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.
Mayor 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.