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City of Alameda Insists on More Time to Satisfy SunCal’s Public Records Request

In a letter to SunCal’s attorney, Louis Miller of Miller Barondess, LLP of Los Angeles, the City of Alameda has insisted that it may take as long as 45 days to satisfy a “voluminous” public records request that Mr. Miller submitted earlier this month, alongside letters threatening legal action against the City.

Mid-July, Miller had fired off letters to the City of Alameda threatening to sue the City on behalf of SunCal if Alameda City Council didn’t extend the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) with the developer for Alameda Point; subsequently, Council voted to deny SunCal’s so-called “modified optional entitlement application” development proposal, effectively ending the ENA. With those letters, he submitted an extensive public records request for documents and correspondence pertaining to Alameda Point dated from January 1, 2006 through July 12, 2010.

In a letter dated July 23rd, 2010, City Attorney Teresa Highsmith wrote to Miller that, “City staff has begun assembling all of the records that are responsive to your request. However, your request seeks virtually every public record in existence pertaining to the Alameda Point project.” Ms. Highsmith also requested clarification on some points – did Miller intend to make a distinction between “Alameda officials” and “staff”? Or by “officials” did he mean to include all City staff?

Highsmith invoked a 14-day time extension to respond to the request, and due to the number of records requested, and the number of personnel on vacation during the month of August, estimated that it would take 45 days to fully respond to Miller’s request.

Presumably Miller would use the records provided by the City to prepare for any suit he might file on behalf of SunCal.

11 comments to City of Alameda Insists on More Time to Satisfy SunCal’s Public Records Request

  • Barb

    Gee too bad the City can’t do a Public Records Act Request to SUNCAL for all the documents that Tam sent it.

  • If the District Attorney has the backbone to investigate Tam, or continue the investigation already begun, wouldn’t she be able to request those records with a suppoena? (sp) I suspect now that SunCal has been kicked to the curb, yet again, by the voters first and now by the City leaders, they might get the message. It took more than 28 years to re-develop Hamilton AFB, and may take that long to re-develop Alameda Point. So what? Businesses out there are flourishing now, especially Michaan’s Antiques by the Bay, movie making, distillers, etc. Frank’s proposal was designed to forward his campaign for Mayor, and Tam’s proposal was designed to further her political career, whatever that is this week. Again, big surprise! What’s best for the current citizens of Alameda? C’mon, all you Visionaries, step up to the plate!

  • Barb

    My comment was in jest. Of course the DA has a sufficient factual basis for a subpena on everyone’s email that Tam blind copied. And that isn’t a request. It has the power of financial sanctions, and contempt behind it. As well as obstruction of justice criminal charges. Quick, Gilmore, Fire, and others would have to comply. Those such as KNW and DON’T could claim press privilege. It would be most amusing to have them held in contempt the way real press, such as Lance Williams was years ago. And as to SUNCAL/Tam most likely there is probable cause for a lot more than emails. But we have seen how responsive SUNCAL is to the courts. Has Elieff bothered to show up for his debtor’s exam yet?

  • Incredulous


    Why not send Ms. Tam a written public records act request for all of her “writing” concerning Alameda Point? Just because she’s hidden the communication in her private email account doesn’t mean it isn’t a writing as defined under that law?

  • Barb

    Now that is a great idea! And to Gilmore and JKW as well. The more the merrier.
    Perhaps more of the readers would like to join! From the Pocket guide to Public Records Act Requests:

    · All state and local agencies, including: (1)
    any officer, bureau, or department.; (2) any
    “board, commission or agency” created by
    the agency (including advisory boards); and
    (3) nonprofit entities that are legislative bodies
    of a local agency. (§ 6252(a),(b)). Many
    state and regional agencies are required to
    have written public record policies. A list appears
    in § 6253.4.
    ACCESS TIP L Look to access laws (e.g. Legislative Open
    Records Act, IRS rules, court cases) that permit inspection
    and copying of records of agencies not subject to the Public
    Records Act. Many local jurisdictions also have “Sunshine”
    laws that grant greater rights of access to records.
    · “Records” include all communications related to
    public business “regardless of physical form or
    characteristics, including any writing, picture,
    sound, or symbol, whether paper,…, magnetic or
    other media.” (§ 6252(e)) Electronic records are
    included, but software may be exempt. (§§
    6253.9(a),(g), 6254.9 (a),(d))

    The only flaw in this soup, is that City business may come to a standstill while everyone requests everything from everybody! We could end up playing with John Kekker on Tam’s $900 per hour.

  • Perhaps this news site could be the designated “requestee” to avoid such a traffic jam. I’d be surprised if there weren’t some great news stories in some of those leaks, even determine whether JKW really was “having text with that woman” or not, as he claims. Did any of the information she sent him wind up on his blog, for example? Might be fun to get a jump on the D.A.

  • Barb

    It depends upon how you define “text”

  • Hot R

    Despite all the chortling by the three posters here, there will be no criminal action against Tam – nor is that a real problem. But there will be a lawsuit by Suncal against Alameda, in which it will be alleged that the city was conspiring against Suncal instead of negotiating in good faith. Let’s hope the papers sought by Suncal do not further their case, and that a judge does not agree with Suncal. You can thank Highsmith for this.

  • Nope, it will turn out, if the SunCal claim is ever put to a Grand Jury, that they are the ones who were negotiating in bad faith, especially by taking their “Plan” to the voters, who recognized a scam when we saw one, and defeated their nonsense by 85% to 15%, that last percentage I’m sure Hot R was a member of, but he’s an intellectual minority, to put it politely, still clinging to his out-moded views about “Smart Growth” and development. Along with JKW, Do-Nothing and Off the Island!

  • Barb

    Some of the posters may want to review a little bit of the research on SUNCAL before they predict winners and losers. And the caselaw under the Brown Act and other statutory authority. Tam abstained for a reason.
    How does one negotiate in good faith with a dishonest litigator who has received attorney client confidential reports from Councilmember Tam? Ever hear of the legal precept and maxim of jurisprudence of “unclean hands”? Electronic Communications Protection Act? Forget what it claims to be and just look at its “business practices”. SUNCAL has a proven track record of going bankrupt over 30 times instead of completing long awaited projects. And screwing every community that allowed it in. Then suing everyone in sight when it doesn’t get its bogus way. Its only profit – as it is not a developer, is making money by selling the potential for hundreds of millions in dollars of profit to real developers. This profit rightly belongs to the taxpayers and residents of Alameda. If people started thinking like this was our land and our city and our future, instead of looking for the quick fix for today, we would be in much better shape. The school district would have enough money to fund its mismanaged process without passing parcel taxes every two years. And the City could fund its present day and future needs out of the profits of the Point.

  • Barb

    Oh yeah. Don’t let me forget that Calthorpe has got to get out in the real world and stop drawing pretty pictures without a clue. One never builds volleyball or tennis court, or ball fields in the middle of wind vortex? Think Candlestick!

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