We’re now taking donations for the Eve Pearlman pom-pom fund. Eve is the City’s biggest booster and cheerleader, as confirmed by her recent article in the Alameda Journal trying to defend the state of the City’s finances.
But as we’ve explained to Ms. Pearlman, the City is in worse shape than they let on. It only really came out at the end of the recent all-day Saturday budget workshop a few weeks back. That’s when City of Alameda council members’ jaws dropped upon learning that the balance of the general fund is really only about $5 million, and not $10 million as reported by the city staff. It seems there are a number of accrued liabilities that city staff have been playing shell games with on the City’s books, or otherwise burying in special funds. This includes a roughly $2.1 million liability that the auditors sent notice of to the City after they had signed off on the City’s books. Neither the City Manager nor the CFO could explain what the liability was for – they had to promise to get back to City Council. We’re working to get tapes of the session to replay these interesting discussions.
Council members could be forgiven for thinking that the City of Alameda is much closer to bankruptcy than they previously thought. Here they’ve been all along, passing what they thought were balanced budgets, but city staff have been hiding liabilities on the books and the budgets weren’t balanced at all. Not to mention that over $30 million in lawsuits tied to Alameda Power & Telecom, and Dr. Attari’s death in the estuary that are likely to settle for a cash pay-out, and that money will have to come from somewhere.