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Council’s Diversion of Measure WW Park Funds

by Dennis Green

Sadly, the City Council of Alameda, including two members, Mayor Beverly Johnson, who sits on the Boys & Girls Club Advisory Board, and Marie Gilmore, whose husband is also a member of that advisory group, voted 3-2 to grant $2 million of WW Park District funds to the Club. These two were joined by Lena Tam. An unfortunate turn of events, for many reasons.

The voters of Alameda thought they were approving funding to keep and maintain public parks with those funds, not contribute to the building of a showcase edifice for “at-risk” kids and big board egos. If they see funding waylaid in this manner, they will be much less likely to approve upcoming proposals for parcel tax increases for the schools, to continue supporting Alameda Hospital, and to fund City budget shortfalls.

Only Vice Mayor Doug deHaan and councilman Frank Matarrese voted against the diversion of park funds to the Boys & Girls Club. And since Gilmore and Tam have announced their candidacies for the position of Mayor of Alameda, their votes here will certainly count against them in that upcoming 2010 campaign. The citizens of Alameda have come to distrust their representatives on many issues — not the least of which is the fate of “Measure B,” the initiative to give Alameda Point to absentee developer SunCal and put the City at great financial risk.

geezervilleMayor Johnson, deHaan and Matarrese have all voiced their opposition to the initiative, but both Tam and Gilmore continue to obfuscate on the issue. They appear to be putting the imagined advantages to the West End ahead of the best interests of the rest of the City. Unfortunate. Meanwhile, Kathy Moehring, executive director of WABA, which received a grant recently of more than $100,000 in City funding, continues to sponsor the initiative in her name — a fact not lost on the Oakland Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

6 comments to Council’s Diversion of Measure WW Park Funds

  • Note the website for the Alameda Boys and Girls Club lists Councilmember Marie Gilmore’s husband as an advisory board member:

    http://www.alamedabgc.org/main.asp?id=27

    Rodney C. Gilmore Attorney

    http://www.espnmediazone.com/bios/Talent/Gilmore_Rod.htm

    and Mayor Johnson as an Advisory Board Member

    Beverly Johnson Mayor of Alameda

  • Huh?

    You seem to be insinuating conflicts of interest here. If you look at the advisory board, it’s very broad: a restaurant owner, a congressman, the police chief–people who care about the community and give up time to help out. Your allegation (as always, hinted at, not stated) of foul play seems a bit far-fetched. Conflicts of interest usually involve personal enrichment (sending contracts to friends who pay you backhanders, taking golf trips to Scotland, having your house remodeled by defense contractors). I actually was firmly against the City trying to fund the B&G Club with park bond funds–it just seems contrary to what the funds are for. But this kind of personal demonization in politics (which seems to be the MO of Action Alameda’s band of citizen journalists) is nauseating and makes me reconsider. A thought: If you really want Sun Cal to fail at the ballot-box, I recommend you heartily support Prop B.

  • Betty

    I don’t understand the comments from “Huh”. You published a letter from Dennis Green with his comments and beliefs. It’s Mr. Green making the point of conflicts of interest not Action Alameda.

    I don’t agree with this decision. These funds should go to the parks. I can honestly say at this time I will not consider voting for Tam or Gilmore. I hope someone else steps up to run for mayor that we can trust and count on…Doug deHaan.

    I also will have problems voting for future taxes or funds when in the long run you never know where you’re money is going.

  • Dear Huh,

    Remember what the doctor told you – if you go off your meds again, the conspiracy delusions and demon hallucinations would return.

    The facts are the facts. Readers can infer – or not – whatever they like from them.

    Sounds like you are projecting some of your own sub-conscious thoughts and behaviors on others.

  • Huh?

    Says it all.

  • barb

    Conflicts of interest don’t always equal a cash benefit to the one with the conflict. The letter of the law is not the same as the spirit of the law. We hope for elected officials who will set a fine moral example. All we get are humans who are susceptible to praise, free lunches, and other items of little cash value that stroke their egos. And doing favors for their friends.

    The bothersome point is that both Johnson and Gilmore are lawyers and should know better. Instead of accepting the clear cut ballot statements about WW being for parks and public land, they have chosen to interpret this to mean private club houses available to a limited few. What other explanation can one come up with to explain why these two lawyers disbelieved or disregarded what was said to the voters in black and white? They should have put personal and family positions aside. How can one believe they did so? Now the EBRPD is going to have to have the courage to do what these two lawyers failed to do. Not set a precedent for every non-profit in the two counties to come to them with their hands out for funds that were promised to the voters to go to parks.

    Since EBRPD lives off the mercy of the voters for much of their financial support, one can only hope they will stick to the promises made when WW was placed before for the voters.

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