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City of Alameda Scores First Victories in SunCal Public Records Act Lawsuit

The City of Alameda appears to have scored two victories in recent days against SunCal, pertaining to a lawsuit that SunCal filed against the City late last month over a public records act request. The case is RG10537988 in Alameda County Superior Court.

On October 8th, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch granted a request from the City’s attorneys to re-assign the case to another judge; the City had filed a motion to re-assign the case pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6, asserting that “the Honorable Frank Roesch is prejudiced against the Defendants [City of Alameda] and/or prejudiced against their interests,” and that the City wouldn’t receive a fair and impartial trial or hearing before the judge. The motion did not indicate why Judge Roesch may be prejudiced against the City of Alameda. Judge Roesch re-assigned the case to Judge David Hunter, who sits at the Hayward Hall of Justice.

That same day, SunCal’s attorneys filed a so-called ex parte application asking the court to order Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant and City Clerk Lara Weisiger to appear for a deposition with SunCal on or before October 15th. SunCal’s attorneys have alleged that the Interim City Manager and City Clerk are not co-operating with SunCal’s public records request, and wrote in their application that Ms. Gallant and Ms. Weisiger should be compelled by the court to be deposed before the November 2nd election.

Attorney David Newdorf, on behalf of the City, opposed SunCal’s request, writing that it was “not about an urgent need for discovery in support of a writ petition…the November election is approaching and the developer plaintiff wants to publish another hit piece like the one it already delivered to thousands of Alameda voters.” Mr. Newdorf was referring to a recent mailer sent to Alameda voters by SunCal, under the name “SCC Alameda Point LLC,” the name of their Alameda Point project-specific entity, which tried to equate Ms. Gallant with City of Bell officials that have been arrested on charges of corruption. In his opposition filing, Newdorf also provided several exhibits which he said substantiate the City’s assertion that, contrary to SunCal’s charges, the City has provided over 20,000 pages of documents to SunCal, including e-mails from Ms. Gallant’s e-mail account.

On October 12, Judge Hunter denied SunCal’s motion to order the depositions to take place before October 15th.

Action Alameda News reached the City’s attorney David Newdorf by e-mail for comment, and he referred us to City of Alameda Attorney Teresa Highsmith. By press time, Ms. Highsmith had not responded.

5 comments to City of Alameda Scores First Victories in SunCal Public Records Act Lawsuit

  • Barb

    Each side is entitled to one preemptory challenge of a judge assigned to the case under CCP 170.6. It is granted automatically if the magic words contained in the statute itself are stated. This is pro forma for any competent attorney. “I swear under penalty of perjury that I (or my client) cannot receive a fair trial from judge ________.”

    Judge Hunter is a very fair judicial officer and the City is lucky to have been assigned to his court. SUNCAL’s motion to have early depositions was correctly analyzed as an attempt to misuse the courts to obtain election fodder.

    If TAM, GILMORE and BONTA are elected to office, SUNCAL’s lawsuit will be dropped and SUNCAL given the keys to the City. TAM’s and SUNCAL’s attorney fees will be paid out of our tax dollars. The next 4 years will be nothing but firing competent city staff, hiring more lawyers to defend against their actions, and SUNCAL’s Skippy prancing around at Council meetings threatening the Council, the City and its citizens. The voters will do the only thing they can, which is to circulate and pass another initiative that effectively ousts SUNCAL once again. In the meantime, the firefighters will continue driving to their homes in Brentwood and other counties, until we can no longer pay wages for current firefighters due to paying the retirement benefits of the retired firefighters. Alameda will be left with unswept and pitted streets, unkept parks, and the sort of decline in public services that comes about when NOBODY CARES and NOBODY KNOWS how to fix the problem of insolvency. Traffic times throughout the island will increase to 25 minutes or so to leave in the AM.
    The NEWBIES will sit around and say “Oh S–t, why didn’t someone tell us this would happen?” SUNCAL will sit there and take off its mask revealing the SCORPION underneath. The coroner will remove TAM, BONTA, and GILMORE’s masks only to reveal turtles underneath.

  • That doesn’t mean SunCal has given up trying to influence this election. Today, waiting in my campaign mailbox, was this check for $250:

    I will not be cashing it, I will be returning it to its source because of several reasons: they are located in Irvine, not Alameda; if you read their website at, it’s about 50 lbs. of BS in a 5 lb. bag, and worst of all, the first link I could find about them other than their own promotions was this:

    As I have said on numerous occasions: My candidacy is about serving the Citizens of Alameda and their interests first and foremost. Unlike other candidates, I will not accept donations from outside concerns, whether they be developers, lawyers for developers, companies associated with developers, or friends of developers. I do not need a campaign war chest of $50K to prove my ethics or sincerity to the people.

  • My mistake- this is Argent’s site:

    Different 50 lbs of BS, same 5 lb. bag.

  • Oh, I suppose that will make more sense when my previous comment with the wrong link gets approved and edited…