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Forget Alameda Point. What Happens to Doug Linney’s Career as a Political Strategist?

Never mind Alameda Point. What happens to EBMUD’s Doug Linney who has been trying to develop a career as a political strategist? Linney was a consultant to SunCal on yesterday’s Measure B defeat, to the tune of about $60,000.

Doug Linney is an Alameda resident and a member of the board of directors for the East Bay Municipal District (EBMUD), representing Ward 5, which includes the city of Alameda. (Linney was invited to comment for this article by e-mail but had not responded by press time.)

Linney is the President of a local political consulting firm, The Next Generation. On their website, they list “Defeating Big Moneyed Interests with Grassroots Opposition” as one of the Things That They Do.

Which is ironic, because in the case of Measure B, Linney was on the side of the big money interests, SunCal, fighting a grassroots opposition (Alameda residents.) Indeed, Linney addressed Alameda City Council in January and told them that he was consulting SunCal on the “eccentricities” of campaigning in Alameda. (Was the cynical, mis-leading “Make the Developers Pay!” slogan his idea?) SunCal campaign financing filings place the value of his contributions at about $60,000.

Linney’s website says:

The California ballot initiative, originally a progressive reform, is now being regularly hijacked by big moneyed special interests. All too often, public interest advocacy groups are overwhelmed by the millions being spent against them, and fail to mount a strong opposition.

TNG has been successful in defeating both local and state big money measures while being outspent by as much as 20 to 1. We will help you find your opponents’ weaknesses and expose their true funders and motives. We will provide the full range of management and organizational services you need for a successful effort to educate voters to “just say no” to anti-democratic and anti-environmental ballot measures.

This would certainly be the case with Measure B in Alameda. SunCal, backed by DE Shaw, a Wall Street hedge fund with billions of dollars in assets under management, found a local citizen to front for them to get the initiative on the ballot. This citizen had no real role other than to sign the ballot initiative application to enable SunCal to hijack the initiative process.

Subsequently, SunCal proceeded to spend big money on the campaign – roughly $1.3 million reported to date, or about $565 per vote. The opposition, consisting of local Alameda residents, and trade unions representing area residents spent only about $50,000, or $3.72 per vote. The Measure B opposition – the ultimate victors – were outspent by 26 to 1, yet based on current un-official results, won the vote by a 6:1 margin. And here we thought that was Doug Linney’s job!

What remains to be seen is how Mr. Linney will continue to support SunCal and their big-money between now and the end of the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) period in July. Let’s hope he doesn’t abuse his position as a member of the EBMUD Board of Directors.

EBMUD Board Member and SunCal Consultant Doug Linney

7 comments to Forget Alameda Point. What Happens to Doug Linney’s Career as a Political Strategist?

  • barb

    What do you mean hope he “doesn’t abuse his position as a member of the EBMUD Board of Directors”? It’s a little too late for that. I stopped conserving water the minute I learned he was leading the campaign for SUNCAL. Why should I conserve water, collect rain water for my vegetable garden, and use grey water for non-essential plants, if the net result will be to allow EBMUD to add 6000 new homes and raise water prices to me at the same time? Which was not only being supported by LINNEY, but he was a leader in that campaign. His hyprocrisy was about as blatant as anything I have ever seen in the political world. Ranks right up there with Gavin Newsome screwing his campaign manager’s wife, claiming alcohol problems and retiring to selling wine (not to be confused with whine).

    Why would anyone want to be represented by someone like Linney? Not only was he disengenuous, he failed. SUNCAL would have been better off donating a million dollars to Meals on Wheels and the schools. At least its name would not now be connected with a campaign that apparently pissed off nearly everyone, spent big, and lost even bigger than any other developer previously in Alameda. Congratulations to SUNCAL and Linney!

  • Alan2009

    In my mind, anyone who, for compensation, acts as a political consultant or lobbyist or lawyer for a company doing business in the same geographic territory where he/she has a fiduciary duty to the public, as an elected or appointed member of a public agency’s decision making body, is simply asking to be prosecuted under the same Federal law under which former Illinois Governor Blagojevich’s staff are copping pleas, under which Blago is being prosecuted, and under which public officials in the New York State treasurer’s office has been prosecuted.

    In the eyes of legitimate prosecutors like Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, it doesn’t matter whether the paid work occurs before or after the public official votes or influences a decision.

    Unfortunately, during the era of President George W. Bush (Bush 2) the U.S. Attorneys for California prosecuted very few state, regional, county or city officials OTHER THAN Black and Latino public officials.

    Things may change, in terms of prosecutorial targets, as the Obama Administration’s Justice Department officials consider how to boost bad polling numbers. Targeting “crooked politicians” is a favored tactic in demonstrating to average voters that an administration is “looking out for the little guy”.

    The smaller the fish, in terms of political clout, the more likely the prosecution of a public official for the appearance of impropriety under Federal law.

  • We hear Linney is repping for Gilmore and Tam, locally. Bodes well for Alameda – they wont’ get elected!

  • DHL

    What I do NOT get is why only 20% of the total population in Alameda voted…okay, so that number would be higher if I knew how many of our 80K residents are 18+. What is the abject reality here?

  • This was a pretty typical turnout for Alameda. Something like 40K of residents are eligible voters. City Council and Mayoral races in Alameda have typically been decided by 15,000 votes or so.

  • Bob

    Linney has hit the height of hypocrisy–or is it the depth of hypocrisy?

  • localyokel

    “Which is ironic, because in the case of Measure B, Linney was on the side of the big money interests, SunCal, fighting a grassroots opposition”

    Thanks for pointing this out. It’s really a travesty that someone who represents the public in something so vital as water usage should be engaged in such a blatant conflict of interest. I’d love to see this guy prosecuted.

    I agree with Barb above as well. This was a truly dreadful campaign, waged by all thsse supposed PR hotshots and funded with boatloads of money. It was an epic failure.

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