that should be directed to the City Clerk.

    The second allegation is that she is taking developer money. Apparently, Argent Management, a SunCal affiliate, mailed checks to candidates who have not been friendly to their proposals. Those checks were reportedly mailed in hand-addressed envelopes with a local, but non-existent address. This seems to have created a perfect “gotcha” moment for those who oppose these candidates who are not fans of SunCal.

    In either of the above cases, did the person(s) making the allegations pick up the phone and call Jean Sweeney?

    I have been involved in political campaigns since 1968 when I was a teen for Eugene McCarthy. This was when the voting age was still 21. I’ve seen some pretty bad behavior, but never anything that approaches what is going on in Alameda right now. The wounds are very deep in the community. No matter the outcome, those wounds will remain. Whoever wins may find themselves trying to govern a city that has become ungovernable. Perhaps a victory for someone, but a Pyrrhic one.

  • Dave L. says:

    CT: If David Howard says it’s so, it’s because Lawson says it’s so.

    I shutter to think how that one will turn out.

  • ct says:

    Mr Howard,

    A Fiscal Sustainability Committee report presented during a City Council meeting in May of this year warned that the City budget is currently on an unsustainable course that will bankrupt Alameda if nothing substantial is done. What has Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant done to work toward correcting this pressing problem? She appears to be more preoccupied with hounding Councilwoman Lena Tam instead.

    If the “City Council … did undertake to find some money for the [school] district,” then it seems that when the City has the means, it can choose to assist its school district in crisis. Does a voter’s concern for the state of our schools really have “nothing to do with who runs for City Council”?

    And as for Alameda Point’s expenditures exceeding revenues, what SunCal Measure B campaign literature are you referring to? Are you relying on the funny math used in “Action Alameda”‘s take on the Point’s cash flow to support your claim that “revenue at Alameda [Point] has been shown to cover the expenses there”?

    Mr Kay,

    The firefighters union has been trying to renegotiate obligations (proposing reductions in the tens of millions of dollars) with Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant, but she has refused to even meet with them. How can Mayor Beverly Johnson, Vice Mayor Doug deHaan, and Councilman Frank Matarrese support an ICM who can’t negotiate with the firefighters, Alameda County health care officials (EMS contract), or the Alameda Junior Golf Association (Mif Albright)?

  • dlm says:

    Here are the links for the 3 flyers (corrected):

    Taxpayer Network flyer re: Lena Tam:


    Taxpayer Network flyer re: Sunshine Task Force:


    Taxpayer Network flyer re: Johnson/deHaan:


  • Annette says:

    I heart Jon Spangler!

  • Adam Gillitt says:


    Lena Tam’s investigation was completely warranted- she shared Confidential emails with SunCal, unions and bloggers, repeatedly, against City interests, admitted it, and said she would do it again.

    The Firefighters, after throwing their Chief under a bus, are spending a lot of money on this election to get Tam and Gilmore elected, with a direct mailer touting safety that shows the hospital at the base burning. If they actually cared about Alameda’s safety, why would they take the time to photograph the catastrophe, instead of protecting our Citizens from the rain of asbestos and other toxic chemicals that untended blaze caused?

    Anne-Marie Gallant is not running for election. So why are you focusing on her like SunCal and the STF does?

    Just exactly whom do you represent, hiding behind those two initials?

  • Dave L. says:

    Steve, how can you talk about dirty politics without mentioning what was done to Lena Tam?

    Maybe these mailers are not welcomed, but Councilmember Tam had to spend her own money to defend herself against false charges; her face on the front page of the Chronicle!

    Where was the apology? Where is the follow up story on the front page announcing the DA’s letter saying this was racially motivated?

    If you want to talk about dirty, you must address what has been done to Tam with the backing of the city attorney.

    The eloquent comments by Rev. Yoshii says it all. The council members could have stopped this and they sat on the sidelines knowing this was going to benefit their political careers.

    Now you think things are dirty?

  • ct says:

    Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and City Attorney Teresa Highsmith use closed-session City Council meetings, public records request denials, and rubber stamps labeled “privileged,” “confidential,” and “draft” to withhold public information and keep the inner workings of City Hall private. In this closed government, any official who believes in and follows open-government principles becomes a target. So Gallant and Highsmith claim that a good amount of what is spoken, written, and emailed at City Hall is “privileged,” “confidential,” and a draft (even when they aren’t), giving them ammunition to nail an official who works openly and transparently.

    Do you support the interim city manager and city attorney’s over-reliance on closed-session City Council meetings, public records request denials, and stamping public documents as “privileged,” “confidential,” and “draft” when they are none of those things?

    The “untended blaze” you mention was allowed to burn itself out because the building on fire was slated for demolition. The gas-guzzling fire chief who did himself in said “the air quality management people found no evidence that lead or asbestos, both of which were in the former Navy administrative building that burned, was in the air.” However, with continuing concerns about firefighter staffing levels and with abandoned areas of Alameda Point still quietly rotting away, perhaps an “untended blaze” may actually happen there one day.

  • Adam Gillitt says:


    You answered none of my questions, but recycled lots of other people’s propaganda. Again, whom do you represent?

    I look forward to your unmasking/disappearance with Michele’s new comment policy.

  • Adam Gillitt says:

    Also, CT, please come and test the ash that fell in my neighborhood, like my neighbors did.

    Then please prove to me how their tests were inaccurate when they all said the ash was asbestos and other hazardous materials.

  • Hey folks,

    Quick update I’ve been meaning to make on those checks: Beverly Johnson called me to confirm she did, indeed, received and cash a check from Argent Management and that they are going to return the money.

  • charlie taylor says:

    Mr Gillitt,

    And you, a City Council candidate, have twice avoided answering the following question:

    Do you support the interim city manager, the city attorney, and their over-reliance on closed-session City Council meetings, public records request denials, and stamping public documents as “privileged,” “confidential,” and “draft” when they are none of those things?

    Re the testing of the ash that fell in your neighborhood: Perhaps you should have asked David Kapler about it when he was fire chief, as that came under his purview.

  • Darcy Morrison says:

    Charlie: Adam summed it up well: you’re recycling other people’s propaganda, SunCal’s PR script to be precise. You’re been diligently repeating these points for months now. Of course, none of it is true, but where rumor-mongering is involved, truth is not a priority.

    Who do you represent? Maybe you can fill us in.

    The issues you pushing above, re access to government, closed sessions, public records are the precise same issues that SunCal is pushing on its Sunshine Task Force hit piece flyer, that’s posted above. (See the thumbnail for it, beneath the other flyer.)

    Strange coincidence.

  • charlie taylor says:

    Ms Morrison,

    Your phrase “recycling other people’s propaganda” very aptly applies to you. So does your statement that “none of it is true, but where rumor mongering is involved, truth is not a priority.”

    Last Friday on Lauren Do’s blog, commenter John Knox White said, “All of the documents that [Lena] Tam was accused of sharing are posted here: http://laurendo.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/dont-forget-to-stretch/” and challenged you to “identify the specific documents … that say they are ‘confidential’ or ‘privileged’ and that were shared with SunCal or the firefighters.” Oddly enough, you still haven’t responded. Your nonanswer demonstrates there’s no truth to your recycled propaganda about leaked “privileged” and “confidential” documents.

    Mr Gillitt,

    And your nonanswer indicates an ambivalence about the interim city manager and city attorney’s efforts to exclude citizens from involvement in the governmental process.

  • Darcy Morrison says:

    Charlie — the city conducted an investigation and publicized its findings. I’m not going to reiterate what already been said.

  • Adam Gillitt says:

    Charlie Taylor / CT:

    As a candidate and City Councilmember, I will always answer questions from my constituents and the citizens of Alameda. I will answer questions from businesses who are willing to work with the City of Alameda. I will answer questions from entities who are concerned with the best interests of Alameda and who are transparent in their identity, relationships and motives.

    When I do the simplest research on you, however, I find you are none of these. The simplest Google Search for “Charlie Taylor” and Alameda finds that you are yet another stooge of SunCal, and your incessant propaganda, lines of questioning, and hostile attitude bear this out.

    Until you prove otherwise, the Citizens of Alameda and I have nothing to say to you.

  • charlie taylor says:

    Ms Morrison,

    And the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office concluded “that an insufficient factual and legal basis exists to justify opening a criminal investigation into [Michael Colantuono’s] allegations that the Brown Act has been violated,” so I’m glad to hear that you’re “not going to reiterate what already [has] been said.”

    Mr Gillitt,

    Under what authority do you speak on behalf of “the Citizens of Alameda”?

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