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East Bay Municipal Utility District Has No Plans to Investigate Employee Lena Tam After Alameda Allegations

In light of the recent allegations by the City of Alameda against Councilmember Lena Tam, Action Alameda News asked Ms. Tam’s employer, the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) if they have any plans to dig into Tam’s behavior and e-mail use there, to protect ratepayers against any potential mis-deeds. They said no.

Alameda City Councilmember Lena Tam is currently the manager of the Water Resources Planning Department of EBMUD, the public water agency serving Alameda County and parts of Contra Costa County. She was elected to Council in 2006, and recently kicked-off her re-election campaign for this November.

EBMUD generates revenue primarily through providing water and treating waste water for residents and businesses in its serving area. EBMUD’s website lists an ethics policy for their Board of Directors, but not one for management and employees.

Charles Hardy, a spokesperson for EBMUD, told Action Alameda News that the utility has no plans to investigate Ms. Tam to determine if she has also been leaking EBMUD information in violation of rules, statutes, or ethics norms there. Tam has been accused of leaking confidential City of Alameda information to developer SunCal, with whom the City is negotiating over the redevelopment of Alameda Point, and to others. Hardy said that the allegations are unrelated to her employment with EBMUD.

Alameda ratepayers’ representative on the EBMUD Board of Directors is Doug Linney. SunCal has, so far, paid Doug Linney’s political consulting firm, The Next Generation, almost $100,000 in fees related to their efforts to start the project, including consulting fees related to SunCal’s Measure B ballot initiative, which failed at the polls in February of this year. Tam backed SunCal’s Measure B initiative which included proposed land use and development agreements with the City of Alameda for the Alameda Point redevelopment.

The allegations against Tam have been forwarded to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office for further investigation.

7 comments to East Bay Municipal Utility District Has No Plans to Investigate Employee Lena Tam After Alameda Allegations

  • Barb

    Any investigation of SUNCAL should rightfully extend to DOUG LINNEY and TAM in her capacity at EBMUD. LINNEY had a potential conflict when he worked for SUNCAL. Now that SUNCAL/TAM have been exposed as sharing City of Alameda confidential emails, it leads to the possibility that LINNEY is involved. In the intersts of restoring confidence, EMBUD or the DA should take a look. I stopped conserving water when I found out LINNEY’s position was so proSUNCAL. Why should anyone conserve if all that the conservation is going to do, is to allow SUNCAL to build 5000 more homes? And face rate increases because they aren’t using as much water.

  • Cynical Observer

    David, do you really think they would tell you the truth in response to your question. Answering your question would have probably been a violation of the employer-employee confidentiality rules common in California publi agencies.

    And any sane lawyer will tell you that the minute East Bay MUD’s lawyers read the story about “Lena the Leaker” they were looking at their own emails to see exactly what they had sent M. Tam under the heading of “attorney client privilege”.

  • I try so hard in my own life not to become cynical, for nearly 70 years now, because it feels so corrosive, but I’m running out of resistance! It really is, apparently, as bad as it looks. Yikes!

  • Who knows? They might have said, “We cannot comment on any individual employee, but we are reviewing all of our processes, standards, etc.” Tam works for a public agency that serves the same people she represents in Alameda. Whether or not EBMUD will give an honest answer is beside the point, which is that the allegations against her in her role as City councilmember give reason to question her behavior in her role as a manager for another public agency.

  • Jor Elaihi

    Any comments about the email exchanges between David Howard and the ICM (which show she was leaking info)?

    http://eastbayopengovernment.blogspot.com/2010/07/war-makes-for-strange-bedfellows-suncal.html

  • Certainly. The e-mail exchange is part of a public records request/Media Inquiry to the City. We were trying to verify the authenticity of the spreadsheet, and get copies of the ARRA annual report, showing lease revenue at Alameda Point. Something anyone in the public is entitled to request. The spreadsheet in question is something we got passed to us from Pro-Measure B people. We believe that someone in City Hall leaked the spreadsheet to SunCal and their supporters. Maybe Lena Tam or someone in Development Services leaked this document to SunCal people. Suggest you ask the SunCal supporters who/where they got the document from. (We got it indirectly – somebody gave us the document to us and said they got it from a Measure B supporter saying something to the effect of “I asked them for a copy, and they gave it to me.”)

    Read the e-mail: “We got it from the Pro-measure b….” it looks like the word “folks.” at the end was cut off:

    Ok, thanks.

    re: the spreadsheet. So far as everything I understand, that spreadsheet is ‘good’ – i.e. a true planning document out of City Hall. We got it from the Pro-measure b folks.

    Dave.

    We covered that spreadsheet here. http://www.action-alameda-news.com/2010/01/12/alameda-point-lease-revenues-to-exceed-130-million-over-next-eight-years/

    At the time, SunCal/Measure B supporters were arguing that the Alameda Point lease revenue doesn’t cover the costs to maintain the base. They were evidently arguing from this spreadsheet which is surely a City document and also works against their argument.

    That Gallant didn’t want to comment on how the document got out hardly confirms that she leaked it. There could be any number of reasons why – maybe she knew a City employee leaked it out, making that a confidential personnel matter. Maybe she didn’t want to get pulled into campaign nonsense.

    The real question is “Who is behind the East Bay Open Government blog?”

  • Barb

    Who is behind the East Bay Open Government Blog? Isn’t there some place blog operators have to register their true name, address, etc?
    Whoever it is seems to be very open about his or her positions, but not much else.

    It will be up to the Grand Jury and the DA to investigate TAM, not EBMUD. It has already wasted enough ratepayer money promoting SUNCAL as it is.

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