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City Policy on Discounts from Local Merchants?

Dear Editor:

This may seem convoluted, but when you “follow the money,” there is the appearance of impropriety. Is it just an “appearance?”

The August 21, 2008 Alameda Sun included an article about Angela’s Bistro, soon to open in the new Alameda Theater Complex at Oak and Central.

The article noted that there will be “discounts for city employees.”

I’m wondering if this is standard operating procedure at other places in Alameda.

Who in city hall approves such arrangements, and who benefits from them?
“City employees” covers many departments, building inspectors, planning, development services, city council, mayor, city manager(s) city attorneys, police, fire, secretaries, janitors, etc…etc…etc..

If there are dozens of people eating the same food, in the same environment, with the same service, why would/should city employees enjoy a “discount?”

Something doesn’t fit right.

When the financing was being arranged and agreed upon by the city and the developer, for building and then leasing the historic theater, the retail/movie complex, and the garage, were these “discounts” somehow worked into the arrangements?

The Development Disposition Agreement (DDA) was a very lengthy, complex document outlining the financing of these projects.

Now that the theater is open, and all the retail/restaurants spaces are filling, we read that “city employees” are getting “discounts” there.

Another question is how do these “discounts” impact the the “sales tax leakage” we have heard so very much about from city hall for the past several years.

Sure, Angela’s Bistro is a private business and can offer what they want. But is it right that city employees accept these “discounts” from a business located in a building leased by a developer of a building financed by tax money?

As a local newspaper, please continue this story–research and tell us the City’s policy for employees to accept discounts, particularly from non arms-length businesses.

Sincerely,

Rosemary McNally

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